We revisit the null result of the Hubble Space Telescope search for transiting planets in the globular cluster 47 Tucanae, in the light of improved knowledge of planet occurrence from the Kepler mission. Gilliland and co-workers expected to find 17 planets, assuming the 47 Tuc stars have close-in giant planets with the same characteristics and occurrence rates as those of the nearby stars that had been surveyed up until 1999. We update this result by assuming that 47 Tuc and Kepler stars have identical planet populations. The revised number of expected detections is 4.0+1.7 -1.4. When we restrict the Kepler stars to the same range of masses as the stars that were searched in 47 Tuc, the number of expected detections is reduced to 2.2+1.61.1. Thus, the null result of the HST search is less statistically significant than it originally seemed. We cannot reject even the extreme hypothesis that 47 Tuc and Kepler stars have the same planet populations, with more than 2-3σ significance. More sensitive searches are needed to allow for comparisons between the planet populations of globular clusters and field stars.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science
- globular clusters: individual (NGC 104, 47 Tucanae)
- planets and satellites: detection
- techniques: photometric