Fomalhaut b: independent analysis of the Hubble space telescope public archive data.
GALICHER R., MAROIS C., ZUCKERMAN B. and MACINTOSH B.
Abstract (from CDS):
The nature and even the existence of a putative planet-mass companion ("Fomalhaut b") to Fomalhaut has been debated since 2008. In the present paper, we reanalyze the multi-epoch ACS/STIS/WFC3 Hubble Space Telescope (HST) optical/near-infrared images on which the discovery and some other claims were based. We confirm that the HST images do reveal an object in orbit around Fomalhaut, but the detailed results from our analysis differ in some ways from previous discussions. In particular, we do not confirm flux variability over a two-year interval at 0.6 µm wavelength and we detect Fomalhaut b for the first time at the short wavelength of 0.43 µm. We find that the HST image of Fomalhaut b at 0.8 µm may be extended beyond the point-spread function. We cannot determine from our astrometry if Fomalhaut b will cross or not the dust ring. The optical through mid-infrared spectral energy distribution (SED) of Fomalhaut b cannot be explained as due to direct or scattered radiation from a massive planet. We consider two models to explain the SED: (1) a large circumplanetary disk around an unseen planet and (2) the aftermath of a collision during the past 50-150 yr of two Kuiper-Belt-like objects of radii ∼50 km.
methods: data analysis - methods: observational - planetary systems - techniques: high angular resolution - techniques: image processing