Photometric follow-up of the 20 Myr old multi-planet host star V1298 Tau with CHEOPS and ground-based telescopes

Damasso, M.; Scandariato, G.; Nascimbeni, V.; Nardiello, D.; Mancini, L.; Marino, G.; Bruno, G.; Brandeker, A.; Leto, G.; Marzari, F.; Lanza, A. F.; Benatti, S.; Desidera, S.; Béjar, V. J. S.; Biagini, A.; Borsato, L.; Cabona, L.; Claudi, R.; Lodieu, N.; Maggio, A.; Mallorquín, M.; Messina, S.; Micela, G.; Ricci, D.; Sozzetti, A.; Suárez Mascareño, A.; Turrini, D.; Zapatero Osorio, M. R.
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Astronomy and Astrophysics

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Context. The 20 Myr old star V1298 Tau hosts at least four planets. Since its discovery, this system has been a target of intensive photometric and spectroscopic monitoring. To date, the characterisation of its architecture and planets' fundamental properties has been very challenging.
Aims: The determination of the orbital ephemeris of the outermost planet V1298 Tau e remains an open question. Only two transits have been detected so far by Kepler/K2 and TESS, allowing for a grid of reference periods to be tested with new observations, without excluding the possibility of transit timing variations. Observing a third transit would allow for better constraints to be set on the orbital period and would also help in determining an accurate radius for V1298 Tau e because the previous transits showed different depths.
Methods: We observed V1298 Tau with the CHaracterising ExOPlanet Satellite (CHEOPS) to search for a third transit of planet e within observing windows selected to test three of the shortest predicted orbital periods. We also collected ground-based observations to verify the result found with CHEOPS. We reanalysed Kepler/K2 and TESS light curves to test how the results derived from these data are affected by alternative photometric extraction and detrending methods.
Results: We report the CHEOPS detection of a transit-like signal that could be attributed to V1298 Tau e. If so, that result would imply that the orbital period calculated from fitting a linear ephemeris to the three available transits is close to ~45 days. Results from the ground-based follow-up marginally support this possibility. We found that i) the transit observed by CHEOPS has a longer duration compared to that of the transits observed by Kepler/K2 and TESS; and ii) the transit observed by TESS is >30% deeper than that of Kepler/K2 and CHEOPS, and it is also deeper than the measurement previously reported in the literature, according to our reanalysis.
Conclusions: If the new transit detected by CHEOPS is found to be due to V1298 Tau e, this would imply that the planet experiences TTVs of a few hours, as deduced from three transits, as well as orbital precession, which would explain the longer duration of the transit compared to the Kepler/K2 and TESS signals. Another and a priori less likely possibility is that the newly detected transit belongs to a fifth planet with a longer orbital period than that of V1298 Tau e. Planning further photometric follow-up to search for additional transits is indeed necessary to solve the conundrum, as well as to pin down the radius of V1298 Tau e.
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