DDA 33rd Meeting, Mt. Hood, OR, April 2002
Session 7. Posters
Monday, April 22, 2002, 7:00pm

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[7.10] Terrestrial Planet Formation in the Alpha Centauri System

E. V. Quintana (NASA Ames / University of Michigan), J. J. Lissauer, J. E. Chambers (NASA Ames), M. J. Duncan (Queen's University)

Some of the ~ 80 known extrasolar giant planets orbit stars which also possess a stellar companion, e.g., 16 Cygni B, Tau Bootis, and 55 Rho Cancri, confirming that planets can form in binary star systems. The radial velocity technique used to discover these planetary companions is able to detect only large (Jupiter-mass) planets, so the existence of Earth-sized planets in binary star systems still remains observationally unconstrained.

Herein, we examine planet formation around each star in the Alpha Centauri A and B binary system, the closest binary to the Sun. Each integration begins with a `bimodal' mass distribution of several large embryos embedded in a disk of smaller planetesimals orbiting a star, and we follow the evolution of the accreting bodies for 100 Myr - 1 Gyr. Preliminary results suggest that systems with the initial inclination of the circumstellar disk above 45 degrees to the binary orbital plane cause most of the mass in the disk to rapidly fall into the primary star. When the disk began at a lower inclination, however, the simulations typically produced 3 - 5 terrestrial planets within 2 AU of the primary star, and on roughly circular (e < 0.2) and roughly coplanar orbits.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: equintan@umich.edu

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 34, #3
© 2002. The American Astronomical Society.