Formation of earth-like planets during and after giant planet migration

Avi M. Mandell, Sean N. Raymond, Steinn Sigurdsson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

108 Scopus citations


Close-in giant planets are thought to have formed in the cold outer regions of planetary systems and migrated inward, passing through the orbital parameter space occupied by the terrestrial planets in our own solar system. We present dynamical simulations of the effects of a migrating giant planet on a disk of protoplanetary material and the subsequent evolution of the planetary system. We numerically investigate the dynamics of postmigration planetary systems over 200 million years using models with a single migrating giant planet, one migrating and one nonmigrating giant planet, and excluding the effects of a gas disk. Material that is shepherded in front of the migrating giant planet by moving mean motion resonances accretes into "hot Earths," but survival of these bodies is strongly dependent on dynamical damping. Furthermore, a significant amount of material scattered outward by the giant planet survives in highly excited orbits; the orbits of these scattered bodies are then damped by gas drag and dynamical friction over the remaining accretion time. In all simulations Earth-mass planets accrete on approximately 100 Myr timescales, often with orbits in the habitable zone. These planets range in mass and water content, with both quantities increasing with the presence of a gas disk and decreasing with the presence of an outer giant planet. We use scaling arguments and previous results to derive a simple recipe that constrains which giant planet systems are able to form and harbor Earth-like planets in the habitable zone, demonstrating that roughly one-third of the known planetary systems are potentially habitable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)823-844
Number of pages22
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1 I
StatePublished - May 1 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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