Constraining the nature of the PDS 70 protoplanets with VLTI/GRAVITY

The GRAVITY Collaboration

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61 Scopus citations


We present K-band interferometric observations of the PDS 70 protoplanets along with their host star using VLTI/ GRAVITY. We obtained K-band spectra and 100 μas precision astrometry of both PDS 70 b and c in two epochs, as well as spatially resolving the hot inner disk around the star. Rejecting unstable orbits, we found a nonzero eccentricity for PDS 70 b of 0.17 ± 0.06, a near-circular orbit for PDS 70 c, and an orbital configuration that is consistent with the planets migrating into a 2:1 mean motion resonance. Enforcing dynamical stability, we obtained a 95% upper limit on the mass of PDS 70 b of 10 MJup, while the mass of PDS 70 c was unconstrained. The GRAVITY K-band spectra rules out pure blackbody models for the photospheres of both planets. Instead, the models with the most support from the data are planetary atmospheres that are dusty, but the nature of the dust is unclear. Any circumplanetary dust around these planets is not well constrained by the planets’ 1–5 μm spectral energy distributions (SEDs) and requires longer wavelength data to probe with SED analysis. However with VLTI/GRAVITY, we made the first observations of a circumplanetary environment with sub-astronomical-unit spatial resolution, placing an upper limit of 0.3 au on the size of a bright disk around PDS 70 b.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number148
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021. The Author(s). Published by the American Astronomical Society.


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