Runaway Growth of Planetary Embryos Facilitated by Massive Bodies in a Protoplanetary Disk

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Science  10 Aug 2001:
Vol. 293, Issue 5532, pp. 1127-1129
DOI: 10.1126/science.1062391

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About 30% of detected extrasolar planets exist in multiple-star systems. The standard model of planet formation cannot easily accommodate such systems and has difficulty explaining the odd orbital characteristics of most extrasolar giant planets. We demonstrate that the formation of terrestrial-size planets may be insulated from these problems, enabling much of the framework of the standard model to be salvaged for use in complex systems. A type of runaway growth is identified that allows planetary embryos to form by a combination of nebular gas drag and perturbations from massive companions—be they giant planets, brown dwarfs, or other stars.

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