Dynamics of Hierarchical Three-body Systems
Gongjie Li (Harvard)
June 09, 2016
Abstract: The secular dynamical evolution of a hierarchical three body system, in which a distant third object orbits around a binary has been studied extensively, demonstrating that the inner orbit can undergo large eccentricity and inclination oscillations. It had been shown that starting with a circular inner orbit, large mutual inclination (40 – 140 degree) can produce long timescale modulations that drive the eccentricity to extremely large values and can flip the orbit. In addition, starting with an almost coplanar configuration, for eccentric inner and outer orbits, the eccentricity of the inner orbit can still be excited to high values, and the orbit can flip by ~180 degrees, rolling over its major axis. I will discuss that this mechanism can produce misaligned exo- planetary systems under tidal dissipation, and this mechanism has the potential to change the stellar distribution for binary black hole systems.