(ORDO NEWS) — In a new scientific work, astronomers were able to connect the properties of the inner planets of our solar system with the history of space – namely, with the appearance of rings in a rotating disk of gas and dust, from which the formation of planets took place.
These rings are associated with the basic physical properties of a substance and can form, for example, when moving from a zone where water exists in the form of ice to a zone where water exists only in the form of steam. Astronomers have performed detailed simulations of a large number of scenarios based on these principles and have drawn a number of interesting conclusions about the formation of our planetary system, as well as other planetary systems.
The general picture of the formation of planets in systems around stars has long been known to scientists, but the details of the mechanism are constantly being clarified and supplemented in new studies. In general terms, the formation of planets occurs as follows: a protoplanetary disk of gas and dust is formed around a star, small protoplanetary bodies begin to form inside this disk, which gradually stick together and grow to objects thousands of kilometers in size – that is, they become planets.
However, when astronomers were able to look directly at the HL Tauri system in 2014 using the ALMA observatory, they discovered a complex structure of alternating rings and slits in the disk, which indicated a complex mechanism for the formation of the planetary system.
In a new study, a team led by Andre Izidoro of Rice University, USA, has set itself the task of explaining the observed properties of objects in the solar system, primarily its inner planets – Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars – based on a model that includes three jumps pressure in the disk.
These pressure surges cause the formation of rings and cracks in the disk and are explained by fundamental physics: the first pressure jump (if we move away from the star) is the condensation of silicates (1400 Kelvin), the second pressure jump, the “water snow line” is the condensation of water (170 Kelvin, this value in the simulation, it was taken below the temperature of evaporation of water on the Earth’s surface, since the pressure in the protoplanetary disk is less than the pressure of the atmosphere on the surface of our planet), the third pressure jump, “Snow line of carbon monoxide” – condensation of carbon monoxide (30 Kelvin).
When the formed planetesimals move towards the star under the influence of gravity and encounter an area of increased pressure on their way, they slow down and begin to stick together, forming larger objects.
According to the results of simulations carried out by Isidoro and his team, pressure surges in the solar system explain the formation of most of the objects known in it. If the pressure drop across the water snow line was formed early in the history of the planetary system, then in the inner part, Earth-type planets of small mass were formed, as in our solar system.
If the pressure drop across the water snow line was formed later in the history of the planetary system or was fuzzy, then more mass could migrate into the inner part of the system, and massive super-Earths or mini-Neptune’s were formed in it. Much more likely and common in the universe is the second of these two planetary systems, the authors note.
The work was published in the journal Nature Astronomy.
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