Exoplanets & Exomoons

Stability of Earth-mass Planets in the Kepler-68 System

By Keith Cowing
November 11, 2015
Filed under
Stability of Earth-mass Planets in the Kepler-68 System

A key component of characterizing multi-planet exosystems is testing the orbital stability based on the observed properties.

Such characterization not only tests the validity of how observations are interpreted but can also place additional constraints upon the properties of the detected planets. The Kepler mission has identified hundreds of multi-planet systems but there are a few that have additional non-transiting planets and also have well characterized host stars. Kepler-68 is one such system for which we are able to provide a detailed study of the orbital dynamics.

We use the stellar parameters to calculate the extent of the Habitable Zone for this system, showing that the outer planet lies within that region. We use N-body integrations to study the orbital stability of the system, in particular placing an orbital inclination constraint on the outer planet of i > 5 degrees. Finally, we present the results of an exhaustive stability simulation that investigates possible locations of stable orbits for an Earth-mass planet. We show that there are several islands of stability within the Habitable Zone that could harbor such a planet, most particularly at the 2:3 mean motion resonance with the outer planet.

Stephen R. Kane
(Submitted on 9 Nov 2015)

Comments: 5 oages, 3 figures, accepted for publication in ApJL
Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)
Cite as: arXiv:1511.02882 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:1511.02882v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
Submission history
From: Stephen Kane
[v1] Mon, 9 Nov 2015 21:02:15 GMT (49kb)

Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA Space Station Payload manager/space biologist, Away Teams, Journalist, Lapsed climber, Synaesthete, Na’Vi-Jedi-Freman-Buddhist-mix, ASL, Devon Island and Everest Base Camp veteran, (he/him) 🖖🏻