Exoplanets & Exomoons

On the Abundance of Circumbinary Planets

By Keith Cowing
May 5, 2014
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On the Abundance of Circumbinary Planets

Circumbinary planets have been the subject of much recent work, providing both simulations and new discoveries. We present the first observationally based determination of the rate of occurrence of these planets.

his is derived from the publicly available Kepler data, using an automated search algorithm and debiasing process to produce occurrence rates implied by the seven systems already known. These rates depend critically on the planetary inclination distribution: if circumbinary planets are preferentially coplanar with their host binaries, as has been suggested, then the rate of occurrence of planets with R p >6 Rorbiting with P p <300 \ d is 10.0 +18 6.5 % (95% confidence limits), higher than but consistent with single star rates. If on the other hand the underlying planetary inclination distribution is isotropic, then this occurrence rate rises dramatically, to give a lower limit of 47%. This implies that formation and subsequent dynamical evolution in circumbinary disks must either lead to largely coplanar planets, or proceed with significantly greater ease than in circumstellar disks. As a result of this investigation we also show that giant planets ( >10 R) are significantly less common in circumbinary orbits than their smaller siblings, and confirm that the proposed shortfall of circumbinary planets orbiting the shorter period binaries in the Kepler sample is a real effect.

D. J. Armstrong, H. Osborn, D. Brown, F. Faedi, Y. Gomez Maqueo Chew, D. Martin, D. Pollacco, S. Udry
(Submitted on 22 Apr 2014)

Comments: Submitted to MNRAS, 10 pages

Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)

Cite as: arXiv:1404.5617 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:1404.5617v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)

Submission history From: David Armstrong [v1] Tue, 22 Apr 2014 20:00:06 GMT (84kb,D)

Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA Space Station Payload manager/space biologist, Away Teams, Journalist, Lapsed climber, Synaesthete, Na’Vi-Jedi-Freman-Buddhist-mix, ASL, Devon Island and Everest Base Camp veteran, (he/him) 🖖🏻