Letter to the Editor
Post-conjunction detection of β Pictoris b with VLT/SPHERE⋆
Univ. Grenoble Alpes, CNRS, IPAG, 38000 Grenoble, France
2 LESIA, Observatoire de Paris, PSL Research University, CNRS, Sorbonne Université, UPMC Univ. Paris 06, Univ. Paris Diderot, Sorbonne Paris Cité, 5 place Jules Janssen, 92195 Meudon, France
3 Aix-Marseille Université, CNRS, LAM (Laboratoire d’Astrophysique de Marseille) UMR 7326, 13388 Marseille, France
4 CRAL, UMR 5574, CNRS, Universit de Lyon, Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon, 46 Allée d’Italie, 69364 Lyon Cedex 07, France
5 Unidad Mixta Internacional Franco-Chilena de Astronomía, CNRS/INSU UMI 3386 and Departamento de Astronomía, Universidad de Chile, Casilla 36-D, Santiago, Chile
6 INAF – Osservatorio Astronomico di Padova, Vicolo dell Osservatorio 5, 35122 Padova, Italy
7 ESO Alonso de Córdova 3107, Vitacura, Región Metropolitana, Chile
8 Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, Königstuhl 17, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany
9 Institute for Particle Physics and Astrophysics, ETH Zurich, Wolfgang-Pauli-Strasse 27, 8093 Zurich, Switzerland
10 Department of Astronomy, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA
11 SUPA, Institute for Astronomy, The University of Edinburgh, Royal Observatory, Blackford Hill, Edinburgh EH9 3HJ, UK
12 Department of Astrophysics, Denys Wilkinson Building, Keble Road, Oxford OX1 3RH, UK
13 Department of Astronomy, Stockholm University, AlbaNova University Center, 10691 Stockholm, Sweden
14 INAF-Osservatorio Astrofisico di Catania, Via S. Sofia 78, 95123 Catania, Italy
15 Geneva Observatory, University of Geneva, Chemin des Mailettes 51, 1290 Versoix, Switzerland
16 Núcleo de Astronomía, Facultad de Ingeniería, Universidad Diego Portales, Av. Ejercito 441, Santiago, Chile
17 Anton Pannekoek Institute for Astronomy, Science Park 904, 1098 XH Amsterdam, The Netherlands
18 Université Côte d’Azur, OCA, CNRS, Lagrange, France
19 Leiden Observatory, Leiden University, PO Box 9513, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands
20 INAF-Osservatorio Astronomico di Brera, Via E. Bianchi 46, 23807 Merate, Italy
21 Exoplanets and Stellar Astrophysics Laboratory, Code 667, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA
22 Physikalisches Institut, Universität Bern, Gesellschaftsstrasse 6, 3012 Bern, Switzerland
23 INAF – Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri, Largo E. Fermi 5, 50125 Firenze, Italy
24 INAF – Osservatorio Astronomico di Capodimonte, Salita Moiariello 16, 80131 Napoli, Italy
25 ONERA (Office National d’Etudes et de Recherches Aérospatiales), BP 72, 92322 Châtillon, France
26 European Southern Observatory (ESO), Karl-Schwarzschild-Str. 2, 85748 Garching, Germany
27 NOVA Optical Infrared Instrumentation Group, Oude Hoogeveensedijk 4, 7991 PD Dwingeloo, The Netherlands
28 Center for Theoretical Astrophysics and Cosmology, Inst. for Computational Science, University of Zürich, Winterthurerstrasse 190, 8057 Zürich, Switzerland
Accepted: 26 October 2018
Context. With an orbital distance comparable to that of Saturn in the solar system, β Pictoris b is the closest (semi-major axis ≃9 au) exoplanet that has been imaged to orbit a star. Thus it offers unique opportunities for detailed studies of its orbital, physical, and atmospheric properties, and of disk-planet interactions. With the exception of the discovery observations in 2003 with NaCo at the Very Large Telescope (VLT), all following astrometric measurements relative to β Pictoris have been obtained in the southwestern part of the orbit, which severely limits the determination of the planet’s orbital parameters.
Aims. We aimed at further constraining β Pictoris b orbital properties using more data, and, in particular, data taken in the northeastern part of the orbit.
Methods. We used SPHERE at the VLT to precisely monitor the orbital motion of beta β Pictoris b since first light of the instrument in 2014.
Results. We were able to monitor the planet until November 2016, when its angular separation became too small (125 mas, i.e., 1.6 au) and prevented further detection. We redetected β Pictoris b on the northeast side of the disk at a separation of 139 mas and a PA of 30° in September 2018. The planetary orbit is now well constrained. With a semi-major axis (sma) of a = 9.0 ± 0.5 au (1σ), it definitely excludes previously reported possible long orbital periods, and excludes β Pictoris b as the origin of photometric variations that took place in 1981. We also refine the eccentricity and inclination of the planet. From an instrumental point of view, these data demonstrate that it is possible to detect, if they exist, young massive Jupiters that orbit at less than 2 au from a star that is 20 pc away.
Key words: planetary systems / stars: individual: HR 2020 / instrumentation: high angular resolution
© ESO 2019
Open Access article, published by EDP Sciences, under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.