Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Mutual Inclinations of Multi-Planet Systems with External Companions


Lai et al


The {\it Kepler} mission has detected thousands of planetary systems with 1-7 transiting planets packed within 0.7~au from their host stars. There is an apparent excess of single-transit planet systems that cannot be explained by transit geometries alone, when a single planetary mutual inclination dispersion is assumed. This suggests that the observed compact planetary systems have at least two different architectures. We present a scenario where the "Kepler dichotomy" can be explained by the action of an external giant planet (or stellar) companion misaligned with the inner multi-planet system. The external companion excites mutual inclinations of the inner planets, causing such systems to appear as "Kepler singles" in transit surveys. We derive approximate analytic expressions (in various limiting regimes), calibrated with numerical calculations, for the mutual inclination excitations for various planetary systems and perturber properties (mass mp, semi-major axis ap and inclination θp). In general, the excited mutual inclination increases with mp/a3p and θp, although secular resonances may lead to large mutual inclinations even for small θp.

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