Survival Function Analysis of Planet Size Distribution

Preprint English OPEN
Zeng, Li ; Jacobsen, Stein B. ; Sasselov, Dimitar D. ; Vanderburg, Andrew (2018)
  • Subject: Astrophysics - Earth and Planetary Astrophysics
    arxiv: Astrophysics::Galaxy Astrophysics | Physics::Geophysics | Astrophysics::Earth and Planetary Astrophysics | Physics::Space Physics

Applying the survival function analysis to the planet radius distribution of the Kepler exoplanet candidates, we have identified two natural divisions of planet radius at 4 Earth radii and 10 Earth radii. These divisions place constraints on planet formation and interior structure model. The division at 4 Earth radii separates small exoplanets from large exoplanets above. When combined with the recently-discovered radius gap at 2 Earth radii, it supports the treatment of planets 2-4 Earth radii as a separate group, likely water worlds. Thus, for planets around solar-type FGK main-sequence stars, we argue that 2 Earth radii is the separation between water-poor and water-rich planets, and 4 Earth radii is the separation between gas-poor and gas-rich planets. We confirm that the slope of survival function in between 4 and 10 Earth radii to be shallower compared to either ends, indicating a relative paucity of planets in between 4-10 Earth radii, namely, the sub-Saturnian desert there. We name them transitional planets, as they form a bridge between the gas-poor small planets and gas giants. Accordingly, we propose the following classification scheme: (<2 Earth radii) rocky planets, (2-4 Earth radii) water worlds, (4-10 Earth radii) transitional planets, and (>10 Earth radii) gas giants.
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