Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Detecting Exoplanets in S Type Systems Around Eclipsing Binary Stars

How eclipse time variations, eclipse duration variations and radial velocities can reveal S-type planets in close eclipsing binaries 

Authors:


Oshagh et al

Abstract:

While about a dozen transiting planets have been found in wide orbits around an inner, close stellar binary (so-called P-type planets), no planet has yet been detected orbiting only one star (a so-called S-type planet) in an eclipsing binary. This is despite a large number of eclipsing binary systems discovered with the Kepler telescope. Here we propose a new detection method for these S-type planets, which uses a correlation between the stellar radial velocities (RVs), eclipse timing variations (ETVs) and eclipse duration variations (EDVs). We test the capability of this technique by simulating a realistic benchmark system and demonstrate its detectability with existing high-accuracy RV and photometry instruments. We illustrate that with a small number of RV observations, the RV–ETV diagrams allows us to distinguish between prograde and retrograde planetary orbits and also the planetary mass can be estimated if the stellar cross-correlation functions can be disentangled. We also identify a new (though minimal) contribution of S-type planets to the Rossiter–McLaughlin effect in eclipsing stellar binaries. We finally explore possible detection of exomoons around transiting luminous giant planets and find that the precision required to detect moons in the RV curves of their host planets is of the order of cm s−1 and therefore not accessible with current instruments.

Dynamics and Collisional Evolution of Closely Packed Planetary Systems

Dynamics and Collisional Evolution of Closely Packed Planetary Systems


Authors:


Hwang et al

Abstract:
High-multiplicity Kepler systems (referred to as Kepler multis) are often tightly packed and may be on the verge of instability. Many systems of this type could have experienced past instabilities, where the compact orbits and often low densities make physical collisions likely outcomes. We use numerical simulations to study the dynamical instabilities and planet-planet interactions in a synthetically generated sample of closely-packed, high-multiplicity systems. We focus specifically on systems resembling Kepler-11, a Kepler multi with six planets, and run a suite of dynamical integrations, sampling the initial orbital parameters around the nominal values reported in Lissauer et al. (2011a), finding that most of the realizations are unstable, resulting in orbit crossings and, eventually, collisions and mergers. We study in detail the dependence of stability on the orbital parameters of the planets and planet-pair characteristics to identify possible precursors to instability, compare the systems that emerge from dynamical instabilities to the observed Kepler sample (after applying observational corrections), and propose possible observable signatures of these instabilities. We examine the characteristics of each planet-planet collision, categorizing collisions by the degree of contact and collision energy, and find that grazing collisions are more common than direct impacts. Since the structure of many planets found in Kepler multis is such that the mass is dominated by a rocky core, but the volume is dominated by a low-density gaseous envelope, the sticky-sphere approximation may not be valid, and we present hydrodynamic calculations of planet-planet collisions clearly deviating from this approximation. Finally, we rerun a subset of our dynamical calculations using instead a modified prescription to handle collisions, finding, in general, higher multiplicity remnant systems.

Exoplanet Predictions Based on Harmonic Orbit Resonances

Exoplanet Predictions Based on Harmonic Orbit Resonances

Authors:


Aschenwanden et al

Abstract:
The current exoplanet database includes 5454 confirmed planets and candidate planets observed with the KEPLER mission. We find 932 planet pairs from which we extract distance and orbital period ratios. While earlier studies used the Titius-Bode law or a generalized version with logarithmic spacing, which both lack a physical model, we employ here the theory of harmonic orbit resonances, which contains quantized ratios instead, to explain the observed planet distance ratios and to predict undetected exoplanets. We find that the most prevailing harmonic ratios are (2:1), (3:2), and (5:3), in 73\% of the cases, while alternative harmonic ratios of (5:4), (4:3), (5:2), (3:1) occur in 27\% of the other cases. Our orbital predictions includes 171 exoplanets, 2 Jupiter moons, one Saturn moon, 3 Uranus moons, and 4 Neptune moons. The accuracy of the predicted planet distances amounts to a few percent, which fits the data significantly better than the Titius-Bode law or a logarithmic spacing. This information may be useful for targeted exoplanet searches with Kepler data and to estimate the number of live-carrying planets in habitable zones.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Where's the Flux? The Official Page of the Investigations into Tabby's

There is an official Website for the investigations into Tabby's Star, the mysteriously fading star.

Stable habitable zones of single Jovian planet systems

Stable habitable zones of single Jovian planet systems

Authors:


Agnew et al

Abstract:

With continued improvement in telescope sensitivity and observational techniques, the search for rocky planets in stellar habitable zones is entering an exciting era. With so many exoplanetary systems available for follow-up observations to find potentially habitable planets, one needs to prioritise the ever-growing list of candidates. We aim to determine which of the known planetary systems are dynamically capable of hosting rocky planets in their habitable zones, with the goal of helping to focus future planet search programs. We perform an extensive suite of numerical simulations to identify regions in the habitable zones of single Jovian planet systems where Earth mass planets could maintain stable orbits, specifically focusing on the systems in the Catalog of Earth-like Exoplanet Survey Targets (CELESTA). We find that small, Earth-mass planets can maintain stable orbits in cases where the habitable zone is largely, or partially, unperturbed by a nearby Jovian, and that mutual gravitational interactions and resonant mechanisms are capable of producing stable orbits even in habitable zones that are significantly or completely disrupted by a Jovian. Our results yield a list of 13 single Jovian planet systems in CELESTA that are not only capable of supporting an Earth-mass planet on stable orbits in their habitable zone, but for which we are also able to constrain the orbits of the Earth-mass planet such that the induced radial velocity signals would be detectable with next generation instruments.

The O2 A-Band in the Fluxes and Polarization of Starlight Reflected by Earth-Like Exoplanets

The O2 A-Band in the Fluxes and Polarization of Starlight Reflected by Earth-Like Exoplanets


Authors:


Fauchez et al

Abstract:

Earth-like, potentially habitable exoplanets are prime targets in the search for extraterrestrial life. Information about their atmospheres and surfaces can be derived by analyzing the light of the parent star reflected by the planet. We investigate the influence of the surface albedo A s, the optical thickness b cloud, the altitude of water clouds, and the mixing ratio of biosignature O2 on the strength of the O2 A-band (around 760 nm) in the flux and polarization spectra of starlight reflected by Earth-like exoplanets. Our computations for horizontally homogeneous planets show that small mixing ratios (η < 0.4) will yield moderately deep bands in flux and moderate-to-small band strengths in polarization, and that clouds will usually decrease the band depth in flux and the band strength in polarization. However, cloud influence will be strongly dependent on properties such as optical thickness, top altitude, particle phase, coverage fraction, and horizontal distribution. Depending on the surface albedo and cloud properties, different O2 mixing ratios η can give similar absorption-band depths in flux and band strengths in polarization, especially if the clouds have moderate-to-high optical thicknesses. Measuring both the flux and the polarization is essential to reduce the degeneracies, although it will not solve them, especially not for horizontally inhomogeneous planets. Observations at a wide range of phase angles and with a high temporal resolution could help to derive cloud properties and, once those are known, the mixing ratio of O2 or any other absorbing gas.

Geophysical tests for habitability in ice-covered ocean worlds

Geophysical tests for habitability in ice-covered ocean worlds

Authors:

Vance et al

Abstract:
Geophysical measurements can reveal the structure of icy ocean worlds and cycling of volatiles. The associated density, temperature, sound speed, and electrical conductivity of such worlds thus characterizes their habitability. To explore the variability and correlation of these parameters, and to provide tools for planning and data analyses, we develop 1-D calculations of internal structure, which use available constraints on the thermodynamics of aqueous MgSO4, NaCl (as seawater), and NH3, water ices, and silicate content. Limits in available thermodynamic data narrow the parameter space that can be explored: insufficient coverage in pressure, temperature, and composition for end-member salinities of MgSO4 and NaCl, and for relevant water ices; and a dearth of suitable data for aqueous mixtures of Na-Mg-Cl-SO4-NH3. For Europa, ocean compositions that are oxidized and dominated by MgSO4, vs reduced (NaCl), illustrate these gaps, but also show the potential for diagnostic and measurable combinations of geophysical parameters. The low-density rocky core of Enceladus may comprise hydrated minerals, or anydrous minerals with high porosity comparable to Earth's upper mantle. Titan's ocean must be dense, but not necessarily saline, as previously noted, and may have little or no high-pressure ice at its base. Ganymede's silicious interior is deepest among all known ocean worlds, and may contain multiple phases of high-pressure ice, which will become buoyant if the ocean is sufficiently salty. Callisto's likely near-eutectic ocean cannot be adequately modeled using available data. Callisto may also lack high-pressure ices, but this cannot be confirmed due to uncertainty in its moment of inertia.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

An ALMA Survey of CO isotopologue emission from Protoplanetary Disks in Chamaeleon I

An ALMA Survey of CO isotopologue emission from Protoplanetary Disks in Chamaeleon I

Authors:


Long et al

Abstract:

The mass of a protoplanetary disk limits the formation and future growth of any planet. Masses of protoplanetary disks are usually calculated from measurements of the dust continuum emission by assuming an interstellar gas-to-dust ratio. To investigate the utility of CO as an alternate probe of disk mass, we use ALMA to survey 13CO and C18O J = 3−2 line emission from a sample of 93 protoplanetary disks around stars and brown dwarfs with masses from 0.03 -- 2 M⊙ in the nearby Chamaeleon I star-forming region. We detect 13CO emission from 17 sources and C18O from only one source. Gas masses for disks are then estimated by comparing the CO line luminosities to results from published disk models that include CO freeze-out and isotope-selective photodissociation. Under the assumption of a typical ISM CO-to-H2 ratios of 10−4, the resulting gas masses are implausibly low, with an average gas mass of ∼ 0.05 MJup as inferred from the average flux of stacked 13CO lines. The low gas masses and gas-to-dust ratios for Cha I disks are both consistent with similar results from disks in the Lupus star-forming region. The faint CO line emission may instead be explained if disks have much higher gas masses, but freeze-out of CO or complex C-bearing molecules is underestimated in disk models. The conversion of CO flux to CO gas mass also suffers from uncertainties in disk structures, which could affect gas temperatures. CO emission lines will only be a good tracer of the disk mass when models for C and CO depletion are confirmed to be accurate.

