Longterm Stability of Planetary Systems formed from a Transitional Disk

Open Access
Bowens, Rory
Area of Honors:
Astronomy and Astrophysics
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Rebekah Ilene Dawson-Rigas, Thesis Supervisor
  • Christopher Palma, Honors Advisor
  • protoplanetary disks
  • exoplanets
  • simulations
  • transitional disks
  • resonance
Planets form in disks of gas and dust, known as protoplanetary disks, which are found around young stars. Transitional disks are a type of protoplanetary disk that have large and deep central holes in the gas, possibly carved by young planets. In order to open such gaps, the planetary systems would need to be composed of 3 to 6 Jupiter-like planets spaced from 3 to 30 AU. We simulate long term evolution of these planetary systems for 10 billion years in order to compare their expected properties with that of observed radial-velocity exoplanets. We find that the systems that begin with 5 or 6 planets produce a range of eccentricities consistent with observed exoplanet systems. We found the overall stability of a system decreased with higher number of planets but was unaffected by the presence of 2:1 mean motion resonances between the planets. We found that the 2:1 MMRs usually broke within several million years from the end of the gas disk phase or remained stable throughout the lifetime. Finally, the resemblance of eccentricity ranges between simulations that ejected several planets to observed exoplanet systems suggests that most real transitional disk systems may produce systems that lose planets during their lifetime.