Published February 2, 2021 | Version v1
Journal article Open

Investigating the young AU Mic system with SPIRou: stellar magnetic field and close-in planet mass

  • 1. Sub-department of Astrophysics, Department of Physics, University of Oxford
  • 2. Université de Toulouse, CNRS, IRAP, 14 av. Belin, 31400 Toulouse, France
  • 3. CNRS, IPAG, Université Grenoble Alpes, 38000 Grenoble, France
  • 4. Institut dAstrophysique de Paris, UMR7095 CNRS, Université Pierre & Marie Curie, 98bis boulevard Arago, 75014 Paris, France
  • 5. Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian, 60 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA, 02138, USA
  • 6. Institut de Recherche sur les Exoplanètes (IREx), Département de Physique, Université de Montréal, C.P. 6128, Succ. Centre-Ville, Montréal, QC, H3C 3J7,Canada
  • 7. LUPM, Université de Montpellier, CNRS, Place Eugène Bataillon, F-34095 Montpellier, France
  • 8. Department of Physics and Astronomy, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, 22030, USA
  • 9. Department of Earth Sciences, University of Hawai'i at Manoa, Honoluu, HI 96822 USA


Measuring the mean densities of close-in planets orbiting pre-main-sequence (PMS) stars is crucially needed by planet formation and evolution models. However, PMS stars exhibit intense magnetic activity inducing fluctuations in both photometric and RV curves that overshadow planet signatures. As a result, no close-in planet younger than 25 Myr has a well-constrained bulk density.

In this study, we present a spectropolarimetric and velocimetric analysis of 27 near-infrared observations of the nearby active 22 Myr-old red dwarf AU Microscopii collected with SPIRou at the end of the year 2019. We jointly model the planet and stellar activity RV components, resulting in a 3.9σσ-detection of the recently-discovered close-in Neptune-sized planet AU Mic b, with an estimated mass of 17.1+4.7−4.5−4.5+4.7 M⊕⊕, implying a Neptune-like density for the planet. A consistent detection of the planet is independently obtained by simultaneously reconstructing the surface distribution of bright and dark inhomogeneities and estimating the planet parameters using Doppler imaging (DI). Using Zeeman-Doppler Imaging, we invert our time-series of intensity and circularly-polarized line profiles into distributions of brightness and large-scale magnetic field at the surface of the star and explore how these distributions are sheared by latitudinal differential rotation. Finally, we investigate the magnetic activity of AU Mic by computing various indicators and found that the disk-integrated magnetic flux density correlates best with the stellar activity RV signal, in line with recent solar observations.


See the associated poster and punlication in MNRAS:



Files (2.5 MB)

Name Size Download all
2.5 MB Preview Download

Additional details


NewWorlds – Magnetic Fields and the Formation of New Worlds 740651
European Commission