Volume 624, April 2019
|Number of page(s)||9|
|Section||Planets and planetary systems|
|Published online||04 April 2019|
Co-orbital exoplanets from close-period candidates: the TOI-178 case
Physikalisches Institut, Universität Bern,
2 European Southern Observatory, Alonso de Cordova 3107, Vitacura Casilla 19001, Santiago 19, Chile
3 Center for Space and Habitability, University of Bern, Gesellschaftsstr. 6, 3012 Bern, Switzerland
4 IMCCE, Observatoire de Paris – PSL Research University, UPMC University Paris 06, University Lille 1, CNRS, 77 Avenue Denfert-Rochereau, 75014 Paris, France
5 CFisUC, Department of Physics, University of Coimbra, 3004-516 Coimbra, Portugal
6 Observatoire de Genève, Université de Genève, 51 ch. des Maillettes, 1290 Versoix, Switzerland
7 Blue Marble Space Institute of Science, 1001 4th Ave Suite 3201, Seattle, WA 98154, USA
8 Paris Observatory, LUTh UMR 8102, 92190 Meudon, France
Accepted: 1 February 2019
Despite the existence of co-orbital bodies in the solar system, and the prediction of the formation of co-orbital planets by planetary system formation models, no co-orbital exoplanets (also called trojans) have been detected thus far. Here we study the signature of co-orbital exoplanets in transit surveys when two planet candidates in the system orbit the star with similar periods. Such a pair of candidates could be discarded as false positives because they are not Hill-stable. However, horseshoe or long-libration-period tadpole co-orbital configurations can explain such period similarity. This degeneracy can be solved by considering the transit timing variations (TTVs) of each planet. We subsequently focus on the three-planet-candidate system TOI-178: the two outer candidates of that system have similar orbital periods and were found to have an angular separation close to π∕3 during the TESS observation of sector 2. Based on the announced orbits, the long-term stability of the system requires the two close-period planets to be co-orbital. Our independent detrending and transit search recover and slightly favour the three orbits close to a 3:2:2 resonant chain found by the TESS pipeline, although we cannot exclude an alias that would put the system close to a 4:3:2 configuration. We then analyse the co-orbital scenario in more detail, and show that despite the influence of an inner planet just outside the 2:3 MMR, this potential co-orbital system could be stable on a gigayear time-scale for a variety of planetary masses, either on a trojan or a horseshoe orbit. We predict that large TTVs should arise in such a configuration with a period of several hundred days. We then show how the mass of each planet can be retrieved from these TTVs.
Key words: celestial mechanics / planets and satellites: detection / planets and satellites: dynamical evolution and stability
© ESO 2019
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