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Title: Giant Planets, Tiny Stars: Producing Short-period Planets around White Dwarfs with the Eccentric Kozai–Lidov Mechanism
Abstract The recent discoveries of WD J091405.30+191412.25 (WD J0914 hereafter), a white dwarf (WD) likely accreting material from an ice-giant planet, and WD 1856+534 b (WD 1856 b hereafter), a Jupiter-sized planet transiting a WD, are the first direct evidence of giant planets orbiting WDs. However, for both systems, the observations indicate that the planets’ current orbital distances would have put them inside the stellar envelope during the red-giant phase, implying that the planets must have migrated to their current orbits after their host stars became WDs. Furthermore, WD J0914 is a very hot WD with a short cooling time that indicates a fast migration mechanism. Here, we demonstrate that the Eccentric Kozai–Lidov Mechanism, combined with stellar evolution and tidal effects, can naturally produce the observed orbital configurations, assuming that the WDs have distant stellar companions. Indeed, WD 1856 is part of a stellar triple system, being a distant companion to a stellar binary. We provide constraints for the orbital and physical characteristics for the potential stellar companion of WD J0914 and determine the initial orbital parameters of the WD 1856 system.
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The Astrophysical Journal
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National Science Foundation
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