From UC Berkeley

As planets form in the swirling gas and dust around young stars, there seems to be a sweet spot where most of the large, Jupiter-like gas giants congregate, centered around the orbit where Jupiter sits today in our own solar system.

The location of this sweet spot is between 3 and 10 times the distance Earth sits from our sun (3-10 astronomical units, or AU). Jupiter is 5.2 AU from our sun.

That’s just one of the conclusions of an unprecedented analysis of 300 stars captured by the Gemini Planet Imager, or GPI, a sensitive infrared detector mounted on the 8-meter Gemini South telescope in Chile.

Click here to read the full press release from UC Berkeley.

The study, “The Gemini Planet Imager Exoplanet Survey: Giant Planet and Brown Dwarf Demographics from 10 to 100 au,” was published in The Astronomical Journal. The work was supported in part by the Nexus for Exoplanet System Science (NExSS).  NExSS is a NASA  research coordination network supported in part by the  NASA Astrobiology Program. This program element is shared between NASA’s Planetary Science Division (PSD) and the Astrophysics Division.