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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: Feb 08, 2018

Researchers from the Raschke group are lighting up dark excitons.

Specifically, the...

Published: Jan 12, 2018

The reaction, at first glance, seems simple. Combustion engines, such as those in your car, form...

Published: Nov 03, 2017

The actors are molecules. The plot, broken molecular bonds. JILA Fellow Ralph Jimenez and a team...

Published: Oct 09, 2017

Why are we here? This is an age-old philosophical question. However, physicists like Will...

Published: Oct 05, 2017

Imagine A Future . . . The International Moon Station team is busy on the Moon’...

Published: Oct 05, 2017

Newly minted JILA Ph.D. Catherine Klauss and her colleagues in the Jin and Cornell group decided...

Published: Sep 18, 2017

Quantum computers require systems that can encode, manipulate, and transmit quantum bits, or...

Published: Sep 07, 2017

Researchers at JILA and around the world are starting a grand adventure of precisely controlling...

Published: Aug 29, 2017

When Steven Spielberg’s adorable extra-terrestrial, E. T., wanted to phone home, he should have...

Published: Aug 07, 2017

The Sun isn’t working the way we thought it did. Many astrophysicists haven't actually...

Published: Jul 21, 2017

The Perkins group has made dramatic advances in the use of Atomic Force Microscopes (AFMs) to...

Published: Jul 10, 2017

Getting lasers to have a precise single frequency (color) can be trickier than herding cats. So...

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