Radially resolved simulations of collapsing pebble clouds in protoplanetary discs

Radially resolved simulations of collapsing pebble clouds in protoplanetary discs


Authors:


Jansson et al

Abstract:

We study the collapse of pebble clouds with a statistical model to find the internal structure of comet-sized planetesimals. Pebble-pebble collisions occur during the collapse and the outcome of these collisions affect the resulting structure of the planetesimal. We expand our previous models by allowing the individual pebble sub-clouds to contract at different rates and by including the effect of gas drag on the contraction speed and in energy dissipation. Our results yield comets that are porous pebble-piles with particle sizes varying with depth. In the surface layers there is a mixture of primordial pebbles and pebble fragments. The interior, on the other hand, consists only of primordial pebbles with a narrower size distribution, yielding higher porosity there. Our results imply that the gas in the protoplanetary disc plays an important role in determining the radial distribution of pebble sizes and porosity inside planetesimals.

1.3-mm ALMA observations of the Fomalhaut debris system

1.3-mm ALMA observations of the Fomalhaut debris system

Authors:


White et al

Abstract:
We present Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) Band 6 observations (1.3 mm/233 GHz) of Fomalhaut and its debris disc. The observations achieve a sensitivity of 17 μJy and a resolution of 0.28 arcsec (2.1 au at a distance of 7.66 pc), which are the highest resolution observations to date of the millimetre grains in Fomalhaut's main debris ring. The ring is tightly constrained to 139+2−3/139−3+2 au with a full width at half-maximum of 13 ± 3 au, following a Gaussian profile. The millimetre spectral index is constrained to αmm = −2.73 ± 0.13. We explore fitting debris disc models in the image plane, as well as fitting models using visibility data directly. The results are compared and the potential advantages/disadvantages of each approach are discussed. The detected central emission is indistinguishable from a point source, with a most probable flux of 0.90 ± 0.12 mJy (including calibration uncertainties). This implies that any inner debris structure, as was inferred from far-infrared observations, must contribute little to the total central emission. Moreover, the stellar flux is less than 70 per cent of that predicted by extrapolating a blackbody from the constrained stellar photosphere temperature. This result emphasizes that unresolved inner debris components cannot be fully characterized until the behaviour of the host star's intrinsic stellar emission at millimetre wavelengths is properly understood.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

The Planetary Accretion Shock: I. Framework for Radiation-hydrodynamical Simulations and First Results

The Planetary Accretion Shock: I. Framework for Radiation-hydrodynamical Simulations and First Results

Authors:


Marleau et al

Abstract:
The key aspect determining the post-formation luminosity of gas giants has long been considered to be the energetics of the accretion shock at the planetary surface. We use 1D radiation-hydrodynamical simulations to study the radiative loss efficiency and to obtain post-shock temperatures and pressures and thus entropies. The efficiency is defined as the fraction of the total incoming energy flux which escapes the system (roughly the Hill sphere), taking into account the energy recycling which occurs ahead of the shock in a radiative precursor. We focus here on a constant equation of state to isolate the shock physics but use constant and tabulated opacities. While robust quantitative results will require a self-consistent treatment including hydrogen dissocation and ionization, the results show the correct qualitative behavior and can be understood semi-analytically. The shock is found to be isothermal and supercritical for a range of conditions relevant to core accretion (CA), with Mach numbers greater than ca. 3. Across the shock, the entropy decreases significantly, by a few entropy units (k_B/baryon). While nearly 100 percent of the incoming kinetic energy is converted to radiation locally, the efficiencies are found to be as low as roughly 40 percent, implying that a meaningful fraction of the total accretion energy is brought into the planet. For realistic parameter combinations in the CA scenario, a non-zero fraction of the luminosity always escapes the system. This luminosity could explain, at least in part, recent observations in the LkCa 15 and HD 100546 systems.

Self-induced dust traps: overcoming planet formation barriers

Self-induced dust traps: overcoming planet formation barriers

Authors:


Gonzalez et al

Abstract:
Planet formation is thought to occur in discs around young stars by the aggregation of small dust grains into much larger objects. The growth from grains to pebbles and from planetesimals to planets is now fairly well understood. The intermediate stage has however been found to be hindered by the radial-drift and fragmentation barriers. We identify a powerful mechanism in which dust overcomes both barriers. Its key ingredients are (i) backreaction from the dust on to the gas, (ii) grain growth and fragmentation and (iii) large-scale gradients. The pile-up of growing and fragmenting grains modifies the gas structure on large scales and triggers the formation of pressure maxima, in which particles are trapped. We show that these self-induced dust traps are robust: they develop for a wide range of disc structures, fragmentation thresholds and initial dust-to-gas ratios. They are favoured locations for pebbles to grow into planetesimals, thus opening new paths towards the formation of planets.

GAPS IN PROTOPLANETARY DISKS AS SIGNATURES OF PLANETS. III. POLARIZATION

GAPS IN PROTOPLANETARY DISKS AS SIGNATURES OF PLANETS. III. POLARIZATION

Author:


Jang-Condell

Abstract:

Polarimetric observations of T Tauri and Herbig Ae/Be stars are a powerful way to image protoplanetary disks. However, interpretation of these images is difficult because the degree of polarization is highly sensitive to the angle of scattering of stellar light off the disk surface. We examine how disks with and without gaps created by planets appear in scattered polarized light as a function of inclination angle. Isophotes of inclined disks without gaps are distorted in polarized light, giving the appearance that the disks are more eccentric or more highly inclined than they truly are. Apparent gap locations are unaffected by polarization, but the gap contrast changes. In face-on disks with gaps, we find that the brightened far edge of the gap scatters less polarized light than the rest of the disk, resulting in slightly decreased contrast between the gap trough and the brightened far edge. In inclined disks, gaps can take on the appearance of being localized "holes" in brightness rather than full axisymmetric structures. Photocenter offsets along the minor axis of the disk in both total intensity and polarized intensity images can be readily explained by the finite thickness of the disk. Alone, polarized scattered light images of disks do not necessarily reveal intrinsic disk structure. However, when combined with total intensity images, the orientation of the disk can be deduced and much can be learned about disk structure and dust properties.

Friday, September 15, 2017

SCExAO AND GPI Y JH BAND PHOTOMETRY AND INTEGRAL FIELD SPECTROSCOPY OF THE YOUNG BROWN DWARF COMPANION TO HD 1160

SCExAO AND GPI Y JH BAND PHOTOMETRY AND INTEGRAL FIELD SPECTROSCOPY OF THE YOUNG BROWN DWARF COMPANION TO HD 1160

Authors:


Garcia et al

Abstract:
We present high signal-to-noise ratio, precise Y JH photometry and Y band (0.957–1.120 μm) spectroscopy of HD 1160 B, a young substellar companion discovered from the Gemini NICI Planet Finding Campaign using the Subaru Coronagraphic Extreme Adaptive Optics instrument and the Gemini Planet Imager. HD 1160 B has typical mid-M dwarf-like infrared colors and a spectral type of M5.5${}_{-0.5}^{+1.0}$, where the blue edge of our Y band spectrum rules out earlier spectral types. Atmospheric modeling suggests HD 1160 B has an effective temperature of 3000–3100 K, a surface gravity of log g = 4–4.5, a radius of 1.55 ± 0.10 R J, and a luminosity of log L/L ⊙ = −2.76 ± 0.05. Neither the primary's Hertzspring–Russell diagram position nor atmospheric modeling of HD 1160 B show evidence for a subsolar metallicity. Interpretation of the HD 1160 B spectroscopy depends on which stellar system components are used to estimate the age. Considering HD 1160 A, B and C jointly, we derive an age of 80–125 Myr, implying that HD 1160 B straddles the hydrogen-burning limit (70–90 M J). If we consider HD 1160 A alone, younger ages (20–125 Myr) and a brown dwarf-like mass (35–90 M J) are possible. Interferometric measurements of the primary, a precise Gaia parallax, and moderate-resolution spectroscopy can better constrain the system's age and how HD 1160 B fits within the context of (sub)stellar evolution.

2MASS 0213+3648 C: A wide T3 benchmark companion to an an active, old M dwarf binary

2MASS 0213+3648 C: A wide T3 benchmark companion to an an active, old M dwarf binary

Authors:


Deacon et al

Abstract:

We present the discovery of a 360 AU separation T3 companion to the tight (3.1 AU) M4.5+M6.5 binary 2MASS J02132062+3648506. This companion was identified using Pan-STARRS1 data and, despite its relative proximity to the Sun (22.2+6.4−4.0 pc; Pan-STARRS1 parallax) and brightness (J=15.3), appears to have been missed by previous studies due to its position near a diffraction spike in 2MASS. The close M~dwarf binary has active X-ray and Hα emission and shows evidence for UV flares. The binary's weak {\it GALEX} UV emission and strong Na I 8200\AA Na absorption leads us to an age range of ∼1-10Gyr. Applying this age range to evolutionary models implies the wide companion has a mass of 0.063±0.009\,M⊙. 2MASS J0213+3648 C provides a relatively old benchmark close to the L/T transition and acts as a key, older comparison to the much younger early-T companions HN~Peg~B and GU~Psc~b.

