The Cumulative Effect of Stellar Encounters on Multi-Planet Systems in Star Clusters

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Distant stellar encouters can substantially affect the dynamical evolution of existing stellar and planetary systems (e.g., Malmberg et al. 2007; Spurzem et al. 2009). Although planets with small orbital periods are not directly affected by encountering stars, the secular evolution of a perturbed system may result in the ejection of the innermost planets, or physical collisions between the innermost planets and the host star, hundreds of thousands of years after a weak encounter with a neighboring star occurs. Here we present the results of our study on the cumulative effect of distant stellar encounters on multi-planet systems in star clusters, and how these results depend on the properties of the star cluster in which a planetary system is born (for details we refer to Hao & Kouwenhoven, in prep.). With our simulations we explain the scarcity of exoplanets in star clusters, not only for those in wide orbits (affected by stellar encounters), but also in close orbits (affected by the secular evolution of the system following an encounter).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFormation, Detection, and Characterization of Extrasolar Habitable Planets
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages3
ISBN (Print)9781107033825
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2014
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameProceedings of the International Astronomical Union
ISSN (Print)1743-9213
ISSN (Electronic)1743-9221


  • Planetary systems
  • open clusters and associations: general


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