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Mind the Gap! Investigating a Potential Cause of the Exoplanet Radius Valley

16 Feb 2021, 17:00 UTC
Mind the Gap! Investigating a Potential Cause of the Exoplanet Radius Valley
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Editor’s note: Astrobites is a graduate-student-run organization that digests astrophysical literature for undergraduate students. As part of the partnership between the AAS and astrobites, we occasionally repost astrobites content here at AAS Nova. We hope you enjoy this post from astrobites; the original can be viewed at astrobites.org.
Title: Bridging the Planet Radius Valley: Stellar Clustering as a Key Driver for Turning Sub-Neptunes into Super-Earths
Authors: J. M. Diederik Kruijssen, Steven N. Longmore, & Mélanie Chevance
First Author’s Institution: Center of Astronomy, Heidelberg University, Germany
Status: Published in ApJL
Neptunes and Jupiters and Earths, Oh My!
Extrasolar planets, or exoplanets, have been theorized for centuries, and studied firsthand since the 1990s. Much of the common classification of exoplanets is based on analogs in our own solar system: hot Jupiters, super-Earths, and super-Jupiters, just to name a few. The authors of today’s paper focus on two types of exoplanets: super-Earths (planets with more mass than Earth but less mass than Neptune) and sub-Neptunes (planets of 1.7–3.9 times the size of the Earth, but with a composition similar to Neptune’s).
Figure 1: A histogram of planets with given radii from a sample of 900 Kepler systems. The decreased occurrence rate between 1.5 ...

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