Formation of Planetary Systems by Aggregation: A Computer Simulation.

by Stephen H. Dole

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Planetary systems that display the major regularities and irregularities of the solar system have been produced in a series of computer experiments employing a Monte Carlo technique. It is hypothesized that stars and planets form within cold, dark globules of dust and gas through aggregation of grains and inelastic collisions of particles. A computer program simulates the processes by which planets grow in accordance with this hypothesis from preplanetary nuclei on random orbits within the cloud of dust and gas surrounding a newly formed star. Each planetary system generated by using a different series of random numbers inputs is unique, but in all cases the orbital spacings have patterns of regularity suggestive of Bode's law, and the planetary mass distributions are similar to the solar system's. Binary star systems are produced in the same program by increasing the value of one parameter, the coefficient of density in the cloud.

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