Are new planets still forming?

09 October 2018

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Question

Are new planets still forming?

Answer

Chris Smith asked David Rothery to form an answer for this question from listener Eliza... First up, how are planets created?

David - Planets we think form from gas and dust surrounding a young star and it gradually comes together in bigger and bigger lumps and you get a series of collisions. Planets are not forming in this solar system anymore, but we now know that at least half the stars in our galaxy have planets. And the young stars among those are still very young, they still have clouds of gas and dust around them. We can see gaps in the dust rings around these young stars where we think planets that have formed and cleared the dust away. So planets very much are forming around other stars at pretty much the same rate at which stars form, which is a few new stars every years in our galaxy.

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