Journal article Open Access

Formation of regular satellites of giant planets in an extended gaseous nebula I: Subnebula model and accretion of satellites

Mosqueira, Ignacio; Estrada, Paul R.

We model the subnebulae of Jupiter and Saturn wherein satellite accretion took place. We expect each giant planet subnebula to be composed of an optically thick (given gaseous opacity) inner region inside of the planet's centrifugal radius (where the specific angular momentum of the collapsing giant planet gaseous envelope achieves centrifugal balance, located at rCJ ∼ 15RJ for Jupiter and rCS ∼ 22RS for Saturn) and an optically thin, extended outer disk out to a fraction of the planet's Roche-lobe (RH), which we choose to be ∼RH/5 (located at ∼150 RJ near the inner irregular satellites for Jupiter, and ∼200RS near Phoebe for Saturn). This places Titan and Ganymede in the inner disk, Callisto and Iapetus in the outer disk, and Hyperion in the transition region. The inner disk is the leftover of the gas accreted by the protoplanet. The outer disk may result from the nebula gas flowing into the protoplanet during the time of giant planet gap-opening (or cessation of gas accretion). For the sake of specificity, we use a solar composition "minimum mass" model to constrain the gas densities of the inner and outer disks of Jupiter and Saturn (and also Uranus). Our model has Ganymede at a subnebula temperature of ∼250 K and Titan at ∼100 K. The outer disks of Jupiter and Saturn have constant temperatures of 130 and 90 K, respectively.
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