Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Astronomy Tea Talk
From Stardust to Planetesimals
Paola Pinilla, Institute of Theoretical Astrophysics, University of Heidelberg
According to the core accretion theory, planets as Earth are formed by the agglomeration of dust particles. This process which covers more than forty orders of magnitude in mass, contains different physical challenges and several questions are still unanswered. In the last decades, progress has been made because of a combination of powerful computational algorithms, laboratory experiments and observations of protoplanetary disks in the infrared and millimeter wavelength. In this talk, I will present an overview of the last developments and findings in planet formation theory and the links with observations. In particular, I will focus on how to overcome the meter size barrier, which is one of the most stubborn problems that results from the combination of destructive collisions and rapid inward drift of dust particles in protoplanetary disks.