Summary: The terrestrial planets created close come the sunlight where temperature were fine suited because that rock and metal come condense. The jovian planets formed external what is referred to as the frost line, whereby temperatures to be low sufficient for ice condensation.

You are watching: What was the frost line of the solar system?

Sections:OverviewTerrestrial earth formationJovian planet formationRelated Lessons:A class Solar SystemPlanetary distances on the PlaygroundThe Planets and also ScaleClay PlanetsModeling sizes of PlanetsAstro-Chronology

In the vault section, we disputed the development of a star via the fallen of a large cloud of gas. That is worth noticing the the eight planets in ours solar system consist of two various groups; the 4 planets closest come the Sun comprise the rocky terrestrial planets and the four planets the furthest from the Sun comprise the gas jovian planets. Why do objects that created from the very same cloud of gas have various compositions? The answer lies in where these objects developed in relationship to the parental star, ours Sun.

After the solar nebula broke down to kind our Sun, a decaying of material formed roughly the brand-new star. The temperature across this protoplanetary decaying was not uniform. Since different materials condense at different temperatures, our solar system created different varieties of planets. The separating line for the different planets in our solar mechanism is referred to as the frost line. In the simulation below,notice where hydrogen and also helium condensation in the solar nebula.

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Terrestrial planet Formation


Diagram the the frost line(click come enlarge)
Hydrogen compounds, such as water and also methane, commonly condense at short temperatures, and also remain gaseous within the frost line wherein temperatures are higher. The heavier rocky and metallic products are better suited to condense at greater temperatures. Thus, the inner planets are made practically entirely of rock and also metal and type the group known together the terrestrial planets.

How go the terrestrial planets form?

After the heavier elements and minerals condensed into solid bits of rock, they every orbited the sun at about the very same speed. As you can imagine, collisions that objects relocating at the same speed are less damaging than those that objects relocating at different speeds. Thus, as soon as rocks orbiting the Sun move close to one another, they stick together an ext often than they damage each other. These piece gradually flourish larger in a process called accretion. When they are big enough, gravity forces them right into spherical shapes.

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Jovian earth Formation


Materials in the solar nebula(click to enlarge)
Outside the frost line, temperatures space cooler and hydrogen compounds room able come condense into ices. Rock and metal room still current in the outer solar system, however both room outnumbered and outweighed through the hydrogen compounds. Thus, the planetesimals that created in the outer solar device are composed generally of hydrogen compounds with traces that rock and also metal. Hydrogen and helium carry out not condense in the solar nebula, and are rather plentiful in the large orbits of objects in the outer solar system. As the outer planetesimals ongoing to grow larger, the stamin of their gravity thrived stronger. Neighboring material, primarily hydrogen and helium, is increasingly attracted to the planetesimals as they flourish in size and also the planetesimals accrete an ext and more.

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Solar Nebula

How walk the Jovian planets form?

The jovian planetesimals soon came to be the icy, thick cores us see this day surrounded by huge clouds that accreted gas. Lot like the please of the solar nebula, these balls of gas deserve to grow huge enough to induce gravitational collapse. Remember indigenous the star formation section the gravitational collapse entails heating up, flattening out and also rotating faster. It is feasible that together the jovian protoplanets collapsed, smaller particles in the neighboring disk created into several of the moons that currently orbit the individual external planets. This provides sense, due to the fact that the outer planets all have numerous moons and also rings the orbit in the very same plane, as with the planets in our solar system orbit the sunlight in the same plane.