Posts Tagged solar system

Recent Postings from solar system

Gas giant planets as dynamical barriers to inward-migrating super-Earths

Planets of 1-4 times Earth’s size on orbits shorter than 100 days exist around 30-50% of all Sun-like stars. In fact, the Solar System is particularly outstanding in its lack of "hot super-Earths" (or "mini-Neptunes"). These planets — or their building blocks — may have formed on wider orbits and migrated inward due to interactions with the gaseous protoplanetary disk. Here, we use a suite of dynamical simulations to show that gas giant planets act as barriers to the inward migration of super-Earths initially placed on more distant orbits. Jupiter’s early formation may have prevented Uranus and Neptune (and perhaps Saturn’s core) from becoming hot super-Earths. Our model predicts that the populations of hot super-Earth systems and Jupiter-like planets should be anti-correlated: gas giants (especially if they form early) should be rare in systems with many hot super-Earths. Testing this prediction will constitute a crucial assessment of the validity of the migration hypothesis for the origin of close-in super-Earths.

Exoplanetary Geophysics -- An Emerging Discipline

Thousands of extrasolar planets have been discovered, and it is clear that the galactic planetary census draws on a diversity greatly exceeding that exhibited by the solar system’s planets. We review significant landmarks in the chronology of extrasolar planet detection, and we give an overview of the varied observational techniques that are brought to bear. We then discuss the properties of the currently known distribution, using the mass-period diagram as a guide to delineating hot Jupiters, eccentric giant planets, and a third, highly populous, category that we term "ungiants", planets having masses less than 30 Earth masses and orbital periods less than 100 days. We then move to a discussion of the bulk compositions of the extrasolar planets. We discuss the long-standing problem of radius anomalies among giant planets, as well as issues posed by the unexpectedly large range in sizes observed for planets with masses somewhat greater than Earth’s. We discuss the use of transit observations to probe the atmospheres of extrasolar planets; various measurements taken during primary transit, secondary eclipse, and through the full orbital period, can give clues to the atmospheric compositions, structures, and meteorologies. The extrasolar planet catalog, along with the details of our solar system and observations of star-forming regions and protoplanetary disks, provide a backdrop for a discussion of planet formation in which we review the elements of the favored pictures for how the terrestrial and giant planets were assembled. We conclude by listing several research questions that are relevant to the next ten years and beyond.

Grain-scale thermoelastic stresses and spatiotemporal temperature gradients on airless bodies, implications for rock breakdown

Thermomechanical processes such as fatigue and shock have been suggested to cause and contribute to rock breakdown on Earth, and on other planetary bodies, particularly airless bodies in the inner solar system. In this study, we modeled grain-scale stresses induced by diurnal temperature variations on simple microstructures made of pyroxene and plagioclase on various solar system bodies. We found that a heterogeneous microstructure on the Moon experiences peak tensile stresses on the order of 100 MPa. The stresses induced are controlled by the coefficient of thermal expansion and Young’s modulus of the mineral constituents, and the average stress within the microstructure is determined by relative volume of each mineral. Amplification of stresses occurs at surface-parallel boundaries between adjacent mineral grains and at the tips of pore spaces. We also found that microscopic spatial and temporal surface temperature gradients do not correlate with high stresses, making them inappropriate proxies for investigating microcrack propagation. Although these results provide very strong evidence for the significance of thermomechanical processes on airless bodies, more work is needed to quantify crack propagation and rock breakdown rates.

Unscreening modified gravity in the matter power spectrum [Cross-Listing]

Viable modifications of gravity that may produce cosmic acceleration need to be screened in high-density regions such as the Solar System, where general relativity is well tested. Screening mechanisms also prevent strong anomalies in the large-scale structure and limit the constraints that can be inferred on these gravity models from cosmology. We find that by suppressing the contribution of the screened high-density regions in the matter power spectrum, allowing a greater contribution of unscreened low densities, modified gravity models can be more readily discriminated from the concordance cosmology. Moreover, by variation of density thresholds, degeneracies with other effects may be dealt with more adequately. Specializing to chameleon gravity as a worked example for screening in modified gravity, employing N-body simulations of f(R) models and the halo model of chameleon theories, we demonstrate the effectiveness of this method. We find that a percent-level measurement of the clipped power at k < 0.3 h/Mpc can yield constraints on chameleon models that are more stringent than what is inferred from Solar System tests or distance indicators in unscreened dwarf galaxies.

Unscreening modified gravity in the matter power spectrum

Viable modifications of gravity that may produce cosmic acceleration need to be screened in high-density regions such as the Solar System, where general relativity is well tested. Screening mechanisms also prevent strong anomalies in the large-scale structure and limit the constraints that can be inferred on these gravity models from cosmology. We find that by suppressing the contribution of the screened high-density regions in the matter power spectrum, allowing a greater contribution of unscreened low densities, modified gravity models can be more readily discriminated from the concordance cosmology. Moreover, by variation of density thresholds, degeneracies with other effects may be dealt with more adequately. Specializing to chameleon gravity as a worked example for screening in modified gravity, employing N-body simulations of f(R) models and the halo model of chameleon theories, we demonstrate the effectiveness of this method. We find that a percent-level measurement of the clipped power at k < 0.3 h/Mpc can yield constraints on chameleon models that are more stringent than what is inferred from Solar System tests or distance indicators in unscreened dwarf galaxies.

Photometry Transformation from $RGB$ Bayer Filter System to Johnson-Cousins $BVR$ Filter System

The $RGB$ Bayer filter system consists of mosaic $R$, $G$, and $B$ filters on the grid of photo sensors which typical commercial DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras and CCD cameras are equipped with. Many unique astronomical data obtained using a $RGB$ Bayer filter system are available, including transient objects, e.g., supernovae, variable stars, and solar system bodies. The utilization of such data in scientific research strongly requires reliable photometry transformation methods. In this work, we develop a series of equations to convert the observed magnitudes in the $RGB$ Bayer filter system ($R_B$, $G_B$, and $B_B$) into the Johnson-Cousins $BVR$ filter system ($B_J$, $V_J$, and $R_C$). The new transformation equations derive the calculated magnitudes in Johnson-Cousins filters ($B_{Jcal}$, $V_{Jcal}$, and $R_{Ccal}$) as functions of magnitudes and colors. The mean differences between the transformed magnitudes and original magnitudes, i.e., the residuals, are $\Delta(B_J-B_{Jcal})$ = 0.104 mag, $\Delta(V_J-V_{Jcal})$ = 0.054 mag, and $\Delta(R_C-R_{Ccal})$ = 0.033 mag. The calculated Johnson-Cousins magnitudes from the transformaion equations show a good linear correlation with the observed Johnson-Cousins magnitudes.

