DDA 36th Meeting, 10-14 April 2005
Session 10 Planet Formation
Invited, Wednesday, April 13, 2005, 8:45-9:35am

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[10.01] The Dynamics of Planet Formation

J.E. Chambers (Carnegie Institution of Washington)

The transformation of a protoplanetary disk of gas and dust into a system of planets is a mysterious business that is frustratingly difficult to observe in detail. For this reason, studies of planet formation are largely based on theoretical models with only a few anchor points where precious observations are available. In this talk I will give an overview of some of these theoretical models, indicating areas of uncertainty and places where the models are on firmer ground. For convenience, theorists usually divide planet formation into a series of stages: formation of solid bodies from dust, aggregation of solid bodies into protoplanets, late-stage growth and the formation of giant planets, and planetary migration. Here I will concentrate mostly on the second and third of these stages (understanding of the first and last stages is rather limited, and the author's understanding is especially so). The intermediate stages involve interplay between several physical processes: physical collisions, gravitational scattering, dynamical friction, gas drag, and the capture and collapse of atmospheres. I will describe these processes in some detail, and show using analytical models how these effects can lead to a variety of planetary outcomes.

This work was supported by NASA's Planetary Geology and Geophysics and TPF Foundation Science Mission programmes.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 37 #2
© 2005. The American Astronomical Soceity.