Planetary systems in a star cluster II: Intermediate-mass black holes and planetary systems

Francesco Flammini Dotti, M. B.N. Kouwenhoven*, Qi Shu, Wei Hao, Rainer Spurzem

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Most stars form in dense stellar environments. It is speculated that some dense star clusters may host intermediate-mass black holes (IMBHs), which may have formed from runaway collisions between high-mass stars, or from the mergers of less massive black holes. Here, we numerically explore the evolution of populations of planets in star clusters with an IMBH. We study the dynamical evolution of single-planet systems and free-floating planets, over a period of 100 Myr, in star clusters without an IMBH, and in clusters with a central IMBH of mass 100 M ⊙ or 200 M⊙. In the central region (r ≲ 0.2 pc), the IMBH's tidal influence on planetary systems is typically 10 times stronger than the average neighbour star. For a star cluster with a 200 M⊙ IMBH, the region in which the IMBH's influence is stronger within the virial radius (∼1 pc). The IMBH quenches mass segregation, and the stars in the core tend to move towards intermediate regions. The ejection rate of both stars and planets is higher when an IMBH is present. The rate at which planets are expelled from their host star rate is higher for clusters with higher IMBH masses, for t < 0.5trh, while remains mostly constant while the star cluster fills its Roche lobe, similar to a star cluster without an IMBH. The disruption rate of planetary systems is higher in initially denser clusters, and for wider planetary orbits, but this rate is substantially enhanced by the presence of a central IMBH.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3623-3637
Number of pages15
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2020


  • planetary systems
  • planets and satellites: Dynamical evolution and stability
  • stars: Solar-type
  • stars: Statistics

Cite this