The Criterion for Chaos in Three-Planet Systems
06T18:00:00Z October 2021
We establish the criterion for chaos in three-planet systems, for systems similar to those discovered by the Kepler spacecraft. Our main results are as follows: (i) The simplest criterion, which is based on overlapping mean motion resonances MMR's), only agrees with numerical simulations at a very crude level. (ii) Much greater accuracy is attained by considering neighboring MMR's that do not overlap. We work out the width of the chaotic zones around each of the neighbors, and also provide simple approximate expressions for the widths. (iii) Even greater accuracy is provided by the overlap of three-body resonances (3BR's), which accounts for fine-grained structure seen in maps from N-body simulations, and also predicts the Lyapunov times. Previous studies conflict on whether overlap of MMR's or of 3BR's drive interplanetary chaos. We show that both do, and in fact they are merely different ways of looking at the same effect. (iv) We compare both criteria with high-resolution maps of chaos from N-body simulations, and show that they agree at a high level of detail.