Friends of Hot Jupiters: Exploring the Dynamical Evolution of Planetary Systems

Wed, Sep 2, 2015 at 3:00 pm

131 Campbell Hall

Heather Knutson (Caltech)

Since the discovery of the first extrasolar planet around a sun-like star nearly two decades ago, exoplanets have revolutionized our understanding of planet formation and migration. Although it was suspected at the time that the giant planets in our own solar system might have undergone some orbital evolution, the discovery of a class of short-period gas giant planets known as "hot Jupiters" suggested that planet migration may play a pivotal role in reshaping the architectures of planetary systems. In my talk I will examine the hypothesis that dynamical interactions between proto-hot Jupiters and a massive outer stellar or planetary mass companion can result in inward migration and spin-orbit misalignment. Although most hot Jupiters appear to be lacking in nearby planetary companions, I will present the results of a combined Keck radial velocity and adaptive optics search which indicates that these planets might not be lonely after all.  Lastly, I will present the results of a new extended survey examining the statistics of long-period companions in systems with known gas giant planets located at a range of orbital separations.