Schedule Apr 02, 2010
Observing Planet Falling Through Increased Stellar Luminosity
Stuart F. Taylor (Global Telescope Sci.)

Tidal migration and subsequent planet destruction liberates enough energy to be observed as an increase in luminosity of the star, if the energy input into the star is not released too slowly. Many of the planets with the smallest semi-major axes get destroyed by tidally migrating, or “falling”, into their stars. This has been shown by recent work that considers the effect of tides induced on the star. The orbital energies of the most massive planets is equal to tens of thousands of years of stellar luminosity. We advocate studying the effects of this energy input into the star since work has focused on tidal heating of the planet. We anticipate that this large amount of energy input will produce identifiable signatures in the star's photometric light curve. We advocate theoretical preparation to search for stars made more luminous by the energy of planet infall. We study how common it may be to find light curves of planet hosting stars brightened by migration or subsequent destruction.

A giant planet falling into a main sequence star is potentially the most luminous type of planet destruction but also may be the most rare. It is likely that destruction of smaller planets may be a little less rare. Previous work has been done on planets destroyed during later stages when the star enlarges to consume planets, and planetary infall while the nebula is still present.

We present an overview of how different mass planets at different times of stellar evolution will present different potential luminosities for likely observable events.

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