Volume 625, May 2019
|Number of page(s)||7|
|Section||Letters to the Editor|
|Published online||27 May 2019|
Letter to the Editor
Transiting exocomets detected in broadband light by TESS in the β Pictoris system⋆
Universität Innsbruck, Institut für Astro-und Teilchenphysik, Technikerstraße 25, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
2 Leiden Observatory, Leiden University, PO Box 9513, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands
3 Department of Physics, University of Warwick, Gibbet Hill Road, Coventry CV4 7AL, UK
Accepted: 18 April 2019
Aims. We search for signs of falling evaporating bodies (FEBs, also known as exocomets) in photometric time series obtained for β Pictoris after fitting and removing its δ Scuti-type pulsation frequencies.
Methods. Using photometric data obtained by the TESS satellite we determined the pulsational properties of the exoplanet host star β Pictoris through frequency analysis. We then pre-whitened the 54 identified δ Scuti p-modes and investigated the residual photometric time series for the presence of FEBs.
Results. We identify three distinct dipping events in the light curve of β Pictoris over a 105-day period. These dips have depths from 0.5 to 2 millimagnitudes and durations of up to 2 days for the largest dip. These dips are asymmetric in nature and are consistent with a model of an evaporating comet with an extended tail crossing the disc of the star
Conclusions. We present the first broadband detections of exocomets crossing the disc of β Pictoris, complementing the predictions made 20 years earlier by Lecavelier Des Etangs et al. (1999, A&A, 343, 916). No periodic transits are seen in this time series. These observations confirm the spectroscopic detection of exocomets in calcium H and K lines that have been seen in high resolution spectroscopy.
Key words: comets: general / planetary systems / stars: individual: β Pictoris / techniques: photometric / circumstellar matter
The reduced lightcurves for the events are only available at the CDS via anonymous ftp to cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr (220.127.116.11) or via http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/qcat?J/A+A/625/L13
© ESO 2019
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