Follow-up observations of PTFO 8-8695: A 3 MYR old T Tauri star hosting a Jupiter-mass planetary candidate


We present Spitzer 4.5 μm light curve observations, Keck NIRSPEC radial velocity observations, and LCOGT optical light curve observations of PTFO 8-8695, which may host a Jupiter-sized planet in a very short orbital period (0.45 days). Previous work by van Eyken et al. and Barnes et al. predicts that the stellar rotation axis and the planetary orbital plane should precess with a period of 300-600 days. As a consequence, the observed transits should change shape and depth, disappear, and reappear with the precession. Our observations indicate the long-term presence of the transit events ( years), and that the transits indeed do change depth, disappear and reappear. The Spitzer observations and the NIRSPEC radial velocity observations (with contemporaneous LCOGT optical light curve data) are consistent with the predicted transit times and depths for the precession model and demonstrate the disappearance of the transits. An LCOGT optical light curve shows that the transits do reappear approximately 1 year later. The observed transits occur at the times predicted by a straight-forward propagation of the transit ephemeris. The precession model correctly predicts the depth and time of the Spitzer transit and the lack of a transit at the time of the NIRSPEC radial velocity observations. However, the precession model predicts the return of the transits approximately 1 month later than observed by LCOGT. Overall, the data are suggestive that the planetary interpretation of the observed transit events may indeed be correct, but the precession model and data are currently insufficient to confirm firmly the planetary status of PTFO 8-8695b.


Physics, Astronomy, and Materials Science

Document Type





planetary systems, stars: individual (PTFO 8-8695, 2MASS J05250755+0134243, CVSO 30), stars: pre-main sequence

Publication Date


Journal Title

Astrophysical Journal