Planetary systems based on a quantum-like model

Planetary systems have their origin in the gravitational collapse of a cloud of gas and dust. Through a process of accretion, is formed a massive star and a disk of planetesimals orbiting the star. Using a formalism analogous to quantum mechanics (quantum-like model), the star-planetesimal system is described and the flow quantizing the gravitational field theoretical model parameters are obtained. Goodness of fit (chi-square) of the observed data with model quantum-like, to the solar system, satellites, exoplanets and protoplanetary disk around HL Tauri is determined. Shows that the radius, eccentricity, energy, angular momentum and orbital inclination of planetary objects formed take discrete values depending only on the mass star.

The Ray Tracing Analytical Solution within the RAMOD framework. The case of a Gaia-like observer

This paper presents the analytical solution of the inverse ray tracing problem for photons emitted by a star and collected by an observer located in the gravitational field of the Solar System. This solution has been conceived to suit the accuracy achievable by the ESA Gaia satellite (launched on December 19, 2013) consistently with the measurement protocol in General relativity adopted within the RAMOD framework. Aim of this study is to provide a general relativistic tool for the science exploitation of such a revolutionary mission, whose main goal is to trace back star directions from within our local curved space-time, therefore providing a three-dimensional map of our Galaxy. The results are useful for a thorough comparison and cross-checking validation of what already exists in the field of Relativistic Astrometry. Moreover, the analytical solutions presented here can be extended to model other measurements that require the same order of accuracy expected for Gaia.

The formation of the solar system

The solar system started to form about 4.56 Gyr ago and despite the long intervening time span, there still exist several clues about its formation. The three major sources for this information are meteorites, the present solar system structure and the planet-forming systems around young stars. In this introduction we give an overview of the current understanding of the solar system formation from all these different research fields. This includes the question of the lifetime of the solar protoplanetary disc, the different stages of planet formation, their duration, and their relative importance. We consider whether meteorite evidence and observations of protoplanetary discs point in the same direction. This will tell us whether our solar system had a typical formation history or an exceptional one. There are also many indications that the solar system formed as part of a star cluster. Here we examine the types of cluster the Sun could have formed in, especially whether its stellar density was at any stage high enough to influence the properties of today’s solar system. The likelihood of identifying siblings of the Sun is discussed. Finally, the possible dynamical evolution of the solar system since its formation and its future are considered.

In situ apparatus for the study of clathrate hydrates relevant to solar system bodies using synchrotron X-ray diffraction and Raman spectroscopy

Clathrate hydrates are believed to play a significant role in various solar system environments, e.g. comets, and the surfaces and interiors of icy satellites, however the structural factors governing their formation and dissociation are poorly understood. We demonstrate the use of a high pressure gas cell, combined with variable temperature cooling and time-resolved data collection, to the in situ study of clathrate hydrates under conditions relevant to solar system environments. Clathrates formed and processed within the cell are monitored in situ using synchrotron X-ray powder diffraction and Raman spectroscopy. X-ray diffraction allows the formation of clathrate hydrates to be observed as CO2 gas is applied to ice formed within the cell. Complete conversion is obtained by annealing at temperatures just below the ice melting point. A subsequent rise in the quantity of clathrate is observed as the cell is thermally cycled. Four regions between 100-5000cm-1 are present in the Raman spectra that carry features characteristic of both ice and clathrate formation. This novel experimental arrangement is well suited to studying clathrate hydrates over a range of temperature (80-500K) and pressure (1-100bar) conditions and can be used with a variety of different gases and starting aqueous compositions. We propose the increase in clathrate formation observed during thermal cycling may be due to the formation of a quasi liquid-like phase that forms at temperatures below the ice melting point, but which allows easier formation of new clathrate cages, or the retention and delocalisation of previously formed clathrate structures, possibly as amorphous clathrate. The structural similarities between hexagonal ice, the quasi liquid-like phase, and crystalline CO2 hydrate mean that differences in the Raman spectrum are subtle; however, all features out to 5000cm-1 are diagnostic of clathrate structure.

The Parametrized Post-Newtonian-Vainshteinian Formalism [Cross-Listing]

Light degrees of freedom that modify gravity on cosmological scales must be "screened" on solar system scales in order to be compatible with data. The Vainshtein mechanism achieves this through a breakdown of classical perturbation theory, as large interactions involving new degrees of freedom become important below the so-called Vainshtein radius. We begin to develop an extension of the Parameterized Post-Newtonian (PPN) formalism that is able to handle Vainshteinian corrections. We argue that theories with a unique Vainshtein scale must be expanded using two small parameters. In this Parameterized Post-Newtonian-Vainshteinian (PPNV) expansion, the primary expansion parameter that controls the PPN order is, as usual, the velocity $v$. The secondary expansion parameter, $\alpha$, controls the strength of the Vainshteinian correction and is a theory-specific combination of the Schwarzschild radius and the Vainshtein radius of the source that is independent of its mass. We present the general framework and apply it to Cubic Galileon theory both inside and outside the Vainshtein radius. The PPNV framework can be used to determine the compatibility of such theories with solar system and other strong-field data.

The Parametrized Post-Newtonian-Vainshteinian Formalism [Cross-Listing]

Light degrees of freedom that modify gravity on cosmological scales must be "screened" on solar system scales in order to be compatible with data. The Vainshtein mechanism achieves this through a breakdown of classical perturbation theory, as large interactions involving new degrees of freedom become important below the so-called Vainshtein radius. We begin to develop an extension of the Parameterized Post-Newtonian (PPN) formalism that is able to handle Vainshteinian corrections. We argue that theories with a unique Vainshtein scale must be expanded using two small parameters. In this Parameterized Post-Newtonian-Vainshteinian (PPNV) expansion, the primary expansion parameter that controls the PPN order is, as usual, the velocity $v$. The secondary expansion parameter, $\alpha$, controls the strength of the Vainshteinian correction and is a theory-specific combination of the Schwarzschild radius and the Vainshtein radius of the source that is independent of its mass. We present the general framework and apply it to Cubic Galileon theory both inside and outside the Vainshtein radius. The PPNV framework can be used to determine the compatibility of such theories with solar system and other strong-field data.

The Parametrized Post-Newtonian-Vainshteinian Formalism

Light degrees of freedom that modify gravity on cosmological scales must be "screened" on solar system scales in order to be compatible with data. The Vainshtein mechanism achieves this through a breakdown of classical perturbation theory, as large interactions involving new degrees of freedom become important below the so-called Vainshtein radius. We begin to develop an extension of the Parameterized Post-Newtonian (PPN) formalism that is able to handle Vainshteinian corrections. We argue that theories with a unique Vainshtein scale must be expanded using two small parameters. In this Parameterized Post-Newtonian-Vainshteinian (PPNV) expansion, the primary expansion parameter that controls the PPN order is, as usual, the velocity $v$. The secondary expansion parameter, $\alpha$, controls the strength of the Vainshteinian correction and is a theory-specific combination of the Schwarzschild radius and the Vainshtein radius of the source that is independent of its mass. We present the general framework and apply it to Cubic Galileon theory both inside and outside the Vainshtein radius. The PPNV framework can be used to determine the compatibility of such theories with solar system and other strong-field data.

