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Title: A DEFINITION FOR GIANT PLANETS BASED ON THE MASS–DENSITY RELATIONSHIP

We present the mass–density relationship (log M − log ρ) for objects with masses ranging from planets (M ≈ 0.01 M{sub Jup}) to stars (M > 0.08 M{sub ⊙}). This relationship shows three distinct regions separated by a change in slope in the log M − log ρ plane. In particular, objects with masses in the range 0.3 M{sub Jup}–60 M{sub Jup} follow a tight linear relationship with no distinguishing feature to separate the low-mass end (giant planets) from the high-mass end (brown dwarfs). We propose a new definition of giant planets simply based on changes in the slope of the log M versus log ρ relationship. By this criterion, objects with masses less than ≈0.3 M{sub Jup} are low-mass planets, either icy or rocky. Giant planets cover the mass range 0.3 M{sub Jup}–60 M{sub Jup}. Analogous to the stellar main sequence, objects on the upper end of the giant planet sequence (brown dwarfs) can simply be referred to as “high-mass giant planets,” while planets with masses near that of Jupiter can be called “low-mass giant planets.”.
Authors:
 [1] ;  [2]
  1. Thüringer Landessternwarte Tautenburg, Sternwarte 5, D-07778 Tautenburg (Germany)
  2. Institut für Planetenforschung, Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt, Rutherfordstrasse 2, D-12489 Berlin (Germany)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22518890
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal Letters; Journal Volume: 810; Journal Issue: 2; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; DENSITY; DWARF STARS; JUPITER PLANET; MASS; SATELLITES; STARS