Measuring The Obliquities Of The TRAPPIST-1 Planets With MAROON-X

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
November 23, 2022
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Measuring The Obliquities Of The TRAPPIST-1 Planets With MAROON-X
TRAPPIST-1 Planets

A star’s obliquity with respect to its planetary system can provide us with insight into the system’s formation and evolution, as well as hinting at the presence of additional objects in the system.

However, M dwarfs, which are the most promising targets for atmospheric follow-up, are underrepresented in terms of obliquity characterization surveys due to the challenges associated with making precise measurements.

In this paper, we use the extreme-precision radial velocity spectrograph MAROON-X to measure the obliquity of the late M dwarf TRAPPIST-1. With the Rossiter-McLaughlin effect, we measure a system obliquity of −2+17−19 degrees and a stellar rotational velocity of 2.1 ± 0.3 km s−1. We were unable to detect stellar surface differential rotation, and we found that a model in which all planets share the same obliquity was favored by our current data.

We were unable to make a detection of the signatures of the planets using Doppler tomography, which is likely a result of the both the slow rotation of the star and the low SNR of the data. Overall, TRAPPIST-1 appears to have a low obliquity, which could imply that the system has a low primordial obliquity. It also appears to be a slow rotator, which is consistent with past characterizations of the system and estimates of the star’s rotation period.

The MAROON-X data allow for a precise measurement of the stellar obliquity through the Rossiter-McLaughlin effect, highlighting the capabilities of MAROON-X and its ability to make high-precision RV measurements around late, dim stars.

Madison Brady, Jacob Bean, Andreas Seifahrt, David Kasper, Rafael Luque, Ansgar Reiners, Björn Benneke, Guðmundur Stefánsson, Julian Stürmer

Comments: 18 pages, 6 figures, submitted to AJ
Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP); Solar and Stellar Astrophysics (astro-ph.SR)
Cite as: arXiv:2211.11841 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:2211.11841v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
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Submission history
From: Madison Brady
[v1] Mon, 21 Nov 2022 20:27:03 UTC (4,508 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) 🖖🏻