On the need of the Light Elements Primary Process (LEPP)

Extant chemical evolution models underestimate the Galactic production of Sr, Y and Zr as well as the Solar System abundances of s-only isotopes with 90<A<130. To solve this problem, an additional (unknown) process has been invoked, the so-called LEPP (Light Element Primary Process). In this paper we investigate possible alternative solutions. Basing on Full Network Stellar evolutionary calculations, we investigate the effects on the Solar System s-only distribution induced by the inclusion of some commonly ignored physical processes (e.g. rotation) or by the variation of the treatment of convective overshoot, mass-loss and the efficiency of nuclear processes. Our main findings are: 1) at the epoch of the formation of the Solar System, our reference model produces super-solar abundances for the whole s-only distribution, even in the range 90<A<130; 2) within errors, the s-only distribution relative to 150Sm is flat; 3) the s-process contribution of the less massive AGB stars (M<1.5 M_SUN) as well as of the more massive ones (M>4.0 M_SUN) are negligible; 4) the inclusion of rotation implies a downward shift of the whole distribution with an higher efficiency for the heavy s-only isotopes, leading to a flatter s-only distribution; 5) different prescriptions on convection or mass-loss produce nearly rigid shifts of the whole distribution. In summary, a variation of the standard paradigm of AGB nucleosynthesis would allow to reconcile models predictions with Solar System s-only abundances. Nonetheless, the LEPP cannot be definitely ruled out, because of the uncertainties still affecting stellar and Galactic chemical evolution models.

Gravitational Anomalies in the Solar System? [Cross-Listing]

Mindful of the anomalous perihelion precession of Mercury discovered by U. Le Verrier in the second half of the nineteenth century and its successful explanation by A. Einstein with his General Theory of Relativity in the early years of the twentieth century, discrepancies among observed effects in our Solar system and their theoretical predictions on the basis of the currently accepted laws of gravitation applied to known bodies have the potential of paving the way for remarkable advances in fundamental physics. This is particularly important now more than ever, given that most of the Universe seems to be made of unknown substances dubbed Dark Matter and Dark Energy. Should this not be directly the case, Solar system’s anomalies could anyhow lead to advancements in cumulative science, as shown to us by the discovery of Neptune in the first half of the nineteenth century. Moreover, investigations in one of such directions can serendipitously enrich the other one as well. The current status of some alleged gravitational anomalies in the Solar system is critically reviewed. They are: a) Possible anomalous advances of planetary perihelia; b) Unexplained orbital residuals of a recently discovered moon of Uranus (Mab); c) The lingering unexplained secular increase of the eccentricity of the orbit of the Moon; d) The so-called Faint Young Sun Paradox; e) The secular decrease of the mass parameter of the Sun; f) The Flyby Anomaly; g) The Pioneer Anomaly; and h) The anomalous secular increase of the astronomical unit

Gravitational Anomalies in the Solar System?

Mindful of the anomalous perihelion precession of Mercury discovered by U. Le Verrier in the second half of the nineteenth century and its successful explanation by A. Einstein with his General Theory of Relativity in the early years of the twentieth century, discrepancies among observed effects in our Solar system and their theoretical predictions on the basis of the currently accepted laws of gravitation applied to known bodies have the potential of paving the way for remarkable advances in fundamental physics. This is particularly important now more than ever, given that most of the Universe seems to be made of unknown substances dubbed Dark Matter and Dark Energy. Should this not be directly the case, Solar system’s anomalies could anyhow lead to advancements in cumulative science, as shown to us by the discovery of Neptune in the first half of the nineteenth century. Moreover, investigations in one of such directions can serendipitously enrich the other one as well. The current status of some alleged gravitational anomalies in the Solar system is critically reviewed. They are: a) Possible anomalous advances of planetary perihelia; b) Unexplained orbital residuals of a recently discovered moon of Uranus (Mab); c) The lingering unexplained secular increase of the eccentricity of the orbit of the Moon; d) The so-called Faint Young Sun Paradox; e) The secular decrease of the mass parameter of the Sun; f) The Flyby Anomaly; g) The Pioneer Anomaly; and h) The anomalous secular increase of the astronomical unit

Gravitational Anomalies in the Solar System? [Replacement]

Mindful of the anomalous perihelion precession of Mercury discovered by U. Le Verrier in the second half of the nineteenth century and its successful explanation by A. Einstein with his General Theory of Relativity in the early years of the twentieth century, discrepancies among observed effects in our Solar system and their theoretical predictions on the basis of the currently accepted laws of gravitation applied to known bodies have the potential of paving the way for remarkable advances in fundamental physics. This is particularly important now more than ever, given that most of the Universe seems to be made of unknown substances dubbed Dark Matter and Dark Energy. Should this not be directly the case, Solar system’s anomalies could anyhow lead to advancements in cumulative science, as shown to us by the discovery of Neptune in the first half of the nineteenth century. Moreover, investigations in one of such directions can serendipitously enrich the other one as well. The current status of some alleged gravitational anomalies in the Solar system is critically reviewed. They are: a) Possible anomalous advances of planetary perihelia; b) Unexplained orbital residuals of a recently discovered moon of Uranus (Mab); c) The lingering unexplained secular increase of the eccentricity of the orbit of the Moon; d) The so-called Faint Young Sun Paradox; e) The secular decrease of the mass parameter of the Sun; f) The Flyby Anomaly; g) The Pioneer Anomaly; and h) The anomalous secular increase of the astronomical unit

Gravitational Anomalies in the Solar System? [Replacement]

Mindful of the anomalous perihelion precession of Mercury discovered by U. Le Verrier in the second half of the nineteenth century and its successful explanation by A. Einstein with his General Theory of Relativity in the early years of the twentieth century, discrepancies among observed effects in our Solar system and their theoretical predictions on the basis of the currently accepted laws of gravitation applied to known bodies have the potential of paving the way for remarkable advances in fundamental physics. This is particularly important now more than ever, given that most of the Universe seems to be made of unknown substances dubbed Dark Matter and Dark Energy. Should this not be directly the case, Solar system’s anomalies could anyhow lead to advancements in cumulative science, as shown to us by the discovery of Neptune in the first half of the nineteenth century. Moreover, investigations in one of such directions can serendipitously enrich the other one as well. The current status of some alleged gravitational anomalies in the Solar system is critically reviewed. They are: a) Possible anomalous advances of planetary perihelia; b) Unexplained orbital residuals of a recently discovered moon of Uranus (Mab); c) The lingering unexplained secular increase of the eccentricity of the orbit of the Moon; d) The so-called Faint Young Sun Paradox; e) The secular decrease of the mass parameter of the Sun; f) The Flyby Anomaly; g) The Pioneer Anomaly; and h) The anomalous secular increase of the astronomical unit

Gravitational Anomalies in the Solar System? [Replacement]

