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Research Highlights

Published: Fri, 02/23/2018 - 11:00am

Jupiter is large enough to fit 1,300 Earths inside, and still have room. But like all planets, Jupiter was once nothing more than a cosmic dust bunny.

A team of physicists at JILA and the University of Arizona, led by JILA Senior Research Associate Jake Simon, are studying how cosmic pebbles­­—­starting only a millimeter in size—can lead to the formation of planetesimals, the football-field-to-Delaware-sized primordial asteroids whose development defined our solar system’s architecture.

It all starts in the cosmic dust, which is composed of tiny, micron-sized particles, surrounding freshly collapsed stars. Before planets can form, planetesimals must form; and before planetesimals can form, the cosmic dust must cluster. But like all dust bunnies, cosmic dust only clusters when stirred. The technical term for this stirring is turbulence.

There are many possible sources of initial turbulence. One source, known as streaming instability, is the presence of small pebbles within the cosmic dust. ­­

“So what’s going on here is the small solids, which you might think of as the pebbles within the disk, those feel aerodynamic forces, sort-of headwind forces,...

Published: Jun 20, 2017

The Kapteyn-Murnane group has come up with a novel way to use fast bursts of extreme ultraviolet...

Published: May 22, 2017

JILA and NIST scientists are hot on the trail of understanding quantum correlations (or...

Published: Apr 21, 2017

The Regal group recently met the challenge of measurements in an extreme situation with a device...

Published: Mar 30, 2017

The first results are in from a new search for the axion, a hypothetical particle that may...

Published: Mar 20, 2017

Dennis Gardner and his coworkers in the Kapteyn-Murnane group accomplished two major...

Published: Mar 03, 2017

The lovely Crab Nebula was created by a supernova and its spinning-neutron-star remnant known as...

Published: Mar 02, 2017

The Perkins group continues to extend the performance of its unique Atomic Force Microscope (AFM...

Published: Dec 21, 2016

Research associate Shimon Kolkowitz and his colleagues in the Ye group and Rey theory group have...

Published: Dec 19, 2016

Deborah Jin, Jun Ye, and their students wrote a review during the summer of 2016 for Nature...

Published: Dec 13, 2016

Astrophysicist Jeff Linsky and his colleagues recently created a sophisticated mathematical...

Published: Dec 12, 2016

The Rey and Ye groups discovered the strange rules of...

Published: Nov 22, 2016

Galaxy mergers routinely occur in our Universe. And, when they take place, it takes years for...

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