Two New Long-period Giant Planets from the McDonald Observatory Planet Search and Two Stars with Long-period Radial Velocity Signals Related to Stellar Activity Cycles

February 2016 • 2016ApJ...818...34E

Authors • Endl, Michael • Brugamyer, Erik J. • Cochran, William D. • MacQueen, Phillip J. • Robertson, Paul • Meschiari, Stefano • Ramirez, Ivan • Shetrone, Matthew • Gullikson, Kevin • Johnson, Marshall C. • Wittenmyer, Robert • Horner, Jonathan • Ciardi, David R. • Horch, Elliott • Simon, Attila E. • Howell, Steve B. • Everett, Mark • Caldwell, Caroline • Castanheira, Barbara G.

Abstract • We report the detection of two new long-period giant planets orbiting the stars HD 95872 and HD 162004 (ψ1 Dra B) by the McDonald Observatory planet search. The planet HD 95872b has a minimum mass of 4.6 {M}{{Jup}} and an orbital semimajor axis of 5.2 AU. The giant planet ψ1 Dra Bb has a minimum mass of 1.5 {M}{{Jup}} and an orbital semimajor axis of 4.4 AU. Both of these planets qualify as Jupiter analogs. These results are based on over one and a half decades of precise radial velocity (RV) measurements collected by our program using the McDonald Observatory Tull Coude spectrograph at the 2.7 m Harlan J. Smith Telescope. In the case of ψ1 Dra B we also detect a long-term nonlinear trend in our data that indicates the presence of an additional giant planet, similar to the Jupiter-Saturn pair. The primary of the binary star system, ψ1 Dra A, exhibits a very large amplitude RV variation due to another stellar companion. We detect this additional member using speckle imaging. We also report two cases—HD 10086 and HD 102870 (β Virginis)—of significant RV variation consistent with the presence of a planet, but that are probably caused by stellar activity, rather than reflexive Keplerian motion. These two cases stress the importance of monitoring the magnetic activity level of a target star, as long-term activity cycles can mimic the presence of a Jupiter-analog planet.


IPAC Authors


David Ciardi

Senior Scientist