Mindful of the anomalous perihelion precession of Mercury discovered by U. Le Verrier in the second half of the nineteenth century and its successful explanation by A. Einstein with his General Theory of Relativity in the early years of the twentieth century, discrepancies among observed effects in our Solar system and their theoretical predictions on the basis of the currently accepted laws of gravitation applied to known bodies have the potential of paving the way for remarkable advances in fundamental physics. This is particularly important now more than ever, given that most of the Universe seems to be made of unknown substances dubbed Dark Matter and Dark Energy. Should this not be directly the case, Solar system’s anomalies could anyhow lead to advancements in cumulative science, as shown to us by the discovery of Neptune in the first half of the nineteenth century. Moreover, investigations in one of such directions can serendipitously enrich the other one as well. The current status of some alleged gravitational anomalies in the Solar system is critically reviewed. They are: a) Possible anomalous advances of planetary perihelia; b) Unexplained orbital residuals of a recently discovered moon of Uranus (Mab); c) The lingering unexplained secular increase of the eccentricity of the orbit of the Moon; d) The so-called Faint Young Sun Paradox; e) The secular decrease of the mass parameter of the Sun; f) The Flyby Anomaly; g) The Pioneer Anomaly; and h) The anomalous secular increase of the astronomical unit

Gravitational Anomalies in the Solar System? [Replacement]

Mindful of the anomalous perihelion precession of Mercury discovered by U. Le Verrier in the second half of the nineteenth century and its successful explanation by A. Einstein with his General Theory of Relativity in the early years of the twentieth century, discrepancies among observed effects in our Solar system and their theoretical predictions on the basis of the currently accepted laws of gravitation applied to known bodies have the potential of paving the way for remarkable advances in fundamental physics. This is particularly important now more than ever, given that most of the Universe seems to be made of unknown substances dubbed Dark Matter and Dark Energy. Should this not be directly the case, Solar system’s anomalies could anyhow lead to advancements in cumulative science, as shown to us by the discovery of Neptune in the first half of the nineteenth century. Moreover, investigations in one of such directions can serendipitously enrich the other one as well. The current status of some alleged gravitational anomalies in the Solar system is critically reviewed. They are: a) Possible anomalous advances of planetary perihelia; b) Unexplained orbital residuals of a recently discovered moon of Uranus (Mab); c) The lingering unexplained secular increase of the eccentricity of the orbit of the Moon; d) The so-called Faint Young Sun Paradox; e) The secular decrease of the mass parameter of the Sun; f) The Flyby Anomaly; g) The Pioneer Anomaly; and h) The anomalous secular increase of the astronomical unit

Ammonia, Water Clouds and Methane Abundances of Giant Exoplanets and Opportunities for Super-Earth Exoplanets

Future direct-imaging exoplanet missions such as WFIRST/AFTA, Exo-C, and Exo-S will measure the reflectivity of exoplanets at visible wavelengths. The exoplanets to be observed will be located further away from their parent stars than is Earth from the Sun. These "cold" exoplanets have atmospheric environments conducive for the formation of water and/or ammonia clouds, like Jupiter in the Solar System. We study the science return from direct-imaging exoplanet missions, focusing on the exoplanet atmospheric compositions. First, the study shows that a low-resolution (R=70) reflection spectrum of a giant exoplanet at 600 – 1000 nm, for a moderate signal-to-noise ratio of 20, will allow measurements of both the pressure of the uppermost cloud deck and the mixing ratio of methane, if the uppermost cloud deck is located at the pressure level of 0.6 – 1.5 bars. Further increasing the signal-to-noise ratio can improve the measurement range of the cloud deck pressure to 0.2 – 4 bars. The strong and the weak absorption bands of methane allow the simultaneous measurements of cloud and gas; when the uppermost cloud deck is located shallower than the pressure level of 0.2, the weak bands are muted, and the cloud deck pressure and the mixing ratio of methane are not distinguishable from a single reflection spectrum. Second, future direct-imaging exoplanet missions may detect the broadband reflectivity of a few super-Earth exoplanets. If having H2O-dominated atmospheres, directly imaged super Earths are likely to have water clouds located shallower than 1E-3 bars. The very high clouds on these planets would mute most gas absorption features except for H2O, and these planets would occupy a confined phase space in the color-color diagrams.

On the possibility of setting a new constraint to scalar-tensor theories

Scalar-tensor theories (STTs) are a widely studied alternative to General Relativity (GR) in which gravity is endowed with an additional scalar degree of freedom. Although severely constrained by solar system and pulsar timing experiments, there remains a large set of STTs which are consistent with all present day observations. In this paper, we investigate the possibility of probing a yet unconstrained region of the parameter space of STTs based on the fact that stability properties of highly compact neutron stars in these theories may radically differ from those in GR.

On the possibility of setting a new constraint to scalar-tensor theories [Cross-Listing]

Scalar-tensor theories (STTs) are a widely studied alternative to General Relativity (GR) in which gravity is endowed with an additional scalar degree of freedom. Although severely constrained by solar system and pulsar timing experiments, there remains a large set of STTs which are consistent with all present day observations. In this paper, we investigate the possibility of probing a yet unconstrained region of the parameter space of STTs based on the fact that stability properties of highly compact neutron stars in these theories may radically differ from those in GR.

The energetics of a global shock wave in the low solar corona

As the most energetic eruptions in the solar system, coronal mass ejections (CMEs) can produce shock waves at both their front and flanks as they erupt from the Sun into the heliosphere. However, the amount of energy produced in these eruptions, and the proportion of their energy required to produce the waves, is not well characterised. Here we use observations of a solar eruption from 2014 February 25 to estimate the energy budget of an erupting CME and the globally-propagating "EIT wave" produced by the rapid expansion of the CME flanks in the low solar corona. The "EIT wave" is shown using a combination of radio spectra and extreme ultraviolet images to be a shock front with a Mach number greater than one. Its initial energy is then calculated using the Sedov-Taylor blast-wave approximation, which provides an approximation for a shock front propagating through a region of variable density. This approach provides an initial energy estimate of $\approx$2.8$\times$10$^{31}$ ergs to produce the "EIT wave", which is approximately 10% the kinetic energy of the associated CME (shown to be $\approx$2.5$\times$10$^{32}$ ergs). These results indicate that the energy of the "EIT wave" may be significant and must be considered when estimating the total energy budget of solar eruptions.

New insight into the Solar System's transition disk phase provided by the unusual meteorite Isheyevo

Many aspects of planet formation are controlled by the amount of gas remaining in the natal protoplanetary disk (PPDs). Infrared observations show that PPDs undergo a transition stage at several Myr, during which gas densities are reduced. Our Solar System would have experienced such a stage. However, there is currently no data that provides insight into this crucial time in our PPD’s evolution. We show that the Isheyevo meteorite contains the first definitive evidence for a transition disk stage in our Solar System. Isheyevo belongs to a class of metal-rich meteorites whose components have been dated at almost 5 Myr after the first solids in the Solar System, and exhibits unique sedimentary layers that imply formation through gentle sedimentation. We show that such layering can occur via gentle sweep-up of material found in the impact plume resulting from the collision of two planetesimals. Such sweep-up requires gas densities consistent with observed transition disks. As such, Isheyevo presents the first evidence of our own transition disk and provides new constraints on the evolution of our solar nebula.

