Tonight's Sky
Sun
Sun
Moon
Moon
Mercury
Mercury
Venus
Venus
Mars
Mars
Jupiter
Jupiter
Saturn
Saturn

Tonight's Sky — Change location

OR

Searching...

Tonight's Sky — Select location

Tonight's Sky — Enter coordinates

° '
° '

A dying star gives birth to planets

Astronomers have long known that planets form in dusty disks around newborn stars. Now, researchers suspect that planets also can develop in debris disks surrounding exploded stars.
July 2009 dying star movie
Dying star.
NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt (SSC)
No one expected that the first planets discovered outside the solar system would be circling a stellar corpse. Yet that's exactly what radio astronomers Aleksander Wolszczan and Dale Frail found in 1991 when they detected planets circling a pulsar designated PSR B1257+12. This pulsar — a neutron star that spins once every 6.22 milliseconds — formed when a star at least 8 times the Sun's mass exploded. The crushed remnant contains about 1.5 solar masses and measures about 10 miles (16 kilometers) across.

Already a subscriber? Register now!

Registration is FREE and takes only a few seconds to complete. If you are already registered on Astronomy.com, please log in below.
ADVERTISEMENT

FREE EMAIL NEWSLETTER

Receive news, sky-event information, observing tips, and more from Astronomy's weekly email newsletter.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
BoxProductcovernov

Click here to receive a FREE e-Guide exclusively from Astronomy magazine.

Find us on Facebook

Loading...