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Centro de Astrofísica da Universidade do Porto

The HARPS search for southern extra-solar planets: X. A m sin i = 11 M⊕ planet around the nearby spotted M dwarf GJ 674

X. Bonfils, M. Mayor, X. Delfosse, T. Forveille, M. Gillon, C. Perrier, S. Udry, F. Bouchy, C. Lovis, F. Pepe, D. Queloz, N. C. Santos, J.-L. Bertaux

Abstract

Context. How planet properties depend on stellar mass is a key diagnostic of planetary formation mechanisms.
Aims. This motivates planet searches around stars that are significantly more massive or less massive than the Sun, and in particular our radial velocity search for planets around very low-mass stars.
Methods. As part of that program, we obtained measurements of GJ 674, an M 2.5 dwarf at d = 4.5 pc. These measurements have dispersion much in excess of their internal errors. An intensive observing campaign demonstrates that the excess dispersion is due to two superimposed coherent signals, with periods of 4.69 and 35 days.
Results.
These data are described well by a 2-planet Keplerian model where each planet has a ∼11 M⊕ minimum mass. A careful analysis of the (low-level) magnetic activity of GJ 674, however, demonstrates that the 35-day period coincides with the stellar rotation period. This signal therefore originates in a spot inhomogeneity modulated by stellar rotation. The 4.69-day signal, on the other hand, is caused by a bona-fide planet, GJ 674b.
Conclusions. Its detection adds to the growing number of Neptune-mass planets around M-dwarfs and reinforces the emerging conclusion that this mass domain is much more populated than the Jovian mass range. We discuss the metallicity distributions of M dwarf with and without planets and find a low 11% probability that they are drawn from the same parent distribution. Moreover, we find tentative evidence that the host star metallicity correlates with the total mass of their planetary system.

Keywords
stars: individual: GJ 674 – stars: planetary systems – stars: late-type – techniques: radial velocities

Astronomy and Astrophysics
Volume 474, Page 293
October 2007

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