Posts Tagged solar system

Recent Postings from solar system

Triggered Star Formation and Its Consequences

Star formation can be triggered by compression from wind or supernova driven shock waves that sweep over molecular clouds. Because these shocks will likely contain processed elements, triggered star formation has been proposed as an explanation for short lived radioactive isotopes (SLRI) in the Solar System. Previous studies have tracked the triggering event to the earliest phases of collapse and have focused on the shock properties required for both successful star formation and mixing of SLRI’s. In this paper, we use Adaptive Mesh Refinement (AMR) simulation methods, including sink particles, to simulate the full collapse and subsequent evolution of a stable Bonnor-Ebert sphere subjected to a shock and post-shock wind. We track the flow of the cloud material after a star (a sink particle) has formed. For non-rotating clouds we find robust triggered collapse and little bound circumstellar material remaining around the post-shock collapsed core. When we add initial cloud rotation we observe the formation of disks around the collapsed core which then interact with the post-shock flow. Our results indicate that these circumstellar disks are massive enough to form planets and are long-lived, in spite of the ablation driven by post-shock flow ram pressure. As a function of the initial conditions, we also track the time evolution of the accretion rates and particle mixing between between the ambient wind and cloud material. The latter is maximized for cases of highest mach number.

Electric solar wind sail applications overview

We analyse the potential of the electric solar wind sail for solar system space missions. Applications studied include fly-by missions to terrestrial planets (Venus, Mars and Phobos, Mercury) and asteroids, missions based on non-Keplerian orbits (orbits that can be maintained only by applying continuous propulsive force), one-way boosting to outer solar system, off-Lagrange point space weather forecasting and low-cost impactor probes for added science value to other missions. We also discuss the generic idea of data clippers (returning large volumes of high resolution scientific data from distant targets packed in memory chips) and possible exploitation of asteroid resources. Possible orbits were estimated by orbit calculations assuming circular and coplanar orbits for planets. Some particular challenge areas requiring further research work and related to some more ambitious mission scenarios are also identified and discussed.

Scientific rationale of Saturn's in situ exploration

Remote sensing observations meet some limitations when used to study the bulk atmospheric composition of the giant planets of our solar system. A remarkable example of the superiority of in situ probe measurements is illustrated by the exploration of Jupiter, where key measurements such as the determination of the noble gases abundances and the precise measurement of the helium mixing ratio have only been made available through in situ measurements by the Galileo probe. This paper describes the main scientific goals to be addressed by the future in situ exploration of Saturn placing the Galileo probe exploration of Jupiter in a broader context and before the future probe exploration of the more remote ice giants. In situ exploration of Saturn’s atmosphere addresses two broad themes that are discussed throughout this paper: first, the formation history of our solar system and second, the processes at play in planetary atmospheres. In this context, we detail the reasons why measurements of Saturn’s bulk elemental and isotopic composition would place important constraints on the volatile reservoirs in the protosolar nebula. We also show that the in situ measurement of CO (or any other disequilibrium species that is depleted by reaction with water) in Saturn’s upper troposphere would constrain its bulk O/H ratio. We highlight the key measurements required to distinguish competing theories to shed light on giant planet formation as a common process in planetary systems with potential applications to most extrasolar systems. In situ measurements of Saturn’s stratospheric and tropospheric dynamics, chemistry and cloud-forming processes will provide access to phenomena unreachable to remote sensing studies. Different mission architectures are envisaged, which would benefit from strong international collaborations.

Companions of Stars: From Other Stars to Brown Dwarfs to Planets: The Discovery of the First Methane Brown Dwarf

The discovery of the first methane brown dwarf provides a framework for describing the important advances in both fundamental physics and astrophysics that are due to the study of companions of stars. I present a few highlights of the history of this subject along with details of the discovery of the brown dwarf Gliese 229B. The nature of companions of stars is discussed with an attempt to avoid biases induced by anthropocentric nomenclature. With the newer types of remote reconnaissance of nearby stars and their systems of companions, an exciting and perhaps even more profound set of contributions to science is within reach in the near future. This includes an exploration of the diversity of planets in the universe and perhaps soon the first solid evidence for biological activity outside our Solar System.

The Orbit of Transneptunian Binary Manw\"e and Thorondor and their Upcoming Mutual Events

A new Hubble Space Telescope observation of the 7:4 resonant transneptunian binary system (385446) Manw\"e has shown that, of two previously reported solutions for the orbit of its satellite Thorondor, the prograde one is correct. The orbit has a period of 110.18 $\pm$ 0.02 days, semimajor axis of 6670 $\pm$ 40 km, and an eccentricity of 0.563 $\pm$ 0.007. It will be viewable edge-on from the inner solar system during 2015-2017, presenting opportunities to observe mutual occultation and eclipse events. However, the number of observable events will be small, owing to the long orbital period and expected small sizes of the bodies relative to their separation. This paper presents predictions for events observable from Earth-based telescopes and discusses the associated uncertainties and challenges.

Occurrence and core-envelope structure of 1--4x Earth-size planets around Sun-like stars

Small planets, 1-4x the size of Earth, are extremely common around Sun-like stars, and surprisingly so, as they are missing in our solar system. Recent detections have yielded enough information about this class of exoplanets to begin characterizing their occurrence rates, orbits, masses, densities, and internal structures. The Kepler mission finds the smallest planets to be most common, as 26% of Sun-like stars have small, 1-2 R_e planets with orbital periods under 100 days, and 11% have 1-2 R_e planets that receive 1-4x the incident stellar flux that warms our Earth. These Earth-size planets are sprinkled uniformly with orbital distance (logarithmically) out to 0.4 AU, and probably beyond. Mass measurements for 33 transiting planets of 1-4 R_e show that the smallest of them, R < 1.5 R_e, have the density expected for rocky planets. Their densities increase with increasing radius, likely caused by gravitational compression. Including solar system planets yields a relation: rho = 2.32 + 3.19 R/R_e [g/cc]. Larger planets, in the radius range 1.5-4.0 R_e, have densities that decline with increasing radius, revealing increasing amounts of low-density material in an envelope surrounding a rocky core, befitting the appellation "mini-Neptunes." Planets of ~1.5 R_e have the highest densities, averaging near 10 g/cc. The gas giant planets occur preferentially around stars that are rich in heavy elements, while rocky planets occur around stars having a range of heavy element abundances. One explanation is that the fast formation of rocky cores in protoplanetary disks enriched in heavy elements permits the gravitational accumulation of gas before it vanishes, forming giant planets. But models of the formation of 1-4 R_e planets remain uncertain. Defining habitable zones remains difficult, without benefit of either detections of life elsewhere or an understanding of life’s biochemical origins.

