Speckle observations of TESS exoplanet host stars: Understanding the binary exoplanet host star orbital period distribution

Steve B. Howell, Rachel A. Matson, David R. Ciardi, Mark E. Everett, John H. Livingston, Nicholas J. Scott, Elliott P. Horch, Joshua N. Winn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


We present high-resolution speckle interferometric imaging observations of TESS exoplanet host stars using the NN-EXPLORE Exoplanet and Stellar Speckle Imager instrument at the 3.5 m WIYN telescope. Eight TESS objects of interest that were originally discovered by Kepler were previously observed using the Differential Speckle Survey Instrument. Speckle observations of 186 TESS stars were carried out, and 45 (24%) likely bound companions were detected. This is approximately the number of companions we would expect to observe given the established 46% binarity rate in exoplanet host stars. For the detected binaries, the distribution of stellar mass ratio is consistent with that of the standard Raghavan distribution and may show a decrease in high-q systems as the binary separation increases. The distribution of binary orbital periods, however, is not consistent with the standard Ragahavan model, and our observations support the premise that exoplanet-hosting stars with binary companions have, in general, wider orbital separations than field binaries. We find that exoplanet-hosting binary star systems show a distribution peaking near 100 au, higher than the 40–50 au peak that is observed for field binaries. This fact led to earlier suggestions that planet formation is suppressed in close binaries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number164
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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