Binary star influence on post-main-sequence multi-planet stability

Dimitri Veras, Nikolaos Georgakarakos, Ian Dobbs-Dixon, Boris T. Gänsicke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Nearly every star known to host planets will become a white dwarf, and nearly 100 planet-hosts are now known to be accompanied by binary stellar companions. Here, we determine how a binary companion triggers instability in otherwise unconditionally stable single-star two-planet systems during the giant branch and white dwarf phases of the planet host. We perform about 700 full-lifetime (14 Gyr) simulations with A0 and F0 primary stars and secondary K2 companions, and identify the critical binary distance within which instability is triggered at any point during stellar evolution. We estimate this distance to be about seven times the outer planet separation for circular binaries. Our results help characterize the fates of planetary systems, and in particular which ones might yield architectures which are conducive to generating observable metal pollution in white dwarf atmospheres.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2053-2059
Number of pages7
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017


  • Celestial mechanics
  • Methods: numerical
  • Minor planets, asteroids: general
  • Planets and satellites: dynamical evolution and stability
  • White dwarfs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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