Institute of Astronomy

Quantifying the Effect of Massive Long Period Companions on the Formation and Evolution of Planetary Systems

SpeakerTalk DateTalk Series
Marta Bryan28 July 2014Across HR 2014 Posters


We are conducting a Doppler survey at Keck combined with NIRC2 K-band AO imaging to search for massive, long-period companions to a sample of 148 exoplanet systems detected using the radial velocity method. While large surveys have made it possible to understand the statistical properties of exoplanet populations, recent studies have focused on determining mass distributions and occurrence rates of transiting short period, low mass planets around individual Sun-like stars found by the Kepler mission. Many of these surveys are primarily sensitive to short-period planets, making it difficult to evaluate the role that a massive distant planetary or stellar companion might have on the formation and orbital evolution of the inner planets. These kinds of companions could stir up the protoplanetary disk, making the coalescing of material difficult, they could truncate the outer disk, shortening disk lifetime and planet formation timescales, or they could affect the evolution of inner planets via dynamical interactions, such as planet-planet scattering or the Kozai mechanism. Studying the differences between populations of planets with and without these companions presents a new opportunity to constrain mechanisms of planet formation and evolution. Here we present results from our radial velocity trend search for massive, distant companions in RV-confirmed exoplanet systems. This program is complementary to the studies of companion occurrence rates in hot Jupiter systems being presented by Henry Ngo and Danielle Piskorz.


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