Three Pathways for Observed Resonant Chains

Mariah G. Macdonald, Rebekah I. Dawson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


A question driving many studies is whether the thousands of exoplanets known today typically formed where we observe them or formed further out in the disk and migrated in. Early discoveries of giant exoplanets orbiting near their host stars and exoplanets in or near mean motion resonances were interpreted as evidence for migration and its crucial role in the beginnings of planetary systems. Long-scale migration has been invoked to explain systems of planets in mean motion resonant chains consisting of three or more planets linked by integer period ratios. However, recent studies have reproduced specific resonant chains in systems via short-scale migration, and eccentricity damping has been shown to capture planets into resonant chains. We investigate whether the observed resonant chains in Kepler-80, Kepler-223, Kepler-60, and TRAPPIST-1 can be established through long-scale migration, short-scale migration, and/or only eccentricity damping by running suites of N-body simulations. We find that, for each system, all three mechanisms are able to reproduce the observed resonant chains. Long-scale migration is not the only plausible explanation for resonant chains in these systems, and resonant chains are potentially compatible with in situ formation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number228
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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