Physical properties and astrometry of radio-emitting brown dwarf TVLM513-46546 revisited

Physical properties and astrometry of radio-emitting brown dwarf TVLM513-46546 revisited


Authors:


Gawroński et al

Abstract:
We present multi-epoch astrometric observations of the M9 ultracool dwarf TVLM513-46546 that is placed at the brown dwarf boundary. The new observations have been performed with the European Very Large Baseline Interferometry Network at 6 cm band. The target has been detected at seven epochs spanning three years, with measured quiescent emission flux in the range 180–300 μJy. We identified four short-duration flaring events (0.5–2 mJy) with very high circular polarization (∼75 per cent–100 per cent). Properties of the observed radio flares support the physical model of the source that is characterized by the electron cyclotron maser instability responsible for outbursts of radio emission. Combined with Very Long Baseline Array earlier data, our detections make it possible to refine the absolute parallax π=93.27+0.18−0.17/π=93.27−0.17+0.18 mas. Our measurements rule out TVLM513-46546 companions more massive than Jupiter in orbits with periods longer than ∼1 yr.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Possible formation pathways for the low density Neptune-mass planet HAT-P-26b

Possible formation pathways for the low density Neptune-mass planet HAT-P-26b

Authors:


Ali-Dib et al

Abstract:
We investigate possible pathways for the formation of the low density Neptune-mass planet HAT-P-26b. We use two formation different models based on pebbles and planetesimals accretion, and includes gas accretion, disk migration and simple photoevaporation. The models tracks the oxygen abundance and the properties of the forming planets, that we compare to HAT-P-26b. We find that pebbles accretion can explain this planet more naturally than planetesimals accretion that fails completely unless we artificially enhance the disk metallicity significantly. Pebble accretion models can reproduce HAT-P-26b with either a high initial core mass and low amount of core erosion, or the opposite, with both scenarios being equally plausible. Degeneracy between the formation time and location of the planet implies that more observables are needed to constraint its formation.

HAT-P-26b: A Neptune-Mass Exoplanet with a Well Constrained Heavy Element Abundance

HAT-P-26b: A Neptune-Mass Exoplanet with a Well Constrained Heavy Element Abundance

Authors:


Wakeford et al

Abstract:


A correlation between giant-planet mass and atmospheric heavy elemental abundance was first noted in the past century from observations of planets in our own Solar System, and has served as a cornerstone of planet formation theory. Using data from the Hubble and Spitzer Space Telescopes from 0.5 to 5 microns, we conducted a detailed atmospheric study of the transiting Neptune-mass exoplanet HAT-P-26b. We detected prominent H2O absorption bands with a maximum base-to-peak amplitude of 525ppm in the transmission spectrum. Using the water abundance as a proxy for metallicity, we measured HAT-P-26b's atmospheric heavy element content [4.8 (-4.0 +21.5) times solar]. This likely indicates that HAT-P-26b's atmosphere is primordial and obtained its gaseous envelope late in its disk lifetime, with little contamination from metal-rich planetesimals.

On Signatures of Clouds in Exoplanetary Transit Spectra

On Signatures of Clouds in Exoplanetary Transit Spectra

Authors:


Pinhas et al

Abstract:

Transmission spectra of exoplanetary atmospheres have been used to infer the presence of clouds/hazes. Such inferences are typically based on spectral slopes in the optical deviant from gaseous Rayleigh scattering or low-amplitude spectral features in the infrared. We investigate three observable metrics that could allow constraints on cloud properties from transmission spectra, namely, the optical slope, the uniformity of this slope, and condensate features in the infrared. We derive these metrics using model transmission spectra considering Mie extinction from a wide range of condensate species, particle sizes, and scale heights. Firstly, we investigate possible degeneracies among the cloud properties for an observed slope. We find, for example, that spectra with very steep optical slopes suggest sulphide clouds (e.g. MnS, ZnS, Na2S) in the atmospheres. Secondly, (non)uniformities in optical slopes provide additional constraints on cloud properties, e.g., MnS, ZnS, TiO2, and Fe2O3 have significantly non-uniform slopes. Thirdly, infrared spectra provide an additional powerful probe into cloud properties, with SiO2, Fe2O3, Mg2SiO4, and MgSiO3 bearing strong infrared features observable with JWST. We investigate observed spectra of eight hot Jupiters and discuss their implications. In particular, no single or composite condensate species considered here conforms to the steep and non-uniform optical slope observed for HD 189733b. Our work highlights the importance of the three above metrics to investigate cloud properties in exoplanetary atmospheres using high-precision transmission spectra and detailed cloud models. We make our Mie data publicly available to the community.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Quantifying the Impact of Spectral Coverage on the Retrieval of Molecular Abundances from Exoplanet Transmission Spectra

Quantifying the Impact of Spectral Coverage on the Retrieval of Molecular Abundances from Exoplanet Transmission Spectra

Authors:


Chapman et al

Abstract:

Using forward models for representative exoplanet atmospheres and a radiometric instrument model, we have generated synthetic observational data to explore how well the major C- and O-bearing chemical species (CO, CO2, CH4, and H2O), important for determining atmospheric opacity and radiation balance, can be constrained by transit measurements as a function of spectral wavelength coverage. This work features simulations for a notional transit spectroscopy mission and compares two cases for instrument spectral coverage (wavelength coverage from 0.5-2.5 {\mu}m and 0.5-5 {\mu}m). The simulation is conducted on a grid with a range of stellar magnitudes and incorporates a full retrieval of atmospheric model parameters. We consider a range of planets from sub-Neptunes to hot Jupiters and include both low and high mean molecular weight atmospheres. We find that including the 2.5-5 {\mu}m wavelength range provides a significant improvement, up to -3 orders of magnitude, in the degree of constraint on the retrieved molecular abundances, implying that broad spectral coverage between the visible and the mid-infrared is an important tool for understanding the chemistry and composition of exoplanet atmospheres. This analysis suggests that the JWST/NIRSpec 0.6-5 {\mu}m prism spectroscopy mode, or similar wavelength coverage with possible future missions, will be an important resource for exoplanet atmospheric characterization.

Star-planet interactions. IV. Possibility of detecting the orbit-shrinking of a planet around a red giant

Star-planet interactions. IV. Possibility of detecting the orbit-shrinking of a planet around a red giant

Authors:


Meynet et al

Abstract:
The surface rotations of some red giants are so fast that they must have been spun up by tidal interaction with a close companion, either another star, a brown dwarf, or a planet. We focus here on the case of red giants that are spun up by tidal interaction with a planet. When the distance between the planet and the star decreases, the spin period of the star decreases, the orbital period of the planet decreases, and the reflex motion of the star increases. We study the change rate of these three quantities when the circular orbit of a planet of 15 MJ that initially orbits a 2 M⊙ star at 1 au shrinks under the action of tidal forces during the red giant phase. We use stellar evolution models coupled with computations of the orbital evolution of the planet, which allows us to follow the exchanges of angular momentum between the star and the orbit in a consistent way. We obtain that the reflex motion of the red giant star increases by more than 1 m s−1 per year in the last ∼40 years before the planet engulfment. During this phase, the reflex motion of the star is between 660 and 710 m s−1. The spin period of the star increases by more than about 10 minutes per year in the last 3000 y before engulfment. During this period, the spin period of the star is shorter than 0.7 year. During this same period, the variation in orbital period, which is shorter than 0.18 year, is on the same order of magnitude. Changes in reflex-motion and spin velocities are very small and thus most likely out of reach of being observed. The most promising way of detecting this effect is through observations of transiting planets, that is, through{\it } changes of the beginning or end of the transit. A space mission like PLATO might be of great interest for detecting planets that are on the verge of being engulfed by red giants.

Effects of the Planetary Temperature on the Circumplanetary Disk and on the Gap

Effects of the Planetary Temperature on the Circumplanetary Disk and on the Gap

Author:


Szulágyi

Abstract:

Circumplanetary disks regulate the late accretion to the giant planet and serve as the birthplace for satellites. Understanding their characteristics via simulations also helps to prepare for their observations. Here we study disks around 1, 3, 5, 10 MJup planets with three dimensional, global radiative hydrodynamic simulations with sub-planet peak resolution, and various planetary temperatures. We found that as the 1 MJup planet radiates away its formation heat, the circumplanetary envelope transitions to a disk between Tp=6000 K and 4000 K. In the case of 3-10 MJup planets a disk always forms. The temperature profile of the circumplanetary disks is very steep, the inner 1/6th is over the silicate condensation temperature and the entire disk is above water freezing point, making satellite formation impossible in this early stage (less than 1 Myr). Satellites might form much later and first in the outer parts of the disk migrating inwards later on. Our disk masses are 1,7,20,40×10−3MJup for the 1, 3, 5, 10 MJup gas giants respectively, and we provide an empirical formula to estimate the subdisk masses based on the planet- and circumstellar disk mass. Our finding is that the cooler the planet, the lower the temperature of the subdisk, the higher the vertical influx velocities, and the planetary gap is both deeper and wider. We also show that the gaps in 2D and 3D are different. The subdisk eccentricity increases with planetary mass and violently interacts with the circumstellar disk, making satellite-formation less likely, if Mp≳5MJup.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The Exoplanetary Phylogeny



Link.

Collisional Fragmentation is not a Barrier to Close-in Planet Formation

Collisional Fragmentation is not a Barrier to Close-in Planet Formation 
Authors:

Wallace et al

Abstract:
Collisional fragmentation is shown to not be a barrier to rocky planet formation at small distances from the host star. Simple analytic arguments demonstrate that rocky planet formation via collisions of homogeneous gravity-dominated bodies is possible down to distances of order the Roche radius (rRoche). Extensive N-body simulations that include plausible models for fragmentation and merging of gravity-dominated bodies confirm this conclusion and demonstrate that rocky planet formation is possible down to ∼1.1 rRoche. At smaller distances, tidal effects cause collisions to be too fragmenting to allow mass build-up to a final, dynamically stable planetary system. We argue that even differentiated bodies can accumulate to form planets at distances that are not much larger than rRoche.

