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Astrophysics

Title: Ice Lines, Planetesimal Composition and Solid Surface Density in the Solar Nebula

Authors: Sarah E. Dodson-Robinson (1), Karen Willacy (2), Peter Bodenheimer (3), Neal J. Turner (2), C. A. Beichman (1,2) ((1) NASA Exoplanet Science Center, (2) Jet Propulsion Laboratory, (3) UCO/Lick Observatory)
Abstract: To date, there is no core accretion simulation that can successfully account for the formation of Uranus or Neptune within the observed 2-3 Myr lifetimes of protoplanetary disks. Since solid accretion rate is directly proportional to the available planetesimal surface density, one way to speed up planet formation is to take a full accounting of all the planetesimal-forming solids present in the solar nebula. By combining a viscously evolving protostellar disk with a kinetic model of ice formation, we calculate the solid surface density in the solar nebula as a function of heliocentric distance and time. We find three effects that strongly favor giant planet formation: (1) a decretion flow that brings mass from the inner solar nebula to the giant planet-forming region, (2) recent lab results (Collings et al. 2004) showing that the ammonia and water ice lines should coincide, and (3) the presence of a substantial amount of methane ice in the trans-Saturnian region. Our results show higher solid surface densities than assumed in the core accretion models of Pollack et al. (1996) by a factor of 3 to 4 throughout the trans-Saturnian region. We also discuss the location of ice lines and their movement through the solar nebula, and provide new constraints on the possible initial disk configurations from gravitational stability arguments.
Comments: Version 2: reflects lead author's name and affiliation change, contains minor changes to text from version 1. 12 figures, 7 tables, accepted for publication in Icarus
Subjects: Astrophysics (astro-ph)
DOI: 10.1016/j.icarus.2008.11.023
Cite as: arXiv:0806.3788 [astro-ph]
  (or arXiv:0806.3788v2 [astro-ph] for this version)

Submission history

From: Sarah Robinson [view email]
[v1] Mon, 23 Jun 2008 23:35:41 GMT (2806kb,D)
[v2] Thu, 4 Dec 2008 21:56:00 GMT (3953kb,D)