The Solar System and the Exoplanet Orbital Eccentricity - Multiplicity Relation

The known population of exoplanets exhibits a much wider range of orbital eccentricities than Solar System planets and has a much higher average eccentricity. These facts have been widely interpreted to indicate that the Solar System is an atypical member of the overall population of planetary systems. We report here on a strong anti-correlation of orbital eccentricity with multiplicity (number of planets in the system) among catalogued RV systems. The mean, median and rough distribution of eccentricities of Solar System planets fits an extrapolation of this anti-correlation to the eight planet case rather precisely. Thus, the Solar System is not anomalous among known exoplanetary systems with respect to eccentricities when its multiplicity is taken into account. Specifically, as the multiplicity of a system increases the eccentricity decreases roughly as a power law of index -1.20. A simple and plausible but ad hoc model of this relationship implies that approximately 80% of the one planet and 25% of the two planet systems in our sample have additional, as yet undiscovered, members. If low eccentricities favor high multiplicities, habitability may be more common in systems with a larger number of planets.

The Solar System and the Exoplanet Orbital Eccentricity - Multiplicity Relation [Replacement]

The known population of exoplanets exhibits a much wider range of orbital eccentricities than Solar System planets and has a much higher average eccentricity. These facts have been widely interpreted to indicate that the Solar System is an atypical member of the overall population of planetary systems. We report here on a strong anti-correlation of orbital eccentricity with multiplicity (number of planets in the system) among catalogued RV systems. The mean, median and rough distribution of eccentricities of Solar System planets fits an extrapolation of this anti-correlation to the eight planet case rather precisely. Thus, the Solar System is not anomalous among known exoplanetary systems with respect to eccentricities when its multiplicity is taken into account. Specifically, as the multiplicity of a system increases the eccentricity decreases roughly as a power law of index -1.20. A simple and plausible but ad hoc model of this relationship implies that approximately 80% of the one planet and 25% of the two planet systems in our sample have additional, as yet undiscovered, members. If low eccentricities favor high multiplicities, habitability may be more common in systems with a larger number of planets.

Hyperbolic meteors: interstellar or generated locally via the gravitational slingshot effect?

The arrival of solid particles from outside our solar system would present us with an invaluable source of scientific information. Attempts to detect such interstellar particles among the meteors observed in Earth’s atmosphere have almost exclusively assumed that those particles moving above the Solar System’s escape speed — particles on orbits hyperbolic with respect to the Sun– were precisely the extrasolar particles being searched for. Here we show that hyperbolic particles can be generated entirely within the Solar System by gravitational scattering of interplanetary dust and meteoroids by the planets. These particles have necessarily short lifetimes as they quickly escape our star system; nonetheless some may arrive at Earth at speeds comparable to those expected of interstellar meteoroids. Some of these are associated with the encounter of planets with the debris streams of individual comets; however, such encounters are relatively rare. The rates of occurrence of hyperbolically-scattered sporadic meteors are also quite low. Only one of every 10,000 optical meteors observed at Earth is expected to be such a locally generated hyperbolic and its heliocentric velocity is typically only a hundred meters per second above the heliocentric escape velocity at Earth’s orbit. Mercury and Venus are predicted to generate weak ‘hyperbolic meteor showers’: the restrictive geometry of scattering to our planet means that a radiant near the Sun from which hyperbolic meteors arrive at Earth should recur with the planet’s synodic period. However, though planetary scattering can produce meteoroids with speeds comparable to interstellar meteors and at fluxes near current upper limits for such events, the majority of this locally-generated component of hyperbolic meteoroids is just above the heliocentric escape velocity and should be easily distinguishable from true interstellar meteoroids.

Weyl conformastatic perihelion advance of small body objects

In this paper we examine a static thin disk gravitational field symmetry over probe particles in the solar system. Using the Weyl conformastatic solution as thin disk model, we find a non-standard expression to perihelion advance due to the constraints imposed by the topology of the local gravitational field. We apply the model to a near-earth object 1566 Icarus asteroid and to the four main asteroids in the main belt (Ceres, Pallas, Juno and Vesta). As a result, we find a close agreement with observations.

Tests of Modified Gravity Theories in the Solar System

We review the case for testing preferred acceleration scale theories of gravity (sometimes falling under the guise of MOdified Newtonian Dynamics) in the Solar System using the forthcoming LISA Pathfinder (LPF) mission. Using a combination of analytical and numerical results, we suggest that different types of theory should be detectable using the predicted anomalous tidal stresses effects around the saddle points of the Newtonian gravitational field. The saddle point bubbles expected extent of $\sim 400$ km are to be contrasted with potential miss parameters of $\leq 10$ km, making such a test in easy reach of LPF. We also consider routes to constraining our theories from data, based on scenarios of both null and positive results.

Tests of Modified Gravity Theories in the Solar System [Cross-Listing]

We review the case for testing preferred acceleration scale theories of gravity (sometimes falling under the guise of MOdified Newtonian Dynamics) in the Solar System using the forthcoming LISA Pathfinder (LPF) mission. Using a combination of analytical and numerical results, we suggest that different types of theory should be detectable using the predicted anomalous tidal stresses effects around the saddle points of the Newtonian gravitational field. The saddle point bubbles expected extent of $\sim 400$ km are to be contrasted with potential miss parameters of $\leq 10$ km, making such a test in easy reach of LPF. We also consider routes to constraining our theories from data, based on scenarios of both null and positive results.

Planet X revamped after the discovery of the Sedna-like object 2012 VP$_{113}$? [Cross-Listing]

The recent discovery of the Sedna-like dwarf planet 2012 VP$_{\rm 113}$ by Trujillo and Sheppard has revamped the old-fashioned hypothesis that a still unseen trans-Plutonian object of planetary size, variously dubbed over the years as Planet X, Tyche, Thelisto, may lurk in the distant peripheries of the Solar System. This time, the presence of a super-Earth with mass $m_{\rm X} = 2-15m_{\oplus}$ at a distance $d_{\rm X}\approx 200-300$ astronomical units (AU) was proposed to explain the observed clustering of the arguments of perihelion $\omega$ near $\omega \approx 0^{\circ}$ but not $\omega\approx 180^{\circ}$ for Sedna, 2012 VP$_{\rm 113}$ and other minor bodies of the Solar System with perihelion distances $q>30$ AU and semimajor axes $a>150$ AU. Actually, such a scenario is strongly disfavored by the latest constraints $\Delta\dot\varpi$ on the anomalous perihelion precessions of some Solar System’s planets obtained with the INPOP and EPM ephemerides. Indeed, they yield $d_{\rm X}\gtrsim 496-570$ AU ($m_{\rm X}=2m_{\oplus}$), and $d_{\rm X}\gtrsim 970-1111$ AU ($m_{\rm X} = 15 m_{\oplus}$). Much tighter constraints could be obtained in the near future from the New Horizons mission to Pluto.