Spin dynamics of close-in planets exhibiting large TTVs

Spin dynamics of close-in planets exhibiting large TTVs

Authors:


Delisle et al

Abstract:
We study the spin evolution of close-in planets in compact multi-planetary systems. The rotation period of these planets is often assumed to be synchronous with the orbital period due to tidal dissipation. Here we show that planet-planet perturbations can drive the spin of these planets into non-synchronous or even chaotic states. In particular, we show that the transit timing variation (TTV) is a very good probe to study the spin dynamics, since both are dominated by the perturbations of the mean longitude of the planet. We apply our model to KOI-227b and Kepler-88b, which are both observed undergoing strong TTVs. We also perform numerical simulations of the spin evolution of these two planets. We show that for KOI-227b non-synchronous rotation is possible, while for Kepler-88b the rotation can be chaotic.

Rocky Terrestrial Exoplanets may only go up to 2 Earth Radius

Hydrodynamic Escape of Planetary Atmospheres during a Star's X-ray and Extreme Ultraviolet Saturation May Impose a Size Limit of ~2 Earth Radii on Rocky Exoplanets

Authors:


Lehmer et al

Abstract:
Recent observations and analysis of small exoplanets have found that rocky planets like the Earth only have radii up to 1.5-2R⊕. Two general hypotheses exist for the cause of the dichotomy between rocky and gas-enveloped planets (or possible water worlds): either small planets do not easily form thick atmospheres, or the thick atmospheres on small planets easily escape driven by x-ray and extreme ultraviolet (XUV) emissions from young parent stars. Here we show that a cutoff between rocky and gas-enveloped planets due to hydrodynamic escape is most likely to occur at a mean radius of 1.76±0.38R⊕ (2σ) Earth radii around Sun-like stars. We examine the limit in rocky planet radii predicted by hydrodynamic escape across a wide range of possible model inputs using 10,000 parameter combinations drawn randomly from plausible parameter ranges. We find a cutoff between rocky and gas-enveloped planets that agrees with the observed cutoff. The large cross-section available for XUV absorption in the extremely distended primitive atmospheres of low mass planets results in complete loss of atmospheres during the ~100 Myr phase of stellar XUV saturation. In contrast, more massive planets have less distended atmospheres and less escape, and so retain thick atmospheres through XUV saturation and then indefinitely as the XUV and escape fluxes drop over time. The agreement between our model and exoplanet data leads us to conclude that hydrodynamic escape plausibly explains the observed upper limit on rocky planet size.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Quasars Could Strip Exoplanetary Atmospheres

Evaporation of planetary atmospheres due to XUV illumination by quasars

Authors:


Forbes et al

Abstract:
Planetary atmospheres are subject to mass loss through a variety of mechanisms including irradiation by XUV photons from their host star. Here we explore the consequences of XUV irradiation by supermassive black holes as they grow by the accretion of gas in galactic nuclei. Based on the mass distribution of stars in galactic bulges and disks and the luminosity history of individual black holes, we estimate the probability distribution function of XUV fluences as a function of galaxy halo mass, redshift, and stellar component. We find that about 50% of all planets in the universe may lose the equivalent of a Martian atmosphere, 10% may lose an Earth's atmosphere, and 0.2% may lose the mass of Earth's oceans. The fractions are appreciably higher in the spheroidal components of galaxies, and depend strongly on galaxy mass, but only weakly on redshift.

A Statistical Comparative Planetology Approach to the Hunt for Habitable Exoplanets and Life Beyond the Solar System

A Statistical Comparative Planetology Approach to the Hunt for Habitable Exoplanets and Life Beyond the Solar System

Authors:


Bean et al

Abstract:

The search for habitable exoplanets and life beyond the Solar System is one of the most compelling scientific opportunities of our time. Nevertheless, the high cost of building facilities that can address this topic and the keen public interest in the results of such research requires the rigorous development of experiments that can deliver a definitive advance in our understanding. Most work to date in this area has focused on a "systems science" approach of obtaining and interpreting comprehensive data for individual planets to make statements about their habitability and the possibility that they harbor life. This strategy is challenging because of the diversity of exoplanets, both observed and expected, and the limited information that can be obtained with astronomical instruments. Here we propose a complementary approach that is based on performing surveys of key planetary characteristics and using statistical marginalization to answer broader questions than can be addressed with a small sample of objects. The fundamental principle of this comparative planetology approach is maximizing what can be learned from each type of measurement by applying it widely rather than requiring that multiple kinds of observations be brought to bear on a single object. As a proof of concept, we outline a survey of terrestrial exoplanet atmospheric water and carbon dioxide abundances that would test the habitable zone hypothesis and lead to a deeper understanding of the frequency of habitable planets. We also discuss ideas for additional surveys that could be developed to test other foundational hypotheses is this area.

Why do we find ourselves around a yellow star instead of a red star?

Why do we find ourselves around a yellow star instead of a red star?

Authors:


Haqq-Misra et al

Abstract:
M-dwarf stars are more abundant than G-dwarf stars, so our position as observers on a planet orbiting a G-dwarf raises questions about the suitability of other stellar types for supporting life. If we consider ourselves as typical, in the anthropic sense that our environment is probably a typical one for conscious observers, then we are led to the conclusion that planets orbiting in the habitable zone of G-dwarf stars should be the best place for conscious life to develop. But such a conclusion neglects the possibility that K-dwarfs or M-dwarfs could provide more numerous sites for life to develop, both now and in the future. In this paper we analyze this problem through Bayesian inference to demonstrate that our occurrence around a G-dwarf might be a slight statistical anomaly, but only the sort of chance event that we expect to occur regularly. Even if M-dwarfs provide more numerous habitable planets today and in the future, we still expect mid G- to early K-dwarfs stars to be the most likely place for observers like ourselves. This suggests that observers with similar cognitive capabilities as us are most likely to be found at the present time and place, rather than in the future or around much smaller stars.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Planet Detection Simulations for Several Possible TESS Extended Missions

Planet Detection Simulations for Several Possible TESS Extended Missions

Authors:


Bouma et al

Abstract:
The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) will perform a two-year survey of nearly the entire sky, with the main goal of detecting exoplanets smaller than Neptune around bright and nearby stars. There do not appear to be any fundamental obstacles to continuing science operations for at least several years after the two-year Primary Mission. To provide a head start to those who will plan and propose for such a mission, we present simulations of exoplanet detections in a third year of TESS operations. Our goal is to provide a helpful reference for the exoplanet-related aspects of any Extended Mission, while recognizing this will be only one part of a larger community discussion of the scientific goals. We use Monte Carlo simulations to try and anticipate the quantities and types of planets that would be detected in each of 6 plausible scenarios for a one-year Extended Mission following the two-year Primary Mission. We find that: (1) there is no sharp fall-off in the planet discovery rate in the third year; (2) the quantity of newly detected sub-Neptune radius planets does not depend strongly on the schedule of pointings; (3) an important function of an Extended Mission would be improving our ability to predict the times of future transits and occultations of TESS-detected planets.

Forecasted masses for seven thousand KOIs

Forecasted masses for seven thousand KOIs

Authors:


Chen et al

Abstract:
Recent transit surveys have discovered thousands of planetary candidates with directly measured radii, but only a small fraction have measured masses. Planetary mass is crucial in assessing the feasibility of numerous observational signatures, such as radial velocities (RVs), atmospheres, moons and rings. In the absence of a direct measurement, a data-driven, probabilistic forecast enables observational planning and so here we compute posterior distributions for the forecasted mass of approximately seven thousand Kepler Objects of Interest (KOIs). Our forecasts reveal that the predicted RV amplitudes of Neptunian planets are relatively consistent, as a result of transit survey detection bias, hovering around the few m/s level. We find that mass forecasts are unlikely to improve through more precise planetary radii, with the error budget presently dominated by the intrinsic model uncertainty. Our forecasts identify a couple of dozen KOIs near the Terran-Neptunian divide with particularly large RV semi-amplitudes which could be promising targets to follow-up, particularly in the near-IR. With several more transit surveys planned in the near-future, the need to quickly forecast observational signatures is likely to grow and the work here provides a template example of such calculations.

Improving and Assessing Planet Sensitivity of the GPI Exoplanet Survey with a Forward Model Matched Filter

Improving and Assessing Planet Sensitivity of the GPI Exoplanet Survey with a Forward Model Matched Filter

Authors:


Ruffio et al

Abstract:
We present a new matched-filter algorithm for direct detection of point sources in the immediate vicinity of bright stars. The stellar point-spread function (PSF) is first subtracted using a Karhunen-Loéve image processing (KLIP) algorithm with angular and spectral differential imaging (ADI and SDI). The KLIP-induced distortion of the astrophysical signal is included in the matched-filter template by computing a forward model of the PSF at every position in the image. To optimize the performance of the algorithm, we conduct extensive planet injection and recovery tests and tune the exoplanet spectra template and KLIP reduction aggressiveness to maximize the signal-to-noise ratio (S/N) of the recovered planets. We show that only two spectral templates are necessary to recover any young Jovian exoplanets with minimal S/N loss. We also developed a complete pipeline for the automated detection of point-source candidates, the calculation of receiver operating characteristics (ROC), contrast curves based on false positives, and completeness contours. We process in a uniform manner more than 330 data sets from the Gemini Planet Imager Exoplanet Survey and assess GPI typical sensitivity as a function of the star and the hypothetical companion spectral type. This work allows for the first time a comparison of different detection algorithms at a survey scale accounting for both planet completeness and false-positive rate. We show that the new forward model matched filter allows the detection of 50% fainter objects than a conventional cross-correlation technique with a Gaussian PSF template for the same false-positive rate.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Formation of solar system analogs I: looking for initial conditions through a population synthesis analysis

Formation of solar system analogs I: looking for initial conditions through a population synthesis analysis

Authors:


Ronco et al

Abstract:
Population synthesis models of planetary systems developed during the last ∼15 years could reproduce several of the observables of the exoplanet population, and also allowed to constrain planetary formation models. We present our planet formation model, which calculates the evolution of a planetary system during the gaseous phase. The code incorporates relevant physical phenomena for the formation of a planetary system, like photoevaporation, planet migration, gas accretion, water delivery in embryos and planetesimals, a detailed study of the orbital evolution of the planetesimal population, and the treatment of the fusion between embryos, considering their atmospheres. The main goal of this work, unlike other works of planetary population synthesis, is to find suitable scenarios and physical parameters of the disc to form solar system analogs. We are specially interested in the final planet distributions, and in the final surface density, eccentricity and inclination profiles for the planetesimal population. These final distributions will be used as initial conditions for N-body simulations, to study the post-oligarchic formation in a second work. We then consider different formation scenarios, with different planetesimal sizes and different type I migration rates. We find that solar system analogs are favored in massive discs, with low type I migration rates, and small planetesimal sizes. Besides, those rocky planets within their habitables zones are dry when discs dissipate. At last, the final configurations of solar system analogs include information about the mass and semimajor-axis of the planets, water contents, and the properties of the planetesimal remnants.

