The same frequency of planets inside and outside open clusters of stars

Meibom, Soren and Torres, Guillermo and Fressin, Francois and Latham, David W. and Rowe, Jason F. and Ciardi, David R. and Bryson, Steven T. and Rogers, Leslie A. and Henze, Christopher E. and Janes, Kenneth and Barnes, Sydney A. and Marcy, Geoffrey W. and Isaacson, Howard and Fischer, Debra A. and Howell, Steve B. and Horch, Elliott P. and Jenkins, Jon M. and Schuler, Simon C. and Crepp, Justin (2013) The same frequency of planets inside and outside open clusters of stars. Nature, 499 (7456). pp. 55-58. ISSN 0028-0836

Abstract

Most stars and their planets form in open clusters. Over 95 per cent of such clusters have stellar densities too low (less than a hundred stars per cubic parsec) to withstand internal and external dynamical stresses and fall apart within a few hundred million years. Older open clusters have survived by virtue of being richer and denser in stars (1,000 to 10,000 per cubic parsec) when they formed. Such clusters represent a stellar environment very different from the birthplace of the Sun and other planet-hosting field stars. So far more than 800 planets have been found around Sun-like stars in the field. The field planets are usually the size of Neptune or smaller. In contrast, only four planets have been found orbiting stars in open clusters, all with masses similar to or greater than that of Jupiter. Here we report observations of the transits of two Sun-like stars by planets smaller than Neptune in the billion-year-old open cluster NGC6811. This demonstrates that small planets can form and survive in a dense cluster environment, and implies that the frequency and properties of planets in open clusters are consistent with those of planets around field stars in the Galaxy.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Files associated with this item cannot be displayed due to copyright restrictions.
Faculty / Department / School: No Faculty
Date Deposited: 23 Jun 2017 04:28
Last Modified: 23 Jun 2017 04:28
Uncontrolled Keywords: Exoplanets; open clusters; planet frequency; stars
Fields of Research : 02 Physical Sciences > 0201 Astronomical and Space Sciences > 020110 Stellar Astronomy and Planetary Systems
Socio-Economic Objective: E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970102 Expanding Knowledge in the Physical Sciences
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1038/nature12279
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/32127

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