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The young (12+8−4 Myr) and nearby (19.44±0.05 pc) star β Pictoris is considered one of the best laboratories for the study of early phases of planetary systems formation since the identification of an extended debris disk surrounding the star in 1984. In 2009, we imaged at 3.8 μm with NaCo at VLT a gas giant planet around β Pictoris, roughly along the disk mid-plane, with a semi-major axis between 8 and 14 AU. We present here the first images of the planet in the J (1.265 μm), H (1.66 μm), and M' (4.78 μm) bands obtained between 2011 and 2012. We used these data to build the 1-5 μm spectral energy distribution (SED) of the companion, and to consolidate previous semi-major axis (8-10 AU) estimates. We compared the SED to seven atmospheric models to derive Teff = 1700 ± 100 K. We used the temperature and the luminosity of β Pictoris b to estimate new masses for the companion. We compared these masses to independent constraints set by the orbital parameters and the radial velocities and use them to discuss the formation history of the object.
Previous models of the combined growth and migration of protoplanets needed large ad hoc reduction factors for the type I migration rate as found in the isothermal approximation. In order to eliminate these factors, a simple semi-analytical model is presented that incorporates recent results on the migration of low mass planets in non-isothermal disks. It allows for outward migration. The model is used to conduct planetary populations synthesis calculations. Two points with zero torque are found in the disks. Planets migrate both in- and outward towards these convergence zones. They could be important for accelerating planetary growth by concentrating matter in one point. We also find that the updated type I migration models allow the formation of both close-in low mass planets, but also of giant planets at large semimajor axes. The problem of too rapid migration is significantly mitigated.
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