Unstable planetary systems emerging out of gas disks

Soko Matsumura*, Edward W. Thommes, Sourav Chatterjee, Frederic A. Rasio

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations

Abstract

The discovery of over 400 extrasolar planets allows us to statistically test our understanding of the formation and dynamics of planetary systems via numerical simulations. Traditional N-body simulations of multiple-planet systems without gas disks have successfully reproduced the eccentricity (e) distribution of the observed systems by assuming that the planetary systems are relatively closely packed when the gas disk dissipates, so that they become dynamically unstable within the stellar lifetime. However, such studies cannot explain the small semimajor axes a of extrasolar planetary systems, if planets are formed, as the standard planet formation theory suggests, beyond the ice line. In this paper, we numerically study the evolution of three-planet systems in dissipating gas disks, and constrain the initial conditions that reproduce the observed a and e distributions simultaneously. We adopt initial conditions that are motivated by the standard planet formation theory, and self-consistently simulate the disk evolution and planet migration, by using a hybrid N-body and one-dimensional gas disk code. We also take into account eccentricity damping, and investigate the effect of saturation of corotation resonances on the evolution of planetary systems. We find that the a distribution is largely determined in a gas disk, while the e distribution is determined after the disk dissipation. We also find that there may be an optimum disk mass which leads to the observed a-e distribution. Our simulations generate a larger fraction of planetary systems trapped in mean-motion resonances (MMRs) than the observations, indicating that the disk's perturbation to the planetary orbits may be important to explain the observed rate of MMRs. We also find a much lower occurrence of planets on retrograde orbits than the current observations of close-in planets suggest.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)194-206
Number of pages13
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume714
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2010

Keywords

  • Methods: numerical
  • Planetdisk interactions
  • Planets and satellites: dynamical evolution and stability
  • Protoplanetary disks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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