EDP Sciences
The CoRoT space mission: early results
Press Release
Free Access
Volume 506, Number 1, October IV 2009
The CoRoT space mission: early results
Page(s) 303 - 319
Section Planets and planetary systems
DOI https://doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361/200913096
Published online 15 September 2009
A&A 506, 303-319 (2009)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/200913096

The CoRoT-7 planetary system: two orbiting super-Earths

D. Queloz1, F. Bouchy2, 3, C. Moutou4, A. Hatzes5, G. Hébrard2, R. Alonso1, M. Auvergne6, A. Baglin6, M. Barbieri4, P. Barge4, W. Benz7, P. Bordé8, H. J. Deeg9, M. Deleuil4, R. Dvorak10, A. Erikson11, S. Ferraz Mello12, M. Fridlund13, D. Gandolfi5, M. Gillon1, 14, E. Guenther5, T. Guillot15, L. Jorda4, M. Hartmann5, H. Lammer16, A. Léger8, A. Llebaria4, C. Lovis1, P. Magain14, M. Mayor1, T. Mazeh17, M. Ollivier8, M. Pätzold18, F. Pepe1, H. Rauer11, 19, D. Rouan6, J. Schneider20, D. Segransan1, S. Udry1, and G. Wuchterl5

1  Observatoire de Genève, Université de Genève, 51 Ch. des Maillettes, 1290 Sauverny, Switzerland
    e-mail: didier.queloz@unige.ch
2  Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris, UMR7095 CNRS, Université Pierre & Marie Curie, 98bis Bd Arago, 75014 Paris, France
3  Observatoire de Haute-Provence, CNRS/OAMP, 04870 St Michel l'Observatoire, France
4  Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Marseille, UMR 6110, Technopole de Marseille-Étoile, 13388 Marseille Cedex 13, France
5  Thüringer Landessternwarte Tautenburg, Sternwarte 5, 07778 Tautenburg, Germany
6  LESIA, CNRS UMR 8109, Observatoire de Paris, 5 place J. Janssen, 92195 Meudon, France
7  Physikalisches Insitut, University of Bern, Sidlerstrasse 5, 3012 Bern, Switzerland
8  IAS, UMR 8617 CNRS, bat 121, Université Paris-Sud, 91405 Orsay, France
9  Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, E-38205 La Laguna, Spain
10  Institute for Astronomy, University of Vienna, Türkenschanzstrasse 17, 1180 Vienna, Austria
11  Institute of Planetary Research, DLR, Rutherfordstr. 2, 12489 Berlin, Germany
12  IAG-Universidade de Sao Paulo, Brazil
13  Research and Scientific Support Department, European Space Agency, ESTEC, 2200 Noordwijk, The Netherlands
14  Institut d'Astrophysique et de Géophysique, Université de Liège, Allée du 6 août 17, Sart Tilman, Liège 1, Belgium
15  Observatoire de la Côte d'Azur, Laboratoire Cassiopée, CNRS UMR 6202, BP 4229, 06304 Nice Cedex 4, France
16  Space Research Institute, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Schmiedlstrasse 6, 8042 Graz, Austria
17  School of Physics and Astronomy, R. and B. Sackler Faculty of Exact Sciences, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv 69978, Israel
18  Rheinisches Institut für Umweltforschung, Universität zu Köln, Abt. Planetenforschung, Aachener Str. 209, 50931 Köln, Germany
19  Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics, TU Berlin, Hardenbergstr. 36, 10623 Berlin, Germany
20  LUTH, Observatoire de Paris-Meudon, 5 place J. Janssen, 92195 Meudon, France

Received 8 August 2009 / Accepted 26 August 2009

We report on an intensive observational campaign carried out with HARPS at the 3.6 m telescope at La Silla on the star CoRoT-7. Additional simultaneous photometric measurements carried out with the Euler Swiss telescope have demonstrated that the observed radial velocity variations are dominated by rotational modulation from cool spots on the stellar surface. Several approaches were used to extract the radial velocity signal of the planet(s) from the stellar activity signal. First, a simple pre-whitening procedure was employed to find and subsequently remove periodic signals from the complex frequency structure of the radial velocity data. The dominant frequency in the power spectrum was found at 23  days, which corresponds to the rotation period of CoRoT-7. The 0.8535 day period of CoRoT-7b planetary candidate was detected with an amplitude of 3.3 m s-1. Most other frequencies, some with amplitudes larger than the CoRoT-7b signal, are most likely associated with activity. A second approach used harmonic decomposition of the rotational period and up to the first three harmonics to filter out the activity signal from radial velocity variations caused by orbiting planets. After correcting the radial velocity data for activity, two periodic signals are detected: the CoRoT-7b  transit period and a second one with a period of 3.69 days and an amplitude of 4 m s-1. This second signal was also found in the pre-whitening analysis. We attribute the second signal to a second, more remote planet CoRoT-7c . The orbital solution of both planets is compatible with circular orbits. The mass of CoRoT-7b is $4.8\pm0.8$ ( $M_{\oplus}$) and that of CoRoT-7c is $8.4\pm 0.9$ ( $M_{\oplus}$), assuming both planets are on coplanar orbits. We also investigated the false positive scenario of a blend by a faint stellar binary, and this may be rejected by the stability of the bisector on a nightly scale. According to their masses both planets belong to the super-Earth planet category. The average density of CoRoT-7b is $\rho=5.6\pm 1.3\mathrm{\,g\,cm^{-3}}$, similar to the Earth. The CoRoT-7 planetary system provides us with the first insight into the physical nature of short period super-Earth planets recently detected by radial velocity surveys. These planets may be denser than Neptune and therefore likely made of rocks like the Earth, or a mix of water ice and rocks.

Key words: stars: planetary systems -- techniques: radial velocities -- techniques: photometric -- stars: activity -- stars: starspots

© ESO 2009

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