Spectral and atmospheric characterization of 51 Eridani b using VLT/SPHERE

Samland, M.; Mollière, P.; Bonnefoy, M.; Maire, A.-L.; Cantalloube, F.; Cheetham, A. C.; Mesa, D.; Gratton, R.; Biller, B. A.; Wahhaj, Z.; Bouwman, J.; Brandner, W.; Melnick, D.; Carson, J.; Janson, M.; Henning, T.; Homeier, D.; Mordasini, Christoph; Langlois, M.; Quanz, S. P.; ... (2017). Spectral and atmospheric characterization of 51 Eridani b using VLT/SPHERE. Astronomy and astrophysics, 603(A57), A57. EDP Sciences 10.1051/0004-6361/201629767

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Context. 51 Eridani b is an exoplanet around a young (20 Myr) nearby (29.4 pc) F0-type star, which was recently discovered by direct imaging. It is one of the closest direct imaging planets in angular and physical separation (~0.5′′, ~13 au) and is well suited for spectroscopic analysis using integral field spectrographs. Aims. We aim to refine the atmospheric properties of the known giant planet and to constrain the architecture of the system further by searching for additional companions. Methods. We used the extreme adaptive optics instrument SPHERE at the Very Large Telescope (VLT) to obtain simultaneous dual-band imaging with IRDIS and integral field spectra with IFS, extending the spectral coverage of the planet to the complete Y- to H-band range and providing additional photometry in the K12-bands (2.11, 2.25 μm). The object is compared to other known cool and peculiar dwarfs. The posterior probability distributions for parameters of cloudy and clear atmospheric models are explored using MCMC. We verified our methods by determining atmospheric parameters for the two benchmark brown dwarfs Gl 570D and HD 3651B. We used archival VLT-NACO (L′) Sparse Aperture Masking data to probe the innermost region for additional companions. Results. We present the first spectrophotometric measurements in the Y and K bands for the planet and revise its J-band flux to values 40% fainter than previous measurements. Cloudy models with uniform cloud coverage provide a good match to the data. We derive the temperature, radius, surface gravity, metallicity, and cloud sedimentation parameter fsed. We find that the atmosphere is highly super-solar ([Fe/H] = 1.0 ± 0.1 dex), and the low value is indicative of a vertically extended, optically thick cloud cover with small sized particles. The model radius and surface gravity estimates suggest higher planetary masses of . The evolutionary model only provides a lower mass limit of > 2 MJ (for pure hot-start). The cold-start model cannot explain the luminosity of the planet. The SPHERE and NACO/SAM detection limits probe the 51 Eri system at solar system scales and exclude brown-dwarf companions more massive than 20 MJ beyond separations of ~2.5 au and giant planets more massive than 2 MJ beyond 9 au.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute > Space Research and Planetary Sciences > Theoretical Astrophysics and Planetary Science (TAPS)
08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute > Space Research and Planetary Sciences
08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute
08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute > NCCR PlanetS

UniBE Contributor:

Mordasini, Christoph


500 Science > 520 Astronomy
600 Technology > 620 Engineering
500 Science
500 Science > 530 Physics




EDP Sciences




Janine Jungo

Date Deposited:

20 Apr 2018 10:18

Last Modified:

22 Apr 2018 02:22

Publisher DOI:






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