High-resolution simulations of the final assembly of Earth-like planets I. Terrestrial accretion and dynamics
The final stage in the formation of terrestrial planets consists of the accumulation of ∼1000-km "planetary embryos" and a swarm of billions of 1-10 km "planetesimals." During this process, water-rich material is accreted by the terrestrial planets via impacts of water-rich bodies from beyond roughly 2.5 AU. We present results from five high-resolution dynamical simulations. These start from 1000-2000 embryos and planetesimals, roughly 5-10 times more particles than in previous simulations. Each simulation formed 2-4 terrestrial planets with masses between 0.4 and 2.6 Earth masses. The eccentricities of most planets were ∼0.05, lower than in previous simulations, but still higher than for Venus, Earth and Mars. Each planet accreted at least the Earth's current water budget. We demonstrate several new aspects of the accretion process: (1) The feeding zones of terrestrial planets change in time, widening and moving outward. Even in the presence of Jupiter, water-rich material from beyond 2.5 AU is not accreted for several millions of years. (2) Even in the absence of secular resonances, the asteroid belt is cleared of >99% of its original mass by self-scattering of bodies into resonances with Jupiter. (3) If planetary embryos form relatively slowly, then the formation of embryos in the asteroid belt may have been stunted by the presence of Jupiter. (4) Self-interacting planetesimals feel dynamical friction from other small bodies, which has important effects on the eccentricity evolution and outcome of a simulation.
- Pub Date:
- August 2006
- 25 pages, 20 figures, 2 tables in emulateapj format. Figures are low-res. For high-res version, go to http://www.astro.washington.edu/raymond/highres1.pdf