K2-291b: a rocky super-Earth in a 2.2 day orbit

Molly R. Kosiarek*, Sarah Blunt, Mercedes Lopez-Morales, Ian J. M. Crossfield, Evan Sinukoff, Erik A. Petigura, Erica J. Gonzales, Ennio Poretti, Luca Malavolta, Andrew W. Howard, Howard Isaacson, Raphaelle D. Haywood, David R. Ciardi, Makennah Bristow, Andrew Collier Cameron, David Charbonneau, Courtney D. Dressing, Pedro Figueird, Benjamin J. Fulton, Bronwen J. HardeeLea A. Hirsch, David W. Latham, Annelies Mortier, Chantanelle Nava, Joshua E. Schlieder, Andrew Vanderburg, Lauren Weiss, Aldo S. Bonomo, Francois Bouchy, Lars A. Buchhave, Adrien Coffinet, Mario Damasso, Xavier Dumusque, Christophe Lovis, Michel Mayor, Giusi Micela, Emilio Molinari, Francesco Pepe, David Phillips, Giampaolo Piotto, Ken Rice, Dimitar Sasselov, Damien Segransan, Alessandro Sozzetti, Stephane Udry, Chris Watson

*Corresponding author for this work

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K2-291 is a solar-type star with a radius of R-* = 0.899 +/- 0.034 R-circle dot and mass of M-* = 0.934 +/- 0.038 M-circle dot. From the K2 C13 data, we found one super-Earth planet (R-p = 1.589(-0.072)(+0.095)R(circle plus)) transiting this star on a short period orbit (P = 2.225177(-6.8e-5)(+6.6e-5) days). We followed this system up with adaptive-optic imaging and spectroscopy to derive stellar parameters, search for stellar companions, and determine a planet mass. From our 75 radial velocity measurements using High Resolution Echelle Spectrometer on Keck I and High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher in the northern hemisphere on Telescopio Nazionale Galileo, we constrained the mass of K2-291 b to M-p = 6.49 +/- 1.16 M-circle plus. We found it necessary to model correlated stellar activity radial velocity signals with a Gaussian process (GP) in order to more accurately model the effect of stellar noise on our data; the addition of the GP also improved the precision of this mass measurement. With a bulk density of rho = 8.84(-2.03)(+2.50)g cm(-3), the planet is consistent with an Earth-like rock/iron composition and no substantial gaseous envelope. Such an envelope, if it existed in the past, was likely eroded away by photoevaporation during the first billion years of the star's lifetime.

Original languageEnglish
Article number116
Number of pages10
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 13 Feb 2019


  • Planets and satellites: composition
  • Planets and satellites: detection
  • Techniques: radial velocities


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