Formation of Co-orbital satellites

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Formation of Co-orbital satellites

Post by Sirius_Alpha on 24th February 2010, 10:03 pm

Coorbital Satellites of Saturn: Congenital Formation
http://arxiv.org/abs/1002.4617

Abstract wrote:Saturn is the only known planet to have coorbital satellite systems. In the present work we studied the process of mass accretion as a possible mechanism for coorbital satellites formation. The system considered is composed of Saturn, a proto-satellite and a cloud of planetesimals distributed in the coorbital region around a triangular Lagrangian point. The adopted relative mass for the proto-satellite was 10^-6 of Saturn's mass and for each planetesimal of the cloud three cases of relative mass were considered, 10^-14, 10^-13 and 10^-12 masses of Saturn. In the simulations each cloud of planetesimal was composed of 10^3, 5 x 10^3 or 10^4 planetesimals. The results of the simulations show the formation of coorbital satellites with relative masses of the same order of those found in the saturnian system (10^-13 - 10^-9). Most of them present horseshoe type orbits, but a significant part is in tadpole orbit around L_4 or L_5. Therefore, the results indicate that this is a plausible mechanism for the formation of coorbital satellites.

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Re: Formation of Co-orbital satellites

Post by ciceron on 25th February 2010, 5:15 pm

Maybe we could scalate it to planetary bodies around stellar masses. Coorbital Earths Smile

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Re: Formation of Co-orbital satellites

Post by Sirius_Alpha on 25th February 2010, 6:53 pm

Probably not, this tends to be unstable due to the large masses of the planets. It is guessed that something like this happened in our solar system, with a body forming in one of Earth's Lagrange points. But as it's not stable in the long term, the two came too close together, and collided, resulting in the formation of the moon.

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Re: Formation of Co-orbital satellites

Post by Lazarus on 26th February 2010, 5:31 pm

IIRC there are several simulations which suggest Trojan planets should form fairly easily in the orbits of giant planets, so presumably some systems will retain them if they do in fact form in reality.
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Re: Formation of Co-orbital satellites

Post by Sirius_Alpha on 26th February 2010, 7:19 pm

I recall those simulations proposing that such trojan planets were terrestrial in nature (thus a high ratio between the masses of the planets). The scenario ciceron pointed out would have a low planet mass ratio. I suspect this makes a difference for dynamic stability.

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Re: Formation of Co-orbital satellites

Post by izidoro on 23rd March 2010, 6:36 pm

Hello everyone,
I found this very interesting discussion!!
I'm a brazilian PhD student and one of the author of the work mentioned above. You pointed some points very interesting and some parts of my current work. We are performing simulations to answer this and other questions.

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Re: Formation of Co-orbital satellites

Post by Sirius_Alpha on 23rd March 2010, 7:23 pm

Awesome! If you don't mind, keep us updated! Very Happy

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Re: Formation of Co-orbital satellites

Post by izidoro on 23rd March 2010, 8:32 pm

Of course! Any new result I post here again.

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Re: Formation of Co-orbital satellites

Post by ciceron on 8th April 2010, 2:17 pm

It's very much appreciated , thank you a lot.

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