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Fission Hypothesis of Binary Star Formation

Whitworth's (1981) Isothermal Free-Energy Surface
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Illustration

Figure 1
Droplet Fission

YouTube video:
Skylab Drop Dynamics Experiment (1975)

Figure 2
Theoretical Model
Brown & Scriven (1980)
(Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 276, 389)

Figure 4
USML-1 Experiment
Wang, Anilkumar, Lee & Lin (1994)
(Proc. Roy. Soc. London, 371, 331)

Figure 3
Hachisu & Eriguchi scenario
Hachisu & Eriguchi (1984)
(Astrophysics and Space Science, 99, 71)

Related Discussions

Fission in Nuclear Physics

The nuclear physics community also draws an analogy between the fission of a rotating fluid drop and the spontaneous fission of atomic nuclei; see, for example, the figure associated with the Wikipedia discussion of the energetics of nuclear fission.

Drop Dynamics Experiments

[On 1 January 2014, J. E. Tohline wrote ...] As I was putting this chapter together, I had difficulty documenting the various drop dynamics experiments that have been conducted by astronauts in various Earth-orbiting (zero g) environments. Here is the relevant information that I have found, to date:

  • Skylab (circa 1973-1974): Experiments showing the fission of liquid drops were evidently conducted during the Skylab 2, Skylab 3, and Skylab 4 missions.

According to the Teacher's Guide mentioned above, the activities shown in the above-referenced films were carried out by three teams of Skylab Astronauts:

Skylab Astronauts

Kerwin blows water droplet from a straw


Skylab 2 (First Team)

  • Space Shuttle Flights: Experiments illustrating the dynamical behavior of liquid drops were also conducted during several space shuttle missions. Some experiments were performed inside the European Space Agency's "spacelab module" and others were performed with the aid of a "Drop Physics Module (DPM)" inside the United States Microgravity Laboratory (USML), each being a "portable" laboratory that was housed in the shuttle's payload bay.
    • Spacelab 3
      Wang, Trinh, Croonquist, and Elleman (1986; Physical Review Letters, 56, 452) report results from a controlled drop dynamics experiment that was conducted during the "Spacelab III mission" (see the final acknowledgement paragraph of their paper), which took place during shuttle flight STS-51-B (29 April - 6 May 1985). Taylor Wang — one of the authors of this PRL publication — flew as one of the seven members of the space shuttle crew, specifically as Payload Specialist 2. His narrated account of some of the experimental activities is available, beginning at 7 minutes 32 seconds into the STS-51B "Post Flight Presentation" video.
    • USML-1 Droplet Fission
      Another mission — USML-1 during shuttle flight STS-50 — took place in early 1992. According to information provided by NASA/JPL's public information office, "… the transition of rotating liquid drops into a 'dog-bone,' or two-lobed shape, was studied in detail …" As can be seen, beginning at 2 minutes 28 seconds into the STS-50 "Post Flight Presentation" video, Eugene Trinh flew was one of the members of this shuttle mission who conducted these DMP experiments. Detailed results from DPM experiments during the USML-1 mission have been published in the Journal of Fluid Mechanics: T. G. Wang, A. V. Anilkumar, C. P. Lee and K. C. Lin (1994). Bifurcation of rotating liquid drops: results from USML-1 experiments in Space. Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 276, pp 389-403
    • I think that the three-frame black & white image shown here on the right presents a result from mission USML-1. That is how this image is referenced in an online discussion of fission that I put together about a decade ago.
    • Yet another mission — USML-2 during shuttle flight STS-73 — took place in the fall of 1995. It is clear that some additional drop dynamics experiments were conducted during this mission — see, for example, about 7 minutes and 40 seconds into the STS-73 "Post Flight Presentation" video — but I have not been able to find published results from these USML-2 DPM experiments.
  • International Space Station (circa 2000):
    • See the two "Gallery of Fluid Motions" mpg movies that accompany the preprint by Ueno et al. (2012).

Online References

Whitworth's (1981) Isothermal Free-Energy Surface

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