Orbital Motion of the Wide Planetary-mass Companion GSC 6214-210 b: No Evidence for Dynamical Scattering

Logan A. Pearce, Adam L. Kraus, Trent J. Dupuy, Michael J. Ireland, Aaron C. Rizzuto, Brendan P. Bowler, Eloise K. Birchall, Alexander L. Wallace

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    23 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Direct-imaging exoplanet surveys have discovered a class of 5-20 M Jup substellar companions at separations >100 au from their host stars, which present a challenge to planet and star formation models. Detailed analysis of the orbital architecture of these systems can provide constraints on possible formation mechanisms, including the possibility that they were dynamically ejected onto a wide orbit. We present astrometry for the wide planetary-mass companion GSC 6214-210 b (240 au; ≈14 MJup) obtained using NIRC2 with adaptive optics at the Keck telescope over 10 years. Our measurements achieved astrometric uncertainties of ≈1 mas per epoch. We determined a relative motion of 1.12 ± 0.15 mas yr -1 (0.61 ± 0.09 km s -1 ), the first detection of orbital motion for this companion. We compute the minimum periastron for the companion due to our measured velocity vector and derive constraints on the orbital parameters through our modified implementation of the Orbits for the Impatient rejection sampling algorithm. We find that close periastron orbits, which could indicate that the companion was dynamically scattered, are present in our posterior but have low likelihoods. For all orbits in our posterior, we assess the detectability of close-in companions that could have scattered GSC 6214-210 b from a closer orbit, and find that most potential scatterers would have been detected in previous imaging. We conclude that formation at small orbital separation and subsequent dynamical scattering through interaction with another potential close-in object is an unlikely formation pathway for this companion. We also update stellar and substellar properties for the system using the new parallax from Gaia DR2.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number71
    JournalAstronomical Journal
    Volume157
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019

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