Space Research & Planetary Sciences (WP)


Bachelor Thesis: The dynamics of astroids during the formation of Jupiter

dynamic astroids graph

In the astroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, several types of astroids with similar orbits exist (Trojans, Greeks, Hildas, ..). In this bachelor thesis we study whether these dynamic groups form during the formation of Jupiter itself, namely at the moment when Jupiter rapidly accreted a large amount of hydrogen and helium gas to become a gas giant planet. For this, a sophisticated computer code is modified that numerically integrates the orbits of thousands of astroids under the gravitational influence of the forming Jupiter and the Sun. This not only yields a prediction about the resulting asteroid groups, but also about the enrichment of Jupiter in elements besides hydrogen and helium, because many asteroids collide with Jupiter enriching its atmosphere. These predictions are then compared with the observational data on the astroid families and Jupiter's composition. This will allow us to understand at which rate Jupiter accreted gas, and at which position this planet formed.

An animation to this project can be found here (proto-Jupiter is at coordinates 5,0):