Early dynamical evolution of close-in planetary systems is shaped by an intricate combination of planetary gravitational interactions, orbital migration, and dissipative effects. While the process of convergent orbital migration is expected to routinely yield resonant planetary systems, previous analyses have shown that the semi-major axes of initially resonant pairs of planets will gradually diverge under the influence of long-term energy damping, producing an overabundance of planetary period ratios in slight excess of exact commensurability. While this feature is clearly evident in the orbital distribution of close-in extrasolar planets, the existing theoretical picture is limited to the specific case of the planetary three-body problem. In this study, we generalise the framework of dissipative divergence of resonant orbits to multi-resonant chains, and apply our results to the current observational census of well-characterised three-planet systems. Focusing on the 2:1 and 3:2 commensurabilities, we identify three three-planet systems, whose current orbital architecture is consistent with an evolutionary history wherein convergent migration first locks the planets into a multi-resonant configuration and subsequent dissipation repels the orbits away from exact commensurability. Nevertheless, we find that the architecture of the overall sample of multi-planetary systems is incompatible with this simple scenario, suggesting that additional physical mechanisms must play a dominant role during the early stages of planetary systems' dynamical evolution.
Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Pub Date:
- May 2019
- planets and satellites: dynamical evolution and stability;
- planets and satellites: formation;
- Astrophysics - Earth and Planetary Astrophysics
- Accepted in Astronomy &