skip to main content

This content will become publicly available on October 28, 2024

Title: A 1.55 R⊕ habitable-zone planet hosted by TOI-715, an M4 star near the ecliptic South Pole

A new generation of observatories is enabling detailed study of exoplanetary atmospheres and the diversity of alien climates, allowing us to seek evidence for extraterrestrial biological and geological processes. Now is therefore the time to identify the most unique planets to be characterized with these instruments. In this context, we report on the discovery and validation of TOI-715 b, a $R_{\rm b}=1.55\pm 0.06\rm R_{\oplus }$ planet orbiting its nearby (42 pc) M4 host (TOI-715/TIC 271971130) with a period $P_{\rm b} = 19.288004_{-0.000024}^{+0.000027}$ d. TOI-715 b was first identified by TESS and validated using ground-based photometry, high-resolution imaging and statistical validation. The planet’s orbital period combined with the stellar effective temperature $T_{\rm eff}=3075\pm 75~\rm K$ give this planet an installation $S_{\rm b} = 0.67_{-0.20}^{+0.15}~\rm S_\oplus$, placing it within the most conservative definitions of the habitable zone for rocky planets. TOI-715 b’s radius falls exactly between two measured locations of the M-dwarf radius valley; characterizing its mass and composition will help understand the true nature of the radius valley for low-mass stars. We demonstrate TOI-715 b is amenable for characterization using precise radial velocities and transmission spectroscopy. Additionally, we reveal a second candidate planet in the system, TIC 271971130.02, with a potential orbital period of $P_{02} = 25.60712_{-0.00036}^{+0.00031}$ d and a radius of $R_{02} = 1.066\pm 0.092\, \rm R_{\oplus }$, just inside the outer boundary of the habitable zone, and near a 4:3 orbital period commensurability. Should this second planet be confirmed, it would represent the smallest habitable zone planet discovered by TESS to date.

more » « less
Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; more » ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; « less
Corporate Creator(s):
Publisher / Repository:
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Page Range / eLocation ID:
35 to 52
Subject(s) / Keyword(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this

    We report the discovery and characterization of a pair of sub-Neptunes transiting the bright K-dwarf TOI-1064 (TIC 79748331), initially detected in the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) photometry. To characterize the system, we performed and retrieved the CHaracterising ExOPlanets Satellite (CHEOPS), TESS, and ground-based photometry, the High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS) high-resolution spectroscopy, and Gemini speckle imaging. We characterize the host star and determine $T_{\rm eff, \star }=4734\pm 67\,\mathrm{ K}$, $R_{\star }=0.726\pm 0.007\, \mathrm{ R}_{\odot }$, and $M_{\star }=0.748\pm 0.032\, \mathrm{ M}_{\odot }$. We present a novel detrending method based on point spread function shape-change modelling and demonstrate its suitability to correct flux variations in CHEOPS data. We confirm the planetary nature of both bodies and find that TOI-1064 b has an orbital period of Pb = 6.44387 ± 0.00003 d, a radius of Rb = 2.59 ± 0.04 R⊕, and a mass of $M_{\rm b} = 13.5_{-1.8}^{+1.7}$ M⊕, whilst TOI-1064 c has an orbital period of $P_{\rm c} = 12.22657^{+0.00005}_{-0.00004}$ d, a radius of Rc = 2.65 ± 0.04 R⊕, and a 3σ upper mass limit of 8.5 M⊕. From the high-precision photometry we obtain radius uncertainties of ∼1.6 per cent, allowing us to conduct internal structure and atmospheric escape modelling. TOI-1064 b is one of the densest, well-characterized sub-Neptunes, with a tenuous atmosphere that can be explained by the loss of a primordial envelope following migration through the protoplanetary disc. It is likely that TOI-1064 c has an extended atmosphere due to the tentative low density, however further radial velocities are needed to confirm this scenario and the similar radii, different masses nature of this system. The high-precision data and modelling of TOI-1064 b are important for planets in this region of mass–radius space, and it allow us to identify a trend in bulk density–stellar metallicity for massive sub-Neptunes that may hint at the formation of this population of planets.

    more » « less
  2. null (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT We report on the discovery and validation of TOI 813 b (TIC 55525572 b), a transiting exoplanet identified by citizen scientists in data from NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) and the first planet discovered by the Planet Hunters TESS project. The host star is a bright (V = 10.3 mag) subgiant ($R_\star =1.94\, R_\odot$, $M_\star =1.32\, M_\odot$). It was observed almost continuously by TESS during its first year of operations, during which time four individual transit events were detected. The candidate passed all the standard light curve-based vetting checks, and ground-based follow-up spectroscopy and speckle imaging enabled us to place an upper limit of $2\, M_{\rm Jup}$ (99 per cent confidence) on the mass of the companion, and to statistically validate its planetary nature. Detailed modelling of the transits yields a period of $83.8911 _{ - 0.0031 } ^ { + 0.0027 }$ d, a planet radius of 6.71 ± 0.38 R⊕ and a semimajor axis of $0.423 _{ - 0.037 } ^ { + 0.031 }$ AU. The planet’s orbital period combined with the evolved nature of the host star places this object in a relatively underexplored region of parameter space. We estimate that TOI 813 b induces a reflex motion in its host star with a semi-amplitude of ∼6 m s−1, making this a promising system to measure the mass of a relatively long-period transiting planet. 
    more » « less

