We report results from a large Hubble Space Telescope project to observe a significant (∼34,000) ensemble of main-sequence stars in the globular cluster 47 Tucanae with a goal of defining the frequency of inner orbit, gas giant planets. Simulations based on the characteristics of the 8.3 days of time series data in the F555W and F814W Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2) filters show that ∼17 planets should be detected by photometric transit signals if the frequency of hot Jupiters found in the solar neighborhood is assumed to hold for 47 Tuc. The experiment provided high-quality data sufficient to detect planets. A full analysis of these WFPC2 data reveals ∼75 variables, but no light curves resulted for which a convincing interpretation as a planet could be made. The planet frequency in 47 Tuc is at least an order of magnitude below that for the solar neighborhood. The cause of the absence of close-in planets in 47 Tuc is not yet known; presumably the low metallicity and/or crowding of 47 Tue interfered with planet formation, with orbital evolution to close-in positions, or with planet survival.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science