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A Dearth of Close-in Stellar Companions to M-dwarf TESS Objects of Interest

Clark, Catherine A. and van Belle, Gerard T. and Ciardi, David R. and Lund, Michael B. and Howell, Steve B. and Everett, Mark E. and Beichman, Charles A. and Winters, Jennifer G. (2022) A Dearth of Close-in Stellar Companions to M-dwarf TESS Objects of Interest. Astronomical Journal, 163 (5). Art. No. 232. ISSN 0004-6256. doi:10.3847/1538-3881/ac6101.

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TESS has proven to be a powerful resource for finding planets, including those that orbit the most prevalent stars in our galaxy: M dwarfs. Identification of stellar companions (both bound and unbound) has become a standard component of the transiting planet confirmation process in order to assess the level of light-curve dilution and the possibility of the target being a false positive. Studies of stellar companions have also enabled investigations into stellar multiplicity in planet-hosting systems, which has wide-ranging implications for both exoplanet detection and characterization, as well as for the formation and evolution of planetary systems. Speckle and AO imaging are some of the most efficient and effective tools for revealing close-in stellar companions; we therefore present observations of 58 M-dwarf TOIs obtained using a suite of speckle imagers at the 3.5 m WIYN telescope, the 4.3 m Lowell Discovery Telescope, and the 8.1 m Gemini North and South telescopes. These observations, as well as near-infrared adaptive optics images obtained for a subset (14) of these TOIs, revealed only two close-in stellar companions. Upon surveying the literature, and cross-matching our sample with Gaia, SUPERWIDE, and the catalog from El-Badry et al., we reveal an additional 15 widely separated common proper motion companions. We also evaluate the potential for undetected close-in companions. Taking into consideration the sensitivity of the observations, our findings suggest that the orbital period distribution of stellar companions to planet-hosting M dwarfs is shifted to longer periods compared to the expected distribution for field M dwarfs.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Clark, Catherine A.0000-0002-2361-5812
van Belle, Gerard T.0000-0002-8552-158X
Ciardi, David R.0000-0002-5741-3047
Lund, Michael B.0000-0003-2527-1598
Howell, Steve B.0000-0002-2532-2853
Everett, Mark E.0000-0002-0885-7215
Beichman, Charles A.0000-0002-5627-5471
Winters, Jennifer G.0000-0001-6031-9513
Additional Information:© 2022. The Author(s). Published by the American Astronomical Society. Original content from this work may be used under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence. Any further distribution of this work must maintain attribution to the author(s) and the title of the work, journal citation and DOI. Received 2021 November 23; revised 2022 March 22; accepted 2022 March 23; published 2022 April 26. We thank our anonymous reviewer for their thoughtful contributions. We also thank Elliott Horch, Zachary Hartman, Joe Llama, Andrew Richardson, Schuyler Borges, and all the students of the spring 2021 semester of INF 604 for their contributions to and feedback on this manuscript. This research was supported by NSF Grant No. AST-1616084 and JPL RSA No. 1610345. JGW is supported by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration under Grant No. 80NSSC18K0476 issued through the XRP Program. These results made use of the Lowell Discovery Telescope at Lowell Observatory. Lowell is a private, nonprofit institution dedicated to astrophysical research and public appreciation of astronomy and operates the LDT in partnership with Boston University, the University of Maryland, the University of Toledo, Northern Arizona University, and Yale University. Lowell Observatory sits at the base of mountains sacred to tribes throughout the region. We honor their past, present, and future generations, who have lived here for millennia and will forever call this place home. These results are also based on observations from Kitt Peak National Observatory, the NSF's National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory (PI: S. Howell), which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) under a cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation. Data presented herein were obtained at the WIYN Observatory from telescope time allocated to NN-EXPLORE through the scientific partnership of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Science Foundation, and the NSF's National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory. Some of the observations in the paper made use of the High-Resolution Imaging instruments Alopeke and Zorro. Alopeke and Zorro were funded by the NASA Exoplanet Exploration Program and built at the NASA Ames Research Center by Steve B. Howell, Nic Scott, Elliott P. Horch, and Emmett Quigley. 'Alopeke and Zorro were mounted on the Gemini North and South telescope of the international Gemini Observatory, a program of NSF's NOIRLab, which is managed by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) under a cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation. on behalf of the Gemini partnership: the National Science Foundation (United States), National Research Council (Canada), Agencia Nacional de Investigación y Desarrollo (Chile), Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación (Argentina), Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia, Inovações e Comunicações (Brazil), and Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute (Republic of Korea). This research has made use of the Exoplanet Follow-up Observation Program website (ExoFOP 2019), which is operated by the California Institute of Technology, under contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration under the Exoplanet Exploration Program. This work has used data products from the Two Micron All Sky Survey (Skrutskie et al. 2019), which is a joint project of the University of Massachusetts and the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center at the California Institute of Technology, funded by NASA and NSF. This work presents results from the European Space Agency (ESA) space mission Gaia. Gaia data are being processed by the Gaia Data Processing and Analysis Consortium (DPAC). Funding for the DPAC is provided by national institutions, in particular the institutions participating in the Gaia Multilateral Agreement (MLA). The Gaia mission website is The Gaia archive website is Information was collected from several additional large database efforts: the Simbad database and the VizieR catalog access tool, operated at CDS, Strasbourg, France; NASA's Astrophysics Data System; and the Washington Double Star Catalog maintained at the U.S. Naval Observatory. Facilities: WIYN(NESSI) - Wisconsin-Indiana-Yale-NOAO Telescope, LDT(DSSI) - , Gemini North('Alopeke) - , Gemini South(Zorro). - Software: IPython (Pérez & Granger 2007), Matplotlib (Hunter 2007), NumPy (Harris et al. 2020), SciPy (Virtanen et al. 2020).
Group:Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC)
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Gaia Multilateral AgreementUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Binary stars; Visual binary stars; Low mass stars; High angular resolution; Speckle interferometry; Planet hosting stars; Close binary stars; M dwarf stars; Multiple stars
Issue or Number:5
Classification Code:Unified Astronomy Thesaurus concepts: Binary stars (154); Visual binary stars (1777); Low mass stars (2050); High angular resolution (2167); Speckle interferometry (1552); Planet hosting stars (1242); Close binary stars (254); M dwarf stars (982); Multipl
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20220525-89399000
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Catherine A. Clark et al 2022 AJ 163 232
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:114907
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:31 May 2022 14:27
Last Modified:31 May 2022 14:27

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