This paper presents newobservations of the planet-hosting, visual binary GJ 86 (HR637) using the Hubble Space Telescope. Ultraviolet and optical imaging with WFC3 confirms the stellar companion is a degenerate star and indicates the binary semimajor axis is larger than previous estimates, with a ≥ 28 au. Optical STIS spectroscopy of the secondary reveals a helium-rich white dwarf with C2 absorption bands and Teff = 8180 K, thus making the binary system rather similar to Procyon. Based on the 10.8 pc distance, the companion has 0.59M and descended from a main-sequence A star of 1.9M with an original orbital separation a ≥ 14 au. If the giant planet is coplanar with the binary, the mass of GJ 86Ab is between 4.4 and 4.7MJup. The similarity of GJ 86 and Procyon prompted a re-analysis of the white dwarf in the latter system, with the tentative conclusion that Procyon hosts a planetesimal population. The periastron distance in Procyon is 20 per cent smaller than in α Cen AB, but the metal-enriched atmosphere of Procyon B indicates that the planet formation process minimally attained 25 km bodies, if not small planets as in α Cen.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science