Wednesday, July 31, 2013

1307.7893 (Jonathan Horner et al.)

A Detailed Dynamical Investigation of the Proposed QS Virginis Planetary System    [PDF]

Jonathan Horner, Robert A Wittenmyer, Tobias C Hinse, Jonathan P Marshall, Alex J Mustill, Chris G Tinney
In recent years, a number of planetary systems have been proposed to orbit evolved binary star systems. The presence of planets is invoked to explain observed variations in the timing of mutual eclipses between the primary and secondary components of the binary star system. The planets recently proposed orbiting the cataclysmic variable system QS Virginis are the latest in this on-going series of "extreme planets". The two planets proposed to orbit QS Virginis would move on mutually crossing orbits - a situation that is almost invariably unstable on very short timescales. In this work, we present the results of a detailed dynamical study of the orbital evolution of the two proposed planets, revealing that they are dynamically unstable on timescales of less than one thousand years across the entire range of orbital elements that provide a plausible fit to the observational data, and regardless of their mutual orbital inclination. We conclude that the proposed planets around the cataclysmic variable QS Virginis simply cannot exist.
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