Science Seminars

10/21/2010 – Oort Cloud Formation – The Role of the Sun’s Birth Cluster

Speaker: Hal Levison (SwRI)
Date: Thursday, Oct 21, 2010
Time: 4:00pm
Location: Duane D-142

Seminar Abstract:

Oort cloud comets are currently believed to have formed in the Sun’s proto-planetary disk, and to have been ejected to large heliocentric orbits by the giant planets. I will review the evolution of our understanding of Oort cloud formation. I will present the currently best models and show that they fail to reproduce all of the available observational constraints. In particular, the Oort cloud appears to be significantly more populous than the models predict. I will present new models of an alternative scenario which appear to solve this problem. If this new scenario is correct, we have been misinterpreting what comets have been telling us about the origin of the Solar System.