AAS 205th Meeting, 9-13 January 2005
Session 11 Brown Dwarfs and Exoplanets
Poster, Monday, January 10, 2005, 9:20am-6:30pm, Exhibit Hall

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[11.18] Modeling the Origin of Extrasolar Comets Around the STAR IRC +10216

A. Fraeman (Blair High School, and Carnegie Institution of Washington), N. Haghighipour (Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawaii), K. S. Ford (Carnegie Institution of Washington)

A cloud of water and OH vapor has been detected around the star IRC +10216. Observations indicate that the distribution of OH in this cloud is uneven. It has been suggested that the presence of this cloud, and its unevenness might be due to the presence of comets in that area. If true, it is important to understand how a group of comets can collect and remain in a region of space around a star. The purpose of this study is to investigate whether the presence of a planet can account for such an accumulation of extrasolar comets. A planetary system consisting of a star and a Jupiter-sized planet has been considered, and the orbital stability of comets around its Lagrangian points is studied. To determine the regions of the parameter-space where comets can have stable orbits, numerical simulations of their orbital stability were run for different values of the masses of the central star and planet, and also for different values of the orbital parameters of the planet and comets. The simulations show that stable cometary orbits can exist, and it is possible that a collection of comets be held in resonance with the planet.

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© 2004. The American Astronomical Society.