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Throwing Giant Planets at White Dwarfs

Presentation #505.03 in the session “Dynamics of Planets After the Main Sequence”.

Published onJun 01, 2021
Throwing Giant Planets at White Dwarfs

The recent discovery of WD 1856+534 b, a transiting giant planet orbiting a white dwarf in a stellar triple system, has confirmed again that planets exist around stars of all evolutionary stages and orbital configurations. However, its discovery also has posed challenges for explaining the dynamical and stellar evolution history of the WD 1856+534 system, as it has been deemed unlikely that this planet could have survived its host star’s red giant phase. In this talk I discuss how the evolution of this system can be naturally understood with the Eccentric Kozai-Lidov mechanism, triggered and enhanced by post-main sequence stellar mass loss, which drives high-eccentricity tidal migration, bringing an originally distant planet into a close orbit around the white dwarf. I will furthermore connect the evolution of this system to white dwarf pollution mechanisms and give estimates for finding more transiting planets around white dwarfs with TESS.

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