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A "discovery around the sun" may have stopped our planet from growing into a "super-Earth"!

A “discovery around the sun” may have stopped our planet from growing into a “super-Earth”!

A study claims that long before the planets formed in the solar system, the sun had rings similar to those around Saturn, and may have stunted Earth’s growth.

These rings were seen around a number of young, distant, sun-like stars, according to astronomers from Rice University in Houston, Texas.

It consists of groups of dust and gas, and it is possible that it orbited around the young sun and played a role in the formation of the Earth, which may prevent it from growing into a type of world known as a “super-Earth” that is found in 30% of star systems.

The author, André Isidoro, and his colleagues used a supercomputer to simulate the formation of the solar system hundreds of times, to better understand how it appeared.

Their model produced rings and reproduced many features of the solar system that many previous models missed, but required rings around the young sun.

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A team of astronomers, astrophysicists and planetary scientists participated in the study, drawing on the latest research on star systems.

The model they created assumes that the early solar system had three high pressure bands within the disk. These pressure pumps have been seen in stellar disks around distant stars.

They found that humps and pressure loops could explain the structure of the solar system we see today, including the lack of “super-Earth” worlds.

It is suggested that pressure humps produced separate reservoirs of disc matter in the inner and outer solar system and regulated the amount of material available for planetary development in the inner solar system.

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Over the past few decades, scientists have predicted that gas and dust in protoplanetary disks gradually became less dense, and decreased smoothly as a function of distance from the star.

However, previous computer simulations show that planets are unlikely to form under these scenarios.

“In a smooth disk, all the solid particles – grains of dust or rocks – have to be pulled inward very quickly and lost to the star. One needs something to block them in order to give them time to grow into planets,” said astronomer and study co-author Andrea Isela.

Because the particles are moving faster than the gas around them, they “feel a headwind and drift very quickly toward the star,” according to Isidoro.

At pressure inflation points within the disk, the gas pressure increases, the particles move faster and the solid particles stop feeling the headwind.

“This is what allows dust particles to accumulate at the pressure bumps,” he said.

Astronomers have observed pressure bumps and protoplanetary disk rings using the Atacama Large Millimeter/Submatter Array (ALMA), Isella said. This is a massive 66 radio telescope published online in Chile in 2013.

“ALMA is able to take very sharp images of young planet systems that are still forming, and we discovered that many of the protoplanetary disks in these systems feature rings,” Isela said.

This new model, created by Isidoro and colleagues, operates on the assumption that pressure humps formed in the early solar system in three places.

They found that these are places where particles falling toward the sun release large amounts of vaporized gas.

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In the simulations, pressure bumps at the sublimation lines of silicates, water, and carbon monoxide produced three distinct rings. The main component of sand and glass, silicon dioxide, became vapor at the silicate line. This produced the closest ring to the Sun where Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars formed.

The model suggests that the protoplanetary disks cooled with age, so the sublimation streaks moved toward the Sun.

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The study showed that this process could allow dust to accumulate in asteroid-sized objects called minor planets.

Over time, through the force of gravity and collision, these tiny rocks can clump together to form planets.

Isidoro said previous studies operated on the assumption that these small planets could form if the dust was sufficiently concentrated.

However, no model has provided a convincing theoretical explanation for how dust accumulates, while this model shows that humps can concentrate dust, and moving pressure hums can act as ‘planetary factories’.

Previous simulations of the solar system produced a planet 10 times the mass of Earth – the super-Earth.

Isidoro’s simulations showed that the middle ring could explain chemical cleavage by preventing the substance of the outer system from entering the inner system.

The simulations also produced the asteroid belt in its correct position, and showed that it was fed by objects from both the inner and outer regions.

Isidoro said that the delay in the emergence of the sun’s central ring in some simulations led to the formation of super-Earths, indicating the importance of the timing of the compression.

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So the time at which this average pressure formed may be a key aspect of the solar system.

The results were published in the journal . natural astronomy.

Source: Daily Mail