Monday, February 9, 2015

Slo-Mo Formation of Nemesis Class SuperEarths

Formation of Super-Earth Mass Planets at 125-250 AU from a Solar-type Star


Kenyon et al


We investigate pathways for the formation of icy super-Earth mass planets orbiting at 125-250 AU around a 1 solar mass star. An extensive suite of coagulation calculations demonstrates that swarms of 1 cm to 10 m planetesimals can form super-Earth mass planets on time scales of 1-3 Gyr. Collisional damping of 0.01-100 cm particles during oligarchic growth is a highlight of these simulations. In some situations, damping initiates a second runaway growth phase where 100-3000 km protoplanets grow to super-Earth sizes. Our results establish the initial conditions and physical processes required for in situ formation of super-Earth planets at large distances from the host star. For nearby dusty disks in HD 107146, HD 202628, and HD 207129, ongoing super-Earth formation at 80-150 AU could produce gaps and other structures in the debris. In the solar system, forming a putative planet X at a less than 300 AU (a greater than 1000 AU) requires a modest (very massive) protosolar nebula.

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