Tidal downsizing is a hypothetical mechanism for the formation of planets.The process begins with the formation of large clumps of gas, of roughly 10 Jupiter masses, via gravitational instability in the outer parts of the protoplanetary disk. The clumps migrate inward due to gravitational interactions with the gas disk. Solid grains within the clump collide and grow and settle toward the center forming a massive core. The clump is disrupted due to tidal forces or heating from the star when it approaches within a few AU of the star leaving behind a smaller object. Depending on the extent and timing of the mass loss the remnant may be a terrestrial planet, an ice giant or a gas giant.
The study of galaxy formation and evolution is concerned with the processes that formed a heterogeneous universe from a homogeneous beginning, the formation of the first galaxies, the way galaxies change over time, and the processes that have generated the variety of structures observed in nearby galaxies. Galaxy formation is hypothesized to occur from structure formation theories, as a result of tiny quantum fluctuations in the aftermath of the Big Bang. The simplest model in general agreement with observed phenomena is the Lambda-CDM model—that is, that clustering and merging allows galaxies to accumulate mass, determining both their shape and structure.
A molecular cloud, sometimes called a stellar nursery (if star formation is occurring within), is a type of interstellar cloud, the density and size of which permit the formation of molecules, most commonly molecular hydrogen (H2). This is in contrast to other areas of the interstellar medium that contain predominantly ionized gas.
Star formation is the process by which dense regions within molecular clouds in interstellar space, sometimes referred to as "stellar nurseries" or "star-forming regions", collapse and form stars. As a branch of astronomy, star formation includes the study of the interstellar medium (ISM) and giant molecular clouds (GMC) as precursors to the star formation process, and the study of protostars and young stellar objects as its immediate products. It is closely related to planet formation, another branch of astronomy. Star formation theory, as well as accounting for the formation of a single star, must also account for the statistics of binary stars and the initial mass function. Most stars do not form in isolation but as part of a group of stars referred as star clusters or stellar associations.
The Nebular hypothesis is the most widely accepted model in the field of cosmogony to explain the formation and evolution of the Solar System. It suggests that the Solar System formed from gas and dust orbiting the Sun. The theory was developed by Immanuel Kant and published in his Allgemeine Naturgeschichte and Theorie des Himmels, published in 1755 and then modified in 1796 by Pierre Laplace. Originally applied to the Solar System, the process of planetary system formation is now thought to be at work throughout the universe. The widely accepted modern variant of the nebular theory is the solar nebular disk model (SNDM) or solar nebular model. It offered explanations for a variety of properties of the Solar System, including the nearly circular and coplanar orbits of the planets, and their motion in the same direction as the Sun's rotation. Some elements of the original nebular theory are echoed in modern theories of planetary formation, but most elements have been superseded.
A protoplanetary disk is a rotating circumstellar disc of dense gas and dust surrounding a young newly formed star, a T Tauri star, or Herbig Ae/Be star. The protoplanetary disk may also be considered an accretion disk for the star itself, because gases or other material may be falling from the inner edge of the disk onto the surface of the star. This process should not be confused with the accretion process thought to build up the planets themselves. Externally illuminated photo-evaporating protoplanetary disks are called proplyds.
A planetary system is a set of gravitationally bound non-stellar objects in or out of orbit around a star or star system. Generally speaking, systems with one or more planets constitute a planetary system, although such systems may also consist of bodies such as dwarf planets, asteroids, natural satellites, meteoroids, comets, planetesimals and circumstellar disks. The Sun together with the planets revolving around it, including Earth, is known as the Solar System. The term exoplanetary system is sometimes used in reference to other planetary systems.
In physical cosmology, a protogalaxy, which could also be called a "primeval galaxy", is a cloud of gas which is forming into a galaxy. It is believed that the rate of star formation during this period of galactic evolution will determine whether a galaxy is a spiral or elliptical galaxy; a slower star formation tends to produce a spiral galaxy. The smaller clumps of gas in a protogalaxy form into stars.
Hot Jupiters are a class of gas giant exoplanets that are inferred to be physically similar to Jupiter but that have very short orbital periods. The close proximity to their stars and high surface-atmosphere temperatures resulted in the moniker "hot Jupiters".
Planetary migration occurs when a planet or other body in orbit around a star interacts with a disk of gas or planetesimals, resulting in the alteration of its orbital parameters, especially its semi-major axis. Planetary migration is the most likely explanation for hot Jupiters: exoplanets with Jovian masses but orbits of only a few days. The generally accepted theory of planet formation from a protoplanetary disk predicts such planets cannot form so close to their stars, as there is insufficient mass at such small radii and the temperature is too high to allow the formation of rocky or icy planetesimals.
In astrophysics, accretion is the accumulation of particles into a massive object by gravitationally attracting more matter, typically gaseous matter, in an accretion disk. Most astronomical objects, such as galaxies, stars, and planets, are formed by accretion processes.
