Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Modeling the Formation of Eccentric Jupiters

Eccentric Jupiters via Disk-Planet Interactions


Duffell et al


Numerical hydrodynamics calculations are performed to determine conditions under which giant planet eccentricities can be excited by parent gas disks. Unlike in other studies, Jupiter-mass planets are found to have their eccentricities amplified --- provided their orbits start eccentric. We disentangle the web of co-rotation, co-orbital, and external resonances to show that this finite-amplitude instability is consistent with that predicted analytically. Ellipticities can grow until they reach of order the disk's aspect ratio, beyond which the external Lindblad resonances that excite eccentricity are weakened by the planet's increasingly supersonic epicyclic motion. Forcing the planet to still larger eccentricities causes catastrophic eccentricity damping as the planet collides into gap walls. If the eccentricity driving documented here survives in 3D, it may explain the low-to-moderate eccentricities ≲0.1 exhibited by many giant planets (including Jupiter and Saturn), especially those without planetary or stellar companions.

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