On the alignment of debris discs and their host stars' rotation axis - implications for spin-orbit misalignment in exoplanetary systems

Christopher Watson, Stuart Littlefair, C. Diamond, Andrew Collier Cameron, Alan Fitzsimmons, Elaine Simpson, Victoria Moulds, Don Pollacco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

54 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

It has been widely thought that measuring the misalignment angle between the orbital plane of a transiting exoplanet and the spin of its host star was a good discriminator between different migration processes for hot-Jupiters. Specifically, well-aligned hot-Jupiter systems (as measured by the Rossiter-McLaughlin effect) were thought to have formed via migration through interaction with a viscous disc, while misaligned systems were thought to have undergone a more violent dynamical history. These conclusions were based on the assumption that the planet-forming disc was well-aligned with the host star. Recent work by a number of authors has challenged this assumption by proposing mechanisms that act to drive the star-disc interaction out of alignment during the pre-main-sequence phase. We have estimated the stellar rotation axis of a sample of stars which host spatially resolved debris discs. Comparison of our derived stellar rotation axis inclination angles with the geometrically measured debris-disc inclinations shows no evidence for a misalignment between the two.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)L71-L75
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters
Publication statusPublished - May 2011

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