Evolutionary Constraints on the Planet-Hosting Subgiant Epsilon Reticulum from its White Dwarf Companion
The planet-hosting and Sirius-type binary system epsilon Reticulum (HD 27442) is examined from the perspective of its more evolved white dwarf secondary. The stellar parameters are determined from a combination of Balmer line spectroscopy, gravitational redshift, and solid angle. These three methods conspire to yield the most accurate physical description of the companion to date: Teff=15,310 \pm 350 K and M=0.60 \pm 0.02 Msol. Post-main sequence mass loss indicates the current binary separation has increased by a factor of 1.6 from its primordial state when the current primary was forming its planet(s), implying a0 > 150 AU and constraining stable planets to within 15-20 AU for a binary eccentricity of e=0.5. Almost 80 years have passed since the first detection of the stellar companion, and marginal orbital motion may be apparent in the binary, suggesting a near edge-on configuration with i > 70 deg, albeit with substantial uncertainty. If correct, the mass of the planet HD 27442b is bound between 1.66 and 1.77 Mjup. A search for photospheric metals in the DA white dwarf yields no detections, and hence there is no clear signature of an extant planetary system orbiting the previously more massive secondary. However, if the white dwarf mass derived via spectral fitting is correct, its evolution could have been influenced by interactions with inner planets during the asymptotic giant branch. Based on the frequency of giant planets and circumstellar debris as a function of stellar mass, it is unlikely that the primordial primary would be void of planets, given at least one orbiting its less massive sibling.
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Well there seem to be a few discrepancies between various evolutionary models going on there. Interesting speculations on planets orbiting HD 27442B, still waiting for the first convincing case of multiple S-type planetary systems in the same multi-star system (HD 41004B isn't particularly convincing as a star+planet system).
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