Exoplanets & Exomoons

Long-Term Stability of Planets in the α Centauri System

By Keith Cowing
April 19, 2016
Filed under
Long-Term Stability of Planets in the α Centauri System
Alpha Centauri

We evaluate the extent of the regions within the α Centauri AB star system where small planets are able to orbit for billion-year timescales, and we calculate the positions on the sky plane where planets on stable orbits about either stellar component may appear.

We confirm the qualitative results of Wiegert and Holman (AJ 113, 1445, 1997) regarding the approximate size of the regions of stable orbits, which are larger for retrograde orbits relative to the binary than for prograde orbits. Additionally, we find that mean motion resonances with the binary orbit leave an imprint on the limits of orbital stability, and the effects of the Lidov-Kozai mechanism are also readily apparent.

Billy Quarles, Jack J. Lissauer
(Submitted on 17 Apr 2016)

Comments: 6 pages, 11 figures, 2 tables, Published in AJ
Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)
Journal reference: 2016 The Astronomical Journal 151 111
DOI: 10.3847/0004-6256/151/5/111
Cite as: arXiv:1604.04917 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:1604.04917v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
Submission history
From: Billy Quarles
[v1] Sun, 17 Apr 2016 19:50:47 GMT (7395kb,D)

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) 🖖🏻