Forever alone? Testing single eccentric planetary systems for multiple companions

Robert A. Wittenmyer*, Songhu Wang, Jonathan Horner, C. G. Tinney, R. P. Butler, H. R A Jones, S. J. O'Toole, J. Bailey, B. D. Carter, G. S. Salter, D. Wright, Ji Lin Zhou

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

43 Citations (Scopus)


Determining the orbital eccentricity of an extrasolar planet is critically important for understanding the system's dynamical environment and history. However, eccentricity is often poorly determined or entirely mischaracterized due to poor observational sampling, low signal-to-noise, and/or degeneracies with other planetary signals. Some systems previously thought to contain a single, moderate-eccentricity planet have been shown, after further monitoring, to host two planets on nearly circular orbits. We investigate published apparent single-planet systems to see if the available data can be better fit by two lower-eccentricity planets. We identify nine promising candidate systems and perform detailed dynamical tests to confirm the stability of the potential new multiple-planet systems. Finally, we compare the expected orbits of the single- and double-planet scenarios to better inform future observations of these interesting systems.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalAstrophysical Journal, Supplement Series
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2013


  • planetary systems
  • techniques: radial velocities

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