Planetary systems form from the same cloud as its parent star. As the cloud contracts under the effect of gravity, the gas acquires more angular velocity. Spinning faster it flattens out into a disk where eventually planets end up forming. This simplistic approach has been shown to be correct by many observations (e.g. ALMA’s) but […]
In the almost 20 years since the discovery of the first exoplanet orbiting a main-sequence star, we have gone from thinking that planets are a cosmic curiosity to a common feature of the Universe. The race is on to find a true Earth twin, to measure an exoplanet atmosphere or, when the James Webb Space […]
I have a mathematician friend who believes that anything that it is mathematically possible exists somewhere in the multiverse. She believes that there are some features that are so beautiful, that it would be a crime if they were simply quirks of the Universal language.
I have a space question. I know about the Roche limit but is there an upper limit to how big a ring can get compared to its planet?
Asked by Dan
Of course there are limits, the Universe is all about limits! But they’re not as strict as one would think.
We have found an object in 2012, J1407b, with a ring system 200 million kilometres in diameter. If the rings were centred on Earth they would cover the inner solar system all the way to the orbit of Mercury on the opposite side of the Sun.
Dust to dust, ashes to ashes. In the previous vlog we saw how the cyclical formation and destruction of stars leads to a metal rich Intergalactic Medium, and that the presence of metals in the Intergalactic Medium is paramount to the formation of planets.
What would a planet orbiting a pulsar look like from the ground? Would it look like a giant disco planet with a constant strobe light? Pulsar form from supernova explosions, and they are neutron stars that spin on their axis thousand time per second.
The exoplanet finder extraordinaire that is the Kepler telescope significantly changed our understanding of the type of planets that can exist in our galaxy. We only find two types of planets in our solar system: small rocky planets (like the Earth) and giant gassy planets (like Uranus). The scientist working on Kepler’s data have identified […]
Dutch Astronomers using ESO’s Very Large Telescope were able to measure the rotational speed of a planet outside the Solar System for the first time. Ignas Snellen and his colleagues at Leiden University in the Netherlands used infrared light and its absorption in the planet atmosphere to calculate the length of the day of β Pictoris b.
The NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope team have discovered the first Earth-size planet orbiting a star in the “habitable zone”. The habitable zone, also known as the “Goldilock zone”, is the area around a start where planets (or satellite) are in the right range of temperature to posses liquid water on their surface. A condition we […]