3,915 research outputs found

    Formation of bi-lobed shapes by sub-catastrophic collisions: A late origin of comet 67P/C-G's structure

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    The origin of the particular shape of a small body like comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (67P/C-G) is a topic of active research. How and when it acquired its peculiar characteristics has distinct implications on the origin of the solar system and its dynamics. We investigate how shapes like the one of comet 67P/C-G can result from a new type of low-energy, sub-catastrophic impacts involving elongated, rotating bodies. We focus on parameters potentially leading to bi-lobed structures. We also estimate the probability for such structures to survive subsequent impacts. We use a smooth particle hydrodynamics (SPH) shock physics code to model the impacts, the subsequent reaccumulation of material and the reconfiguration into a stable final shape. The energy increase as well as the degree of compaction of the resulting bodies are tracked in the simulations. Our modelling results suggest that the formation of bi-lobed structures like 67P/C-G is a natural outcome of the low energy, sub-catastrophic collisions considered here. Sub-catastrophic impacts have the potential to alter the shape of a small body significantly, without leading to major heating or compaction. The currently observed shapes of cometary nuclei, such as 67P/C-G, maybe a result of such a last major shape forming impact.Comment: Astronomy & Astrophysics, accepted pending minor revision

    Catastrophic disruptions revisited

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    We use a smooth particle hydrodynamics method (SPH) to simulate colliding rocky and icy bodies from cm-scale to hundreds of km in diameter, in an effort to define self-consistently the threshold for catastrophic disruption. Unlike previous efforts, this analysis incorporates the combined effects of material strength (using a brittle fragmentation model) and self-gravitation, thereby providing results in the ``strength regime'' and the ``gravity regime'', and in between. In each case, the structural properties of the largest remnant are examined.Comment: To appear in Icaru

    Migration and giant planet formation

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    We extend the core-accretion model of giant gaseous planets by Pollack et al. (\cite{P96}) to include migration, disc evolution and gap formation. Starting with a core of a fraction of an Earth's mass located at 8 AU, we end our simulation with the onset of runaway gas accretion when the planet is at 5.5 AU 1 Myr later. This timescale is about a factor ten shorter than the one found by Pollack et al. (\cite{P96}) even though the disc was less massive initially and viscously evolving. Other initial conditions can lead to even shorter timescales. The reason for this speed-up is found to result from the fact that a moving planet does not deplete its feeding zone to the extend of a static planet. Thus, the uncomfortably long formation timescale associated with the core-accretion scenario can be considerably reduced and brought in much better agreement with the typical disc lifetimes inferred from observations of young circumstellar discs.Comment: 9 pages, 2 figures, published in A&A Letter

    Effects of a giant impact on Uranus

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    The effects of a giant impact on Uranus with respect to the axis tilt of Uranus and its satellites are discussed. The simulations of possible giant impacts were carried out using Cray supercomputers. The technique used is called smooth particle hydrodynamics (SPH). In this technique, the material in the proto-Uranus planet and in the impactor is divided into a large number of particles which can overlap one another so that local averages over these particles determine density and pressure in the problem, and the particles themselves have their own temperatures and internal energies. During the course of the simulation, these particles move around under the influence of the forces acting on them: gravity and pressure gradients. The results of model simulations are presented

    Critical core mass for enriched envelopes: the role of H2O condensation

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    Context. Within the core accretion scenario of planetary formation, most simulations performed so far always assume the accreting envelope to have a solar composition. From the study of meteorite showers on Earth and numerical simulations, we know that planetesimals must undergo thermal ablation and disruption when crossing a protoplanetary envelope. Once the protoplanet has acquired an atmosphere, the primordial envelope gets enriched in volatiles and silicates from the planetesimals. This change of envelope composition during the formation can have a significant effect in the final atmospheric composition and on the formation timescale of giant planets. Aims. To investigate the physical implications of considering the envelope enrichment of protoplanets due to the disruption of icy planetesimals during their way to the core. Particular focus is placed on the effect on the critical core mass for envelopes where condensation of water can occur. Methods. Internal structure models are numerically solved with the implementation of updated opacities for all ranges of metallicities and the software CEA to compute the equation of state. CEA computes the chemical equilibrium for an arbitrary mixture of gases and allows the condensation of some species, including water. This means that the latent heat of phase transitions is consistently incorporated in the total energy budget. Results. The critical core mass is found to decrease significantly when an enriched envelope composition is considered in the internal structure equations. A particular strong reduction of the critical core mass is obtained for planets whose envelope metallicity is larger than Z=0.45 when the outer boundary conditions are suitable for condensation of water to occur in the top layers of the atmosphere. We show that this effect is qualitatively preserved when the atmosphere is out of chemical equilibrium.Comment: Accepted for publication in A&