    In this work, we present the discovery and confirmation of two hot Jupiters orbiting red giant stars, TOI-4377 b and TOI-4551 b, observed by Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite in the Southern ecliptic hemisphere and later followed-up with radial-velocity (RV) observations. For TOI-4377 b, we report a mass of $0.957^{+0.089}_{-0.087} \ M_\mathrm{J}$ and a inflated radius of 1.348 ± 0.081 RJ orbiting an evolved intermediate-mass star (1.36 M⊙ and 3.52 R⊙; TIC 394918211) on a period of of 4.378 d. For TOI-4551 b, we report a mass of 1.49 ± 0.13 MJ and a radius that is not obviously inflated of $1.058^{+0.110}_{-0.062} \ R_\mathrm{J}$, also orbiting an evolved intermediate-mass star (1.31 M⊙ and 3.55 R⊙; TIC 204650483) on a period of 9.956 d. We place both planets in context of known systems with hot Jupiters orbiting evolved hosts, and note that both planets follow the observed trend of the known stellar incident flux-planetary radius relation observed for these short-period giants. Additionally, we produce planetary interior models to estimate the heating efficiency with which stellar incident flux is deposited in the planet’s interior, estimating values of $1.91 \pm 0.48~{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$ and $2.19 \pm 0.45~{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$ for TOI-4377 b and TOI-4551 b, respectively. These values are in line with the known population of hot Jupiters, including hot Jupiters orbiting main-sequence hosts, which suggests that the radii of our planets have re-inflated in step with their parent star’s brightening as they evolved into the post-main sequence. Finally, we evaluate the potential to observe orbital decay in both systems.

    more » « less

    We report precise radial velocity (RV) observations of HD 212657 (= K2-167), a star shown by K2 to host a transiting sub-Neptune-sized planet in a 10 d orbit. Using Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) photometry, we refined the planet parameters, especially the orbital period. We collected 74 precise RVs with the HARPS-N spectrograph between August 2015 and October 2016. Although this planet was first found to transit in 2015 and validated in 2018, excess RV scatter originally limited mass measurements. Here, we measure a mass by taking advantage of reductions in scatter from updates to the HARPS-N Data Reduction System (2.3.5) and our new activity mitigation method called CCF Activity Linear Model (CALM), which uses activity-induced line shape changes in the spectra without requiring timing information. Using the CALM framework, we performed a joint fit with RVs and transits using exofastv2 and find Mp = $6.3_{-1.4}^{+1.4}$  $\, M_{\hbox{$\oplus $}}$ and Rp = $2.33^{+0.17}_{-0.15}$  $\, R_{\hbox{$\oplus $}}$, which places K2-167 b at the upper edge of the radius valley. We also find hints of a secondary companion at a ∼22 d period, but confirmation requires additional RVs. Although characterizing lower mass planets like K2-167 b is often impeded by stellar variability, these systems especially help probe the formation physics (i.e. photoevaporation, core-powered mass-loss) of the radius valley. In the future, CALM or similar techniques could be widely applied to FGK-type stars, help characterize a population of exoplanets surrounding the radius valley, and further our understanding of their formation.

    more » « less

    We present ground- and space-based photometric observations of TOI-270 (L231-32), a system of three transiting planets consisting of one super-Earth and two sub-Neptunes discovered by TESS around a bright (K-mag = 8.25) M3V dwarf. The planets orbit near low-order mean-motion resonances (5:3 and 2:1) and are thus expected to exhibit large transit timing variations (TTVs). Following an extensive observing campaign using eight different observatories between 2018 and 2020, we now report a clear detection of TTVs for planets c and d, with amplitudes of ∼10 min and a super-period of ∼3 yr, as well as significantly refined estimates of the radii and mean orbital periods of all three planets. Dynamical modelling of the TTVs alone puts strong constraints on the mass ratio of planets c and d and on their eccentricities. When incorporating recently published constraints from radial velocity observations, we obtain masses of $M_{\mathrm{b}}=1.48\pm 0.18\, M_\oplus$, $M_{\mathrm{c}}=6.20\pm 0.31\, M_\oplus$, and $M_{\mathrm{d}}=4.20\pm 0.16\, M_\oplus$ for planets b, c, and d, respectively. We also detect small but significant eccentricities for all three planets : eb = 0.0167 ± 0.0084, ec = 0.0044 ± 0.0006, and ed = 0.0066 ± 0.0020. Our findings imply an Earth-like rocky composition for the inner planet, and Earth-like cores with an additional He/H2O atmosphere for the outer two. TOI-270 is now one of the best constrained systems of small transiting planets, and it remains an excellent target for atmospheric characterization.

    more » « less