DPS 35th Meeting, 1-6 September 2003
Session 25. Planet and Satellite Origins I: Disks, Nebulae and Giant Planets
Oral, Chairs: A. P. Boss and J. J. Lissaurer, Thursday, September 4, 2003, 1:30-3:20pm, DeAnza I-II

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[25.06] Small Core for Jupiter using the Core Instability Model

O. Hubickyj, P. Bodenheimer (UCO/Lick Obs. @ UCSC), J. Lissauer (NASA Ames Research Center)

The gas giant planets are generally believed to have been formed by the core instability model which states that a solid core is formed from the accretion of planetesimals in the solar nebula followed by the capture of a massive envelope from the solar nebula gas. Our simulations based on this model have been successful in explaining many features of the giant planets. Recent interior models of Jupiter and Saturn suggest smaller core masses that had been previously predicted. We have computed evolutionary simulations of Jupiter where we have varied the grain opacity and the planetesimal surface density of the solar nebula. We also explore the implications of halting the solid accretion at selected core mass values during the protoplanet's growth, thus simulating the presence of a competing embryo.

Our results demonstrate that decreasing the grain opacity reduces the evolution time by more than half of that for models computed with full interstellar grain opacity values. In fact, it is the reduction of the grain opacity in the upper portion of the envelope with T < 500 K that governs the lowering of the formation time. Decreasing the surface density of the planetesimals lowers the final core mass of the protoplanet but increases the formation timescale. Finally, a core mass cutoff results in the reduction of the time needed for a protoplanet to evolve to the stage of runaway gas accretion provided the cutoff mass is not too small.

Derived core masses and observed short lifetimes of protoplanetary disks strongly constrain conditions for forming gas giant planets. It appears that the key to satisfying the constraints is for the grain opacity to be substantially less than the interstellar value, consistent with recent calculations of grain settling in giant planet atmospheres.

This research is supported by NASA's Origins of Solar Systems Program grant NAG5-9661.

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