Super-Earths, meet superpuffs, a lighter weight class of planet | Science News



Support credible science journalism.

Subscribe to Science News today.

Say What?

Super-Earths, meet superpuffs, a lighter weight class of planet

Underweight, oversized planets formed in outskirts of star systems

2:17pm, November 30, 2015
a superpuff planet

BIG PERSONALITY  Superpuffs (one illustrated) are extra fluffy planets that formed far from their star and subsequently wandered in closer, a new study suggests.

\SOO-per-puf\ n.

A gassy planet, close to its star, with a puzzlingly small mass.

Not to be confused with a generic breakfast cereal, superpuffs are fluffy planets snuggled up to their suns. A superpuff develops its inflated persona by forming far from its star and then wandering inward, astronomers Eve Lee and Eugene Chiang of the University of California, Berkeley suggest online November 1 at Starting out in the outskirts of a fledgling planetary system, the researchers say, would mean more cold gas is available to stick to a rocky core.

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join the Society today or Log in.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from Science News

From the Nature Index Paid Content