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Orbital fitting of Fomalhaut b and subsequent interaction with the dust belt

  • Hervé Beust (a1), Virginie Faramaz (a1) and Jean-Charles Augereau (a1)

Abstract

Fomalhaut harbours a moderately eccentric dust belt with a planet candidate (Fom b) imaged near its inner edge. MCMC-based orbital determination of Fom b shows that the orbit is highly eccentric (e≃0.9), nearly apsidally aligned with the belt. We study the secular interaction between the planet and the dust ring. We show that only if it is a small mass object, Fom b can perturb the belt without destroying it. But Fom b's perturbing action inevitably drives the belt to high eccentricity and apsidal misalignment. This behaviour is due to the planet's high eccentricity.

This dynamical outcome contradicts both observations and orbital determination. We conclude that another, more massive and less eccentric planet (Fom c) is required to dynamically control the belt. We show that Fom b is likely to have been formerly trapped in mean-motion resonance with Fom c and that subsequent eccentricity increase caused it to cross Fom c's orbit and to jump on its present day orbit via a scattering event.

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References

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Orbital fitting of Fomalhaut b and subsequent interaction with the dust belt

  • Hervé Beust (a1), Virginie Faramaz (a1) and Jean-Charles Augereau (a1)

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