Planet X revamped after the discovery of the Sedna-like object 2012 VP$_{113}$?

The recent discovery of the Sedna-like dwarf planet 2012 VP$_{\rm 113}$ by Trujillo and Sheppard has revamped the old-fashioned hypothesis that a still unseen trans-Plutonian object of planetary size, variously dubbed over the years as Planet X, Tyche, Thelisto, may lurk in the distant peripheries of the Solar System. This time, the presence of a super-Earth with mass $m_{\rm X} = 2-15m_{\oplus}$ at a distance $d_{\rm X}\approx 200-300$ astronomical units (AU) was proposed to explain the observed clustering of the arguments of perihelion $\omega$ near $\omega \approx 0^{\circ}$ but not $\omega\approx 180^{\circ}$ for Sedna, 2012 VP$_{\rm 113}$ and other minor bodies of the Solar System with perihelion distances $q>30$ AU and semimajor axes $a>150$ AU. Actually, such a scenario is strongly disfavored by the latest constraints $\Delta\dot\varpi$ on the anomalous perihelion precessions of some Solar System’s planets obtained with the INPOP and EPM ephemerides. Indeed, they yield $d_{\rm X}\gtrsim 496-570$ AU ($m_{\rm X}=2m_{\oplus}$), and $d_{\rm X}\gtrsim 970-1111$ AU ($m_{\rm X} = 15 m_{\oplus}$). Much tighter constraints could be obtained in the near future from the New Horizons mission to Pluto.

Lie-series for orbital elements -- I. The planar case

Lie-integration is one of the most efficient algorithms for numerical integration of ordinary differential equations if high precision is needed for longer terms. The method is based on the computation of the Taylor-coefficients of the solution as a set of recurrence relations. In this paper we present these recurrence formulae for orbital elements and other integrals of motion for the planar $N$-body problem. We show that if the reference frame is fixed to one of the bodies — for instance to the Sun in the case of the Solar System –, the higher order coefficients for all orbital elements and integrals of motion depend only on the mutual terms corresponding to the orbiting bodies.

Deuterium Fractionation: the Ariadne's Thread from the Pre-collapse Phase to Meteorites and Comets today

The Solar System formed about 4.6 billion years ago from a condensation of matter inside a molecular cloud. Trying to reconstruct what happened is the goal of this chapter. For that, we put together our understanding of Galactic objects that will eventually form new suns and planetary systems, with our knowledge on comets, meteorites and small bodies of the Solar System today. Our specific tool is the molecular deuteration, namely the amount of deuterium with respect to hydrogen in molecules. This is the Ariadne’s thread that helps us to find the way out from a labyrinth of possible histories of our Solar System. The chapter reviews the observations and theories of the deuterium fractionation in pre-stellar cores, protostars, protoplanetary disks, comets, interplanetary dust particles and meteorites and links them together trying to build up a coherent picture of the history of the Solar System formation. We emphasise the interdisciplinary nature of the chapter, which gathers together researchers from different communities with the common goal of understanding the Solar System history.

Solar System Observations with JWST

The James Webb Space Telescope will enable a wealth of new scientific investigations in the near- and mid-infrared, with sensitivity and spatial/spectral resolution greatly surpassing its predecessors. In this paper, we focus upon Solar System science facilitated by JWST, discussing the most current information available concerning JWST instrument properties and observing techniques relevant to planetary science. We also present numerous example observing scenarios for a wide variety of Solar System targets to illustrate the potential of JWST science to the Solar System community. This paper updates and supersedes the Solar System white paper published by the JWST Project in 2010 (Lunine et al., 2010). It is based both on that paper and on a workshop held at the annual meeting of the Division for Planetary Sciences in Reno, NV in 2012.

Setting the Stage for Habitable Planets

Our understanding of the processes that are relevant to the formation and maintenance of habitable planetary systems is advancing at a rapid pace, both from observation and theory. The present review focuses on recent research that bears on this topic and includes discussions of processes occurring in astrophysical, geophysical and climatic contexts, as well as the temporal evolution of planetary habitability. Special attention is given to recent observations of exoplanets and their host stars and the theories proposed to explain the observed trends. Recent theories about the early evolution of the Solar System and how they relate to its habitability are also summarized. Unresolved issues requiring additional research are pointed out, and a framework is provided for estimating the number of habitable planets in the Universe.

Further considerations on layer-oriented adaptive optics for solar telescopes

The future generation of telescopes will be equipped with multi-conjugate adaptive optical (MCAO) systems in order to obtain high angular resolution within large fields of view. MCAO comes in two flavors: star- and layer-oriented. Existing solar MCAO systems rely exclusively on the star-oriented approach. Earlier we have suggested a method to implement the layer-oriented approach, and in view of recent concerns we now explain the proposed scheme in further detail. We note that in any layer-oriented system, one sensor is conjugated to the pupil and the others are conjugated to higher altitudes. For the latter the sensing surface is illuminated by only part of the field-of-view. Nighttime layer-oriented systems correct for this field reduction in terms of the pyramid sensors, which indicate the phase shift directly. Their successful implementation shows that the field reduction is no crucial limitation. In the solar approach the images recorded behind the Shack-Hartmann sub-apertures are vignetted due to the field reduction, and here this can be accounted for by a suitable adjustment of the algorithms to calculate the local wave-front slopes. A further concern we dispel relates to the optical layout of a layer-oriented solar system.

Further considerations on layer-oriented adaptive optics for solar telescopes [Replacement]

The future generation of telescopes will be equipped with multi-conjugate adaptive optical (MCAO) systems in order to obtain high angular resolution within large fields of view. MCAO comes in two flavors: star- and layer-oriented. Existing solar MCAO systems rely exclusively on the star-oriented approach. Earlier we have suggested a method to implement the layer-oriented approach, and in view of recent concerns we now explain the proposed scheme in further detail. We note that in any layer-oriented system, one sensor is conjugated to the pupil and the others are conjugated to higher altitudes. For the latter the sensing surface is illuminated by only part of the field-of-view. Nighttime layer-oriented systems correct for this field reduction in terms of the pyramid sensors, which indicate the phase shift directly. Their successful implementation shows that the field reduction is no crucial limitation. In the solar approach the images recorded behind the Shack-Hartmann sub-apertures are vignetted due to the field reduction, and here this can be accounted for by a suitable adjustment of the algorithms to calculate the local wave-front slopes. A further concern we dispel relates to the optical layout of a layer-oriented solar system.

