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This Super-Hot, Super-Weird Space Doughnut Could Be a New “Planetary Object”

24 May 2017, 19:43 UTC
This Super-Hot, Super-Weird Space Doughnut Could Be a New “Planetary Object”
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The structure of a planet, a planet with a disk and a synestia, all of the same mass (Simon Lock and Sarah Stewart)
Pluto is going to be pissed.
After studying computer simulations of planetary collisions, scientists have discovered a possible phase of planetary formation that has, so far, been overlooked by astronomy. And they think this phase is so significant that it deserves its own planetary definition.
After two planetary objects collide, researchers from the University of California Davis and Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., realized that a bloated, spinning mass of molten rock can form. It looks a bit like a ring doughnut with the hole filled in. What’s more, it is thought that Earth (and other planets in the solar system) probably went through this violent period before becoming the solid spinning globes we know and love today.
They call this partly vaporized rock “synestia” — “syn-” for “together” and “Estia” after the Greek goddess of architecture and structures.
Over a range of masses and collision speeds, planetary scientist Sarah Stewart (Davis) and graduate student Simon Lock (Harvard) simulated planetary collisions and focused on how the angular momentum of colliding bodies might influence the system. Their study ...

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