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Measuring the Core Mass of the Hot-Jupiter HAT-P-13b

HAT-P-13b is a transiting hot-Jupiter in orbit around a star with ~1.3 times the mass and ~1.8 times the radius of the Sun. The planet’s orbit around its host star is mildly eccentric due to tidal dissipation, and perturbations from a much more massive outer planet that is in a highly eccentric orbit. HAT-P-13b has ~0.9 times the mass and ~1.5 times the radius of Jupiter. The orbital eccentricity of HAT-P-13b is determined by its Love number, which in turn depends on how mass is distributed in the interior of HAT-P-13b. As a result, the orbital eccentricity of HAT-P-13b can be used to predict the planet’s interior structure.

Using new observations of HAT-P-13b with the Infrared Array Camera on the Spitzer Space Telescope, Buhler et al. (2016) show that the orbital eccentricity of HAT-P-13b is 0.007 ± 0.001, and this corresponds to an estimated Love number of approximately 0.31. Based on this Love number and the measured radius of HAT-P-13b, interior structure models of HAT-P-13b show that the most probable core mass for HAT-P-13b is 11 times the mass of Earth. Also, the planet’s core mass has a 68 percent probability of being less than 25 times the mass of Earth, and a 95 percent probability of being less than 47 times the mass of Earth. This represents the best measurement to date on the core mass of a hot-Jupiter.

Reference:
Buhler et al. (2016), “Dynamical Constraints on the Core Mass of Hot Jupiter HAT-P-13b”, arXiv:1602.03895 [astro-ph.EP]