The spin-orbit angle of the transiting hot Jupiter CoRoT-1b

Authors


  • Based on observations obtained at the W. M. Keck Observatory and the European Southern Observatory.

E-mail: fpont@astro.ex.ac.uk

ABSTRACT

We measure the angle between the planetary orbit and the stellar rotation axis in the transiting planetary system CoRoT-1, with new HIRES/Keck and FORS/VLT high-accuracy photometry. The data indicate a highly tilted system, with a projected spin-orbit angle λ= 77°± 11°. Systematic uncertainties in the radial velocity data could cause the actual errors to be larger by an unknown amount, and this result needs to be confirmed with further high-accuracy spectroscopic transit measurements. Spin-orbit alignment has now been measured in a dozen extra-solar planetary systems, and several show strong misalignment. The first three misaligned planets were all much more massive than Jupiter and followed eccentric orbits. CoRoT-1, however, is a jovian-mass close-in planet on a circular orbit. If its strong misalignment is confirmed, it would break this pattern. The high occurrence of misaligned systems for several types of planets and orbits favours planet–planet scattering as a mechanism to bring gas giants on very close orbits.

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