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Published January 1, 2012 | Accepted Version + Published
Journal Article Open

Instability-driven Dynamical Evolution Model of a Primordially Five-planet Outer Solar System


Over the last decade, evidence has mounted that the solar system's observed state can be favorably reproduced in the context of an instability-driven dynamical evolution model, such as the "Nice" model. To date, all successful realizations of instability models have concentrated on evolving the four giant planets onto their current orbits from a more compact configuration. Simultaneously, the possibility of forming and ejecting additional planets has been discussed, but never successfully implemented. Here we show that a large array of five-planet (two gas giants + three ice giants) multi-resonant initial states can lead to an adequate formation of the outer solar system, featuring an ejection of an ice giant during a phase of instability. Particularly, our simulations demonstrate that the eigenmodes that characterize the outer solar system's secular dynamics can be closely matched with a five-planet model. Furthermore, provided that the ejection timescale of the extra planet is short, orbital excitation of a primordial cold classical Kuiper Belt can also be avoided in this scenario. Thus, the solar system is one of many possible outcomes of dynamical relaxation and can originate from a wide variety of initial states. This deems the construction of a unique model of solar system's early dynamical evolution impossible.

Additional Information

© 2012 The American Astronomical Society. Received 2011 July 28; accepted 2011 November 15; published 2011 December 8. We thank Alessandro Morbidelli, Hal Levison, and Peter Goldreich for useful conversations. We thank Naveed Near-Ansari for operational help with the PANGU supercomputer. K.B. acknowledges support from NASA NESSF Graduate Fellowship.

Attached Files

Published - Batygin2012p16882Astrophys_J_Lett.pdf

Accepted Version - 1111.3682.pdf


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