Journal Article

Formation and dynamical evolution of the Neptune Trojans – the influence of the initial Solar system architecture

P. S. Lykawka, J. Horner, B. W. Jones and T. Mukai

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 404, issue 3, pages 1272-1280
Published in print May 2010 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online May 2010 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2966.2010.16381.x
Formation and dynamical evolution of the Neptune Trojans – the influence of the initial Solar system architecture

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Current models of Solar system formation suggest that the four giant planets accreted as a significantly more compact system than we observe today. In this work, we investigate the dynamical stability of pre-formed Neptune Trojans under the gravitational influence of the four giant planets in compact planetary architectures, over 10 Myr. In our modelling, the initial orbital locations of Uranus and Neptune (aN) were varied to produce systems in which those planets moved on non-resonant orbits or in which they lay in their mutual 1:2, 2:3 and 3:4 mean-motion resonances (MMRs). In total, 420 simulations were carried out, examining 42 different architectures, with a total of 840 000 particles across all runs. In the non-resonant cases, the Trojans suffered only moderate levels of dynamical erosion, with the most compact systems (those with aN≤ 18 au) losing around 50 per cent of their Trojans by the end of the integrations. In the 2:3 and 3:4 MMR scenarios, however, dynamical erosion was much higher with depletion rates typically greater than 66 per cent and total depletion in the most compact systems. The 1:2 resonant scenarios featured disruption on levels intermediate between the non-resonant cases and other resonant scenarios, with depletion rates of the order of tens of per cent. Overall, the great majority of plausible pre-migration planetary architectures resulted in severe levels of depletion of the Neptunian Trojan clouds. In particular, if Uranus and Neptune formed near their mutual 2:3 or 3:4 MMR and at heliocentric distances within 18 au (as favoured by recent studies), we found that the great majority of pre-formed Trojans would have been lost prior to Neptune's migration. This strengthens the case for the great bulk of the current Neptunian Trojan population having been captured during that migration.

Keywords: methods: N-body simulations; celestial mechanics; Kuiper Belt; minor planets, asteroids; Solar system: formation; Solar system: general

Journal Article.  7640 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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