AAS 201st Meeting, January, 2003
Session 24. Planetary Systems I
Oral, Monday, January 6, 2003, 10:00-11:30am, 606-607

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[24.03] The period distribution for exoplanets clues to the origin of planets

H.R.A. Jones (Liverpool JMU), Anglo-Australian Planet Search Team

Now that around 100 exoplanets have been discovered an interesting pattern in the period distribution for exoplanets is emerging. When the exoplanets found by the Anglo-Australian Planet Search and other radial velocity searches are plotted in evenly spaced period bins a peak in the number of short-period exoplanets, followed by a minimum of planets between around 7 and 50 days and then an apparent rise in the number of planets per unit radius that seems to set in by a hundred days, indicating more planets farther from the host star. This is very different from the gaussian-like period distribution found for stellar companions. This lends support to the idea that once a clearing in the inner protoplanetary disk develops, it halts the inward migration of planets. In particular, the smooth distribution of exoplanets arising from planetary migration through a disk is altered by an accumulation of exoplanets at the point where the disk has been cleared out.

We gratefully acknowledge the UK and Australian government support of the Anglo-Australian Telescope through their PPARC and DETYA funding as well as NASA grant NAG5-8299 & NSF grants AST95-20443 and AST-9988087 and Sun Microsystems.


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