The stellar obliquity, planet mass, and very low albedo of Qatar-2 from K2 photometry.
DAI F., WINN J.N., YU L. and ALBRECHT S.
Abstract (from CDS):
The Qatar-2 transiting exoplanet system was recently observed in short-cadence mode by Kepler as part of K2 Campaign 6. We identify dozens of starspot-crossing events, when the planet eclipses a relatively dark region of the stellar photosphere. The observed patterns of these events demonstrate that the planet always transits over the same range of stellar latitudes and, therefore, that the stellar obliquity is less than about 10°. We support this conclusion with two different modeling approaches: one based on explicit identification and timing of the events and the other based on fitting the light curves with a spotted-star model. We refine the transit parameters and measure the stellar rotation period (18.5 ± 1.9 days), which corresponds to a "gyrochronological" age of 1.4 ± 0.3 Gyr. Coherent flux variations with the same period as the transits are well modeled as the combined effects of ellipsoidal light variations (15.4 ± 4.8 ppm) and Doppler boosting (14.6 ± 5.1 ppm). The magnitudes of these effects correspond to a planetary mass of 2.6±0.9 MJup and 3.9±1.5 MJup, respectively. Both of these independent mass estimates agree with the mass determined by the spectroscopic Doppler technique (2.487±0.086 MJup). No occultations are detected, giving a 2σ upper limit of 0.06 on the planet's visual geometric albedo. We find no evidence for orbital decay, although we are only able to place a weak lower bound on the relevant tidal quality factor: Q*^′^ 1.5×104 (95% confidence).