PLANET FORMATION IN BINARIES: DYNAMICS OF PLANETESIMALS PERTURBED BY THE ECCENTRIC PROTOPLANETARY DISK AND THE SECONDARY
Silsbee et al
Detections of planets in eccentric, close (separations of ~20 AU) binary systems such as α Cen or γ Cep provide an important test of planet formation theories. Gravitational perturbations from the companion are expected to excite high planetesimal eccentricities, resulting in destruction rather than growth of objects with sizes of up to several hundred kilometers in collisions of similar-sized bodies. It was recently suggested that the gravity of a massive axisymmetric gaseous disk in which planetesimals are embedded drives rapid precession of their orbits, suppressing eccentricity excitation. However, disks in binaries are themselves expected to be eccentric, leading to additional planetesimal excitation. Here we develop a secular theory of eccentricity evolution for planetesimals perturbed by the gravity of an elliptical protoplanetary disk (neglecting gas drag) and the companion. For the first time, we derive an expression for the disturbing function due to an eccentric disk, which can be used for a variety of other astrophysical problems. We obtain explicit analytical solutions for planetesimal eccentricity evolution neglecting gas drag and delineate four different regimes of dynamical excitation. We show that in systems with massive (gsim 10–2 M ☉) disks, planetesimal eccentricity is usually determined by the gravity of the eccentric disk alone, and is comparable to the disk eccentricity. As a result, the latter imposes a lower limit on collisional velocities of solids, making their growth problematic. In the absence of gas drag, this fragmentation barrier can be alleviated if the gaseous disk rapidly precesses or if its own self-gravity is efficient at lowering disk eccentricity.