The dynamics of the multi-planet system orbiting Kepler-56

Gongjie Li*, Smadar Naoz, Francesca Valsecchi, John Asher Johnson, Frederic A. Rasio

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Kepler-56 is a multi-planet system containing two coplanar inner planets that are in orbits misaligned with respect to the spin axis of the host star, and an outer planet. Various mechanisms have been proposed to explain the broad distribution of spin-orbit angles among exoplanets, and these theories fall under two broad categories. The first is based on dynamical interactions in a multi-body system, while the other assumes that disk migration is the driving mechanism in planetary configuration and that the star (or disk) is titled with respect to the planetary plane. Here we show that the large observed obliquity of Kepler 56 system is consistent with a dynamical origin. In addition, we use observations by Huber et al. to derive the obliquity's probability distribution function, thus improving the constrained lower limit. The outer planet may be the cause of the inner planets' large obliquities, and we give the probability distribution function of its inclination, which depends on the initial orbital configuration of the planetary system. We show that even in the presence of precise measurement of the true obliquity, one cannot distinguish the initial configurations. Finally we consider the fate of the system as the star continues to evolve beyond the main sequence, and we find that the obliquity of the system will not undergo major variations as the star climbs the red giant branch. We follow the evolution of the system and find that the innermost planet will be engulfed in 129 Myr. Furthermore we put an upper limit of 155 Myr for the engulfment of the second planet. This corresponds to 3% of the current age of the star.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number131
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 20 2014


  • celestial mechanics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


Dive into the research topics of 'The dynamics of the multi-planet system orbiting Kepler-56'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this