Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union

Contributed Papers

Diversity of close-in planets and the interactions with their host stars

Douglas N.C. Lina1a2 and Ian Dobbs-Dixona3

a1 Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA, USA email:

a2 Kavli Institute of Astronomy & Astrophysics, Peking University, Beijing, China

a3 Department of Physics, McGill University, Montreal, Canada email:


Short period planets provide an exciting opportunity of constraining structural properties. Observations have revealed a diverse class of objects, including several at odds with aspects of conventional planet formation theories. Here we present several scenarios that may help in producing the observed diversity. For short period planets in particular, their proximity to their host stars suggests that star-planet interactions may play an important role in their orbital and structural evolution. We first show that the penetration of a non-synchronous stellar magnetic field into short period planets will provide a significant source of energy for planetary expansion and may help stall inward migration. In addition to magnetic dissipation, the intense irradiation from the host star will drive atmospheric flows, whose behaviour is strongly influenced by the opacity of the envelope. Finally, we explore the role of late stage planetesimal and embryo bombardment on the structure of gas-giant planets. Dynamical trapping during migration, followed by orbital destablization during the final stage of gas-giant growth, leads to a surge in the collision rate. Such collisions will lead to preferential core growth and inflated radii. All three of these processes, occurring late in the planetary formation process, will produce a large range in planetary properties and may account for the diversity we see today.