Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
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Planetary systems with more than two bodies will experience orbital crossings at a time related to the initial orbital separations of the planets. After a crossing, the system enters a period of chaotic evolution ending in the reshaping of the system’s architecture via planetary collisions or ejections. We carry out N-body integrations on a large number of systems with equally spaced planets (in units of the Hill radius) to determine the distribution of instability times for a given planet separation. We investigate both the time to the initiation of instability through a close encounter and the time to a planet--planet collision. We find that a significant portion of systems with non-zero mutual inclinations survive after a close encounter and do not promptly experience a planet--planet collision. Systems with significant inclinations can continue to evolve for over 1000 times longer than the encounter time. The fraction of long-lived systems is dependent on the absolute system scale and the initial inclination of the planets. These results have implications to the assumed stability of observed planetary systems.
Methods: Numerical; Planets and Satellites: Dynamical Evolution and Stability
Astrophysics and Astronomy
This article has been accepted for publication in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society©: 2018 [owner as specified on the article] Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.
Rice, D. R.,
Rasio, F. A.,
Steffen, J. H.
Survival of Non-coplanar, Closely Packed Planetary Systems after a Close Encounter.
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 481(2),