Science Daily: Planet Formation Could Lie In Stellar Storms Rather Than Gravitational Instability.
ScienceDaily (Dec. 15, 2008) — New research suggests that turbulence plays a critical role in creating ripe conditions for the birth of planets. The study, to be published in The Astrophysical Journal, challenges the prevailing theory of planet formation.Hmmm. Planets forming from the hurricanes of Jupiter? I seem to remember a certain Dr. Velikovsky making such a claim.
Using three-dimensional simulations of the dust and gas that orbits young stars, the study demonstrates that turbulence is a significant obstacle to gravitational instability, the process that scientists have used since the 1970s to explain the early stage of planet formation.
Gravitational instability proposes that dust will settle into the middle of the protoplanetary disk around a newly-formed star. It is thought that the dust will gradually become denser and thinner until it reaches a critical point and collapses into kilometer-size clumps, which later collide to form planets. But new research by San Francisco State University professor Joseph Barranco shows that turbulent forces keep the dust and gas swirling and prevent it from forming a dense and thin enough layer for gravitational instability to occur.
"These results defy the proposed solution of how planets are formed," Barranco said. "Scientists have long been using gravitational instability theory to explain how millimeter-size particles grow to kilometer-size, but these new simulations open new avenues of investigation. Perhaps massive storms, similar to hurricanes found on the Earth or Jupiter, provide clues about how tiny dust grains clump together to become kilometer-size boulders."