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Beyond Earthly Skies

Hot-Jupiters around Red Giant Stars

20 Jul 2014, 22:00 UTC
Hot-Jupiters around Red Giant Stars
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Figure 1: Artist’s impression of a gas giant planet.Figure 2: Artist’s impression of a gas giant planet.After ~6 billion years or so, the Sun will start running out of hydrogen in its core and being to enter its post-main-sequence phase of evolution characterised by a large increase in its luminosity. All the planets circling the Sun will receive much greater insolation than they do now. Presently, Jupiter orbits the Sun at a distance of roughly 5 AU, where 1 AU is the average Earth-Sun separation distance. When the Sun enters post-main-sequence evolution, Jupiter might become so intensely irradiated that it becomes a “hot-Jupiter”.This occurs because the Sun’s luminosity will increase by a factor of several thousand during two stages in its post-main-sequence evolution - the red giant branch (RGB) stage, followed by the asymptotic giant branch (AGB) stage. During the RGB stage, the Sun’s interior is characterised by an inert helium core surrounded by a hydrogen-burning shell (i.e. hydrogen fusing into helium). For the subsequent AGB stage, the Sun’s interior is characterised by an inert carbon core surrounded by a helium-burning shell (i.e. helium fusing into carbon), and a hydrogen-burning shell.A study by Spiegel & Madhusudhan (2012) show that Jupiter’s ...

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