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Title: Coplanar Circumbinary Planets Can Be Unstable to Large Tilt Oscillations in the Presence of an Inner Polar Planet

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.

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Publication Date:
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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