WorldWideScience

Sample records for exoplanet system tres-3

  1. Near-UV and optical observations of the transiting exoplanet TrES-3b

    Science.gov (United States)

    Turner, Jake D.; Smart, Brianna M.; Hardegree-Ullman, Kevin K.; Carleton, Timothy M.; Walker-LaFollette, Amanda M.; Crawford, Benjamin E.; Smith, Carter-Thaxton W.; McGraw, Allison M.; Small, Lindsay C.; Rocchetto, Marco; Cunningham, Kathryn I.; Towner, Allison P. M.; Zellem, Robert; Robertson, Amy N.; Guvenen, Blythe C.; Schwarz, Kamber R.; Hardegree-Ullman, Emily E.; Collura, Daniel; Henz, Triana N.; Lejoly, Cassandra; Richardson, Logan L.; Weinand, Michael A.; Taylor, Joanna M.; Daugherty, Michael J.; Wilson, Ashley A.; Austin, Carmen L.

    2013-01-01

    We observed nine primary transits of the hot Jpiter TrES-3b in several optical and near-UV photometric bands from 2009 June to 2012 April in an attempt to detect its magnetic field. Vidotto, Jardine and Helling suggest that the magnetic field of TrES-3b can be constrained if its near-UV light curve shows an early ingress compared to its optical light curve, while its egress remains unaffected. Predicted magnetic field strengths of Jpiter-like planets should range between 8 G and 30 G. Using these magnetic field values and an assumed B* of 100 G, the Vidotto et al. method predicts a timing difference of 5-11 min. We did not detect an early ingress in our three nights of near-UV observations, despite an average cadence of 68 s and an average photometric precision of 3.7 mmag. However, we determined an upper limit of TrES-3b's magnetic field strength to range between 0.013 and 1.3 G (for a 1-100 G magnetic field strength range for the host star, TrES-3) using a timing difference of 138 s derived from the Nyquist-Shannon sampling theorem. To verify our results of an abnormally small magnetic field strength for TrES-3b and to further constrain the techniques of Vidotto et al., we propose future observations of TrES-3b with other platforms capable of achieving a shorter near-UV cadence. We also present a refinement of the physical parameters of TrES-3b, an updated ephemeris and its first published near-UV light curve. We find that the near-UV planetary radius of Rp = 1.386+ 0.248- 0.144 RJup is consistent with the planet's optical radius.

  2. Physical Properties of the Transiting Planetary System TrES-3

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lee, Jae Woo; Youn, Jae-Hyuck; Kim, Seung-Lee; Lee, Chung-Uk; Koo, Jae-Rim

    2011-02-01

    We present four new transits of the planetary system TrES-3 observed between 2009 May and 2010 June. Among these, the third transit by itself indicates possible evidence for brightness disturbance, which might be a result of the planet blocking a cool starspot on the stellar surface. A total of 109 transit times, including our measurements, were used to determine the improved ephemeris with a transit epoch of 2454185.910944±0.000072 HJED and an orbital period of 1.30618700±0.00000015 d. We analyzed the transit light curves using the JKTEBOP code and adopting the quadratic limb-darkening law. In order to derive the physical properties of the TrES-3 system, the transit parameters were combined with the empirical relations from eclipsing binary stars and stellar evolutionary models. The stellar mass and radius obtained from a calibration using TA, logρA, and [Fe/H] are consistent with those from an isochrone analysis. We found that the exoplanet TrES-3b has a mass of 1.93±0.07MJup, a radius of 1.30±0.04RJup, a surface gravity of log gb = 3.45±0.02, a density of 0.82±0.06ρJup, and an equilibrium temperature of 1641±23K. The results are in good agreement with theoretical models for gas giant planets.

  3. Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Seager, S.

    2010-12-01

    -mass planets and those further from the star. All in all, technology enables slow but sure progress, and this fuels ongoing discovery. Theory, like observations, also takes time to unfold and mature. We can anticipate an "ultimate" planet formation model similar to the "millenimum simulation" for galaxy formation and evolution. In time, incorporating detailed physics as well as being able to reproduce the generic outcome of planet populations (mass, radius, and orbital characteristics, including period) will enable a deeper understanding of planet formation and migration. Similarly, the ideal exoplanet atmosphere code of the future could be a three-dimensional Monte Carlo code that includes radiative transfer with inhomogeneous cloud coverage and surface features, a code that also solves for the temperature structure and combines with a hydrodynamical simulation to calculate the three-dimensional temperature and wind structure. Classical orbital mechanics, already reinvigorated by interesting exoplanet systems (e.g., planets in resonant orbits, hot Jupiter exoplanets that orbit in the direction opposite to the stellar rotation), also has a role to play in explaining fundamental mechanisms of how planetary system configurations came to be. Orbital dynamics modeling is driving the search for moons and other unseen planet companions by their perturbations on transiting planet signatures. Exoplanets is a unique science because it involves so many disciplines within and beyond planetary science and astrophysics. The other disciplines include geophysics, high-pressure mineral physics, quantum mechanics, chemistry, and even microbiology. While exoplanet observations clearly belong under the branch of astronomy, for many years the whole discipline of exoplanets lacked a true home. Physics departments have said "Exoplanets: It's interesting, but is it physics?" Planetary and Earth science departments used to collecting real data in their hands from Earth and in situ measurements from

  4. PLANETESIMAL COMPOSITIONS IN EXOPLANET SYSTEMS

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Johnson, Torrence V. [Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, 4800 Oak Grove Drive, Pasadena, CA 91109 (United States); Mousis, Olivier [Observatoire THETA, Institut UTINAM, UMR 6213 CNRS, Universite de Franche-Comte, BP 1615, F-25010 Besancon Cedex (France); Lunine, Jonathan I. [Center for Radiophysics and Space Research, Space Sciences Building, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853 (United States); Madhusudhan, Nikku, E-mail: torrence.v.johnson@jpl.nasa.gov [Yale Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Department of Physics, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06511 (United States)

    2012-10-01

    We have used recent surveys of the composition of exoplanet host stars to investigate the expected composition of condensed material in planetesimals formed beyond the snow line in the circumstellar nebulae of these systems. Of the major solid-forming elements, C and O abundances (and particularly the C/O abundance ratio) strongly affect the amounts of volatile ices and refractory phases in icy planetesimals formed in these systems. This results from these elements' effects on the partitioning of O among gas, refractory solid and ice phases in the final condensate. The calculations use a self-consistent model for the condensation sequence of volatile ices from the nebula gas after refractory (silicate and metal) phases have condensed. The resultant mass fractions (compared to the total condensate) of refractory phases and ices were calculated for a range of nebular temperature structures and redox conditions. Planetesimals in systems with sub-solar C/O should be water ice-rich, with lower than solar mass fractions of refractory materials, while in super-solar C/O systems planetesimals should have significantly higher mass fractions of refractories, in some cases having little or no water ice. C-bearing volatile ices and clathrates also become increasingly important with increasing C/O depending on the assumed nebular temperatures. These compositional variations in early condensates in the outer portions of the nebula will be significant for the equivalent of the Kuiper Belt in these systems, icy satellites of giant planets, and the enrichment (over stellar values) of volatiles and heavy elements in giant planet atmospheres.

