Solar Shockwaves Contribute To Planet Formation | Out Of This World Weekly


As we discover more and more solar systems around other stars we are able to form better conclusions about the formation of our own solar system.  Dr. Tagir Abdylmyanov has been looking into how shock waves from our own Sun may have contributed to planetary formation in our early solar system.  As the Sun went through different phases of formation, certain shock waves would have been sent out from our Sun and this might have caused gas clouds to eventually coalesce into protoplanets.  These protoplanets would then have enough mass to collect any nearby gases and eventually form full sized planets and over time this would have formed the solar system as we know it today.

Shockwaves from stars can form when they undergo large scale changes.  It is thought that our own sun went through several of these stages, from gas cloud to proto-star to T-Tauri type star and ultimately into a main sequence type G2V (Yellow Dwarf) star.  These shockwaves are thought to cause gases to move away from the star and form regions of high enough density to cause them to contract.  The first of these shockwaves would have formed the outer planets of Pluto, Uranus, and Neptune, very soon after the birth of the Sun.  Jupiter, Saturn and the Asteroid belt could have formed in the next series of less powerful shockwaves about half a million to a million years apart.  The inner rocky planets of Mars, Earth, Venus and Mercury forming later in the least powerful and last set of shockwaves. 



While this take on solar shockwaves helps to explain planetary formation in our solar system, it possibly does not explain planetary formation around other stars.  We have found a large variability of planetary formation around other starts, many with “Hot Jupiters” that are even larger than Jupiter orbiting closer to their star than Mercury orbits our Sun.  There also have been studies of supernovae shockwaves upon gaseous clouds and instead of these shockwaves causing gas and dust to clump together, it causes them to disperse.    While these new observations have valid scientific basis, we will have to study more solar systems in different evolutionary states to determine exactly how much a new star’s shockwaves contribute to the formation of it’s planets. 

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