    Theoretical models of planetary system formation. II. Post-formation evolution

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    We extend the results of planetary formation synthesis by computing the long-term evolution of synthetic systems from the clearing of the gas disk into the dynamical evolution phase. We use the symplectic integrator SyMBA to numerically integrate the orbits of planets for 100 Ma, using populations from previous studies as initial conditions.We show that within the populations studied, mass and semi-major axis distributions experience only minor changes from post-formation evolution. We also show that, depending upon their initial distribution, planetary eccentricities can statistically increase or decrease as a result of gravitational interactions. We find that planetary masses and orbital spacings provided by planet formation models do not result in eccentricity distributions comparable to observed exoplanet eccentricities, requiring other phenomena such as e.g. stellar fly-bys to account for observed eccentricities

    Formation and long-term evolution of 3D vortices in protoplanetary discs

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    In the context of planet formation, anticyclonic vortices have recently received lots of attention for the role they can play in planetesimals formation. Radial migration of intermediate size solids toward the central star may prevent their growth to larger solid grains. On the other hand, vortices can trap the dust and accelerate this growth, counteracting fast radial transport. Multiple effects have been shown to affect this scenario, such as vortex migration or decay. The aim of this paper is to study the formation of vortices by the Rossby wave instability and their long term evolution in a full three dimensional protoplanetary disc. We use a robust numerical scheme combined with adaptive mesh refinement in cylindrical coordinates, allowing to affordably compute long term 3D evolutions. We consider a full disc stratified both radially and vertically that is prone to formation of vortices by the Rossby wave instability. We show that the 3D Rossby vortices grow and survive over hundreds of years without migration. The localized overdensity which initiated the instability and vortex formation survives the growth of the Rossby wave instability for very long times. When the vortices are no longer sustained by the Rossby wave instability, their shape changes toward more elliptical vortices. This allows them to survive shear-driven destruction, but they may be prone to elliptical instability and slow decay. When the conditions for growing Rossby wave-related instabilities are maintained in the disc, large-scale vortices can survive over very long timescales and may be able to concentrate solids.Comment: Accepted for publication in A&

    Theory of planet formation and comparison with observation: Formation of the planetary mass-radius relationship

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    The planetary mass-radius diagram is an observational result of central importance to understand planet formation. We present an updated version of our planet formation model based on the core accretion paradigm which allows to calculate planetary radii and luminosities during the entire formation and evolution of the planets. We first study with it the formation of Jupiter, and compare with previous works. Then we conduct planetary population synthesis calculations to obtain a synthetic mass-radius diagram which we compare with the observed one. Except for bloated Hot Jupiters which can be explained only with additional mechanisms related to their proximity to the star, we find a good agreement of the general shape of the observed and the synthetic mass-radius diagram. This shape can be understood with basic concepts of the core accretion model.Comment: Proceedings Haute Provence Observatory Colloquium: Detection and Dynamics of Transiting Exoplanets (23-27 August 2010). Edited by F. Bouchy, R. F. Diaz & C. Moutou. Extended version: 17 pages, 8 figure

    Tidal disruption of inviscid protoplanets

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    Roche showed that equilibrium is impossible for a small fluid body synchronously orbiting a primary within a critical radius now termed the Roche limit. Tidal disruption of orbitally unbound bodies is a potentially important process for planetary formation through collisional accumulation, because the area of the Roche limit is considerably larger then the physical cross section of a protoplanet. Several previous studies were made of dynamical tidal disruption and different models of disruption were proposed. Because of the limitation of these analytical models, we have used a smoothed particle hydrodynamics (SPH) code to model the tidal disruption process. The code is basically the same as the one used to model giant impacts; we simply choose impact parameters large enough to avoid collisions. The primary and secondary both have iron cores and silicate mantles, and are initially isothermal at a molten temperature. The conclusions based on the analytical and numerical models are summarized

    How primordial is the structure of comet 67P/C-G? Combined collisional and dynamical models suggest a late formation

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    There is an active debate about whether the properties of comets as observed today are primordial or, alternatively, if they are a result of collisional evolution or other processes. We investigate the effects of collisions on a comet with a structure like 67P/C-G. We develop scaling laws for the critical specific impact energies required for a significant shape alteration. These are then used in simulations of the combined dynamical and collisional evolution of comets in order to study the survival probability of a primordially formed object with a shape like 67P/C-G. The effects of impacts on comet 67P/C-G are studied using a SPH shock physics code. The resulting critical specific impact energy defines a minimal projectile size which is used to compute the number of shape-changing collisions in a set of dynamical simulations. These simulations follow the dispersion of the trans-Neptunian disk during the giant planet instability, the formation of a scattered disk, and produce 87 objects that penetrate into the inner solar system with orbits consistent with the observed JFC population. The collisional evolution before the giant planet instability is not considered here. Hence, our study is conservative in its estimation of the number of collisions. We find that in any scenario considered here, comet 67P/C-G would have experienced a significant number of shape-changing collisions, if it formed primordially. This is also the case for generic bi-lobe shapes. Our study also shows that impact heating is very localized and that collisionally processed bodies can still have a high porosity. Our study indicates that the observed bi-lobe structure of comet 67P/C-G may not be primordial, but might have originated in a rather recent event, possibly within the last 1 Gy. This may be the case for any kilometer-sized two-component cometary nuclei.Comment: Astronomy & Astrophysics, accepted pending minor revision
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