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Trying to (Simply) Simulate a Protoplanetary Disc

  1. Jun 4, 2012 #1
    I'm a (very) amateur astrophysicist, and for the past couple of weeks I've been interested in creating a very rough web-based simulation of planetary formation. I've decided to limit the initial scope of this project as much as possible by starting with a VERY rudimentary simulation of a protoplanetary disc.

    I know that I have little hope of understanding the math and writing/understanding algorithms to simulate things like fluid dynamics and gravitational instability, so instead I want to try and simulate a protoplanetary disc as a horizontal cross-section with density, temperature, and shear force attributes. I can then use these attributes to calculate a rough metric for stability per any radial section of the disc and from there work on simulating planet formation.

    I THINK that this is possible - at least to the extent that it won't give wildly unrealistic or physically impossible results. But I'm not exactly sure where to start. I was hoping that someone could point me in the right direction (or a direction in general).

    Thanks in advance!

    EDIT: An example of where I might start is by writing an algorithm that will determine the average temperature of the disc at radius r given some basic info about its mass and density.
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2012
  2. jcsd
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