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Puzzling new planet is too big for its sun, challenging dominant theories of planet formation

It’s difficult to fathom how much bigger the Sun is than our little planet. Even though it’s just an average-sized star, you could squeeze 1.3 million Earths inside it. But planets in other solar systems don’t always have such a massive size difference, as detailed in an intriguing new report in the journal Science, which describes the discovery of a planet named LHS 3154b....

Originally posted on salon.com

Neptune’s strange clouds are disappearing, revealing the weird seasons of the ice giant

The ice-giant Neptune, the most distant and third largest planet in our solar system, is a distinctive dark blue ball of gas, which may appear calm but is actually throttled by a chaotic atmosphere. It’s actually the windiest place in our solar system. Despite earning the label “ice-giant” in part because of its massive size (and also because it is primarily composed of elements heavier than hydrogen and helium), Neptune is far enough away from Earth that our astronomers continue making new discoveries of this enigmatic world....

Originally posted on salon.com