Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Early Planet Formation Triggers Planet Offspring

Date:
December 9, 1999
Source:
University Of Toronto
Summary:
Interaction between massive planets and the disks of gas and dust from which they formed are vital in determining the shape of planetary systems, suggest two former University of Toronto researchers.

Interaction between massive planets and the disks of gas and dust from which they formed are vital in determining the shape of planetary systems, suggest two former University of Toronto researchers.

Related Articles


In a paper to be published in the December issue of Nature, Philip Armitage and Brad Hansen, formerly of University of Toronto's Canadian Institute of Theoretical Astrophysics, studied how early planet formation triggered the formation of other planets in developing solar systems.

"We're suggesting that it's the mass of the disk that influences the formation of planetary systems," says Armitage. "If the disk is lightweight, planet formation occurs fairly slowly - over 10 million years or so - and the result could look something like our own solar system. For a heavyweight disk, more violent processes can occur more quickly and lead to a very different-looking system of planets."

Using computer simulations, the researchers tested how a massive planet the size of Jupiter would interact with a massive disk, 10 times larger than the disk thought to have given rise to our own solar system. They found the extra gravitational force from the planet would cause parts of the disk to collapse and fragment into other planets. The resulting planets would also be gigantic, but would be mostly gaseous rather than solid like that of Earth.

According to Armitage and Hansen, their research indicates that there is an upper limit to the amount by which planets can grow. If the planets formed close together, the planetary system would become violently unstable - some planets would be ejected from the system and the remaining ones would be left with eccentric orbits.

"The paper provides a new way to understand how multiple planets could form in a relatively short space of time, roughly the first million years after the birth of the solar system," says Hansen. "The rapid creation of additional planets will result in competition during planet growth and so may explain why there appears to be a maximum mass for planets around other stars."

Whether habitable Earth-like planets can form and survive in such harsh environments and allow life to develop and grow remains unknown, say the researchers.

"This work, along with other theoretical explanations of planetary systems, suggests that planet formation can sometimes involve violent and chaotic processes that are different from those of our own early solar system," says Armitage. "We now know that the existence of planets themselves are common. However, conditions suitable for forming habitable planets - at least ones like the Earth - could still be rare."

Armitage is currently completing post-doctoral work at the Max-Planck-Institut for Astrophysik in Germany. Hansen is a Hubble post-doctoral fellow at Princeton University in the United States.

CONTACT:
Janet Wong
U of T Public Affairs
(416) 978-6974
[email protected]


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Toronto. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Toronto. "Early Planet Formation Triggers Planet Offspring." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 December 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/12/991208153928.htm>.
University Of Toronto. (1999, December 9). Early Planet Formation Triggers Planet Offspring. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/12/991208153928.htm
University Of Toronto. "Early Planet Formation Triggers Planet Offspring." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/12/991208153928.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Space & Time News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Spokesman: 'NORAD Ready to Track Santa'

Spokesman: 'NORAD Ready to Track Santa'

AP (Dec. 19, 2014) Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said that NORAD is ready to track Santa Claus as he delivers gifts next week. Speaking tongue-in-cheek, he said if Santa drops anything off his sleigh, "we've got destroyers out there to pick them up." (Dec. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
NASA's Planet-Finding Kepler Mission Isn't Over After All

NASA's Planet-Finding Kepler Mission Isn't Over After All

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) More than a year after NASA declared the Kepler spacecraft broken beyond repair, scientists have figured out how to continue getting useful data. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rover Finds More Clues About Possible Life On Mars

Rover Finds More Clues About Possible Life On Mars

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) NASA's Curiosity rover detected methane on Mars and organic compounds on the surface, but it doesn't quite prove there was life ... yet. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Evidence of Life on Mars? NASA Rover Finds Methane, Organic Chemicals

Evidence of Life on Mars? NASA Rover Finds Methane, Organic Chemicals

Reuters - US Online Video (Dec. 16, 2014) NASA's Mars Curiosity rover finds methane in the Martian atmosphere and organic chemicals in the planet's soil, the latest hint that Mars was once suitable for microbial life. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins