Preprint typeset using LATEX style emulateapj v. 5/2/11 ECCENTRICITY GROWTH AND ORBIT FLIP IN NEAR-COPLANAR HIERARCHICAL THREE BODY SYSTEMS
Contributor(s)The Pennsylvania State University CiteSeerX Archives
Full recordShow full item record
AbstractThe secular dynamical evolution of a hierarchical three body system, in which a distant third object orbits around a binary has been studied extensively, demonstrating that the inner orbit can undergo large eccentricity and inclination oscillations. It was shown before that starting with a circular inner orbit, large mutual inclination (40 ◦ − 140◦) can produce long timescale modulations that drive the eccentricity to extremely large value and can flip the orbit. Here, we demonstrate that starting with an almost coplanar configuration, for eccentric inner and outer orbits, the eccentricity of the inner orbit can still be excited to high values, and the orbit can flip by ∼ 180◦, rolling over its major axis. The ∼ 180 ◦ flip criterion and the flip timescale are described by simple analytic expressions that depend on the initial orbital parameters. With tidal dissipation, this mechanism can produce counter-orbiting exo-planetary systems. In addition, we also show that this mechanism has the potential to enhance the tidal disruption or collision rates for different systems. Furthermore, we explore the entire e1 and i0 parameters space that can produce flips. 1.