Our planet could have become a “super-Earth” during the formation of the solar system

UNITED STATES (VOP TODAY NEWS) — Astrophysicists at Rice University believe that the early Sun’s dust and gas rings prevented our planet from becoming a “Super-Earth.”

A new study published in the journal Nature Astronomy shows that the Sun was once surrounded by rings of gas and dust similar to those orbiting Saturn. These rings have played a vital role in the formation of our solar system and in the size and habitability of the Earth.

“Something happened in the solar system that prevented the Earth from growing into a much larger type of terrestrial planet called a Super-Earth,” said Rice University astrophysicist André Isidoro.

Super-Earths are huge rocky planets that have been observed around about 30% of the sun-like stars in the Milky Way. Using simulations of the formation of the solar system, scientists have found that the early Sun likely formed three high-pressure bands that have also been observed around other distant stars. These discs supposedly prevented the necessary material from reaching Earth that would make it a “Super-Earth,” the scientists said.

“We hypothesize that pressure surges created disconnected reservoirs of disk material in the inner and outer solar system and regulated how much material was available for planet growth in the inner solar system,” Isidoro said.

The simulations provide new insight into the very early formation of the solar system. Astronomers hope that the recently launched James Webb Space Telescope will give them a deeper understanding of the early composition of star systems.


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