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Hubble Space Telescope search for the transit of the Earth-mass exoplanet α Centauri B b

Demory, Brice-Olivier and Ehrenreich, David and Queloz, Didier and Seager, Sara and Gilliland, Ronald and Chaplin, William J. and Proffitt, Charles and Gillon, Michaël and Günther, Maximilian N. and Benneke, Björn and Dumusque, Xavier and Lovis, Christophe and Pepe, Francesco and Ségransan, Damien and Triaud, Amaury and Udry, Stéphane (2015) Hubble Space Telescope search for the transit of the Earth-mass exoplanet α Centauri B b. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 450 (2). pp. 2043-2051. ISSN 0035-8711. https://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20150710-152053004

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Abstract

Results from exoplanet surveys indicate that small planets (super-Earth size and below) are abundant in our Galaxy. However, little is known about their interiors and atmospheres. There is therefore a need to find small planets transiting bright stars, which would enable a detailed characterization of this population of objects. We present the results of a search for the transit of the Earth-mass exoplanet α Centauri B b with the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). We observed α Centauri B twice in 2013 and 2014 for a total of 40 h. We achieve a precision of 115 ppm per 6-s exposure time in a highly saturated regime, which is found to be consistent across HST orbits. We rule out the transiting nature of α Centauri B b with the orbital parameters published in the literature at 96.6 per cent confidence. We find in our data a single transit-like event that could be associated with another Earth-sized planet in the system, on a longer period orbit. Our programme demonstrates the ability of HST to obtain consistent, high-precision photometry of saturated stars over 26 h of continuous observations.


Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/mnras/stv673DOIArticle
http://mnras.oxfordjournals.org/content/450/2/2043PublisherArticle
http://arxiv.org/abs/1503.07528arXivDiscussion Paper
ORCID:
AuthorORCID
Demory, Brice-Olivier0000-0002-9355-5165
Ehrenreich, David0000-0001-9704-5405
Queloz, Didier0000-0002-3012-0316
Seager, Sara0000-0002-6892-6948
Gilliland, Ronald0000-0002-1554-5578
Chaplin, William J.0000-0002-5714-8618
Gillon, Michaël0000-0003-1462-7739
Günther, Maximilian N.0000-0002-3164-9086
Benneke, Björn0000-0001-5578-1498
Triaud, Amaury0000-0002-5510-8751
Alternate Title:Hubble Space Telescope search for the transit of the Earth-mass exoplanet Alpha Centauri Bb
Additional Information:© 2015 The Authors. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. Accepted 2015 March 25. Received 2015 March 16; in original form 2014 November 6. First published online April 30, 2015 We are indebted to Shelly Meyett and Tricia Royle for their assistance in the planning and executing of these observations. We thank Tom Ayres for his help in preparing our phase 2 programme, as well as Adrian Barker, Samantha Thompson and Julien de Wit for discussions. We also thank the anonymous referee for a detailed and helpful review that improved the paper. We are grateful to STScI Director Matt Mountain for awarding Director’s Discretionary Time for both programmes. Based on observations made with the NASA/ESA HST, obtained at the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., under NASA contract NAS 5-26555. These observations are associated with programme PID13180 and 13927. Support for this programme was provided by NASA through a grant from the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., under NASA contract NAS 5-26555. This work has been carried out within the frame of the National Center for Competence in Research PlanetS supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF). DE, CL, FP, and SU acknowledge the financial support of the SNSF. AT is a Swiss National Science Foundation fellow under grant number P300P2-147773.
Funders:
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NASANAS 5-26555
Space Telescope Science InstituteUNSPECIFIED
Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF)P300P2-147773
Subject Keywords: techniques: photometric stars: individual: α Centauri B
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20150710-152053004
Persistent URL:https://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20150710-152053004
Official Citation:Brice-Olivier Demory, David Ehrenreich, Didier Queloz, Sara Seager, Ronald Gilliland, William J. Chaplin, Charles Proffitt, Michael Gillon, Maximilian N. Günther, Björn Benneke, Xavier Dumusque, Christophe Lovis, Francesco Pepe, Damien Ségransan, Amaury Triaud, and Stéphane Udry Hubble Space Telescope search for the transit of the Earth-mass exoplanet α Centauri B b MNRAS (June 21, 2015) Vol. 450 2043-2051 doi:10.1093/mnras/stv673 First published online April 30, 2015
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:58856
Collection:CaltechAUTHORS
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:13 Jul 2015 15:57
Last Modified:11 Oct 2019 23:33

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