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Solar System's Youth Gives Clues to Planet Search
Modeling results show where the injected gas and dust ended ups only 34 years after being injected at the disk's surface. It was injected 9 astronomical units from the central prostar and is now in the disk's midplane.
Modeling results show where the injected gas and dust ended ups only 34 years after being injected at the disk's surface. It was injected 9 astronomical units from the central prostar and is now in the disk's midplane. Credit: Image courtesy of Alan Boss

Modeling results show where the injected gas and dust ended ups only 34 years after being injected at the disk's surface. It was injected 9 astronomical units from the central prostar and is now in the disk's midplane. The outer edge shown is 10 astronomical units from the central prostar. Mixing and transport are still underway and the underlying spiral arms that drive the mixing and transport can be seen.

New theoretical models show how an outburst event in the Sun's formative years could have affected our solar system's development. The model could help resolve discrepancies found in studies of comets and meteorites.

Astrobiologists have gathered a great deal of information about the early solar system by studying meteorites and comets. These objects are remnants from the solar system's early days, when the planets were forming from a disk of gas and dust that swirled around our young sun. However, sometimes the results of these studies don't seem to match up.

Particles in comets suggest that there was mixing of matter in the disk and outward movement of material away from the star. Some isotopes in meteorites support this idea, yet others paint a different picture of matter migrating inward.

The new model, developed by Alan Boss of the Carnegie Institute, shows how gravitational instability in the disk around the Sun could have lead to an 'outburst phase' from our host star. This outburst might explain the disparate findings in comet and meteorite studies. The model also sheds new light on how our system formed and evolved, and could help in the search for habitable planets around distant stars. The study was published in The Astrophysical Journal .

Source: [Carnegie Institution for Science]

Last Updated: 30 August 2013

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Last Updated: 30 Aug 2013