The photoeccentric effect and proto-hot Jupiters. III. A paucity of proto-hot Jupiters on super-eccentric orbits

Rebekah I. Dawson, Ruth A. Murray-Clay, John Asher Johnson

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51 Scopus citations


Gas giant planets orbiting within 0.1 AU of their host stars are unlikely to have formed in situ and are evidence for planetary migration. It is debated whether the typical hot Jupiter smoothly migrated inward from its formation location through the proto-planetary disk, or was perturbed by another body onto a highly eccentric orbit, which tidal dissipation subsequently shrank and circularized during close stellar passages. Socrates and collaborators predicted that the latter model should produce a population of super-eccentric proto-hot Jupiters readily observable by Kepler. We find a paucity of such planets in the Kepler sample, which is inconsistent with the theoretical prediction with 96.9% confidence. Observational effects are unlikely to explain this discrepancy. We find that the fraction of hot Jupiters with an orbital period P > 3 days produced by the star-planet Kozai mechanism does not exceed (at two-sigma) 44%. Our results may indicate that disk migration is the dominant channel for producing hot Jupiters with P > 3 days. Alternatively, the typical hot Jupiter may have been perturbed to a high eccentricity by interactions with a planetary rather than stellar companion, and began tidal circularization much interior to 1 AU after multiple scatterings. A final alternative is that early in the tidal circularization process at high eccentricities tidal circularization occurs much more rapidly than later in the process at low eccentricities, although this is contrary to current tidal theories.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number66
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 10 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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