Monday, October 13, 2014

Evidence From hot Jupiter WASP-84b Migration due to Protoplanetary Disk/Exoplanetary Interaction

The well-aligned orbit of WASP-84b: evidence for disc migration


Anderson et al


We report the sky-projected orbital obliquity (spin-orbit angle) of WASP-84b, a 0.70-MJup planet in a 8.52-day orbit around a G9V/K0V star, to be λ=0.3±1.7∘. We obtain a true obliquity of ψ=14.8±8.0∘ from a measurement of the inclination of the stellar spin axis with respect to the sky plane. Due to the young age and the weak tidal forcing of the system, we suggest that the orbit of WASP-84b is unlikely to have both realigned and circularised from the misaligned and/or eccentric orbit likely to have arisen from high-eccentricity migration. Therefore we conclude that the planet probably migrated via interaction with the protoplanetary disc. This would make it the first short-orbit, giant planet to have been shown to have migrated via this pathway. Further, we argue that the distribution of obliquities for planets orbiting cool stars (Teff less than 6250 K) suggests that high-eccentricity migration is an important pathway for the formation of short-orbit, giant planets.

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