Giant Planets Can Act as Stabilizing Agents on Debris Disks

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We have explored the evolution of a cold debris disk under the gravitational influence of dwarf-planet-sized objects (DPs), both in the presence and absence of an interior giant planet. Through detailed long-term numerical simulations, we demonstrate that when the giant planet is not present, DPs can stir the eccentricities and inclinations of disk particles, in linear proportion to the total mass of the DPs; on the other hand, when the giant planet is included in the simulations, the stirring is approximately proportional to the mass squared. This creates two regimes: below a disk mass threshold (defined by the total mass of DPs), the giant planet acts as a stabilizing agent of the orbits of cometary nuclei, diminishing the effect of the scatterers; above the threshold, the giant contributes to the dispersion of the particles.



methods: numerical, planet-disk interactions, protoplanetary disks

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Astronomical Journal, v. 154, n. 1, 2017.