Behavior of apsidal orientations in planetary systems

Rory Barnes, Richard Greenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


A widely considered characteristic of extrasolar planetary systems has been a seeming tendency for major axes of adjacent orbits to librate in stable configurations. Based on a new catalog of extrasolar planets (Butler et al.) and our numerical integrations, we find that such small-amplitude oscillations are actually not common but in fact quite rare; most pairs of planets' major axes are consistent with circulating relative to one another. However, the new results are consistent with studies that find that two-planet systems tend to lie near a separatrix between libration and circulation. Similarly, in systems of more than two planets, many adjacent orbits lie near a separatrix that divides modes of circulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L53-L56
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1 II
StatePublished - Nov 20 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Methods: n-body simulations
  • Planetary systems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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