EDP Sciences
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Volume 472, Number 2, September III 2007
Page(s) 657 - 664
Section Planets and planetary systems
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20077375

A&A 472, 657-664 (2007)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20077375

Planets around evolved intermediate-mass stars

I. Two substellar companions in the open clusters NGC 2423 and NGC 4349
C. Lovis and M. Mayor

Geneva Observatory, University of Geneva, 51 Ch. des Maillettes, 1290 Sauverny, Switzerland
    e-mail: christophe.lovis@obs.unige.ch

(Received 28 February 2007 / Accepted 21 June 2007)

Context.Many efforts are being made to characterize extrasolar planetary systems and unveil the fundamental mechanisms of planet formation. An important aspect of the problem, which remains largely unknown, is to understand how the planet formation process depends on the mass of the parent star. In particular, as most planets discovered to date orbit a solar-mass primary, little is known about planet formation around more massive stars.
Aims.To investigate this point, we present first results from a radial velocity planet search around red giants in the clump of intermediate-age open clusters. We choose clusters harbouring red giants with masses between 1.5 and 4 $M_{\odot}$, using the well-known cluster parameters to accurately determine the stellar masses. We are therefore exploring a poorly-known domain of primary masses, which will bring new insights into the properties of extrasolar planetary systems.
Methods.We follow a sample of about 115 red giants with the Coralie and HARPS spectrographs to obtain high-precision radial velocity (RV) measurements and detect giant planets around these stars. We use bisector and activity index diagnostics to distinguish between planetary-induced RV variations and stellar photospheric jitter.
Results.We present the discoveries of a giant planet and a brown dwarf in the open clusters NGC 2423 and NGC 4349, orbiting the 2.4 $M_{\odot}$-star NGC 2423 No. 3 (TYC 5409-2156-1) and the 3.9 $M_{\odot}$-star NGC 4349 No. 127 (TYC 8975-2606-1). These low-mass companions have orbital periods of 714 and 678 days and minimum masses of 10.6 and 19.8  M</I>Jup, respectively. Combined with the other known planetary systems, these detections indicate that the frequency of massive planets is higher around intermediate-mass stars, and therefore probably scales with the mass of the protoplanetary disk.

Key words: stars: individual: NGC 2423 No. 3 -- stars: individual: NGC 4349 No. 127 -- stars: planetary systems -- Galaxy: open clusters and associations: individual: NGC 2423 -- Galaxy: open clusters and associations: individual: NGC 4349 -- techniques: radial velocities

© ESO 2007

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