1st evidence of giant exoplanet collision afterglow explains unusual eclipse

On Wednesday (Oct. 11), an international team of astronomers reported the first-ever sightings of the aftermath of two giant planets colliding around a sun-like star in another planetary system. Such clashes among planets are not uncommon in our own solar system’s history, so these latest findings shed light on how cosmic neighborhoods similar to our own evolve across eons through chaotic and violent events.

Astronomers first spotted the afterglow of the collision between two super-Earths — ice giants more massive than Earth but lighter than Neptune — in December of 2021 when the planetary system’s host star, called 2MASS J08152329-3859234, suddenly dimmed. 

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