  5. The science of exoplanets and their systems.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lammer, Helmut; Blanc, Michel; Benz, Willy; Fridlund, Malcolm; Foresto, Vincent Coudé du; Güdel, Manuel; Rauer, Heike; Udry, Stephane; Bonnet, Roger-Maurice; Falanga, Maurizio; Charbonneau, David; Helled, Ravit; Kley, Willy; Linsky, Jeffrey; Elkins-Tanton, Linda T; Alibert, Yann; Chassefière, Eric; Encrenaz, Therese; Hatzes, Artie P; Lin, Douglas; Liseau, Rene; Lorenzen, Winfried; Raymond, Sean N

    2013-09-01

    A scientific forum on "The Future Science of Exoplanets and Their Systems," sponsored by Europlanet and the International Space Science Institute (ISSI) and co-organized by the Center for Space and Habitability (CSH) of the University of Bern, was held during December 5 and 6, 2012, in Bern, Switzerland. It gathered 24 well-known specialists in exoplanetary, Solar System, and stellar science to discuss the future of the fast-expanding field of exoplanetary research, which now has nearly 1000 objects to analyze and compare and will develop even more quickly over the coming years. The forum discussions included a review of current observational knowledge, efforts for exoplanetary atmosphere characterization and their formation, water formation, atmospheric evolution, habitability aspects, and our understanding of how exoplanets interact with their stellar and galactic environment throughout their history. Several important and timely research areas of focus for further research efforts in the field were identified by the forum participants. These scientific topics are related to the origin and formation of water and its delivery to planetary bodies and the role of the disk in relation to planet formation, including constraints from observations as well as star-planet interaction processes and their consequences for atmosphere-magnetosphere environments, evolution, and habitability. The relevance of these research areas is outlined in this report, and possible themes for future ISSI workshops are identified that may be proposed by the international research community over the coming 2-3 years.

  6. Orbital Architectures of Dynamically Complex Exoplanet Systems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nelson, Benjamin E.

    2015-01-01

    The most powerful constraints on planet formation will come from characterizing the dynamical state of complex multi-planet systems. Unfortunately, with that complexity comes a number of factors that make analyzing these systems a computationally challenging endeavor: the sheer number of model parameters, a wonky shaped posterior distribution, and hundreds to thousands of time series measurements. We develop a differential evolution Markov chain Monte Carlo (RUN DMC) to tackle these difficult aspects of data analysis. We apply RUN DMC to two classic multi-planet systems from radial velocity surveys, 55 Cancri and GJ 876. For 55 Cancri, we find the inner-most planet "e" must be coplanar to within 40 degrees of the outer planets, otherwise Kozai-like perturbations will cause the planet's orbit to cross the stellar surface. We find the orbits of planets "b" and "c" are apsidally aligned and librating with low to median amplitude (50±610 degrees), but they are not orbiting in a mean-motion resonance. For GJ 876, we can meaningfully constrain the three-dimensional orbital architecture of all the planets based on the radial velocity data alone. By demanding orbital stability, we find the resonant planets have low mutual inclinations (Φ) so they must be roughly coplanar (Φcb = 1.41±0.620.57 degrees and Φbe = 3.87±1.991.86 degrees). The three-dimensional Laplace argument librates with an amplitude of 50.5±7.910.0 degrees, indicating significant past disk migration and ensuring long-term stability. These empirically derived models will provide new challenges for planet formation models and motivate the need for more sophisticated algorithms to analyze exoplanet data.

  7. A New Analysis of the Exoplanet Hosting System HD 6434

    OpenAIRE

    Hinkel, Natalie R.; Kane, Stephen R.; Pilyavsky, Genady; Boyajian, Tabetha S.; James, David J.; Naef, Dominique; Fischer, Debra A.; Udry, Stephane

    2015-01-01

    The current goal of exoplanetary science is not only focused on detecting but characterizing planetary systems in hopes of understanding how they formed, evolved, and relate to the Solar System. The Transit Ephemeris Refinement and Monitoring Survey (TERMS) combines both radial velocity (RV) and photometric data in order to achieve unprecedented ground-based precision in the fundamental properties of nearby, bright, exoplanet-hosting systems. Here we discuss HD 6434 and its planet, HD 6434b, ...

  8. Catalogue of Exoplanets in Multiple-Star-Systems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schwarz, Richard; Funk, Barbara; Bazsó, Ákos; Pilat-Lohinger, Elke

    2017-07-01

    Cataloguing the data of exoplanetary systems becomes more and more important, due to the fact that they conclude the observations and support the theoretical studies. Since 1995 there is a database which list most of the known exoplanets (The Extrasolar Planets Encyclopaedia is available at http://exoplanet.eu/ and described at Schneider et al. 2011). With the growing number of detected exoplanets in binary and multiple star systems it became more important to mark and to separate them into a new database. Therefore we started to compile a catalogue for binary and multiple star systems. Since 2013 the catalogue can be found at http://www.univie.ac.at/adg/schwarz/multiple.html (description can be found at Schwarz et al. 2016) which will be updated regularly and is linked to the Extrasolar Planets Encyclopaedia. The data of the binary catalogue can be downloaded as a file (.csv) and used for statistical purposes. Our database is divided into two parts: the data of the stars and the planets, given in a separate list. Every columns of the list can be sorted in two directions: ascending, meaning from the lowest value to the highest, or descending. In addition an introduction and help is also given in the menu bar of the catalogue including an example list.

  9. A Search for Exoplanets in Short-Period Binary Star Systems

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ronald Kaitchuck

    2012-03-01

    Full Text Available This paper reports the progress of a search for exoplanets with S-type orbits in short-period binary star systems. The selected targets have stellar orbital periods of just a few days. These systems are eclipsing binaries so that exoplanet transits, if planets exist, will be highly likely. We report the results for seven binary star systems.

  10. Ground-based observations of exoplanet atmospheres

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Mooij, Ernst Johan Walter de

    2011-01-01

    This thesis focuses on the properties of exoplanet atmospheres. The results for ground-based near-infrared secondary eclipse observations of three different exoplanets, TrES-3b, HAT-P-1b and WASP-33b, are presented which have been obtained with ground-based telescopes as part of the GROUSE project.

  11. Exoplanet orbital eccentricity: multiplicity relation and the Solar System.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Limbach, Mary Anne; Turner, Edwin L

    2015-01-06

    The known population of exoplanets exhibits a much wider range of orbital eccentricities than Solar System planets and has a much higher average eccentricity. These facts have been widely interpreted to indicate that the Solar System is an atypical member of the overall population of planetary systems. We report here on a strong anticorrelation of orbital eccentricity with multiplicity (number of planets in the system) among cataloged radial velocity (RV) systems. The mean, median, and rough distribution of eccentricities of Solar System planets fits an extrapolation of this anticorrelation to the eight-planet case rather precisely despite the fact that no more than two Solar System planets would be detectable with RV data comparable to that in the exoplanet sample. Moreover, even if regarded as a single or double planetary system, the Solar System lies in a reasonably heavily populated region of eccentricity-multiplicity space. Thus, the Solar System is not anomalous among known exoplanetary systems with respect to eccentricities when its multiplicity is taken into account. Specifically, as the multiplicity of a system increases, the eccentricity decreases roughly as a power law of index -1.20. A simple and plausible but ad hoc and model-dependent interpretation of this relationship implies that ∼ 80% of the one-planet and 25% of the two-planet systems in our sample have additional, as yet undiscovered, members but that systems of higher observed multiplicity are largely complete (i.e., relatively rarely contain additional undiscovered planets). If low eccentricities indeed favor high multiplicities, habitability may be more common in systems with a larger number of planets.

  12. Exoplanet orbital eccentricity: Multiplicity relation and the Solar System

    Science.gov (United States)

    Limbach, Mary Anne; Turner, Edwin L.

