Because of their common origin, it is expected (or assumed) that the composition of planet building blocks should (to a first order) correlate with stellar atmospheric composition, especially for refractory elements. In fact, information on the relative abundance of refractory and major rock-forming elements such as Fe, Mg, Si are commonly used to improve interior estimates for terrestrial planets (e.g. Dorn et al. 2015; Unterborn et al. 2016) and has even been used to estimate planet composition in different galactic populations (Santos et al. 2017). However, there is no direct observational evidence for the aforementioned expectation/assumption and was even recently questioned by Plotnykov & Valencia (2020). By using the largest possible sample of precisely characterized low-mass planets and their host stars, we show that the composition of the planet building blocks indeed correlates with the properties of the rocky planets. We also find that on average the iron-mass fraction of planets is higher than that of the primordial values, owing to the disk-chemistry and planet formation processes. This result can bring important implications for the future modelling of exoplanet composition.
Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society
- Pub Date:
- March 2021