Directly-Imaged Planet HD 131399 Ab may be a False Positive

Evidence that the Directly-Imaged Planet HD 131399 Ab is a Background Star

Authors:


Nielsen et al

Abstract:
We present evidence that the recently discovered, directly-imaged planet HD 131399 Ab is a background star with non-zero proper motion. From new JHK1L' photometry and spectroscopy obtained with the Gemini Planet Imager, VLT/SPHERE, and Keck/NIRC2, and a reanalysis of the discovery data obtained with VLT/SPHERE, we derive colors, spectra, and astrometry for HD 131399 Ab. The broader wavelength coverage and higher data quality allow us to re-investigate its status. Its near-infrared spectral energy distribution excludes spectral types later than L0 and is consistent with a K or M dwarf, which are the most likely candidates for a background object in this direction at the apparent magnitude observed. If it were a physically associated object, the projected velocity of HD 131399 Ab would exceed escape velocity given the mass and distance to HD 131399 A. We show that HD 131399 Ab is also not following the expected track for a stationary background star at infinite distance. Solving for the proper motion and parallax required to explain the relative motion of HD 131399 Ab, we find a proper motion of 12.3 mas/yr. When compared to predicted background objects drawn from a galactic model, we find this proper motion to be high, but consistent with the top 4% fastest-moving background stars. From our analysis we conclude that HD 131399 Ab is a background K or M dwarf.

N-body simulations of planet formation via pebble accretion I: First Results

N-body simulations of planet formation via pebble accretion I: First Results

Authors:


Matsumura et al

Abstract:
Context. Planet formation with pebbles has been proposed to solve a couple of long-standing issues in the classical formation model. Some sophisticated simulations have been done to confirm the efficiency of pebble accretion. However, there has not been any global N-body simulations that compare the outcomes of planet formation via pebble accretion with observed extrasolar planetary systems. Aims. In this paper, we study the effects of a range of initial parameters of planet formation via pebble accretion, and present the first results of our simulations. Methods. We incorporate the pebble accretion model by Ida et al. (2016) in the N-body code SyMBA, along with the effects of gas accretion, eccentricity and inclination damping and planet migration in the disc. Results. We confirm that pebble accretion leads to a variety of planetary systems, but have difficulty in reproducing observed properties of exoplanetary systems, such as planetary mass, semimajor axis, and eccentricity distributions. The main reason behind this is a too-efficient type I migration, which sensitively depends on a disc model. However, our simulations also lead to a few interesting predictions. First, we find that formation efficiencies of planets depend on the stellar metallicities, not only for giant planets, but also for Earths (Es) and Super-Earths (SEs). The dependency for Es/SEs is subtle because, although higher metallicity environments lead to faster formation of a larger number of Es/SEs, they also tend to be lost later via dynamical instability. Second, our results indicate that a range of densities observed for Es and SEs is a natural consequence of dynamical evolution of planetary systems. Third, the ejection trend of our simulations suggest that one free-floating E/SE may be expected for two smaller-mass planets.

Friday, September 8, 2017

A Superjupiter/Small Brown Dwarf in a 10 AU Orbit Around its Host Star

A companion on the planet/brown dwarf mass boundary on a wide orbit discovered by gravitational microlensing

Authors:


Poleski et al

Abstract:
We present the discovery of a substellar companion to the primary host lens in the microlensing event MOA-2012-BLG-006. The companion-to-host mass ratio is 0.016, corresponding to a companion mass of ≈8 MJup(M∗/0.5M⊙). Thus, the companion is either a high-mass giant planet or a low-mass brown dwarf, depending on the mass of the primary M∗. The companion signal was separated from the peak of the primary event by a time that was as much as four times longer than the event timescale. We therefore infer a relatively large projected separation of the companion from its host of ≈10 a.u.(M∗/0.5M⊙)1/2 for a wide range (3-7 kpc) of host star distances from the Earth. We also challenge a previous claim of a planetary companion to the lens star in microlensing event OGLE-2002-BLG-045.

Terrestrial World OGLE-2016-BLG-1195Lb Orbits a Brown Dwarf at 1.16 AU

An Earth-mass Planet in a 1-AU Orbit around an Ultracool Dwarf

Authors:


Shvartzvald et al

Abstract:
We combine Spitzer and ground-based KMTNet microlensing observations to identify and precisely measure an Earth-mass (1.43+0.45−0.32M⊕) planet OGLE-2016-BLG-1195Lb at 1.16+0.16−0.13 AU orbiting a 0.078+0.016−0.012M⊙ ultracool dwarf. This is the lowest-mass microlensing planet to date. At 3.91+0.42−0.46 kpc, it is the third consecutive case among the Spitzer "Galactic distribution" planets toward the Galactic bulge that lies in the Galactic disk as opposed to the bulge itself, hinting at a skewed distribution of planets. Together with previous microlensing discoveries, the seven Earth-size planets orbiting the ultracool dwarf TRAPPIST-1, and the detection of disks around young brown dwarfs, OGLE-2016-BLG-1195Lb suggests that such planets might be common around ultracool dwarfs. It therefore sheds light on the formation of both ultracool dwarfs and planetary systems at the limit of low-mass protoplanetary disks.

Project 1640 Observations of Brown Dwarf GJ 758 B

Project 1640 Observations of Brown Dwarf GJ 758 B: Near-Infrared Spectrum and Atmospheric Modeling

Authors:


Nilsson et al

Abstract:
The nearby Sun-like star GJ 758 hosts a cold substellar companion, GJ 758 B, at a projected separation of ≲30 AU, previously detected in high-contrast multi-band photometric observations. In order to better constrain the companion's physical characteristics, we acquired the first low-resolution (R∼50) near-infrared spectrum of it using the high-contrast hyperspectral imaging instrument Project 1640 on Palomar Observatory's 5-m Hale telescope. We obtained simultaneous images in 32 wavelength channels covering the Y, J, and H bands (∼952-1770 nm), and used data processing techniques based on principal component analysis to efficiently subtract chromatic background speckle-noise. GJ 758 B was detected in four epochs during 2013 and 2014. Basic astrometric measurements confirm its apparent northwest trajectory relative to the primary star, with no clear signs of orbital curvature. Spectra of SpeX/IRTF observed T dwarfs were compared to the combined spectrum of GJ 758 B, with χ2 minimization suggesting a best fit for spectral type T7.0±1.0, but with a shallow minimum over T5-T8. Fitting of synthetic spectra from the BT-Settl13 model atmospheres gives an effective temperature Teff=741±25 K and surface gravity logg=4.3±0.5 dex (cgs). Our derived best-fit spectral type and effective temperature from modeling of the low-resolution spectrum suggest a slightly earlier and hotter companion than previous findings from photometric data, but do not rule out current results, and confirm GJ 758 B as one of the coolest sub-stellar companions to a Sun-like star to date.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Atmospheric Circulation and Cloud Evolution on the Highly Eccentric Extrasolar Planet HD 80606b

Atmospheric Circulation and Cloud Evolution on the Highly Eccentric Extrasolar Planet HD 80606b

Authors:


Lewis et al

Abstract:
Observations of the highly-eccentric (e~0.9) hot-Jupiter HD 80606b with Spitzer have provided some of best probes of the physics at work in exoplanet atmospheres. By observing HD 80606b during its periapse passage, atmospheric radiative, advective, and chemical timescales can be directly measured and used to constrain fundamental planetary properties such as rotation period, tidal dissipation rate, and atmospheric composition (including aerosols). Here we present three-dimensional general circulation models for HD 80606b that aim to further explore the atmospheric physics shaping HD 80606b's observed Spitzer phase curves. We find that our models that assume a planetary rotation period twice that of the pseudo-synchronous rotation period best reproduce the phase variations observed for HD~80606b near periapse passage with Spitzer. Additionally, we find that the rapid formation/dissipation and vertical transport of clouds in HD 80606b's atmosphere near periapse passage likely shapes its observed phase variations. We predict that observations near periapse passage at visible wavelengths could constrain the composition and formation/advection timescales of the dominant cloud species in HD 80606b's atmosphere. The time-variable forcing experienced by exoplanets on eccentric orbits provides a unique and important window on radiative, dynamical, and chemical processes in planetary atmospheres and an important link between exoplanet observations and theory.

Three planets around HD 27894. A close-in pair with a 2:1 period ratio and an eccentric Jovian planet at 5.4 AU

Three planets around HD 27894. A close-in pair with a 2:1 period ratio and an eccentric Jovian planet at 5.4 AU 

Authors:


Trifonov et al

Abstract:

Aims.

Our new program with HARPS aims to detect mean motion resonant planetary systems around stars which were previously reported to have a single bona fide planet, often based only on sparse radial velocity data.

Methods.

Archival and new HARPS radial velocities for the K2V star HD 27894 were combined and fitted with a three-planet self-consistent dynamical model. The best-fit orbit was tested for long-term stability.

Results.

