Simulating the birth of a planet


R&D Mag – Over the past few decades, the hunt for extrasolar planets has yielded incredible discoveries, and now planetary researchers have a new tool—simulated models of how planets are born.

Sally Dodson Robinson, astronomer, and her team of researchers at the University of Texas at Austin are modeling and simulating these protostellar disks. The simulations model important factors such as the turbulence and temperature of the disk, which affect how and where planets form. In a disk that is too turbulent, the particles move too fast and bounce off each other. Less turbulence means a greater chance for them to collide and stick together.

In 1988, we knew of one solitary extrasolar planet. In 2012, we know of almost 2,400 awaiting confirmation. more> http://tinyurl.com/9fsb5ba

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