November 6, 2022
The planet-forming disk can survive for 5 million to 10 million years around many young stars.
Good news for late bloomers: Planets may have millions of years longer to arise around most stars than previously thought.
Researchers report that planet-forming disks around young stars typically last between 5 million and 10 million years.
That disk lifetime, based on surveys of nearby young star clusters, is a good deal compared to the previous estimate of 1 million to 3 million years.
"One to three megayears is a really strong barrier to planet formation," says astrophysicist Susanne Pfalzner in Germany.
"The finding that we have plenty of time just puts everything to rest" for planets to form around young stars.
Large and minor planets develop in the disks of gas and dust that revolve around young stars.
Previous studies have estimated disk lifetimes by looking at the fraction of young stars of varying ages.
In which there are still disks - specifically, observing star clusters with known ages. But Falzner and his colleagues discovered something strange.
The farther a star cluster is from Earth, the shorter the estimated disk lifetime.