Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Did Most hot Jupiters Destroy Their Inner Systems During Migration?

The destruction of inner planetary systems during high-eccentricity migration of gas giants


Mustill et al


Hot Jupiters are giant planets on orbits a few hundredths of an AU. They do not share their system with low-mass close-in planets, despite these latter being exceedingly common. Two migration channels for hot Jupiters have been proposed: through a protoplanetary gas disc or by tidal circularisation of highly-eccentric planets. We show that highly-eccentric giant planets that will become hot Jupiters clear out any low-mass inner planets in the system, explaining the observed lack of such companions to hot Jupiters. A less common outcome of the interaction is that the giant planet is ejected by the inner planets. Furthermore, the interaction can implant giant planets on moderately-high eccentricities at semimajor axes less than 1 AU, a region otherwise hard to populate. Our work supports the hypothesis that most hot Jupiters reached their current orbits following a phase of high eccentricity, possibly excited by other planetary or stellar companions.

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