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Irregular Satellites of the Planets: Products of Capture in the Early Solar System - NASA/ADS

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Irregular Satellites of the Planets: Products of Capture in the Early Solar System

Abstract

All four giant planets in the Solar system possess irregular satellites, characterized by large, highly eccentric and/or inclined orbits that are distinct from the nearly circular, uninclined orbits of the regular satellites. This difference can be traced directly to different modes of formation. Whereas the regular satellites grew by accretion within circumplanetary disks the irregular satellites were captured from initially heliocentric orbits at an early epoch. Recently, powerful survey observations have greatly increased the number of known irregular satellites, permitting a fresh look at the group properties of these objects and motivating a re-examination of the mechanisms of capture. None of the suggested mechanisms, including gas-drag, pull-down, and three-body capture, convincingly fit the group characteristics of the irregular satellites. The sources of the satellites also remain unidentified.


Publication:
Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics
Pub Date:
September 2007
DOI:
10.1146/annurev.astro.44.051905.092459
arXiv:
arXiv:astro-ph/0703059
Bibcode:
2007ARA&A..45..261J
Keywords:
  • Astrophysics
E-Print:
51 pages, 17 figures, 5 tables, to appear in ARAA 2007
full text sources Publisher | arXiv |