Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Solar System Formation And Really Odd Explanations

Theories about how solar systems form typically must account for three separate, distinct kinds of creation: Creation of a star (of one or another class); creation of gas giant planets like our outer system; and creation of terrestrial, ‘rocky’ planets like the Earth. There are also lots of peripheral information to keep in mind which must be consistent with the theory. It must account for all the ‘left-over’ stuff: moons, asteroids, comets and various seemingly intermediary things which have characteristics of more than one type of object. It must allow for the observed fact that stars are equally likely to form as part of multiple systems or as singles. It must allow for recently discovered things which appear to create a continuity between gas giant planets and brown dwarf stars.

Current belief is that solar systems form as interstellar debris “coalesces.” Interstellar dust from an area many light years across condenses, first into a massive body which becomes large enough that gravity can create pressures high enough to induce nuclear activity, a proto-star, and then into various other kinds of objects generally defined by how close they are to the proto-star. Outer planets form where they are distant from the heat of the proto-star and can retain their volatile gases and become gas giants. Inner planets must be composed of high-melting point materials, and form as ‘rocky’ spheres, terrestrial planets. Modern theories suggest there may be various stages of development, with initial stages including many more planets and much more interaction and chaos among the planets than we observe today, but such theories are basically elaborations of the coalescing nebular theory which is the standard theory.

Halton Arp’s approach to Le Sage gravitons (different things from quantum mechanics’ gravitons) and Arp’s interpretation of Van Flandern’s exploding planet theories creates a vastly simplified possible scenario.

It’s worth noting that Van Flandern suggests planets explode because of gravitons interacting with an aether-like substance. Arp suggests gravitons interact with material at a planet’s core and, through an unspecified mechanism, actually create new mass within the planet and it is that newly created mass which destabilizes the physical dynamics of the planet.

It is Arp’s interpretation which is suggestive of a simplified theory of solar system formation. Although Arp doesn’t explicitly say it, he quotes J. K. Davidson who spells out an entirely new continuity for astronomical objects: “...will the Earth ultimately explode and form another asteroid belt or will it become a Jupiter then a sun...

That’s an interesting question!

Even if we ignore the difficult-to-imagine case of a rocky, terrestrial planet turning into a gas giant, the question sheds interesting light—so to speak—on the increasingly blurred line between gas giants and brown dwarf stars.

If we accept some mechanism at work which can add mass to dense, high-mass objects, then simple accretion can account for all three types of solar system objects.

Coalescing starts driven by simple local gravity or solar winds from existing stars or plasma dynamics of some kind. As bodies form and accretion starts, at some point the bodies become massive enough to become affected by the graviton mechanism for adding additional mass. Bodies which can accept the extra mass enlarge. Gaseous planets become gas giants, then brown dwarf stars, then larger bodies approaching the main sequence. Rocky planets exist for a period of time while their crust can accept new mass, then explode and add material of the ‘left-over’ variety which either flies off into interstellar space or settles into a stable orbit like an asteroid belt or an outer Oort Cloud.

Using this model of simple accretion abetted by graviton interaction for added mass, all manner of solar systems may be formed, from single stars to complex, multiple star systems which are very common. Similarly, isolated accretions can happen ‘on their own’ which become the recently observed ‘free roaming’ planets or T dwarf stars.

This creates a cosmological view which is amazingly simple and easy to model. In fact, with accretion and gravitons acting at one scale and plasma dynamics acting at larger scales, the universe at large begins to look remarkably like the automata simulations Stephen Wolfram describes in his book, “A New Kind Of Science.” There is complexity, but it is complexity governed by simple ‘rules’ of transformation.

You have bluntly simple (well, reasonably simple compared to some modern physics theories) causes-and-effects acting on reasonably simple mass conceptions yet it would appear all observed phenomenon generally can be accounted for with these lines of thought.

It’s tin foil. Certainly.

But it’s really pretty when it glitters!

No comments: