IMAGE: Short-period planets, or those with orbits shorter than one day, are rare. Potential lava world TOI 1807 b, illustrated here, is the youngest example yet discovered. CREDIT: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Chris Smith (KBRwyle)
At first glance, this story was interesting because more exoplanets were found, but we’ve been announcing new exoplanets almost steadily for the last decade-plus. Digging a little deeper, this story involves a new paper published in The Astronomical Journal about four new exoplanets that were found orbiting a pair of stars. These stars are related, the planets are teenagers, and they are all giving us more information about a stage of planetary formation we don’t yet understand.
I know. I say all the time that we’re never going to completely understand planetary formation. But with every story that comes out with new information, I’m beginning to think I will be proven wrong. And that’s wonderful.
What makes these stars and their planets so special? According to lead author Christina Hedges: The planets in both systems are in a transitional, or teenage, phase of their life cycle. They’re not newborns, but they’re also not settled down. Learning more about planets in this teen stage will ultimately ...