And solving that problem could help scientists better understand more than just gas giants: "Understanding giant-planet formation is essential for understanding the origin and character of planetary systems in general, since gravitational perturbations from giant planets
can affect the growth of objects elsewhere in the same system.
Small stars are actually the most common in the universe, so it is possible that there are many of these giant planets
waiting to found.
Theorists have long suspected that giant planets
could only form in a planetary system's outer regions, where conditions are cold enough for molecules such as carbon dioxide and water to freeze into icy clumps and act as planetary building blocks.
In systems with giant planets
similar to Jupiter, they also tend to be much closer to their host stars than the giant planets
in our solar system.
The findings have ramifications for the understanding of atmospheric dynamics and the formation of giant planets
These asteroids tell us that the GD 61 system had - or still has - rocky, terrestrial planets, and the way they pollute the white dwarf tells us that giant planets
probably still exist there.
However, astronomers have proposed ways that giant planets
could develop bulkier moons.
The mission's principal investigator from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Scott Bolton, said: "The main goals of Juno are to study the origin of Jupiter, and it represents giant planets
as we know around our stars and other stars, it holds a lot of key secrets.
Dr Christiane Helling believes that the dust of precious stones in the atmosphere of gas giant planets
and brown dwarfs could hold the key to the origin of life.
European astronomers said they had located dozens of giant planets
in three distant solar systems.
We study giant planets
to look inside at ourselves and to look far away," Atkinson says.
A sampling of topics: statistical properties of extrasolar planets, planetary messages in the Doppler residuals, modes of gaseous planet formation, growth and interactions of planets, new insights into extrasolar giant planets
, possible in situ formation of close giant planets
in a passive quiescent nebula, and planetary system imaging and spectroscopy from earth and space.