Evidence of possible spin-orbit misalignment along the line of sight in transiting exoplanet systems.
Abstract (from CDS):
Of the 26 transiting exoplanet systems with measurements of the Rossiter-McLaughlin (RM) effect, eight have now been found to be significantly spin-orbit misaligned in the plane of the sky (i.e., RM misalignment angle|λ| ≳ 30° and inconsistent with λ = 0°). Unfortunately, the RM effect does not constrain the complement misalignment angle between the orbit of the planet and the spin of its host star along the line of sight (LOS). I use a simple model of stellar rotation benchmarked with observational data to statistically identify 10 exoplanet systems from a sample of 75 for which there is likely a significant degree of spin-orbit misalignment along the LOS: HAT-P-7, HAT-P-14, HAT-P-16, HD 17156, Kepler-5, Kepler-7, TrES-4, WASP-1, WASP-12, and WASP-14. All 10 systems have host stellar masses M* in the range 1.2 M☉ ≲ M*≲ 1.5 M☉, and the probability of this occurrence by chance is less than one in ten thousand. In addition, the planets in the candidate-misaligned systems are preferentially massive and eccentric. The coupled distribution of misalignment from the RM effect and from this analysis suggests that transiting exoplanets are more likely to be spin-orbit aligned than expected given predictions for a transiting planet population produced entirely by planet-planet scattering or Kozai cycles and tidal friction. For that reason, there are likely two populations of close-in exoplanet systems: a population of aligned systems and a population of apparently misaligned systems in which the processes that lead to misalignment or to the survival of misaligned systems operate more efficiently in systems with massive stars and planets.
planetary systems - planets and satellites: formation - stars: rotation - stars: statistics