Birth of Planetary Systems: Starless Possible?

In summary, it is not possible for planetary systems to form without a central star. We believe that planetary systems form from the collapse of giant clouds of material, with a star being formed at the center and planets accreting around it. Stars that are too small to sustain nuclear fusion are known as brown dwarves and may exist in between the mass of a small star and a large planet like Jupiter. However, these isolated objects would not be considered planetary systems as they are unable to form orbits or hold companion planets.
  • #1
TShock
12
0
does anyone know if it is possible for planetary systems to form with no star, just planets? and if so how likely they would form compared to systems with stars? Kind of a ratio of planetary systems to solar systems.
 
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  • #2
I'd say no, it is not possible for such a system to form. We think that planetary systems form from the gravitational collapse of giant clouds. At the centre of mass a star is formed, the planets are then made by accretion of matter onto objects which are orbitting the central star.

I don't see how this would work if there was no star in the centre of the system.
 
  • #3
When stars form from a collapsing cloud of material, they are produced in a whole range of masses. At the very lowest end of the mass function the stars are barely heavy enough to cause nuclear fusion. Stars that are just at or below this cusp are known as 'brown dwarves'. There may well be stars that are even smaller, somewhere between the mass of a very small star and a large planet like Jupiter. They would be hot due to the energy released in the gravitational collapse but they wouldn't burn any fuel in fusion reactions. We don't really know much about the lower end of the stellar mass function, since we can't see these kind of objects due to them not emitting much light.

You couldn't really call these 'planetary systems' though, since they would be an isolated object. As cristo explained, it takes the large central mass of a star to allow planets to form orbits around the star. A very low mass star/Big Jupiter wouldn't accrete the required material to form any companion planets, or be able to hold them in orbit.
 

Related to Birth of Planetary Systems: Starless Possible?

1. What is the "Birth of Planetary Systems: Starless Possible" theory?

The "Birth of Planetary Systems: Starless Possible" theory is a scientific hypothesis that explains the formation of planetary systems in the absence of a central star. It suggests that planets can form from the gravitational collapse of gas and dust clouds, similar to how stars are formed, without the presence of a protostar.

2. How does this theory differ from the traditional theory of planetary formation?

The traditional theory of planetary formation, known as the solar nebula theory, states that planets are formed from a rotating disk of gas and dust surrounding a young star. In contrast, the "Birth of Planetary Systems: Starless Possible" theory proposes that planets can form in a completely different environment, without the need for a central star.

3. What evidence supports the "Birth of Planetary Systems: Starless Possible" theory?

Recent observations of young starless cores, which are dense regions of gas and dust in space, have shown signs of planetary formation in the absence of a central star. These include the presence of disk-like structures and the detection of molecules commonly found in protoplanetary disks around young stars.

4. What are the implications of this theory for our understanding of planetary systems?

If the "Birth of Planetary Systems: Starless Possible" theory is proven to be true, it would significantly expand our understanding of how planets form and evolve. It would also challenge the traditional view that stars are necessary for the formation of planets and could lead to new insights into the diversity of planetary systems in our universe.

5. What are the next steps in studying this theory?

Further observations and studies of young starless cores are needed to confirm and refine the "Birth of Planetary Systems: Starless Possible" theory. Scientists will also continue to develop and improve theoretical models to better understand the processes involved in the formation of planetary systems without a central star.

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