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Physics  2013 

Revealing A Universal Planet-Metallicity Correlation For Planets of Different Sizes Around Solar-Type Stars

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The metallicity of exoplanet systems serves as a critical diagnostic of planet formation mechanisms. Previous studies have demonstrated the planet-metallicity correlation for large planets ($R_P\ \geq\ 4\ R_E$); however, a correlation has not been found for smaller planets. With a sample of 406 $Kepler$ Objects of Interest whose stellar properties are determined spectroscopically, we reveal a universal planet-metallicity correlation: not only gas-giant planets ($3.9\ R_E\ < R_P\ \leq\ 22.0\ R_E$) but also gas-dwarf ($1.7\ R_E\ < R_P\ \leq\ 3.9\ R_E$) and terrestrial planets ($R_P\ \leq\ 1.7\ R_E$) occur more frequently in metal-rich stars. The planet occurrence rates of gas-giant planets, gas-dwarf planets, and terrestrial planets are $9.30^{+5.62}_{-3.04}$, $2.03^{+0.29}_{-0.26}$, and $1.72^{+0.19}_{-0.17}$ times higher for metal-rich stars than for metal-poor stars, respectively.


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