DPS 35th Meeting, 1-6 September 2003
Session 27. Planet and Satellite Origins II: Accretion, Terrestrial Planets
Oral, Chairs: F. Spahn and T. J. Ahrens, Thursday, September 4, 2003, 3:40-5:50pm, DeAnza I-II

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[27.10] Simulating the Gas-Assisted Capture of Earth-sized Moons around Extrasolar Giant Planets

D.M. Williams (Penn State Erie, The Behrend College)

The number of Jupiter-sized planets on orbits that cross the habitable zones of Sun-like stars is now 42. Moons of these planets might have oceans of liquid water if they are big enough to form and maintain atmospheres, which they should be able to do if they are slightly larger than Mars [Williams D.W., Kasting, J.F., & Wade, R.A.1997. Nature 385,234]. Here we demonstrate using a modified symplectic orbital integrator that such planet-sized moons may be captured through a chance collision between a terrestrial planet and a young jovian planet enveloped in a circumplanetary disk. We find that permanent capture is best achieved when the approach vector is approximately co-planar with the disk and the minimum planet-impactor separation is < 10 planetary radii. For optimal conditions, a 0.1 Jupiter-mass disk can capture and circularize an Earth-mass impactor in under 100 years. The ultimate fate of such moons and the nebula are currently being examined through hydrodynamic simulation.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: dmw145@psu.edu

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 35 #4
© 2003. The American Astronomical Soceity.