Reliability of orbital fits for resonant extrasolar planetary systems: the case of HD82943




We perform a statistical study of the process of orbital determination of the HD82943 extrasolar planetary system, using the current observational data set of N= 165 radial velocity (RV) measurements. Our aim is to analyse the dispersion of possible orbital fits leading to residuals compatible with the best solution, and to discuss the sensitivity of the results with respect to both the data set and the error distribution around the best fit. Although some orbital parameters (e.g. semimajor axis) appear well constrained, we show that the best fits for the HD82943 system are not robust, and at present it is not possible to estimate reliable solutions for these bodies. Finally, we discuss the possibility of a third planet, with a mass of 0.35MJup and an orbital period of 900 d. Stability analysis and simulations of planetary migration indicate that such a hypothetical three-planet system could be locked in a double 2/1 mean-motion resonance, similar to the so-called Laplace resonance of the three inner Galilean satellites of Jupiter.