We find clear evidence that HD 27894 is hosting at least three massive planets. In addition to the already known Jovian planet with a period Pb ≈ 18 days we discover a Saturn-mass planet with Pc ≈ 36 days, likely in a 2:1 mean motion resonance with the first planet, and a cold massive planet (≈ 5.3 MJup) with a period Pd ≈ 5170 days on a moderately eccentric orbit (ed = 0.39).

Conclusions.

HD 27894 is hosting a massive, eccentric giant planet orbiting around a tightly packed inner pair of massive planets likely involved in an asymmetric 2:1 mean motion resonance. HD 27894 may be an important milestone for probing planetary formation and evolution scenarios.

An Observational Diagnostic for Distinguishing Between Clouds and Haze in Hot Exoplanet Atmospheres

An Observational Diagnostic for Distinguishing Between Clouds and Haze in Hot Exoplanet Atmospheres

Authors:


Kempton et al

Abstract:

The nature of aerosols in hot exoplanet atmospheres is one of the primary vexing questions facing the exoplanet field. The complex chemistry, multiple formation pathways, and lack of easily identifiable spectral features associated with aerosols make it especially challenging to constrain their key properties. We propose a transmission spectroscopy technique to identify the primary aerosol formation mechanism for the most highly irradiated hot Jupiters. The technique is based on the expectation that the two key types of aerosols -- photochemically generated hazes and equilibrium condensate clouds -- are expected to form and persist in different regions of a highly irradiated planet's atmosphere. Haze can only be produced on the permanent daysides of tidally-locked hot Jupiters, and will be carried downwind by atmospheric dynamics to the evening terminator (seen as the trailing limb during transit). Clouds can only form in cooler regions on the night side and morning terminator (seen as the leading limb during transit) of the most highly irradiated giant planets. Because opposite limbs are expected to be impacted by different types of aerosols, ingress and egress spectra, which primarily probe opposing sides of the planet, will reveal the dominant aerosol formation mechanism. In either case, we typically expect the adjacent hemisphere to retain clear skies. Using this diagnostic, we find that observations with JWST and potentially with HST should be able to distinguish between clouds and haze for currently known highly irradiated hot Jupiters.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Resonant structure, formation and stability of the planetary system HD 155358


Authors:

Silburt et al

Abstract:

Two Jovian-sized planets are orbiting the star HD155358 near exact mean motion resonance (MMR) commensurability. In this work we re-analyze the radial velocity (RV) data previously collected by Robertson et al. (2012). Using a Bayesian framework we construct two models - one that includes and one that excludes gravitational planet-planet interactions (PPI). We find that the orbital parameters from our PPI and noPPI models differ by up to 2σ, with our noPPI model being statistically consistent with previous results. In addition, our new PPI model strongly favours the planets being in MMR while our noPPI model strongly disfavours MMR. We conduct a stability analysis by drawing samples from our PPI model's posterior distribution and simulating them for 109 years, finding that our best-fit values land firmly in a stable region of parameter space.
We explore a series of formation models that migrate the planets into their observed MMR. We then use these models to directly fit to the observed RV data, where each model is uniquely parameterized by only three constants describing its migration history. Using a Bayesian framework we find that a number of migration models fit the RV data surprisingly well, with some migration parameters being ruled out.

Our analysis shows that planet-planet interactions are important to take into account when modelling observations of multi-planetary systems. The additional information that one can gain from interacting models can help constrain planet migration parameters.

51 Eri b is Partially Cloudy

Characterizing 51 Eri b from 1-5 μm: a partly-cloudy exoplanet

Authors:


Rajan et al

Abstract:
We present spectro-photometry spanning 1-5 μm of 51 Eridani b, a 2-10 MJup planet discovered by the Gemini Planet Imager Exoplanet Survey. In this study, we present new K1 (1.90-2.19 μm) and K2 (2.10-2.40 μm) spectra taken with the Gemini Planet Imager as well as an updated LP (3.76 μm) and new MS (4.67 μm) photometry from the NIRC2 Narrow camera. The new data were combined with J (1.13-1.35 μm) and H (1.50-1.80 μm) spectra from the discovery epoch with the goal of better characterizing the planet properties. 51 Eri b photometry is redder than field brown dwarfs as well as known young T-dwarfs with similar spectral type (between T4-T8) and we propose that 51 Eri b might be in the process of undergoing the transition from L-type to T-type. We used two complementary atmosphere model grids including either deep iron/silicate clouds or sulfide/salt clouds in the photosphere, spanning a range of cloud properties, including fully cloudy, cloud free and patchy/intermediate opacity clouds. Model fits suggest that 51 Eri b has an effective temperature ranging between 605-737 K, a solar metallicity, a surface gravity of log(g) = 3.5-4.0 dex, and the atmosphere requires a patchy cloud atmosphere to model the SED. From the model atmospheres, we infer a luminosity for the planet of -5.83 to -5.93 (logL/L⊙), leaving 51 Eri b in the unique position as being one of the only directly imaged planet consistent with having formed via cold-start scenario. Comparisons of the planet SED against warm-start models indicates that the planet luminosity is best reproduced by a planet formed via core accretion with a core mass between 15 and 127 M⊕.

Observational evidence for two distinct giant planet populations

Observational evidence for two distinct giant planet populations

Authors:


Santos et al

Abstract:

Analysis of the statistical properties of exoplanets, together with those of their host stars, are providing a unique view into the process of planet formation and evolution. In this paper we explore the properties of the mass distribution of giant planet companions to solar-type stars, in a quest for clues about their formation process. With this goal in mind we studied, with the help of standard statistical tests, the mass distribution of giant planets using data from the exoplanet.eu catalog and the SWEET-Cat database of stellar parameters for stars with planets. We show that the mass distribution of giant planet companions is likely to present more than one population with a change in regime around 4\,MJup. Above this value host stars tend to be more metal poor and more massive and have [Fe/H] distributions that are statistically similar to those observed in field stars of similar mass. On the other hand, stars that host planets below this limit show the well-known metallicity-giant planet frequency correlation. We discuss these results in light of various planet formation models and explore the implications they may have on our understanding of the formation of giant planets. In particular, we discuss the possibility that the existence of two separate populations of giant planets indicates that two different processes of formation are at play.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Kepler Planet Masses and Eccentricities from TTV Analysis

Kepler Planet Masses and Eccentricities from TTV Analysis

Authors:


Hadden et al

Abstract:
We conduct a uniform analysis of the transit timing variations (TTVs) of 145 planets from 55 Kepler multiplanet systems to infer planet masses and eccentricities. Eighty of these planets do not have previously reported mass and eccentricity measurements. We employ two complementary methods to fit TTVs: Markov chain Monte Carlo simulations based on N-body integration, and an analytic fitting approach. Mass measurements of 49 planets, including 12 without previously reported masses, meet our criterion for classification as robust. Using mass and radius measurements, we infer the masses of planets' gaseous envelopes for both our TTV sample and transiting planets with radial velocity observations. Insight from analytic TTV formulae allows us to partially circumvent degeneracies inherent to inferring eccentricities from TTV observations. We find that planet eccentricities are generally small, typically a few percent, but in many instances are nonzero.

The Gold Standard: Accurate Stellar and Planetary Parameters for Eight Kepler M Dwarf Systems Enabled by Parallaxes

The Gold Standard: Accurate Stellar and Planetary Parameters for Eight Kepler M Dwarf Systems Enabled by Parallaxes

Authors:


Mann et al

Abstract:
M dwarf stars with transiting exoplanets discovered by Kepler. We combine our directly measured distances with mass–luminosity and radius–luminosity relationships to significantly improve constraints on the host stars' properties. Our astrometry enables the identification of wide stellar companions to the planet hosts. Within our limited sample, all the multi-transiting planet hosts (three of three) appear to be single stars, while nearly all (four of five) of the systems with a single detected planet have wide stellar companions. By applying strict priors on average stellar density from our updated radius and mass in our transit fitting analysis, we measure the eccentricity probability distributions for each transiting planet. Planets in single-star systems tend to have smaller eccentricities than those in binaries, although this difference is not significant in our small sample. In the case of Kepler-42bcd, where the eccentricities are known to be sime0, we demonstrate that such systems can serve as powerful tests of M dwarf evolutionary models by working in ${L}_{\star }\mbox{--}{\rho }_{\star }$ space. The transit-fit density for Kepler-42bcd is inconsistent with model predictions at 2.1σ (22%), but matches more empirical estimates at 0.2σ (2%), consistent with earlier results showing model radii of M dwarfs are underinflated. Gaia will provide high-precision parallaxes for the entire Kepler M dwarf sample, and the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite will identify more planets transiting nearby, late-type stars, enabling significant improvements in our understanding of the eccentricity distribution of small planets and the parameters of late-type dwarfs.

A Multi-planet System of Rapidly Rotating F-Star HD 106315

A Multi-planet System Transiting the V = 9 Rapidly Rotating F-Star HD 106315

Authors:


Rodriguez et al

Abstract:

We report the discovery of a multi-planet system orbiting HD 106315, a rapidly rotating mid F-type star, using data from the K2 mission. HD 106315 hosts a 2.51 ± 0.12 R ⊕ sub-Neptune in a 9.5-day orbit and a ${4.31}_{-0.27}^{+0.24}\,{R}_{\oplus }$ super-Neptune in a 21-day orbit. The projected rotational velocity of HD 106315 (12.9 km s−1) likely precludes precise measurements of the planets' masses but could enable a measurement of the sky-projected spin–orbit obliquity for the outer planet via Doppler tomography. The eccentricities of both planets were constrained to be consistent with 0, following a global modeling of the system that includes a Gaia distance and dynamical arguments. The HD 106315 system is one of few multi-planet systems hosting a Neptune-sized planet for which orbital obliquity measurements are possible, making it an excellent test-case for formation mechanisms of warm-Neptunian systems. The brightness of the host star also makes HD 106315 c a candidate for future transmission spectroscopic follow-up studies.

