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Thursday, December 8, 2022

Scientists Show Massive Stars Can Capture Planets

This is essentially a planetary theft

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Russell Chattaraj
Russell Chattaraj
Mechanical engineering graduate, writes about science, technology and sports, teaching physics and mathematics, also played cricket professionally and passionate about bodybuilding.

UNITED KINGDOM: According to a recent study, big stars in the highly crowded stellar nurseries where most stars are created can steal or trap planets the size of Jupiter.

The recently found B-star Exoplanet Abundance Study (BEAST) planets have a fresh explanation, according to researchers from the University of Sheffield. These are planets that resemble Jupiter that is located far away from powerful stars—hundreds of times farther than the distance between the Earth and the Sun.

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Since huge stars generate a lot of ultraviolet radiation, which prevents planets from growing to the size of Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system, their birth has until now been rather mysterious.

The University of Sheffield’s Department of Physics and Astronomy’s Dr Emma Daffern-Powell, a co-author of the paper, added: “Our prior research has demonstrated that in stellar nurseries stars can steal planets from other stars or catch what we call ‘free-floating’ planets. We discovered that these massive stars can grab or steal planets, which we refer to as “BEASTies.” We know that huge stars have more effect in these nurseries than Sun-like stars.

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This is essentially a planetary theft. We demonstrated through computer simulations that these BEASTies are often stolen or captured once over the first 10 million years of the history of a star-forming area.

Incredibly diverse exoplanetary systems now include the BEAST planets, according to Dr Richard Parker, Lecturer in Astrophysics at the University of Sheffield. Planets orbiting evolved or dead stars to Sun-like star systems that are significantly different from our Solar System.

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At least two super-Jovian planets in the habitable zone of powerful stars have been found by the BEAST collaboration.

It is difficult to imagine how gas giant planets like Jupiter and Saturn could form in such harsh conditions, where radiation from the stars could evaporate the planets before they fully form, even yet planets can form around enormous stars.

Our models, however, demonstrate that these planets can be taken or captured on orbits that are strikingly similar to those seen for the BEASTies. Our findings support the hypothesis that planets in orbits beyond 100 times the distance between the Earth and the Sun may not be circling their parent star.

The study, which was carried out by Dr. Richard Parker and Emma Daffern-Powell at the University of Sheffield is a component of a larger effort to determine the prevalence of planetary systems similar to our own in comparison to the tens of thousands of other planetary systems in the Milky Way galaxy.

Also Read: James Webb Space Telescope Takes First Picture of an Exoplanet

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  • Russell Chattaraj

    Mechanical engineering graduate, writes about science, technology and sports, teaching physics and mathematics, also played cricket professionally and passionate about bodybuilding.

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