New Mexico Supercomputing Challenge

Solar Systmem Formation

Team: 57

School: Los Alamos High

Area of Science: cosmology


Interim: Problem Definition:
Little is known about the limitations for the formation of planets. Solar systems are thought to be made from a cluster of matter that collapsed on itself forming a star in the middle due to the pressure and energy concentrated there, and a disk of matter around it. The whole system is set in motion from the moving gas that composes the disk. In the disk, planets begin to form and orbit around the star. The planets composed of heavier matter end up towards the middle and the lighter towards the outside all rotating in the same direction with the star. Irregularities observed such as binary stars open up the possibilities of solar systems. In our project we will explore some of the limitations of formed solar systems. We will look at how common solar systems form and see, that if under peculiar circumstances, if irregular systems will form as well.

Problem solution:
We will use java to create a n-body model that will model formation of a solar system. The program will start from a new born star with a innately rotating disk of matter surrounding it. Planets in our program would then be formed by the clumping and colliding material in the disk. We will have different amounts of heavy and light material instead of having the variety of materials forming from the original gasses. We would then apply this program to peculiar conditions such as binary stars and see if a stable system could be obtained.

Progress to Date:
We have yet to begin programing and are in the finishing stages of learning the programing needed for our problem.

Expected Results:
We hope to find some of the limitations of solar systems as they form. We will test many different scenarios to find conditions that do not produce a working solar system. We also hope to find the prerequisites and conditions that produce common solar systems and ones like our own. We will then look at some of the conditions that produce working conditions and find which ones are the most stable and durable.


Works Cited:
Conte, John. “The Nebular Hypothesis.” Popular Science Apr. 1873: Wikisource. Web. Nov. 2012.

Steigerwald, Bill. "NASA - Hubble Survey Finds Missing Link in Planet Formation." NASA - Hubble Survey Finds Missing Link in Planet Formation. NASA, n.d. Web. 09 Dec. 2012.

"Youngest Planet Seen As It is Forming." Youngest Planet Seen As It Forming. N.p., 19 Oct. 2011. Web. 09 Dec. 2012.

"Planets Around Other Stars." Solar System Formation. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Dec. 2012.

Mordasini, Christoph, Hubert Klahr, Yann Alibert, Willy Benz, and Kai-Martin Dittkrist. Theory of Planet Formation. Cornel University Libary. Cornel University Libary, 23 Dec. 2011. Web.


Team Members:

  Jacob Holesinger
  Everett Key

Sponsoring Teacher: Lee Goodwin

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