This conference is dedicated to understanding how our solar system formed, and how its architecture compares with other planetary systems around other stars. The overarching theme of this year’s conference will be devoted to answering the question: how "normal" is our solar system? We will explore this topic on a large variety of scales. Our goal will be to place the planets, our star, and indeed our galaxy in an evolutionary context and in so doing assess whether our solar system formed as a result of circumstances common to our galaxy or whether it is the product of a number of rare or unlikely events.
Among the key issues we will address is how Galactic Chemical Evolution, the continued synthesis of elements heavier than hydrogen and helium within stars and their expulsion into interstellar space at the end of the lifetime of those stars, altered the efficacy of planet formation over the life of the Galaxy. Statistically meaningful correlations between planetary production and stellar properties are now possible using new results from Kepler. For example, recent suggestions are that rocky (terrestrial-like) planets form readily as byproducts of stellar accretion irrespective of metallicity with the latter mainly governing the timescale of their formation.
In our own solar system, we have a record of the earliest stages of planet formation in the different classes of meteorites. In principle this record can be used to elucidate the nature and pace of the planet forming processes. We will emphasize latest results that relate meteoritical observations to the parent bodies of the meteorites, the timing of the formation of these bodies, and implications for the planet forming process. These results will be compared with astronomical constraints on these same processes occurring or having occurred around solar-like stars as well as stars of different masses and chemical compositions in order to address our central focus of what is "normal."
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