Chaos in the formation of terrestrial planets


Chaos in the formation of terrestrial planets

Status report of: Electronic print archive
Posted: Monday August 10 2015

Volker Hoffmann, Simon L. Grimm, Ben Moore, Joachim Stadel
(Submitted August 4, 2015)

It is believed that the terrestrial planets are the result of a large number of gravitational interactions and collisions between smaller bodies. We use numerical simulations to show that nearly identical initial conditions result in a wide range of final planetary configurations. This highly chaotic behavior calls into question the predictability of the different scenarios of formation and evolution of our solar system and of planetary systems in general. However, multiple realizations of the same initial conditions can be used to predict some overall statistics.

We present two sets of digital experiments that quantify this behavior. First, we demonstrate that simulations with slightly displaced particles are completely divergent after about 500 years, regardless of the initial displacement, the number of particles and the accuracy of the code. If a single planetesimal is displaced by less than a millimeter, then a different set of planets results – this timescale for chaotic divergence decreases as the number of particles increases. Second, we show the final planetary configurations of initially similar simulations with and without giant planets after evolving them for ~ 148 Myr.

We find that the same simulations including giant planets tend to generate higher mass planets at lower semi-major axes than simulations without gas giants. This prediction can be tested with the next observation programs. By extracting outliers in the observations, we cautiously predict that Kepler-10, Kepler-9, 61 Vir, HD 134060, and HD 51608 could host undetected giant planets.

Comments: 17 pages, 15 figures, submitted to MNRAS, simulation outputs available at this URL https
Subjects: Astrophysics of the Earth and the planets (astro-ph.EP); Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics (astro-ph.IM); Chaotic dynamics (nlin.CD)
Quote as: arXiv: 1508.00917 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv: 1508.00917v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
History of submissions
From: Volker Hoffmann
[v1] Tue Aug 4, 2015 20:35:41 GMT (7720kb, D)

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