Astronomy and Astrophysics
Aims: For planets orbiting bright stars, precisely measuring the orbital and planet parameters of the system is the best approach to distinguish between competing theories regarding their formation and evolution.
Methods: We obtained 69 new radial velocity observations of the mid-M dwarf G 9-40 with the CARMENES instrument to measure for the first time the mass of its transiting sub-Neptune planet, G 9-40 b, discovered in data from the K2 mission.
Results: Combined with new observations from the TESS mission during Sectors 44, 45, and 46, we are able to measure the radius of the planet to an uncertainty of 3.4% (Rb = 1.900 ± 0.065 R⊕) and determine its mass with a precision of 16% (Mb = 4.00 ± 0.63 M⊕). The resulting bulk density of the planet is inconsistent with a terrestrial composition and suggests the presence of either a water-rich core or a significant hydrogen-rich envelope.
Conclusions: G 9-40 b is referred to as a keystone planet due to its location in period-radius space within the radius valley. Several theories offer explanations for the origin and properties of this population and this planet is a valuable target for testing the dependence of those models on stellar host mass. By virtue of its brightness and small size of the host, it joins L 98-59 d as one of the two best warm (Teq ~ 400 K) sub-Neptunes for atmospheric characterization with JWST, which will probe cloud formation in sub-Neptune-sized planets and break the degeneracies of internal composition models.
The principal objectives of this project are: 1) to study the structure and dynamics of the solar interior, 2) to extend this study to other stars, 3) to search for extrasolar planets using photometric methods (primarily by transits of their host stars) and their characterization (using radial velocity information) and 4) the study of the planetary
The search for life in the universe has been driven by recent discoveries of planets around other stars (known as exoplanets), becoming one of the most active fields in modern astrophysics. The growing number of new exoplanets discovered in recent years and the recent advance on the study of their atmospheres are not only providing new valuable