The secular evolution of the Kuiper belt after a close stellar encounter [Replacement]

We show the effects of the perturbation caused by a passing by star on the Kuiper belt objects (KBOs) of our Solar System. The Kuiper belt is sampled using up to 131,072 bodies on nearly circular orbits distributed in a ring of surface density $\Sigma \sim r^{-2}$. The dynamics of the KB is followed by direct $N$- body simulations. The growth of a dynamically hot population as well as the population in resonance orbits with the planets, depends on the distribution of individual masses of Kuiper belt objects, the total mass and its radial extent, as well as on the mass and the orbit of the passing by star. The Kuiper belt is rather fragile for an encounter with a passing star, and the cross section threshold above which a recognizable structure is left are quite small. We chose for the encountering star a mass 0.5 MSun, to 2 MSun, with an impact parameter of 170 AU (for a 0.5 MSun star) to 220 AU (for 2 MSun) and an inclination angle ($\theta$) of $60^\circ$ (for 0.5 MSun) to $120^\circ$ (for 2 MSun). This results in a post encounter distribution which compares best to the currently observed population. These encounters, however, tend to excite the cold population ($e \leq 0.1$ around $a\sim 40$ AU), and consequently repletes this area. Subsequent secular evolution of the Kuiper belt can repopulate this area in less than 1 Myr if at least $\geq 35\%$ of the KBOs are relatively massive ($m \sim M_{Pluto}$). However, we did not consider the effect of the secular evolution of a larger population of somewhat less massive objects over a longer time scale, which may result in a similar repopulation of the cold Kuiper belt. We therefore speculate that the early Kuiper belt contained a rich ($\geq 35\%$) population of objects with mass $\sim M_{\rm Pluto}$.

The secular evolution of the Kuiper belt after a close stellar encounter

We show the effects of the perturbation caused by a passing by star on the Kuiper belt objects (KBOs) of our Solar System. The Kuiper belt is sampled using up to 131,072 bodies on nearly circular orbits distributed in a ring of surface density $\Sigma \sim r^{-2}$. The dynamics of the KB is followed by direct $N$- body simulations. The growth of a dynamically hot population as well as the population in resonance orbits with the planets, depends on the distribution of individual masses of Kuiper belt objects, the total mass and its radial extent, as well as on the mass and the orbit of the passing by star. The Kuiper belt is rather fragile for an encounter with a passing star, and the cross section threshold above which a recognizable structure is left are quite small. We chose for the encountering star a mass 0.5 MSun, to 2 MSun, with an impact parameter of 170 AU (for a 0.5 MSun star) to 220 AU (for 2 MSun) and an inclination angle ($\theta$) of $60^\circ$ (for 0.5 MSun) to $120^\circ$ (for 2 MSun). This results in a post encounter distribution which compares best to the currently observed population. These encounters, however, tend to excite the cold population ($e \leq 0.1$ around $a\sim 40$ AU), and consequently repletes this area. Subsequent secular evolution of the Kuiper belt can repopulate this area in less than 1 Myr if at least $\geq 35\%$ of the KBOs are relatively massive ($m \sim M_{Pluto}$). However, we did not consider the effect of the secular evolution of a larger population of somewhat less massive objects over a longer time scale, which may result in a similar repopulation of the cold Kuiper belt. We therefore speculate that the early Kuiper belt contained a rich ($\geq 35\%$) population of objects with mass $\sim M_{\rm Pluto}$.

The young binary HD 102077: Orbit, spectral type, kinematics, and moving group membership

The K-type binary star HD 102077 was proposed as a candidate member of the TW Hydrae Association (TWA) which is a young (5-15 Myr) moving group in close proximity (~50 pc) to the solar system. The aim of this work is to verify this hypothesis by different means. We first combine diffraction-limited observations from the ESO NTT 3.5m telescope in SDSS-i’ and -z’ passbands and ESO 3.6m telescope in H-band with literature data to obtain a new, amended orbit fit, estimate the spectral types of both components, and reanalyse the Hipparcos parallax and proper motion taking the orbital motion into account. Moreover, we use two high-resolution spectra of HD 102077 obtained with the fibre-fed optical echelle spectrograph FEROS at the MPG/ESO 2.2m telescope to determine the radial velocity and the lithium equivalent width of the system. The trajectory of HD 102077 is well constrained and we derive a total system mass of $2.6 \pm 0.8\,$ M$_{\odot}$ and a semi-major axis of $14.9 \pm 1.6\,$AU. From the i’-z’ colours we infer an integrated spectral type of K2V, and individual spectral types of K0 +/- 1 and K5 +/- 1. The radial velocity corrected for the orbital motion of the system is $17.6 \pm 2\,$km/s. Even though the parallax determination from the Hipparcos data is not influenced by the orbital motion, the proper motion changes to $\mu_\alpha*\cos(\delta) = -137.84 \pm 1.26\,$ mas/yr and $\mu_\delta = -33.53 \pm 1.45 \,$mas/yr. With the resultant space motion, the probability of HD 102077 being a member of TWA is less than 1%. Furthermore, the lithium equivalent width of $200 \pm 4\,$m\AA $\,$ is consistent with an age between 30 Myr and 120 Myr and thus older than the predicted age of TWA. In conclusion, HD 102077′s age, galactic space motion, and position do not fit TWA or any other young moving group.

Detecting extrasolar moons akin to Solar System satellites with an Orbital Sampling Effect

Despite years of high accuracy observations, none of the available theoretical techniques has yet allowed the confirmation of a moon beyond the Solar System. Methods are currently limited to masses about an order of magnitude higher than the mass of any moon in the Solar System. I here present a new method sensitive to exomoons similar to the known moons. Due to the projection of transiting exomoon orbits onto the celestial plane, satellites appear more often at larger separations from their planet. After about a dozen randomly sampled observations, a photometric orbital sampling effect (OSE) starts to appear in the phase-folded transit light curve, indicative of the moons’ radii and planetary distances. Two additional outcomes of the OSE emerge in the planet’s transit timing variations (TTV-OSE) and transit duration variations (TDV-OSE), both of which permit measurements of a moon’s mass. The OSE is the first effect that permits characterization of multi-satellite systems. I derive and apply analytical OSE descriptions to simulated transit observations of the Kepler space telescope assuming white noise only. Moons as small as Ganymede may be detectable in the available data, with M stars being their most promising hosts. Exomoons with the 10-fold mass of Ganymede and a similar composition (about 0.86 Earth radii in radius) can most likely be found in the available Kepler data of K stars, including moons in the stellar habitable zone. A future survey with Kepler-class photometry, such as Plato 2.0, and a permanent monitoring of a single field of view over 5 years or more will very likely discover extrasolar moons via their OSEs.

