Sources of planetary rotation

Mapping planetesimals' contributions to angular momentum

Richard J. Greenberg, Mark Fischer, G. B. Valsecchi, A. Carusi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A systematic study of the motion backward and forward in time from a uniform distribution of bodies entering a planet's Hill sphere yields a mapping of the contribution to the planet's rotation from planetesimals as a function of their source in heliocentric orbital element space. The mapping allows determination of the contribution to rotation from any assumed distribution of heliocentric planetesimal orbits. For example, it can systematically reproduce earlier results from Monte-Carlo studies of contributions to rotational angular momentum. With our method of calculation, contributions to planetary rotation can be interpreted in terms of the arrival geometries at the planet's Hill sphere and the subsequent two-body motion inside the Hill sphere leading to impact. Prograde rotation is strongly favored if a planet grows in a relatively quiescent population of planetesimals with accretion nibbling at the edges of its feeding zone. However, if the impacting population were dominated by large bodies with high relative velocity, the direction and magnitude of rotation would be random.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)384-400
Number of pages17
JournalIcarus
Volume129
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1997

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planetary rotation
protoplanets
planetesimal
angular momentum
planets
planet
orbital elements
arrivals
accretion
orbits
geometry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics

Cite this

Sources of planetary rotation : Mapping planetesimals' contributions to angular momentum. / Greenberg, Richard J.; Fischer, Mark; Valsecchi, G. B.; Carusi, A.

In: Icarus, Vol. 129, No. 2, 10.1997, p. 384-400.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Greenberg, Richard J. ; Fischer, Mark ; Valsecchi, G. B. ; Carusi, A. / Sources of planetary rotation : Mapping planetesimals' contributions to angular momentum. In: Icarus. 1997 ; Vol. 129, No. 2. pp. 384-400.
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