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First Pluto, now this: Discovery of first binary-binary calls solar system formation into question

20 Oct 2016, 08:47 UTC
First Pluto, now this: Discovery of first binary-binary calls solar system formation into question
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The below is taken from a press release about work by University of Florida astronomy professor Jian Ge making use of SDSS MARVELS data. We congratulate Prof. Ge and his postdoc Dr. Bo Ma on their very interesting result.

Everything we know about the formation of solar systems might be wrong, says University of Florida astronomy professor Jian Ge and his postdoc, Bo Ma. They’ve discovered the first “binary–binary” – two massive companions around one star in a close binary system, one so-called giant planet and one brown dwarf, or “failed star” The first, called MARVELS-7a, is 12 times the mass of Jupiter, while the second, MARVELS-7b, has 57 times the mass of Jupiter.
Artist’s conception of an extrasolar planetary system (credit: T. Riecken).
Astronomers believe that planets in our solar system formed from a collapsed disk-like gaseous cloud, with our largest planet, Jupiter, buffered from smaller planets by the asteroid belt. In the new binary system, HD 87646, the two giant companions are close to the minimum mass for burning deuterium and hydrogen, meaning that they have accumulated far more dust and gas than what a typical collapsed disk-like gaseous cloud can provide. They were likely formed through another ...

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