An early giant planet instability recorded in asteroidal meteoritesOPEN ACCESS 

Graham Harper Edwards, C. Brenhin Keller, Elisabeth R. Newton, Cameron W. Stewart

Under review at Nature Astronomy


“Giant planet migration appears widespread among planetary systems in our Galaxy. However, the timescales of this process, which reflect the underlying dynamical mechanisms, are not well constrained, even within the solar system. Since planetary migration scatters smaller bodies onto intersecting orbits, it would have resulted in an epoch of enhanced bombardment in the solar system’s asteroid belt. To accurately and precisely quantify the timescales of migration, we interrogate thermochronologic data from asteroidal meteorites, which record the thermal imprint of energetic collisions. We present a database of 40K-40Ar system ages from chondrite meteorites and evaluate it with an asteroid-scale thermal code coupled to a Markov chain Monte Carlo inversion. Simulations require bombardment in order to reproduce the observed age distribution and identify a bombardment event beginning ~11 million years after the Sun formed. Our results associate a giant planet instability in our solar system with the dissipation of the gaseous protoplanetary disk.”