Jan 17, 2024

To unravel this mystery, several teams with diverse skills from the Astrophysics Department had to come together, as the architecture that unites the star to its planet is highly complex. They had to combine a detailed understanding of stellar and planetary physics, exploring their interactions, with a thorough knowledge of the observations made by NASA's Kepler satellite to be able to decipher the data.

The study shows that the observed rarity seems to derive not from observational bias, but rather from physical causes. Tidal effects and magnetism are sufficient to explain qualitatively and quantitatively the migration of nearby planets around fast-rotating stars. Moreover, this migration appears to be dependent on the spectral type (fundamentally linked to mass) of the star. While these results are promising, it is nevertheless necessary to expand the sample size to better constrain scarcity and better understand the mechanisms at play. In particular, this study highlights the importance of considering the spectral type of stars (their masses) if we are to correctly model star-planet interactions.

This work is published in Astronomy & Astrophysics.


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