Abstract: The first act of planet formation involves the formation of planetesimals, 0.1-100 km-sized bodies that can be thought of as primordial asteroids and comets. Planetesimals are the key building blocks for subsequent planet formation, but where and when they form in protoplanetary disks is largely unknown. In this talk, I will discuss the role of planetesimals in planet formation, our work to simulate planetesimal formation from first principles, and the status of constraints on planetesimal formation from the Kuiper Belt. Turbulence in the protoplanetary disk close to the star may be too vigorous to permit planetesimal formation, placing limits on the in situ formation of the closest-in extrasolar planets.
Host: Bekki Dawson