SCYON Abstract

Received on December 12 2005

Dynamical Interactions of Planetary Systems in Dense Stellar Environments

AuthorsJohn M. Fregeau, Sourav Chatterjee and Frederic A. Rasio
Department of Physics and Astronomy, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL 60208
Accepted byAstrophysical Journal
Links M 4


We study dynamical interactions of star-planet binaries with other single stars. We derive analytical cross sections for all possible outcomes, and confirm them with numerical scattering experiments. We find that a wide mass ratio in the binary introduces a region in parameter space that is inaccessible to comparable-mass systems, in which the nature of the dynamical interaction is fundamentally different from what has traditionally been considered in the literature on binary scattering. We study the properties of the planetary systems that result from the scattering interactions for all regions of parameter space, paying particular attention to the location of the "hard-soft" boundary. The structure of the parameter space turns out to be significantly richer than a simple statement of the location of the "hard-soft" boundary would imply. We consider the implications of our findings, calculating characteristic lifetimes for planetary systems in dense stellar environments, and applying the results to previous analytical studies, as well as past and future observations. Recognizing that the system PSR B1620-26 in the globular cluster M4 lies in the "new" region of parameter space, we perform a detailed analysis quantifying the likelihood of different scenarios in forming the system we see today.