Orbital alignment of circumbinary planets that form in misaligned circumbinary discs: the case of Kepler-413b
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
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Although most of the circumbinary planets detected by the Kepler spacecraft are on orbits that are closely aligned with the binary orbital plane, the systems Kepler-413 and Kepler-453 exhibit small misalignments of ∼2.5°. One possibility is that these planets formed in a circumbinary disc whose midplane was inclined relative to the binary orbital plane. Such a configuration is expected to lead to a warped and twisted disc, and our aim is to examine the inclination evolution of planets embedded in these discs. We employed 3D hydrodynamical simulations that examine the disc response to the presence of a modestly inclined binary with parameters that match the Kepler-413 system, as a function of disc parameters and binary inclinations. The discs all develop slowly varying warps, and generally display very small amounts of twist. Very slow solid body precession occurs because a large outer disc radius is adopted. Simulations of planets embedded in these discs resulted in the planet aligning with the binary orbit plane for disc masses close to the minimum mass solar nebular, such that nodal precession of the planet was controlled by the binary. For higher disc masses, the planet maintains near coplanarity with the local disc midplane. Our results suggest that circumbinary planets born in tilted circumbinary discs should align with the binary orbit plane as the disc ages and loses mass, even if the circumbinary disc remains misaligned from the binary orbit. This result has important implications for understanding the origins of the known circumbinary planets.