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Have Radio Velocity Surveys Missed Any Planets?

Raj, Shah LU (2021) In Lund Observatory Examensarbeten ASTK02 20211
Lund Observatory
Abstract
The project was aimed at numerically assessing exoplanetary systems to distinguish their capabilities of hosting additional planets. The shortcomings of the radial velocity method sometimes causes hindrance in the detection of terrestrial planets. Although modern spectrometers have evolved and improved drastically, the process of distinguishing signals from smaller planets is still difficult and cumbersome. Besides the technical difficulties, the geometry of the system is also of paramount importance in the detection process. For these reasons, we resort to other means to evaluate the potential for the existence of additional planets, especially in systems with large gaps between their known planets.
Computer simulations allow us to study... (More)
The project was aimed at numerically assessing exoplanetary systems to distinguish their capabilities of hosting additional planets. The shortcomings of the radial velocity method sometimes causes hindrance in the detection of terrestrial planets. Although modern spectrometers have evolved and improved drastically, the process of distinguishing signals from smaller planets is still difficult and cumbersome. Besides the technical difficulties, the geometry of the system is also of paramount importance in the detection process. For these reasons, we resort to other means to evaluate the potential for the existence of additional planets, especially in systems with large gaps between their known planets.
Computer simulations allow us to study such systems in great detail. We input parameters of a hypothetical planet (Earth-mass in our case) for a given range of orbits and eccentricities where we expect to find our planet, along with the other known bodies, in the simulation program, based on the orbital dynamics, the program returns an easy-to-read stability map of the system. We restrict ourselves to the habitable zones of the systems for the range of orbits. The simulations were run using the $N$-body integration software package REBOUND. The WHFast integrator combined with the chaos indicator, the mean exponential growth factor of nearby orbits (MEGNO), ran the simulations over a specified time period and returned the MEGNO values which were used to plot the so-called stability maps.
We looked at a total of 15 systems out of which two were found to be almost completely stable for the given initial conditions while four were found to be completely or close to being completely unstable. The rest of the eight systems had regions of both stability and instability that at times were due to rather interesting phenomena, co-orbital arrangements or suspected mean-motion orbital resonance for example. We looked more closely at HD 219828, HD 37605, HIP 67851 and Teegarden's Star. HD 219828 had a large gap between the two known planets, but due to the highly elliptical orbit of its known outer planet, which engulfed the orbital range of the hypothetical planet, it was found to be incapable of hosting an additional planet. HD 37605 was suspected to demonstrate mean-motion orbital resonance after the introduction of the hypothetical planet, though the studies did not confirm the hypothesis. HIP 67851 and Teegarden's Star were both suspected to show co-orbital configurations in the presence of the hypothetical planet. The hypothetical planet in HIP 67851 was found to be a quasi satellite of its known outer planet, while Teegarden's Star c was found to be in a Trojan co-orbital arrangement with the speculative planet. The situation of Teegarden's Star b with respect to the introduced planet could not be assessed with certainty. One possibility is that it is in a horseshoe orbit with the introduced planet. (Less)
Popular Abstract
The existence of extrasolar planets has been long suspected but it was only relatively recently that scientists employed methods to actually detect them. Although these methods have helped us detect thousands of planets, there are still hundreds of thousands of anticipated planets which we are unable to detect; it is believed that, on average, every star has more than one planet orbiting it. Since they do not produce much light, like the stars and galaxies do, it is difficult to observe them directly. Computer simulations give us a chance at predicting the possible existence of additional unknown planets in previously known planetary systems.
The process begins by shortlisting interesting planetary systems. Three body (a star and two... (More)
The existence of extrasolar planets has been long suspected but it was only relatively recently that scientists employed methods to actually detect them. Although these methods have helped us detect thousands of planets, there are still hundreds of thousands of anticipated planets which we are unable to detect; it is believed that, on average, every star has more than one planet orbiting it. Since they do not produce much light, like the stars and galaxies do, it is difficult to observe them directly. Computer simulations give us a chance at predicting the possible existence of additional unknown planets in previously known planetary systems.
