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Systemic - Characterizing Extrasolar Planetary Systems

limit cycle

8 Feb 2010, 22:58 UTC
limit cycle
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The threshold level for amazement will rise quickly once Kepler’s discoveries start to accumulate, and already, it’s getting very hard to remember which transiting planet is unusual for which reason. Let’s see, was it TrES-4 or WASP-17 that has that styrofoam-like density? Or was it both of them?
Even in a crowded field, though, HAT-P-13 is likely to endure as a touchstone. In the next five years, it’s likely that there will emerge only a select handful of systems in which a well-characterized transiting planet orbiting a relatively bright star is being substantially perturbed by a companion on a well-characterized orbit.

After the HAT-13 system was announced, we showed that the planets “b” and “c” should have evolved to an eccentricity fixed point configuration, in which the orbits’ apsidal lines co-rotate, and in which the orbital eccentricity of planet “b” has a very sensitive dependence on its internal structure. Further modeling, using reasonable assumptions, gives strong limits on the tidal Q of planet “b”. In essence, for the cost of a small-aperture telescope, one can potentially accomplish with an exoplanet a big chunk of what the Juno Mission expects to accomplish with Jupiter at of order a thousandth of the ...

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