Journal Article

Long-lived planetesimal discs

Kevin Heng and Scott Tremaine

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 401, issue 2, pages 867-889
Published in print January 2010 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online January 2010 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
Long-lived planetesimal discs

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We investigate the survival of planetesimal discs over Gyr time-scales, using a unified approach that is applicable to all Keplerian discs of solid bodies – dust grains, asteroids, planets, etc. Planetesimal discs can be characterized locally by four parameters: surface density, semimajor axis, planetesimal size and planetesimal radial velocity dispersion. Any planetesimal disc must have survived all dynamical processes, including gravitational instability, dynamical chaos, gravitational scattering, physical collisions, and radiation forces, that would lead to significant evolution over its lifetime. These processes lead to a rich set of constraints that strongly restrict the possible properties of long-lived discs. Within this framework, we also discuss the detection of planetesimal discs using radial velocity measurements, transits, microlensing and the infrared emission from the planetesimals themselves or from dust generated by planetesimal collisions.

Keywords: gravitational lensing; Kuiper Belt; minor planets, asteroids; planets and satellites: formation; Solar system: formation; stars: formation

Journal Article.  15452 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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