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Planetesimal Formation in the Outer Solar NebulaA numerical investigation of the orbital trajectories of individual particles in the turbulent outer solar nebula has been performed. The (spherical) particle consists of an unchanging mm-sized 'dust' core surrounded by an H2O ice mantle; the density of both core and mantle is 0.5 g/cm(exp 3). The simulations include the effects of H2O condensation from the gas phase, H2O sublimation from the particle surface, and collisional growth via particle collisions with a background distribution of small H2O grains. The model nebula is an azimuthally symmetric minimum-mass nebula of solar composition with a vertical (and radial) temperature gradient. Particle evolution follows a pattern. A particle starting out in a cool region grows via condensation and collisional accretion until it is large enough (decimeter- to meter-sized) to decouple somewhat from the turbulence. (This growth occurs on a timescale of several thousand years at 10 AU; at 30 AU, the timescale is approx. 104 years.) The particle then moves rapidly inward toward the sun due to secular gas drag forces, sublimates much of its icy mantle, and slows its inward migration as it gets caught up in the turbulence again (due to its now-smaller size) at the 'sublimation boundary,' where the ambient gas temperature is approx. 150 K. Such a process could, on a short timescale (i.e., a timescale much shorter than the nebular gas lifetime of approx. 106 yr), generate a population of decimeter- to meter-sized bodies which would then collisionally accrete to form planetesimals.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Ames Research Center
Document Type
Conference Paper
Supulver, K. D.
(California Univ. Santa Cruz, CA United States)
Date Acquired
August 17, 2013
Publication Date
October 1, 1996
Publication Information
Publication: From Stardust to Planetesimals: Contributed Papers
Subject Category
Accession Number
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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