Thursday, January 26, 2017

Hot Jupiter WASP-20b is Really in a Binary Star System


Evans et al


We announce the discovery that WASP-20 is a binary stellar system, consisting of two components separated by 0.2578±0.0007′′ on the sky, with a flux ratio of 0.4639±0.0015 in the K-band. It has previously been assumed that the system consists of a single F9 V star, with photometric and radial velocity signals consistent with a low-density transiting giant planet. With a projected separation of approximately 60 au between the two components, the detected planetary signals almost certainly originate from the brighter of the two stars. We reanalyse previous observations allowing for two scenarios, `planet transits A' and `planet transits B', finding that both cases remain consistent with a transiting gas giant. However, we rule out the `planet transits B' scenario because the observed transit duration requires star B to be significantly evolved, and therefore have an age much greater than star A. We outline further observations which can be used to confirm this finding. Our preferred `planet transits A' scenario results in the measured mass and radius of the planet increasing by 4σ and 1σ, respectively.

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