The Falcon Voice

What makes a Planet a Planet?

Dante DeNiro, Journalist

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When looking at our solar system, you can see that it is filled with a variety of cosmic activity, but the most noticeable thing about our solar system is the 8 distinct planets. However, how did these planets get here and what makes them planets? Planets came with the birth of the solar system and they were essentially made from the leftover material from the formation of the star. The beginning of the formation of a planet starts with small bits clumping together to form protoplanets, which end up smashing into other protoplanets and creating the planets we see today. All the other objects that are found in our solar system are just leftover pieces from the formation of the solar system; these include, asteroids, comets, and dwarf planets. However, Jupiter is unique because it’s too big to be a planet but too small to be a star, so what is it?

These plants are called brown dwarfs and they are halfway in between being a star and planet. Scientists believe that these brown dwarfs are formed just likes stars but are unable to get hydrogen-to-helium fusion due to the lack of mass, which stops any chance from them becoming stars. These brown dwarf instead convert hydrogen into deuterium, which produces way less energy. These brown dwarfs are extremely hard to find since they give off very little light, so astronomers use infrared telescopes to find these planets. These gigantic brown dwarfs could also be tied to something greater than our own solar system, they could be a key part in the mystery of missing mass throughout the cosmos. Planets come in all shapes and sizes but it’s always important to remember that a stars will always produce their own light and a planet will always reflect the light generated from the star. And when it comes to the missing mass within the universe, well that’s still a mystery.

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What makes a Planet a Planet?