Combining high-contrast imaging and radial velocities to constrain the planetary architectures of nearby stars

A. Boehle, S. P. Quanz, C. Lovis, D. Ségransan, S. Udry, D. Apai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Context. Nearby stars are prime targets for exoplanet searches and characterization using a variety of detection techniques. Combining constraints from the complementary detection methods of high-contrast imaging (HCI) and radial velocity (RV) can further constrain the planetary architectures of these systems because these methods place limits at different regions of the companion mass and semi-major axis parameter space. Compiling a census of the planet population in the solar neighborhood is important to inform target lists for future space missions that will specifically target nearby stars to search for Earth analogs. Aims. We aim to constrain the planetary architectures from the combination of HCI and RV data for six nearby stars within 6 pc: τ Ceti, Kapteyn's star, AX Mic, 40 Eri, HD 36395, and HD 42581. We explored where HCI adds information to constraints from the long-term RV monitoring data for these stars. Methods. We compiled the sample from stars with available archival VLT/NACO HCI data at L′ band (3.8 μm), where we expect substellar companions to be brighter for the typically older ages of nearby field stars (>1 Gyr). The NACO data were fully reanalyzed using the state-of-the-art direct imaging pipeline PynPoint and combined with RV data from HARPS, Keck/HIRES, and CORALIE. A Monte Carlo approach was used to assess the completeness in the companion mass and semi-major axis parameter space from the combination of the HCI and RV data sets. Results. We find that the HCI data add significant information to the RV constraints, increasing the completeness for certain companions masses and semi-major axes by up to 68-99% for four of the six stars in our sample, and by up to 1-13% for the remaining stars. The improvements are strongest for intermediate semi-major axes (15-40 AU), corresponding to the semi-major axes of the ice giants in our own solar system. The HCI mass limits reach 5-20 MJup in the background-limited regime, depending on the age of the star. Conclusions. Through the combination of HCI and RV data, we find that stringent constraints can be placed on the possible substellar companions in these systems. Applying these methods systematically to nearby stars will quantify our current knowledge of the planet population in the solar neighborhood and inform future observations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberA50
JournalAstronomy and astrophysics
Volume630
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2019

Keywords

  • Infrared: planetary systems
  • Planets and satellites: general
  • Solar neighborhood
  • Techniques: high angular resolution
  • Techniques: radial velocities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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