Exo-zodi modelling for the Large Binocular Telescope Interferometer

Habitable zone dust levels are a key unknown that must be understood to ensure the success of future space missions to image Earth analogues around nearby stars. Current detection limits are several orders of magnitude above the level of the Solar System’s Zodiacal cloud, so characterisation of the brightness distribution of exo-zodi down to much fainter levels is needed. To this end, the large Binocular Telescope Interferometer (LBTI) will detect thermal emission from habitable zone exo-zodi a few times brighter than Solar System levels. Here we present a modelling framework for interpreting LBTI observations, which yields dust levels from detections and upper limits that are then converted into predictions and upper limits for the scattered light surface brightness. We apply this model to the HOSTS survey sample of nearby stars; assuming a null depth uncertainty of 10$^{-4}$ the LBTI will be sensitive to dust a few times above the Solar System level around Sun-like stars, and to even lower dust levels for more massive stars.

Temperature oscillations of a gas in circular geodesic motion in the Schwarzschild field [Replacement]

We investigate a Boltzmann gas at equilibrium with its center of mass moving on a circular geodesics in the Schwarzschild field. As a consequence of Tolman’s law we find that a central comoving observer measures oscillations of the temperature and of other thermodynamic quantities with twice the frequencies that are known from test-particle motion. We apply this scheme to the gas dynamics in the gravitational fields of the planets of the Solar System as well as to strong-field configurations of neutron stars and black holes.

Temperature oscillations of a gas in circular geodesic motion in the Schwarzschild field [Replacement]

We investigate a Boltzmann gas at equilibrium with its center of mass moving on a circular geodesics in the Schwarzschild field. As a consequence of Tolman’s law we find that a central comoving observer measures oscillations of the temperature and of other thermodynamic quantities with twice the frequencies that are known from test-particle motion. We apply this scheme to the gas dynamics in the gravitational fields of the planets of the Solar System as well as to strong-field configurations of neutron stars and black holes.

Coupling the non-gravitational forces and Modified Newton Dynamics for cometary orbits [Replacement]

In recent works (Milgrom 2009, Blanchet & Novak 2011), the authors showed that the MOdified Newton Dynamics (MOND) have a non-negligible secular perturbation effect on planets with large semi-major axis (gaseous planets) in the Solar System. There exist comets which have a very eccentric orbit with a large semi-major axis (Halley family comets). This kind of comet have the particularity to go far away from the Sun (more than 15 AU) in a low acceleration regime where they would be subject to MOND perturbation. On the other side, they approach the Sun very closely (less than 3 AU) and are affected by the sublimation of ices from their nucleus. This sublimation triggers a so-called non-gravitational forces. The main goal of this paper is to investigate the effect of MOND perturbation on three comets with various orbital elements (2P/Encke, 1P/Halley and 153P/Ikeya-Zhang) in order to compare it to the non-gravitational perturbations. It is motivated by the fact that when fitting an outgassing model for a comet, we have to take into account all the small perturbing effects in order to not absorb these effects in the non-gravitational parameters. Indeed, it would have the consequence to give a completely wrong estimation of the outgassing. For this work, we use six different forms of MOND functions and compute the secular variations of the orbital elements due to MOND and non-gravitational perturbations. We show that the MONDian effects are not negligible for comets with large semi-major axis compared to the non-gravitational perturbations.

Chaotic Disintegration of the Inner Solar System

On timescales that greatly exceed an orbital period, typical planetary orbits evolve in a stochastic yet stable fashion. On even longer timescales, however, planetary orbits can spontaneously transition from bounded to unbound chaotic states. Large-scale instabilities associated with such behavior appear to play a dominant role in shaping the architectures of planetary systems, including our own. Here we show how such transitions are possible, focusing on the specific case of the long-term evolution of Mercury. We develop a simple analytical model for Mercury’s dynamics and elucidate the origins of its short term stochastic behavior as well as of its sudden progression to unbounded chaos. Our model allows us to estimate the timescale on which this transition is likely to be triggered, i.e. the dynamical lifetime of the Solar System as we know it. The formulated theory is consistent with the results of numerical simulations and is broadly applicable to extrasolar planetary systems dominated by secular interactions. These results constitute a significant advancement in our understanding of the processes responsible for sculpting of the dynamical structures of generic planetary systems.

Michel Henon and the Stability of the Solar System

Paper in honour of Michel Henon, based on a talk presented at Institut Henri Poincare, Paris, 5 Decembre 2013.

Testing the role of SNe Ia for Galactic chemical evolution of p-nuclei with 2D models and with s-process seeds at different metallicities

The bulk of p isotopes is created in the ‘gamma processes’ mainly by sequences of photodisintegrations and beta decays in explosive conditions in Type Ia supernovae (SNIa) or in core collapse supernovae (ccSN). The contribution of different stellar sources to the observed distribution of p-nuclei in the Solar System is still under debate. We explore single degenerate Type Ia supernovae in the framework of two-dimensional SNIa delayed-detonation explosion models. Travaglio et al. (2011, TRV11) discussed the sensitivity of p-nuclei production to different SNIa models, i.e. delayed detonations of different strength, deflagrations, and the dependence on selected s-process seed distributions. Here we present a detailed study of p-process nucleosynthesis occuring in SNIa with s-process seeds at different metallicities. Based on the delayed-detonation model DDT-a of TRV11, we analyze the dependence of p-nucleosynthesis on the s-seed distribution obtained from different strengths of the 13C-pocket. Using a Galactic chemical evolution code (see Travaglio et al. 2004) we study the contribution of SNIa to the solar stable p-nuclei. We find that explosions of Chandrasekhar-mass single degenerate systems produce a large amount of p-nuclei in our Galaxy, both in the range of light (A < 120) and heavy p-nuclei, at almost flat average production factors (within a factor of about 3). We discussed in details p-isotopes such as 94Mo with a behavior diverging from the average, which we attribute to uncertainties in the nuclear data or in SNIa modelling.

Testing the role of SNe Ia for Galactic chemical evolution of p-nuclei with 2D models and with s-process seeds at different metallicities [Replacement]

The bulk of p isotopes is created in the ‘gamma processes’ mainly by sequences of photodisintegrations and beta decays in explosive conditions in Type Ia supernovae (SNIa) or in core collapse supernovae (ccSN). The contribution of different stellar sources to the observed distribution of p-nuclei in the Solar System is still under debate. We explore single degenerate Type Ia supernovae in the framework of two-dimensional SNIa delayed-detonation explosion models. Travaglio et al. (2011, TRV11) discussed the sensitivity of p-nuclei production to different SNIa models, i.e. delayed detonations of different strength, deflagrations, and the dependence on selected s-process seed distributions. Here we present a detailed study of p-process nucleosynthesis occuring in SNIa with s-process seeds at different metallicities. Based on the delayed-detonation model DDT-a of TRV11, we analyze the dependence of p-nucleosynthesis on the s-seed distribution obtained from different strengths of the 13C-pocket. Using a Galactic chemical evolution code (see Travaglio et al. 2004) we study the contribution of SNIa to the solar stable p-nuclei. We find that explosions of Chandrasekhar-mass single degenerate systems produce a large amount of p-nuclei in our Galaxy, both in the range of light (A < 120) and heavy p-nuclei, at almost flat average production factors (within a factor of about 3). We discussed in details p-isotopes such as 94Mo with a behavior diverging from the average, which we attribute to uncertainties in the nuclear data or in SNIa modelling.

