Detecting ring systems around exoplanets using high resolution spectroscopy: the case of 51 Pegasi b⋆,⋆⋆
1 Instituto de Astrofísica e Ciências do Espaço, Universidade do Porto, CAUP, Rua das Estrelas, 4150-762 Porto, Portugal
2 Departamento de Física e Astronomia, Faculdade de Ciências, Universidade do Porto, Rua do Campo Alegre, 4169-007 Porto, Portugal
3 ASD, IMCCE-CNRS UMR8028, Observatoire de Paris, UPMC, 77 Av. Denfert-Rochereau, 75014 Paris, France
4 CIDMA, Departamento de Física, Universidade de Aveiro, Campus de Santiago, 3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal
5 European Southern Observatory, Casilla 19001, Santiago, Chile
6 Aix Marseille Université, CNRS, LAM (Laboratoire d’Astrophysique de Marseille) UMR 7326, 13388 Marseille, France
7 Observatoire de Genève, Université de Genève, 51 ch. des Maillettes, 1290 Sauverny, Switzerland
8 Scientific Support Office, Directorate of Science and Robotic Exploration, ESA/ESTEC, Keplerlaan 1, 2201 AZ, Noordwijk, The Netherlands
Received: 4 June 2015
Accepted: 4 August 2015
Aims. In this paper we explore the possibility that the recently detected reflected light signal of 51 Peg b could be caused by a ring system around the planet.
Methods. We use a simple model to compare the observed signal with the expected signal from a short-period giant planet with rings. We also use simple dynamical arguments to understand the possible geometry of such a system.
Results. We provide evidence that, to a good approximation, the observations are compatible with the signal expected from a ringed planet, assuming that the rings are non-coplanar with the orbital plane. However, based on dynamical arguments, we also show that this configuration is unlikely. In the case of coplanar rings we then demonstrate that the incident flux on the ring surface is about 2% the value received by the planet, a value that renders the ring explanation unlikely.
Conclusions. The results suggest that the signal observed cannot in principle be explained by a planet+ring system. We discuss, however, the possibility of using reflected light spectra to detect and characterize the presence of rings around short-period planets. Finally, we show that ring systems could have already been detected by photometric transit campaigns, but their signal could have been easily misinterpreted by the expected light curve of an eclipsing binary.
Key words: techniques: spectroscopic / planets and satellites: dynamical evolution and stability / planets and satellites: rings / planetary systems
Based on observations collected at ESO facilities under program 091.C-0271 (with the HARPS spectrograph at the ESO 3.6-m telescope, La Silla-Paranal Observatory).
Appendices are available in electronic form at http://www.aanda.org
© ESO, 2015