Evidence of a Giant Impact in Nearby Star System Stripping the Atmosphere From a

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Giant Planet Impact Strips Atmosphere

An MIT-led team has discovered evidence of a giant impact in the nearby HD 17255 star system, in which an Earth-sized terrestrial planet and a smaller impactor likely collided at least 200,000 years ago, stripping off part of one planet’s atmosphere. Credit: Mark A. Garlick

Such planetary smashups are likely common in young solar systems, but they haven’t been directly observed.

Young planetary systems generally experience extreme growing pains, as infant bodies collide and fuse to form progressively larger planets. In our own solar system, the Earth and moon are thought to be products of this type of giant impact. Astronomers surmise that such smashups should be commonplace in early systems, but they have been difficult to observe around other stars.

Now astronomers at Evidence of a Giant Impact in Nearby Star System Stripping the Atmosphere From a

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