Authors: Harold F. Levison & Glen R. Stewart
Status: To appear in Icarus.
Abstract: We have studied two scenarios for the in situ formation of Uranus and Neptune from a hundred or so sub-Earth-sized planetary embryos initially on low-inclination, nearly-circular orbits beyond Saturn. We find that giant planets do not form during integrations of such systems. Almost no accretion occurs at all because the embryos are dynamically excited by each other and the gravitational effects of Jupiter and Saturn on a timescale that is short compared to the collision timescale. This produces large eccentricities and inclinations which significantly decrease the the collisional cross-section of the embryos because it decreases the effects of gravitational focusing. As a result, giant planets do not grow. These simulations show that the standard model for the formation of the Uranus and Neptune is most likely not correct.
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