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Journal Articles Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Year : 2014

Debris froms giant impacts between planetary embryos at large orbital radii

Alan P. Jackson
  • Function : Author
Mark C. Wyatt
  • Function : Author
Dimitri Veras
  • Function : Author


We consider the observational signatures of giant impacts between planetary embryos. While the debris released in the impact remains in a clump for only a single orbit, there is a much longer lasting asymmetry caused by the fact that all debris must pass through the collision-point. The resulting asymmetry is stationary, it does not orbit the star. The debris is concentrated in a clump at the collision-point, with a more diffuse structure on the opposite side. The asymmetry lasts for typically around 1000 orbital periods of the progenitor, which can be several Myr at distances of ∼50 au. We describe how the appearance of the asymmetric disc depends on the mass and eccentricity of the progenitor, as well as viewing orientation. The wavelength of observation, which determines the grain sizes probed, is also important. Notably, the increased collision rate of the debris at the collision-point makes this the dominant production site for any secondary dust and gas created. For dust small enough to be removed by radiation pressure, and gas with a short lifetime, this causes their distribution to resemble a jet emanating from the (stationary) collision-point. We suggest that the asymmetries seen at large separations in some debris discs, like Beta Pictoris, could be the result of giant impacts. If so, this would indicate that planetary embryos are present and continuing to grow at several tens of au at ages of up to tens of Myr.
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insu-03618570 , version 1 (24-03-2022)


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Alan P. Jackson, Mark C. Wyatt, Amy Bonsor, Dimitri Veras. Debris froms giant impacts between planetary embryos at large orbital radii. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 2014, 440, pp.3757-3777. ⟨10.1093/mnras/stu476⟩. ⟨insu-03618570⟩
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