A Cold Neptune-Mass Planet OGLE-2007-BLG-368Lb: Cold Neptunes Are Common

Astronomy and Astrophysics – Astrophysics – Earth and Planetary Astrophysics

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39 pages, 10 figures, accepted for publication in ApJ

Scientific paper

We present the discovery of a Neptune-mass planet OGLE-2007-BLG-368Lb with a planet-star mass ratio of q=[9.5 +/- 2.1] x 10^{-5} via gravitational microlensing. The planetary deviation was detected in real-time thanks to the high cadence of the MOA survey, real-time light curve monitoring and intensive follow-up observations. A Bayesian analysis returns the stellar mass and distance at M_l = 0.64_{-0.26}^{+0.21} M_\sun and D_l = 5.9_{-1.4}^{+0.9} kpc, respectively, so the mass and separation of the planet are M_p = 20_{-8}^{+7} M_\oplus and a = 3.3_{-0.8}^{+1.4} AU, respectively. This discovery adds another cold Neptune-mass planet to the planetary sample discovered by microlensing, which now comprise four cold Neptune/Super-Earths, five gas giant planets, and another sub-Saturn mass planet whose nature is unclear. The discovery of these ten cold exoplanets by the microlensing method implies that the mass ratio function of cold exoplanets scales as dN_{\rm pl}/d\log q \propto q^{-0.7 +/- 0.2} with a 95% confidence level upper limit of n < -0.35 (where dN_{\rm pl}/d\log q \propto q^n). As microlensing is most sensitive to planets beyond the snow-line, this implies that Neptune-mass planets are at least three times more common than Jupiters in this region at the 95% confidence level.

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