Planets do not take much longer to form after stars have formed. For example, the Sun formed 4.6 billion years ago, and the Earth about 4.5 billion years ago.
However, scientists now say it is not necessarily the only possibility.
They say planets can form even if a star is nearing its death, long after the star was formed.
Dying stars leading to the formation of planets is an entirely new concept.
If confirmed, this finding can change how we understand the universe’s functions and planetary evolution.
Earth and other planets did not take much time to form after the Sun originated first in our solar system.
How New Planets are Made from Scratch
Within a million years of the Sun’s birth, matter around it clumped into a protoplanetary disc.
This disc, a gigantic pancake made of dust and gas with the Sun in the middle, formed planets.
But new stars, like the Sun, in this case, aren’t the only stars with a disc of raw material rotating around them.
Some old, dying stars, too, have these discs. For example, the binary stars. When two stars orbit each other, one of them is dying.
A study titled, “A population of transition disks around evolved stars: Fingerprints of planets,” published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, says the second star’s gravitational pull may lead the expelled material from the dying star to form a new revolving disc.
But that’s already known. What’s new is the possibility that the second generation of planets can form in the disc.
The study says that planets are forming in one in 10 of these binary stars.
The study’s first author and KU Leuven astronomer Jacques Kluska said they found an enormous cavity in the disc in 10 percent of the evolved binary stars with discs they analyzed it.
Kluska added that this indicated that something was floating nearby and had collected all the matter in the cavity’s vicinity.
This object could undoubtedly be a planet, but astronomers aren’t sure yet.
More research is likely to unfold the mystery. You can read more on this topic.