See How Planets Are Born in the Midst of a Demolition Derby


this is LKC a-15 it's a star 450 light

years away similar in mass to our Sun a

protoplanetary disk of dust and gas

surrounds it and in it new planets are

being born

when planets are first forming there's a

disk of material around the star when

it's very young and the planets

basically formed from all this debris

stuff hits and sticks together and it

grows bigger and bigger and bigger and

then it's gravity draws material in


planta formation is like a demolition

derby there are a lot of similarities in

a derby the cars are racing around a

track going around in circles at

different speeds well it's the same

thing with planets the material is

orbiting the Sun it's going around and

they're all going at different speeds at

different angles different trajectories

sometimes this material collides and you

get a bigger object left over and that's

how planets grow it's how they form

from afar it looks beautiful but venture

up close and you'll be trapped in a

vortex of speeding material the material

the dust the grains of sand even the

bigger rocks are moving at orbital

speeds around this protostar so we're

talking about 10 15 20 miles per second

you might think that the large rocks are

the most dangerous but in space that's

not necessarily the case the bigger

rocks can be seen can be tracked things

this big can be tracked in space but

anything that's about this big is hard

to find in space you don't know it's

coming so while we're all fearing the

big rock if you're out in space you

better watch out for the small rock

that's moving fast if a pebble the size

of a BB pellet traveling at 40,000 miles

an hour hits Chuck our crash test dummy

it's going to cut right through

you know there are rules in baseball

that a batter has to wear a helmet

because there's a baseball moving at him

at a hundred miles an hour and if that

hits him in the head it could kill him

now imagine that that baseball is being

thrown a thousand times faster right

that would put a hole right through a

batter's head it wouldn't even slow down

that's how dangerous these things are