    2015-01-01

    The known population of exoplanets exhibits a much wider range of orbital eccentricities than Solar System planets and has a much higher average eccentricity. These facts have been widely interpreted to indicate that the Solar System is an atypical member of the overall population of planetary systems. We report here on a strong anticorrelation of orbital eccentricity with multiplicity (number of planets in the system) among cataloged radial velocity (RV) systems. The mean, median, and rough distribution of eccentricities of Solar System planets fits an extrapolation of this anticorrelation to the eight-planet case rather precisely despite the fact that no more than two Solar System planets would be detectable with RV data comparable to that in the exoplanet sample. Moreover, even if regarded as a single or double planetary system, the Solar System lies in a reasonably heavily populated region of eccentricity−multiplicity space. Thus, the Solar System is not anomalous among known exoplanetary systems with respect to eccentricities when its multiplicity is taken into account. Specifically, as the multiplicity of a system increases, the eccentricity decreases roughly as a power law of index –1.20. A simple and plausible but ad hoc and model-dependent interpretation of this relationship implies that ∼80% of the one-planet and 25% of the two-planet systems in our sample have additional, as yet undiscovered, members but that systems of higher observed multiplicity are largely complete (i.e., relatively rarely contain additional undiscovered planets). If low eccentricities indeed favor high multiplicities, habitability may be more common in systems with a larger number of planets. PMID:25512527

  13. High Contrast Imaging of Exoplanets and Exoplanetary Systems with JWST

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hinkley, Sasha; Skemer, Andrew; Biller, Beth; Baraffe, I.; Bonnefoy, M.; Bowler, B.; Carter, A.; Chen, C.; Choquet, E.; Currie, T.; Danielski, C.; Fortney, J.; Grady, C.; Greenbaum, A.; Hines, D.; Janson, M.; Kalas, P.; Kennedy, G.; Kraus, A.; Lagrange, A.; Liu, M.; Marley, M.; Marois, C.; Matthews, B.; Mawet, D.; Metchev, S.; Meyer, M.; Millar-Blanchaer, M.; Perrin, M.; Pueyo, L.; Quanz, S.; Rameau, J.; Rodigas, T.; Sallum, S.; Sargent, B.; Schlieder, J.; Schneider, G.; Stapelfeldt, K.; Tremblin, P.; Vigan, A.; Ygouf, M.

    2017-11-01

    JWST will transform our ability to characterize directly imaged planets and circumstellar debris disks, including the first spectroscopic characterization of directly imaged exoplanets at wavelengths beyond 5 microns, providing a powerful diagnostic of cloud particle properties, atmospheric structure, and composition. To lay the groundwork for these science goals, we propose a 39-hour ERS program to rapidly establish optimal strategies for JWST high contrast imaging. We will acquire: a) coronagraphic imaging of a newly discovered exoplanet companion, and a well-studied circumstellar debris disk with NIRCam & MIRI; b) spectroscopy of a wide separation planetary mass companion with NIRSPEC & MIRI; and c) deep aperture masking interferometry with NIRISS. Our primary goals are to: 1) generate representative datasets in modes to be commonly used by the exoplanet and disk imaging communities; 2) deliver science enabling products to empower a broad user base to develop successful future investigations; and 3) carry out breakthrough science by characterizing exoplanets for the first time over their full spectral range from 2-28 microns, and debris disk spectrophotometry out to 15 microns sampling the 3 micron water ice feature. Our team represents the majority of the community dedicated to exoplanet and disk imaging and has decades of experience with high contrast imaging algorithms and pipelines. We have developed a collaboration management plan and several organized working groups to ensure we can rapidly and effectively deliver high quality Science Enabling Products to the community.

  14. Statistical and dynamical remastering of classic exoplanet systems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nelson, Benjamin Earl

    The most powerful constraints on planet formation will come from characterizing the dynamical state of complex multi-planet systems. Unfortunately, with that complexity comes a number of factors that make analyzing these systems a computationally challenging endeavor: the sheer number of model parameters, a wonky shaped posterior distribution, and hundreds to thousands of time series measurements. In this dissertation, I will review our efforts to improve the statistical analyses of radial velocity (RV) data and their applications to some renown, dynamically complex exoplanet system. In the first project (Chapters 2 and 4), we develop a differential evolution Markov chain Monte Carlo (RUN DMC) algorithm to tackle the aforementioned difficult aspects of data analysis. We test the robustness of the algorithm in regards to the number of modeled planets (model dimensionality) and increasing dynamical strength. We apply RUN DMC to a couple classic multi-planet systems and one highly debated system from radial velocity surveys. In the second project (Chapter 5), we analyze RV data of 55 Cancri, a wide binary system known to harbor five planetary orbiting the primary. We find the inner-most planet "e" must be coplanar to within 40 degrees of the outer planets, otherwise Kozai-like perturbations will cause the planet to enter the stellar photosphere through its periastron passage. We find the orbits of planets "b" and "c" are apsidally aligned and librating with low to median amplitude (50+/-6 10 degrees), but they are not orbiting in a mean-motion resonance. In the third project (Chapters 3, 4, 6), we analyze RV data of Gliese 876, a four planet system with three participating in a multi-body resonance, i.e. a Laplace resonance. From a combined observational and statistical analysis computing Bayes factors, we find a four-planet model is favored over one with three-planets. Conditioned on this preferred model, we meaningfully constrain the three-dimensional orbital

  15. Exoplanet habitability.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Seager, Sara

    2013-05-03

    The search for exoplanets includes the promise to eventually find and identify habitable worlds. The thousands of known exoplanets and planet candidates are extremely diverse in terms of their masses or sizes, orbits, and host star type. The diversity extends to new kinds of planets, which are very common yet have no solar system counterparts. Even with the requirement that a planet's surface temperature must be compatible with liquid water (because all life on Earth requires liquid water), a new emerging view is that planets very different from Earth may have the right conditions for life. The broadened possibilities will increase the future chances of discovering an inhabited world.

  16. A Model for Astrometric Detection and Characterization of Multi-Exoplanet Systems

    Science.gov (United States)

    April Thompson, Maggie; Spergel, David N.

    2017-01-01

    In this thesis, we develop an approximate linear model of stellar motion in multi- planet systems as an aid to observers using the astrometric method to detect and characterize exoplanets. Recent and near-term advances in satellite and ground-based instruments are on the threshold of achieving sufficient (~10 micro-arcsecond) angular accuracies to allow astronomers to measure and analyze the transverse mo- tion of stars about the common barycenter in single- and multi-planet systems due to the gravitational influence of companion planets. Given the emerging statistics of extrasolar planetary systems and the long observation periods required to assess exoplanet influences, astronomers should find an approximate technique for preliminary estimates of multiple planet numbers, masses and orbital parameters useful in determining the most likely stellar systems for follow-up studies. In this paper, we briefly review the history of astrometry and discuss its advantages and limitations in exoplanet research. In addition, we define the principal astrometric signature and describe the main variables affecting it, highlighting astrometry’s complementary role to radial velocity and photometric transit exoplanet detection techniques. We develop and test a Python computer code using actual data and projections of the Sun’s motion due to the influence of the four gas giants in the solar system. We then apply this model to over 50 hypothetical massive two- and three-exoplanet systems to discover useful general patterns by employing a heuristic examination of key aspects of the host star’s motion over long observation intervals. Finally, we modify the code by incorporating an inverse least-squares fit program to assess its efficiency in identifying the main characteristics of multi-planet systems based on observational records over 5-, 10- and 20-year periods for a variety of actual and hypothetical exoplanetary systems. We also explore the method’s sensitivity to

  17. Atmospheric Circulation of Exoplanets

    OpenAIRE

    Showman, Adam P.; Cho, James Y-K.; Menou, Kristen

    2009-01-01

    We survey the basic principles of atmospheric dynamics relevant to explaining existing and future observations of exoplanets, both gas giant and terrestrial. Given the paucity of data on exoplanet atmospheres, our approach is to emphasize fundamental principles and insights gained from Solar-System studies that are likely to be generalizable to exoplanets. We begin by presenting the hierarchy of basic equations used in atmospheric dynamics, including the Navier-Stokes, primitive, shallow-wate...

  18. Exoplanets Detection, Formation, Properties, Habitability

    CERN Document Server

    Mason, John W

    2008-01-01

    This edited, multi-author volume will be an invaluable introduction and reference to all key aspects in the field of exoplanet research. The reviews cover: Detection methods and properties of known exoplanets, Detection of extrasolar planets by gravitational microlensing. The formation and evolution of terrestrial planets in protoplanetary and debris disks. The brown dwarf-exoplanet connection. Formation, migration mechanisms and properties of hot Jupiters. Dynamics of multiple exoplanet systems. Doppler exoplanet surveys. Searching for exoplanets in the stellar graveyard. Formation and habitability of extra solar planets in multiple star systems. Exoplanet habitats and the possibilities for life. Moons of exoplanets: habitats for life. Contributing authors: •Rory Barnes •David P. Bennett •Jian Ge •Nader Haghighipour •Patrick Irwin •Hugh Jones •Victoria Meadows •Stanimir Metchev •I. Neill Reid •George Rieke •Caleb Scharf •Steinn Sigurdsson

  19. Planet–Planet Occultations in TRAPPIST-1 and Other Exoplanet Systems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Luger, Rodrigo; Lustig-Yaeger, Jacob; Agol, Eric

    2017-12-01

    We explore the occurrence and detectability of planet–planet occultations (PPOs) in exoplanet systems. These are events during which a planet occults the disk of another planet in the same system, imparting a small photometric signal as its thermal or reflected light is blocked. We focus on the planets in TRAPPIST-1, whose orbital planes we show are aligned to https://github.com/rodluger/planetplanet).

