skip to main content

SciTech ConnectSciTech Connect

Title: Capture of irregular satellites at Jupiter

The irregular satellites of outer planets are thought to have been captured from heliocentric orbits. The exact nature of the capture process, however, remains uncertain. We examine the possibility that irregular satellites were captured from the planetesimal disk during the early solar system instability when encounters between the outer planets occurred. Nesvorný et al. already showed that the irregular satellites of Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune were plausibly captured during planetary encounters. Here we find that the current instability models present favorable conditions for capture of irregular satellites at Jupiter as well, mainly because Jupiter undergoes a phase of close encounters with an ice giant. We show that the orbital distribution of bodies captured during planetary encounters provides a good match to the observed distribution of irregular satellites at Jupiter. The capture efficiency for each particle in the original transplanetary disk is found to be (1.3-3.6) × 10{sup –8}. This is roughly enough to explain the observed population of jovian irregular moons. We also confirm Nesvorný et al.'s results for the irregular satellites of Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune.
Authors:
; ;  [1]
  1. Department of Space Studies, Southwest Research Institute, 1050 Walnut Street, Suite 300, Boulder, CO 80302 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22351525
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal; Journal Volume: 784; 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; ASTROPHYSICS; CAPTURE; DISTRIBUTION; EFFICIENCY; INSTABILITY; JUPITER PLANET; MOON; NEPTUNE PLANET; ORBITS; SATURN PLANET; SOLAR SYSTEM; URANUS PLANET