Orbital evolution and migration of giant planets: modeling extrasolar planets

D. E. Trilling, W. Benz, T. Guillot, J. I. Lunine, W. B. Hubbard, A. Burrows

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

220 Scopus citations


Giant planets in circumstellar disks can migrate inward from their initial (formation) positions. Radial migration is caused by inward torques between the planet and the disk, by outward torques between the planet and the spinning star, and by outward torques due to Roche lobe overflow and consequent mass loss from the planet. We present self-consistent numerical considerations of the problem of migrating giant planets. Summing torques on planets for various physical parameters, we find that Jupiter-mass planets can stably arrive and survive at small heliocentric distances, thus reproducing observed properties of some of the recently discovered extrasolar planets. Inward migration timescales can be approximately equal to or less than disk lifetimes and star spindown timescales. Therefore, the range of fates of massive planets is broad and generally comprises three classes: (I) planets that migrate inward too rapidly and lose all their mass; (II) planets that migrate inward, lose some but not all of their mass, and survive in very small orbits; and (III) planets that do not lose any mass. Some planets in class III do not migrate very far from their formation locations. Our results show that there is a wide range of possible fates for Jupiter-mass planets for both final heliocentric distance and final mass.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)428-439
Number of pages12
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1 PART I
StatePublished - 1998


  • Accretion, accretion disks
  • Circumstellar matter
  • Planetary systems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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