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Close Encounters of the Planet-destroying Kind

16 Mar 2021, 20:49 UTC
Close Encounters of the Planet-destroying Kind
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This guest post was written by Sarah Jaffa. Sarah completed her PhD at Cardiff University in 2018, working on statistical measures of structure in star forming clouds and clusters. She is now a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Hertfordshire performing simulations of star formation in different environments.Title: Cradle(s) of the SunAuthors: Susanne Pfalzner and Kirsten VinckeFirst Author’s Institution: Jülich Supercomputing Center and Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie, GermanyStatus: Published in The Astrophysical Journal, open access on arXiv
The birth-cluster of the SunMost stars and their planets form in clusters, with lots of young stars forming all at once out of a collapsing molecular cloud. If we want to learn more about our solar system — why the Sun, the planets, and the Earth are the way they are — and whether we can find similar systems elsewhere, it is useful to know what sort of cluster the Sun formed in.This is a question astronomers have been asking for a long time, but recently we have learned a lot more about star clusters with the help of missions like Gaia. The paper covered in this post uses that new information to test what sort of cluster the Sun might have formed ...

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