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Signs of magnetic star-planet interactions in HD 118203. TESS detects stellar variability that matches the orbital period of a close-in eccentric Jupiter-sized companion

A. Castro-Gonz\'alezJ. Lillo-BoxA. C. M. Correia ...+3 E. L. Shkolnik
Jan 2024
Planetary systems with close-in giant planets can experience magnetic star-planet interactions that modify the activity levels of their host stars. The induced activity is known to strongly depend on the magnetic moment of the interacting planet. Therefore, such planet-induced activity should be more readily observable in systems with planets in eccentric orbits, since those planets are expected to rotate faster than in circular orbits. However, no evidence of magnetic interactions has been reported in eccentric systems to date. We intend to unveil a possible planet-induced activity in the bright ($V$ = 8.05 $\pm$ 0.03 mag) and slightly evolved star HD 118203, which hosts an eccentric ($e$ = 0.32 $\pm$ 0.02) and close-in ($a$ = 0.0864 $\pm$ 0.0006 au) Jupiter-sized planet. We characterized the system by modelling 56 ELODIE radial velocities and four sectors of TESS photometry. We searched for planet-induced and rotation-related activity signals within the TESS, ELODIE, and ASAS-SN public data. We studied the possible origins of the variability found, analysed its persistence and evolution, and searched for links with the eccentric orbital motion of HD 118203 b. We found evidence of an activity signal within the TESS data that matches the orbital period of HD 118203 b, which suggests the existence of magnetic star-planet interactions. We did not find, however, any additional signal that could be interpreted as the rotation of the star, so we cannot discard stellar rotation as the source of the signal found. Nevertheless, the evolved nature of the star and the orbital eccentricity make the synchronous stellar rotation very unlikely. HD 118203 represents the best evidence that magnetic star-planet interactions can be found in eccentric systems, and it opens the door to future dedicated searches that will allow us to better understand the interplay between close-in planets and their hosts.
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