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No evidence for interstellar planetesimals trapped in the Solar System

Morbidelli, A. and Batygin, K. and Brasser, R. and Raymond, S. N. (2020) No evidence for interstellar planetesimals trapped in the Solar System. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters, 497 (1). L46-L49. ISSN 1745-3925. doi:10.1093/mnrasl/slaa111.

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In two recent papers published in MNRAS, Namouni and Morais claimed evidence for the interstellar origin of some small Solar system bodies, including: (i) objects in retrograde co-orbital motion with the giant planets and (ii) the highly inclined Centaurs. Here, we discuss the flaws of those papers that invalidate the authors’ conclusions. Numerical simulations backwards in time are not representative of the past evolution of real bodies. Instead, these simulations are only useful as a means to quantify the short dynamical lifetime of the considered bodies and the fast decay of their population. In light of this fast decay, if the observed bodies were the survivors of populations of objects captured from interstellar space in the early Solar system, these populations should have been implausibly large (e.g. about 10 times the current main asteroid belt population for the retrograde co-orbital of Jupiter). More likely, the observed objects are just transient members of a population that is maintained in quasi-steady state by a continuous flux of objects from some parent reservoir in the distant Solar system. We identify in the Halley-type comets and the Oort cloud the most likely sources of retrograde co-orbitals and highly inclined Centaurs.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Morbidelli, A.0000-0001-8476-7687
Batygin, K.0000-0002-7094-7908
Additional Information:© 2020 The Author(s) Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model ( Accepted 2020 June 8. Received 2020 June 8; in original form 2020 May 5. Published: 12 June 2020.
Subject Keywords:chaos – diffusion –methods: numerical – celestial mechanics – planets and satellites: dynamical evolution and stability
Issue or Number:1
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20200611-113649770
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Official Citation:A Morbidelli, K Batygin, R Brasser, S N Raymond, No evidence for interstellar planetesimals trapped in the Solar system, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters, Volume 497, Issue 1, September 2020, Pages L46–L49,
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:103842
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:12 Jun 2020 19:15
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 18:25

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