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Exoplanets Period versus Mass

Exoplanets Period versus Mass


A diagram showing the orbital period (in units of Earth days) versus exoplanet mass lower limit (in units of Earth masses) for a subset of the confirmed sample of exoplanets that had orbital period and mass estimates at the time the subset was selected. The subset was taken from a snapshot at a time (5 August, 2012) when the total number of confirmed exoplanets was 777, and these resided in 623 alien solar systems, 105 of which harbored more than one planet. Data are from the Extrasolar Planets Encyclopedia. For comparison, the planets in our solar system are marked as Me, V, E, Ma, J, S, U, N corresponding to Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune respectively (numerical values are from solarsystem.nasa.gov). Note that for clarity, the position of Jupiter corresponds to the intersection of the dotted lines that is marked with the letter J.

The diagram shows some very complex behavior, but three rather well defined groups of data can be discerned. It is also clear that our own solar system planets are clearly set apart from the exoplanets in the sample. The patch of data on the lower right-hand side corresponds to the massive, short-period hot Jupiters that have been discovered. Regions showing a sparsity or lack of data in the diagram are just as interesting as the parts that are occupied by exoplanets. It is imperative to consider all possible selection effects for interpretation of the period versus mass diagram (and it is not always possible to know whether all selection effects have been identified. A much more detailed disucssion of the orbital period versus mass relation is discussed in the book Exoplanets and Alien Solar Systems, which includes comprehensive references to the scientific literature.

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Note: There are 740 exoplanets shown in the plot, taken from a snapshot when there were 777 confirmed exoplanets in total (residing in 623 alien solar systems, 105 of which harbored more than one exoplanet).
File under: What is the relation between exoplanet orbital period and mass? Are the orbtial and period and mass of an exoplanet connected?

© Tahir Yaqoob 2011-2012.