Stellar Spin-Orbit Misalignment in a Multiplanet System [EPA]

Stars hosting hot Jupiters are often observed to have high obliquities, whereas stars with multiple co-planar planets have been seen to have low obliquities. This has been interpreted as evidence that hot-Jupiter formation is linked to dynamical disruption, as opposed to planet migration through a protoplanetary disk. We used asteroseismology to measure a large obliquity for Kepler-56, a red giant star hosting two transiting co-planar planets. These observations show that spin-orbit misalignments are not confined to hot-Jupiter systems. Misalignments in a broader class of systems had been predicted as a consequence of torques from wide-orbiting companions, and indeed radial-velocity measurements revealed a third companion in a wide orbit in the Kepler-56 system.

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Date added: Fri, 18 Oct 13