Thursday, July 23, 2015

Reexamining Kepler Planet Candidates in the Sub-Jovian Desert

Vetting Kepler Planet Candidates in the Sub-Jovian Desert with Multi-Band Photometry


Colón et al


We present new multi-band transit photometry of three small (Rp less than 6 R), short-period (P less than 6 days) Kepler planet candidates acquired with the Gran Telescopio Canarias. These observations supplement the results presented in Col\'on & Ford (2011) and Col\'on et al. (2012), where we used multicolor transit photometry of five Kepler planet candidates to search for wavelength-dependent transit depths and either validate planet candidates or identify eclipsing binary false positives within our sample. In those previous studies, we provided evidence that three targets were false positives and two targets were planets. Here, we present observations that provide evidence supporting a planetary nature for KOI 439.01 and KOI 732.01, and we find that KOI 531.01, a 6 R planet candidate around an M dwarf, is likely a false positive. We also present a discussion of the purported "sub-Jovian desert" in the orbital period-planet radius plane, which cannot be easily explained by observational bias. Both KOI 439.01 and KOI 732.01 are likely planets located within the so-called desert and should be investigated with further follow-up observations. As only ~30 of the ~3600 currently active Kepler planet candidates are located within the sub-Jovian desert, it will be interesting to see if these candidates also survive the vetting process and fill in the gap in the period-radius plane. Confirming planets in this regime will be important for understanding planetary migration and evolution processes, and we urge additional follow-up observations of these planet candidates to confirm their nature.

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