Investigating the Hydration of CM2 meteorites by IR spectroscopy

Chondritic meteorites are of great interest since they are one of the most ancient remnants of the early solar system. Some of them, like the carbonaceous CM meteorites experienced aqueous alteration thus their olivine content transformed more or less into hydrated silicates such as phyllosilicates. These hydrated CM2 meteorites have been investigated in KBr pellets by means of Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy. In our focus of interest was to study the 3 and 10 $\mu$m (3000 and 1000 cm$^{-1}$, the O$-$H and silicate streching) bands of several CM2 chondrites. By investigating these signals the water content and the extent of hydration can be determined. In order to achieve this, development of a new pellet production method was essential. This technique facilitates the elimination of adsorbed water coming from the surrounding environment, which would complicate correct interpretation of the results.

Solar Flare Measurements with STIX and MiSolFA

Solar flares are the most powerful events in the solar system and the brightest sources of X-rays, often associated with emission of particles reaching the Earth and causing geomagnetic storms, giving problems to communication, airplanes and even black-outs. X-rays emitted by accelerated electrons are the most direct probe of solar flare phenomena. The Micro Solar-Flare Apparatus (MiSolFA) is a proposed compact X-ray detector which will address the two biggest issues in solar flare modeling. Dynamic range limitations prevent simultaneous spectroscopy with a single instrument of all X-ray emitting regions of a flare. In addition, most X-ray observations so far are inconsistent with the high anisotropy predicted by the models usually adopted for solar flares. Operated at the same time as the STIX instrument of the ESA Solar Orbiter mission, at the next solar maximum (2020), they will have the unique opportunity to look at the same flare from two different directions: Solar Orbiter gets very close to the Sun with significant orbital inclination; MiSolFA is in a near-Earth orbit. To solve the cross-calibration problems affecting all previous attempts to combine data from different satellites, MiSolFA will adopt the same photon detectors as STIX, precisely quantifying the anisotropy of the X-ray emission for the first time. By selecting flares whose footpoints (the brightest X-ray sources, at the chromosphere) are occulted by the solar limb for one of the two detectors, the other will be able to study the much fainter coronal emission, obtaining for the first time simultaneous observations of all interesting regions. MiSolFA shall operate on board of a very small satellite, with several launch opportunities, and will rely on moir\’e imaging techniques.

Can Collimated Extraterrestrial Signals be Intercepted? [Cross-Listing]

The Optical Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (OSETI) attempts to detect collimated, narrowband pulses of electromagnetic radiation. These pulses may either consist of signals intentionally directed at the Earth, or signals between two star systems with a vector that unintentionally intersects the Solar System, allowing Earth to intercept the communication. But should we expect to be able to intercept these unintentional signals? And what constraints can we place upon the frequency of intelligent civilisations if we do? We carry out Monte Carlo Realisation simulations of interstellar communications between civilisations in the Galactic Habitable Zone (GHZ) using collimated beams. We measure the frequency with which beams between two stars are intercepted by a third. The interception rate increases linearly with the fraction of communicating civilisations, and as the cube of the beam opening angle, which is somewhat stronger than theoretical expectations, which we argue is due to the geometry of the GHZ. We find that for an annular GHZ containing 10,000 civilisations, intersections are unlikely unless the beams are relatively uncollimated. These results indicate that optical SETI is more likely to find signals deliberately directed at the Earth than accidentally intercepting collimated communications. Equally, civilisations wishing to establish a network of communicating species may use weakly collimated beams to build up the network through interception, if they are willing to pay a cost penalty that is lower than that meted by fully isotropic beacons. Future SETI searches should consider the possibility that communicating civilisations will attempt to strike a balance between optimising costs and encouraging contact between civilisations, and look for weakly collimated pulses as well as narrow-beam pulses directed deliberately at the Earth.

Dynamical Evolution of the Earth-Moon Progenitors - Whence Theia?

We present integrations of a model Solar System with five terrestrial planets (beginning ~30-50 Myr after the formation of primitive Solar System bodies) in order to determine the preferred regions of parameter space leading to a giant impact that resulted in the formation of the Moon. Our results indicate which choices of semimajor axes and eccentricities for Theia (the proto-Moon) at this epoch can produce a late Giant Impact, assuming that Mercury, Venus, and Mars are near the current orbits. We find that the likely semimajor axis of Theia, at the epoch when our simulations begin, depends on the assumed mass ratio of Earth-Moon progenitors (8/1, 4/1, or 1/1). The low eccentricities of the terrestrial planets are most commonly produced when the progenitors have similar semimajor axes at the epoch when our integrations commence. Additionally, we show that mean motion resonances among the terrestrial planets and perturbations from the giant planets can affect the dynamical evolution of the system leading to a late Giant Impact.

Eight billion asteroids in the Oort cloud

The Oort cloud is usually thought of as a collection of icy comets inhabiting the outer reaches of the Solar system, but this picture is incomplete. We use simulations of the formation of the Oort cloud to show that ~4% of the small bodies in the Oort cloud should have formed within 2.5 au of the Sun, and hence be ice-free rock-iron bodies. If we assume these Oort cloud asteroids have the same size distribution as their cometary counterparts, the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope should find roughly a dozen Oort cloud asteroids during ten years of operations. Measurement of the asteroid fraction within the Oort cloud can serve as an excellent test of the Solar system’s formation and dynamical history. Oort cloud asteroids could be of particular concern as impact hazards as their high mass density, high impact velocity, and low visibility make them both hard to detect and hard to divert or destroy. However, they should be a rare class of object, and we estimate globally catastrophic collisions should only occur about once per billion years.

The Occurrence and Architecture of Exoplanetary Systems

The basic geometry of the Solar System — the shapes, spacings, and orientations of the planetary orbits — has long been a subject of fascination as well as inspiration for planet formation theories. For exoplanetary systems, those same properties have only recently come into focus. Here we review our current knowledge of the occurrence of planets around other stars, their orbital distances and eccentricities, the orbital spacings and mutual inclinations in multiplanet systems, the orientation of the host star’s rotation axis, and the properties of planets in binary-star systems.

