The discovery of a planetary system “out of whack,” where the orbits of two planets are at a steep angle to each other, was reported today (May 24) by a team of astronomers led by Barbara McArthur of The University of Texas at Austin McDonald Observatory. This surprising finding will affect theories of how multi-planet systems evolve and shows that some violent events can happen to disrupt planets’ orbits after a planetary system forms, say researchers.
McDonald Observatory Scientist Details ‘Planets Gone Wild’; Reporters May Participate Remotely in Live Webcast from Miami
Event: McDonald Observatory's Barbara McArthur gives a press briefing live from the 216th meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Miami on her surprising findings about a nearby solar system obtained with Hubble Space Telescope, The University of Texas at Austin's giant Hobby-Eberly Telescope in West Texas, and other ground-based telescopes. The university will issue… » Continue Reading
University of Texas at Austin astronomer Bill Cochran is one of the leading scientists involved in searching 100,000 nearby stars in our Milky Way galaxy for planets like Earth as part of NASA's Kepler mission launching tomorrow (March 6).