Wait, isn’t it just gravity? Planet formation and its puzzles that keep astronomers awake all night

Nov 16, 2016

Planet formation is a process in which stardust, much smaller than the width of human hair, coalesces to form objects exceeding scales of thousands of kilometres. While we have a general picture of how this is done, there are many basic steps in planet building that are either poorly constrained or simply unknown. In this talk, we will explore the Solar System, its meteorites, discs around stars, and the thousands of planets known outside of the Solar System in a journey to highlight where our formation theories are successful and where they fail. We will compare the Solar System’s architecture to other planetary systems and discuss how gas dynamics, orbital dynamics, and aerodynamics all play fundamental roles in building worlds around stars.

Reception to follow.