We once thought our Solar System was normal, average. How wrong we were, how varied the planetary systems are out there. It turns out, the migration of planets played a huge role in the Solar System we see today.
Watch John Michael Godier’s half of the collaboration here:
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In 1995, astronomers found the first ever planet orbiting another main-sequence star. The star was 51 Pegasi, and the planet was like nothing astronomers had ever expected to see.
It has less than the mass of Jupiter, but orbits its star every 4 days. Even Mercury in our own Solar System needs 88 days to orbit once around the Sun. But 4 days? That’s just crazy.
As astronomers continued to search the skies, more and more of these massive planets orbiting their stars so closely turned up. A few decades after their first discovery, we now know of dozens of these hot Jupiters. Not in every system, but it does appear that about 1.2% of stars have hot Jupiters orbiting around them.
The problem is that hot Jupiters shouldn’t exist. Old models of planetary formation, based on our Solar System say that you should get rocky worlds close to the star, gas planets in the middle, and ice worlds farther out.
The blasts of radiation from a newly forming star should have cleared out excess material from the inner orbits, stopping the formation of worlds.
The only way to explain this situation is if the planets formed farther out, and then shifted around. Planetary migration.
Welcome to a two part episode I’m doing with science fiction author John Michael Godier. If you haven’t yet, you’ve got to check out his channel. Lots of great space science news and futurism. In this episode, I’m going to be tackling the science and history of planetary migration. And in his video, John’s going to be looking forward into the future of planetary migration in our Solar System, and how we could move the planets around on our own.
I’ll put a link to his episode in the show notes, and in the playlist at the end.