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Connecting Stellar Compositions and Planetary System Architectures

Presentation #608.11 in the session Multiple-Planet Systems.

Published onApr 03, 2024
Connecting Stellar Compositions and Planetary System Architectures

Stars and their planets originate from the same nebula, so we expect the compositions of planets and their stars to be related. For example, giant planets are known to form much more frequently around metal-rich host stars, which is interpreted as a hallmark of core accretion. More recent work has found that compact multi-planet systems are more prevalent around metal-poor stars ([Fe/H] ~ -0.4). However, this single parameter of overall metallicity gives an incomplete picture of a star’s composition. For example, though a star may be of solar metallicity, it may be oxygen-deficient, or magnesium-rich. These elements are abundant in Earth’s rocky mantle and are primary drivers of planet formation in the solar system. Thus, the relationship between non-iron metals and planetary properties, particularly those describing a system’s overall architecture such as mass partitioning and gap complexity, could yield insights about planet formation. Using high-resolution spectrographs in both the optical and near-infrared, we are conducting a broad survey to measure precise abundances of planet-forming elements in stars with known planetary systems. For this, we are developing a versatile code base for fitting stellar spectra of a wide range spectral types, including late-K and M dwarfs. We will then search for correlations of these abundances with a variety of quantitative metrics of system architecture.

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