Tidal sculpting in the hot-Jupiter mass-separation diagram

Wednesday 4 July, 11:40

Transiting hot Jupiters occupy a wedge-shaped region in the mass ratio-orbital separation diagram. Its upper boundary is eroded by tidal spiral-in of massive, close-in planets and is sensitive to the stellar tidal dissipation parameter Q_s'. We develop a simple generative model of the orbital separation distribution of the known population of transiting hot Jupiters, subject to tidal orbital decay, XUV-driven evaporation and observational selection bias. From the joint likelihood of the observed orbital separations of hot Jupiters discovered in ground-based wide-field transit surveys, measured with respect to the hyperparameters of the underlying population model, we recover narrow posterior probability distributions for Q_s' in two different tidal forcing frequency regimes. We detect no significant dependence of Q_s' on stellar effective temperature. A further 19 systems in the dynamical-tide regime yield stronger coupling. Detection probabilities for transiting planets at a given orbital separation scale inversely with the increase in their tidal migration rates since birth. The resulting bias towards younger systems explains why the surface gravities of hot Jupiters correlate with their host stars' chromospheric emission fluxes. We predict departures from a linear transit-timing ephemeris of less than 4 seconds for WASP-18b over a 20-year baseline. 

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