The Moon and extra-solar planets

Citation
Mj. De Muizon et al., The Moon and extra-solar planets, EARTH MOON, 85-6, 2001, pp. 201-207
Citations number
25
Language
INGLESE
art.tipo
Article
Categorie Soggetti
Space Sciences
Journal title
EARTH MOON AND PLANETS
ISSN journal
0167-9295 → ACNP
Volume
85-6
Year of publication
2001
Pages
201 - 207
Database
ISI
SICI code
0167-9295(2001)85-6:<201:TMAEP>2.0.ZU;2-T
Abstract
We have used ISO, the Infrared Space Observatory, to perform a systematic s earch for protoplanetary discs around nearby main-sequence stars. We find a strong correlation with stellar age: more than half of the stars younger t han 400 Myr do have such a disc, whereas less than 10% of the older stars e xhibit disc emission. Such discs seem thus to decay on a timescale of a few hundred Myr. Both the stability of the discs during this period and their decay can be explained by collisions of planetesimals. Such collisions prod uce the dust which is necessary to replenish the disc. The process stops as soon as the planetesimals run out, either because they are all destroyed, have escaped, or merged into planets, which implies the decay of the disc. The timescale for the dissipation of protoplanetary discs is remarkably sim ilar to the timescale of the heavy bombardment in our Solar System. The cra tering of the Moon is a clear signature of the heavy bombardment which may provide further fundamental clues to the formation of planetary systems.