Protostars and Planets VI, Heidelberg, July 15-20, 2013
Planetary Protectors: Giant Planets and the Oort Cloud
Quinn, Thomas (University of Washington)
Lewis, Alexia (University of Washington)
Kaib, Nathan (Northwestern University)
We study the influence of outer Solar System architecture on the structural evolution of the Oort Cloud and the flux of Earth-crossing comets. In particular, we seek to quantify the role of the giant planets as ”planetary protectors”. To do so, we have run simulations in each of four different planetary mass configurations to understand the significance of each of the giant planets. We integrate each simulation over the full age of the Solar System, following the evolution of cometary orbits from their starting point in the protoplanetary disk to their injection into the OC to their possible re-entry into the inner planetary region.
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