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Tidal circularization of gaseous planets orbiting white dwarfs

Veras, Dimitri and Fuller, Jim (2019) Tidal circularization of gaseous planets orbiting white dwarfs. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 489 (2). pp. 2941-2953. ISSN 0035-8711. doi:10.1093/mnras/stz2339.

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A gas giant planet which survives the giant branch stages of evolution at a distance of many au and then is subsequently perturbed sufficiently close to a white dwarf will experience orbital shrinkage and circularization due to star–planet tides. The circularization time-scale, when combined with a known white dwarf cooling age, can place coupled constraints on the scattering epoch as well as the active tidal mechanisms. Here, we explore this coupling across the entire plausible parameter phase space by computing orbit shrinkage and potential self-disruption due to chaotic f-mode excitation and heating in planets on orbits with eccentricities near unity, followed by weakly dissipative equilibrium tides. We find that chaotic f-mode evolution activates only for orbital pericentres which are within twice the white dwarf Roche radius, and easily restructures or destroys ice giants but not gas giants. This type of internal thermal destruction provides an additional potential source of white dwarf metal pollution. Subsequent tidal evolution for the surviving planets is dominated by non-chaotic equilibrium and dynamical tides which may be well-constrained by observations of giant planets around white dwarfs at early cooling ages.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Veras, Dimitri0000-0001-8014-6162
Fuller, Jim0000-0002-4544-0750
Additional Information:© 2019 The Author(s) Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model ( Accepted 2019 August 21. Received 2019 August 21; in original form 2019 May 24. Published: 26 August 2019. We thank the referee for their astute and spot-on comments, which have improved the manuscript. This research was supported in part by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. NSF PHY-1748958 through the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics programme ‘Better Stars, Better Planets’. DV also gratefully acknowledges the support of the STFC via an Ernest Rutherford Fellowship (grant ST/P003850/1). JF acknowledges support from an Innovator Grant from The Rose Hills Foundation and the Sloan Foundation through grant FG-2018-10515.
Group:TAPIR, Astronomy Department
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)ST/P003850/1
Rose Hills FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Alfred P. Sloan FoundationFG-2018-10515
Subject Keywords:methods: numerical – celestial mechanics – planets and satellites: detection – planets and satellites: dynamical evolution and stability – planet–star interactions –white dwarfs
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20191025-124651693
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Dimitri Veras, Jim Fuller, Tidal circularization of gaseous planets orbiting white dwarfs, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 489, Issue 2, October 2019, Pages 2941–2953,
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:99447
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:25 Oct 2019 20:04
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 17:46

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