Saturday, August 1, 2015

Searching for Stellar Companions for Transiting Exoplanet Host Stars

A Lucky Imaging search for stellar companions to transiting planet host stars


Wöllert et al


The presence of stellar companions around planet hosting stars influences the architecture of their planetary systems. To find and characterise these companions and determine their orbits is thus an important consideration to understand planet formation and evolution. For transiting systems even unbound field stars are of interest if they are within the photometric aperture of the light curve measurement. Then they contribute a constant flux offset to the transit light curve and bias the derivation of the stellar and planetary parameters if their existence is unknown. Close stellar sources are, however, easily overlooked by common planet surveys due to their limited spatial resolution. We therefore performed high angular resolution imaging of 49 transiting exoplanet hosts to identify unresolved binaries, characterize their spectral type, and determine their separation. The observations were carried out with the Calar Alto 2.2m telescope using the Lucky Imaging camera AstraLux Norte. All targets were imaged in i' and z' passbands. We found new companion candidates to WASP-14 and WASP-58, and we re-observed the stellar companion candidates to CoRoT-2, CoRoT-3, CoRoT-11, HAT-P-7, HAT-P-8, HAT-P-41, KIC 10905746, TrES-2, TrES-4, and WASP-2. We deduce from the stellar density around all sources that two companion candidates out of the targets with the first position measurement (CoRoT-11, HAT-P-41, KIC 10905746, WASP-14 and WASP-58) are probably unbound. In addition, we re-analyse the influence of the sources close to WASP-14 and WASP-58 on the planetary parameters given in the literature and find no significant changes.

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