Extreme secular excitation of eccentricity inside mean motion resonance
Small bodies driven into star-grazing orbits by planetary perturbations⋆
1 Laboratoire Lagrange, Université Côte d’Azur, Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur, CNRS, CS 34229 06304 Nice, France
2 Cornell Center for Astrophysics and Planetary Science, Department of Astronomy, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA
Received: 4 April 2017
Accepted: 1 May 2017
Context. It is well known that asteroids and comets fall into the Sun. Metal pollution of white dwarfs and transient spectroscopic signatures of young stars like β-Pic provide growing evidence that extra solar planetesimals can attain extreme orbital eccentricities and fall into their parent stars.
Aims. We aim to develop a general, implementable, semi-analytical theory of secular eccentricity excitation of small bodies (planetesimals) in mean motion resonances with an eccentric planet valid for arbitrary values of the eccentricities and including the short-range force due to General Relativity.
Methods. Our semi-analytic model for the restricted planar three-body problem does not make use of series expansion and therefore is valid for any eccentricity value and semi-major axis ratio. The model is based on the application of the adiabatic principle, which is valid when the precession period of the longitude of pericentre of the planetesimal is much longer than the libration period in the mean motion resonance. In resonances of order larger than 1 this is true except for vanishingly small eccentricities. We provide prospective users with a Mathematica notebook with implementation of the model allowing direct use.
Results. We confirm that the 4:1 mean motion resonance with a moderately eccentric (e′ ≲ 0.1) planet is the most powerful one to lift the eccentricity of planetesimals from nearly circular orbits to star-grazing ones. However, if the planet is too eccentric, we find that this resonance is unable to pump the planetesimal’s eccentricity to a very high value. The inclusion of the General Relativity effect imposes a condition on the mass of the planet to drive the planetesimals into star-grazing orbits. For a planetesimal at ~ 1 AU around a solar mass star (or white dwarf), we find a threshold planetary mass of about 17 Earth masses. We finally derive an analytical formula for this critical mass.
Conclusions. Planetesimals can easily fall into the central star even in the presence of a single moderately eccentric planet, but only from the vicinity of the 4:1 mean motion resonance. For sufficiently high planetary masses the General Relativity effect does not prevent the achievement of star-grazing orbits.
Key words: celestial mechanics / planets and satellites: dynamical evolution and stability / minor planets, asteroids: general / white dwarfs / methods: analytical
The Mathematica notebook is only available at the CDS via anonymous ftp to cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr (126.96.36.199) or via http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/qcat?J/A+A/605/A23
© ESO, 2017