An ice giant is a giant planet composed mainly of elements heavier than hydrogen and helium, such as oxygen, carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur. There are two ice giants in the Solar System: Uranus and Neptune.
A Herbig Ae/Be star (HAeBe) is a pre-main-sequence star – a young (<10Myr) star of spectral types A or B. These stars are still embedded in gas-dust envelopes and are sometimes accompanied by circumstellar disks. Hydrogen and calcium emission lines are observed in their spectra. They are 2-8 Solar mass (M☉) objects, still existing in the star formation stage and approaching the main sequence. In the Hertzsprung–Russell diagram these stars are located to the right of the main sequence. They are named after the American astronomer George Herbig, who first distinguished them from other stars in 1960. The original Herbig criteria were:
The formation and evolution of the Solar System began about 4.57 billion years ago with the gravitational collapse of a small part of a giant molecular cloud. Most of the collapsing mass collected in the center, forming the Sun, while the rest flattened into a protoplanetary disk out of which the planets, moons, asteroids, and other small Solar System bodies formed.
Exoplanetology, or exoplanetary science, is an integrated field of astronomical science dedicated to the search for and study of exoplanets. It employs an interdisciplinary approach which includes astrobiology, astrophysics, astronomy, astrochemistry, astrogeology, geochemistry, and planetary science.
The history of scientific thought about the formation and evolution of the Solar System begins with the Copernican Revolution. The first recorded use of the term "Solar System" dates from 1704.
Retrograde motion in astronomy is, in general, orbital or rotational motion of an object in the direction opposite the rotation of its primary, that is, the central object. It may also describe other motions such as precession or nutation of an object's rotational axis. Prograde or direct motion is more normal motion in the same direction as the primary rotates. However, "retrograde" and "prograde" can also refer to an object other than the primary if so described. The direction of rotation is determined by an inertial frame of reference, such as distant fixed stars.
A satellite system is a set of gravitationally bound objects in orbit around a planetary mass object or minor planet, or its barycenter. Generally speaking, it is a set of natural satellites (moons), although such systems may also consist of bodies such as circumplanetary disks, ring systems, moonlets, minor-planet moons and artificial satellites any of which may themselves have satellite systems of their own. Some bodies also possess quasi-satellites that have orbits gravitationally influenced by their primary, but are generally not considered to be part of a satellite system. Satellite systems can have complex interactions including magnetic, tidal, atmospheric and orbital interactions such as orbital resonances and libration. Individually major satellite objects are designated in Roman numerals. Satellite systems are referred to either by the possessive adjectives of their primary, or less commonly by the name of their primary. Where only one satellite is known, or it is a binary orbiting a common centre of gravity, it may be referred to using the hyphenated names of the primary and major satellite.
A circumstellar disc is a torus, pancake or ring-shaped accumulation of matter composed of gas, dust, planetesimals, asteroids, or collision fragments in orbit around a star. Around the youngest stars, they are the reservoirs of material out of which planets may form. Around mature stars, they indicate that planetesimal formation has taken place, and around white dwarfs, they indicate that planetary material survived the whole of stellar evolution. Such a disc can manifest itself in various ways.
In pebble accretion the accretion of objects ranging from centimeters up to meters in diameter onto planetesimals in a protoplanetary disk is enhanced by aerodynamic drag from the gas present in the disc. This drag reduces the relative velocity of pebbles as they pass by larger bodies, preventing some from escaping the body's gravity. These pebbles are then accreted by the body after spiraling or settling toward its surface. This process increases the cross section over which the large bodies can accrete material, accelerating their growth. The rapid growth of the planetesimals via pebble accretion allows for the formation of giant planet cores in the outer Solar System before the dispersal of the gas disk. A reduction in the size of pebbles as they lose water ice after crossing the ice line and a declining density of gas with distance from the sun slow the rates of pebble accretion in the inner Solar System resulting in smaller terrestrial planets, a small mass of Mars and a low mass asteroid belt.
In planetary science a streaming instability is a hypothetical mechanism for the formation of planetesimals in which the drag felt by solid particles orbiting in a gas disk leads to their spontaneous concentration into clumps which can gravitationally collapse. Small initial clumps increase the orbital velocity of the gas, slowing radial drift locally, leading to their growth as they are joined by faster drifting isolated particles. Massive filaments form that reach densities sufficient for the gravitational collapse into planetesimals the size of large asteroids, bypassing a number of barriers to the traditional formation mechanisms. The formation of streaming instabilities requires solids that are moderately coupled to the gas and a local solid to gas ratio of one or greater. The growth of solids large enough to become moderately coupled to the gas is more likely outside the ice line and in regions with limited turbulence. An initial concentration of solids with respect to the gas is necessary to suppress turbulence sufficiently to allow the solid to gas ratio to reach greater than one at the mid-plane. A wide variety of mechanisms to selectively remove gas or to concentrate solids have been proposed. In the inner Solar System the formation of streaming instabilities requires a greater initial concentration of solids or the growth of solid beyond the size of chondrules.