A test particle orbit around an eccentric binary has two stationary states in which there is no nodal precession: coplanar and polar. Nodal precession of a misaligned test particle orbit centres on one of these stationary states. A low-mass circumbinary disc undergoes the same precession and moves towards one of these states through dissipation within the disc. For a massive particle orbit, the stationary polar alignment occurs at an inclination less than 90°, which is the prograde-polar stationary inclination. A sufficiently high angular momentum particle has an additional higher inclination stationary state, the retrograde-polar stationary inclination. Misaligned particle orbits close to the retrograde-polar stationary inclination are not nested like the orbits close to the other stationary points. We investigate the evolution of a gas disc that begins close to the retrograde-polar stationary inclination. With hydrodynamical disc simulations, we find that the disc moves through the unnested crescent shape precession orbits and eventually moves towards the prograde-polar stationary inclination, thus increasing the parameter space over which circumbinary discs move towards polar alignment. If protoplanetary discs form with an isotropic orientation relative to the binary orbit, then polar discs may be more common than coplanar discs around eccentric binaries, even formore »
Mutually misaligned circumbinary planets may form in a warped or broken gas disk or from later planet–planet interactions. With numerical simulations and analytic estimates we explore the dynamics of two circumbinary planets with a large mutual inclination. A coplanar inner planet causes prograde apsidal precession of the binary and the stationary inclination for the outer planet is higher for larger outer planet orbital radius. In this case a coplanar outer planet always remains coplanar. On the other hand, a polar inner planet causes retrograde apsidal precession of the binary orbit and the stationary inclination is smaller for larger outer planet orbital radius. For a range of outer planet semimajor axes, an initially coplanar orbit is librating meaning that the outer planet undergoes large tilt oscillations. Circumbinary planets that are highly inclined to the binary are difficult to detect—it is unlikely for a planet to have an inclination below the transit detection limit in the presence of a polar inner planet. These results suggest that there could be a population of circumbinary planets that are undergoing large tilt oscillations.
- Publication Date:
- NSF-PAR ID:
- Journal Name:
- The Astrophysical Journal Letters
- Page Range or eLocation-ID:
- Article No. L11
- DOI PREFIX: 10.3847
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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