Home Space Survey of Over 800 Planet-Forming Disks Finds Planetary Evolutionary Surprise

Survey of Over 800 Planet-Forming Disks Finds Planetary Evolutionary Surprise

Image Credit: Aaron Alien/Shutterstock

A group of astronomers studied many samples by surveying over 873 protoplanetary disks. The critical piece in a new study of planet-forming disks is mass, and the disk’s mass reveals how much matter is available in the formation of planets.

Astronomers can calculate the total mass of planets by measuring the disks’ mass around young stars, which might form there and get one step closer to evaluating the solar system architecture.

We still don’t know which properties affect the evolution of planet-forming disks around young stars.

“Our new results now indicate that in environments without any relevant external influence, the observed disk mass available for forming new planets only depends on the age of the star-disk system.”

The age of the star and its disk, dynamics of the parent cloud, and the chemical properties all combined with mass give a clear picture of the solar system that arises from the disk. Astronomers aren’t able to record data like this and predict what type of planets might form in any given Solar System.
But, remarkably, the correlation between disk age and disk mass is strong, even across large structures like Orion A.

“The remarkably homogeneous properties of disk samples of the same age are a surprising finding,” the authors conclude, and their results confirm these quotes.

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