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Weird, enormous planets may be stolen from stars in ‘planetary heists’

Strange planets nicknamed BEASTies are unlikely to have formed around their stars like most worlds, so they may have been stolen from other stars or captured from deep space


7 September 2022

Artist’s impression of a a gas giant planet on a distant orbit around a massive star

Mark Garlick

Giant stars stealing planets from smaller stars could explain why a strange trio of planets are in orbits that they shouldn’t be.

B-type stars are extremely hot stars more than three times as massive as the sun. Astronomers didn’t think they could host planets. Then in late 2021 and early 2022, a survey called the B-star Exoplanet Abundance Study (BEAST) found three huge planets on wide orbits around B-type stars.

“These planets are …

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