Volume 392, Number 1, September II 2002
|Page(s)||215 - 229|
|Published online||22 August 2002|
The CORALIE survey for southern extra-solar planets*
IX. A 1.3-day period brown dwarf disguised as a planet
Observatoire de Genève, 51 Ch. des Maillettes, 1290 Sauverny, Switzerland
2 Niels Bohr Institute for Astronomy, Physics, and Geophysics; Astronomical Observatory, Juliane Maries Vej 30, 2100 Copenhagen Ø, Denmark
3 European Southern Observatory, Santiago, Chile
Corresponding author: N. C. Santos, Nuno.Santos@obs.unige.ch
Accepted: 4 June 2002
In this article we present the case of HD 41004 AB, a system composed of a K0V star and a 3.7-mag fainter M-dwarf companion. We have obtained 86 CORALIE spectra of this system with the goal of obtaining precise radial-velocity measurements. Since HD 41004 A and B are separated by only 0.5´´, in every spectrum taken for the radial-velocity measurement, we are observing the blended spectra of the two stars. An analysis of the measurements has revealed a velocity variation with an amplitude of about 50 m s-1 and a periodicity of 1.3 days. This radial-velocity signal is consistent with the expected variation induced by the presence of a companion to either HD 41004 A or HD 41004 B, or to some other effect due to e.g. activity related phenomena. In particular, such a small velocity amplitude could be the signature of the presence of a very low mass giant planetary companion to HD 41004 A, whose light dominates the spectra. The radial-velocity measurements were then complemented with a photometric campaign and with the analysis of the bisector of the CORALIE Cross-Correlation Function (CCF). While the former revealed no significant variations within the observational precision of ~0.003–0.004 mag (except for an observed flare event), the bisector analysis showed that the line profiles are varying in phase with the radial-velocity. This latter result, complemented with a series of simulations, has shown that we can explain the observations by considering that HD 41004 B has a brown-dwarf companion orbiting with the observed 1.3-day period. As the spectrum of the fainter HD 41004 B “moves” relative to the one of HD 41004 A (with an amplitude of a few km s-1), the relative position of the spectral lines of the two spectra changes, thus changing the blended line-profiles. This variation is large enough to explain the observed radial-velocity and bisector variations, and is compatible with the absence of any photometric signal. If confirmed, this detection represents the first discovery of a brown dwarf in a very short period (1.3-day) orbit around an M dwarf. Finally, this case should be taken as a serious warning about the importance of analyzing the bisector when looking for planets using radial-velocity techniques.
Key words: techniques: radial velocities / binaries: visual / binaries: spectroscopic / stars: brown dwarfs / stars: exoplanets / stars: individual: HD 41004
© ESO, 2002
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