Gravitational field of N moving extended bodies in post-Minkowskian approximation [Cross-Listing]

High precision astrometry, space missions and certain tests of General Relativity, require the knowledge of the metric tensor of the solar system, or more generally, of a gravitational N-body system. This paper deals with the post-Minkowskian approximation of such a metric tensor in some asymptotically flat space-time, where the full multipole structure, i.e., mass- and spin-multipole moments, of the N bodies will be taken into account. The metric of arbitrarily shaped, rotating, oscillating and arbitrarily moving bodies of finite extension is presently only known for the case of slowly moving bodies in the post-Newtonian approximation. Presently, the post-Minkowskian metric for arbitrarily moving celestial objects is known only for pointlike bodies with mass-monopoles and spin-dipoles. This paper deals with two central issues: (1) We first consider a single body with full multipole structure in uniform motion in some suitably chosen global reference system. For this problem a co-moving inertial system of coordinates can be introduced where the metric, outside the body, admits an expansion in terms of Damour-Iyer moments. A Poincare transformation then yields the corresponding metric tensor in the global system. For the gravitational N body system the metric is obtained by a sum over all bodies of the system. (2) It will be argued why the global metric, exact to post-Minkowskian order, can be obtained by means of an instantaneous Poincare transformation for the case of pointlike mass-monopoles and spin-dipoles in arbitrary motion.

Gravitational field of N moving extended bodies in post-Minkowskian approximation

High precision astrometry, space missions and certain tests of General Relativity, require the knowledge of the metric tensor of the solar system, or more generally, of a gravitational N-body system. This paper deals with the post-Minkowskian approximation of such a metric tensor in some asymptotically flat space-time, where the full multipole structure, i.e., mass- and spin-multipole moments, of the N bodies will be taken into account. The metric of arbitrarily shaped, rotating, oscillating and arbitrarily moving bodies of finite extension is presently only known for the case of slowly moving bodies in the post-Newtonian approximation. Presently, the post-Minkowskian metric for arbitrarily moving celestial objects is known only for pointlike bodies with mass-monopoles and spin-dipoles. This paper deals with two central issues: (1) We first consider a single body with full multipole structure in uniform motion in some suitably chosen global reference system. For this problem a co-moving inertial system of coordinates can be introduced where the metric, outside the body, admits an expansion in terms of Damour-Iyer moments. A Poincare transformation then yields the corresponding metric tensor in the global system. For the gravitational N body system the metric is obtained by a sum over all bodies of the system. (2) It will be argued why the global metric, exact to post-Minkowskian order, can be obtained by means of an instantaneous Poincare transformation for the case of pointlike mass-monopoles and spin-dipoles in arbitrary motion.

Hubble Space Telescope Near-IR Transmission Spectroscopy of the Super-Earth HD 97658b

Recent results from the Kepler mission indicate that super-Earths (planets with masses between 1-10 times that of the Earth) are the most common kind of planet around nearby Sun-like stars. These planets have no direct solar system analogue, and are currently one of the least well-understood classes of extrasolar planets. Many super-Earths have average densities that are consistent with a broad range of bulk compositions, including both water-dominated worlds and rocky planets covered by a thick hydrogen and helium atmosphere. Measurements of the transmission spectra of these planets offer the opportunity to resolve this degeneracy by directly constraining the scale heights and corresponding mean molecular weights of their atmospheres. We present Hubble Space Telescope near-infrared spectroscopy of two transits of the newly discovered transiting super-Earth HD 97658b. We use the Wide Field Camera 3′s scanning mode to measure the wavelength-dependent transit depth in thirty individual bandpasses. Our averaged differential transmission spectrum has a median 1 sigma uncertainty of 19 ppm in individual bins, making this the most precise observation of an exoplanetary transmission spectrum obtained with WFC3 to date. Our data are inconsistent with a cloud-free solar metallicity atmosphere at the 17 sigma level. They are a good match for flat models corresponding to either a metal-rich atmosphere or a solar metallicity atmosphere with a cloud or haze layer located at pressures of a mbar or higher.

A perturbative approach for the study of compatibility between nonminimally coupled gravity and Solar System experiments

We develop a framework for constraining a certain class of theories of nonminimally coupled (NMC) gravity with Solar System observations.

A Bayesian self-clustering analysis of the highest energy cosmic rays detected by the Pierre Auger Observatory

Cosmic rays (CRs) are protons and atomic nuclei that flow into our Solar system and reach the Earth with energies of up to ~10^21 eV. The sources of ultra-high energy cosmic rays (UHECRs) with E >~ 10^19 eV remain unknown, although there are theoretical reasons to think that at least some come from active galactic nuclei (AGNs). One way to assess the different hypotheses is by analysing the arrival directions of UHECRs, in particular their self-clustering. We have developed a fully Bayesian approach to analyzing the self-clustering of points on the sphere, which we apply to the UHECR arrival directions. The analysis is based on a multi-step approach that enables the application of Bayesian model comparison to cases with weak prior information. We have applied this approach to the 69 highest energy events recorded by the Pierre Auger Observatory (PAO), which is the largest current UHECR data set. We do not detect self-clustering, but simulations show that this is consistent with the AGN-sourced model for a data set of this size. Data sets of several hundred UHECRs would be sufficient to detect clustering in the AGN model. Samples of this magnitude are expected to be produced by future experiments, such as the Japanese Experiment Module Extreme Universe Space Observatory (JEM-EUSO).

Galactic Chemical Evolution and solar s-process abundances: dependence on the 13C-pocket structure

We study the s-process abundances (A > 90) at the epoch of the solar-system formation. AGB yields are computed with an updated neutron capture network and updated initial solar abundances. We confirm our previous results obtained with a Galactic Chemical Evolution (GCE) model: (i) as suggested by the s-process spread observed in disk stars and in presolar meteoritic SiC grains, a weighted average of s-process strengths is needed to reproduce the solar s-distribution of isotopes with A > 130; (ii) an additional contribution (of about 25%) is required in order to represent the solar s-process abundances of isotopes from A = 90 to 130. Furthermore, we investigate the effect of different internal structures of the 13C-pocket, which may affect the efficiency of the 13C(a, n)16O reaction, the major neutron source of the s-process. First, keeping the same 13C profile adopted so far, we modify by a factor of two the mass involved in the pocket; second, we assume a flat 13C profile in the pocket, and we test again the effects of the variation of the mass of the pocket. We find that GCE s-predictions at the epoch of the solar-system formation marginally depend on the size and shape of the 13C-pocket once a different weighted range of 13C-pocket strengths is assumed. We ascertain that, independently of the internal structure of the 13C-pocket, the missing solar-system s-process contribution in the range from A = 90 to 130 remains essentially the same.

