A Close-in Puffy Neptune with Hidden Friends: The Enigma of TOI 620

June 2022 • 2022AJ....163..269R

Authors • Reefe, Michael A. • Luque, Rafael • Gaidos, Eric • Beard, Corey • Plavchan, Peter P. • Cointepas, Marion • Cale, Bryson L. • Palle, Enric • Parviainen, Hannu • Feliz, Dax L. • Eastman, Jason • Stassun, Keivan • Gagné, Jonathan • Jenkins, Jon M. • Boyd, Patricia T. • Kidwell, Richard C. • McDermott, Scott • Collins, Karen A. • Fong, William • Guerrero, Natalia • Almenara-Villa, Jose-Manuel • Bean, Jacob • Beichman, Charles A. • Berberian, John • Bieryla, Allyson • Bonfils, Xavier • Bouchy, François • Brady, Madison • Bryant, Edward M. • Cacciapuoti, Luca • Cañas, Caleb I. • Ciardi, David R. • Collins, Kevin I. • Crossfield, Ian J. M. • Dressing, Courtney D. • Eigmüller, Philipp • El Mufti, Mohammed • Esparza-Borges, Emma • Fukui, Akihiko • Gao, Peter • Geneser, Claire • Gnilka, Crystal L. • Gonzales, Erica • Gupta, Arvind F. • Halverson, Sam • Hearty, Fred • Howell, Steve B. • Irwin, Jonathan • Kanodia, Shubham • Kasper, David • Kodama, Takanori • Kostov, Veselin • Latham, David W. • Lendl, Monika • Lin, Andrea • Livingston, John H. • Lubin, Jack • Mahadevan, Suvrath • Matson, Rachel • Matthews, Elisabeth • Murgas, Felipe • Narita, Norio • Newman, Patrick • Ninan, Joe • Osborn, Ares • Quinn, Samuel N. • Robertson, Paul • Roy, Arpita • Schlieder, Joshua • Schwab, Christian • Seifahrt, Andreas • Smith, Gareth D. • Sohani, Ahmad • Stefánsson, Guðmundur • Stevens, Daniel • Stürmer, Julian • Tanner, Angelle • Terrien, Ryan • Teske, Johanna • Vermilion, David • Wang, Sharon X. • Wittrock, Justin • Wright, Jason T. • Zechmeister, Mathias • Zohrabi, Farzaneh

Abstract • We present the validation of a transiting low-density exoplanet orbiting the M2.5 dwarf TOI 620 discovered by the NASA Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) mission. We utilize photometric data from both TESS and ground-based follow-up observations to validate the ephemerides of the 5.09 day transiting signal and vet false-positive scenarios. High-contrast imaging data are used to resolve the stellar host and exclude stellar companions at separations ≳0.″2. We obtain follow-up spectroscopy and corresponding precise radial velocities (RVs) with multiple precision radial velocity (PRV) spectrographs to confirm the planetary nature of the transiting exoplanet. We calculate a 5σ upper limit of M P < 7.1 M and ρ P < 0.74 g cm-3, and we identify a nontransiting 17.7 day candidate. We also find evidence for a substellar (1-20 M J ) companion with a projected separation ≲20 au from a combined analysis of Gaia, adaptive optics imaging, and RVs. With the discovery of this outer companion, we carry out a detailed exploration of the possibilities that TOI 620 b might instead be a circum-secondary planet or a pair of eclipsing binary stars orbiting the host in a hierarchical triple system. We find, under scrutiny, that we can exclude both of these scenarios from the multiwavelength transit photometry, thus validating TOI 620 b as a low-density exoplanet transiting the central star in this system. The low density of TOI 620 b makes it one of the most amenable exoplanets for atmospheric characterization, such as with the James Webb Space Telescope and Ariel, validated or confirmed by the TESS mission to date.


IPAC Authors


David Ciardi

Senior Scientist