Monday, September 4, 2017

The Influence of Orbital Resonances on the Water Transport to Objects in the Circumprimary Habitable Zone of Binary Star Systems

The Influence of Orbital Resonances on the Water Transport to Objects in the Circumprimary Habitable Zone of Binary Star Systems

Authors:


Bancelin et al

Abstract:
We investigate the role of secular and mean motion resonances on the water transport from a belt of icy asteroids onto planets or embryos orbiting inside the circumprimary habitable zone (HZ) of a binary star system. In addition, the host-star has an accompanying gas giant planet. For a comparison, we perform two case studies where a secular resonance (SR) is located either inside the HZ close to 1.0 au (causing eccentric motion of a planet or embryos therein) or in the asteroid belt, beyond the snow line. In the latter case, a higher flux of icy objects moving toward the HZ is expected. Collisions between asteroids and objects in the HZ are treated analytically. Our purely dynamical study shows that the SR in the HZ boosts the water transport; however, collisions can occur at very high impact speeds. In this paper, we treat for the first time, realistic collisions using a GPU 3D-SPH code to assess the water loss in the projectile. Including the water loss into the dynamical results, we get more realistic values for the water mass fraction of the asteroid during an impact. We highlight that collisions occurring at high velocities greatly reduce the water content of the projectile and thus the amount of water transported to planets or embryos orbiting inside the HZ. Moreover, we discuss other effects that could modify our results, namely the asteroid's surface rate recession due to ice sublimation and the atmospheric drag contribution on the asteroids' mass loss.

Exoplanet Biosignatures: Observational Prospects

Exoplanet Biosignatures: Observational Prospects

Authors:


Fujii et al

Abstract:

We provide an overview of the prospects for biosignature detection and general characterization of temperate Earth-sized planets. We review planned space-based missions and ground-based projects as well as the basic methods they will employ, and summarize which exoplanet properties will become observable as these new facilities come on line. The observational strategies depend on whether the planets are transiting or not as well as on the spectral type of the host star. There is a reasonable expectation that the first constraints on spectroscopic features of atmospheres will be obtained before 2030. Successful initial characterization of a few nearby targets will be an important touchstone toward a more detailed scrutiny and/or a larger survey to address statistical questions such as the occurrence rate of habitable environments. The broad outlook which this paper presents may help develop a framework to evaluate the possibility of biospheres based on the observables, and consider new methodologies to characterize exoplanets of astrobiological interest.

Exoplanet Biosignatures: A Framework for Their Assessment

Exoplanet Biosignatures: A Framework for Their Assessment

Authors:


Catling et al

Abstract:

Finding life on exoplanets from telescopic observations is the ultimate goal of exoplanet science. Life produces gases and other substances, such as pigments, which can have distinct spectral or photometric signatures. Whether or not life is found in future data must be expressed with probabilities, requiring a framework for biosignature assessment. We present such a framework, which advocates using biogeochemical "Exo-Earth System" models to simulate potentially biogenic spectral or photometric data. Given actual observations, these simulations are then used to find the Bayesian likelihoods of those data occurring for scenarios with and without life. The latter includes "false positives" where abiotic sources mimic biosignatures. Prior knowledge of factors influencing inhabitance, including previous observations, is combined with the likelihoods to give the probability of life existing on a given exoplanet. Four components of observation and analysis are used. 1) Characterization of stellar (e.g., age and spectrum) and exoplanetary system properties, including "external" exoplanet parameters (e.g., mass and radius) to determine its suitability for life. 2) Characterization of "internal" exoplanet parameters (e.g., climate) to evaluate whether an exoplanet surface can host life. 3) Assessment of potential biosignatures through environmental context (components 1-2) and corroborating evidence. 4) Exclusion of false positives. The resulting Bayesian probabilities of life detection map to five confidence levels, ranging from "very likely" to "very unlikely" inhabited.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Chemical abundances of 1111 FGK stars from the HARPS GTO planet search program II: Cu, Zn, Sr, Y, Zr, Ba, Ce, Nd and Eu

Chemical abundances of 1111 FGK stars from the HARPS GTO planet search program II: Cu, Zn, Sr, Y, Zr, Ba, Ce, Nd and Eu

Authors:

Delgado Mena et al

Abstract:

To understand the formation and evolution of the different stellar populations within our Galaxy it is essential to combine detailed kinematical and chemical information for large samples of stars. We derive chemical abundances of Cu, Zn, Sr, Y, Zr, Ba, Ce, Nd and Eu for a large sample of more than 1000 FGK dwarf stars with high-resolution (R∼\,115000) and high-quality spectra from the HARPS-GTO program. The abundances are derived by a standard Local Thermodinamyc Equilibrium (LTE) analysis using measured Equivalent Widths (EWs) injected to the code MOOG and a grid of Kurucz ATLAS9 atmospheres. We find that thick disk stars are chemically disjunct for Zn and Eu and also show on average higher Zr but lower Ba and Y when compared to the thin disk stars. We also discovered that the previously identified high-α metal-rich population is also enhanced in Cu, Zn, Nd and Eu with respect to the thin disk but presents Ba and Y abundances lower on average, following the trend of thick disk stars towards higher metallities and further supporting the different chemical composition of this population. The ratio of heavy-s to light-s elements of thin disk stars presents the expected behaviour (increasing towards lower metallicities) and can be explained by a major contribution of low-mass AGB stars for s-process production at disk metallicities. However, the opposite trend found for thick disk stars suggests that intermediate-mass AGB stars played an important role in the enrichment of the gas from where these stars formed. Previous works in the literature also point to a possible primary production of light-s elements at low metallicities to explain this trend. Finally, we also find an enhancement of light-s elements in the thin disk at super solar metallicities which could be caused by the contribution of metal-rich AGB stars.

Stellar magnetic activity and exoplanets

Stellar magnetic activity and exoplanets 
Author:

Vidditto

Abstract:
It has been proposed that magnetic activity could be enhanced due to interactions between close-in massive planets and their host stars. In this article, I present a brief overview of the connection between stellar magnetic activity and exoplanets. Stellar activity can be probed in chromospheric lines, coronal emission, surface spot coverage, etc. Since these are manifestations of stellar magnetism, these measurements are often used as proxies for the magnetic field of stars. Here, instead of focusing on the magnetic proxies, I overview some recent results of magnetic field measurements using spectropolarimetric observations. Firstly, I discuss the general trends found between large-scale magnetism, stellar rotation, and coronal emission and show that magnetism seems to be correlated to the internal structure of the star. Secondly, I overview some works that show evidence that exoplanets could (or not) act as to enhance the activity of their host stars.

The Homogenous Study of Transiting Systems (HoSTS). II. The influence of the line list on stellar parameters

The Homogenous Study of Transiting Systems (HoSTS). II. The influence of the line list on stellar parameters

Authors:


Doyle et al

Abstract:


The use of high resolution, high signal-to-noise stellar spectra is essential in order to determine the most accurate and precise stellar atmospheric parameters via spectroscopy. This is particularly important for determining the fundamental parameters of exoplanets, which directly depend on the stellar properties. However, different techniques can be implemented when analysing these spectra which will influence the results. These include performing an abundance analysis relative to the solar values in order to negate uncertainties in atomic data, and fixing the surface gravity (log g) to an external value such as those from asteroseismology. The choice of lines used will also influence the results. In this paper, we investigate differential analysis and fixing log g for a set of FGK stars that already have accurate fundamental parameters known from external methods. We find that a differential line list gives slightly more accurate parameters compared to a laboratory line list, however the laboratory line list still gives robust parameters. We also find that fixing the log g does not improve the spectroscopic parameters. We investigate the effects of line selection on the stellar parameters and find that the choice of lines used can have a significant effect on the parameters. In particular, removal of certain low excitation potential lines can change the Teff by up to 50 K. For future HoSTS papers we will use the differential line list with a solar microturbulence value of 1 km s−1, and we will not fix the log g to an external value.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Unipolar Induction Star-Disk Interaction?

Unipolar Induction Star-Disk Interaction

Author: 
Tsui

Abstract:
Some critical comments on the prevailing model of star-disk interaction are made, in particular, on the rotating nature of the magnetic field lines and on the application of the magnetohydrodynamic frozen-field theorem to the disk plasma. As an alternative, a unipolar induction model is proposed, where the magnetic field is stationary in space and the stellar unipolar electric field E⃗ ∗ on the surface is uploaded to the magnetosphere. Through the Poynting vector, the star and the magnetosphere form a coupled system where the total angular momentum, consisting the mechanical one of the star, the electromagnetic one of the magnetosphere, and the mechanical one of the plasma in the magnetosphere, is conserved. The stellar interaction with the accretion disk is through the projection of the unipolar electric field E⃗ ∗ onto the disk via the equipotential field lines, generating a disk current and consequently toroidal fields with opposite signs on both sides of the disk, with return current loops via the stellar surface. As a result, magnetic flux is added to the magnetospheric field in the northern and southern hemispheres with the disk current sheet as the boundary condition. This makes the star-disk system an astrophysical site where intense magnetic fields are generated through the rotational energy of the star. Angular momentum extraction from this star-disk system happens as the magnetic flux in the magnetosphere increases to the point that exceeds the current carrying capacity of the disk, leading to a mega scale magnetic eruption sending Poynting fluxes to space either isotropically or beamed.