  20. Exoplanet Update

    Science.gov (United States)

    Johnson, John

    2011-04-01

    In the years since 1995, our knowledge of planetary systems has grown from a sample of one to a diverse collection of more than 500 planets around other stars. Discoveries to date have revealed a surprising diversity of planetary systems, including "hot Jupiters" in 1-day orbits, planets in retrograde orbits, and "super Earths" with masses intermediate to those of the Earth and Neptune. I will present an overview of the motivation behind the study of exoplanets, how astronomers hunt for planets around other stars, and what we have learned about planet formation in general, and the origins of our Solar System in general.

  1. Characterising exoplanet atmospheres with SPHERE: the HR 8799 system with Exo-REM and NEMESIS

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baudino, J.-L.; Bonnefoy, M.; Vigan, A.; Irwin, P. J.

    2017-12-01

    The characterisation of the exoplanets evolved recently thanks to the beginning of the second generation of direct imaging instruments, especially with SPHERE. The resolution and wavelength range available currently give access to an increase of accuracy and on the number of physical parameters that can be constrain. One of the first target of SPHERE was the HR 8799 system. The four planets was characterised using four different forward models including Exo-REM. We complete this paper buy using NEMESIS, a retrieval code.

  2. Asteroseismic determination of obliquities of the exoplanet systems Kepler-50 and Kepler-65

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Chaplin, W. J.; Sanchis-Ojeda, R.; Campante, T. L.

    2013-01-01

    Results on the obliquity of exoplanet host stars - the angle between the stellar spin axis and the planetary orbital axis - provide important diagnostic information for theories describing planetary formation. Here we present the first application of asteroseismology to the problem of stellar...... arguments to show that coplanar orbits are favored in both systems, and that the orientations of the planetary orbits and the stellar rotation axis are correlated....

  3. Fully determined scaling laws for volumetrically heated convective systems, a tool for assessing habitability of exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vilella, Kenny; Kaminski, Edouard

    2017-05-01

    The long-term habitability of a planet rises from its ability to generate and maintain an atmosphere through partial melting and volcanism. This question has been mainly addressed in the framework of plate tectonics, which may be too specific to apply to the wide range of internal dynamics expected for exoplanets, and even to the thermal evolution of the early Earth. Here we propose a more general theoretical approach of convection to build a regime diagram giving the conditions for partial melting to occur, in planetary bodies, as a function of key parameters that can be estimated for exoplanets, their size and internal heating rate. To that aim, we introduce a refined view of the Thermal Boundary Layer (TBL) in a convective system heated from within, that focuses on the temperature and thickness of the TBL at the top of the hottest temperature profiles, along which partial melting shall first occur. This ;Hottest Thermal Boundary Layer; (HotTBL) is first characterized using fully theoretical scaling laws based on the dynamics of thermal boundary layers. These laws are the first ones proposed in the literature that do not rely on empirical determinations of dimensionless constants and that apply to both low Rayleigh and high Rayleigh convective regimes. We show that the scaling laws can be successfully applied to planetary bodies by comparing their predictions to full numerical simulations of the Moon. We then use the scaling laws to build a regime diagram for exoplanets. Combined with estimates of internal heating in exoplanets, the regime diagram predicts that in the habitable zone partial melting occurs in planets younger than the Earth.

  4. Constraints on Exoplanet System Architectures from Debris Disks

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jang-Condell, Hannah; Chen, Christine H.; Mittal, Tushar; Nesvold, Erika; Kuchner, Marc J.; Manoj, P.; Watson, Dan; Lisse, Carey M.

    2015-12-01

    Debris disks are dusty disks around main sequence stars. Terrestrial planets may be forming in young debris disks with ages structure of debris disks could be an indicator of where planets have formed. We present an analysis of several members of the Scorpius-Centaurus OB Association (Sco Cen) that host both debris disks and planets, including HD 95086, HD 106906, and HD 133803. These objects are about 15-17 Myr old. The thermal emission from the debris disks constrains the locations of the dust. The dust is typically interior to the directly imaged planets in the systems. If additional planets reside in these systems, their locations are constrained by the positions of the dust belts. Many debris disk systems in Sco Cen appear to be two-belt systems. The gap between the belts in each system is a likely location for additional planets. The detection of planets in debris disk systems provide clues about the planet formation process, giving insights into where, when and how planets form.

  5. Geology and photometric variation of solar system bodies with minor atmospheres: implications for solid exoplanets.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fujii, Yuka; Kimura, Jun; Dohm, James; Ohtake, Makiko

    2014-09-01

    A reasonable basis for future astronomical investigations of exoplanets lies in our best knowledge of the planets and satellites in the Solar System. Solar System bodies exhibit a wide variety of surface environments, even including potential habitable conditions beyond Earth, and it is essential to know how they can be characterized from outside the Solar System. In this study, we provide an overview of geological features of major Solar System solid bodies with minor atmospheres (i.e., the terrestrial Moon, Mercury, the Galilean moons, and Mars) that affect surface albedo at local to global scale, and we survey how they influence point-source photometry in the UV/visible/near IR (i.e., the reflection-dominant range). We simulate them based on recent mapping products and also compile observed light curves where available. We show a 5-50% peak-to-trough variation amplitude in one spin rotation associated with various geological processes including heterogeneous surface compositions due to igneous activities, interaction with surrounding energetic particles, and distribution of grained materials. Some indications of these processes are provided by the amplitude and wavelength dependence of variation in combinations of the time-averaged spectra. We also estimate the photometric precision needed to detect their spin rotation rates through periodogram analysis. Our survey illustrates realistic possibilities for inferring the detailed properties of solid exoplanets with future direct imaging observations. Key Words: Planetary environments-Planetary geology-Solar System-Extrasolar terrestrial planets.

  6. Exoplanets Galore!

    Science.gov (United States)

    2000-05-01

    Eight New Very Low-Mass Companions to Solar-Type Stars Discovered at La Silla The intensive and exciting hunt for planets around other stars ("exoplanets") is continuing with great success in both hemispheres. Today, a team of astronomers of the Geneva Observatory [1] are announcing the discovery of no less than eight new, very-low mass companions to solar-type stars. The masses of these objects range from less than that of planet Saturn to about 15 times that of Jupiter. The new results were obtained by means of high-precision radial-velocity measurements with the CORALIE spectrometer at the Swiss 1.2-m Leonhard Euler telescope at the ESO La Silla Observatory. An earlier account of this research programme is available as ESO Press Release 18/98. Recent views of this telescope and its dome are available below as PR Photos 13a-c/00. This observational method is based on the detection of changes in the velocity of the central star , due to the changing direction of the gravitational pull from an (unseen) exoplanet as it orbits the star. The evaluation of the measured velocity variations allows to deduce the planet's orbit , in particular the period and the distance from the star, as well as a minimum mass [2]. The characteristics of the new objects are quite diverse. While six of them are most likely bona-fide exoplanets , two are apparently very low-mass brown-dwarfs (objects of sub-stellar mass without a nuclear energy source in their interior). From the first discovery of an exoplanet around the star 51 Pegasi in 1995 (by Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz of the present team), the exoplanet count is now already above 40. "The present discoveries complete and enlarge our still preliminary knowledge of extra-solar planetary systems, as well as the transition between planets and `brown dwarfs'" , say Mayor and Queloz, on behalf of the Swiss team. An overview of the new objects ESO PR Photo 12/00 ESO PR Photo 12/00 [Preview - JPEG: 400 x 242 pix - 76k] [Normal - JPEG

