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Implications of the interstellar object 1I/'Oumuamua for planetary dynamics and planetesimal formation
Raymond, Sean N.; Armitage, Philip J.; Veras, Dimitri; Quintana, Elisa V.; Barclay, Thomas
AA(Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Bordeaux, CNRS and Université de Bordeaux, Allée Geoffroy St. Hilaire, F-33165 Pessac, France 0000-0001-8974-0758), AB(JILA, University of Colorado and NIST, 440 UCB, Boulder, CO 80309-0440, USA; Department of Astrophysical & Planetary Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309-0391, USA), AC(Department of Physics, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL, UK; Centre for Exoplanets and Habitability, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL, UK), AD(NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, 8800 Greenbelt Rd, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA), AE(NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, 8800 Greenbelt Rd, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA; University of Maryland, Baltimore County, 1000 Hilltop Cir, Baltimore, MD 21250, USA)
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 476, Issue 3, p.3031-3038 (MNRAS Homepage)
Publication Date:
Astronomy Keywords:
comets: general, minor planets, asteroids: individual: 1I/'Oumuamua, planets and satellites: dynamical evolution and stability, planets and satellites: formation, protoplanetary discs
Abstract Copyright:
2018 The Author(s) Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society
Bibliographic Code:


'Oumuamua, the first bona fide interstellar planetesimal, was discovered passing through our Solar system on a hyperbolic orbit. This object was likely dynamically ejected from an extrasolar planetary system after a series of close encounters with gas giant planets. To account for 'Oumuamua's detection, simple arguments suggest that ˜1 M of planetesimals are ejected per solar mass of Galactic stars. However, that value assumes mono-sized planetesimals. If the planetesimal mass distribution is instead top-heavy, the inferred mass in interstellar planetesimals increases to an implausibly high value. The tension between theoretical expectations for the planetesimal mass function and the observation of 'Oumuamua can be relieved if a small fraction ({˜ } 0.1-1 {per cent}) of planetesimals are tidally disrupted on the pathway to ejection into 'Oumuamua-sized fragments. Using a large suite of simulations of giant planet dynamics including planetesimals, we confirm that 0.1-1 per cent of planetesimals pass within the tidal disruption radius of a gas giant on their pathway to ejection. 'Oumuamua may thus represent a surviving fragment of a disrupted planetesimal. Finally, we argue that an asteroidal composition is dynamically disfavoured for 'Oumuamua, as asteroidal planetesimals are both less abundant and ejected at a lower efficiency than cometary planetesimals.
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