Chemistry can change the ingredients in planet formation | 3/1/2018 | Staff
shankay (Posted by) Level 3
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Planet and star formation starts with a lot of material collapsing, falling down onto itself because of gravity. In the middle of this, a protostar is being formed. This star will then start to get warm and eventually glow. "Around this forming star, there will be a round, circulating area. This area is called a disk and is full of a lot of material. We're talking about a lot of gas, for example, CO2 and water. And then there are some small particles which we call dust: very tiny, almost sand grains that are not gas."

Very close to the forming star, there are regions getting quite hot because of the emitted starlight. This can cause molecules to become vaporized. Further away from the star, where it is colder, these molecules start to lay down on top of the small grains and become ice particles on these grains. "The Earth and all the planets in our solar system are built from this material in various, different ways, taking up to 10 million years for the whole sequence. So, understanding what this material is and what it does over time, is important not just to predict where other planets might be formed in space but also to understand our history here on Earth."

Theories - Planets - Material - Dust - Grains

Currently, there are several theories on how planets are formed from this material. Usually, there are different dust grains that stick together. Through various mechanisms, these particles can grow bigger and bigger to form big, round planets. These planets can eventually get an atmosphere made out of the gas around them. "What...
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