Image of Alice in Wonderland at the Mad Hatter's tea party You are cordially invited to afternoon tea and biscuits wine and chocolate

Astronomy Tea Talks at Caltech

Mondays, Hameetman auditorium (Cahill)
Tea:  4.00pm
Talk: 4.15pm

Organized by:

2010 - 2011 season:
4 October 2010 Matthew Payne (Florida)

'The Formation of Retrograde Planetary Orbits'

We consider the growing number of observations of the Rossiter-McLaughlin effect in transiting planets, which seem to suggest that perhaps 25% of transiting planets are in highly inclined retrograde orbits. We want to investigate the mechanisms that could lead to the formation of such highly inclined planetary orbits. We consider the dense cluster environment in which stars are born and investigate whether perturbations from passing stars can drive planetary systems into retrograde configurations. Our investigation consists of
(i) Short-term simulations of direct scattering encounters between a multiplanet system and one or more perturbing stars, and
(ii) Long-term simulations of the subsequent planet-planet interactions which take place in the system.
We find that direct encounters can result in significantly more inclination excitation than might naively be expected from impulse approximations, and that these direct excitation encounters when combined with the long-term effects of planet-planet scattering can lead to several percent of all stellar systems possessing planets in retrograde orbits.
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Last modified on 20th Jul 2011 by Dominik A. Riechers.  

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