Probing Planet Formation with the Most Extreme Cases: the “ultra-short-periods”, the “super-puffs” and the “Oblique” Planets

In order to understand a process as complex as planet formation, the most extreme cases are often the most revealing. At the hottest extreme of planet formation are the ultra-short-period planets (USP, orbital period ~1 day, <2 R_earth) which orbit their host stars just a few stellar radii away. Our uniform analysis of USPs revealed a prevalence of Earth-like rocky composition. The high mutual inclinations among USP planets also betray a dynamically hot formation scenario. Our upcoming JWST program will probe the surface mineralogy through phase curve variations on a 0.7 R_Earth USP. The “super-puffs” (planets with anomalously low density ~0.1 g cm^-3) are extremely susceptible to rapid hydrodynamic mass loss with a timescale that is much shorter than the system’s age. Even more puzzling, super-puffs are estimated to have large scale heights of ~3000 km, yet recent observations revealed completely flat transmission spectra. I will introduce a scenario that may explain these observations of “super-puff”. Finally, we will describe a few novel methods of measuring the orbital tilt of a planet. We found a population of Neptune-sized planets on polar orbits that might have initially formed further out in the disk before they dynamically arrived at their current close-in, misaligned orbits. The heat generated in the migration might have triggered an episode of intense atmospheric loss that is seen in the metastable He observation.

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Meeting ID: 622 393 7478

Passcode: 2BYguM

Speaker: Fei DAI (Caltech)

Place: Remote Talk

Host: Subo Dong

Time: Thursday, September 16, 2021 – 3:30PM to Thursday, September 16, 2021 – 4:30PM

Biography: I was born in Nanjing, Jiangsu. I obtained my undergraduate degree in Natural Science at the University of Cambridge in 2014. I received my Ph.D in Physics from MIT in 2019. I have been a GPS Postdoc Fellow at Caltech since then.


Sep 16 2021


China Standard Time
3:30 pm - 4:30 pm

Local Time

  • Timezone: America/New_York
  • Date: Sep 16 2021
  • Time: 3:30 am - 4:30 am

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Location 2

(KIAA) The Kavli Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics at Peking University


(KIAA) The Kavli Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics at Peking University
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