Planet Formation in Circumbinary Configurations: Turbulence Inhibits Planetesimal Accretion
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The existence of planets born in environments highly perturbed by a stellar companion represents a major challenge to the paradigm of planet Formation. In numerical simulations, the presence of a close binary companion stirs up the relative velocity between planetesimals, which is fundamental in determining the balance between accretion and erosion. However, the recent discovery of circumbinary planets by Kepler establishes that planet Formation in binary systems is clearly viable. We perform N-body simulations of planetesimals embedded in a protoplanetary disk, where planetesimal phasing is frustrated by the presence of stochastic torques, modeling the expected perturbations of turbulence driven by the magnetorotational instability. We examine perturbation amplitudes relevant to dead zones in the midplane (conducive to planet Formation in single stars), and find that planetesimal accretion can be inhibited even in the outer disk (4-10 AU) far from the central binary, a location previously thought to be a plausible starting point for the Formation of circumbinary planets.