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Posts: 131433
Date:
HD 62509
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Title: The Weihai Observatory search for close-in planets orbiting giant stars
Author: Robert A. Wittenmyer, Dongyang Gao, Shao Ming Hu, Eva Villaver, Michael Endl, Duncan Wright

Planets are known to orbit giant stars, yet there is a shortage of planets orbiting within ~0.5 AU (P<100 days). First-ascent giants have not expanded enough to engulf such planets, but tidal forces can bring planets to the surface of the star far beyond the stellar radius. So the question remains: are tidal forces strong enough in these stars to engulf all the missing planets? We describe a high-cadence observational program to obtain precise radial velocities of bright giants from Weihai Observatory of Shandong University. We present data on the planet host Beta Gem (HD 62509), confirming our ability to derive accurate and precise velocities; our data achieve an rms of 7.3 m/s about the Keplerian orbit fit. This planet-search programme currently receives ~100 nights per year, allowing us to aggressively pursue short-period planets to determine whether they are truly absent.

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Posts: 131433
Date:
Beta Geminorum
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Title: The Mass of the Planet-hosting Giant Star Beta Geminorum Determined from its p-mode Oscillation Spectrum
Authors: A.P. Hatzes, M. Zechmeister, J. Matthews, R. Kuschnig, G.A.H. Walker, M. Doellinger, D.B. Guenther, A.F.J. Moffat, S.M. Rucinski, D. Sasselov

We use precise radial velocity measurements and photometric data to derive the frequency spacing of the p-mode oscillation spectrum of the planet-hosting star Beta Gem. This spacing along with the interferometric radius for this star is used to derive an accurate stellar mass. A long time series of over 60 hours of precise stellar radial velocity measurements of Beta Gem were taken with an iodine absorption cell and the echelle spectrograph mounted on the 2m Alfred Jensch Telescope. Complementary photometric data for this star were also taken with the MOST microsatellite spanning 3.6 d. A Fourier analysis of the radial velocity data reveals the presence of up to 17 significant pulsation modes in the frequency interval 10-250 micro-Hz. Most of these fall on a grid of equally-spaced frequencies having a separation of 7.14 0.12 micro-Hz. An analysis of 3.6 days of high precision photometry taken with the MOST space telescope shows the presence of up to 16 modes, six of which are consistent with modes found in the spectral (radial velocity) data. This frequency spacing is consistent with high overtone radial pulsations; however, until the pulsation modes are identified we cannot be sure if some of these are nonradial modes or even mixed modes. The radial velocity frequency spacing along with angular diameter measurements of Beta Gem via interferometry results in a stellar mass of M = 1.91 0.09 solar masses. This value confirms the intermediate mass of the star determined using stellar evolutionary tracks. Beta Gem is confirmed to be an intermediate mass star. Stellar pulsations in giant stars along with interferometric radius measurements can provide accurate determinations of the stellar mass of planet hosting giant stars. These can also be used to calibrate stellar evolutionary tracks.

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Posts: 131433
Date:
Pollux
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Title: Discovery of a weak magnetic field in the photosphere of the single giant Pollux
Authors: M. Auriere, G.A. Wade, R. Konstantinova-Antova, C. Charbonnel, C. Catala, W. W. Weiss, T. Roudier, P. Petit, J.-F. Donati, E. Alecian, R. Cabanac, S. Van Eck, C.P. Folsom, J. Power

Aims: We observe the nearby, weakly-active single giant, Pollux, in order to directly study and infer the nature of its magnetic field. Methods: We used the new generation spectropolarimeters ESPaDOnS and NARVAL to observe and detect circular polarization within the photospheric absorption lines of Pollux. Our observations span 18 months from 2007-2009. We treated the spectropolarimetric data using the Least-Squares Deconvolution method to create high signal-to-noise ratio mean Stokes V profiles. We also measured the classical activity indicator S-index for the Ca H&K lines, and the stellar radial velocity (RV). Results: We have unambiguously detected a weak Stokes V signal in the spectral lines of Pollux, and measured the related surface-averaged longitudinal magnetic field Bl. The longitudinal field averaged over the span of the observations is below one gauss. Our data suggest variations of the longitudinal magnetic field, but no significant variation of the S-index. We observe variations of RV which are qualitatively consistent with the published ephemeris for a proposed exoplanet orbiting Pollux. The observed variations of Bl appear to mimic those of RV, but additional data for this relationship to be established. Using evolutionary models including the effects of rotation, we derive the mass of Pollux and we discuss its evolutionary status and the origin of its magnetic field. Conclusions: This work presents the first direct detection of the magnetic field of Pollux, and demonstrates that ESPaDOnS and NARVAL are capable of obtaining sub-G measurements of the surface-averaged longitudinal magnetic field of giant stars, and of directly studying the relationships between magnetic activity, stellar evolution and planet hosting of these stars.

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