The CARMENES Search for Exoplanets around M Dwarfs: A Low-mass Planet in the Temperate Zone of the Nearby K2-18

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K2-18 is a nearby M2.5 dwarf, located at 34 pc and hosting a transiting planet that was first discovered by the K2 mission and later confirmed with Spitzer Space Telescope observations. With a radius of similar to 2 R-circle plus and an orbital period of similar to 33 days, the planet lies in the temperate zone of its host star and receives stellar irradiation similar to that of Earth. Here we perform radial velocity follow-up observations with the visual channel of CARMENES with the goal of determining the mass and density of the planet. We measure a planetary semi-amplitude of K-b similar to 3.5 m s(-1). and a mass of M-b similar to 9 M-circle plus, yielding a bulk density around rho(b) similar to 4 g cm(-3). This indicates a low-mass planet with a composition consistent with a solid core and a volatile-rich envelope. A signal at 9 days was recently reported using radial velocity measurements taken with the HARPS spectrograph. This was interpreted as being due to a second planet. We see a weaker, time-and wavelength-dependent signal in the CARMENES data set and thus favor stellar activity for its origin. K2-18 b joins the growing group of low-mass planets detected in the temperate zone of M dwarfs. The brightness of the host star in the near-infrared makes the system a good target for detailed atmospheric studies with the James Webb Space Telescope.
© 2018. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved. Artículo firmado por 25 autores. CARMENES is an instrument for the Centro Astronómico Hispano-Alemán de Calar Alto (CAHA, Almeria, Spain). CARMENES is funded by the German Max-Planck-Gesellschaft (MPG), the Spanish Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), the European Union through FEDER/ERF FICTS-2011-02 funds, and the members of the CARMENES Consortium (Max-Planck-Institut fur Astronomie, Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía, Landessternwarte Konigstuhl, Institut de Ciencies de l'Espai, Insitut fur Astrophysik Gottingen, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Thuringer Landessternwarte Tautenburg, Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, Hamburger Sternwarte, Centro de Astrobiología, and Centro Astronómico Hispano-Alemán), with additional contributions by the Spanish Ministry of Economy, the German Science Foundation (DFG), the states of Baden-Wurttemberg and Niedersachsen, and the Junta de Andalucía. P.S. would like to thank Christoph Mordasini for his helpful comments on an early draft and Sudeshna Boro-Saikia for her help on calculating the calcium indices of the HARPS data set. I.R. and J.C.M. acknowledge support by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (MINECO) and the Fondo Europeo de Desarrollo Regional (FEDER) through grant ESP2016-80435-C2-1-R, as well as the support of the Generalitat de Catalunya/CERCA program. A.P.H. acknowledges the support of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) grant HA 3279/11-1. J.A.C., P.J.A. and D.M. acknowledge support by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (MINECO) from projects AYA2016-79425-C3-1, 2, 3-P. V.J.S.B. is supported by program AYA2015-69350-C3-2-P from Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (MINECO). We thank the anonymous referee for useful comments that improved the paper.
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