HD far infrared emission as a measure of protoplanetary disk mass

HD far infrared emission as a measure of protoplanetary disk mass

Authors:


Trapman et al

Abstract:
Protoplanetary disks around young stars are the sites of planet formation. While the dust mass can be estimated using standard methods, determining the gas mass - and thus the amount of material available to form giant planets - has proven to be very difficult. Hydrogen deuteride (HD) is a promising alternative to the commonly-used gas mass tracer, CO. We aim to examine the robustness of HD as tracer of the disk gas mass, specifically the effect of gas mass on the HD FIR emission and its sensitivity to the vertical structure. Deuterium chemistry reactions relevant for HD were implemented in the thermochemical code DALI and models were run for a range of disk masses and vertical structures. The HD J=1-0 line intensity depends directly on the gas mass through a sublinear power law relation with a slope of ~0.8. Assuming no prior knowledge about the vertical structure of a disk and using only the HD 1-0 flux, gas masses can be estimated to within a factor of 2 for low mass disks (Mdisk<10 1.8="" 2-1="" 2016b="" 5="" 6="" a="" about="" adding="" al.="" all="" an="" and="" can="" constrain="" disk="" disks="" et="" factor="" for="" from="" future="" gas="" hd="" hya="" increases="" independent="" information="" kama="" line="" m="" magnitude.="" mass="" masses.="" massive="" mdisk="" more="" observations="" of="" or="" order="" power="" r="" radial="" reduce="" require="" resolving="" sensitivity="" spectral="" structure="" than="" the="" this="" to="" tw="" uncertainty="" using="" vertical="" w=""> 300 (1000) to detect HD 1-0 (HD 2-1) for all disk masses above 10−5 M⊙ with a line-to-continuum ratio > 0.01. These results show that HD can be used as an independent gas mass tracer with a relatively low uncertainty and should be considered as an important science goal for future FIR missions.

The maximum mass of planetary embryos formed in core-accretion models

The maximum mass of planetary embryos formed in core-accretion models 

Author:


Alibert

Abstract:

We compute the maximum mass a growing planetary embryo can reach depending on the size of accreted planetesimals or pebbles, to infer the possibility of growing the cores of giant planets, and giant planets themselves. We compute the internal structure of the gas envelope of planetary embryos, to determine the core mass that is necessary to bind an envelope large enough to destroy planetesimals or pebbles while they are gravitationally captured. We also consider the effect of the advection wind originating from the protoplanetary disk, following the results of Ormel et al. (2015). We show that for low mass pebbles, once the planetary embryo is larger than ~1 Mearth, the envelope is large enough to destroy and vaporize pebbles completely before they can reach the core. The material constituting pebbles is therefore released in the planetary envelope, and later on dispersed in the protoplanetary disk, if the advection wind is strong enough. As a consequence the growth of the planetary embryo is stopped at a mass that is so small that Kelvin-Helmholtz accretion cannot lead to the accretion of significant amounts of gas. For larger planetesimals, a similar process occurs but at much larger mass, of the order of ten Earth masses, and is followed by rapid accretion of gas. If the effect of the advection is as efficient as described in Ormel al. (2015), the combined effect of the vaporization of accreted solids in the envelope of forming planetary embryos, and of this advection wind, prevents the growth of the planets at masses smaller or similar to the Earth mass in the case of formation by pebble accretion, up to a distance of the order of 10 AU. In the case of formation by accretion of large mass planetesimals, the growth of the planetary core is limited at masses ~10 Mearth but further growth of the planet can proceed by gas accretion.

Friday, September 1, 2017

The effect of accretion on the pre-main-sequence evolution of low-mass stars and brown dwarfs

The effect of accretion on the pre-main-sequence evolution of low-mass stars and brown dwarfs

Authors:


Vorobyov et al

Abstract:
The pre-main-sequence evolution of low-mass stars and brown dwarfs is studied numerically starting from the formation of a protostellar/proto-brown dwarf seed and taking into account the mass accretion onto the central object during the initial several Myr of evolution. The stellar evolution was computed using the STELLAR evolution code developed by Yorke & Bodenheimer with recent modifications by Hosokawa et al. The mass accretion rates were taken from numerical hydrodynamics models of Vorobyov & Basu computing the circumstellar disk evolution starting from the gravitational collapse of pre-stellar cloud cores of various mass and angular momentum. The resulting stellar evolution tracks were compared with the isochrones and isomasses calculated using non-accreting models. We find that mass accretion in the initial several Myr of protostellar evolution can have a strong effect on the subsequent evolution of young stars and brown dwarfs. The disagreement between accreting and non-accreting models in terms of the total stellar luminosity L_st, stellar radius R_st and effective temperature T_eff depends on the thermal efficiency of accretion, i.e., on the fraction of accretion energy absorbed by the central object. The largest mismatch is found for the cold accretion case, in which essentially all accretion energy is radiated away. The relative deviations in L_st and R_st in this case can reach 50% for 1.0-Myr-old objects and remain notable even for 10-Myr-old objects. In the hot and hybrid accretion cases, in which a constant fraction of accretion energy is absorbed, the disagreement between accreting and non-accreting models becomes less pronounced, but still remains notable for 1.0-Myr-old objects. These disagreements may lead to the wrong age estimate for objects of (sub-)solar mass when using the isochrones based on non-accreting models .

The Y-Type Brown Dwarfs: Estimates of Mass and Age

The Y-Type Brown Dwarfs: Estimates of Mass and Age from New Astrometry, Homogenized Photometry and Near-Infrared Spectroscopy

Authors:


Leggett et al

Abstract:
The survey of the mid-infrared sky by the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) led to the discovery of extremely cold low-mass brown dwarfs, classified as Y dwarfs, which extend the T class to lower temperatures. Twenty-four Y dwarfs are known at the time of writing. Here we present improved parallaxes for four of these, determined using Spitzer images. We give new photometry for four late-type T and three Y dwarfs, and new spectra of three Y dwarfs, obtained at Gemini Observatory. We also present previously unpublished photometry taken from HST, ESO, Spitzer and WISE archives of 11 late-type T and 9 Y dwarfs. The near-infrared data are put on to the same photometric system, forming a homogeneous data set for the coolest brown dwarfs. We compare recent models to our photometric and spectroscopic data set. We confirm that non-equilibrium atmospheric chemistry is important for these objects. Non-equilibrium cloud-free models reproduce well the near-infrared spectra and mid-infrared photometry for the warmer Y dwarfs with 425 <= T_eff K <= 450. A small amount of cloud cover may improve the model fits in the near-infrared for the Y dwarfs with 325 <= T_eff K <= 375. Neither cloudy nor cloud-free models reproduce the near-infrared photometry for the T_eff = 250 K Y dwarf W0855. We use the mid-infrared region, where most of the flux originates, to constrain our models of W0855. We find that W0855 likely has a mass of 1.5 - 8 Jupiter masses and an age of 0.3 - 6 Gyr. The Y dwarfs with measured parallaxes are within 20 pc of the Sun and have tangential velocities typical of the thin disk. The metallicities and ages we derive for the sample are generally solar-like. We estimate that the known Y dwarfs are 3 to 20 Jupiter-mass objects with ages of 0.6 to 8.5 Gyr.

Brown Dward Binary Luhman 16AB Improved Orbit Data

Hubble Space Telescope astrometry of the closest brown dwarf binary system -- I. Overview and improved orbit

Authors:


Bedin et al

Abstract: 
Located at ~2pc, the L7.5+T0.5 dwarfs system WISE J104915.57-531906.1 (Luhman16AB) is the third closest system known to Earth, making it a key benchmark for detailed investigation of brown dwarf atmospheric properties, thermal evolution, multiplicity, and planet-hosting frequency. In the first study of this series -- based on a multi-cycle Hubble Space Telescope (HST) program -- we provide an overview of the project and present improved estimates of positions, proper motions, annual parallax, mass ratio, and the current best assessment of the orbital parameters of the A-B pair. Our HST observations encompass the apparent periastron of the binary at 220.5+/-0.2 mas at epoch 2016.402. Although our data seem to be inconsistent with recent ground-based astrometric measurements, we also exclude the presence of third bodies down to Neptune masses and periods longer than a year.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Free Floating Gas Giant OTS44 has a Circum Planetary Disk

First millimeter detection of the disk around a young, isolated, planetary-mass object

Authors:


Bayo et al

Abstract:


OTS44 is one of only four free-floating planets known to have a disk. We have previously shown that it is the coolest and least massive known free-floating planet (∼12 MJup) with a substantial disk that is actively accreting. We have obtained Band 6 (233 GHz) ALMA continuum data of this very young disk-bearing object. The data shows a clear unresolved detection of the source. We obtained disk-mass estimates via empirical correlations derived for young, higher-mass, central (substellar) objects. The range of values obtained are between 0.07 and 0.63 M⊕ (dust masses). We compare the properties of this unique disk with those recently reported around higher-mass (brown dwarfs) young objects in order to infer constraints on its mechanism of formation. While extreme assumptions on dust temperature yield disk-mass values that could slightly diverge from the general trends found for more massive brown dwarfs, a range of sensible values provide disk masses compatible with a unique scaling relation between Mdust and M∗ through the substellar domain down to planetary masses.

The Demographics of Rocky Free-floating Planets and their Detectability by WFIRST

The Demographics of Rocky Free-floating Planets and their Detectability by WFIRST

Authors:


Barclay et al

Abstract:

Planets are thought to form via accretion from a remnant disk of gas and solids around a newly formed star. During this process, material in the disk either remains bound to the star as part of either a planet, a smaller celestial body, or makes up part of the the interplanetary medium; falls into the star; or is ejected from the system. Herein we use dynamical models to probe the abundance and properties of ejected material during late-stage planet formation and estimate their contribution to the free-floating planet population. We present 300 N-body simulations of terrestrial planet formation around a solar-type star, with and without giant planets present, using a model that accounts for collisional fragmentation. In simulations with Jupiter and Saturn analogs, about one-third of the initial (~5 M ⊕) disk mass is ejected, about half in planets more massive than Mercury but with a mass lower than 0.3 M ⊕, and the remainder in smaller bodies. Most ejections occur within 25 Myr, which is shorter than the timescale typically required for Earth-mass planets to grow (30–100 Myr). When giant planets are omitted from our simulations, almost no material is ejected within 200 Myr and only about 1% of the initial disk is ejected by 2 Gyr. We show that about 2.5 terrestrial-mass planets are ejected per star in the Galaxy. We predict that the space-borne microlensing search for free-floating planets from the Wide-Field Infra-Red Space Telescope will discover up to 15 Mars-mass planets, but few free-floating Earth-mass planets.