Article

Transiting exoplanets from the CoRoT space mission VIII. CoRoT-7b: the first Super-Earth with measured radius

Astronomy and Astrophysics (Impact Factor: 5.08). 12/2009; 506(1):287-302.
Source: DLR

ABSTRACT Copyright © The European Southern Observatory (ESO) Aims. We report the discovery of very shallow (ΔF/F ≈ 3.4×10−4), periodic dips in the light curve of an active V = 11.7 G9V star observed by the CoRoT satellite, which we interpret as caused by a transiting companion. We describe the 3-colour CoRoT data and complementary ground-based observations that support the planetary nature of the companion. Methods. We used CoRoT colours information, good angular resolution ground-based photometric observations in- and out- of transit, adaptive optics imaging, near-infrared spectroscopy, and preliminary results from radial velocity measurements, to test the diluted eclipsing binary scenarios. The parameters of the host star were derived from optical spectra, which were then combined with the CoRoT light curve to derive parameters of the companion. Results. We examined all conceivable cases of false positives carefully, and all the tests support the planetary hypothesis. Blends with separation >0.40'' or triple systems are almost excluded with a 8 × 10−4 risk left. We conclude that, inasmuch we have been exhaustive, we have discovered a planetary companion, named CoRoT-7b, for which we derive a period of 0.853 59 ± 3 × 10−5 day and a radius of Rp = 1.68 ± 0.09 REarth. Analysis of preliminary radial velocity data yields an upper limit of 21 MEarth for the companion mass, supporting the finding. Conclusions. CoRoT-7b is very likely the first Super-Earth with a measured radius. This object illustrates what will probably become a common situation with missions such as Kepler, namely the need to establish the planetary origin of transits in the absence of a firm radial velocity detection and mass measurement. The composition of CoRoT-7b remains loosely constrained without a precise mass. A very high surface temperature on its irradiated face, ≈1800–2600 K at the substellar point, and a very low one, ≈50 K, on its dark face assuming no atmosphere, have been derived.

0 Bookmarks
 · 
203 Views
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Recent analyses of data from the NASA Kepler spacecraft have established that planets with radii within 25 per cent of the Earth's () are commonplace throughout the Galaxy, orbiting at least 16.5 per cent of Sun-like stars. Because these studies were sensitive to the sizes of the planets but not their masses, the question remains whether these Earth-sized planets are indeed similar to the Earth in bulk composition. The smallest planets for which masses have been accurately determined are Kepler-10b (1.42) and Kepler-36b (1.49), which are both significantly larger than the Earth. Recently, the planet Kepler-78b was discovered and found to have a radius of only 1.16. Here we report that the mass of this planet is 1.86 Earth masses. The resulting mean density of the planet is 5.57 g cm(-3), which is similar to that of the Earth and implies a composition of iron and rock.
    Nature 10/2013; · 38.60 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In the past 15 years, astronomers have revealed that a significant fraction of the stars should harbor planets and that it is likely that terrestrial planets are abundant in our galaxy. Among these planets, how many are habitable, i.e. suitable for life and its evolution? These questions have been discussed for years and we are slowly making progress. Liquid water remains the key criterion for habitability. It can exist in the interior of a variety of planetary bodies, but it is usually assumed that liquid water at the surface interacting with rocks and light is necessary for the emergence of a life able to modify its environment and evolve. A first key issue is thus to understand the climatic conditions allowing surface liquid water assuming a suitable atmosphere. This have been studied with global mean 1D models which has defined the "classical habitable zone", the range of orbital distances within which worlds can maintain liquid water on their surfaces (Kasting et al. 1993). A new generation of 3D climate models based on universal equations and tested on bodies in the solar system is now available to explore with accuracy climate regimes that could locally allow liquid water. A second key issue is now to better understand the processes which control the composition and the evolution of the atmospheres of exoplanets, and in particular the geophysical feedbacks that seems to be necessary to maintain a continuously habitable climate. From that point of view, it is not impossible that the Earth's case may be special and uncommon.
    International Journal of Astrobiology. 12/2012; 12(3).
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The Multi-site All-Sky CAmeRA, MASCARA, is an instrument currently in the design phase, that is aimed to find the brightest transiting planet systems in the sky. It will consist of several stations across the globe, each monitoring the near-entire sky using a battery of CCD-detectors plus wide-field lenses, targeting stars in the V = 4 - 8 magnitude range. MASCARA will be able to detect individual transits from Jupiter-size planets over this whole magnitude range, while smaller planets will be found by co-adding transit events. We expect to discover up to a dozen bright transit systems in this way. These will be extremely valuable for atmospheric follow-up studies.
    04/2013;

Full-text (2 Sources)

View
29 Downloads
Available from
May 28, 2014