Characterizing K2 Candidate Planetary Systems Orbiting Low-mass Stars. III. A High Mass and Low Envelope Fraction for the Warm Neptune K2-55b
Author(s)Dressing, Courtney D.; Sinukoff, Evan; Fulton, Benjamin J.; Lopez, Eric D.; Beichman, Charles A.; Howard, Andrew W.; Knutson, Heather A.; Werner, Michael; Benneke, Björn; Crossfield, Ian Jm; Isaacson, Howard; Krick, Jessica; Gorjian, Varoujan; Livingston, John; Petigura, Erik A.; Schlieder, Joshua E.; Akeson, Rachel L.; Batygin, Konstantin; Christiansen, Jessie L.; Ciardi, David R.; Crepp, Justin R.; Gonzales, Erica J.; Hardegree-Ullman, Kevin; Hirsch, Lea A.; Kosiarek, Molly; Weiss, Lauren M.; ... Show more Show less
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K2-55b is a Neptune-sized planet orbiting a K7 dwarf with a radius of 0.715[subscript -0.040][superscript +0.043]R[subscript ⊙], a mass of 0.688 ± 0.069 M[subscript ⊙], and an effective temperature of 4300[subscript -100][superscript +107] K. Having characterized the host star using near-infrared spectra obtained at IRTF/SpeX, we observed a transit of K2-55b with Spitzer/Infrared Array Camera (IRAC) and confirmed the accuracy of the original K2 ephemeris for future follow-up transit observations. Performing a joint fit to the Spitzer/IRAC and K2 photometry, we found a planet radius of 4.41[subscript -0.28][superscript +0.32]R[subscript ⊙], an orbital period of 2.84927265[ subscript -6.42×10[superscript -6]][superscript 6.87×10[superscript -6]] days, and an equilibrium temperature of roughly 900 K. We then measured the planet mass by acquiring 12 radial velocity (RV) measurements of the system using the High Resolution Echelle Spectrometer on the 10 m Keck I Telescope. Our RV data set precisely constrains the mass of K2-55b to 43.13[subscript -5.80][superscript +5.98]M[subscript ⊙], indicating that K2-55b has a bulk density of 2.8[subscript -0.6][superscript +0.8]g cm[superscript -3] and can be modeled as a rocky planet capped by a modest H/He envelope (M[subscript envelope] = 12 ± 3% M[subscript p]). K2-55b is denser than most similarly sized planets, raising the question of whether the high planetary bulk density of K2-55b could be attributed to the high metallicity of K2-55. The absence of a substantial volatile envelope despite the high mass of K2-55b poses a challenge to current theories of gas giant formation. We posit that K2-55b may have escaped runaway accretion by migration, late formation, or inefficient core accretion, or that K2-55b was stripped of its envelope by a late giant impact.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Physics; MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research
American Astronomical Society
Dressing, Courtney D. et al. “Characterizing K2 Candidate Planetary Systems Orbiting Low-Mass Stars. III. A High Mass and Low Envelope Fraction for the Warm Neptune K2-55b.” The Astronomical Journal 156, 2 (July 2018): 70 © American Astronomical Society
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