Exciting change is on the way! Please join us at nsf.gov for the latest news on NSF-funded research. While the NSF Science360 page and daily newsletter have now been retired, there’s much happening at nsf.gov. You’ll find current research news on the homepage and much more to explore throughout the site. Best of all, we’ve begun to build a brand-new website that will bring together news, social media, multimedia and more in a way that offers visitors a rich, rewarding, user-friendly experience.

Want to continue to receive email updates on the latest NSF research news and multimedia content? On September 23rd we’ll begin sending those updates via GovDelivery. If you’d prefer not to receive them, please unsubscribe now from Science360 News and your email address will not be moved into the new system.

Thanks so much for being part of the NSF Science360 News Service community. We hope you’ll stay with us during this transition so that we can continue to share the many ways NSF-funded research is advancing knowledge that transforms our future.

For additional information, please contact us at NewsTravels@nsf.gov

Picture of the Day

Gravitational forces in protoplanetary disks may push super-Earths close to their stars

The galaxy is littered with planetary systems vastly different from ours. In the solar system, the planet closest to the sun -- Mercury, with an orbit of 88 days -- is also the smallest. But NASA's Kepler spacecraft has discovered thousands of systems full of very large planets -- called super-Earths -- in very small orbits that zip around their host star several times every 10 days. Now, researchers may have a better understanding of how such planets formed. A team of National Science Foundation-funded astronomers found that as planets form out of the chaotic churn of gravitational, hydrodynamic -- or, drag -- and magnetic forces and collisions within the dusty, gaseous protoplanetary disk that surrounds a star as a planetary system starts to form, the orbits of these planets eventually get in synch, causing them to slide -- follow the leader style -- toward the star. The team's computer simulations result in planetary systems with properties that match up with those of actual planetary systems observed by the Kepler space telescope of solar systems.

Visit Website | Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech