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Abstract: It has long been assumed that the planet Jupiter acts as a giant shield,significantly lowering the impact rate of minor bodies upon the Earth, and thusenabling the development and evolution of life in a collisional environmentwhich is not overly hostile. However, in the past, little work has been carriedout to examine the validity of this idea. In the second of a series of papers,we examine the degree to which the impact risk resulting from objects onCentaur-like orbits is affected by the presence of a giant planet, in acontinuing attempt to fully understand the impact regime under which life onEarth has developed. The Centaurs, which occupy orbits beyond Jupiter, havetheir origins in the Edgeworth-Kuiper belt that extends beyond Neptune. Thegiant planets peturb the Centaurs, sending a significanr fraction into theinner Solar System where they become visible as short-period comets. In thiswork we present results which show that the presence of a giant planet can actto significantly change the impact rate of short-period comets on the Earth,and that a giant planet often actually increases the impact flux greatly overthat which would be expected were it not present. Shortened version ofabstract.



Autor: Jonti Horner, Barrie W Jones

Fuente: https://arxiv.org/







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