TW ;Hydrae: evidence of stellar spots instead of a Hot Jupiter

Huélamo, N.; Figueira, P.; Bonfils, X.; Santos, N. C.; Pepe, F.; Gillon, M.; Azevedo, R.; Barman, T.; Fernández, M.; di Folco, E.; Guenther, E. W.; Lovis, C.; Melo, C. H. F.; Queloz, D.; Udry, S.
Astronomy and Astrophysics, Volume 489, Issue 2, 2008, pp.L9-L13


Context: TW Hya is a classical T Tauri star that shows significant radial-velocity variations in the optical regime. These variations have been attributed to a 10 M_Jup planet orbiting the star at 0.04 AU.
Aims: The aim of this letter is to confirm the presence of the giant planet around TW Hya by (i) testing whether the observed RV variations can be caused by stellar spots and (ii) analyzing new optical and infrared data to detect the signal of the planet companion.
Methods: We fitted the RV variations of TW Hya using a cool spot model. In addition, we obtained new high-resolution optical & infrared spectra, together with optical photometry of TW Hya and compared them with previous data.
Results: Our model shows that a cold spot covering 7% of the stellar surface and located at a latitude of 54° can reproduce the reported RV variations. The model also predicts a bisector semi-amplitude variation <10 m s-1, which is less than the errors of the RV measurements discussed in Setiawan et al. (2008, Nature, 451, 38). The analysis of our new optical RV data, with typical errors of 10 m s-1, shows a larger RV amplitude that varies depending on the correlation mask used. A slight correlation between the RV variation and the bisector is also observed although not at a very significant level. The infrared H-band RV curve is almost flat, showing a small variation (<35 m s-1) that is not consistent with the published optical orbit. All these results support the spot scenario rather than the presence of a hot Jupiter. Finally, the photometric data shows a 20% (peak to peak) variability, which is much larger than the 4% variation expected for the modeled cool spot. The fact that the optical data are correlated with the surface of the cross-correlation function points towards hot spots as being responsible for the photometric variability.
Conclusions: We conclude that the best explanation for the RV signal observed in TW Hya is the presence of a cool stellar spot and not an orbiting hot Jupiter.

Based on observations taken at the VLT (Paranal), under programs 280.C-5064(A) and 075.C-0202(A), and with the CORALIE spectrograph and EulerCAM both at the Euler Swiss telescope (La Silla).