The Lick-Carnegie Exoplanet Survey: A Saturn-Mass Planet in the Habitable Zone of the Nearby M4V Star HIP 57050
Precision radial velocities (RV) from Keck/HIRES reveal a Saturn-mass planet orbiting the nearby M4V star HIP 57050. The planet has a minimum mass of Msin i ∼ 0.3 MJ, an orbital period of 41.4 days, and an orbital eccentricity of 0.31. V-band photometry reveals a clear stellar rotation signature of the host star with a period of 98 days, well separated from the period of the RV variations and reinforcing a Keplerian origin for the observed velocity variations. The orbital period of this planet corresponds to an orbit in the habitable zone of HIP 57050, with an expected planetary temperature of ∼230 K. The star has a metallicity of [Fe/H] = 0.32 ± 0.06 dex, of order twice solar and among the highest metallicity stars in the immediate solar neighborhood. This newly discovered planet provides further support that the well-known planet–metallicity correlation for F, G, and K stars also extends down into the M-dwarf regime. The a priori geometric probability for transits of this planet is only about 1%. However, the expected eclipse depth is ∼7%, considerably larger than that yet observed for any transiting planet. Though long on the odds, such a transit is worth pursuing as it would allow for high quality studies of the atmosphere via transmission spectroscopy with Hubble Space Telescope. At the expected planetary effective temperature, the atmosphere may contain water clouds.
Nader Haghighipour et al 2010 ApJ 715 271