Exoplanets & Exomoons

Small Planets Around Cool Dwarfs: Enhanced Formation Efficiency of Super-Earths Around M Dwarfs

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
May 1, 2023
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Small Planets Around Cool Dwarfs: Enhanced Formation Efficiency of Super-Earths Around M Dwarfs
Planets Orbiting an M-Dwarf

Current measurements of planet population as a function of stellar mass show three seemingly contradictory signatures: close-in super-Earths are more prevalent around M dwarfs than FGK dwarfs; inner super-Earths are correlated with outer giants; and outer giants are less common around M dwarfs than FGK dwarfs.

Here, we build a simple framework that combines the theory of pebble accretion with the measurements of dust masses in protoplanetary disks to reconcile all three observations. First, we show that cooler stars are more efficient at converting pebbles into planetary cores at short orbital periods. Second, when disks are massive enough to nucleate a heavy core at 5 AU, more than enough dust can drift in to assemble inner planets, establishing the correlation between inner planets and outer giants.

Finally, while stars of varying masses are similarly capable of converting pebbles into cores at long orbital periods, hotter stars are much more likely to harbor more massive dust disks so that the giant planet occurrence rate rises around hotter stars. Our results are valid over a wide range of parameter space for a disk accretion rate that follows M˙⋆∼10−8M⊙yr−1(M⋆/M⊙)2. We predict a decline in mini-Neptune population (but not necessarily terrestrial planets) around stars lighter than ∼0.3−0.5M⊙. Cold giants (≳5 AU), if they exist, should remain correlated with inner planets even around lower mass stars.

Yayaati Chachan, Eve J. Lee

Comments: submitted to AAS journals, comments welcome
Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)
Cite as: arXiv:2305.00803 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:2305.00803v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
Submission history
From: Yayaati Chachan
[v1] Mon, 1 May 2023 13:09:27 UTC (289 KB)

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) 🖖🏻