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Title: On the Existence of Regular and Irregular Outer Moons Orbiting the Pluto–Charon System

Abstract

The dwarf planet Pluto is known to host an extended system of five co-planar satellites. Previous studies have explored the formation and evolution of the system in isolation, neglecting perturbative effects by the Sun. Here we show that secular evolution due to the Sun can strongly affect the evolution of outer satellites and rings in the system, if such exist. Although precession due to extended gravitational potential from the inner Pluto–Charon binary quench such secular evolution up to a {sub crit} ∼ 0.0035 au (∼0.09 R {sub Hill} the Hill radius; including all of the currently known satellites), outer orbits can be significantly altered. In particular, we find that co-planar rings and satellites should not exist beyond a {sub crit}; rather, satellites and dust particles in these regions secularly evolve on timescales ranging between 10{sup 4} and 10{sup 6} years, and quasi-periodically change their inclinations and eccentricities through secular evolution (Lidov–Kozai oscillations). Such oscillations can lead to high inclinations and eccentricities, constraining the range where such satellites (and dust particles) can exist without crossing the orbits of the inner satellites or crossing the outer Hill stability range. Outer satellites, if such exist are therefore likely to be irregular satellites, withmore » orbits limited to be non-circular and/or highly inclined. Current observations, including the recent data from the New-Horizons mission explored only inner regions (<0.0012 au) and excluded the existence of additional satellites; however, the irregular satellites discussed here should reside farther, in the yet uncharted regions around Pluto.« less

Authors:
; ;  [1]
  1. Physics Department, Technion—Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa 3200004 (Israel)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22663884
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal; Journal Volume: 836; Journal Issue: 1; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; ASTEROIDS; DETECTION; DUSTS; EVOLUTION; INCLINATION; MOON; OSCILLATIONS; PERIODICITY; PLUTO PLANET; PRECESSION; STABILITY; SUN

Citation Formats

Michaely, Erez, Perets, Hagai B., and Grishin, Evgeni. On the Existence of Regular and Irregular Outer Moons Orbiting the Pluto–Charon System. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/AA52B2.
Michaely, Erez, Perets, Hagai B., & Grishin, Evgeni. On the Existence of Regular and Irregular Outer Moons Orbiting the Pluto–Charon System. United States. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/AA52B2.
Michaely, Erez, Perets, Hagai B., and Grishin, Evgeni. Fri . "On the Existence of Regular and Irregular Outer Moons Orbiting the Pluto–Charon System". United States. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/AA52B2.
@article{osti_22663884,
title = {On the Existence of Regular and Irregular Outer Moons Orbiting the Pluto–Charon System},
author = {Michaely, Erez and Perets, Hagai B. and Grishin, Evgeni},
abstractNote = {The dwarf planet Pluto is known to host an extended system of five co-planar satellites. Previous studies have explored the formation and evolution of the system in isolation, neglecting perturbative effects by the Sun. Here we show that secular evolution due to the Sun can strongly affect the evolution of outer satellites and rings in the system, if such exist. Although precession due to extended gravitational potential from the inner Pluto–Charon binary quench such secular evolution up to a {sub crit} ∼ 0.0035 au (∼0.09 R {sub Hill} the Hill radius; including all of the currently known satellites), outer orbits can be significantly altered. In particular, we find that co-planar rings and satellites should not exist beyond a {sub crit}; rather, satellites and dust particles in these regions secularly evolve on timescales ranging between 10{sup 4} and 10{sup 6} years, and quasi-periodically change their inclinations and eccentricities through secular evolution (Lidov–Kozai oscillations). Such oscillations can lead to high inclinations and eccentricities, constraining the range where such satellites (and dust particles) can exist without crossing the orbits of the inner satellites or crossing the outer Hill stability range. Outer satellites, if such exist are therefore likely to be irregular satellites, with orbits limited to be non-circular and/or highly inclined. Current observations, including the recent data from the New-Horizons mission explored only inner regions (<0.0012 au) and excluded the existence of additional satellites; however, the irregular satellites discussed here should reside farther, in the yet uncharted regions around Pluto.},
doi = {10.3847/1538-4357/AA52B2},
journal = {Astrophysical Journal},
number = 1,
volume = 836,
place = {United States},
year = {Fri Feb 10 00:00:00 EST 2017},
month = {Fri Feb 10 00:00:00 EST 2017}
}