Precision Astrometry of the Exoplanet Host Candidate GD 66
The potential existence of a giant planet orbiting within a few AU of a stellar remnant has profound implications for both the survival and possible regeneration of planets during post-main sequence stellar evolution. This paper reports Hubble Space Telescope Fine Guidance Sensor and U.S. Naval Observatory relative astrometry of GD 66, a white dwarf thought to harbor a giant planet between 2 and 3 AU based on stellar pulsation arrival times. Combined with existing infrared data, the precision measurements here rule out all stellar-mass and brown dwarf companions, implying that only a planet remains plausible, if orbital motion is indeed the cause of the variations in pulsation timing.
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Judging by this talk at the Planets Around Stellar Remnants conference (pdf) it looks like the timing variations for GD 66 are caused by processes intrinsic to the star, rather than by an orbiting planet: the behaviour of other frequency modes does not match what the planet hypothesis predicts.
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