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Inclination Excitation of Solar System Debris Disk due to Stellar Flybys

Presentation #304.02 in the session “Beyond the Classical Kuiper Belt”.

Published onOct 26, 2020
Inclination Excitation of Solar System Debris Disk due to Stellar Flybys

Most stars form in clusters where relatively close encounters with other stars are common and can leave imprints on the orbital architecture of planetary systems. In this paper, we investigate the inclination excitation of debris disk particles due to such stellar encounters. We derive an analytical expression that describes inclination excitation in the hierarchical limit where the stellar flyby is distant. We then obtain numerical results for the corresponding particle inclination distribution in the non-hierarchical regime using a large ensemble of N-body simulations. For encounters with expected parameters, we find that the bulk inclination of the disk particles remains low. However, a distinct high inclination population is produced by prograde stellar encounters for particles with final pericenter distances above 50AU. The maximum extent it of the inclination distribution scales with the inclination of the encounter sin(is) for massive star flybys with low incoming velocity. The inclination distribution of observed trans-Neptunian objects places constraints on the dynamical history of our Solar System. For example, these results imply an upper limit on product of the number density n of the solar birth cluster and the Sun’s residence time τ of the form n*τ less than 8×104 Myr pc-3. Stronger constraints can be derived with future observational surveys of the outer Solar System.


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