Influence of Stellar Multiplicity on Planet Formation. IV. Adaptive Optics Imaging of Kepler Stars with Multiple Transiting Planet Candidates

November 2015 • 2015ApJ...813..130W

Authors • Wang, Ji • Fischer, Debra A. • Xie, Ji-Wei • Ciardi, David R.

Abstract • The Kepler mission provides a wealth of multiple transiting planet systems (MTPSs). The formation and evolution of multi-planet systems are likely to be influenced by companion stars given the abundance of multiple stellar systems. We study the influence of stellar companions by measuring the stellar multiplicity rate of MTPSs. We select 138 bright (KP < 13.5) Kepler MTPSs and search for stellar companions with adaptive optics (AO) imaging data and archival radial velocity data. We obtain new AO images for 73 MTPSs. Other MTPSs in the sample have archival AO imaging data from the Kepler Community Follow-up Observation Program. From these imaging data, we detect 42 stellar companions around 35 host stars. For stellar separation 1 AU < a < 100 AU, the stellar multiplicity rate is 5.2 ± 5.0% for MTPSs, which is 2.8σ lower than 21.1 ± 2.8% for the control sample, i.e., the field stars in the solar neighborhood. We identify two origins for the deficit of stellar companions within 100 AU of MTPSs: (1) a suppressive planet formation and (2) the disruption of orbital coplanarity due to stellar companions. To distinguish between the two origins, we compare the stellar multiplicity rates of MTPSs and single transiting planet systems (STPSs). However, current data are not sufficient for this purpose. For 100 AU < a < 2000 AU, the stellar multiplicity rates are comparable for MTPSs (8.0 ± 4.0%), STPSs (6.4 ± 5.8%), and the control sample (12.5 ± 2.8%).


IPAC Authors


David Ciardi

Senior Scientist