AffiliationUniversity of Arizona, Lunar and Planetary Laboratory
MetadataShow full item record
CitationNakajima, M., Genda, H., Asphaug, E., & Ida, S. (2022). Large planets may not form fractionally large moons. Nature Communications.
RightsCopyright © The Author(s) 2022. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Collection InformationThis item from the UA Faculty Publications collection is made available by the University of Arizona with support from the University of Arizona Libraries. If you have questions, please contact us at email@example.com.
AbstractOne of the unique aspects of Earth is that it has a fractionally large Moon, which is thought to have formed from a Moon-forming disk generated by a giant impact. The Moon stabilizes the Earth’s spin axis at least by several degrees and contributes to Earth’s stable climate. Given that impacts are common during planet formation, exomoons, which are moons around planets in extrasolar systems, should be common as well, but no exomoon has been confirmed. Here we propose that an initially vapor-rich moon-forming disk is not capable of forming a moon that is large with respect to the size of the planet because growing moonlets, which are building blocks of a moon, experience strong gas drag and quickly fall toward the planet. Our impact simulations show that terrestrial and icy planets that are larger than ~1.3−1.6R⊕ produce entirely vapor disks, which fail to form a fractionally large moon. This indicates that (1) our model supports the Moon-formation models that produce vapor-poor disks and (2) rocky and icy exoplanets whose radii are smaller than ~1.6R⊕ are ideal candidates for hosting fractionally large exomoons. © 2022, The Author(s).
NoteOpen access journal
VersionFinal published version
Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as Copyright © The Author(s) 2022. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
- Lagrange L4/L5 points and the origin of our Moon and Saturn's moons and rings.
- Authors: Gott JR 3rd
- Issue date: 2005 Dec
- Exomoon habitability constrained by illumination and tidal heating.
- Authors: Heller R, Barnes R
- Issue date: 2013 Jan
- Accretion of the Earth.
- Authors: Canup RM
- Issue date: 2008 Nov 28
- Looking for planetary moons in the spectra of distant Jupiters.
- Authors: Williams DM, Knacke RF
- Issue date: 2004 Fall
- Habitable planets with high obliquities.
- Authors: Williams DM, Kasting JF
- Issue date: 1997