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Formation of Giant Planet Satellites

Batygin, Konstantin and Morbidelli, Alessandro (2020) Formation of Giant Planet Satellites. Astrophysical Journal, 894 (2). Art. No. 143. ISSN 1538-4357. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/ab8937.

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Recent analyses have shown that the concluding stages of giant planet formation are accompanied by the development of a large-scale meridional flow of gas inside the planetary Hill sphere. This circulation feeds a circumplanetary disk that viscously expels gaseous material back into the parent nebula, maintaining the system in a quasi-steady state. Here, we investigate the formation of natural satellites of Jupiter and Saturn within the framework of this newly outlined picture. We begin by considering the long-term evolution of solid material, and demonstrate that the circumplanetary disk can act as a global dust trap, where s• ~ 0.1–10 mm grains achieve a hydrodynamical equilibrium, facilitated by a balance between radial updraft and aerodynamic drag. This process leads to a gradual increase in the system's metallicity, and eventually culminates in the gravitational fragmentation of the outer regions of the solid subdisk into R ~ 100 km satellitesimals. Subsequently, satellite conglomeration ensues via pair-wise collisions but is terminated when disk-driven orbital migration removes the growing objects from the satellitesimal feeding zone. The resulting satellite formation cycle can repeat multiple times, until it is brought to an end by photoevaporation of the parent nebula. Numerical simulations of the envisioned formation scenario yield satisfactory agreement between our model and the known properties of the Jovian and Saturnian moons.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription Paper InCaltech News
Batygin, Konstantin0000-0002-7094-7908
Morbidelli, Alessandro0000-0001-8476-7687
Additional Information:© 2020 The American Astronomical Society. Received 2020 January 29; revised 2020 April 9; accepted 2020 April 13; published 2020 May 18. We are thankful to Katherine de Kleer, Darryl Seligman, Phil Hopkins, Mike Brown, and Christopher Spalding for insightful discussions. We thank Thomas Ronnet for providing a careful and insightful review of the manuscript. K.B. is grateful to the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation for their generous support.
Group:Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences
Funding AgencyGrant Number
David and Lucile Packard FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Alfred P. Sloan FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Satellite formation ; Galilean satellites ; Saturnian satellites
Issue or Number:2
Classification Code:Unified Astronomy Thesaurus concepts: Satellite formation (1425); Galilean satellites (627); Saturnian satellites (1427)
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20200518-080850992
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Official Citation:Konstantin Batygin and Alessandro Morbidelli 2020 ApJ 894 143
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:103262
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:18 May 2020 15:14
Last Modified:24 Feb 2023 18:40

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