Monday, July 29, 2013

1307.6857 (Eric B. Bechter et al.)

WASP-12b and HAT-P-8b are Members of Triple Star Systems    [PDF]

Eric B. Bechter, Justin R. Crepp, Henry Ngo, Heather A. Knutson, Konstantin Batygin, Sasha Hinkley, Phillip S. Muirhead, John Asher Johnson, Andrew W. Howard, Benjamin T. Montet, Christopher T. Matthews, Timothy D. Morton
We present high spatial resolution images that demonstrate the hot Jupiters WASP-12b and HAT-P-8b orbit the primary star of hierarchical triple star systems. In each case, two distant companions with colors and brightness consistent with M dwarfs co-orbit the planet host as well as one another. Our adaptive optics images spatially resolve the secondary around WASP-12, previously identified by Bergfors et al. 2011 and Crossfield et al. 2012, into two distinct sources separated by 84.3+/-0.6 mas (21 +/- 3 AU). We find that the secondary to HAT-P-8, also identified by Bergfors et al. 2011, is in fact composed of two stars separated by 65.3+/-0.5 mas (15+/-1 AU). Our follow-up observations demonstrate physical association through common proper-motion. HAT-P-8 C has a particularly low mass, which we estimate to be 0.18+/-0.02Msun using photometry. Due to their hierarchy, WASP-12 BC and HAT-P-8 BC will enable the first dynamical mass determination for hot Jupiter stellar companions. These previously well-studied planet hosts now represent higher-order multi-star systems with potentially complex dynamics, underscoring the importance of diffraction-limited imaging and providing additional context for understanding the migrant population of transiting hot Jupiters.
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