Titan interaction with the supersonic solar wind

After 9 years in the Saturn system, the Cassini spacecraft finally observed Titan in the supersonic solar wind. These unique observations reveal that Titan interaction with the solar wind is in many ways similar to un-magnetized planets Mars and Venus in spite of the differences in the properties of the solar plasma in the outer solar system. In particular, Cassini detected a collisionless, supercritical bow shock and a well-defined induced magnetosphere filled with mass-loaded interplanetary magnetic field lines, which drape around Titan ionosphere. Although the flyby altitude may not allow the detection of an ionopause, Cassini reports enhancements of plasma density compatible with plasma clouds or streamers in the flanks of its induced magnetosphere or due to an expansion of the induced magnetosphere. Because of the upstream conditions, these observations are also relevant for unmagnetized bodies in the outer solar system such as Pluto, where kinetic processes are expected to dominate.

Symplectic map description of Halley's comet dynamics

The main features of 1P/Halley chaotic dynamics can be described by a two dimensional symplectic map. Using Mel’nikov integral we semi-analytically determine such a map for 1P/Halley taking into account gravitational interactions from the Sun and the eight planets. We determine the Solar system kick function ie the energy transfer to 1P/Halley along one passage through the Solar system. Our procedure allows to compute for each planet its contribution to the Solar system kick function which appears to be the sum of the Keplerian potential of the planet and of a rotating circular gravitational dipole potential due to the Sun movement around Solar system barycenter. We test the robustness of the symplectic Halley map by directly integrating Newton’s equations over $\sim 2.4\cdot 10^4$ yr around Y2K and by reconstructing the Solar system kick function. Our results show that the Halley map with fixed parameters gives a reliable description of comet dynamics on time scales of $10^4$ yr while on a larger scales the parameters of the map are slowly changing due to slow oscillations of orbital momentum.

A Precise Water Abundance Measurement for the Hot Jupiter WASP-43b

The water abundance in a planetary atmosphere provides a key constraint on the planet’s primordial origins because water ice is expected to play an important role in the core accretion model of planet formation. However, the water content of the Solar System giant planets is not well known because water is sequestered in clouds deep in their atmospheres. By contrast, short-period exoplanets have such high temperatures that their atmospheres have water in the gas phase, making it possible to measure the water abundance for these objects. We present a precise determination of the water abundance in the atmosphere of the 2 $M_\mathrm{Jup}$ short-period exoplanet WASP-43b based on thermal emission and transmission spectroscopy measurements obtained with the Hubble Space Telescope. We find the water content is consistent with the value expected in a solar composition gas at planetary temperatures (0.4-3.5x solar at 1 $\sigma$ confidence). The metallicity of WASP-43b’s atmosphere suggested by this result extends the trend observed in the Solar System of lower metal enrichment for higher planet masses.

Light Element Nucleosynthesis in a Molecular Cloud Interacting with a Supernova Remnant and the Origin of Beryllium-10 in the Protosolar Nebula

The presence of short-lived radionuclides in the early solar system provides important information about the astrophysical environment in which the solar system formed. The discovery of now extinct $^{10}$Be in calcium-aluminum-rich inclusions (CAIs) with Fractionation and Unidentified Nuclear isotope anomalies (FUN-CAIs) suggests that a baseline concentration of $^{10}$Be in the early solar system was inherited from the protosolar molecular cloud. In this paper, we first show that the $^{10}$Be recorded in FUN-CAIs cannot have been produced in situ by cosmic-ray (CR) irradiation of the FUN-CAIs themselves. We then show that trapping of Galactic CRs (GCRs) in the collapsing presolar cloud core induced a negligible $^{10}$Be contamination of the protosolar nebula. Irradiation of the presolar molecular cloud by background GCRs produced a steady-state $^{10}$Be/$^9$Be ratio ~2.3 times lower than the ratio recorded in FUN-CAIs, which suggests that the presolar cloud was irradiated by an additional source of CRs. Considering a detailed model for CR acceleration in a supernova remnant (SNR), we find that the $^{10}$Be abundance recorded in FUN-CAIs can be explained within two alternative scenarios: (i) the irradiation of a giant molecular cloud by CRs produced by >50 supernovae exploding in a superbubble of hot gas generated by a large star cluster of at least 20,000 members and (ii) the irradiation of the presolar molecular cloud by freshly accelerated CRs escaped from an isolated SNR at the end of the Sedov-Taylor phase. The second model naturally provides an explanation for the injection of other short-lived radionuclides of stellar origin into the cold presolar molecular cloud ($^{26}$Al, $^{41}$Ca and $^{36}$Cl) and is in agreement with the solar system originating from the collapse of a molecular cloud shocked by a supernova blast wave.

The Luminosities of the Coldest Brown Dwarfs

In recent years brown dwarfs have been extended to a new Y-dwarf class with effective temperatures colder than 500K and masses in the range 5-30 Jupiter masses. They fill a crucial gap in observable atmospheric properties between the much colder gas-giant planets of our own Solar System (at around 130K) and both hotter T-type brown dwarfs and the hotter planets that can be imaged orbiting young nearby stars (both with effective temperatures of in the range 1500-1000K). Distance measurements for these objects deliver absolute magnitudes that make critical tests of our understanding of very cool atmospheres. Here we report new distances for nine Y dwarfs and seven very-late T dwarfs. These reveal that Y dwarfs do indeed represent a continuation of the T dwarf sequence to both fainter luminosities and cooler temperatures. They also show that the coolest objects display a large range in absolute magnitude for a given photometric colour. The latest atmospheric models show good agreement with the majority of these Y dwarf absolute magnitudes. This is also the case for WISE0855-0714 the coldest and closest brown dwarf to the Sun, which shows evidence for water ice clouds. However, there are also some outstanding exceptions, which suggest either binarity or the presence of condensate clouds. The former is readily testable with current adaptive optics facilities. The latter would mean that the range of cloudiness in Y dwarfs is substantial with most hosting almost no clouds — while others have dense clouds making them prime targets for future variability observations to study cloud dynamics.

Constraining the Oblateness of Kepler Planets

We use Kepler short cadence light curves to constrain the oblateness of planet candidates in the Kepler sample. The transits of rapidly rotating planets that are deformed in shape will lead to distortions in the ingress and egress of their light curves. We report the first tentative detection of an oblate planet outside of the solar system, measuring an oblateness of $0.22 \pm 0.11$ for the 18 $M_J$ mass brown dwarf Kepler 39b (KOI-423.01). We also provide constraints on the oblateness of the planets (candidates) HAT-P-7b, KOI-686.01, and KOI-197.01 to be < 0.067, < 0.251, and < 0.186, respectively. Using the Q’-values from Jupiter and Saturn, we expect tidal synchronization for the spins of HAT-P-7b, KOI-686.01 and KOI-197.01, and for their rotational oblateness signatures to be undetectable in the current data. The potentially large oblateness of KOI-423.01 (Kepler 39b) suggests that the Q’-value of the brown dwarf needs to be two orders of magnitude larger than that of the solar system gas giants to avoid being tidally spun-down.

