Source: NASA Kepler
Artist's impression of planet formation.
Image credits: Credit: University of Copenhagen/Lars Buchhave .
The formation of small worlds like Earth previously was thought to occur mostly around stars rich in heavy elements such as iron and silicon. However, new ground-based observations, combined with data collected by NASA's Kepler space telescope, shows small planets form around stars with a wide range of heavy element content and suggests they may be widespread in our galaxy.(read more)