Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Did the Solar System Originally Form as a Compact, 5 Gas Giant Planet System?

Tilting Saturn without tilting Jupiter: Constraints on giant planet migration


Brasser et al


The migration and encounter histories of the giant planets in our Solar System can be constrained by the obliquities of Jupiter and Saturn. We have performed secular simulations with imposed migration and N-body simulations with planetesimals to study the expected obliquity distribution of migrating planets with initial conditions resembling those of the smooth migration model, the resonant Nice model and two models with five giant planets initially in resonance (one compact and one loose configuration). For smooth migration, the secular spin-orbit resonance mechanism can tilt Saturn's spin axis to the current obliquity if the product of the migration time scale and the orbital inclinations is sufficiently large (exceeding 30 Myr deg). For the resonant Nice model with imposed migration, it is difficult to reproduce today's obliquity values, because the compactness of the initial system raises the frequency that tilts Saturn above the spin precession frequency of Jupiter, causing a Jupiter spin-orbit resonance crossing. Migration time scales sufficiently long to tilt Saturn generally suffice to tilt Jupiter more than is observed. The full N-body simulations tell a somewhat different story, with Jupiter generally being tilted as often as Saturn, but on average having a higher obliquity. The main obstacle is the final orbital spacing of the giant planets, coupled with the tail of Neptune's migration. The resonant Nice case is barely able to simultaneously reproduce the {orbital and spin} properties of the giant planets, with a probability ~0.15%. The loose five planet model is unable to match all our constraints (probability less than 0.08%). The compact five planet model has the highest chance of matching the orbital and obliquity constraints simultaneously (probability ~0.3%).

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