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

Christopher Watson, S.P. Littlefair, C. Diamond, A. Collier Cameron, Alan Fitzsimmons, Elaine Simpson, Victoria Moulds, Don Pollacco

Research output: Contribution to journalLetter

53 Citations (Scopus)
147 Downloads (Pure)

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 Lai et al. has challenged this assumption, and proposes that the star-disc interaction in the pre-main sequence phase can exert a torque on the star and change its rotation axis angle. We have estimated the stellar rotation axis of a sample of stars which host spatially resolved debris disks. Comparison of our derived stellar rotation axis inclination angles with the geometrically measured debris-disk inclinations shows no evidence for a misalignment between the two.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)L71-L75
Number of pages5
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Volume413
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2011

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