The hot Jupiter WASP-12b has been found to be on a decaying 1.09 day orbit. The mean density of the planet inferred from transit and radial-velocity data is near its Roche limit; just how near depends on the planet’s uncertain internal structure. There is also spectroscopic evidence of mass loss. We accurately calculate the Roche density on the assumption of a synchronously rotating n = 1 polytrope, and find this to be only 15%-20% below the observational estimates for the mean density. We discuss the implied shape of the planet, its lifetime before complete disruption, and its current rate of mass loss based on our improved tidal model. The present mass-loss rate is at least as sensitive to the opacity and temperature profiles of the planet’s atmosphere as to its internal structure, however.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science