Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Old Equation May Shed New Light On Planet Formation

Date:
January 6, 2004
Source:
University Of Arizona
Summary:
New work with an old equation may help scientists calculate the thickness of ice covering the oceans on Jupiter's moon Europa and ultimately provide insight into planet formation.

New work with an old equation may help scientists calculate the thickness of ice covering the oceans on Jupiter's moon Europa and ultimately provide insight into planet formation. Planetary bodies, such as the Earth and its moon, exert such gravitational force on one another that tides occur, not just in the oceans, but also in bodies of the planets themselves. The surfaces of planets actually rise and fall slightly as they orbit one another.

The standard for calculating how the gravity of one celestial body affects the shape of a second is an equation published in 1911 by A.E.H. Love. Sarah Frey, a doctoral candidate at the University of Arizona in Tucson, decided to see if she could figure out the thickness of ice on Europa by using Love's equation to calculate planetary tides.

"Love looked at two cases, which were very well behaved, very similar to Earth's values," she said.

However, Love didn't have the power of modern computers at his disposal.

Working with Terry Hurford, a graduate student in UA's department of planetary sciences and Richard Greenberg, a professor of planetary sciences at UA, Frey used computers to calculate what Love's equations predicted for various spheres that differed from one another in density, compressibility and rigidity. The spheres serve as proxies for planets.

To their surprise, the researchers found that in specific cases, the computer calculations suggested that the sphere would change shape dramatically. Frey said these special circumstances, called singularities, might ultimately reveal situations that would prevent the formation of planets.

Greenberg said, "If a rocky planet was a little bit bigger than Earth or Venus, it would be in the danger zone where the formula would predict a substantial distortion in the planet's shape. We're wondering if in some way this regulated the size of the planets."

Frey will discuss the team's findings about Love's equations, "Characterization of instabilities in the tidal deformation of a planetary body," on Wednesday, Jan. 7, at 10:30 a.m. at the Phoenix Civic Plaza at the joint annual meeting of the American Mathematical Association and Mathematical Association of America (MAA).


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

University Of Arizona. "Old Equation May Shed New Light On Planet Formation." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 January 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/01/040106080737.htm>.
University Of Arizona. (2004, January 6). Old Equation May Shed New Light On Planet Formation. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/01/040106080737.htm
University Of Arizona. "Old Equation May Shed New Light On Planet Formation." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/01/040106080737.htm (accessed September 1, 2014).

Share This




More Space & Time News

Monday, September 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Space Shuttle Discovery's Legacy, 30 Years Later

Space Shuttle Discovery's Legacy, 30 Years Later

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) The space shuttle Discovery launched for the very first time 30 years ago. Here's a look back at its legacy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Experiment Tests Whether Universe Is Actually A Hologram

Experiment Tests Whether Universe Is Actually A Hologram

Newsy (Aug. 27, 2014) Researchers at Fermilab are using a device called "The Holometer" to test whether our universe is actually a 2-D hologram that just seems 3-D. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 Rocket Explodes After Liftoff

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 Rocket Explodes After Liftoff

Newsy (Aug. 23, 2014) The private spaceflight company says it is preparing a thorough investigation into Friday's mishap. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Did Russia Really Find Plankton On The ISS? NASA Not So Sure

Did Russia Really Find Plankton On The ISS? NASA Not So Sure

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) Russian cosmonauts say they've found evidence of sea plankton on the International Space Station's windows. NASA is a little more skeptical. Video provided by Newsy
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:
from the past week

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