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Nebular Hypothesis
The nebular hypothesis is the most widely accepted model in the field of cosmogony to explain the formation and evolution of the Solar System (as well as other planetary systems). It suggests the Solar System is formed from gas and dust orbiting the Sun. The theory was developed by Immanuel Kant and published in his '' Universal Natural History and Theory of the Heavens'' (1755) and then modified in 1796 by Pierre Laplace. Originally applied to the Solar System, the process of planetary system formation is now thought to be at work throughout the universe. The widely accepted modern variant of the nebular theory is the solar nebular disk model (SNDM) or solar nebular model. It offered explanations for a variety of properties of the Solar System, including the nearly circular and coplanar orbits of the planets, and their motion in the same direction as the Sun's rotation. Some elements of the original nebular theory are echoed in modern theories of planetary formation, but most ele ...
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Cosmogony
Cosmogony is any model concerning the origin of the cosmos or the universe. Overview Scientific theories In astronomy, cosmogony refers to the study of the origin of particular astrophysical objects or systems, and is most commonly used in reference to the origin of the universe, the Solar System, or the Earth–Moon system. The prevalent cosmological model of the early development of the universe is the Big Bang theory. Sean M. Carroll, who specializes in theoretical cosmology and field theory, explains two competing explanations for the origins of the singularity, which is the center of a space in which a characteristic is limitless. (One example of a singularity is the singularity of a black hole, where gravity becomes infinite.) It is generally accepted that the universe began at a point of singularity. When the singularity of the universe started to expand, the Big Bang occurred, which evidently began the universe. The other explanation, held by proponents s ...
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Planetesimal
Planetesimals are solid objects thought to exist in protoplanetary disks and debris disks. Per the Chamberlin–Moulton planetesimal hypothesis, they are believed to form out of cosmic dust grains. Believed to have formed in the Solar System about 4.6 billion years ago, they aid study of its formation. Formation A widely accepted theory of planet formation, the so-called planetesimal hypotheses, the Chamberlin–Moulton planetesimal hypothesis and that of Viktor Safronov, states that planets form from cosmic dust grains that collide and stick to form ever-larger bodies. Once a body reaches around a kilometer in size, its constituent grains can attract each other directly through mutual gravity, enormously aiding further growth into moon-sized protoplanets. Smaller bodies must instead rely on Brownian motion or turbulence to cause the collisions leading to sticking. The mechanics of collisions and mechanisms of sticking are intricate. Alternatively, planetesimals may for ...
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Neptune
Neptune is the eighth planet from the Sun and the farthest known planet in the Solar System. It is the fourth-largest planet in the Solar System by diameter, the third-most-massive planet, and the densest giant planet. It is 17 times the mass of Earth, and slightly more massive than its near-twin Uranus. Neptune is denser and physically smaller than Uranus because its greater mass causes more gravitational compression of its atmosphere. It is referred to as one of the solar system's two ice giant planets (the other one being Uranus). Being composed primarily of gases and liquids, it has no well-defined "solid surface". The planet orbits the Sun once every 164.8  years at an average distance of . It is named after the Roman god of the sea and has the astronomical symbol , representing Neptune's trident. Neptune is not visible to the unaided eye and is the only planet in the Solar System found by mathematical prediction rather than by empirical observation. Un ...
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Uranus
Uranus is the seventh planet from the Sun. Its name is a reference to the Greek god of the sky, Uranus ( Caelus), who, according to Greek mythology, was the great-grandfather of Ares (Mars), grandfather of Zeus (Jupiter) and father of Cronus ( Saturn). It has the third-largest planetary radius and fourth-largest planetary mass in the Solar System. Uranus is similar in composition to Neptune, and both have bulk chemical compositions which differ from that of the larger gas giants Jupiter and Saturn. For this reason, scientists often classify Uranus and Neptune as "ice giants" to distinguish them from the other giant planets. As with gas giants, ice giants also lack a well defined "solid surface." Uranus's atmosphere is similar to Jupiter's and Saturn's in its primary composition of hydrogen and helium, but it contains more " ices" such as water, ammonia, and methane, along with traces of other hydrocarbons. It has the coldest planetary atmosphere in the Solar Syst ...
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Ice Giant
An ice giant is a giant planet composed mainly of elements heavier than hydrogen and helium, such as oxygen, carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur. There are two ice giants in the Solar System: Uranus and Neptune. In astrophysics and planetary science the term "ices" refers to volatile chemical compounds with freezing points above about 100  K, such as water, ammonia, or methane, with freezing points of 273 K (0°C), 195 K (−78°C), and 91 K (−182°C), respectively (see Volatiles). In the 1990s, it was determined that Uranus and Neptune are a distinct class of giant planet, separate from the other giant planets, Jupiter and Saturn, which are gas giants predominantly composed of hydrogen and helium. As such, Neptune and Uranus are now referred to as ''ice giants''. Lacking well defined solid surfaces, they are primarily composed of gases and liquids. Their constituent compounds were solids when they were primarily incorporated into the planets during their f ...
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Saturn
Saturn is the sixth planet from the Sun and the second-largest in the Solar System, after Jupiter. It is a gas giant with an average radius of about nine and a half times that of Earth. It has only one-eighth the average density of Earth; however, with its larger volume, Saturn is over 95 times more massive. Saturn's interior is most likely composed of a core of iron–nickel alloy, iron–nickel and rock (silicon and oxygen compounds). Its core is surrounded by a deep layer of metallic hydrogen, an intermediate layer of liquid hydrogen and liquid helium, and finally, a gaseous outer layer. Saturn has a pale yellow hue due to ammonia crystals in its upper atmosphere. An electrical current within the metallic hydrogen layer is thought to give rise to Saturn's planetary magnetic field, which is weaker than Earth's, but which has a magnetic moment 580 times that of Earth due to Saturn's larger size. Saturn's magnetic field strength is around one-twentieth of Jupiter's. The out ...
