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On the Capture of Interstellar Objects by Our Solar System

Napier, Kevin J. and Adams, Fred C. and Batygin, Konstantin (2021) On the Capture of Interstellar Objects by Our Solar System. Planetary Science Journal, 2 (2). Art. No. 53. ISSN 2632-3338. doi:10.3847/psj/abe76e/53.

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Motivated by recent visits from interstellar comets, along with continuing discoveries of minor bodies in orbit of the Sun, this paper studies the capture of objects on initially hyperbolic orbits by our solar system. Using an ensemble of ~500 million numerical experiments, this work generalizes previous treatments by calculating the capture cross section as a function of asymptotic speed. The resulting velocity-dependent cross section can then be convolved with any distribution of relative speeds to determine the capture rate for incoming bodies. This convolution is carried out for the usual Maxwellian distribution, as well as the velocity distribution expected for rocky debris ejected from planetary systems. We also construct an analytic description of the capture process that provides an explanation for the functional form of the capture cross section in both the high- and low-velocity limits.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Napier, Kevin J.0000-0003-4827-5049
Adams, Fred C.0000-0002-8167-1767
Batygin, Konstantin0000-0002-7094-7908
Additional Information:© 2021. The Author(s). Published by the American Astronomical Society. Original content from this work may be used under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence. Any further distribution of this work must maintain attribution to the author(s) and the title of the work, journal citation and DOI. Received 2020 November 30; revised 2021 January 22; accepted 2021 February 16; published 2021 March 15. We would like to thank David Gerdes, Hsing-Wen Lin, and Larissa Markwardt for helpful discussions during the preparation of this manuscript. This material is based on work supported by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration under grant No. NNX17AF21G issued through the SSO Planetary Astronomy Program and by the National Science Foundation under grant No. AST-2009096.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Subject Keywords: Dynamical evolution; Solar system; Small solar system bodies; Kuiper belt; Oort cloud
Issue or Number:2
Classification Code:Unified Astronomy Thesaurus concepts: Dynamical evolution (421); Solar system (1528); Small solar system bodies (1469); Kuiper belt (893); Oort cloud (1157)
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20210423-164859268
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Official Citation:Kevin J. Napier et al 2021 Planet. Sci. J. 2 53
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:108838
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:27 Apr 2021 15:10
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 19:32

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