DescriptionThe Kepler Mission has detected dozens of compact planetary systems with more than four transiting planets. This sample provides a collection of close-packed planetary systems with relatively little spread in the inclination angles of the inferred orbits. A large fraction of the observational sample contains limited multiplicity, begging the question whether there is a true diversity of multi-transiting systems, or if some systems merely possess high mutual inclinations, allowing them to appear as single-transiting systems in a transit-based survey. Planet formation is an active yet poorly understood field: insight to the histories and dynamics of multi-planet systems would be helpful towards understanding planet formation as a whole. In previous work, we have determined the regimes of parameter space for which orbital inclinations can be effectively excited by planet-planet interactions among the currently observed bodies. We found that the orbital inclination angles are not spread out appreciably through self-excitation. In contrast, we found that the two Kepler multi-planet systems with additional non-transiting planets are susceptible to oscillations of their inclination angles, which means their currently observed configurations could be due to planet-planet interactions alone. The multi-planet compact Kepler systems are found to be remarkably stable to oscillations of their inclination angles. The oscillations of inclination found in our previous work inform the recently suggested dichotomy in the sample of solar systems observed by Kepler. However, it would also be useful to study the behaviors of these systems with perturbing companions. This would enable a better understanding of the observed systems, resulting in a more accurate exoplanet population census. To do this, we must perform computationally intensive calculations and simulations.
OrganizationUniversity of Michigan
Sponsor Campus GridOSG-XSEDE
Principal Investigator
Juliette Becker
Field Of ScienceAstrophysics