Ultra-short-period (USP) planets are a newly recognized class of planets with periods shorter than one day and radii smaller than about 2 R ⊕. It has been proposed that USP planets are the solid cores of hot Jupiters that have lost their gaseous envelopes due to photo-evaporation or Roche lobe overflow. We test this hypothesis by asking whether USP planets are associated with metal-rich stars, as has long been observed for hot Jupiters. We find the metallicity distributions of USP-planet and hot-Jupiter hosts to be significantly different (p = 310-4) based on Keck spectroscopy of Kepler stars. Evidently, the sample of USP planets is not dominated by the evaporated cores of hot Jupiters. The metallicity distribution of stars with USP planets is indistinguishable from that of stars with short-period planets with sizes between 2 and 4 R ⊕. Thus, it remains possible that the USP planets are the solid cores of formerly gaseous planets that are smaller than Neptune.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science
- atmospheres planetary systems
- detection stars
- planets and satellites