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An Investigation into the Radial Velocity Variations of CoRoT-7

  • Hatzes, A. P.
  • Dvorak, R.
  • Wuchterl, G.
  • Guterman, P.
  • Hartmann, M.
  • Fridlund, M.
  • Gandolfi, D.
  • Guenther, E.
  • Paetzold, M.
Publication Date
Jun 28, 2010
Submission Date
Jun 28, 2010
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/201014795
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CoRoT-7b, the first transiting ``superearth'' exoplanet, has a radius of 1.7 R_Earth and a mass of 4.8 M_Earth. Ground-based radial velocity measurements also detected an additional companion with a period of 3.7 days (CoRoT-7c) and a mass of 8.4 M_Earth. The mass of CoRoT-7b is a crucial parameter for planet structure models, but is difficult to determine because CoRoT-7 is a modestly active star and there is at least one additional companion. A Fourier analysis was performed on spectral data for CoRoT-7 taken with the HARPS spectrograph. These data include RV measurements, spectral line bisectors, the full width at half maximum of the cross-correlation function, and Ca II emission. The latter 3 quantities vary due to stellar activity and were used to assess the nature of the observed RV variations. An analysis of a sub-set of the RV measurements where multiple observations were made per night was also used to estimate the RV amplitude from CoRoT-7b that was less sensitive to activity variations. Our analysis indicates that the 0.85-d and 3.7-d RV signals of CoRoT-7b and CoRoT-7c are present in the spectral data with a high degree of statistical significance. We also find evidence for another significant RV signal at 9 days. An analysis of the activity indicator data reveals that this 9-d signal most likely does not arise from activity, but possibly from an additional companion. If due to a planetary companion the mass is m = 19.5 M_Earth, assuming co-planarity with CoRoT-7b. A dynamical study of the three planet system shows that it is stable over several hundred millions of years. Our analysis yields a RV amplitude of 5.04 +/- 1.09 m/s for CoRoT-7b which corresponds to a planet mass of m = 6.9 +/- 1.4 M_Earth. This increased mass would make the planet CoRoT-7b more Earth-like in its internal structure.

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