Planetary systems in star clusters


Kouwenhoven, M. B. N.; Shu, Qi; Cai, Maxwell Xu; Spurzem, Rainer

Publication date: 
September, 2016
Memorie della Societa Astronomica Italiana (MmSAI)

Thousands of confirmed and candidate exoplanets have been identified in recent years. Consequently, theoretical research on the formation and dynamical evolution of planetary systems has seen a boost, and the processes of planet-planet scattering, secular evolution, and interaction between planets and gas/debris disks have been well-studied. Almost all of this work has focused on the formation and evolution of isolated planetary systems, and neglect the effect of external influences, such as the gravitational interaction with neighbouring stars. Most stars, however, form in clustered environments that either quickly disperse, or evolve into open clusters. Under these conditions, young planetary systems experience frequent close encounters with other stars, at least during the first $10^6$ - $10^7$ years, which affects planets orbiting at any period range, as well as their debris structures.