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Why is there nothing between Mercury and the Sun?

28 Dec 2018, 09:24 UTC
Why is there nothing between Mercury and the Sun?
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

Be sure to check out this other bite on the same topic.Title: The Primordial Solar wind as a Sculptor of Terrestrial Planet Formation (pdf)
Author: Christopher Spalding
First Author’s Institution: Yale University
Status: Accepted by ApJL [open access]When Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz discovered the very first exoplanet, 51 Pegasi b, in 1995, astronomers were shocked to find it was separated from its star by just 0.05 AU, more than seven times closer than the distance between Mercury and our Sun (0.38 AU). In fact, if you were to take the orbits of every exoplanet known today and place them in our solar system, most of them would fit in the empty space in-between Mercury and our Sun. Kepler-11 in particular has five planets that fit inside Mercury’s orbit, while our solar system has none!If these close-in planets are so common, why doesn’t our solar system have any? Today’s paper by Christopher Spalding blames the Sun itself for the void of planets within Mercury’s orbit! Whereas a previous paper we covered on Astrobites proposed that the building blocks of planets (called planetesimals) may have never formed at less than 0.3 AU, Spalding instead argues that the Sun would have blown ...

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