For decades, scientists have tried, both theoretically and observationally, to understand the processes by which planets form from disks of dust and gas surrounding a young star. We already know many elements of this complex puzzle, but some processes have not yet been discovered in observations, so it remains just speculation. But now scientists are using the James Webb Space Telescope in their telescope Latest scientific article Describe data that supports one of several theories describing the formation of planets such as Earth.
According to this theory, the drift of icy debris in the outer regions of the protoplanetary disk eventually leads to the formation of rocky planets, which then lie much closer to the star. How is this possible? Scientists suggest that repeated collisions and merging of increasingly larger icy rocks into the protoplanetary disk lead to a gradual increase in the size of such a conglomerate of rocks. Larger sizes lead to greater friction with the disk material, a gradual loss of momentum, and thus a fall toward the interior of the protoplanetary disk, where the temperature sublimates the ice leaving only rocky bodies remaining.
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Such a theory is not new, but previous observations were unable to pinpoint where the evaporating water vapor described above was located in the disk, making it impossible to determine whether such migrations within the protoplanetary disk actually occurred.
But now the situation has changed. The James Webb Space Telescope is capable of making high-resolution observations in the mid-infrared range. Using it, scientists decided to look at two types of disks: compact and dense and extensive, divided into many rings.
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Analysis of observational data has shown that in smaller, compact protoplanetary disks, where large gaps between individual rings do not need to be crossed, icy material actually moves across the entire disk more efficiently than in wide disks. It’s in the CDs on what’s called the James Webb Telescope observed a much larger amount of water vapor at the snow line.
Everything indicates that the formation of planetary systems is not as simple as we thought. Previously, astronomers suspected that the planets actually formed in their target orbits from material that happened to be there. However, the James Webb Telescope now shows that material at different distances from the central star interacts, and rocky planets can often be formed from material coming from the outer regions of the protoplanetary disk.
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