Journal Article

Orbital evolution under the action of fast interstellar gas flow

P. Pástor, J. Klačka and L. Kómar

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 415, issue 3, pages 2637-2651
Published in print August 2011 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online August 2011 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
Orbital evolution under the action of fast interstellar gas flow

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We investigate the orbital evolution of an interplanetary dust particle under the action of an interstellar gas flow. We present the secular time derivatives of the particle's orbital elements, for arbitrary orbit orientation. An important result concerns the secular evolution of the semimajor axis. The secular semimajor axis of the particle on a bound orbit decreases under the action of fast interstellar gas flow. In this paper, we discuss the possible types of evolution of other Keplerian orbital elements. Also, we compare the influences of the Poynting–Robertson effect, the radial solar wind and the interstellar gas flow on the dynamics of the dust particle in the outer planetary region of the Solar system and beyond, up to 100 au.

We study the evolution of a putative dust ring in the zone of the Edgeworth–Kuiper belt. The non-radial solar wind and the gravitational effect of the major planets might have an important role in this zone. We take into account both these effects. The low-inclination orbits of micrometre-sized dust particles in the belt are not stable, because of the fast increase of eccentricity caused by the long-term monodirectional interstellar gas flow and subsequent planetary perturbations – the increase of eccentricity leads to the planet-crossing orbits of the particles.

Gravitational and non-gravitational effects are treated in a way that fully respects physics. As a consequence, some of the published results have turned out to be incorrect. Moreover, in this paper we treat the problem in a more general way than it has been presented up to now.

The influence of the fast interstellar neutral gas flow should not be ignored in the modelling of the evolution of dust particles beyond planets.

Keywords: celestial mechanics; interplanetary medium; ISM: general

Journal Article.  8931 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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