The instability transition for the restricted 3-body problem
III. The Lyapunov exponent criterion
B. Quarles1, J. Eberle1, Z. E. Musielak1,2 and M. Cuntz1,3
Department of Physics, Science Hall, University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX 76019-0059, USA
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com;
2 Kiepenheuer-Institut für Sonnenphysik, Schöneckstr. 6, 79104 Freiburg, Germany
3 Institut für Theoretische Astrophysik, Universität Heidelberg, Albert Überle Str. 2, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany
Received: 24 November 2010
Accepted: 3 May 2011
Aims. We establish a criterion for the stability of planetary orbits in stellar binary systems by using Lyapunov exponents and power spectra for the special case of the circular restricted 3-body problem (CR3BP). The criterion augments our earlier results given in the two previous papers of this series where stability criteria have been developed based on the Jacobi constant and the hodograph method.
Methods. The centerpiece of our method is the concept of Lyapunov exponents, which are incorporated into the analysis of orbital stability by integrating the Jacobian of the CR3BP and orthogonalizing the tangent vectors via a well-established algorithm originally developed by Wolf et al. The criterion for orbital stability based on the Lyapunov exponents is independently verified by using power spectra. The obtained results are compared to results presented in the two previous papers of this series.
Results. It is shown that the maximum Lyapunov exponent can be used as an indicator for chaotic behaviour of planetary orbits, which is consistent with previous applications of this method, particularly studies for the Solar System. The chaotic behaviour corresponds to either orbital stability or instability, and it depends solely on the mass ratio μ of the binary components and the initial distance ratio ρ0 of the planet relative to the stellar separation distance. Detailed case studies are presented for μ = 0.3 and 0.5. The stability limits are characterized based on the value of the maximum Lyapunov exponent. However, chaos theory as well as the concept of Lyapunov time prevents us from predicting exactly when the planet is ejected. Our method is also able to indicate evidence of quasi-periodicity.
Conclusions. For different mass ratios of the stellar components, we are able to characterize stability limits for the CR3BP based on the value of the maximum Lyapunov exponent. This theoretical result allows us to link the study of planetary orbital stability to chaos theory noting that there is a large array of literature on the properties and significance of Lyapunov exponents. Although our results are given for the special case of the CR3BP, we expect that it may be possible to augment the proposed Lyapunov exponent criterion to studies of planets in generalized stellar binary systems, which is strongly motivated by existing observational results as well as results expected from ongoing and future planet search missions.
Key words: celestial mechanics / binaries: general / planetary system
© ESO, 2011