  7. ASTEROSEISMIC DETERMINATION OF OBLIQUITIES OF THE EXOPLANET SYSTEMS KEPLER-50 AND KEPLER-65

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Chaplin, W. J.; Campante, T. L.; Davies, G. R.; Elsworth, Y.; Hekker, S. [School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT (United Kingdom); Sanchis-Ojeda, R.; Winn, J. N. [Department of Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139 (United States); Handberg, R.; Christensen-Dalsgaard, J.; Karoff, C. [Stellar Astrophysics Centre (SAC), Department of Physics and Astronomy, Aarhus University, Ny Munkegade 120, DK-8000 Aarhus C (Denmark); Stello, D.; Bedding, T. R. [Sydney Institute for Astronomy, School of Physics, University of Sydney, Sydney (Australia); Basu, S.; Fischer, D. A. [Department and Astronomy, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520 (United States); Metcalfe, T. S. [White Dwarf Research Corporation, Boulder, CO 80301 (United States); Buchhave, L. A. [Niels Bohr Institute, Copenhagen University, DK-2100 Copenhagen (Denmark); Cochran, W. D. [McDonald Observatory, The University of Texas, Austin, TX 78712 (United States); Gilliland, R. L. [Center for Exoplanets and Habitable Worlds, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802 (United States); Huber, D. [NASA Ames Research Center, MS 244-30, Moffett Field, CA 94035 (United States); Isaacson, H. [Department of Astronomy, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720 (United States); and others

    2013-04-01

    Results on the obliquity of exoplanet host stars-the angle between the stellar spin axis and the planetary orbital axis-provide important diagnostic information for theories describing planetary formation. Here we present the first application of asteroseismology to the problem of stellar obliquity determination in systems with transiting planets and Sun-like host stars. We consider two systems observed by the NASA Kepler mission which have multiple transiting small (super-Earth sized) planets: the previously reported Kepler-50 and a new system, Kepler-65, whose planets we validate in this paper. Both stars show rich spectra of solar-like oscillations. From the asteroseismic analysis we find that each host has its rotation axis nearly perpendicular to the line of sight with the sines of the angles constrained at the 1{sigma} level to lie above 0.97 and 0.91, respectively. We use statistical arguments to show that coplanar orbits are favored in both systems, and that the orientations of the planetary orbits and the stellar rotation axis are correlated.

  8. The exoplanet handbook

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Perryman, M. A. C

    2011-01-01

    .... It treats the many different techniques now available for exoplanet detection and characterisation, the broad range of underlying physics, the overlap with related topics in solar system and Earth sciences, and the concepts underpinning future developments. It emphasises the interconnection between the various topics, and provides extensive refe...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bean, Jacob L.; Abbot, Dorian S.; Kempton, Eliza M.-R.

    2017-06-01

    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 rigorous development of experiments that can deliver a definitive advancement 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 in this area.

  10. Atmospheric Circulation of Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Showman, A. P.; Cho, J. Y.-K.; Menou, K.

    2010-12-01

    We survey the basic principles of atmospheric dynamics relevant to explaining existing and future observations of exoplanets, both gas giant and terrestrial. Given the paucity of data on exoplanet atmospheres, our approach is to emphasize fundamental principles and insights gained from solar system studies that are likely to be generalizable to exoplanets. We begin by presenting the hierarchy of basic equations used in atmospheric dynamics, including the Navier-Stokes, primitive, shallow-water, and two-dimensional nondivergent models. We then survey key concepts in atmospheric dynamics, including the importance of planetary rotation, the concept of balance, and simple scaling arguments to show how turbulent interactions generally produce large-scale east-west banding on rotating planets. We next turn to issues specific to giant planets, including their expected interior and atmospheric thermal structures, the implications for their wind patterns, and mechanisms to pump their east-west jets. Hot Jupiter atmospheric dynamics are given particular attention, as these close-in planets have been the subject of most of the concrete developments in the study of exoplanetary atmospheres. We then turn to the basic elements of circulation on terrestrial planets as inferred from solar system studies, including Hadley cells, jet streams, processes that govern the large-scale horizontal temperature contrasts, and climate, and we discuss how these insights may apply to terrestrial exoplanets. Although exoplanets surely possess a greater diversity of circulation regimes than seen on the planets in our solar system, our guiding philosophy is that the multidecade study of solar system planets reviewed here provides a foundation upon which our understanding of more exotic exoplanetary meteorology must build.

  11. Transmission spectroscopy of the hot Jupiter TrES-3 b: Disproof of an overly large Rayleigh-like feature

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mackebrandt, F.; Mallonn, M.; Ohlert, J. M.; Granzer, T.; Lalitha, S.; García Muñoz, A.; Gibson, N. P.; Lee, J. W.; Sozzetti, A.; Turner, J. D.; Vaňko, M.; Strassmeier, K. G.

    2017-12-01

    Context. Transit events of extrasolar planets offer the opportunity to study the composition of their atmospheres. Previous work on transmission spectroscopy of the close-in gas giant (TrES)-3 b revealed an increase in absorption towards blue wavelengths of very large amplitude in terms of atmospheric pressure scale heights, too large to be explained by Rayleigh-scattering in the planetary atmosphere. Aims: We present a follow-up study of the optical transmission spectrum of the hot Jupiter TrES-3 b to investigate the strong increase in opacity towards short wavelengths found by a previous study. Furthermore, we aim to estimate the effect of stellar spots on the transmission spectrum. Methods: This work uses previously published long slit spectroscopy transit data of the Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC) and published broad band observations as well as new observations in different bands from the near-UV to the near-IR, for a homogeneous transit light curve analysis. Additionally, a long-term photometric monitoring of the TrES-3 host star was performed. Results: Our newly analysed GTC spectroscopic transit observations show a slope of much lower amplitude than previous studies. We conclude from our results the previously reported increasing signal towards short wavelengths is not intrinsic to the TrES-3 system. Furthermore, the broad band spectrum favours a flat spectrum. Long-term photometric monitoring rules out a significant modification of the transmission spectrum by unocculted star spots. Based on (1) data obtained with the STELLA robotic telescopes in Tenerife, an AIP facility jointly operated by AIP and IAC, (2) observations collected at the German-Spanish Astronomical Center, Calar Alto, jointly operated by the Max-Planck-Institut für Astronomie Heidelberg and the Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía (CSIC) and (3) observations made with the Italian Telescopio Nazionale Galileo (TNG) operated on the island of La Palma by the Fundación Galileo Galilei of

  12. Ammonia, Water Clouds and Methane Abundances of Giant Exoplanets and Opportunities for Super-Earth Exoplanets

    OpenAIRE

    Hu, Renyu

    2014-01-01

    Future direct-imaging exoplanet missions such as WFIRST/AFTA, Exo-C, and Exo-S will measure the reflectivity of exoplanets at visible wavelengths. The exoplanets to be observed will be located further away from their parent stars than is Earth from the Sun. These "cold" exoplanets have atmospheric environments conducive for the formation of water and/or ammonia clouds, like Jupiter in the Solar System. We study the science return from direct-imaging exoplanet missions, focusing on the exoplan...

