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BETA PICTORIS: PLANETS? LIFE? OR WHAT? - College Essays

BETA PICTORIS: PLANETS? LIFE? OR WHAT?


BETA PICTORIS: PLANETS? LIFE? OR WHAT?
JARA
ASTRONOMY 102 SEC 013
The ultimate question is; Is there a possibility that life might exist on a
planet in the Beta Pictoris system? First, one must ask, Are there planets in
the Beta Pictoris system?. However, that question would be impossible to answer
if one did not answer the most basic questions first; Where do planets come
from? and do the key elements and situations, needed to form planets, exist in
the Beta Pictoris system?.
To understand where planets come from, one has to first look at where the
planets in our solar system came from. Does or did our star, the sun, have a
circumstellar disk around it? the answer is ...

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time, even before there was the term cocoon nebula, planetary
scientists knew that a cocoon nebula had surrounded the sun, long ago, in order
for our solar system to form and take on their currents motions (1).
In 1755, a German, named Immanuel Kant, reasoned that “gravity would
make circumsolar cloud contract and that rotation would flatten it (1)." Thus,
the cloud would assume the general shape of a rotating disk, explaining the fact
that the planets, in our solar system, revolve in a disk-shaped distribution.
This idea, about the disk-shaped nebula that was formed around the early
sun, came to be known as the nebula hypothesis (1). Then, in 1796, a French
mathematician named Laplace, proposed that the rotating disk continued to cool
and contract, forming planetary bodies (1). Also, when investigating the
evolution of stars, it was proposed “that a star forms as a central condensation
in an extended nebula... The outer part remains behind as the cocoon nebula ...

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The orbits of most of the
particles are inclined 5 degrees or less to the plane of the system (2). These
minimal orbital inclinations are typical of the major planets in our own solar
system. There is evidence that the circumstellar material around Beta Pictoris
takes the form of a highly flattened disk, rather than a spherical shell implies
an almost certain association with planet formation (2). The disk material
itself is believed to be a potential source for planet accretion (2). This
retention of nearly coplanar orbits in the Beta Pictoris disk is a qualitative
argument in support of its being a relatively young system (2). Some
astronomers believe that we are witnessing ...

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PAPER DETAILS
Added: 5/1/2008 02:25:52 AM
Category: Science & Nature
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 1554
Pages: 6

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