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, 298 (5), 50-9

The Genesis of Planets

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The Genesis of Planets

Douglas N C Lin. Sci Am.

Abstract

Barely a decade ago scientists who study how planets form had to base their theory on a single example-our solar system. Now they have dozens of mature systems and dozens more in birth throes. No two are alike. The basic idea behind the leading theory of planetary formation--tiny grains stick together and swoop up gas--conceals many levels of intricacy. A chaotic interplay among competing mechanisms leads to a huge diversity of outcomes.

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