The Dynamics and Implications of Gap Clearing via Planets in Planetesimal (Debris) Disks
AuthorMorrison, Sarah Jane
AdvisorKratter, Kaitlin M.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
EmbargoRelease after 11-Feb-2018
AbstractExoplanets and debris disks are examples of solar systems other than our own. As the dusty reservoirs of colliding planetesimals, debris disks provide indicators of planetary system evolution on orbital distance scales beyond those probed by the most prolific exoplanet detection methods, and on timescales $\sim$10 Myr to 10 Gyr. The Solar System possesses both planets and small bodies, and through studying the gravitational interactions between both, we gain insight into the Solar System's past. As we enter the era of resolved observations of debris disks residing around other stars, I add to our theoretical understanding of the dynamical interactions between debris, planets, and combinations thereof. I quantify how single planets clear material in their vicinity and how long this process takes for the entire planetary mass regime. I use these relationships to assess the lowest mass planet that could clear a gap in observed debris disks over the system's lifetime. In the distant outer reaches of gaps in young debris systems, this minimum planet mass can exceed Neptune's. To complement the discoveries of wide-orbit, massive, exoplanets by direct imaging surveys, I assess the dynamical stability of high mass multi-planet systems to estimate how many high mass planets could be packed into young, gapped debris disks. I compare these expectations to the planet detection rates of direct imaging surveys and find that high mass planets are not the primary culprits for forming gaps in young debris disk systems. As an alternative model for forming gaps in planetesimal disks with planets, I assess the efficacy of creating gaps with divergently migrating pairs of planets. I find that migrating planets could produce observed gaps and elude detection. Moreover, the inferred planet masses when neglecting migration for such gaps could be expected to be observable by direct imaging surveys for young, nearby systems. Wide gaps in young systems would likely still require more than two planets even with plantesimal-driven migration. These efforts begin to probe the types of potential planets carving gaps in disks of different evolutionary stages and at wide orbit separations on scales similar to our outer Solar System.
Degree ProgramGraduate College