Stacked view of 2D particle simulation of planetesimal formation

The starting point of this project was the 2D numerical particle simulation of planetesimal formation by Andreas Schreiber. The standard visualization is simple particle splatting in 2D and rendering all snapshots as an animation. However, because of the shearing-sheet boundary conditions, this method is inappropriate to track the forming planetesimals.

Switching to 2D velocity space helps in this context because forming planetesimals can be clearly distinguished from the underlying dust. Furthermore, brushing and linking between 2D position and 2D velocity views is crucial to understand the development of planetesimals.

2D visualization

Movie: T. Müller, HdA / A. Schreiber, MPIA
Left: position, Middle: velocity, Right: acceleration

Stacked view visualization

In order to study the whole simulation at one, the individual time snapshots are stacked. This works best again for velocity space. In positional space, the particles that belong to a particular planetesimal can be identified in a later time snapshot. Then, these particles are used to center each time snapshot.

In the following movie, the left stack shows all snapshots centered on the main planetesimal whereas the right stack is centered on the secondary planetesimal that fails to form. Again, the velocity stack clearly shows both planetesimals and how they separate from the underlying dust.

Movie: T. Müller, HdA / A. Schreiber, MPIA
Left: pos-pos-time, Middle: vel-vel-time, Right: pos-pos-time

Project Scientist: Andreas Schreiber