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Long-period Jovian Tilts the Orbits of Two sub-Neptunes Relative to Stellar Spin Axis in Kepler-129

Zhang, Jingwen and Weiss, Lauren M. and Huber, Daniel and Blunt, Sarah and Chontos, Ashley and Fulton, Benjamin J. and Grunblatt, Samuel and Howard, Andrew W. and Isaacson, Howard and Kosiarek, Molly R. and Petigura, Erik A. and Rosenthal, Lee J. and Rubenzahl, Ryan A. (2021) Long-period Jovian Tilts the Orbits of Two sub-Neptunes Relative to Stellar Spin Axis in Kepler-129. Astronomical Journal, 162 (3). Art. No. 89. ISSN 0004-6256. doi:10.3847/1538-3881/ac0634.

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We present the discovery of Kepler-129 d (P_d = 7.2_(-0.3)^(+0.4) yr, m sin i_d = 8.3_(-0.7)^(+1.1), M_(Jup), e_d = 0.15_(-0.05)^(+0.07)) based on six years of radial-velocity observations from Keck/HIRES. Kepler-129 also hosts two transiting sub-Neptunes: Kepler-129 b (P_b = 15.79 days, r_b = 2.40 ± 0.04 R_⊕) and Kepler-129 c (P_c = 82.20 days, r_c = 2.52 ± 0.07 R_⊕) for which we measure masses of m_b < 20 M_⊕ and m_c = 43₋₁₂⁺¹³ M_⊕. Kepler-129 is a hierarchical system consisting of two tightly packed inner planets and a massive external companion. In such a system, two inner planets precess around the orbital normal of the outer companion, causing their inclinations to oscillate with time. Based on an asteroseismic analysis of Kepler data, we find tentative evidence that Kepler-129 b and c are misaligned with stellar spin axis by ≳38°, which could be torqued by Kepler-129 d if it is inclined by ≳19° relative to inner planets. Using N-body simulations, we provide additional constraints on the mutual inclination between Kepler-129 d and inner planets by estimating the fraction of time during which two inner planets both transit. The probability that two planets both transit decreases as their misalignment with Kepler-129 d increases. We also find a more massive Kepler-129 c enables the two inner planets to become strongly coupled and more resistant to perturbations from Kepler-129 d. The unusually high mass of Kepler-129 c provides a valuable benchmark for both planetary dynamics and interior structure, since the best-fit mass is consistent with this 2.5 R_⊕ planet having a rocky surface.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Zhang, Jingwen0000-0002-2696-2406
Weiss, Lauren M.0000-0002-3725-3058
Huber, Daniel0000-0001-8832-4488
Blunt, Sarah0000-0002-3199-2888
Chontos, Ashley0000-0003-1125-2564
Fulton, Benjamin J.0000-0003-3504-5316
Grunblatt, Samuel0000-0003-4976-9980
Howard, Andrew W.0000-0001-8638-0320
Isaacson, Howard0000-0002-0531-1073
Kosiarek, Molly R.0000-0002-6115-4359
Petigura, Erik A.0000-0003-0967-2893
Rosenthal, Lee J.0000-0001-8391-5182
Rubenzahl, Ryan A.0000-0003-3856-3143
Additional Information:© 2021. The American Astronomical Society. Received 2021 February 19; revised 2021 May 7; accepted 2021 May 26; published 2021 August 5. J.Z. would like to thank Daniel Fabrycky, Juliette Becker, Dong Lai, Johanna Teske, and Jerry Xuan for helpful discussions. L.M.W. is supported by the Beatrice Watson Parrent Fellowship and NASA ADAP Grant 80NSSC19K0597. D.H. acknowledges support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (80NSSC19K0597), and the National Science Foundation (AST-1717000). We also thank Tiago Campante for providing the best-fitting asteroseismic model for Kepler-129. M.R.K. is supported by the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, grant No. DGE 1339067. The authors wish to recognize and acknowledge the very significant cultural role and reverence that the summit of Maunakea has always had within the indigenous Hawaiian community. We are most fortunate to have the opportunity to conduct observations from this mountain. This research has made use of the NASA Exoplanet Archive, which is operated by the California Institute of Technology, under contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration under the Exoplanet Exploration Program. Facilities: Keck(HIRES) - , Kepler. - Software: Radvel (Fulton et al. 2018), Lightkurve (Lightkurve Collaboration et al. 2018), REBOUND (Rein & Liu 2012).
Group:Astronomy Department, Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC)
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Beatrice Watson Parrent FellowshipUNSPECIFIED
Alfred P. Sloan FoundationUNSPECIFIED
NSF Graduate Research FellowshipDGE-1339067
Subject Keywords:Radial velocity; Asteroseismology; Exoplanet dynamics
Issue or Number:3
Classification Code:Unified Astronomy Thesaurus concepts: Radial velocity (1332); Asteroseismology (73); Exoplanet dynamics (490)
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20210813-181202161
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Jingwen Zhang et al 2021 AJ 162 89
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:110250
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:16 Aug 2021 14:48
Last Modified:16 Aug 2021 14:48

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