Many Planetary Systems are only in Near-Resonance

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Many Planetary Systems are only in Near-Resonance

Post by Sirius_Alpha on 2nd November 2011, 8:28 pm

Identifying Non-Resonant Kepler Planetary Systems

The Kepler mission has discovered a plethora of multiple transiting planet candidate exosystems, many of which feature putative pairs of planets near mean motion resonance commensurabilities. Identifying potentially resonant systems could help guide future observations and enhance our understanding of planetary formation scenarios. We develop and apply an algebraic method to determine which Kepler 2-planet systems cannot be in a 1st-4th order resonance, given the current, publicly available data. This method identifies when any potentially resonant angle of a system must circulate. We identify and list 70 near-resonant systems which cannot actually reside in resonance, assuming a widely-used formulation for deriving planetary masses from their observed radii and that these systems do not contain unseen bodies that affect the interactions of the observed planets. This work strengthens the argument that a high fraction of exoplanetary systems may be near resonance but not actually in resonance.

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