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Need help with astronomy details in a book.

  1. Sep 18, 2015 #1


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    Hi and thanks in advance for any help. The book I am currently working on features a protagonist that is an astronomer, I was hoping those more knowledgeable then I could check the passage where she describes her work and make sure it doesn't sound like gibberish.

    much appreciated.

    "Though she did get tired of people asking her what she did for a living. The very long answer was that she used a lot of the principles of physics and mathematics to learn more about the universe. Her particular position was to gather data on a parameter study of the possibility of tidally triggered disc instability, which she believed could theoretically could lead to enhanced planetesimal formation in the outer regions of the protoplanetary disc and could therefore be relevant for the existence of Neptune. She was leading up to writing a scientific paper to present to the field. The short answer, how and possibly why Neptune existed."
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 18, 2015 #2


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    Too long, did not read
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 22, 2015
  4. Sep 20, 2015 #3
    I'm neither, but that sounds more like a job for an astrophysicist. Astronomers can be both thought.
  5. Sep 20, 2015 #4
    It doesn't sound gibberish, all the terms used are relevant in planet formation theory. Though I would feel uneasy if I heard it in a planet formation conference. It is thought that gas giants can form from gravitational disc instabilities (which can be tidally triggered) in the outer regions of protoplanetary discs via fragmentation collapse not via planetesimals as the time scales involved might be too long. However, Neptune could have indeed formed much closer in via planetesimals and then migrated outwards to its present location (see the Nice mode), but in this model disc instability wouldn't be that relevant.

    In my experience the two terms are often interchangeable. Also it's not uncommon for an astronomer to work on this sort of thing at all, especially if they're primarily working on gathering data as the paragraph points out.
  6. Sep 20, 2015 #5


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    Thank you very much. I don't mind her sounding controversial, it actually gives her and the other character something to argue about. I just wanted to make sure she sounded like an astronomer as I am not.
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