31st Annual Meeting of the DPS, October 1999
Session 18. The Moon and Mercury Posters
Poster Group I, Monday-Wednesday, October 11, 1999, , Kursaal Center

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[18.08] Evolution of a Circumterrestrial Disk and Formation of a Single Moon

E. Kokubo, J. Makino (University of Tokyo), S. Ida (Tokyo Institute of Technology)

We investigate the evolution of a circumterrestrial disk of debris generated by a giant impact on the Earth and the dynamical characteristics of the moon accreted from the disk by using high-resolution N-body simulation. We find that in most cases the disk evolution results in the formation of a single large moon on a nearly non-inclined circular orbit just outside the Roche limit. The efficiency of incorporation of disk material into a moon is 10--50%, which increases with the initial specific angular momentum of the disk. These results hardly depend on the initial condition of the disk as long as the mass of the disk is 2 to 4 times the present lunar mass and most mass of the disk exists inside the Roche limit. The time scale of the disk evolution is determined mainly by the surface density of the disk. The evolution of the disk is summarized as follows: The disk contracts through collisional damping. Gravitational instability occurs and particle clumps grow inside the Roche limit. The clumps become elongated due to Keplerian shear, which forms spiral arms. Particles are transfered to the outside of the Roche limit through the gravitational torque exerted by the spiral arms. When a tip of a spiral arm goes beyond the Roche limit, it collapses into a small moonlet. The rapid accretion of these small moonlets forms a lunar seed. The seed exclusively grows by sweeping up particles transfered over the Roche limit. When the moon becomes large enough to gravitationally dominate the disk, it pushes the rest of the inner disk to the Earth. The formation time scale of the moon from the disk is of the order of a month.

If you would like more information about this abstract, please follow the link to http://grape.c.u-tokyo.ac.jp/~kokubo/moon/kit/movie.html. This link was provided by the author. When you follow it, you will leave the Web site for this meeting; to return, you should use the Back comand on your browser.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: kokubo@grape.astron.s.u-tokyo.ac.jp

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