HARPS-N radial velocities confirm the low densities of the Kepler-9 planets

L. Borsato, L. Malavolta, G. Piotto, L. A. Buchhave, A. Mortier, K. Rice, A. C. Cameron, A. Coffinet, A. Sozzetti, D. Charbonneau, R. Cosentino, X. Dumusque, P. Figueira, D. W. Latham, M. Lopez-Morales, M. Mayor, G. Micela, E. Molinari, F. Pepe, D. PhillipsE. Poretti, S. Udry, C. Watson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We investigated the discrepancy between planetary mass determination using the transit timing variations (TTVs) and radial velocities (RVs), by analysing the multi-planet system Kepler-9. Despite being the first system characterised with TTVs, there are several discrepant solutions in the literature, with those reporting lower planetary densities being apparently in disagreement with high-precision RV observations. To resolve this, we gathered HARPS-N RVs at epochs that maximised the difference between the predicted RV curves from discrepant solutions in the literature. We also re-analysed the full Kepler data-set and performed a dynamical fit, within a Bayesian framework, using the newly derived central and duration times of the transits. We compared these results with the RV data and found that our solution better describes the RV observations, despite the masses of the planets being nearly half that presented in the discovery paper. We therefore confirm that the TTV method can provide mass determinations that agree with those determined using high-precision RVs. The low densities of the planets place them in the scarcely populated region of the super-Neptunes / inflated sub-Saturns in the mass-radius diagram.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages11
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jan 2019


  • astro-ph.EP


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