A simple question of celestial mechanics is investigated: in what regions of phase space near a binary system can planets persist for long times? The planets are taken to be test particles moving in the field of an eccentric binary system. A range of values of the binary eccentricity and mass ratio is studied, and both the case of planets orbiting close to one of the stars, and that of planets outside the binary orbiting the system's center of mass, are examined. From the results, empirical expressions are developed for both (1) the largest orbit around each of the stars and (2) the smallest orbit around the binary system as a whole, in which test particles survive the length of the integration (104 binary periods). The empirical expressions developed, which are roughly linear in both the mass ratio µ and the binary eccentricity e, are determined for the range 0.0≤e≤0.7-0.8 and 0.1≤µ≤0.9 in both regions and can be used to guide searches for planets in binary systems. After considering the case of a single low-mass planet in binary systems, the stability of a mutually interacting system of planets orbiting one star of a binary system is examined, though in less detail.
Stars: Binaries: General - Celestial Mechanics, Stellar Dynamics - Stars: Planetary Systems