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Exploring the Timing of the Outer Solar System's Orbital Instability

Event Details

Event Dates: 

Monday, March 12, 2018 - 4:00pm

Seminar Location: 

  • JILA Auditorium

Speaker Name(s): 

Nate Kaib

Speaker Affiliation(s): 

University of Oklahoma
Seminar Type/Subject

Scientific Seminar Type: 

  • Astrophysical & Planetary Sciences Seminar

Event Details & Abstract: 

Evidence has mounted that the solar system's giant planets underwent a major dynamical instability sometime early in their history, but there is a great deal of uncertainty regarding its exact timing and duration. While this instability has been temporally linked to the bombardment of the Moon (and inner planets) approximately four billion years ago, it is not clear that the terrestrial planets could survive such an instability. Here I will demonstrate that preserving the inner solar system's planetary architecture through a giant planet instability is very improbable. Moreover, I will show that an earlier instability greatly alters the formation of the terrestrial planets. Many times these instability-shaped terrestrial planets form with masses and orbits similar to our own.