Long before planets existed in the solar system, the Sun could have rings in its protoplanetary disk that likely allowed the formation of Earth as we know it, a study published in the journal Nature Astronomy has suggested.
According to NASA, protoplanetary disks – disk-shaped clouds of gas and dust – are common around distant young stars. Also, they are believed to be the genesis of the planets in the universe. In 2016, the ALMA telescope array captured an image of the star TW Hydrae with this feature.
Based on the solar nebula hypothesis, André Izidoro Astrophysicist and lead author of the study, he and his team developed computer simulations of the formation of the star king and the other planets and rocky bodies.
According to the models, “pressure shocks” (high concentration of gas and dust) occurred in the disk that caused fissures between the cluster of solid particles around the star.
These ‘barrier’ species are known as sublimation lines where materials such as silicate, water and carbon monoxide would have evaporated to give rise to three concentric rings.
The astronomer Andrea Isella, co-author of the report, pointed out that these accumulations would have given enough time for the particles – due to the cold of time – to form the planets and, on the contrary, not be dragged by the star’s gravity.
“Our model shows that pressure shocks can concentrate dust and when they are in motion, they can act like planetesimal factories,” Izidoro said in a statement.
In this way, the ring closest to the sun formed the planets of the inner solar system (Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars); while the middle ring, the planets of the outer solar system (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune).
The outermost ring, on the other hand, would have formed the comets, asteroids, and other small bodies located in the Kuiper Belt.
According to the authors of the research, the existence of these rings would also have prevented the Earth from becoming a “super Earth”. According to NASA these celestial bodies are up to 10 times more massive than our planet.