It’s the simple formula we all know and recognize: inner, rocky worlds closest to the Sun, an asteroid belt farther out, and then gas giant worlds out beyond them. That’s how our Solar System works, at any rate. But what about the other star systems in the Universe?
We’ve finally got enough data to determine whether other planetary systems are like us or not, and if not, how common (or uncommon) our configuration actually is. But what’s also interesting is that despite the tremendous computational power needed, simulations are finally catching up to the data, too, allowing us to understand why the results are what they are.