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"New type of planetary object proposed: Synestia" Topic


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136 hits since 22 May 2017
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Tango0123 May 2017 11:56 a.m. PST

"And at one point early in its history, the Earth itself was likely a synestia, said Stewart, who is a professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at UC Davis. Lock and Stewart describe the new object in a paper published May 22 in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets.

Lock, who is a graduate student at Harvard, and Stewart study how planets can form from a series of giant impacts. Current theories of planet formation hold that rocky planets such as the Earth, Mars and Venus formed early in the existence of our solar system as smaller objects collided with each other. These collisions were so violent that the resulting bodies melted and partially vaporized, eventually cooling and solidifying to the (nearly) spherical planets we know today.

Lock and Stewart are particularly interested in collisions between spinning objects. A rotating object has angular momentum, which must be conserved in a collision. Think of a skater spinning on ice: If she extends her arms, she slows her rate of spin, and to spin faster she holds her arms close. Her angular momentum is the same…"
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