A timely discovery for Halloween: Our NGTS collaboration has discovered a “monster planet”, a giant planet around a very small star. This is very surprising, because barely any of those huge planets have been found close to tiny stars. We will have to re-think some of our planet formation theories.
A neat press release has been published by Queen’s University Belfast: Monster planet discovery challenges formation theory, which gives the key points about the discovery in layperson’s terms.
And here is the scientific information from the paper: We present the discovery of NGTS-1b, a hot-Jupiter transiting an early M-dwarf host in a P=2.674d orbit discovered as part of the Next Generation Transit Survey (NGTS). The planet has a mass of 0.812 Mjup, making it the most massive planet ever discovered transiting an M-dwarf. The radius of the planet is 1.33 Rjup. Since the transit is grazing, we determine this radius by modelling the data and placing a prior on the density from the population of known gas giant planets. NGTS-1b is the third transiting giant planet found around an M-dwarf, reinforcing the notion that close-in gas giants can form and migrate similar to the known population of hot Jupiters around solar type stars. The host star shows no signs of activity, and the kinematics hint at the star being from the thick disk population. With a deep (2.5%) transit around a K=11.9 host, NGTS-1b will be a strong candidate to probe giant planet composition around M-dwarfs via JWST transmission spectroscopy.
“NGTS-1b: A hot Jupiter transiting an M-dwarf”, Bayliss, Daniel; Gillen, Edward; Eigmuller, Philipp; McCormac, James; Alexander, Richard D.; Armstrong, David J.; Booth, Rachel S.; Bouchy, Francois; Burleigh, Matthew R.; Cabrera, Juan; Casewell, Sarah L.; Chaushev, Alexander; Chazelas, Bruno; Csizmadia, Szilard; Erikson, Anders; Faedi, Francesca; Foxell, Emma; Gansicke, Boris T.; Goad, Michael R.; Grange, Andrew; Gunther, Maximilian N.; Hodgkin, Simon T.; Jackman, James; Jenkins, James S.; Lambert, Gregory; Louden, Tom; Metrailler, Lionel; Moyano, Maximiliano; Pollacco, Don; Poppenhaeger, Katja; Queloz, Didier; Raddi, Roberto; Rauer, Heike; Raynard, Liam; Smith, Alexis M. S.; Soto, Maritza; Thompson, Andrew P. G.; Titz-Weider, Ruth; Udry, Stephane; Walker, Simon. R.; Watson, Christopher A.; West, Richard G.; Wheatley, Peter J.; accepted for publication by Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (2017).