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Interstellar Crashes Could Throw Out Habitable Planets

August 18, 2011 Leave a comment

One of the protoplanetary disks in the Orion Nebula.

One of the protoplanetary disks in the Orion Nebula. Credit: NASA / ESA and L. Ricci (ESO)

Our solar system, where planets have a range of sizes and move in near-circular paths, may be rather unusual, according to a German-British team led by Professor Pavel Kroupa of the University of Bonn. The astronomers, who publish their model in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, find that forming planetary systems may be knocked around by crashes with nearby clumps of material, leading to systems where planets have highly inclined orbits and where the smaller (and potentially habitable) worlds are thrown out completely.

Full Story: http://www.ras.org.uk/news-and-press/217-news2011/2002-interstellar-crashes-could-throw-out-habitable-planets