TW Hydrae b

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
TW Hydrae b
Exoplanet List of exoplanets
Parent star
Star TW Hydrae
Constellation Hydra
Right ascension (α) 11h 01m 52s
Declination (δ) −34° 42′ 17″
Apparent magnitude (mV) 11.72
Distance 176.245 ly
(54 ± 5 pc)
Spectral type K6 (PMS)
Mass (m) 0.8 M
Radius (r) 1.1 R
Temperature (T) 4000 K
Age 0.008 Gyr
Physical characteristics
Mass (m) 23.72[1] M
Radius (r) ~4.25 R
Temperature (T) ≥40 K (−233.2 °C; −387.7 °F)
Orbital elements
Semi-major axis (a) 22 AU
Discovery information
Discovery date First: December 2007 (disproven)
New study: September 2016
Discoverer(s) First: Setiawan et al.
New study: Atacama Large Millimeter Array
Discovery site First:  Germany
New study:  Chile
Discovery status First: Disputed
New study: Likely

TW Hydrae b is a likely extrasolar planet orbiting the young T Tauri star TW Hydrae approximately 176 light-years (54 parsecs, or nearly 1.665×1016 km) away in the constellation of Hydra. It is likely a Neptune-like planet orbiting at a distance of nearly 22 AU from its star.[1]


Mass, radius and temperature[edit]

TW Hydrae b is an ice giant, an exoplanet with a radius and mass close to that of the ice giants Neptune and Uranus. It may have an equilibrium temperature of around 40 K (−233.2 °C; −387.7 °F). It has an estimated mass of around 22.72 M (or 1.5 MNeptune) and a possible radius of 4.25 R.

Host star[edit]

The planet orbits a (K-type) T Tauri star named TW Hydrae. The star has a mass of 0.8 M and a radius of 1.1 R. It has a temperature of 4000 K and is about 9 million years old. In comparison, the Sun is 4.6 billion years old[2] and has a temperature of 5778 K.[3] It's luminosity (L) is 28% of that of the Sun.[note 1]

The star's apparent magnitude, or how bright it appears from Earth's perspective, is 11.27. Therefore, it is too dim to be seen with the naked eye.


TW Hydrae b orbits its host star at a distance of 22 AU (somewhat less than the orbital distance of Neptune from the Sun, which is about 30 AU). The orbital period is not known, although taken its similar orbital distance as Neptune, the orbital period may be around the same value.


First claims[edit]

In December 2007, a team led by Johny Setiawan of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, Germany announced discovery of a planet orbiting TW Hydrae, dubbed "TW Hydrae b" with a minimum mass around 1.2 Jupiter masses, a period of 3.56 days, and an orbital radius of 0.04 astronomical units (inside the inner rim of the protoplanetary disk). Assuming it orbited in the same plane as the outer part of the dust disk (inclination 7±1°[4]), it would have a true mass of 9.8±3.3 Jupiter masses.[4][5] However, if the inclination was similar to the inner part of the dust disk (4.3±1.0°[6]), the mass would be 16+5
Jupiter masses, making it a brown dwarf.[6] Since the star itself is so young, it was presumed this was the youngest extrasolar planet yet discovered, and essentially still in formation.[7] (only surpassed by K2-33b and V830 Tau b, both discovered nearly 9 years later).

Disproven status[edit]

In 2008 a team of Spanish researchers concluded that the planet did not exist: the radial velocity variations were not consistent when observed at different wavelengths, which would not occur if the origin of the radial velocity variations was caused by an orbiting planet. Instead, the data was better modelled by starspots on TW Hydrae's surface passing in and out of view as the star rotates. "Results support the spot scenario rather than the presence of a hot Jupiter around TW Hya".[8] Similar wavelength-dependent radial velocity variations, also caused by starspots, have been detected on other T Tauri stars.[9]

New proposal[edit]

In 2016, astronomers studying the protoplanetary disk of the star began to speculate why there was small dust grains in the gaps, including the one at 22 AU, but not large dust grains. Further investigations began to suggest that there may be a 1.5 MNeptune ice giant orbiting within the gap at 22 AU, which would be responsible for the observed gaps.

The study was then published in the online journal archive arXiv on September 1, 2016, gaining wide interest from media outlets.[1]


  1. ^ From , where is the luminosity, is the radius, is the effective surface temperature and is the Stefan–Boltzmann constant.


  1. ^ a b c Tsukagoshi, Takashi; Nomura, Hideko; Muto, Takayuki; Kawabe, Ryohei; Ishimoto, Daiki; Kanagawa, Kazuhiro D.; Okuzumi, Satoshi; Ida, Shigeru; Walsh, Catherine; Millar, Tom J. (2016). "A Gap with a Deficit of Large Grains in the protoplanetary disk around TW Hya". arXiv:1605.00289Freely accessible [astro-ph.SR]. 
  2. ^ Fraser Cain (16 September 2008). "How Old is the Sun?". Universe Today. Retrieved 19 February 2011. 
  3. ^ Fraser Cain (15 September 2008). "Temperature of the Sun". Universe Today. Retrieved 19 February 2011. 
  4. ^ a b Setiawan, J.; Henning, Th.; Launhardt, R.; Müller, A.; Weise, P.; Kürster, M. (3 January 2008). "A young massive planet in a star–disk system". Nature. 451 (7174): 38–41. Bibcode:2008Natur.451...38S. doi:10.1038/nature06426. PMID 18172492. 
  5. ^ McKee, Maggie (2 January 2008). "First planet discovered around a youthful star". news service. Retrieved 2008-01-02. 
  6. ^ a b Pontoppidan, Klaus M.; et al. (2008). "Spectro-astrometric imaging of molecular gas within protoplanetary disk gaps". The Astrophysical Journal. 684 (2): 1323–1329. arXiv:0805.3314Freely accessible. Bibcode:2008ApJ...684.1323P. doi:10.1086/590400. 
  7. ^ "A young extrasolar planet in its cosmic nursery: Astronomers from Heidelberg discover planet in a dusty disk around a newborn star". Max Planck Institute for Astronomy. 2008-01-02. Retrieved 2008-01-03. 
  8. ^ Huelamo, N.; et al. (2008). "TW Hydrae: evidence of stellar spots instead of a Hot Jupiter". Astronomy and Astrophysics. 489 (2): L9–L13. arXiv:0808.2386Freely accessible. Bibcode:2008A&A...489L...9H. doi:10.1051/0004-6361:200810596. 
  9. ^ Prato, L.; et al. (2008). "A Young Planet Search in Visible and IR Light: DN Tau, V836 Tau, and V827 Tau". The Astrophysical Journal. 687 (2): L103–L106. arXiv:0809.3599Freely accessible. Bibcode:2008ApJ...687L.103P. doi:10.1086/593201. 

Coordinates: Sky map 11h 01m 52s, −34° 42′ 17″