  13. Prediction of novel stable compounds in the Mg-Si-O system under exoplanet pressures

    Science.gov (United States)

    Niu, Haiyang; Oganov, Artem R.; Chen, Xing-Qiu; Li, Dianzhong

    2015-12-01

    The Mg-Si-O system is the major Earth and rocky planet-forming system. Here, through quantum variable-composition evolutionary structure explorations, we have discovered several unexpected stable binary and ternary compounds in the Mg-Si-O system. Besides the well-known SiO2 phases, we have found two extraordinary silicon oxides, SiO3 and SiO, which become stable at pressures above 0.51 TPa and 1.89 TPa, respectively. In the Mg-O system, we have found one new compound, MgO3, which becomes stable at 0.89 TPa. We find that not only the (MgO)x·(SiO2)y compounds, but also two (MgO3)x·(SiO3)y compounds, MgSi3O12 and MgSiO6, have stability fields above 2.41 TPa and 2.95 TPa, respectively. The highly oxidized MgSi3O12 can form in deep mantles of mega-Earths with masses above 20 M⊕ (M⊕:Earth’s mass). Furthermore, the dissociation pathways of pPv-MgSiO3 are also clarified, and found to be different at low and high temperatures. The low-temperature pathway is MgSiO3 ⇒ Mg2SiO4 + MgSi2O5 ⇒ SiO2 + Mg2SiO4 ⇒ MgO + SiO2, while the high-temperature pathway is MgSiO3 ⇒ Mg2SiO4 + MgSi2O5 ⇒ MgO + MgSi2O5 ⇒ MgO + SiO2. Present results are relevant for models of the internal structure of giant exoplanets, and for understanding the high-pressure behavior of materials.

  14. 32 New Exoplanets Found

    Science.gov (United States)

    2009-10-01

    oday, at an international ESO/CAUP exoplanet conference in Porto, the team who built the High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Searcher, better known as HARPS, the spectrograph for ESO's 3.6-metre telescope, reports on the incredible discovery of some 32 new exoplanets, cementing HARPS's position as the world's foremost exoplanet hunter. This result also increases the number of known low-mass planets by an impressive 30%. Over the past five years HARPS has spotted more than 75 of the roughly 400 or so exoplanets now known. "HARPS is a unique, extremely high precision instrument that is ideal for discovering alien worlds," says Stéphane Udry, who made the announcement. "We have now completed our initial five-year programme, which has succeeded well beyond our expectations." The latest batch of exoplanets announced today comprises no less than 32 new discoveries. Including these new results, data from HARPS have led to the discovery of more than 75 exoplanets in 30 different planetary systems. In particular, thanks to its amazing precision, the search for small planets, those with a mass of a few times that of the Earth - known as super-Earths and Neptune-like planets - has been given a dramatic boost. HARPS has facilitated the discovery of 24 of the 28 planets known with masses below 20 Earth masses. As with the previously detected super-Earths, most of the new low-mass candidates reside in multi-planet systems, with up to five planets per system. In 1999, ESO launched a call for opportunities to build a high resolution, extremely precise spectrograph for the ESO 3.6-metre telescope at La Silla, Chile. Michel Mayor, from the Geneva Observatory, led a consortium to build HARPS, which was installed in 2003 and was soon able to measure the back-and-forward motions of stars by detecting small changes in a star's radial velocity - as small as 3.5 km/hour, a steady walking pace. Such a precision is crucial for the discovery of exoplanets and the radial velocity method

  15. Sciences for Exoplanets and Planetary Systems : web sites and E-learning

    Science.gov (United States)

    Roques, F.; Balança, C.; Bénilan, Y.; Griessmeier, J. M.; Marcq, E.; Navarro, T.; Renner, S.; Schneider, J.; Schott, C.

    2015-10-01

    The websites « Sciences pour les Exoplanètes et les Systèmes Planétaires » (SESP) and « Exoplanètes » have been created in the context of the LabEx ESEP (Laboratoire d'excellence Exploration Spatiale des Environnements Planétaires) [1]. They present planetary and exoplanetary sciences with courses, interactive tools, and a didactic catalogue connected to the Encyclopedia http://exoplanet.eu [2]. These resources are directed towards undergraduate level. They will be used as support for face-to-face courses and self-training. In the future, we will translate some contents into English and create e-learning degree courses.

  16. Lightest exoplanet yet discovered

    Science.gov (United States)

    2009-04-01

    Well-known exoplanet researcher Michel Mayor today announced the discovery of the lightest exoplanet found so far. The planet, "e", in the famous system Gliese 581, is only about twice the mass of our Earth. The team also refined the orbit of the planet Gliese 581 d, first discovered in 2007, placing it well within the habitable zone, where liquid water oceans could exist. These amazing discoveries are the outcome of more than four years of observations using the most successful low-mass-exoplanet hunter in the world, the HARPS spectrograph attached to the 3.6-metre ESO telescope at La Silla, Chile. ESO PR Photo 15a/09 Artist's impression of Gliese 581 e ESO PR Photo 15b/09 A planet in the habitable zone ESO PR Video 15a/09 ESOcast 6 ESO PR Video 15b/09 VNR A-roll ESO PR Video 15c/09 Zoom-in on Gliese 581 e ESO PR Video 15d/09 Artist's impression of Gliese 581 e ESO PR Video 15e/09 Artist's impression of Gliese 581 d ESO PR Video 15f/09 Artist's impression of Gliese 581 system ESO PR Video 15g/09 The radial velocity method ESO PR Video 15h/09 Statement in English ESO PR Video 15i/09 Statement in French ESO PR Video 15j/09 La Silla Observatory "The holy grail of current exoplanet research is the detection of a rocky, Earth-like planet in the ‘habitable zone' -- a region around the host star with the right conditions for water to be liquid on a planet's surface", says Michel Mayor from the Geneva Observatory, who led the European team to this stunning breakthrough. Planet Gliese 581 e orbits its host star - located only 20.5 light-years away in the constellation Libra ("the Scales") -- in just 3.15 days. "With only 1.9 Earth-masses, it is the least massive exoplanet ever detected and is, very likely, a rocky planet", says co-author Xavier Bonfils from Grenoble Observatory. Being so close to its host star, the planet is not in the habitable zone. But another planet in this system appears to be. From previous observations -- also obtained with the HARPS spectrograph

  17. Isotope Geochemistry for Comparative Planetology of Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mandt, K. E.; Atreya, S.; Luspay-Kuti, A.; Mousis, O.; Simon, A.; Hofstadter, M. D.

    2017-01-01

    Isotope geochemistry has played a critical role in understanding processes at work in and the history of solar system bodies. Application of these techniques to exoplanets would be revolutionary and would allow comparative planetology with the formation and evolution of exoplanet systems. The roadmap for comparative planetology of the origins and workings of exoplanets involves isotopic geochemistry efforts in three areas: (1) technology development to expand observations of the isotopic composition of solar system bodies and expand observations to isotopic composition of exoplanet atmospheres; (2) theoretical modeling of how isotopes fractionate and the role they play in evolution of exoplanetary systems, atmospheres, surfaces and interiors; and (3) laboratory studies to constrain isotopic fractionation due to processes at work throughout the solar system.

  18. Exoplanets and Multiverses (Abstract)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Trimble, V.

    2016-12-01

    (Abstract only) To the ancients, the Earth was the Universe, of a size to be crossed by a god in a day, by boat or chariot, and by humans in a lifetime. Thus an exoplanet would have been a multiverse. The ideas gradually separated over centuries, with gradual acceptance of a sun-centered solar system, the stars as suns likely to have their own planets, other galaxies beyond the Milky Way, and so forth. And whenever the community divided between "just one' of anything versus "many," the "manies" have won. Discoveries beginning in 1991 and 1995 have gradually led to a battalion or two of planets orbiting other stars, very few like our own little family, and to moderately serious consideration of even larger numbers of other universes, again very few like our own. I'm betting, however, on habitable (though not necessarily inhabited) exoplanets to be found, and habitable (though again not necessarily inhabited) universes. Only the former will yield pretty pictures.

  19. Biosignatures of Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kiang, Nancy Y.

    2017-01-01

    There was a time during Western civilization when musing about worlds other than Earth could be life-threatening. In 1600 Giordano Bruno was burnt at the stake as a heretic for claiming, amongst other things, that the fixed stars were in fact suns with planets moving around them, and furthermore, that lifeforms similar to those on Earth might exist on these planets. Although these ideas were not the result of scientific observation but rather of philosophical reflexions, Giordano Bruno is today recognized as the father of the idea of exoplanets. The study of planets revolving around distant stars has become one of the most thrilling disciplines in astronomy. As it did 400 years ago, this subject touches on the most profound questions of mankind, including the uniqueness of the planet Earth and even our own uniqueness as an intelligent species. As always in astronomy distance is an issue. While it requires a lot of patience to reach the planets within our own solar system, direct visits to exoplanets will not be feasible in the foreseeable future. Is there an alternative approach to find a second Earth?

