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Giant impacts and planetary evolution

Agnor, C (QMUL)
Tuesday 18 August 2009, 12:10-12:30

Meeting Room 2, CMS


The planetesimal hypothesis posits that solid rocky or icy planets form via the accumulation of smaller bodies. In this picture, collisions between bodies are the mechanism by which planets acquire mass and a principal process of planetary evolution. Giant collisions between like-sized planets have been invoked to explain several bulk planetary characteristics (e.g. the origin of Earth's Moon and Mercury's large iron core). In this talk, I will discuss how these giant impacts arise in the context of planetary formation and our recent results to explicitly model these collisions. I will discuss the connections between the different stages and regimes of planetary growth, the giant impact outcomes expected, and the implications for the thermal, rotational and compositional evolution of emerging planets.

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