Encyclopedia of Astrobiology

Living Edition
| Editors: Muriel Gargaud, William M. Irvine, Ricardo Amils, Henderson James Cleaves, Daniele Pinti, José Cernicharo Quintanilla, Michel Viso

Accretion Shock

  • Steven B. CharnleyEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27833-4_13-3


Generally, an accretion shock is a shock wave occurring at the surface of a compact object or dense region that is accreting matter supersonically from its environment. In the context of astrobiology, an accretion shock is normally understood to mean the shock wave present at the surface of the protosolar nebula or the corresponding nebula surrounding a protostar, as it accretes interstellar matter from the surrounding molecular cloud.

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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Solar System Exploration Division, Code 691, Astrochemistry LaboratoryNASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Code 699GreenbeltUSA