Planets interact with their host stars through gravity, radiation, and magnetic fields, and for those giant planets that orbit their stars within ~10 stellar radii (~0.1AU for a sun-like star), star-planet interactions (SPI) are observable with a wide variety of photometric, spectroscopic, and spectropolarimetric studies. At such close distances, the planet orbits within the sub-Alfvenic radius of the star in which the transfer of energy and angular momentum between the two bodies is particularly efficient. The magnetic interactions appear as enhanced stellar activity modulated by the planet as it orbits the star rather than only by stellar rotation. These SPI effects are informative for the study of the internal dynamics and atmospheric evolution of exoplanets. The nature of magnetic SPI is modeled to be strongly affected by both the stellar and planetary magnetic fields, possibly influencing the magnetic activity of both, as well as affecting the irradiation and even the migration of the planet and rotational evolution of the star. As phase-resolved observational techniques are applied to a large statistical sample of hot Jupiter systems, extensions to other tightly orbiting stellar systems, such as smaller planets close to M dwarfs become possible. In these systems, star-planet separations of tens of stellar radii begin to coincide with the radiative habitable zone where planetary magnetic fields are likely a necessary condition for surface habitability.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)
- Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)