EDP Sciences
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Volume 473, Number 1, October I 2007
Page(s) 311 - 322
Section Planets and planetary systems
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20066729

A&A 473, 311-322 (2007)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20066729

Oligarchic planetesimal accretion and giant planet formation

A. Fortier1, 2, O. G. Benvenuto1, 2, and A. Brunini1, 2

1  Facultad de Ciencias Astronómicas y Geofísicas, Universidad Nacional de La Plata, Paseo del Bosque s/n (B1900FWA) La Plata, Argentina
    e-mail: [afortier;obenvenu;abrunini]@fcaglp.unlp.edu.ar
2  Instituto de Astrofísica de La Plata, IALP, CONICET-UNLP, Argentina

(Received 9 November 2006 / Accepted 25 June 2007)

Aims.In the context of the core instability model, we present calculations of in situ giant planet formation. The oligarchic growth regime of solid protoplanets is the model adopted for the growth of the core. This growth regime for the core has not been considered before in full evolutionary calculations of this kind.
Methods.The full differential equations of giant planet formation were numerically solved with an adaptation of a Henyey-type code. The planetesimals accretion rate was coupled in a self-consistent way to the envelope's evolution.
Results.We performed several simulations for the formation of a Jupiter-like object by assuming various surface densities for the protoplanetary disc and two different sizes for the accreted planetesimals. We first focus our study on the atmospheric gas drag that the incoming planetesimals suffer. We find that this effect gives rise to a major enhancement on the effective capture radius of the protoplanet, thus leading to an average timescale reduction of ~30%-55% and ultimately to an increase by a factor of 2 of the final mass of solids accreted as compared to the situation in which drag effects are neglected. In addition, we also examine the importance of the size of accreted planetesimals on the whole formation process. With regard to this second point, we find that for a swarm of planetesimals having a radius of 10 km, the formation time is a factor 2 to 3 shorter than that of planetesimals of 100 km, the factor depending on the surface density of the nebula. Moreover, planetesimal size does not seem to have a significant impact on the final mass of the core.

Key words: planets and satellites: formation -- solar system: formation -- methods: numerical

© ESO 2007

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