The process begins by shortlisting interesting planetary systems. Three body (a star and two planets) systems are preferred since there are multiple planetary and stellar parameters to consider; this makes the process less complicated and easily approachable. Ideally, you would want to know the host star’s mass and the planets’ masses and their distances from the star. Small mass planets with large gaps between them are more likely to accommodate another planet. To make the study more interesting, I will be calculating the habitable zones of all the host stars and further reduce the list of targets based on whether the habitable zone lies in the gap between the planets and look for the possible existence of an terrestrial, Earth-mass planet (capable of supporting life) in that region. The habitable zone is the area around a star where temperatures are not too high or too low for liquid water to exist on a planet’s surface.
Assuming there is an undetected planet in the habitable zone between the two known planets, a hypothetical planet is inserted there and the simulation is run to create a stability map for the system. The simulation is adept at detecting chaos in the system over a relatively shorter lifetime. The map produced demonstrates regions of stability and instability for the given range of the habitable zone. It is colour coded for the benefit of the user.
It is suspected that every star in our galaxy has at least one planet orbiting it. However, due to our technological limitations, we are unable to observe all of them yet. By studying the exoplanets and the exoplanetary systems, we can learn how they are formed, the multiplicity of planets in them, their mechanical properties etc. Computer simulations can help us narrow down our search for interesting planets, especially if the purpose of the search is to look for potential habitable bodies. By knowing where to look, we can divert our energies and resources towards the more attractive and rewarding systems. The search for life is a motivation driving many experts of the time and field. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Raj, Shah LU
supervisor
organization
course
ASTK02 20211
year
type
M2 - Bachelor Degree
subject
keywords
radial velocity survey, transit method, exoplanet, habitable zone, habitable zone boundaries, HZ, early Mars, recent Venus, stability, instability, chaos, REBOUND, MEGNO, MEGNO maps, Hill sphere, stable systems, unstable systems
publication/series
Lund Observatory Examensarbeten
report number
2021-EXA175
language
English
id
9060695
date added to LUP
2021-07-09 13:58:44
date last changed
2021-10-27 14:51:16
@misc{9060695,
  abstract     = {{The project was aimed at numerically assessing exoplanetary systems to distinguish their capabilities of hosting additional planets. The shortcomings of the radial velocity method sometimes causes hindrance in the detection of terrestrial planets. Although modern spectrometers have evolved and improved drastically, the process of distinguishing signals from smaller planets is still difficult and cumbersome. Besides the technical difficulties, the geometry of the system is also of paramount importance in the detection process. For these reasons, we resort to other means to evaluate the potential for the existence of additional planets, especially in systems with large gaps between their known planets.
Computer simulations allow us to study such systems in great detail. We input parameters of a hypothetical planet (Earth-mass in our case) for a given range of orbits and eccentricities where we expect to find our planet, along with the other known bodies, in the simulation program, based on the orbital dynamics, the program returns an easy-to-read stability map of the system. We restrict ourselves to the habitable zones of the systems for the range of orbits. The simulations were run using the $N$-body integration software package REBOUND. The WHFast integrator combined with the chaos indicator, the mean exponential growth factor of nearby orbits (MEGNO), ran the simulations over a specified time period and returned the MEGNO values which were used to plot the so-called stability maps.
We looked at a total of 15 systems out of which two were found to be almost completely stable for the given initial conditions while four were found to be completely or close to being completely unstable. The rest of the eight systems had regions of both stability and instability that at times were due to rather interesting phenomena, co-orbital arrangements or suspected mean-motion orbital resonance for example. We looked more closely at HD 219828, HD 37605, HIP 67851 and Teegarden's Star. HD 219828 had a large gap between the two known planets, but due to the highly elliptical orbit of its known outer planet, which engulfed the orbital range of the hypothetical planet, it was found to be incapable of hosting an additional planet. HD 37605 was suspected to demonstrate mean-motion orbital resonance after the introduction of the hypothetical planet, though the studies did not confirm the hypothesis. HIP 67851 and Teegarden's Star were both suspected to show co-orbital configurations in the presence of the hypothetical planet. The hypothetical planet in HIP 67851 was found to be a quasi satellite of its known outer planet, while Teegarden's Star c was found to be in a Trojan co-orbital arrangement with the speculative planet. The situation of Teegarden's Star b with respect to the introduced planet could not be assessed with certainty. One possibility is that it is in a horseshoe orbit with the introduced planet.}},
  author       = {{Raj, Shah}},
  language     = {{eng}},
  note         = {{Student Paper}},
  series       = {{Lund Observatory Examensarbeten}},
  title        = {{Have Radio Velocity Surveys Missed Any Planets?}},
  year         = {{2021}},
}