Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Refined Characteristics of Jupiter Analog 51 Eridani b

Astrometric Confirmation and Preliminary Orbital Parameters of the Young Exoplanet 51 Eridani b with the Gemini Planet Imager


De Rosa et al


We present new GPI observations of the young exoplanet 51 Eridani b which provide further evidence that the companion is physically associated with 51 Eridani. Combining this new astrometric measurement with those reported in the literature, we significantly reduce the posterior probability that 51 Eridani b is an unbound foreground or background T-dwarf in a chance alignment with 51 Eridani to 2×10−7, an order of magnitude lower than previously reported. If 51 Eridani b is indeed a bound object, then we have detected orbital motion of the planet between the discovery epoch and the latest epoch. By implementing a computationally efficient Monte Carlo technique, preliminary constraints are placed on the orbital parameters of the system. The current set of astrometric measurements suggest an orbital semi-major axis of 14+7−3 AU, corresponding to a period of 41+35−12 yr (assuming a mass of 1.75 M⊙ for the central star), and an inclination of 138+15−13 deg. The remaining orbital elements are only marginally constrained by the current measurements. These preliminary values suggest an orbit which does not share the same inclination as the orbit of the distant M-dwarf binary, GJ 3305, which is a wide physically bound companion to 51 Eridani.

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