From mean motion resonances to scattered planets: Producing the solar system, eccentric exoplanets, and late heavy bombardments

Edward W. Thommes, Geoffrey Bryden, Wu Yanqin, Frederic A. Rasio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations

Abstract

We show that interaction with a gas disk may produce young planetary systems with closely spaced orbits, stabilized by mean motion resonances between neighbors. On longer timescales, after the gas is gone, interaction with a remnant planetesimal disk tends to pull these configurations apart, eventually inducing dynamical instability. We find that this can lead to a variety of outcomes; some cases resemble the solar system, while others end up with high-eccentricity orbits reminiscent of the observed exoplanets. A similar mechanism has been previously suggested as the cause of the lunar late heavy bombardment. Thus, it may be that a large-scale dynamical instability, with more or less cataclysmic results, is an evolutionary step common to many planetary systems, including our own.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1538-1548
Number of pages11
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume675
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 10 2008

Keywords

  • Planetary systems: formation
  • Solar system: formation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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