It seems that whenever we have a fact about exoplanets nailed down, an exception will quickly crop up. The authors of today’s paper claim to have spotted a planet over twice the diameter of the Earth, made from solid rock.
Astronomers may have finally observed the event that explains polluted white dwarfs and their debris disks.
For several years now, there has been considerable interest in circumbinary planets – that is to say, planets that orbit both stars in a binary system. They pose many interesting questions, such as, “How does their formation differ from planets in single-star systems?”, “What will happen to them when the stars evolve?”, and of course, “Could humans live there?” It was because of questions like these that the authors of today’s paper turned their telescopes on KIC 7177553.
You’ve probably heard of the star in today’s paper. The “WTF star” (WTF stands for “Where’s the flux?” of course) has been in the media since its discovery and two follow-up papers hit astro-ph. Today, a group of astrobiters pool our expertise to bring you a comprehensive look at KIC 8462852 and what new observations may reveal.
Planets with radii between Earth and Neptune and small radii are the most common in planetary systems. These planets are challenging to explain with classical models of planets. Do planets form instead in-situ in an inside-out manner?
In around five billion years, the hydrogen fuel in the core of the Sun will run out, and our star will begin to die. After swelling up into a red giant, many times bigger than its current size, the Sun will blow away its outer layers to leave a tiny, ultra-dense core, around the size of the Earth. White dwarfs, as these dead, slowly cooling star cores are known, are the ultimate fate for the vast majority of stars in the Universe.