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Journal Articles The Astrophysical Journal Year : 2022

Rocky Histories: The Effect of High Excitations on the Formation of Rocky Planets

Jennifer Scora
  • Function : Author
Diana Valencia
  • Function : Author
Seth Jacobson
  • Function : Author


Rocky planets both in and outside of our solar system are observed to have a range of core-mass fractions (CMFs). Imperfect collisions can preferentially strip mantle material from a planet, changing its CMF, and are therefore thought to be the most likely cause of this observed CMF variation. However, previous work that implements these collisions into N-body simulations of planet formation has struggled to reliably form high CMF super-Earths. In this work, we specify our initial conditions and simulation parameters to maximize the prevalence of high-energy, CMF-changing collisions in order to form planets with highly diverse CMFs. High-energy collisions have a large v imp/v esc ratio, so we maximize this ratio by starting simulations with high eccentricity and inclination disks to increase the difference in their orbital velocities, maximizing v imp. Additionally, we minimize v esc by starting with small embryos. The final planets undergo more high-energy, debris-producing collisions, and experience significant CMF change over their formation. However, we find that a number of processes work together to average out the CMF of a planet over time; therefore, we do not consistently form high CMF, high-mass planets. We do form high CMF planets below 0.5 M . Additionally, we find, in these highly eccentric environments, loss of debris mass due to collisional grinding has a significant effect on final planet masses and CMFs, resulting in smaller planets and a higher average planet CMF. This work highlights the importance of improving measurements of high-density planets to better constrain their CMFs.
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insu-04004080 , version 1 (24-02-2023)





Jennifer Scora, Diana Valencia, Alessandro Morbidelli, Seth Jacobson. Rocky Histories: The Effect of High Excitations on the Formation of Rocky Planets. The Astrophysical Journal, 2022, 940, ⟨10.3847/1538-4357/ac9cda⟩. ⟨insu-04004080⟩
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