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Instabilities in the Early Evolution of Compact Super-Earth Systems

Presentation #201.02 in the session Exoplanets Orbital Dynamics.

Published onOct 20, 2022
Instabilities in the Early Evolution of Compact Super-Earth Systems

Compact non-resonant systems of sub-Jovian planets are the most common outcome of the planet formation process. Despite exhibiting broad overall diversity, these planets also display dramatic signatures of intra-system uniformity in their masses, radii, and orbital spacings. Although the details of their formation and early evolution are poorly known, sub-Jovian planets are expected to emerge from their natal nebulae as multi-resonant chains, owing to planet-disk interactions. Within the context of this scenario, the architectures of observed exoplanet systems can be broadly replicated if resonances are disrupted through post-nebular dynamical instabilities. We generate an ad-hoc sample of resonant chains and use a suite of N-body simulations to show that instabilities can not only reproduce the observed period ratio distribution, but that the resulting collisions also modify the mass uniformity in a way that is consistent with the data. Furthermore, we demonstrate that primordial mass uniformity, motivated by the sample of resonant chains coupled with dynamical sculpting, naturally generates uniformity in orbital period spacing similar to what is observed. We find that almost all collisions lead to perfect mergers, but some form of post-instability damping is likely needed to fully account for the present-day dynamically cold architectures of sub-Jovian exoplanets. Finally, we study synodic and resonant frequencies within the resonant chains, and use them to produce a simple and general criterion for the stability of the planetary system that depends only on planet orbital periods and masses. The criterion accurately predicts the maximum mass of planets in synthetic resonant chains up to six planets

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