Max Planck Institute for Astronomy | Max Planck Society | 2020 Oct 12
Simulations reveal that rocky super-Earths with thin atmospheres are often protected by a Jupiter-like planet
An international group of astronomers, led by Martin Schlecker of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, has found that the arrangement of rocky, gaseous and icy planets in planetary systems is apparently not random and depends on only a few initial conditions. The studys based on a new simulation that tracks the evolution of planetary systems over several billion years. Planetary systems around Sun-like stars, which produce in their inner regions super-Earths with low water and gas content, very often form a planet comparable to our Jupiter on an outer orbit. Such planets help to keep potentially dangerous objects away from the inner regions.
- Artistic impression of a planetary system with two super-Earths and one Jupiter in orbit around a Sun-like star. Simulations show that massive protoplanetary disks in addition to rocky Super-Earths with small amounts of ice and gas often form a cold Jupiter in the outer regions of the planetary systems. Credit: MPIA graphics department
Scientists suspect that the planet Jupiter played an important role in the development of life on Earth, because its gravity often deflects potentially dangerous asteroids and comets on their orbits into the zone of rocky planets in a way that reduces the number of catastrophic collisions. This circumstance therefore repeatedly raises the question whether such a combination of planets is rather random, or whether it is a common result of the formation of planetary systems. ...
The New Generation Planetary Population Synthesis (NGPPS). III. Warm Super-Earths and Cold Jupiters:
A Weak Occurrence Correlation, but with a Strong Architecture-Composition Link ~ M. Schlecker et al