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Evidence that the Hot Jupiter WASP-77 A b Formed Beyond Its Parent Protoplanetary Disk’s H₂O Ice Line

Presentation #102.103 in the session Poster Session.

Published onJun 20, 2022
Evidence that the Hot Jupiter WASP-77 A b Formed Beyond Its Parent Protoplanetary Disk’s H₂O Ice Line

Idealized protoplanetary disk and giant planet formation models have been interpreted to suggest that a giant planet’s atmospheric abundances can be used to infer its formation location in its parent protoplanetary disk. It has recently been reported that the hot Jupiter WASP-77 A b has sub-solar atmospheric carbon and oxygen abundances with a solar C/O abundance ratio. Assuming solar carbon and oxygen abundances for its host star WASP-77 A, WASP-77 A b’s atmospheric carbon and oxygen abundances possibly indicate that it accreted its envelope interior to its parent protoplanetary disk’s H2O ice line from carbon-depleted gas with little subsequent planetesimal accretion or core erosion. We comprehensively model WASP-77 A and use our results to better characterize WASP-77 A b. We show that the photospheric abundances of carbon and oxygen in WASP-77 A are super-solar with a sub-solar C/O abundance ratio, implying that WASP-77 A b’s atmosphere has significantly sub-stellar carbon and oxygen abundances with a super-stellar C/O ratio. Our result possibly indicates that WASP-77 A b’s envelope was accreted by the planet beyond its parent protoplanetary disk’s H2O ice line. While numerous theoretical complications to these idealized models have now been identified, the possibility of non-solar protoplanetary disk abundance ratios confound even the most sophisticated protoplanetary disk and giant planet formation models. We therefore argue that giant planet atmospheric abundance ratios can only be meaningfully interpreted relative to the possibly non-solar mean compositions of their parent protoplanetary disks as recorded in the photospheric abundances of their solar-type dwarf host stars.

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