Effects Of Capturing A Wide-orbit Planet On Planetary Systems: System Stability And Habitable Zone Bombardment Rates

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Captured planet

A large fraction of stars are formed in dense clusters. In the cluster, close encounters between stars at distances less than 100 au are common.

It has been shown that during close encounters planets can transfer between stars. Such captured planets will be on different orbits compared to planets formed in the system, often on very wide, eccentric and inclined orbits. We examine how these captured planets affect Kuiper-belt like asteroid belts in their new systems, and how this affects habitable planets in the system.

We show that these captured planets can destabilize the asteroid belt, and we show that the fraction of the asteroid that make it past the giant planets into the system to impact the habitable planet is independent of the captured planets orbital plane, whereas the fraction of the asteroids that are removed and the rate at which they are removed depend strongly on the captured planets pericentre and inclination.

We then examine all possible outcomes of planet capture and find that when a Jupiter-mass planet is captured it will in 40\% of cases destabilize the planets in the system, in 40\% of cases deplete the asteroid belt in a few Myr, i.e. not posing much risk to life on terrestrial planets which would be expected to develop later. In the final 20\% of cases the result will be a flux of impactors 5-10 times greater than that on Earth that can persist for several Gyr, quite detrimental to the development of life on the planet.

Giorgi Kokaia, Melvyn B. Davies, Alexander J. Mustill
Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)
Cite as: arXiv:2010.15448 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:2010.15448v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
Submission history
From: Giorgi Kokaia
[v1] Thu, 29 Oct 2020 09:44:28 UTC (3,190 KB)
https://arxiv.org/abs/2010.15448
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