Astrophysics (Index)About

planetary embryo

(object that may grow into a future planet)

The term planetary embryo (or just embryo for short) naturally refers to objects that will eventually become planets. The term may be used for a "lump" of dust within a protoplanetary disk, and for small objects that have the potential to grow further. While there is the implication that such an object might grow to be an planet, theories suggest objects sometimes collide and merge into a larger embryo, i.e., the eventual planet may incorporate more than one such embryo.

The term is used in different ways when describing theories, with certain asteroids having been described as embryos that didn't develop into planets, and even Mars being classified as an undeveloped embryo for an Earth-like planet.

(planets,object type,planet formation)
Further reading:

Referenced by pages:
fragmentation barrier
kilometer size barrier
meter size barrier
pebble accretion
planet formation
snow line
streaming instability