TAP Colloquium

Monday, Oct 14, 2013
4:00 pm — 5:00 pm

Location: Kuiper Space Sciences
Room: 308

Dr. Sally Dodson-Robinson
University of Texas at Austin

Pathways to Planet and Star Formation
After a decade of near consensus that planets grow bottom-up from colliding dust particles ("core accretion"), observations in 2008 revealed a new population of extremely massive planets on wide orbits that posed significant problems for the core accretion model. Mathematical models of growing planets demonstrate that such planets must instead form in the direct collapse of a protostellar disk ("disk instability"). With at least two modes of planet growth operating in the Galaxy, we now want to establish the relative importance of each mode in building the overall planet population. I first discuss evidence that the majority of planets form by core accretion, the efficiency of which depends on the amount of iron, silicon and magnesium in the planet-forming region. Next, I describe a new strategy for discovering objects that formed by disk instability. The picture emerging from my group's recent research is that disk instability is a rare formation pathway for both planets and stars.

TAP Colloquia