University of Cambridge > > DAMTP Astrophysics Seminars > Effects of Dynamical Evolution of Giant Planets on Survival of Terrestrial Planets

Effects of Dynamical Evolution of Giant Planets on Survival of Terrestrial Planets

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The orbital distributions of currently observed extrasolar giant planets allow marginally stable orbits for hypothetical, terrestrial planets. However, many of these giant planets have eccentric orbits that indicate dynamical instability in the past. If this is the case, many such systems may not have additional planets on the “stable” orbits, since past dynamical evolution could have removed them. We numerically test this hypothesis by simulating the effects of early evolution of multiple giant planets on the orbital stability of the inner, sub-Neptune-like planets. We find that secular perturbations from giant planets can remove test particles at least down to 10 times smaller than their minimum pericenter distance. Our results indicate that, unless the dynamical instability among giant planets is either absent or quiet like planet-planet collisions, most test particles down to ~0.1 AU within the orbits of giant planets at a few AU may be gone. We find a good agreement between our numerical results and the secular theory as well as with the observations.

This talk is part of the DAMTP Astrophysics Seminars series.

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