The evidence from the dynamical structure of the Kuiper Belt indicates that the giant planets suffered significant radial migration in the early history of our Solar system. I have completed several computer simulations of the migration of the giant planets and the attendant sweeping of the Kuiper Belt by mean motion and secular resonances. The simulations were designed to explore the sensitivity to the time-dependence and magnitude of planet migration of the final orbital distribution of a primordial population of small bodies formed beyond the orbit of Neptune. Two extreme cases for the time-dependence of the giant planet migration were considered: a linear variation and an exponential variation of the planets' mean orbital radii; a stochastic component in the radial migration was also considered. The results of these simulations together with the observed characteristics of the Kuiper Belt lead to the conclusion that the timescale of planet migration was ~ 10(7) years.
AAS/Division for Planetary Sciences Meeting Abstracts #30
- Pub Date:
- September 1998