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CIERA Fellow Chatterjee helps show `Vulcan’ planets follow predictions of new theory

CIERA Postdoctoral Fellow Sourav Chatterjee and Jonathan C. Tan from University of Florida have published a study in the Astrophysical Journal Letters that show that the properties of the innermost planets of the short-period, compact multi-planet systems, christened “Vulcans” by the authors, are well matched by the predictions of a radically new formation mechanism for these planetary systems, proposed earlier by the same authors in the Astrophysical Journal. A major challenge for traditional planet formation theories is to explain the delivery of the required high mass of solid, planet forming material so close to the star from which these compact systems can form. The “Inside-Out Planet Formation” theory proposed by Chatterjee and Tan explains how delivery of material can happen quickly from much further out. In addition, it explains how, upon delivery, cm- to m-size pebbles could quickly grow to planets, the most uncertain step of planet formation.
Press coverage on this work can be found on the Smithsonian Magazine and Space REF.
Sourav Chatterjee’s papers:
Vulcan Planets: Inside-out Formation of the Innermost Super-Earths
Inside-out Planet Formation