Constraint on the cosmic age from the solar $r$-process abundances

The cosmic age is an important physical quantity in cosmology. Based on the radiometric method, a reliable lower limit of the cosmic age is derived to be $15.68\pm 1.95$ Gyr by using the $r$-process abundances inferred for the solar system and observations in metal-poor stars. This value is larger than the latest cosmic age $13.813\pm 0.058$ Gyr from Planck 2013 results, while they still agree with each other within the uncertainties. The uncertainty of $1.95$ Gyr mainly originates from the error on thorium abundance observed in metal-poor star CS 22892-052, so future high-precision abundance observations on CS 22892-052 are needed to understand this age deviation.

Tests of Gravitation at Solar System scales beyond the PPN formalism [Cross-Listing]

In this communication, the current tests of gravitation available at Solar System scales are recalled. These tests rely mainly on two frameworks: the PPN framework and the search for a fifth force. Some motivations are given to look for deviations from General Relativity in other frameworks than the two extensively considered. A recent analysis of Cassini data in a MOND framework is presented. Furthermore, possibilities to constrain Standard Model Extension parameters using Solar System data are developed.

Tests of Gravitation at Solar System scales beyond the PPN formalism

In this communication, the current tests of gravitation available at Solar System scales are recalled. These tests rely mainly on two frameworks: the PPN framework and the search for a fifth force. Some motivations are given to look for deviations from General Relativity in other frameworks than the two extensively considered. A recent analysis of Cassini data in a MOND framework is presented. Furthermore, possibilities to constrain Standard Model Extension parameters using Solar System data are developed.

Inheritance of solar short- and long-lived radionuclides from molecular clouds and the unexceptional nature of the solar system

Apparent excesses in early-solar $^{26}$Al, $^{36}$Cl, $^{41}$Ca, and $^{60}$Fe disappear if one accounts for ejecta from massive-star winds concentrated into dense phases of the ISM in star-forming regions. The removal of apparent excesses is evident when wind yields from Wolf-Rayet stars are included in the plot of radionuclide abundances vs. mean life. The resulting trend indicates that the solar radionuclides were inherited from parental molecular clouds with a characteristic residence time of 10$^8$ years. This residence time is of the same order as the present-day timescale for conversion of molecular cloud material into stars. The concentrations of these extinct isotopes in the early solar system need not signify injection from unusual proximal stellar sources, but instead are well explained by normal concentrations in average star-forming clouds. The results imply that the efficiency of capture is greater for stellar winds than for supernova ejecta proximal to star-forming regions.

Dark Matter as a Trigger for Periodic Comet Impacts

Although statistical evidence is not overwhelming, possible support for an approximately 35 million year periodicity in the crater record on Earth could indicate a nonrandom underlying enhancement of meteorite impacts at regular intervals. A proposed explanation in terms of tidal effects on Oort cloud comet perturbations as the Solar System passes through the galactic midplane is hampered by lack of an underlying cause for sufficiently enhanced gravitational effects over a sufficiently short time interval and by the time frame between such possible enhancements. We show that a smooth dark disk in the galactic midplane would address both these issues and create a periodic enhancement of the sort that has potentially been observed. Such a disk is motivated by a novel dark matter component with dissipative cooling that we considered in earlier work. We show how to evaluate the statistical evidence for periodicity by input of appropriate measured priors from the galactic model, justifying or ruling out periodic cratering with more confidence than by evaluating the data without an underlying model. We find that, marginalizing over astrophysical uncertainties, the likelihood ratio for such a model relative to one with a constant cratering rate is 3.0, which moderately favors the dark disk model. Our analysis furthermore yields a posterior distribution that, based on current crater data, singles out a dark matter disk surface density of approximately 10 solar masses per square parsec. The geological record thereby motivates a particular model of dark matter that will be probed in the near future.

A New Hypothesis On The Origin and Formation of The Solar And Extrasolar Planetary Systems

A new theoretical hypothesis on the origin and formation of the solar and extrasolar planetary systems is summarized and briefly discussed in the light of recent detections of extrasolar planets, and studies of shock wave interaction with molecular clouds, as well as H. Alfven’s work on Sun’s magnetic field and its effect on the formation of the solar system (1962). We propose that all objects in a planetary system originate from a small group of dense fragments in a giant molecular cloud (GMC). The mechanism of one or more shock waves, which propagate through the protoplanetary disk during the star formation is necessary to trigger rapid cascade fragmentation of dense clumps which in turn collapse quickly, simultaneously, and individually to form multi-planet and multi-satellite systems. Magnetic spin resonance may be the cause of the rotational directions of newly formed planets to couple and align in the strong magnetic field of a younger star.

Coronal Mass Ejections and Angular Momentum Loss in Young Stars

In our own solar system, the necessity of understanding space weather is readily evident. Fortunately for Earth, our nearest stellar neighbor is relatively quiet, exhibiting activity levels several orders of magnitude lower than young, solar-type stars. In protoplanetary systems, stellar magnetic phenomena observed are analogous to the solar case, but dramatically enhanced on all physical scales: bigger, more energetic, more frequent. While coronal mass ejections (CMEs) could play a signi?cant role in the evolution of protoplanets, they could also a?ffect the evolution of the central star itself. To assess the consequences of prominence eruption/CMEs, we have invoked the solar-stellar connection to estimate, for young, solar-type stars, how frequently stellar CMEs may occur and their attendant mass and angular momentum loss rates. We will demonstrate the necessary conditions under which CMEs could slow stellar rotation.

The Puzzling Mutual Orbit of the Binary Trojan Asteroid (624) Hektor

Asteroids with satellites are natural laboratories to constrain the formation and evolution of our solar system. The binary Trojan asteroid (624) Hektor is the only known Trojan asteroid to possess a small satellite. Based on W.M. Keck adaptive optics observations, we found a unique and stable orbital solution, which is uncommon in comparison to the orbits of other large multiple asteroid systems studied so far. From lightcurve observations recorded since 1957, we showed that because the large Req=125-km primary may be made of two joint lobes, the moon could be ejecta of the low-velocity encounter, which formed the system. The inferred density of Hektor’s system is comparable to the L5 Trojan doublet (617) Patroclus but due to their difference in physical properties and in reflectance spectra, both captured Trojan asteroids could have a different composition and origin.

