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Herschel:Herschel's new view on giant planet formation

13 Mar 2012, 16:32 UTC
Herschel:Herschel's new view on giant planet formation
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Astronomers have used ESA&aposs Herschel Space Observatory to observe 2M1207, a peculiar brown dwarf with its own circumstellar disc and a planetary companion five times more massive than Jupiter. These new data provide the first image of this system taken at sub-millimetre wavelengths and show that the disc&aposs mass amounts to a few times the mass of Jupiter. The presence of such a massive disc around this ten-million-year old brown dwarf suggests that its planetary companion formed directly from the disc&aposs fragmentation. This reopens the debate on how giant planets form around stellar and sub-stellar objects.

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