The Continuing Search for Evidence of Tidal Orbital Decay of Hot Jupiters

Kishore C. Patra, Joshua N. Winn, Matthew J. Holman, Michael Gillon, Artem Burdanov, Emmanuel Jehin, Laetitia Delrez, Francisco J. Pozuelos, Khalid Barkaoui, Zouhair Benkhaldoun, Norio Narita, Akihiko Fukui, Nobuhiko Kusakabe, Kiyoe Kawauchi, Yuka Terada, L. G. Bouma, Nevin N. Weinberg, Madelyn Broome

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Many of the known hot Jupiters are formally unstable to tidal orbital decay. The only hot Jupiter for which orbital decay has been directly detected is WASP-12, for which transit-timing measurements spanning more than a decade have revealed that the orbital period is decreasing at a rate of, corresponding to a reduced tidal quality factor of about 2 × 105. Here, we present a compilation of transit-timing data for WASP-12 and 11 other systems that are especially favorable for detecting orbital decay: KELT-16; WASP-18, 19, 43, 72, 103, 114, and 122; HAT-P-23; HATS-18; and OGLE-TR-56. For most of these systems we present new data that extend the time baseline over which observations have been performed. None of the systems besides WASP-12 display convincing evidence for period changes, with typical upper limits on dP/dt on the order of 10-9 or 10-10, and lower limits on the reduced tidal quality factor on the order of 105. One possible exception is WASP-19, which shows a statistically significant trend, although it may be a spurious effect of starspot activity. Further observations are encouraged.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number150
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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