Viewing Solar System Orbital Architecture through an Extrasolar Lens


Tuesday, April 14 2015 - 12:00 pm, PDT
Konstantin Batygin

The statistics of extrasolar planetary systems indicate that the default mode of planetary formation generates planets with orbital periods shorter than 100 days, and masses substantially exceeding that of the Earth. When viewed in this context, the Solar System, which contains no planets interior to Mercury’s 88-day orbit, is unusual. Extra-solar planetary detection surveys also suggest that planets with masses and periods broadly similar to Jupiter’s are somewhat uncommon, with occurrence fraction of less than ~ 10%. In this talk, Dr. Batygin will present calculations which show that a popular formation scenario for Jupiter and Saturn, in which Jupiter migrates inward from a > 5AU to a ∼ 1.5 AU and then reverses direction, can explain the low overall mass of the Solar System’s terrestrial planets, as well as the absence of planets with a < 0.4 AU. Jupiter’s inward migration entrained s > 10 − 100 km planetesimals into low- order mean-motion resonances, shepherding of order 10 Earth masses of this material into the a ∼ 1 AU region while exciting substantial orbital eccentricity (e ∼ 0.2 − 0.4). He will argue that under these conditions, a collisional cascade will ensue, generating a planetesimal disk that would have flushed any preexisting short-period super-Earth-like planets into the Sun. In this scenario, the Solar System’s terrestrial planets formed from gas-starved mass-depleted debris that remained after the primary period of dynamical evolution.

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