  20. Recent Variability Observations of Solar System Giant Planets: Fresh Context for Understanding Exoplanet and Brown Dwarf Weather

    Science.gov (United States)

    Marley, Mark Scott

    2016-01-01

    Over the past several years a number of high cadence photometric observations of solar system giant planets have been acquired by various platforms. Such observations are of interest as they provide points of comparison to the already expansive set of brown dwarf variability observations and the small, but growing, set of exoplanet variability observations. By measuring how rapidly the integrated light from solar system giant planets can evolve, variability observations of substellar objects that are unlikely to ever be resolved can be placed in a fuller context. Examples of brown dwarf variability observations include extensive work from the ground (e.g., Radigen et al. 2014), Spitzer (e.g., Metchev et al. 2015), Kepler (Gizis et al. 2015), and HST (Yang et al. 2015).Variability has been measured on the planetary mass companion to the brown dwarf 2MASS 1207b (Zhou et al. 2016) and further searches are planned in thermal emission for the known directly imaged planets with ground based telescopes (Apai et al. 2016) and in reflected light with future space based telescopes. Recent solar system variability observations include Kepler monitoring of Neptune (Simon et al. 2016) and Uranus, Spitzer observations of Neptune (Stauffer et al. 2016), and Cassini observations of Jupiter (West et al. in prep). The Cassini observations are of particular interest as they measured the variability of Jupiter at a phase angle of approximately 60 deg, comparable to the viewing geometry expected for space based direct imaging of cool extrasolar Jupiters in reflected light. These solar system analog observations capture many of the characteristics seen in brown dwarf variability, including large amplitudes and rapid light curve evolution on timescales as short as a few rotation periods. Simon et al. (2016) attribute such variations at Neptune to a combination of large scale, stable cloud structures along with smaller, more rapidly varying, cloud patches. The observed brown dwarf and

  1. The Architecture of Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hatzes, Artie P.

    2016-12-01

    Prior to the discovery of exoplanets our expectations of their architecture were largely driven by the properties of our solar system. We expected giant planets to lie in the outer regions and rocky planets in the inner regions. Planets should probably only occupy orbital distances 0.3-30 AU from the star. Planetary orbits should be circular, prograde and in the same plane. The reality of exoplanets have shattered these expectations. Jupiter-mass, Neptune-mass, Superearths, and even Earth-mass planets can orbit within 0.05 AU of the stars, sometimes with orbital periods of less than one day. Exoplanetary orbits can be eccentric, misaligned, and even in retrograde orbits. Radial velocity surveys gave the first hints that the occurrence rate increases with decreasing mass. This was put on a firm statistical basis with the Kepler mission that clearly demonstrated that there were more Neptune- and Superearth-sized planets than Jupiter-sized planets. These are often in multiple, densely packed systems where the planets all orbit within 0.3 AU of the star, a result also suggested by radial velocity surveys. Exoplanets also exhibit diversity along the main sequence. Massive stars tend to have a higher frequency of planets (≈ 20-25 %) that tend to be more massive (M≈ 5-10 M_{Jup}). Giant planets around low mass stars are rare, but these stars show an abundance of small (Neptune and Superearth) planets in multiple systems. Planet formation is also not restricted to single stars as the Kepler mission has discovered several circumbinary planets. Although we have learned much about the architecture of planets over the past 20 years, we know little about the census of small planets at relatively large (a>1 AU) orbital distances. We have yet to find a planetary system that is analogous to our own solar system. The question of how unique are the properties of our own solar system remains unanswered. Advancements in the detection methods of small planets over a wide range of

  2. Molecular opacities for exoplanets.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bernath, Peter F

    2014-04-28

    Spectroscopic observations of exoplanets are now possible by transit methods and direct emission. Spectroscopic requirements for exoplanets are reviewed based on existing measurements and model predictions for hot Jupiters and super-Earths. Molecular opacities needed to simulate astronomical observations can be obtained from laboratory measurements, ab initio calculations or a combination of the two approaches. This discussion article focuses mainly on laboratory measurements of hot molecules as needed for exoplanet spectroscopy.

  3. Structure of exoplanets.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Spiegel, David S; Fortney, Jonathan J; Sotin, Christophe

    2014-09-02

    The hundreds of exoplanets that have been discovered in the past two decades offer a new perspective on planetary structure. Instead of being the archetypal examples of planets, those of our solar system are merely possible outcomes of planetary system formation and evolution, and conceivably not even especially common outcomes (although this remains an open question). Here, we review the diverse range of interior structures that are both known and speculated to exist in exoplanetary systems--from mostly degenerate objects that are more than 10× as massive as Jupiter, to intermediate-mass Neptune-like objects with large cores and moderate hydrogen/helium envelopes, to rocky objects with roughly the mass of Earth.

  4. Lightning on exoplanets and brown dwarfs

    OpenAIRE

    Hodosán, Gabriella

    2017-01-01

    Lightning is an important electrical phenomenon, known to exist in several Solar System planets. Amongst others, it carries information on convection and cloud formation, and may be important for pre-biotic chemistry. Exoplanets and brown dwarfs have been shown to host environments appropriate for the initiation of lightning discharges. In this PhD project, I aim to determine if lightning on exoplanets and brown dwarfs can be more energetic than it is known from Solar System planets, what are...

  5. Characterization of exoplanet hosts

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Valenti Jeff A.

    2013-04-01

    Full Text Available Spectroscopic analysis of exoplanet hosts and the stellar sample from which they are drawn provides abundances and other properties that quantitively constrain models of planet formation. The program Spectroscopy Made Easy (SME determines stellar parameters by fitting observed spectra, though line lists must be selected wisely. For giant planets, it is now well established that stars with higher metallicity are more likely to have detected companions. Stellar metallicity does not seem to affect the formation and/or migration of detectable planets less massive than Neptune, especially when considering only the most massive planet in the system. In systems with at least one planet less than 10 times the mass of Earth, the mass of the most massive planet increases dramatically with host star metallicity. This may reflect metallicity dependent timescales for core formation, envelope accretion, and/or migration into the detection zone.

  6. Habitable Exoplanet Imager Optical Telescope Concept Design

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stahl, H. Philip

    2017-01-01

    Habitable Exoplanet Imaging Mission (HabEx) is a concept for a mission to directly image and characterize planetary systems around Sun-like stars. In addition to the search for life on Earth-like exoplanets, HabEx will enable a broad range of general astrophysics science enabled by 100 to 2500 nm spectral range and 3 x 3 arc-minute FOV. HabEx is one of four mission concepts currently being studied for the 2020 Astrophysics Decadal Survey.

  7. SPI-ing Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Maggio, A.

    2017-10-01

    Star-Planet Interaction (SPI) is a broad phenomenological term which encompasses a variety of physical effects relevant for the evolution of extra-solar planetary systems, in particular those hosting giant gas planets in close orbits around their parent star. While theoretical expectations of SPI are abundant, observational signatures are still elusive with current instrumentation and adopted observing strategies. In particular, recent X-ray observations provided intriguing indications of different SPI-driven effects, including enhanced coronal emission and flaring activity related to the phase of the planetary orbit, but for a few specific planet hosting stars, while results based on statistical studies are controversial. I will review the state of the art on the matter, and possible future developments with Athena and SKA that will help us for a better characterization of exoplanets and their abitability conditions.

