Resonant Planets: From Stability to Violent Upheaval

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

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


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)
Title of host publicationExtreme Solar Systems
PublisherAstronomical Society of the Pacific
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-58381-667-7
ISBN (Print)978-1-58381-666-0
StatePublished - 2008

Publication series

NameAstronomical Society of the Pacific Conference Series


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