Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Exoplanets Around NN Serpentis May be First Observations of Secondary Planetary Formation

Second generation planet formation in NN Serpentis?


Völschow et al


In this paper, we study the general impact of stellar mass-ejection events in planetary orbits in post-common envelope binaries with circumbinary planets like those around NN Serpentis. We discuss a set of simple equations that determine upper and lower limits for orbital expansion and investigate the effect of initial eccentricity. We deduce the range of possible semi-major axes and initial eccentricity values of the planets prior to the common-envelope event. In addition to spherically-symmetric mass-ejection events, we consider planetary dynamics under the influence of an expanding disk. In order to have survived, we suggest that the present planets in NN Ser must have had semi-major axes >∼10 AU and high eccentricity values which is in conflict with current observations. Consequently, we argue that these planets were not formed together with their hosting stellar system, but rather originated from the fraction of matter of the envelope that remained bound to the binary. According to the cooling age of the white dwarf primary of 106 yr, the planets around NN Ser might be the youngest known so far and open up a wide range of further study of second generation planet formation.

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