jul 192013
 
Snow in an Infant Planetary System

  The sight of a snowfall can thrill children, but the first-ever snow line seen around a distant star gives astronomers an even greater thrill because of what it reveals about the formation of planets and our Solar System’s history. Artist concept of snow line in TW Hydrae showing water covered ice grains in the [continue reading]

nov 032012
 
Our Solar System Not as Unique as Once Thought

  Some 4.567 billion years ago, our Solar System’s planets spawned from an expansive disk of gas and dust rotating around the Sun. While similar processes are witnessed in younger solar systems throughout the Milky Way, the formative stages of our own Solar System were believed to have taken twice as long to occur. Now, [continue reading]

nov 022012
 
Asteroid Belts at the Right Place Needed for Complex Life?

  Solar systems with life-bearing planets may be rare if they are dependent on the presence of asteroid belts of just the right mass, according to a study by Rebecca Martin, a NASA Sagan Fellow from the University of Colorado in Boulder, and astronomer Mario Livio of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Md.  [continue reading]