Probing the interiors of very hot Jupiters using transit light curves.
RAGOZZINE D. and WOLF A.S.
Abstract (from CDS):
Accurately understanding the interior structure of extrasolar planets is critical for inferring their formation and evolution. The internal density distribution of a planet has a direct effect on the star-planet orbit through the gravitational quadrupole field created by the rotational and tidal bulges. These quadrupoles induce apsidal precession that is proportional to the planetary Love number (k2p, twice the apsidal motion constant), a bulk physical characteristic of the planet that depends on the internal density distribution, including the presence or absence of a massive solid core. We find that the quadrupole of the planetary tidal bulge is the dominant source of apsidal precession for very hot Jupiters (a ≲ 0.025 AU), exceeding the effects of general relativity and the stellar quadrupole by more than an order of magnitude. For the shortest-period planets, the planetary interior induces precession of a few degrees per year. By investigating the full photometric signal of apsidal precession, we find that changes in transit shapes are much more important than transit timing variations. With its long baseline of ultra-precise photometry, the space-based Kepler mission can realistically detect apsidal precession with the accuracy necessary to infer the presence or absence of a massive core in very hot Jupiters with orbital eccentricities as low as e ≃ 0.003. The signal due to k2p creates unique transit light-curve variations that are generally not degenerate with other parameters or phenomena. We discuss the plausibility of measuring k2p in an effort to directly constrain the interior properties of extrasolar planets.