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Stellar encounters as the origin of distant solar system objects in highly eccentric orbits

Status Report From: arXiv.org e-Print archive
Posted: Monday, May 2, 2005

image Astrophysics, abstract
astro-ph/0412030

From: Scott J. Kenyon [view email]
Date: Wed, 1 Dec 2004 19:29:08 GMT   (746kb)
Stellar encounters as the origin of distant solar system objects in highly eccentric orbits
Authors: Scott J. Kenyon, Benjamin C. Bromley
Comments: 9 pages, 3 figures
Journal-ref: Nature 432 (2004) 598
The discovery of Sedna places new constraints on the origin and evolution of our solar system. Here we investigate the possibility that a close encounter with another star produced the observed edge of the Kuiper belt, at roughly 50 AU, and the highly elliptical orbit of Sedna. We show that a passing star probably scattered Sedna from the Kuiper Belt into its observed orbit. The likelihood that a planet at 60-80 AU can be scattered into Sedna's orbit is roughly 50%; this estimate depends critically on the geometry of the flyby. Even more interesting, though, is the roughly 10% chance that Sedna was captured from the outer disk of the passing star. Most captures have very high inclination orbits; detection of these objects would confirm the presence of extrasolar planets in our own Solar System.
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