Habitable Zones & Global Climate

Bright Opportunities for Atmospheric Characterization of Small Planets

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
February 17, 2019
Filed under
Bright Opportunities for Atmospheric Characterization of Small Planets
Extrasolar planet

We report improved masses, radii, and densities for four planets in two bright M-dwarf systems, K2-3 and GJ3470, derived from a combination of new radial velocity and transit observations. Supplementing K2 photometry with follow-up Spitzer transit observations refined the transit ephemerides of K2-3 b, c, and d by over a factor of 10.

We analyze ground-based photometry from the Evryscope and Fairborn Observatory to determine the characteristic stellar activity timescales for our Gaussian Process fit, including the stellar rotation period and activity region decay timescale. The stellar rotation signals for both stars are evident in the radial velocity data and are included in our fit using a Gaussian process trained on the photometry. We find the masses of K2-3 b, K2-3 c and GJ3470 b to be 6.48+0.99−0.93, 2.14+1.08−1.04, and 12.58+1.31−1.28 M⊕ respectively. K2-3 d was not significantly detected and has a 3-σ upper limit of 2.80 M⊕. These two systems are training cases for future TESS systems; due to the low planet densities (ρ < 3.7 g cm−3) and bright host stars (K < 9 mag), they are among the best candidates for transmission spectroscopy in order to characterize the atmospheric compositions of small planets. Bright Opportunities for Atmospheric Characterization of Small Planets: Masses and Radii of K2-3 b, c, d and GJ3470 b from Radial Velocity Measurements and Spitzer Transits (Submitted on 19 Dec 2018 (v1), last revised 14 Feb 2019 (this version, v2)) Molly R. Kosiarek, Ian J.M. Crossfield, Kevin K. Hardegree-Ullman, John H. Livingston, Bjorn Benneke, Sarah Blunt, Gregory W. Henry, Ward S. Howard, David Berardo, Benjamin J. Fulton, Lea A. Hirsch, Andrew W. Howard, Howard Isaacson, Erik A. Petigura, Evan Sinukoff, Lauren Weiss, X. Bonfils, Courtney D. Dressing, Heather A. Knutson, Joshua E. Schlieder, Michael Werner, Varoujan Gorjian, Jessica Krick, Farisa Y. Morales, Nicola Astudillo-Defru, J.-M. Almenara, X. Delfosse, T. Forveille, C. Lovis, M. Mayor, F. Murgas, F. Pepe, N. C. Santos, S. Udry, H. T. Corbett, Octavi Fors, Nicholas M. Law, Jeffrey K. Ratzloff, Daniel del Ser Comments: 21 pages, 11 figures, accepted to AJ
Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)
Journal reference: AJ 157, 97 (2019)
DOI: 10.3847/1538-3881/aaf79c
Cite as: arXiv:1812.08241 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:1812.08241v2 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
Submission history
From: Molly Kosiarek
[v1] Wed, 19 Dec 2018 20:58:14 UTC (2,297 KB)
[v2] Thu, 14 Feb 2019 20:09:31 UTC (2,298 KB)

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) 🖖🏻