Traditional formation scenarios fail to explain 4:3 mean motion resonances

Hanno Rein, Matthew J. Payne, Dimitri Veras, Eric B. Ford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


At least two multi-planetary systems in a 4:3 mean motion resonance have been found by radial velocity surveys.1 These planets are gas giants and the systems are only stable when protected by a resonance. Additionally the Kepler mission has detected at least four strong candidate planetary systems with a period ratio close to 4:3. This paper investigates traditional dynamical scenarios for the formation of these systems. We systematically study migration scenarios with both N-body and hydrodynamic simulations. We investigate scenarios involving the in situ formation of two planets in resonance. We look at the results from finely tuned planet-planet scattering simulations with gas disc damping. Finally, we investigate a formation scenario involving isolation-mass embryos. Although the combined planet-planet scattering and damping scenario seems promising, none of the above scenarios is successful in forming enough systems in 4:3 resonance with planetary masses similar to the observed ones. This is a negative result but it has important implications for planet formation. Previous studies were successful in forming 2:1 and 3:2 resonances. This is generally believed to be evidence of planet migration. We highlight the main differences between those studies and our failure in forming a 4:3 resonance. We also speculate on more exotic and complicated ideas. These results will guide future investigators towards exploring the above scenarios and alternative mechanisms in a more general framework.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)187-202
Number of pages16
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 11 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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