Mass transfer, loss and dynamical evolution of debris discs in young open clusters

2018-11-16T05:58:48Z (GMT) by Hands, Thomas

We perform high-N, direct summation N-body simulations of the early phases of open cluster evolution. The stars in our clusters host populations of test particles arranged in Kuiper-belt style planetesimal discs. We evolve the clusters and debris discs simultaneously in one simulation, such that the exact cluster potential is known at each time-step, and no approximations are required to determine the effect the cluster environment has on the planetesimals. We show that the early stages of evolution for Hyades-style clusters readily lead to the transfer of planetesimals between stars, free-floating planetesimals (such as A/2017 U1), and dynamically excited planetesimal discs. We also show that planetesimals captured from the stellar birth environment are not necessarily dynamically distinct from those native to a star. We discuss the implications of our results for both our own solar system and exoplanetary systems.