Skip to main content

Volume 53 Supplement 11

Special Issue: Asteroidal Surfaces and Genesis of Meteorites

Origin of high orbital eccentricity and inclination of asteroids


We investigate the origin of the high orbital eccentricity and inclination of present asteroids. The relative velocity between asteroids corresponding to the observed high eccentricity and inclination is 5 km/sec, which is much larger than their surface escape velocity. Thus collisions result in disruption rather than accretion. It is important to clarify when and how their eccentricity and inclination were pumped up, in order to know the environment of asteroidal disruption. The origin of high eccentricity and especially that of inclination have not been well understood yet. We propose sweeping secular resonances due to the gravitational potential change associated with the depletion of the protoplanetary nebula as the excitation mechanism of eccentricity and inclination. We calculated magnitudes of excited eccentricity and inclination through three-dimensional orbital integration. We found that both eccentricity and inclination are excited enough if the protoplanetary nebula is depleted from inside to outside in the region between 5 AU to 10 AU on a timescale 5 × 105 years. We found that the secular resonances sweep the asteroid belt after the nebula gas is removed from there. Then the asteroidal motion is not affected by gas drag significantly. High velocity collisions between asteroids would occur in a gas-free environment.


  • Adachi, I., C. Hayashi, and K. Nakazawa, The gas drag effect on the elliptical motion of a solid body in the primordial solar nebula, Prog. Theor. Phys., 56, 1756–1771, 1976.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bodenheimer, P. and J. B. Pollack, Calculations of the accretion and evolution of giant planets: The effects of solid cores, Icarus, 67, 391–408, 1986.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Chambers, J. E. and G. W. Wetherill, Making the Terrestrial planets: N-body integrations of planetary embryos in three dimensions, Icarus, 136, 304–327, 1998.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Fujiwara, A. and A. Tsukamoto, Experimental study on the velocity of fragments in collisional breakup, Icarus, 44, 142–153, 1980.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Greenberg, R., W. K. Hartmann, C. R. Chapman, and J. F. Wacker, Planetesimals to planets—Numerical simulation of collisional evolution, Icarus, 35, 1–26, 1978.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hayashi, C., Structure of the solar nebula, growth and decay of magnetic fields and effects of magnetic and turbulent viscosities on the nebula, Prog. Theor. Phys. Suppl., 70, 35–53, 1981.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hayashi, C., K. Nakazawa, and Y. Nakagawa, Formation of the solar system, in Protostars and Planets II, edited by D. C. Black and M. S. Mathews, pp. 1100–1153, Univ. of Arizona Press, Tucson, 1985.

  • Heppenheimer, T. A., Secular resonances and the origin of eccentricities of Mars and the asteroids, Icarus, 41, 76–88, 1980.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ida, S. and D. N. C. Lin, Long Term Gas Drag Effect on the Structure of the Asteroid Belt and its Implications for the Solar Nebula, AJ, 112, 1239–1246, 1996.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lecar, M. and F. Franklin, The Solar Nebula, Secular Resonances, Gas Drag, and the Asteroid Belt, Icarus, 129, 134–146, 1997.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lin, D. N. C. and J. C. B. Papaloizou, On the tidal interaction between protostellar disks and companions, in Protostars and Planets III, edited by E. H. Levy and J. I. Lunine, pp. 749–835, Univ. of Arizona Press, Tucson, 1993.

    Google Scholar 

  • Mizuno, H., Formation of the Giant Planets, Prog. Theor. Phys. Suppl., 64, 544–557, 1980.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Nagasawa, M., H. Tanaka, and S. Ida, Orbital Evolution of Asteroids during Depletion of the Solar Nebula, AJ, 119, 1480–1497, 2000.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ohtsuki, K., S. Ida, Y. Nakagawa, and K. Nakazawa, Planetary accretion in the solar gravitational field, in Protostars and Planets III, edited by E. H. Levy and J. I. Lunine, pp. 1089–1107, Univ. of Arizona Press, Tucson, 1993.

    Google Scholar 

  • Petit, J. M., A. Morbidelli, and J. Chambers, The primordial excitation and clearing of the asteroid belt, 2001 (preprint).

  • Safronov, V. S., Evolution of Protoplanetary Cloud and Formation of the Earth and Planets, Nauka, Moscow, NASA Tech. Trans. F-677 1969.

  • Strom, S. E., S. Edwards, and M. F. Skrutskie, Evolutionary timescales for circumstellar disks associated with intermediate- and solar-type stars, in Protostars and Planets III, edited by E. H. Levy and J. I. Lunine, pp. 837–866, Univ. of Arizona Press, Tucson, 1993.

    Google Scholar 

  • Takeuchi, T., S. M. Miyama, and D. N. C. Lin, Gap Formation in Protoplanetary Disks, ApJ, 460, 832–847, 1996.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ward, W. R., Solar nebula dispersal and the stability of the planetary system. I—Scanning secular resonance theory, Icarus, 47, 234–264, 1981.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ward, W. R., G. Colombo, and F. A. Franklin, Secular resonance, solar spin down, and the orbit of Mercury, Icarus, 28, 441–452, 1976.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Weidenschilling, S. J., The distribution of mass in the planetary system and solar nebula, Astrophys. Space Sci., 51, 153–158, 1977.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wetherill, G. W., Origin of the asteroid belt, in Asteroids II, edited by R. P. Binzel, T. Gehrels, and M. S. Matthews, pp. 661–680, Univ. of Arizona Press, Tucson, 1989.

    Google Scholar 

  • Wetherill, G. W., An alternative model for the Formation of asteroids, Icarus, 100, 307–325, 1992.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Zuckerman, B., T. Forveille, and J. H. Kastner, Inhibition of Giant Planet Formation by Rapid Gas Depletion around Young Stars, Nature, 373, 494–496, 1995.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Makiko Nagasawa.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Nagasawa, M., Ida, S. & Tanaka, H. Origin of high orbital eccentricity and inclination of asteroids. Earth Planet Sp 53, 1085–1091 (2001).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Revised:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


  • Giant Planet
  • Terrestrial Planet
  • Solar Nebula
  • Random Velocity
  • Orbital Evolution