Planet Formation

Planet Formation Formation of terrestrial planets

A computer simulation showing
the final stage of growth of
terrestrial planets. The
simulation begins with 150
planetary embryos with masses
between that of the Moon and
Mars, and ends with 4 planets
similar to the inner planets
of the Solar System.

Planet Formation with Migration

Giant planet formation

Three simulations of giant-planet
formation including the effects
of planetary migration. Each row
of circles shows the planets
that formed in one simulation,
while the last row of circles
shows the giant planets of the
Solar System for comparison.
The red and blue segments of each
circle show the fraction of the
planet that is made up of solid
and gas respectively.

Migration and Fragmentation

Migration and Fragmentation

In this simulation, giant-planet cores
grow by sweeping up planetesimals.
Large cores migrate inwards due to
tidal interactions with surrounding
gas. Planetesimals collide with one
another at high speeds, causing them
to break apart. Cores easily sweep up
the fragments, which allows them
to grow rapidly. Migration rates
increase as cores grow larger, and
many cores are lost early on. Later,
as the gas disperses, migration
slows down and some cores survive.


Department of Terrestrial Magnetism
Carnegie Institution of Washington
5241 Broad Branch Road, NW, Washington, DC 20015
202.478.8820, 202-478-8821 (fax)