Radial velocity studies of cool stars

H.R.A. Jones, J.R. Barnes, Mikko Tuomi, James S. Jenkins, Guillem Anglada-Escude

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review

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Our current view of exoplanets is one derived primarily from solar-like stars with a strong focus on understanding our Solar System. Our knowledge about the properties of exoplanets around the dominant stellar population by number, the so called low-mass stars or M dwarfs, is much more cursory. Based on radial velocity discoveries, we find that the semi-major axis distribution of M dwarf planets appears to be broadly similar to those around more massive stars and thus formation and migration processes might be similar to heavier stars. However, we find that the mass of M dwarf planets is relatively much lower than the expected mass dependency based on stellar mass and thus infer that planet formation efficiency around low-mass stars is relatively impaired. We consider techniques to overcome the practical issue of obtaining good quality radial velocity data for M dwarfs despite their faintness and sustained activity and emphasize (i) the wavelength sensitivity of radial velocity signals, (ii) the combination of radial velocity data from different experiments for robust detection of small amplitude signals, and (iii) the selection of targets and radial velocity interpretation of late-type M dwarfs should consider H alpha behaviour.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20130088
Number of pages11
JournalPhilosophical transactions of the royal society a-Mathematical physical and engineering sciences
Issue number2014
Early online date24 Mar 2014
Publication statusPublished - 28 Apr 2014


  • M dwarfs
  • radial velocities
  • exoplanets


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