Volume 642, October 2020
|Number of page(s)||6|
|Section||Letters to the Editor|
|Published online||26 October 2020|
Letter to the Editor
Orbital features of distant trans-Neptunian objects induced by giant gaseous clumps
Institute of Astronomy, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow 119017, Russia
Accepted: 6 October 2020
Context. The discovery of distant trans-Neptunian objects has led to heated discussions about the structure of the outer Solar System.
Aims. We study the dynamical evolution of small bodies from the Hill regions of migrating giant gaseous clumps that form in the outer solar nebula via gravitational fragmentation. We attempt to determine whether the observed features of the orbital distribution of distant trans-Neptunian objects could be caused by this process.
Methods. We consider a simple model that includes the Sun, two point-like giant clumps with masses of ∼10 Jupiter masses, and a set of massless objects initially located in the Hill regions of these clumps. We carry out numerical simulations of the motions of small bodies under gravitational perturbations from two giant clumps that move in elliptical orbits and approach each other. The orbital distribution of these small bodies is compared with the observed distribution of distant trans-Neptunian objects.
Results. In addition to the known grouping in longitudes of perihelion, we note new features for observed distant trans-Neptunian objects. The observed orbital distribution points to the existence of two groups of distant trans-Neptunian objects with different dynamical characteristics. We show that the main features of the orbital distribution of distant trans-Neptunian objects can be explained by their origin in the Hill regions of migrating giant gaseous clumps. Small bodies are ejected from the Hill regions when the giant clumps move in high-eccentricity orbits and have a close encounter with each other.
Conclusions. The resulting orbital distribution of small bodies in our model and the observed distribution of distant trans-Neptunian objects have similar features.
Key words: Kuiper belt: general / planet-disk interactions / methods: numerical
© ESO 2020
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