The binary star 55 Cancri harbors at least five giant planets. The discovery of a possible dust disk around the primary of the system was announced in 1998 although it was later dismissed as an observational artifact induced by the presence of three background galaxies. However, the possible existence of an asteroid belt beyond 6 AU from the primary could not be excluded. The actual properties of a hypothetical outer asteroid belt around 55 Cancri A are likely to be the result of the gravitational influence of the outermost planets and gas drag during the late stages of the formation of the planetary system. Gaseous drag within a protoplanetary disk in a multiplanet context can induce resonant capture of solid material rather easily, triggering the formation of asteroid belts similar to our own transneptunian belt. In this paper we investigate this scenario using numerical simulations within the framework of the planar restricted four-body problem to find possible stable debris locations or additional planets around 55 Cancri A. Our results indicate that, beyond 55 Cancri d, only the 1:2 and 1:3 mean-motion resonances may be possible although the details of gas drag-induced resonant trapping depend strongly on the size of the particles, with larger particles being preferentially trapped farther away from the host star. For a primary of mass 0.94Mȯand i = 53 ° we find solid particles submitted to confined chaos at 10.14 and 13.22 AU with average eccentricities 0.14 and 0.20, respectively. The argument of pericentre of the trapped particles is found to librate around π / 2 with the pericentres of the two resonant structures nearly aligned. The resonance responsible for the inner ring effectively halts the migration of the particles. The outer structure resembles a rosette or separatrix orbit. Our calculations suggest that hypothetical planets or asteroid belts in these locations would be, in principle, dynamically stable. © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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