Tau Boötis b


Tau Boötis b
Tau Boötis b
Extrasolar planet List of extrasolar planets
2001-38-a-full.jpg
Tau Boötis b looking at its sun (Artist's conception)
Parent star
Star Tau Boötis
Constellation Boötes
Right ascension (α) 13h 47m 15.7s
Declination (δ) +17° 27′ 25″
Apparent magnitude (mV) 4.5
Distance 50.84 ly
(15.60 pc)
Spectral type F6IV
Orbital elements
Semimajor axis (a) 0.0481 AU
Eccentricity (e) 0.023 ± 0.015
Orbital period (P) 3.312463 ± 0.000014 d
(0.009069 y)
Argument of
periastron
(ω) 188°
Time of periastron (T0) 2,446,957.81 ± 0.54 JD
Semi-amplitude (K) 461.1 m/s
Physical characteristics
Minimum mass (m sin i) 3.9 MJ
(1240 M)
Discovery information
Discovery date 1996
Discoverer(s) Marcy et al.
Detection method Doppler Spectroscopy
Discovery site United States University of California
Discovery status Published
Other designations
Tau Boötis Ab
Database references
Extrasolar Planets
Encyclopaedia
data
SIMBAD data

Tau Boötis b, occasionally referred to as Tau Boötis Ab, is an extrasolar planet approximately 50 light-years away around the primary star of the Tau Boötis system in the constellation of Boötes. Announced in 1996 by Geoffrey Marcy and R. Paul Butler, Tau Boötis was one of the first stars confirmed to have planets orbiting it. On 16 December 1999, the planet was dubbed the "Millennium Planet" because the planet was then (erroneously) thought to be the first extrasolar planet to be discovered visually.[1]

Contents

Discovery

Discovered in 1996, the planet is one of the first extrasolar planets found. It was discovered by Paul Butler and Geoffrey Marcy (San Francisco Planet Search Project) using the highly successful radial velocity method. Since the star is visually bright and the planet is massive, it produces a very strong velocity signal of 469 ± 5 metres per second, which was quickly confirmed by Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz from data collected over 15 years. It was later confirmed also by the AFOE Planet Search Team.

Orbit and mass

Tau Boötis b is rather massive, with a minimum mass over four times that of Jupiter. It orbits the star in a so-called "torch orbit", at a distance from the star less than one seventh that of Mercury's from the Sun. One orbital revolution takes only 3 days 7.5 hours to complete. Because τ Boo is hotter and larger than the Sun and the planet's orbit is so low, it is assumed to be hot. Assuming the planet is perfectly grey with no greenhouse or tidal effects, and a Bond albedo of 0.1, the temperature would be close to 1600 K.[2] Although it has not been detected directly, it is certain that the planet is a gas giant.

As Tau Boötis b is more massive than most known "hot Jupiters", it was speculated that it was originally a brown dwarf, a failed star, which could have lost most of its atmosphere from the heat of its larger companion star. However, this seems very unlikely. Still, such a process has actually been detected on the famous transiting planet HD 209458 b.

In December 1999, a group led by A. C. Cameron had announced that they had detected reflected light from the planet. They calculated that the orbit of the planet has an inclination of 29° and thus the absolute mass of the planet would be about 8.5 times that of Jupiter. They also suggested that the planet is blue in color. Unfortunately, their observations could not be confirmed and were later proved to be spurious. A better estimate came from the assumption of tidal lock with the star, which rotates at 40 degrees;[3] fixing the planet's mass between 6 and 7 Jupiter masses. This inclination has been confirmed by magnetic field detection.[4]

Characteristics

The temperature of Tau Boötis b probably inflates its radius higher (1.2 times) than Jupiter's. Since no reflected light has been detected, the planet's albedo must be less than 0.37.[3][5] At 1600 K, it is (like HD 179949 b) supposed to be hotter than HD 209458 b (formerly predicted 1392K) and possibly even HD 149026 b (predicted 1540 K from higher albedo 0.3, then actually measured at 2300 K). Tau Boötis b's predicted Sudarsky class is V; which is supposed to yield a highly reflective albedo of .55.

It is a candidate for "near-infrared characterisation.... with the VLTI Spectro-Imager".[2]

There are also some indications of another, more distant planet orbiting Tau Boötis A. However, until the possible planet has completed one orbit it remains speculation.

See also

References

  1. ^ Astrographics Millennium Planet Poster
  2. ^ a b Renard, S.; Absil, O.; Berger, J. -P.; Bonfils, X.; Forveille, T.; Malbet, F. (2008). "Proceedings of SPIE". arXiv:0807.3014v1 [astro-ph]. doi:10.1117/12.790494. 
  3. ^ a b LEIGH C., COLLIER CAMERON A., HORNE K., PENNY A. & JAMES D., 2003 "A new upper limit on the reflected starlight from Tau Bootis b." MNRAS,344, 1271
  4. ^ Catala C., Donati J.-F., Shkolnik E., Bohlender D., Alecian E. (2007). "The magnetic field of the planet-hosting star τ Bootis". MNRAS (374): L42. 
  5. ^ Lucas, P. W.; Hough, J. H.; Bailey, J. A.; Tamura, M.; Hirst, E.; Harrison, D. (2007). "Planetpol polarimetry of the exoplanet systems 55 Cnc and tau Boo". arXiv:0807.2568v1 [astro-ph]. 

External links

Coordinates: Sky map 13h 47m 15.7s, +17° 27′ 25″


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