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Extrasolar Life
Numerical simulation reveals how the inner part of a planet-forming disk evolves. Initially, such a disk is composed of numerous planetesimals in near-circular (low-eccentricity)
orbits (top). Within a few million years, orbital eccentricities grow to appreciable size for most of the smaller bodies, and planetary embryos form as smaller objects coalesce. As time goes on, the smaller bodies are swept up or scattered away, leaving a few planets in low-
eccentricity orbits (bottom). (Adapted from Chambers 2001.)
01/14/09

 



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