Scientists, including those from the University of Colorado Boulder, have finally scaled the solar system’s equivalent of the Rocky Mountain range.

In a study published today in Nature Astronomy, researchers from the United States and Japan unveil the possible origins of our cosmic neighborhood’s “Great Divide.” This well-known schism may have separated the solar system just after the sun first formed.

The phenomenon is a bit like how the Rocky Mountains divide North America into east and west. On the one side are “terrestrial” planet, such as Earth and Mars. They are made up of fundamentally different types of materials than the more distant “jovians,” such as Jupiter and Saturn.



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