Department of Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy

Department of Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy
Department of Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy

New model solves the mystery of how gas giant planets are formed in the early solar system

magnetosphere

Prof. Martin Duncan from the Physics Department and his team members from Southwest Research Institute have published their work in Nature, explaining how the cores of the gas giants such as Jupiter and Saturn formed through the accumulation of centimetre - meter sized "pebbles".

Prof. Duncan states, 

It is a relief, after many years of performing computer simulations of the standard model without success, to find a new model that is so successful.

The model created by Prof. Duncan and his team found that collisions and accumulation of the "pebbles"  allowed the cores to form much more rapidly and to produce multiple cores within the predicted timeframe for the gas giant formation. The model also predicts the formation of one to four gas giant planets, consistent
with what is seen in the outer solar system.

For the featured article on Prof. Duncan's research:
Queen's Gazette Story

For Nature publication:
Growing the gas-giant planets by the gradual accumulation of pebbles