Article

Transiting exoplanets from the CoRoT space mission

http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361/200911933

ABSTRACT Aims. We report the discovery of very shallow ($\Delta F/F \approx 3.4\times 10^{-4}$), 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 $8 \times 10^{-4}$ 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 $59 \pm 3 \times 10^{-5}$ day and a radius of $R_{\rm p} = 1.68 \pm 0.09$ $R_{\rm Earth}$. Analysis of preliminary radial velocity data yields an upper limit of 21 $M_{\rm Earth}$  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, $\approx$1800–2600 K at the substellar point, and a very low one, $\approx$50 K, on its dark face assuming no atmosphere, have been derived.

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Jun 1, 2014