Volume 563, March 2014
|Number of page(s)||13|
|Section||Planets and planetary systems|
|Published online||27 February 2014|
Search for a habitable terrestrial planet transiting the nearby red dwarf GJ 1214⋆
Institut d’Astrophysique et de Géophysique, Université de
Allée du 6 Août 17, Bât. B5C,
2 Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, Department of Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge MA 02139, USA
3 Cavendish Laboratory, Department of Physics, University of Cambridge, JJ Thomson Avenue, Cambridge, CB3 0HE, UK
4 Department of Physics and Department of Astronomy, Yale University, New Haven CT 065, USA
5 Department of Astronomy, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742-2421, USA
6 Department of Physics and Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research, MIT, 77, Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge MA 02139, USA
7 Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena CA 91125, USA
8 UJF-Grenoble 1/CNRS-INSU, Institut de Planétologie et d’Astrophysique de Grenoble (IPAG) UMR 5274, 38041 Grenoble, France
9 Astronomy Department, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena CA 91125, USA
Received: 25 July 2013
Accepted: 3 December 2013
High-precision eclipse spectrophotometry of transiting terrestrial exoplanets represents a promising path for the first atmospheric characterizations of habitable worlds and the search for life outside our solar system. The detection of terrestrial planets transiting nearby late-type M-dwarfs could make this approach applicable within the next decade, with soon-to-come general facilities. In this context, we previously identified GJ 1214 as a high-priority target for a transit search, as the transit probability of a habitable planet orbiting this nearby M4.5 dwarf would be significantly enhanced by the transiting nature of GJ 1214 b, the super-Earth already known to orbit the star. Based on this observation, we have set up an ambitious high-precision photometric monitoring of GJ 1214 with the Spitzer Space Telescope to probe the inner part of its habitable zone in search of a transiting planet as small as Mars. We present here the results of this transit search. Unfortunately, we did not detect any other transiting planets. Assuming that GJ 1214 hosts a habitable planet larger than Mars that has an orbital period smaller than 20.9 days, our global analysis of the whole Spitzer dataset leads to an a posteriori no-transit probability of ~98%. Our analysis allows us to significantly improve the characterization of GJ 1214 b, to measure its occultation depth to be 70 ± 35 ppm at 4.5 μm, and to constrain it to be smaller than 205 ppm (3σ upper limit) at 3.6 μm. In agreement with the many transmission measurements published so far for GJ 1214 b, these emission measurements are consistent with both a metal-rich and a cloudy hydrogen-rich atmosphere.
Key words: techniques: photometric / binaries: eclipsing / stars: individual: GJ 1214 / planetary systems
The photometric time series used in this work are only available at the CDS via anonymous ftp to cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr (22.214.171.124) or via http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/qcat?J/A+A/563/A21
© ESO, 2014
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