Orbital constraints on the β Pic inner planet candidate with Keck adaptive optics.
FITZGERALD M.P., KALAS P.G. and GRAHAM J.R.
Abstract (from CDS):
A point source observed 8 AU in projection from β Pictoris in (3.8 µm) imaging in 2003 has been recently presented as a planet candidate. Here we show the results of-band adaptive optics imaging obtained at Keck Observatory in 2008. We do not detect β Pic b beyond a limiting radius of 0".29, or 5.5 AU in projection, from the star. If β Pic b is an orbiting planet, then it has moved ≥0".12 (2.4 AU in projection) closer to the star in the five years separating the two epochs of observation. We examine the range of orbital parameters consistent with the observations, including likely bounds from the locations of previously inferred planetesimal belts. We find a family of low-eccentricity orbits with semimajor axes ∼8-9 AU that are completely allowed, as well as a broad region of orbits with e ≲ 0.2, a ≳ 10 AU that are allowed if the apparent motion of the planet was toward the star in 2003. We compare this allowed space with predictions of the planetary orbital elements from the literature. Additionally, we show how similar observations in the next several years can further constrain the space of allowed orbits. Non-detections of the source through 2013 will exclude the interpretation of the candidate as a planet orbiting between the 6.4 and 16 AU planetesimal belts.
circumstellar matter - planetary systems - stars: individual: HD 39060