Planetary Evolution: A theory in crisis!

Sorry for the breathless hyperbole in the title, but it seems that there’s just not enough “stuff” floating around young stars to form any planets. Do we need a new theory, or is the problem that our instruments are too crude? Where’s @pevaquark when you need him?

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Hum. My main concern is " Where does all the liquid come from that squirts on your bread when you attempt to put mustard on your sandwich?" There seems to be a never ending supply in that little squirt bottle.


He is always lurking I hear, occasionally able to see above a stack of books and papers to grade.

I think part of the problem is that it’s really hard to see planets, let alone seeing them form! We see about one new star each year in the MWG with many stellar nurseries but how do you detect that which gives off no light? One way of course would be to detect shadows, I.e. the signal that temporarily becomes missing from some distant star as a planet blocks it.

But this article will be going in my Apologetics drawer. Think about it- We see rocky planets (less than ten thousand ever measured but we estimate 40-50 billion in our galaxy alone). But nobody has ever seen ONE being made and even our best equations don’t seem to be adequate. I think the answer is pretty obvious. This is proof that God made every rocky planet fully formed by no natural mechanisms! And to quote mine paraphrase Neil DeGrasse Tyson, ‘ if we didn’t know that planets could exist, we would never even predict that they should at all!’

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Okay, Mr. Astrophysicist - it is apparent to me that you have full blown sarcasm by the time you reach the “proof-God-made-them-fully-formed” bit, but it is not clear to me if or when the sarcasm tapers off on either side of that.

With scientific curiosity in play, and without regard to any apologetics, are you then saying that the model with rings or clouds of debris gravitationally coalescing into larger bodies has proved inadequate as far as computer modeling or prediction is concerned?

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Short digression: The report also attracted my attention because of its mention of the Very Large Array (VLA), a short day-trip for me, which I keep promising myself that I will go and check out one day.

Anyway, @pevaquark may have to correct me on this, but it sounded to me like the method that they were using could only measure gas and dust, but nothing larger than a pebble. Obviously, a bunch of pebble- and stone-sized globes of stuff would alter the equation, as far as how much mass actually was present in the planetary discs. The plan was to reprogram the VLA to detect larger globs of “stuff,” and see what turned up then.


Definite ID proof material here to add to everything else that science hasn’t been able to perfectly explain. :grin:


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