Towards a comprehensive model of Earth's disk-integrated Stokes vector

A significant body of work on simulating the remote appearance of Earth-like exoplanets has been done over the last decade. The research is driven by the prospect of characterizing habitable planets beyond the Solar System in the near future. In this work, I present a method to produce the disk-integrated signature of planets that are described in their three-dimensional complexity, i.e. with both horizontal and vertical variations in the optical properties of their envelopes. The approach is based on pre-conditioned backward Monte Carlo integration of the vector Radiative Transport Equation and yields the full Stokes vector for outgoing reflected radiation. The method is demonstrated through selected examples inspired by published work at wavelengths from the visible to the near infrared and terrestrial prescriptions of both cloud and surface albedo maps. A clear advantage of this approach is that its computational cost does not appear to be significantly affected by non-uniformities in the planet optical properties. Earth’s simulated appearance is strongly dependent on wavelength; both brightness and polarisation undergo diurnal variations arising from changes in the planet cover, but polarisation yields a better insight into variations with phase angle. There is partial cancellation of the polarised signal from the northern and southern hemispheres so that the outgoing polarisation vector lies preferentially either in the plane parallel or perpendicular to the planet scattering plane, also for non-uniform cloud and albedo properties and various levels of absorption within the atmosphere. The evaluation of circular polarisation is challenging; a number of one-photon experiments of 1E9 or more is needed to resolve hemispherically-integrated degrees of circular polarisation of a few times 1E-5. Last, I introduce brightness curves…

On the Stability of the Interstellar Wind through the Solar System

As a follow-up of a recent study, we challenge the claim that the flow of interstellar helium through the solar system has changed substantially over the last decades. We argue that only the IBEX-Lo 2009-2010 measurements are discrepant with older consensus values. Then we show that the probability of the claimed variations of longitude and velocity are highly unlikely (about 1 per cent), in view of the absence of change in latitude and absence of change in the (flow velocity, flow longitude) relation, while random values would be expected. Finally, we report other independent studies showing the stability of Helium flow and the Hydrogen flow over the years 1996-2012, consistent with the seventies earlier determinations of the interstellar flow.

The ancient heritage of water ice in the solar system

Identifying the source of Earth’s water is central to understanding the origins of life-fostering environments and to assessing the prevalence of such environments in space. Water throughout the solar system exhibits deuterium-to-hydrogen enrichments, a fossil relic of low-temperature, ion-derived chemistry within either (i) the parent molecular cloud or (ii) the solar nebula protoplanetary disk. Utilizing a comprehensive treatment of disk ionization, we find that ion-driven deuterium pathways are inefficient, curtailing the disk’s deuterated water formation and its viability as the sole source for the solar system’s water. This finding implies that if the solar system’s formation was typical, abundant interstellar ices are available to all nascent planetary systems.

On the filtering and processing of dust by planetesimals 1. Derivation of collision probabilities for non-drifting planetesimals

Context. Circumstellar disks are known to contain a significant mass in dust ranging from micron to centimeter size. Meteorites are evidence that individual grains of those sizes were collected and assembled into planetesimals in the young Solar System. Aims. We assess the efficiency of dust collection of a swarm of planetesimals with radii ranging from 1 to 10^3 km and beyond. Methods. We derive analytical expressions of the probability for drifting dust to collide with planetesimals. Results. For standard turbulence conditions (i.e. a turbulence parameter {\alpha} = 10^-2), filtering is found to be inefficient, meaning that when crossing a minimum-mass solar nebula belt of planetesimals extending between 0.1 and 35 AU most dust particles are eventually accreted by the central star. However, if the disk is weakly turbulent ({\alpha} = 10^-4) filtering becomes efficient in two regimes: (i) For planetesimals smaller than about 10km in size and dust of all sizes and (ii) for planetary embryos larger than about 1000km in size and dust of millimeter-size or larger. The first regime strongly favors short orbital distances while the second only weakly depends on orbital distance. Dust particles much smaller than millimeter-size tend to be only captured by the smallest planetesimals. [Abridged]

On the filtering and processing of dust by planetesimals 1. Derivation of collision probabilities for non-drifting planetesimals [Replacement]

Context. Circumstellar disks are known to contain a significant mass in dust ranging from micron to centimeter size. Meteorites are evidence that individual grains of those sizes were collected and assembled into planetesimals in the young solar system. Aims. We assess the efficiency of dust collection of a swarm of non-drifting planetesimals {\rev with radii ranging from 1 to $10^3$\,km and beyond. Methods. We calculate the collision probability of dust drifting in the disk due to gas drag by planetesimal accounting for several regimes depending on the size of the planetesimal, dust, and orbital distance: the geometric, Safronov, settling, and three-body regimes. We also include a hydrodynamical regime to account for the fact that small grains tend to be carried by the gas flow around planetesimals. Results. We provide expressions for the collision probability of dust by planetesimals and for the filtering efficiency by a swarm of planetesimals. For standard turbulence conditions (i.e., a turbulence parameter $\alpha=10^{-2}$), filtering is found to be inefficient, meaning that when crossing a minimum-mass solar nebula (MMSN) belt of planetesimals extending between 0.1 AU and 35 AU most dust particles are eventually accreted by the central star rather than colliding with planetesimals. However, if the disk is weakly turbulent ($\alpha=10^{-4}$) filtering becomes efficient in two regimes: (i) when planetesimals are all smaller than about 10 km in size, in which case collisions mostly take place in the geometric regime; and (ii) when planetary embryos larger than about 1000 km in size dominate the distribution, have a scale height smaller than one tenth of the gas scale height, and dust is of millimeter size or larger in which case most collisions take place in the settling regime. These two regimes have very different properties: we find that the local filtering efficiency $x_{filter,MMSN}$ scales with $r^{-7/4}$ (where $r$ is the orbital distance) in the geometric regime, but with $r^{-1/4}$ to $r^{1/4}$ in the settling regime. This implies that the filtering of dust by small planetesimals should occur close to the central star and with a short spread in orbital distances. On the other hand, the filtering by embryos in the settling regime is expected to be more gradual and determined by the extent of the disk of embryos. Dust particles much smaller than millimeter size tend only to be captured by the smallest planetesimals because they otherwise move on gas streamlines and their collisions take place in the hydrodynamical regime. Conclusions. Our results hint at an inside-out formation of planetesimals in the infant solar system because small planetesimals in the geometrical limit can filter dust much more efficiently close to the central star. However, even a fully-formed belt of planetesimals such as the MMSN only marginally captures inward-drifting dust and this seems to imply that dust in the protosolar disk has been filtered by planetesimals even smaller than 1 km (not included in this study) or that it has been assembled into planetesimals by other mechanisms (e.g., orderly growth, capture into vortexes). Further refinement of our work concerns, among other things: a quantitative description of the transition region between the hydro and settling regimes; an assessment of the role of disk turbulence for collisions, in particular in the hydro regime; and the coupling of our model to a planetesimal formation model.

 

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