Resonance trapping in protoplanetary disks. I. Coplanar systems

Aaron T. Lee*, Edward W. Thommes, Frederic A. Rasio

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Mean-motion resonances (MMRs) are likely to play an important role both during and after the lifetime of a protostellar gas disk. We study the dynamical evolution and stability of planetary systems containing two giant planets on circular orbits near a 2:1 resonance and closer. We find that by having the outer planet migrate inward, the two planets can capture into either the 2:1, 5:3, or 3:2 MMR. We use direct numerical integrations of ∼1000 systems in which the planets are initially locked into one of these resonances and allowed to evolve for up to ∼107 yr. We find that the final eccentricity distribution in systems which ultimately become unstable gives a good fit to observed exoplanets. Next, we integrate ∼500 two-planet systems in which the outer planet is driven to continuously migrate inward, resonantly capturing the inner planet; the systems are evolved until either instability sets in or the planets reach the star. We find that although the 5:3 resonance rapidly becomes unstable under migration, the 2:1 and 3:2 are very stable. Thus the lack of observed exoplanets in resonances closer than 2:1, if it continues to hold up, may be a primordial signature of the planet formation process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1684-1696
Number of pages13
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2009


  • celestial mechanics
  • planetary systems: formation
  • planetary systems: protoplanetary disks
  • planets and satellites: general

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Resonance trapping in protoplanetary disks. I. Coplanar systems'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this