Explaining the origin and evolution of exoplanetary hot Jupiters remains a significant challenge. One possible mechanism for the production of hot Jupiters is planet-planet interactions, which produce them from planets born far from their host stars but near their dynamical stability limits. In the much more likely case of planets born far from their dynamical stability limits, can hot Jupiters be formed in star clusters? Our N-body simulations answer this question in the affirmative, and show that hot Jupiter formation is not a rare event, occurring in ∼1% of star cluster planetary systems. We detail three case studies of the dynamics-induced births of hot Jupiters on highly eccentric orbits that can only occur inside star clusters. The hot Jupiters' orbits bear remarkable similarities to those of some of the most extreme exoplanets known: HAT-P-32b, HAT-P-2b, HD 80606b, and GJ 876d. If stellar perturbations formed these hot Jupiters, then our simulations predict that these very hot inner planets are often accompanied by much more distant gas giants in highly eccentric orbits.
- open clusters and associations: general
- planetary systems
- planets and satellites: dynamical evolution and stability
- planets and satellites: formation
- star interactions
- stars: kinematics and dynamics