A Short-Period Censor of Sub-Jupiter Mass Exoplanets With Low Density
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Despite the existence of many short-period hot Jupiters, there is not one hot Neptune with an orbital period less than 2.5 days. Here, we discuss a cluster analysis of the currently known 106 transiting exoplanets to investigate a possible explanation for this observation. We find two distinct clusters in the mass-density space, one with hot Jupiters with a wide range of orbital periods (0.8-114 days) and a narrow range of planet radii (1.2 +/- 0.2 R-J) and another one with a mixture of super-Earths, hot Neptunes, and hot Jupiters, exhibiting a surprisingly narrow period distribution (3.7 +/- 0.8 days). These two clusters follow strikingly different distributions in the period-radius parameter plane. The branch of sub-Jupiter mass exoplanets is censored by the orbital period at the large-radius end: no planets with mass between 0.02 and 0.8 M-J or with radius between 0.25 and 1.0 R-J are known with P-orb < 2.5 days. This clustering is not predicted by current theories of planet Formation and evolution, which we also review briefly.