The formation of planets by disc fragmentation
School of Physics & Astronomy, Cardiff University, Cardiff CF24 3AA, UK
a e-mail: D.Stamatellos@astro.cf.ac.uk
I discuss the role that disc fragmentation plays in the formation of gas giant and terrestrial planets, and how this relates to the formation of brown dwarfs and low-mass stars, and ultimately to the process of star formation. Protostellar discs may fragment, if they are massive enough and can cool fast enough, but most of the objects that form by fragmentation are brown dwarfs. It may be possible that planets also form, if the mass growth of a proto-fragment is stopped (e.g. if this fragment is ejected from the disc), or suppressed and even reversed (e.g by tidal stripping). I will discuss if it is possible to distinguish whether a planet has formed by disc fragmentation or core accretion, and mention of a few examples of observed exoplanets that are suggestive of formation by disc fragmentation.
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