An animation showing the theory of a gas collapse model of planet formation. A protoplanetary disk of gas and dust forms around a young star. Gravitational disk instabilities form a clump of gas that becomes a self-gravitating planet. Dust grains coagulate and sediment to the center of the protoplanet, forming a core. The planet sweeps out a wide gap as it continues to feed on gas in the disk.
Publication: July 10, 2003