Gravitational scattering by giant planets

We seek to characterize giant-planet systems by their gravitational scattering properties. We do this to a given system by integrating it numerically along with a large number of hypothetical small bodies that are initially in eccentric habitable zone (HZ)-crossing orbits. Our analysis produces a single number, the escape rate, which represents the rate at which the small-body flux is perturbed away by the giant planets into orbits that no longer pose a threat to terrestrial planets inside the HZ. Obtaining the escape rate this way is similar to computing the largest Liapunov exponent as the exponential rate of divergence of two nearby orbits. For a terrestrial planet inside the HZ, the escape rate value quantifies the "protective" effect that the studied giant-planet system offers. Therefore, escape rates could provide information on whether certain giant-planet configurations produce a more desirable environment for life than the others. We present some computed escape rates on selected planetary systems, focusing on effects of varying the masses and semi-major axes of the giant planets. In the case of our Solar System we find rather surprisingly that Jupiter, in its current orbit, may provide a minimal amount of protection to the Earth.

Tests of In-Situ Formation Scenarios for Compact Multiplanet Systems

Kepler has identified over 600 multiplanet systems, many of which have several planets with orbital distances smaller than that of Mercury — quite different from the Solar System. Because these systems may be difficult to explain in the paradigm of core accretion and disk migration, it has been suggested that they formed in situ within protoplanetary disks with high solid surface densities. The strong connection between giant planet occurrence and stellar metallicity is thought to be linked to enhanced solid surface densities in disks around metal-rich stars, so the presence of a giant planet can be a detectable sign of planet formation in a high solid surface density disk. I formulate quantitative predictions for the frequency of long-period giant planets in these in situ models of planet formation by translating the proposed increase in disk mass into an equivalent metallicity enhancement. I rederive the scaling of giant planet occurrence with metallicity as P_gp = 0.05_{-0.02}^{+0.02} x 10^{(2.1 +/- 0.4) [M/H]} = 0.08_{-0.03}^{+0.02} x 10^{(2.3 +/- 0.4) [Fe/H]} and show that there is significant tension between the frequency of giant planets suggested by the minimum mass extrasolar nebula scenario and the observational upper limits. This fact suggests that high-mass disks alone cannot explain the observed properties of the close-in Kepler multiplanet systems and that migration is still a necessary contributor to their formation. More speculatively, I combine the metallicity scaling of giant planet occurrence with recently published small planet occurrence rates to estimate the number of Solar System analogs in the Galaxy. I find that in the Milky Way there are perhaps 4 x 10^6 true Solar System analogs with an FGK star hosting both a terrestrial planet in the habitable zone and a long-period giant planet companion.

Tests of In-Situ Formation Scenarios for Compact Multiplanet Systems [Replacement]

Kepler has identified over 600 multiplanet systems, many of which have several planets with orbital distances smaller than that of Mercury — quite different from the Solar System. Because these systems may be difficult to explain in the paradigm of core accretion and disk migration, it has been suggested that they formed in situ within protoplanetary disks with high solid surface densities. The strong connection between giant planet occurrence and stellar metallicity is thought to be linked to enhanced solid surface densities in disks around metal-rich stars, so the presence of a giant planet can be a detectable sign of planet formation in a high solid surface density disk. I formulate quantitative predictions for the frequency of long-period giant planets in these in situ models of planet formation by translating the proposed increase in disk mass into an equivalent metallicity enhancement. I rederive the scaling of giant planet occurrence with metallicity as P_gp = 0.05_{-0.02}^{+0.02} x 10^{(2.1 +/- 0.4) [M/H]} = 0.08_{-0.03}^{+0.02} x 10^{(2.3 +/- 0.4) [Fe/H]} and show that there is significant tension between the frequency of giant planets suggested by the minimum mass extrasolar nebula scenario and the observational upper limits. This fact suggests that high-mass disks alone cannot explain the observed properties of the close-in Kepler multiplanet systems and that migration is still a necessary contributor to their formation. More speculatively, I combine the metallicity scaling of giant planet occurrence with recently published small planet occurrence rates to estimate the number of Solar System analogs in the Galaxy. I find that in the Milky Way there are perhaps 4 x 10^6 true Solar System analogs with an FGK star hosting both a terrestrial planet in the habitable zone and a long-period giant planet companion.

Constraints on MOND theory from radio tracking data of the Cassini spacecraft [Cross-Listing]

The MOdified Newtonian Dynamics (MOND) is an attempt to modify the gravitation theory to solve the Dark Matter problem. This phenomenology is very successful at the galactic level. The main effect produced by MOND in the Solar System is called the External Field Effect parametrized by the parameter $Q_2$. We have used 9 years of Cassini range and Doppler measurements to constrain $Q_2$. Our estimate of this parameter based on Cassini data is given by $Q_2=(3 \pm 3)\times 10^{-27} \ \rm{s^{-2}}$ which shows no deviation from General Relativity and excludes a large part of the relativistic MOND theories.

Constraints on MOND theory from radio tracking data of the Cassini spacecraft

The MOdified Newtonian Dynamics (MOND) is an attempt to modify the gravitation theory to solve the Dark Matter problem. This phenomenology is very successful at the galactic level. The main effect produced by MOND in the Solar System is called the External Field Effect parametrized by the parameter $Q_2$. We have used 9 years of Cassini range and Doppler measurements to constrain $Q_2$. Our estimate of this parameter based on Cassini data is given by $Q_2=(3 \pm 3)\times 10^{-27} \ \rm{s^{-2}}$ which shows no deviation from General Relativity and excludes a large part of the relativistic MOND theories.

A study of the high-inclination population in the Kuiper belt - II. The Twotinos [Replacement]

As the second part of our study, in this paper we proceed to explore the dynamics of the high-inclination Twotinos in the 1:2 Neptune mean motion resonance (NMMR). Depending on the inclination $i$, we show the existence of two critical eccentricities $e_a(i)$ and $e_c(i)$, which are lower limits for the eccentricity $e$ for the resonant angle $\sigma$ to exhibit libration and asymmetric libration, respectively. Accordingly, we have determined the libration centres $\sigma_0$ for inclined orbits, which are strongly dependent on $i$ and could be very different from the zero-$i$ case. With the initial $\sigma=\sigma_0$ on a fine grid of $(e, i)$, the long-term stability of orbits in the 1:2 NMMR is probed by numerical integrations for the age of the Solar system. It is shown that symmetric librators are totally unstable for $i\ge30^{\circ}$; while stable asymmetric librators do exist for $i$ as high as $90^{\circ}$, and they generally have resonant amplitudes $A_{\sigma}<50^{\circ}$. We further investigate the 1:2 NMMR capture and retention of planetesimals with initial inclinations $i_0\le90^{\circ}$ in the planet migration model using a long time-scale of $2\times10^7$ yr. We find that: (1) the capture efficiency of the 1:2 NMMR decreases drastically with the increase of $i_0$, and it goes to 0 when $i_0$ exceeds $\sim60^{\circ}$; (2) the probability of discovering Twotinos with $i>25^{\circ}$, beyond their observed values, is roughly estimated to be only $\sim0.1$ per cent; (3) more particles are captured into the leading rather than the trailing asymmetric resonance for $i_0\le10^{\circ}$, but this number difference appears to be the opposite at $i_0=20^{\circ}$ and is continuously varying for even larger $i_0$; (4) captured Twotinos residing in the trailing islands or having $i>15^{\circ}$ are practically outside the Kozai mechanism, like currently observed samples.

