Report

Capture of the Sun's Oort Cloud from Stars in Its Birth Cluster

Science  09 Jul 2010:
Vol. 329, Issue 5988, pp. 187-190
DOI: 10.1126/science.1187535

You are currently viewing the abstract.

View Full Text
As a service to the community, AAAS/Science has made this article free with registration.

Abstract

Oort cloud comets are currently believed to have formed in the Sun's protoplanetary disk and to have been ejected to large heliocentric orbits by the giant planets. Detailed models of this process fail to reproduce all of the available observational constraints, however. In particular, the Oort cloud appears to be substantially more populous than the models predict. Here we present numerical simulations that show that the Sun captured comets from other stars while it was in its birth cluster. Our results imply that a substantial fraction of the Oort cloud comets, perhaps exceeding 90%, are from the protoplanetary disks of other stars.

View Full Text