Interstellar Planetesimals

  • W. M. Napier
Part of the Astrophysics and Space Science Library book series (ASSL, volume 165)


The dust to gas ratio in a nebula is unstable in the presence of a radiation field. A radiative analogue of the Jeans’ critical mass for gas exists, from which it appears that in a molecular cloud environment the dust tends to accumulate into discrete concentrations of mass ~ 1015 – 1023 g. Solid bodies of cometary or asteroidal dimensions may therefore comprise a significant component of the interstellar medium. The implications of this interstellar population for theories of star formation are briefly discussed. Evidence is presented that some proportion of the comet population, including Halley’s Comet, may have been recently captured during passage of the Solar System through the Scorpio-Centaurus association.


Solar System Radiation Pressure Interstellar Medium Molecular Cloud Oort Cloud 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. M. Napier
    • 1
  1. 1.Royal ObservatoryEdinburghScotland

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