Planetary dynamics in stellar clusters

Bonnell, Ian A. ; Smith, Kester W. ; Davies, Melvyn B. ; Horne, Keith

In: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 2001, vol. 322, no. 4, p. 859-865

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    We investigate how the formation and evolution of extrasolar planetary systems can be affected by stellar encounters that occur in the crowded conditions of a stellar cluster. Using plausible estimates of cluster evolution, we show how planet formation may be suppressed in globular clusters while planets wider than ≳0.1 au that do form in such environments can be ejected from their stellar system. Less crowded systems such as open clusters have a much reduced effect on any planetary system. Planet formation is unaffected in open clusters and only the wider planetary systems will be disrupted during the cluster's lifetime. The potential for free-floating planets in these environments is also discussed