(ORDO NEWS) — Jupiter-sized planets can be stolen or captured by massive stars in densely populated “stellar nurseries” where most stars are born.
Researchers at the University of Sheffield have come up with a new explanation for the origin of the planets discovered by the B-star Exoplanet Abundance Study (BEAST). These are planets like Jupiter, located at great distances from massive parent stars.
Until now, their formation has been something of a mystery, as massive stars emit large amounts of ultraviolet radiation that prevents planets from growing to the size of Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system.
Dr Emma Duffern-Powell, co-author of the study, said: “Our previous research has shown that in the stellar nursery, stars can steal planets from other stars or take over what we call free-floating planets.
We know that massive stars have more influence in these “mangers” than solar ones, and we have found that these massive stars can invade or steal planets, which we call BEASTies.
In fact, this is a planetary robbery. We used computer simulations to show that the theft or capture of these planets occurs on average once in the first 10 million years of the evolution of a star forming region.”
The BEAST project has discovered at least two superjupiters orbiting massive stars. While planets can form around massive stars, it’s hard to imagine that giant planets like Jupiter and Saturn could form in such hostile environments, where radiation from the stars could vaporize them before they’re fully formed.
Computer simulations have shown that planets can be captured or stolen in orbits very similar to those observed by the BEASTies.
The results obtained by scientists support the theory that planets in distant orbits (more than 100 times the distance from the Earth to the Sun) can revolve around not their parent star.
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