The Composition of the Protosolar Disk and the Formation Conditions for Comets

K. Willacy, C. Alexander, M. Ali-Dib, C. Ceccarelli, S. B. Charnley, M. Doronin, Y. Ellinger, P. Gast, E. Gibb, S. N. Milam, O. Mousis, F. Pauzat, C. Tornow, E. S. Wirström, E. Zicler

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


    Conditions in the protosolar nebula have left their mark in the composition of cometary volatiles, thought to be some of the most pristine material in the solar system. Cometary compositions represent the end point of processing that began in the parent molecular cloud core and continued through the collapse of that core to form the protosun and the solar nebula, and finally during the evolution of the solar nebula itself as the cometary bodies were accreting. Disentangling the effects of the various epochs on the final composition of a comet is complicated. But comets are not the only source of information about the solar nebula. Protostellar disks around young stars similar to the protosun provide a way of investigating the evolution of disks similar to the solar nebula while they are in the process of evolving to form their own solar systems. In this way we can learn about the physical and chemical conditions under which comets formed, and about the types of dynamical processing that shaped the solar system we see today. This paper summarizes some recent contributions to our understanding of both cometary volatiles and the composition, structure and evolution of protostellar disks.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)151-190
    Number of pages40
    JournalSpace Science Reviews
    Issue number1-4
    StatePublished - Dec 1 2015


    • Chemistry
    • Comets
    • Protostellar disks
    • Solar nebula

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Astronomy and Astrophysics
    • Space and Planetary Science


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