Tilted Planets and Black Holes: The Effect of Resonances in Some Astrophysical Systems

CDSNS Colloquium
Friday, September 9, 2022 - 3:30pm for 1 hour (actually 50 minutes)
Skiles 006; Zoom streaming available
Yubo Su – Princeton University – yubo56@gmail.comhttps://sites.google.com/view/yubosu/
Alex Blumenthal

Please Note: Zoom link: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/83392531099?pwd=UHh2MDFMcGErbzFtMHBZTmNZQXM0dz09

In this talk, I will present the analysis of two astrophysical systems. First, exoplanets (planets orbiting a star that is not our Sun) are thought to sometimes naturally evolve into a state such that its spin axis is significantly tilted from its orbital axis. The most well-known examples of such tilts come from our own Solar System: Uranus with its 98 degree tilt is spinning entirely on its side, while Venus with its 177 degree tilt spins in the opposite direction to its orbit. I show that tilted exoplanets form probabilistically due to encountering a separatrix, and this probability can be analytically calculated using Melnikov's Method. Second, the origin of the binary black holes (BBHs) whose gravitational wave radiation has been detected by the LIGO/VIRGO Collaboration is currently not well-understood. Towards disambiguating among many proposed formation mechanisms, certain studies have computed the distributions of various physical parameters when BBHs form via certain mechanisms. A curious result shows that one such formation mechanism commonly results in black holes tilted on their sides. I show that this can be easily understood by identifying a hidden adiabatic invariant that links the initial and final spin orientations of the BBHs. No astrophysical knowledge is expected; please stop by!