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Post-conjunction detection of beta Pictoris b with VLT/SPHERE
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Number of Authors: 1052019 (English)In: Astronomy and Astrophysics, ISSN 0004-6361, E-ISSN 1432-0746, Vol. 621, article id L8Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Context. With an orbital distance comparable to that of Saturn in the solar system, beta Pictoris b is the closest (semi-major axis similar or equal to 9 au) exoplanet that has been imaged to orbit a star. Thus it offers unique opportunities for detailed studies of its orbital, physical, and atmospheric properties, and of disk-planet interactions. With the exception of the discovery observations in 2003 with NaCo at the Very Large Telescope (VLT), all following astrometric measurements relative to beta Pictoris have been obtained in the southwestern part of the orbit, which severely limits the determination of the planet's orbital parameters.

Aims. We aimed at further constraining beta Pictoris b orbital properties using more data, and, in particular, data taken in the northeastern part of the orbit.

Methods. We used SPHERE at the VLT to precisely monitor the orbital motion of beta beta Pictoris b since first light of the instrument in 2014.

Results. We were able to monitor the planet until November 2016, when its angular separation became too small (125 mas, i.e., 1.6 au) and prevented further detection. We redetected beta Pictoris b on the northeast side of the disk at a separation of 139 mas and a PA of 30 degrees in September 2018. The planetary orbit is now well constrained. With a semi-major axis (sma) of a = 9.0 +/- 0.5 au (1 sigma), it definitely excludes previously reported possible long orbital periods, and excludes beta Pictoris b as the origin of photometric variations that took place in 1981. We also refine the eccentricity and inclination of the planet. From an instrumental point of view, these data demonstrate that it is possible to detect, if they exist, young massive Jupiters that orbit at less than 2 au from a star that is 20 pc away.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. Vol. 621, article id L8
Keywords [en]
planetary systems, stars: individual: HR2020, instrumentation: high angular resolution
National Category
Physical Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-165665DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/201834302ISI: 000455426600001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-165665DiVA, id: diva2:1286301
Available from: 2019-02-06 Created: 2019-02-06 Last updated: 2019-02-06Bibliographically approved

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