A study of the high-inclination population in the Kuiper belt - II. The Twotinos

As the second part of our study, in this paper we proceed to explore the dynamics of the high-inclination Twotinos in the 1:2 Neptune mean motion resonance (NMMR). Depending on the inclination $i$, we show the existence of two critical eccentricities $e_a(i)$ and $e_c(i)$, which are lower limits for the eccentricity $e$ for the resonant angle $\sigma$ to exhibit libration and asymmetric libration, respectively. Accordingly, we have determined the libration centres $\sigma_0$ for inclined orbits, which are strongly dependent on $i$ and could be very different from the zero-$i$ case. With the initial $\sigma=\sigma_0$ on a fine grid of $(e, i)$, the long-term stability of orbits in the 1:2 NMMR is probed by numerical integrations for the age of the Solar system. It is shown that symmetric librators are totally unstable for $i\ge30^{\circ}$; while stable asymmetric librators do exist for $i$ as high as $90^{\circ}$, and they generally have resonant amplitudes $A_{\sigma}<50^{\circ}$. We further investigate the 1:2 NMMR capture and retention of planetesimals with initial inclinations $i_0\le90^{\circ}$ in the planet migration model using a long time-scale of $2\times10^7$ yr. We find that: (1) the capture efficiency of the 1:2 NMMR decreases drastically with the increase of $i_0$, and it goes to 0 when $i_0$ exceeds $\sim60^{\circ}$; (2) the probability of discovering Twotinos with $i>25^{\circ}$, beyond their observed values, is roughly estimated to be only $\sim0.1$ per cent; (3) more particles are captured into the leading rather than the trailing asymmetric resonance for $i_0\le10^{\circ}$, but this number difference appears to be the opposite at $i_0=20^{\circ}$ and is continuously varying for even larger $i_0$; (4) captured Twotinos residing in the trailing islands or having $i>15^{\circ}$ are practically outside the Kozai mechanism, like currently observed samples.

Testing Relativistic Gravity with Radio Pulsars

Before the 1970s, precision tests for gravity theories were constrained to the weak gravitational fields of the Solar system. Hence, only the weak-field slow-motion aspects of relativistic celestial mechanics could be investigated. Testing gravity beyond the first post-Newtonian contributions was for a long time out of reach. The discovery of the first binary pulsar by Russell Hulse and Joseph Taylor in the summer of 1974 initiated a completely new field for testing the relativistic dynamics of gravitationally interacting bodies. For the first time the back reaction of gravitational wave emission on the binary motion could be studied. Furthermore, the Hulse-Taylor pulsar provided the first test bed for the orbital dynamics of strongly self-gravitating bodies. To date there are a number of pulsars known, which can be utilized for precision test of gravity. Depending on their orbital properties and their companion, these pulsars provide tests for various different aspects of relativistic dynamics. Besides tests of specific gravity theories, like general relativity or scalar-tensor gravity, there are pulsars that allow for generic constraints on potential deviations of gravity from general relativity in the quasi-stationary strong-field and the radiative regime. This article presents a brief overview of this modern field of relativistic celestial mechanics, reviews some of the highlights of gravity tests with radio pulsars, and discusses their implications for gravitational physics and astronomy, including the upcoming gravitational wave astronomy.

Multi-Wavelength Observations of Comet C/2011 L4 (Pan-Starrs)

Dynamically new comet C/2011 L4 (PanSTARRS) is one of the brightest comets since the great comet C/1995 O1 (Hale-Bopp). Here, we present our multi-wavelength observations of C/2011 L4 during its in-bound passage to the inner Solar system. A strong absorption band of water ice at 2.0 $\mu$m was detected in the near infrared spectra, taken with the 8-m Gemini-North and 3-m IRTF telescopes. The companion 1.5 $\mu$m band of water ice, however, was not observed. Spectral modeling show that the absence of the 1.5 $\mu$m feature can be explained by the presence of sub-micron-sized fine ice grains. No gas lines (i.e. CN, HCN or CO) were observed pre-perihelion either in the optical or in the sub-millimeter. 3-$\sigma$ upper limits to the CN and CO production rates were derived. The comet exhibited a very strong continuum in the optical and its slope seemed to become redder as the comet approached the Sun. Our observations suggest that C/2011 L4 is an unusually dust-rich comet with a dust-to-gas mass ratio $>$ 4.

Can TeVeS be a viable theory of gravity? [Cross-Listing]

Among modified gravitational theories, the Tensor-Vector-Scalar (TeVeS) occupies a special place — it is a covariant theory of gravity that produces the modified Newtonian dynamics (MOND) in the nonrelativistic weak field limit and explains the astrophysical data by all means better than the GR, at scales larger than that of the Solar System. We show that, in contrast with other modified theories, TeVeS is free from ghosts. These achievements make TeVeS (and its nonrelativistic limit) a viable theory of gravity. A speculative outlook on the emergence of TeVeS from a quantum theory is presented.

Can TeVeS be a viable theory of gravity?

Among modified gravitational theories, the Tensor-Vector-Scalar (TeVeS) occupies a special place — it is a covariant theory of gravity that produces the modified Newtonian dynamics (MOND) in the nonrelativistic weak field limit and explains the astrophysical data by all means better than the GR, at scales larger than that of the Solar System. We show that, in contrast with other modified theories, TeVeS is free from ghosts. These achievements make TeVeS (and its nonrelativistic limit) a viable theory of gravity. A speculative outlook on the emergence of TeVeS from a quantum theory is presented.

On the evolution of the CO snow line in protoplanetary disks

CO is thought to be a vital building block for prebiotic molecules that are necessary for life. Thus, understanding where CO existed in a solid phase within the solar nebula is important for understanding the origin of life. We model the evolution of the CO snow line in a protoplanetary disk. We find that the current observed location of the CO snow line in our solar system, and in the solar system analogue TW Hydra, cannot be explained by a fully turbulent disk model. With time-dependent disk models we find that the inclusion of a dead zone (a region of low turbulence) can resolve this problem. Furthermore, we obtain a fully analytic solution for the CO snow line radius for late disk evolutionary times. This will be useful for future observational attempts to characterize the demographics and predict the composition and habitability of exoplanets.

 

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