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How Do Planetary Systems Develop out of a Disk of Young Stars?

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Henning,  Thomas K.
Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, Max Planck Society;

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Abstract
Over the last two decades the discovery of planets outside our solar systems has enabled researchers to study how planetary systems form - the major question within the field of astronomy today. These planetary systems and the respective planets vary significantly from each other. In order to understand how these differences come about, the research presented in this video goes back to the birth sites of planets and investigates how they form out of the gas and dust in the disk of young stars. THOMAS HENNING explains that, due to the small nature of the objects and the low mass of the disks, the researchers employed two complementary telescope technologies to reach the necessary spatial resolution and sensitivity. Combining this with numerical simulations and laboratory experiments, the research team was able to observe the growth process of planets and characterize the chemical composition of the disks. The results indicate that the variety in the molecular content of the disks triggers diverse planet properties.