Presentation #205.01 in the session Architectures 1.
It is commonly accepted that exoplanets with orbital periods shorter than 1 day, also known as ultra-short period (USP) planets, formed further out within their natal protoplanetary disk, before migrating to their current-day orbits via dynamical interactions. One of the most accepted theories suggests a violent scenario involving high-eccentricity migration followed by tidal circularization. Here, we present the discovery of a four planet system orbiting the bright (V=10.5) K6 dwarf star TOI-500.The innermost planet is a transiting, Earth-sized USP planet with an orbital period of ~13 hours, a mass of 1.42 ± 0.18 M⊕, a radius of 1.166+0.061–0.058 R⊕, and a mean density of 4.89 +1.03 –0.88 g cm–3. Via Doppler spectroscopy, we discovered that the system hosts three outer planets on nearly circular orbits with periods of 6.6, 26.2, and 61.3d and minimum masses of 5.03 ± 0.41 M⊕, 33.12 ± 0.88 M⊕, and 15.05+1.12–1.11 M⊕, respectively. The presence of both a USP planet and a low-mass object on a 6.6-day orbit indicates that the architecture of this system can be explained via a scenario in which the planets started on low-eccentricity orbits, then moved inwards through a quasi-static secular migration. Our numerical simulations show that this migration channel can bring TOI-500 b to its current location in 2 Gyrs, starting from an initial orbit of 0.02 au. TOI-500 is the first four planet system known to host a USP Earth analog whose current architecture can be explained via a non-violent migration scenario. [Accepted for publication in Nature Astronomy on 23rd February 2022]