A sub-Neptune-sized planet transiting the M2.5 dwarf G 9-40: validation with the Habitable-zone Planet Finder

Gudmundur Stefansson*, Caleb Cañas, John Wisniewski, Paul Robertson, Suvrath Mahadevan, Marissa Maney, Shubham Kanodia, Corey Beard, Chad F. Bender, Peter Brunt, J. Christopher Clemens, William Cochran, Scott A. Diddams, Michael Endl, Eric B. Ford, Connor Fredrick, Samuel Halverson, Fred Hearty, Leslie Hebb, Joseph HuehnerhoffJeff Jennings, Kyle Kaplan, Eric Levi, Emily Lubar, Andrew J. Metcalf, Andrew Monson, Brett Morris, Joe P. Ninan, Colin Nitroy, Lawrence Ramsey, Arpita Roy, Christian Schwab, Steinn Sigurdsson, Ryan Terrien, Jason T. Wright

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    30 Citations (Scopus)


    We validate the discovery of a 2-Earth-radii sub-Neptune-sized planet around the nearby high-proper-motion M2.5 dwarf G 9-40 (EPIC 212048748), using high-precision, near-infrared (NIR) radial velocity (RV) observations with the Habitable-zone Planet Finder (HPF), precision diffuser-assisted ground-based photometry with a custom narrowband photometric filter, and adaptive optics imaging. At a distance of d = 27.9 pc, G 9-40b is the second-closest transiting planet discovered by K2 to date. The planet's large transit depth (∼3500 ppm), combined with the proximity and brightness of the host star at NIR wavelengths (J = 10, K = 9.2), makes G 9-40b one of the most favorable sub-Neptune-sized planets orbiting an M dwarf for transmission spectroscopy with James Webb Space Telescope, ARIEL, and the upcoming Extremely Large Telescopes. The star is relatively inactive with a rotation period of ∼29 days determined from the K2 photometry. To estimate spectroscopic stellar parameters, we describe our implementation of an empirical spectral-matching algorithm using the high-resolution NIR HPF spectra. Using this algorithm, we obtain an effective temperature of Teff = 3404 ± 73 K and metallicity of [Fe/H] = -0.08 ± 0.13. Our RVs, when coupled with the orbital parameters derived from the transit photometry, exclude planet masses above 11.7M with 99.7% confidence assuming a circular orbit. From its radius, we predict a mass of M =5.0-1.9+3.8inf>M⊕ and an RV semiamplitude of K= 4.1-1.6+3.1 m s-1, making its mass measurable with current RV facilities. We urge further RV follow-up observations to precisely measure its mass, to enable precise transmission spectroscopic measurements in the future.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number100
    Pages (from-to)1-20
    Number of pages20
    JournalAstronomical Journal
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020


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