Last year, an image was released that took our breath away. Exquisite rings carved in a disk of material around a nearby star. Now, astronomers want to know if forming planets are responsible, and why the image might look different from the cartoon in your textbook.
Planets are ubiquitous in the Milky Way. Therefore, building them must be straightforward, right? Not at all!
Earth’s atmosphere is about 100 times less massive than Venus’ atmosphere. This gave rise to the idea that Earth had a more massive atmosphere, which got then depleted by impacts. This Astrobite discusses what would have been the optimal impactor size.
How and where did the first organic molecules emerge? Sophisticated chemistry models for the synthesis of amino acids within planetesimals can help us to decipher these mysteries.
Why do some planets slightly more massive than Earth have gas envelopes, while others don’t?
Amino acids were possibly brought to Earth by meteorite impacts, which contaminated the young environment with organic compounds. However, where and how did these most basic ingredients of life form in the first place?