Exoplanets & Exomoons

Spectro-Thermometry of M dwarfs and their candidate planets: too hot, too cool, or just right?

By Keith Cowing
November 5, 2013
Filed under
Spectro-Thermometry of M dwarfs and their candidate planets: too hot, too cool, or just right?

We use moderate-resolution spectra of nearby late K and M dwarf stars with parallaxes and interferometrically determined radii to refine their effective temperatures, luminosities, and metallicities.

We use these revised values to calibrate spectroscopic techniques to infer the fundamental parameters of more distant late-type dwarf stars. We demonstrate that, after masking out poorly modeled regions, the newest version of the PHOENIX atmosphere models accurately reproduce temperatures derived bolometrically. We apply methods to late-type hosts of transiting planet candidates in the Kepler field, and calculate effective temperature, radius, mass, and luminosity with typical errors of 57 K, 7%, 11%, and 13%, respectively. We find systematic offsets between our values and those from previous analyses of the same stars, which we attribute to differences in atmospheric models utilized for each study.

We investigate which of the planets in this sample are likely to orbit in the circumstellar habitable zone. We determine that four candidate planets (KOI 854.01, 1298.02, 1686.01, and 2992.01) are inside of or within 1-sigma of a conservative definition of the habitable zone, but that several planets identified by previous analyses are not (e.g. KOI 1422.02 and KOI 2626.01).

Only one of the four habitable-zone planets is Earth sized, suggesting a downward revision in the occurrence of such planets around M dwarfs. These findings highlight the importance of measuring accurate stellar parameters when deriving parameters of their orbiting planets.

Andrew W. Mann, Eric Gaidos, Megan Ansdell (Submitted on 31 Oct 2013)

Comments: 17 pages, 16 figures, in review in ApJ

Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP); Solar and Stellar Astrophysics (astro-ph.SR)

Cite as: arXiv:1311.0003 [astro-ph.EP]

(or arXiv:1311.0003v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)

Submission history From: Andrew Mann [v1] Thu, 31 Oct 2013 20:00:00 GMT (313kb,A)

Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA Space Station Payload manager/space biologist, Away Teams, Journalist, Lapsed climber, Synaesthete, Na’Vi-Jedi-Freman-Buddhist-mix, ASL, Devon Island and Everest Base Camp veteran, (he/him) 🖖🏻