Planetesimal capture in the disk instability model

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We follow the contraction and evolution of a typical Jupiter-mass clump created by the disk instability mechanism, and compute the rate of planetesimal capture during this evolution. We show that such a clump has a slow contraction phase lasting ∼ 3 × 105   yr. By following the trajectories of planetesimals as they pass through the envelope of the protoplanet, we compute the cross-section for planetesimal capture at all stages of the protoplanet's evolution. We show that the protoplanet can capture a large fraction of the solid material in its feeding zone, which will lead to an enrichment of the protoplanet in heavy elements. The exact amount of this enrichment depends upon, but is not very sensitive to the size and random speed of the planetesimals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64-71
Number of pages8
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 2006


  • Accretion
  • Jupiter
  • Planetary formation


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