How Do Disks and Planetary Systems in High-mass Open Clusters Differ from Those around Field Stars?

Kirsten Vincke and Susanne Pfalzner
Astrophysical Journal 868, 1 Link to Article [DOI: 10.3847/1538-4357/aae7d1]
Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy, Auf dem Hügel 69, D-53121 Bonn, Germany

Only star clusters that are sufficiently compact and massive survive largely unharmed beyond 10 . However, their compactness means a high stellar density, which can lead to strong gravitational interactions between the stars. As young stars are often initially surrounded by protoplanetary disks and later on potentially by planetary systems, the question arises to what degree these strong gravitational interactions influence planet formation and the properties of planetary systems. Here, we perform simulations of the evolution of compact high-mass clusters like Trumpler 14 and Westerlund 2 from the embedded to the gas-free phase and study the influence of stellar interactions. We concentrate on the development of the mean disk size in these environments. Our simulations show that in high-mass open clusters 80%–90% of all disks/planetary systems should be smaller than 50 just as a result of the strong stellar interactions in these environments. Already in the initial phases, three to four close flybys lead to typical disk sizes within the range of 18–27 . Afterward, the disk sizes are altered only to a small extent. Our findings agree with the recent observation that the disk sizes in the once dense environment of the Upper Scorpio OB association, NGC 2362, and h/χPersei are at least three times smaller in size than, for example, in Taurus. We conclude that the observed planetary systems in high-mass open clusters should also be on average smaller than those found around field stars; in particular, planets on wide orbits are expected to be extremely rare in such environments.

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