How does a disk of gas and dust turn into a solar system? Using computer models, researchers examine the birth and evolution of solar systems. They found that our solar system is unusual: if the conditions had been slightly different, planets could have careened into the sun or been expelled into deep space. The findings were published in the journal Science this week. Ira speaks with an author of the study about what makes our solar system special.
Then, we'll hear about an unidentified cosmic object. Astrophysicists at Yale and Oxford have enlisted the public's help classifying pictures of galaxies through the online project called Galaxy Zoo. One of the project's volunteers, a teacher from the Netherlands, came across a picture of a strange gaseous object that some are calling a "cosmic ghost." Scientists aren't quite sure what it is--the Hubble Space Telescope has been enlisted to help solve the mystery.
Produced by Karin Vergoth