Mean Motion Resonances at High Eccentricities: The 2:1 and the 3:2 Interior Resonances

Xianyu Wang, Renu Malhotra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Mean motion resonances (MMRs) play an important role in the formation and evolution of planetary systems and have significantly influenced the orbital properties and distribution of planets and minor planets in the solar system and in exoplanetary systems. Most previous theoretical analyses have focused on the low- to moderate-eccentricity regime, but with new discoveries of high-eccentricity resonant minor planets and even exoplanets, there is increasing motivation to examine MMRs in the high-eccentricity regime. Here we report on a study of the high-eccentricity regime of MMRs in the circular planar restricted three-body problem. Numerical analyses of the 2:1 and the 3:2 interior resonances are carried out for a wide range of planet-to-star mass ratio μ, and for a wide range of eccentricity of the test particle. The surface-of-section technique is used to study the phase space structure near resonances. We find that new stable libration zones appear at higher eccentricity at libration centers that are shifted from those at low eccentricities. We provide physically intuitive explanations for these transitions in phase space, and we present novel results on the mass and eccentricity dependence of the resonance widths. Our results show that MMRs have sizable libration zones at high eccentricities, comparable to those at lower eccentricities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number20
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2017


  • Kuiper belt: general
  • celestial mechanics
  • chaos
  • minor planets, asteroids: general
  • planets and satellites: dynamical evolution and stability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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