Expected planets in globular clusters

Noam Soker*, Alon Hershenhorn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


We argue that all transient searches for planets in globular clusters have a very low detection probability. Planets of low-metallicity stars typically do not reside at small orbital separations. The dependence of planetary system properties on metallicity is clearly seen when the quantity Ie ≡ Mp[a(1 - e)]2 is considered; Mp, a and e are the planet mass, semimajor axis and eccentricity, respectively. In high-metallicity systems, there is a concentration of systems at high and low values of Ie, with a low-populated gap near Ie ∼ 0.3MJ au2, where MJ is Jupiter's mass. In low-metallicity systems, the concentration is only at the higher range of I e, with a tail to low values of Ie. Therefore, it is still possible that planets exist around main-sequence stars in globular clusters, although at small numbers because of the low metallicity, and at orbital periods of ≳10 d. We discuss the implications of our conclusions on the role that companions can play in the evolution of their parent stars in globular clusters, for example, influencing the distribution of horizontal branch stars on the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram of some globular clusters, and in forming low-mass white dwarfs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)334-340
Number of pages7
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Globular clusters: general
  • Planetary systems
  • Stars: horizontal branch
  • Stars: rotation

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