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Jupiter
Jupiter is the fifth planet from the Sun and the largest in the Solar System. It is a gas giant with a mass more than two and a half times that of all the other planets in the Solar System combined, but slightly less than one-thousandth the mass of the Sun. Jupiter is the third brightest natural object in the Earth's night sky after the Moon and Venus, and it has been observed since prehistoric times. It was named after the Roman god Jupiter, the king of the gods. Jupiter is primarily composed of hydrogen, but helium constitutes one-quarter of its mass and one-tenth of its volume. It probably has a rocky core of heavier elements, but, like the other giant planets in the Solar System, it lacks a well-defined solid surface. The ongoing contraction of Jupiter's interior generates more heat than it receives from the Sun. Because of its rapid rotation, the planet's shape is an oblate spheroid: it has a slight but noticeable bulge around the equator. The outer atmosphere i ...
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The Astrophysical Journal
''The Astrophysical Journal'', often abbreviated ''ApJ'' (pronounced "ap jay") in references and speech, is a peer-reviewed scientific journal of astrophysics and astronomy, established in 1895 by American astronomers George Ellery Hale and James Edward Keeler. The journal discontinued its print edition and became an electronic-only journal in 2015. Since 1953 ''The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series'' (''ApJS'') has been published in conjunction with ''The Astrophysical Journal'', with generally longer articles to supplement the material in the journal. It publishes six volumes per year, with two 280-page issues per volume. ''The Astrophysical Journal Letters'' (''ApJL''), established in 1967 by Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar as Part 2 of ''The Astrophysical Journal'', is now a separate journal focusing on the rapid publication of high-impact astronomical research. The three journals were published by the University of Chicago Press for the American Astronomical Society ...
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Helium
Helium (from el, ἥλιος, helios, lit=sun) is a chemical element with the symbol He and atomic number 2. It is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, non-toxic, inert, monatomic gas and the first in the noble gas group in the periodic table. Its boiling and melting point are the lowest among all the elements. It is the second lightest and second most abundant element in the observable universe (hydrogen is the lightest and most abundant). It is present at about 24% of the total elemental mass, which is more than 12 times the mass of all the heavier elements combined. Its abundance is similar to this in both the Sun and in Jupiter, due to the very high nuclear binding energy (per nucleon) of helium-4, with respect to the next three elements after helium. This helium-4 binding energy also accounts for why it is a product of both nuclear fusion and radioactive decay. The most common isotope of helium in the universe is helium-4, the vast majority of which was formed during t ...
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Hydrogen
Hydrogen is the chemical element with the symbol H and atomic number 1. Hydrogen is the lightest element. At standard conditions hydrogen is a gas of diatomic molecules having the formula . It is colorless, odorless, tasteless, non-toxic, and highly combustible. Hydrogen is the most abundant chemical substance in the universe, constituting roughly 75% of all normal matter.However, most of the universe's mass is not in the form of baryons or chemical elements. See dark matter and dark energy. Stars such as the Sun are mainly composed of hydrogen in the plasma state. Most of the hydrogen on Earth exists in molecular forms such as water and organic compounds. For the most common isotope of hydrogen (symbol 1H) each atom has one proton, one electron, and no neutrons. In the early universe, the formation of protons, the nuclei of hydrogen, occurred during the first second after the Big Bang. The emergence of neutral hydrogen atoms throughout the universe occur ...
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Earth Mass
An Earth mass (denoted as M_\mathrm or M_\oplus, where ⊕ is the standard astronomical symbol for Earth), is a unit of mass equal to the mass of the planet Earth. The current best estimate for the mass of Earth is , with a relative uncertainty of 10−4.The cited value is the recommended value published by the International Astronomical Union in 2009 (se2016 "Selected Astronomical Constants"in ). It is equivalent to an average density of . Using the nearest metric prefix, the Earth mass is approximately six ronnagrams, or 6.0 Rg. The Earth mass is a standard unit of mass in astronomy that is used to indicate the masses of other planets, including rocky terrestrial planets and exoplanets. One Solar mass is close to Earth masses. The Earth mass excludes the mass of the Moon. The mass of the Moon is about 1.2% of that of the Earth, so that the mass of the Earth+Moon system is close to . Most of the mass is accounted for by iron and oxygen (c. 32% each), magnesium and sili ...
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Frost Line (astrophysics)
In astronomy or planetary science, the frost line, also known as the snow line or ice line, is the particular distance in the solar nebula from the central protostar where it is cold enough for volatile compounds such as water, ammonia, methane, carbon dioxide, and carbon monoxide to condense into solid ice grains. Each volatile substance has its own snow line (e.g. carbon monoxide, nitrogen, and argon), so it is important to always specify which material's snow line is meant. A tracer gas may be used for materials that are difficult to detect; for example diazenylium for carbon monoxide. The term is borrowed from the notion of "frost line" in soil science. Location Different volatile compounds have different condensation temperatures at different partial pressures (thus different densities) in the protostar nebula, so their respective frost lines will differ. The actual temperature and distance for the snow line of water ice depend on the physical model used to calculate it a ...
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