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On the orbital decay of the gas giant Kepler-1658b

Adrian J. BarkerMichael EfroimskyValeri V. MakarovDimitri Veras
Nov 2023
The gas giant Kepler-1658b has been inferred to be spiralling into its sub-giant F-type host star Kepler-1658a (KOI-4). The measured rate of change of its orbital period is $\dot{P}_{\rm orb}=-131^{+20}_{-22}\mathrm{ms/yr}$, which can be explained by tidal dissipation in the star if its modified tidal quality factor is as low as $Q^{\,\prime}\approx 2.50\times {10}^{4}$. We explore whether this could plausibly be consistent with theoretical predictions based on applying up-to-date tidal theory in stellar models (varying stellar mass, age, and metallicity) consistent with our newly-derived observational constraints. In most of our models matching the combined constraints on the stellar effective temperature and radius, the dissipation in the star is far too weak, capable of providing $Q^{\,\prime}\gtrsim 10^9$, hence contributing negligibly to orbital evolution. Using only constraints on the stellar radius, efficient tidal dissipation sufficient to explain observations is possible due to inertial waves in the convective envelope during the sub-giant phase, providing $Q^{\,\prime}\sim 10^4$, but this period in the evolution is very short-lived (shorter than $10^2$ yrs in our models). We show that dissipation in the planet is capable of explaining the observed $\dot{P}_\mathrm{orb}$ only if the planet rotates non-synchronously. Tidally-induced pericentre precession is a viable explanation if the periastron argument is near $3\pi/2$ and the quadrupolar Love number is above 0.26. Further observations constraining the stellar and planetary properties in this system have the exciting potential to test tidal theories in stars and planets.
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