New scientific research has discovered that some small planets in the universe may have formed as a sandwich—that is, how two large planets in the protoplanetary disk can potentially give rise to a smaller planet between them, which they call “planet formation.” interspersed”.
Researchers at the University of Warwick investigated the “birth environment” of planets, areas of gas and dust that orbit a central star, known as the protoplanetary disk. The work has been submitted to the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society and is on display at the National Astronomy Meeting, which begins Monday 3 July.
The reason for this is that the original two large planets restricted an internal flow of dust. This means that the amount of dust that accumulates between them is reduced compared to if there were no outer planet. If that dust eventually came together to form a planet, then the middle planet would probably be smaller than the two outer planets, like the filling on a sandwich.
Associate Professor and Dorothy Hodgkin Fellow, Farzana Meru, from the Department of Physics at the University of Warwick, said: “Over the past decade, observations have revealed that rings and gaps exist in protoplanetary disks. The gaps are where we expect the planets to be, and we know from theoretical work that planets cause dust rings to form just outside of them. What exactly is happening in those rings raises an important question for astronomers around the world. “In our study, we propose the rings as sites of planetary formation; Specifically, that there are interspersed planets currently forming in those rings. This is very different from the conventional view of planet formation, where we normally expect planets to form sequentially from the inside to the outside of the disk and become increasingly massive farther out. What’s also really interesting is that there are examples that we’ve found from exoplanet observations that actually show this sandwiched planet architecture, where the middle planet is less massive than its neighbors; it is also a reasonable proportion of systems.
“The field of planet formation has recently been revolutionized. High-resolution images of planet-forming disks have come out in the past ten years since a sophisticated new telescope (the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array) began observing the night sky. These images have given us clues about how planets form and evolve; It is exciting to be at the forefront of this research.”