A new analysis of the WASP-3 system: no evidence for an additional companion


E-mail: marco.montalto@astro.up.pt


In this work, we investigate the problem concerning the presence of additional bodies gravitationally bound with the WASP-3 system. We present eight new transits of this planet gathered between 2009 May and 2011 September by using the 30-cm telescope at the Crow Observatory-Portalegre, and analyse all the photometric and radial velocity data published so far. We did not observe significant periodicities in the Fourier spectrum of the observed minus calculated (O − C) transit timing and radial velocity diagrams (the highest peak having false-alarm probabilities of 56 and 31 per cent, respectively) or long-term trends. Combining all the available information, we conclude that the radial velocity and transit timing techniques exclude, at 99 per cent confidence limit, any perturber more massive than M ≳ 100 Mearth with periods up to 10 times the period of the inner planet. We also investigate the possible presence of an exomoon in this system and determine that considering the scatter of the O − C transit timing residuals a coplanar exomoon would likely produce detectable transits. This hypothesis is however apparently ruled out by observations conducted by other researchers. In the case where the orbit of the moon is not coplanar, the accuracy of our transit timing and transit duration measurements prevents any significant statement. Interestingly, on the basis of our reanalysis of SOPHIE data we noted that WASP-3 passed from a less active (math formula) to a more active (math formula) state during the 3 yr monitoring period spanned by the observations. Despite the fact that no clear spot crossing has been reported for this system, this analysis suggests a more intensive monitoring of the activity level of this star in order to understand its impact on photometric and radial velocity measurements.