Planet-planet scattering as the source of the highest eccentricity exoplanets

Daniel Carrera Sean N. Raymond 1 Melvyn B. Davies 2
1 ECLIPSE 2019
LAB - Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Bordeaux [Pessac]
Abstract : Most giant exoplanets discovered by radial velocity surveys have much higher eccentricities than those in the Solar System. The planet-planet scattering mechanism has been shown to match the broad eccentricity distribution, but the highest-eccentricity planets are often attributed to Kozai-Lidov oscillations induced by a stellar companion. Here we investigate whether the highly eccentric exoplanet population can be produced entirely by scattering. We ran 500 N-body simulations of closely packed giant planet systems that became unstable under their own mutual perturbations. We find that the surviving bound planets can have eccentricities up to $e > 0.99$. In other words, there is no maximum eccentricity that can be produced by planet-planet scattering. Furthermore, the eccentricity distribution for all giant exoplanets with $e > 0.3$ is consistent with it all being generated by scattering. Our results show that the discovery of planets with extremely high eccentricities does not necessarily signal the action of the Kozai-Lidov mechanism.
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Daniel Carrera, Sean N. Raymond, Melvyn B. Davies. Planet-planet scattering as the source of the highest eccentricity exoplanets. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters, Oxford Journals, 2019, pp.submitted to MNRAS Letters 2019. ⟨hal-02061451⟩



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