Thursday, December 18, 2014

Forming Multiple Moons From Low-Mass Circumplanetary Disks

Formation of Multiple-Satellite Systems From Low-Mass Circumplanetary Particle Disks


Hyodo et al


Circumplanetary particle disks would be created in the late stage of planetary formation either by impacts of planetary bodies or disruption of satellites or passing bodies, and satellites can be formed by accretion of disk particles spreading across the Roche limit. Previous N-body simulation of lunar accretion focused on the formation of single-satellite systems from disks with large disk-to-planet mass ratios, while recent models of the formation of multiple-satellite systems from disks with smaller mass ratios do not take account of gravitational interaction between formed satellites. In the present work, we investigate satellite accretion from particle disks with various masses, using N-body simulation. In the case of accretion from somewhat less massive disks than the case of lunar accretion, formed satellites are not massive enough to clear out the disk, but can become massive enough to gravitationally shepherd the disk outer edge and start outward migration due to gravitational interaction with the disk. When the radial location of the 2:1 mean motion resonance of the satellite reaches outside the Roche limit, the second satellite can be formed near the disk outer edge, and then the two satellites continue outward migration while being locked in the resonance. Co-orbital satellites are found to be occasionally formed on the orbit of the first satellite. Our simulations also show that stochastic nature involved in gravitational interaction and collision between aggregates in the tidal environment can lead to diversity in the final mass and orbital architecture, which would be expected in satellite systems of exoplanets.

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