We report the first independent, second epoch (re-)detection of a directly imaged protoplanet candidate. Using L′ high-contrast imaging of HD 100546 taken with the Near-Infrared Coronagraph and Imager on Gemini South, we recover "HD 100546 b" with a position and brightness consistent with the original Very Large Telescope/NAos-COnica detection from Quanz et al., although data obtained after 2013 will be required to decisively demonstrate common proper motion. HD 100546 b may be spatially resolved, up to ≈12-13 AU in diameter, and is embedded in a finger of thermal IR-bright, polarized emission extending inward to at least 0″.3. Standard hot-start models imply a mass of ≈15 MJ. However, if HD 100546 b is newly formed or made visible by a circumplanetary disk, both of which are plausible, its mass is significantly lower (e.g., 1-7 MJ). Additionally, we discover a thermal IR-bright disk feature, possibly a spiral density wave, at roughly the same angular separation as HD 100546 b but 90° away. Our interpretation of this feature as a spiral arm is not decisive, but modeling analyses using spiral density wave theory implies a wave launching point exterior to ≈0″.45 embedded within the visible disk structure: plausibly evidence for a second, hitherto unseen, wide-separation planet.With one confirmed protoplanet candidate and evidence for one to two others, HD 100546 is an important evolutionary precursor to intermediate-mass stars with multiple super-Jovian planets at moderate/wide separations like HR 8799.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science
- Planetary systems
- Stars: early-type
- Stars: individual (HD 100546)