Journal Article

New methods for large dynamic range problems in planetary formation

D. S. McNeil and R. P. Nelson

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 392, issue 2, pages 537-552
Published in print January 2009 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online December 2008 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
New methods for large dynamic range problems in planetary formation

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Modern N-body techniques for planetary dynamics are generally based on symplectic algorithms specially adapted to the Kepler problem. These methods have proven very useful in studying planet formation, but typically require the time-step for all objects to be set to a small fraction of the orbital period of the innermost body. This computational expense can be prohibitive for even moderate particle number for many physically interesting scenarios, such as recent models of the formation of hot exoplanets, in which the semimajor axis of possible progenitors can vary by orders of magnitude. We present new methods which retain most of the benefits of the standard symplectic integrators but allow for radial zones with distinct time-steps. These approaches should make simulations of planetary accretion with large dynamic range tractable. As proof-of-concept, we present preliminary science results from an implementation of the algorithm as applied to an oligarchic migration scenario for forming hot Neptunes.

Keywords: methods: numerical; celestial mechanics; Solar system: general

Journal Article.  12048 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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