EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 497, Number 3, April III 2009
Page(s) 847 - 850
Section Planets and planetary systems
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361/200811230
Published online 11 March 2009
A&A 497, 847-850 (2009)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/200811230

Research Note

Notes on the outer-Oort-cloud formation efficiency in the simulation of Oort cloud formation

P. A. Dybczyński1, G. Leto2, M. Jakubík3, T. Paulech4, and L. Neslušan3

1  Astronomical Observatory of the A. Mickiewicz University, Słoneczna 36, 60-286 Poznań, Poland
    e-mail: dybol@amu.edu.pl
2  Catania Astrophysical Observatory, via Santa Sofia 78, 95123 Catania, Italy
    e-mail: gle@astrct.oact.inaf.it
3  Astronomical Institute of the Slovak Academy of Sciences, 05960 Tatranská Lomnica, Slovakia
    e-mail: [mjakubik;ne]@ta3.sk
4  Astronomical Institute of the Slovak Academy of Sciences, Dúbravská cesta 9, 84504 Bratislava, Slovakia
    e-mail: astrotom@savba.sk

Received 27 October 2008 / Accepted 22 January 2009

Aims. The formation efficiency of the outer Oort cloud, obtained in the simulation performed in our previous work, appeared to be very low in a comparison with the corresponding results of other authors. Performing three other simulations, we attempt to find if any of three possible reasons can account for the discrepancy.
Methods. The dynamical evolution of the particles is followed by numerical integration of their orbits. We consider the perturbations by four giant planets on their current orbits and with their current masses, in addition to perturbations by the Galactic tide and passing stars.
Results. The omission of stellar perturbations causes only a small increase (about $\approx$10%) in the population size, because the erosion by stellar perturbations prevails upon the enrichment due to the same perturbations. As a result, our different model of them cannot result in any huge erosion of the comet cloud. The relatively shorter border, up to which we followed the dynamics of the test particles in our previous simulation, causes a significant (about a factor of $\approx$2) underestimate of the outer-Oort-cloud population. Nevertheless, it by itself cannot fully account for an order-of-magnitude difference in the formation-efficiency values. It seems that the difference could mainly stem from a large stochasticity of the comet-cloud formation process. Our maximum efficiency can grow to more than three times the corresponding minimum value when using some subsets of test particles.

Key words: comets: general -- Oort cloud -- solar system: formation

© ESO 2009