As the Worlds Turn: Constraining Spin Evolution in the Planetary-mass Regime

Marta L. Bryan, Sivan Ginzburg, Eugene Chiang, Caroline Morley, Brendan P. Bowler, Jerry W. Xuan, Heather A. Knutson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


To understand how planetary spin evolves and traces planet formation processes, we measure rotational line broadening in eight planetary-mass objects (PMOs) of various ages (1-800 Myr) using near-infrared high-resolution spectra from NIRSPEC/Keck. Combining these with published rotation rates, we compile 27 PMO spin velocities, 16 of which derive from our NIRSPEC/Keck program. Our data are consistent with spin velocities v scaling with planetary radius R as v ∝ 1/R. We conclude that spin angular momentum is conserved as objects cool and contract over the sampled age range. The PMOs in our sample spin at rates that are approximately an order of magnitude below their break-up values, consistent with the hypothesis that they were spun down by magnetized circum-PMO disks (CPDs) during the formation era at ages ≲a few Myr. There is a factor of 4-5 variation in spin velocity that has yet to be understood theoretically. It also remains to be seen whether spin evolves on timescales ⪆1 Gyr for PMOs, as it does for stars and high-mass brown dwarfs emitting magnetized winds.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number37
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 10 Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved..


Dive into the research topics of 'As the Worlds Turn: Constraining Spin Evolution in the Planetary-mass Regime'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this