Science and Exploration

Dynamical Origin Of The Dwarf Planet Ceres

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
February 20, 2022
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Dynamical Origin Of The Dwarf Planet Ceres

The Dwarf Planet Ceres revealed the presence of ammonia and other unique properties compared to other asteroids in the main belt which suggests that it was not formed in situ.
We model the early dynamical evolution of the outer Solar System to study possible dynamical mechanisms to implant a Ceres-sized planetesimal in the asteroid belt from the trans-Saturnian region. We calculate that the fraction of the population of Ceres-sized planetesimals that are captured in the asteroid belt is in the range of 2.8e-5 to 1.2e-3 depending on the initial location in the outer planetesimal disk.

The captured bodies have a 70% probability to have a semimajor axis between 2.5 and 3 au, a 33% probability to have an eccentricity smaller than 0.2 and a 45% probability to have an orbital inclination smaller than 10 degrees. Assuming the existence of 3,600 Ceres-size planetesimals in the inner part of the trans-Saturnian disk, consistent with the estimate of Nesvorny & Vokrouhlicky (2016) for the trans-Neptunian disk, our estimated capture probability and a final 80% depletion of the asteroid belt during the subsequent giant planet instability, lead to capture 1 Ceres in the asteroid belt, with a probability of 15%, 34%, and 51% to be located in the inner, middle and outer belt respectively.

Rafael Ribeiro de Sousa, Alessandro Morbidelli, Rodney Gomes, Ernesto Vieira Neto, Andre Izidoro, Abreuçon Atanasio Alves

Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP); Space Physics (
Cite as: arXiv:2202.09238 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:2202.09238v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
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Submission history
From: Rafael De Sousa Ribeiro
[v1] Fri, 18 Feb 2022 15:05:55 UTC (43,355 KB)

SpaceRef co-founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.