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Earth Isn't ‘Super' Because the Sun Had Rings

11 days ago   |   By ExtremeTech

As we explore the cosmos, astronomers have spotted a lot of so-called “super-Earths.” These rocky planets may be several times as massive as Earth, and there's no analog in our solar system. But why is that? Scientists from Rice University might have a handle on it. By modeling our solar system with a supercomputer, astrophysicist André Izidoro and his colleagues have shown that the early formation of rings around the sun influenced the size of the resulting planets. The rings in question are a feature of protoplanetary disks. When a new star forms, its gravity begins affecting the nearby...
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