Friday, August 08, 2008

The 3 Bears effect on our Solar System

As Goldilocks, and now a new computer study, found out - certain things have to be just right. For our lady in curls, it was the oatmeal, chairs and beds, but for our solar system, far from being average, events had to fall into place just right for it to form the way it did. Leading ultimately to our arrival on the scene.

In an article in Science Daily, astronomers from Northwestern University are the first to run computer simulation of solar system formation, from beginning to end, starting with the generic disk of gas and dust that is left behind after the formation of the central star and ending with a full planetary system.

Recently published in the journal Science, their study showed that the average solar system's genesis was filled with as they put it a great deal of "violence and drama", but that the formation of something like our solar system required conditions to be "just right."

The first extra solar systems discovered didn't look at all like our Solar System. The orbits were elongated and planets were not where they were expected to be. The simulation suggests that the early proto planets interacted more than was initially thought, fighting as it were for resources, being pushed relentlessly toward the central star and also reacting with each other to force some into the central mass or slingshoting others our of the system all together.

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(Credit: NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory)

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