CHARACTERIZING THE COOL KOIs. III. KOI 961: A SMALL STAR WITH LARGE PROPER MOTION AND THREE SMALL PLANETS
Author(s)Muirhead, Philip S.; Johnson, John Asher; Apps, Kevin; Carter, Joshua Adam; Morton, Timothy D.; Fabrycky, Daniel C.; Pineda, John Sebastian; Bottom, Michael; Schlawin, Everett; Hamren, Katherine; Covey, Kevin R.; Crepp, Justin R.; Pepper, Joshua; Hebb, Leslie; Kirby, Evan N.; Howard, Andrew W.; Isaacson, Howard; Marcy, Geoffrey W.; Levitan, David; Diaz-Santos, Tanio; Armus, Lee; Lloyd, James P.; Stassun, Keivan; Rojas-Ayala, Barbara; ... Show more Show less
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We characterize the star KOI 961, an M dwarf with transit signals indicative of three short-period exoplanets discovered by the Kepler mission. We proceed by comparing KOI 961 to Barnard's Star, a nearby, well-characterized mid-M dwarf. We compare colors, optical and near-infrared spectra, and find remarkable agreement between the two, implying similar effective temperatures and metallicities. Both are metal-poor compared to the Solar neighborhood, have low projected rotational velocity, high absolute radial velocity, large proper motion, and no quiescent Hα emission—all of which are consistent with being old M dwarfs. We combine empirical measurements of Barnard's Star and expectations from evolutionary isochrones to estimate KOI 961's mass (0.13 ± 0.05 M [subscript ☉]), radius (0.17 ± 0.04 R [subscript ☉]), and luminosity (2.40 × 10[superscript –3.0 ± 0.3] L [subscript ☉]). We calculate KOI 961's distance (38.7 ± 6.3 pc) and space motions, which, like Barnard's Star, are consistent with a high scale-height population in the Milky Way. We perform an independent multi-transit fit to the public Kepler light curve and significantly revise the transit parameters for the three planets. We calculate the false-positive probability for each planet candidate, and find a less than 1% chance that any one of the transiting signals is due to a background or hierarchical eclipsing binary, validating the planetary nature of the transits. The best-fitting radii for all three planets are less than 1 R [subscript ⊕], with KOI 961.03 being Mars-sized (R[subscript P] = 0.57 ± 0.18 R [subscript ⊕]), and they represent some of the smallest exoplanets detected to date.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Physics
The Astrophysical Journal
Muirhead, Philip S., John Asher Johnson, Kevin Apps, Joshua A. Carter, Timothy D. Morton, Daniel C. Fabrycky, John Sebastian Pineda, et al. “CHARACTERIZING THE COOL KOIs. III. KOI 961: A SMALL STAR WITH LARGE PROPER MOTION AND THREE SMALL PLANETS.” The Astrophysical Journal 747, no. 2 (February 24, 2012): 144. © 2012 The American Astronomical Society
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