June 27, 2013

Gas-Giant Exoplanets Cling Close to Their Parent Stars

Gemini Observatory’s Planet-Finding Campaign finds that, around many types of stars, distant gas-giant planets are rare and prefer to cling close to their parent stars. The impact on theories of planetary formation could be significant.

Finding extrasolar planets has become so commonplace that it seems astronomers merely have to look up and another world is discovered. However, results from Gemini Observatory’s recently completed Planet-Finding Campaign – the deepest, most extensive direct imaging survey to date – show the vast outlying orbital space around many types of stars is largely devoid of gas-giant planets, which apparently tend to dwell close to their parent stars.