Wednesday, January 23, 2013
4:00 pm
Cahill, Hameetman Auditorium – Cahill Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics

Astronomy Colloquium

Are planetary systems flat?
Scott Tremaine, IAS Princeton

Laplace argued, correctly, that the small inclinations of planetary orbits implied that the solar system formed from a flat disk.  The evidence on whether extrasolar planetary systems are flat, however, is still ambiguous. I will describe (i) measurements of the Rossiter-McLaughlin effect in transiting planets, which show that many planetary systems have large stellar obliquities (angle between the stellar spin angular momentum and planetary orbital angular momentum); (ii) the curious phenomenon of Kozai-Lidov oscillations and their role in exciting eccentricities, inclinations, and obliquities; (iii) constraints on the flatness of planetary systems from the Kepler spacecraft and other sources; (iv) disk and high-eccentricity migration as competing mechanisms for the formation of hot Jupiters.

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