Unveiling the Secrets of Planet Formation
Planetary systems are as common as the stars themselves. Beyond our Solar System, we know there are other Jupiters, Neptunes, and Earth-size planets. But we understand very little about how these and other planets are formed.
For centuries, we have relied on the Solar System alone to understand our origins. But new data from many different sources, such as meteorites, comets and the variety of known planetary systems, can challenge our understanding of planet formation while providing the keys to unlock its secrets.
Dr. Aaron Boley, Canada Research Chair in Planetary Astronomy, seeks to put the Solar System in context with the many other planetary systems we know exist. His research will be a step toward answering the question of whether there is life elsewhere in the galaxy.
Boley and his research team use a multidisciplinary approach that combines theoretical and observational studies, ranging from the rise of planet-forming disks to the long-term evolution of planetary systems, asteroids and comets. His work also makes use of supercomputer simulations and observations from one of the world’s most powerful astronomy facilities, the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA).
By shedding light on how planets are formed, Boley believes his research can capture the imagination of everyone from professional astronomers to elementary school students, giving people a