  8. Novel stable compounds in the Mg-Si-O system under exoplanet pressures and their implications in planetary science

    Science.gov (United States)

    Niu, Haiyang; Oganov, Artem; Chen, Xingqiu; Li, Dianzhong

    The Mg-Si-O system is the major Earth and rocky planet-forming system. Here, through quantum variable-composition evolutionary structure explorations, we have discovered several unexpected stable binary and ternary compounds in the Mg-Si-O system. Besides the well-known SiO2 phases, we have found two extraordinary silicon oxides, SiO3 and SiO, which become stable at pressures above 0.51 TPa and 1.89 TPa, respectively. In the Mg-O system, we have found one new compound, MgO3, which becomes stable at 0.89 TPa. We find that not only the (MgO)x.(SiO2) y compounds, but also two (MgO3)x .(SiO3)y compounds, MgSi3O12 and MgSiO6, have stability fields above 2.41 TPa and 2.95 TPa, respectively. The highly oxidized MgSi3O12 can form in deep mantles of mega-Earths with masses above 20 M⊕ (M⊕:Earth's mass). Furthermore, the dissociation pathways of pPv-MgSiO3 are also clarified, and found to be different at low and high temperatures. The low-temperature pathway is MgSiO3 ==> Mg2SiO4 + MgSi2O5 ==> SiO2 + Mg2SiO4 ==> MgO + SiO2, while the high-temperature pathway is MgSiO3 ==> Mg2SiO4+ MgSi2O5 ==> MgO + MgSi2O5 ==> MgO + SiO2. Present results are relevant for models of the internal structure of giant exoplanets, and for understanding the high-pressure behavior of materials.

  9. The Search for Ringed Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kohler, Susanna

    2017-04-01

    Are planetary rings as common in our galaxy as they are in our solar system? A new study demonstrates how we might search for ringed exoplanets and then possibly finds one!Saturns Elsewhere?Artists illustration of the super ring system around exoplanet J1407b. This is the only exoplanet weve found with rings, but its not at all like Saturn. [Ron Miller]Our solar system is filled with moons and planetary rings, so it stands to reason that exoplanetary systems should exhibit the same features. But though weve been in the planet-hunting game for decades, weve only found one exoplanet thats surrounded by a ring system. Whats more, that system J1407b has enormous rings that are vastly different from the modest, Saturn-like rings that we might expect to be more commonplace.Have we not discovered ringed exoplanets just because theyre hard to identify? Or is it because theyre not out there? A team of scientists led by Masataka Aizawa (University of Tokyo) has set out to answer this question by conducting a systematic search for rings around long-period planet candidates.The transit light curve of KIC 10403228, shown with three models: the best-fitting planet-only model (blue) and the two best-fitting planet+ring models (green and red). [Aizawa et al. 2017]The Hunt BeginsWhy long-period planets? Rings are expected to be unstable as the planet gets closer to the central star. Whats more, the planet needs to be far enough away from the stars warmth for the icy rings to exist. The authors therefore select from the collection of candidate transiting planets 89 long-period candidates that might be able to host rings.Aizawa and collaborators then fit single-planet models (with no rings) to the light curves of these planets and search for anomalies curves that arent fit well by these standard models. Particularly suspicious characteristics include a long ingress/egress as the planet moves across the face of the star, and asymmetry of the transit shape.After applying a series of

  10. Five kepler target stars that show multiple transiting exoplanet candidates

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Steffen..[], Jason H.; Batalha, N. M.; Broucki, W J.

    2010-01-01

    We present and discuss five candidate exoplanetary systems identified with the Kepler spacecraft. These five systems show transits from multiple exoplanet candidates. Should these objects prove to be planetary in nature, then these five systems open new opportunities for the field of exoplanets...

  11. A Hubble space telescope search for a sub-Earth-sized exoplanet in the GJ 436 system

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Stevenson, Kevin B. [NASA Sagan Fellow. (United States); Bean, Jacob L.; Fabrycky, Daniel; Kreidberg, Laura, E-mail: kbs@uchicago.edu [Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of Chicago, 5640 South Ellis Avenue, Chicago, IL 60637 (United States)

    2014-11-20

    The detection of small planets orbiting nearby stars is an important step toward the identification of Earth twins. In previous work using the Spitzer Space Telescope, we found evidence to support at least one sub-Earth-sized exoplanet orbiting the nearby mid-M dwarf star GJ 436. As a follow up, here we used the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) to investigate the existence of one of these candidate planets, UCF-1.01, by searching for two transit signals as it passed in front of its host star. Interpretation of the data hinges critically on correctly modeling and removing the Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) instrument systematics from the light curves. Building on previous HST work, we demonstrate that WFC3 analyses need to explore the use of a quadratic function to fit a visit-long time-dependent systematic. This is important for establishing absolute transit and eclipse depths in the white light curves of all transiting systems. The work presented here exemplifies this point by putatively detecting the primary transit of UCF-1.01 with the use of a linear trend. However, using a quadratic trend, we achieve a better fit to the white light curves and a reduced transit depth that is inconsistent with previous Spitzer measurements. Furthermore, quadratic trends with or without a transit model component produce comparable fits to the available data. Using extant WFC3 transit light curves for GJ 436b, we further validate the quadratic model component by achieving photon-limited model fit residuals and consistent transit depths over multiple epochs. We conclude that, when we fit for a quadratic trend, our new data contradict the prediction of a sub-Earth-sized planet orbiting GJ 436 with the size, period, and ephemeris posited from the Spitzer data by a margin of 3.1σ.

  12. A new, mainly dynamical, two-stage scenario for forming the Sun's planetary system and its relation to exoplanet findings

    Science.gov (United States)

    Osmaston, M. F.

    2009-04-01

    radiation, and were then pushed outward by the plasma-driven Protoplanetary Disk Wind (PDW), with smaller material moving past them as feedstock. This purely radial force offers a unique (and demonstrably quantitative) resolution of the planetary a.m. problem - the a.m. grows as radius from the centre increases, and none of it came from the Sun. To achieve an individual planet's a.m. both the protoplanet and its feedstock must have acquired similar a.m., so planetary growth must be largely completed while the PDW is present. This conflicts with the current belief, based on time-demanding models for iron core formation by percolation, that accretion had continued for long after nebular departure. In our new scenario, however, the infall, being from a very cold (~10K) second-cloud source, and much of the flow having been dust-shielded from solar heat, yielded a disk at bears close comparison with several exoplanet features. Of the 334 discovered (as at Jan 2009), 73 lie within 10 solar radii of their star's axis, far too close to have been there long, and certainly much less than the age of their star. We must be seeing them soon after leaving their second cloud and now deprived of the shielding by its dust. Contrasting with the solar system, the exoplanet database shows both that substantial eccentricity is widespread, and that it seems to grow with orbit radius. In our scenario this could arise from an infall column that was far from polar, making the (near-equatorial) PDW much stronger on one side of the star, which would 'puff' protoplanets additionally as they passed, building up their eccentricity. The scenario may have potential for building brown dwarfs and even disparate binaries. [1] Jeans, J. H., 1919, Problems of cosmogony and stellar dynamics, Adams Prize Essay, Univ. Oxford, Clarendon Press, 293 p. [2] Osmaston, M.F. (2000). J.Conf. Abstr. 5 (2) 762. [3] Osmaston, M.F. (2002) GCA 66 (S1)A571. [4] Osmaston, M. F. (2006) GCA 70 (18S) A465. [5] Osmaston, M.F. (in

  13. Spin–Orbit Alignment of Exoplanet Systems: Ensemble Analysis Using Asteroseismology

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Campante, T. L.; Lund, M. N.; Kuszlewicz, James S.

    2016-01-01

    The angle ψ between a planet’s orbital axis and the spin axis of its parent star is an important diagnostic of planet formation, migration, and tidal evolution. We seek empirical constraints on ψ by measuring the stellar inclination i s via asteroseismology for an ensemble of 25 solar-type hosts...... observed with NASA’s Kepler satellite. Our results for i s are consistent with alignment at the 2 σ level for all stars in the sample, meaning that the system surrounding the red-giant star Kepler-56 remains as the only unambiguous misaligned multiple-planet system detected to date. The availability...

  14. Exoplanets: The Hunt Continues!

    Science.gov (United States)

    2001-04-01

    Swiss Telescope at La Silla Very Successful Summary The intensive and exciting hunt for planets around other stars ( "exoplanets" ) is continuing with great success in both hemispheres. Today, an international team of astronomers from the Geneva Observatory and other research institutes [1] is announcing the discovery of no less than eleven new, planetary companions to solar-type stars, HD 8574, HD 28185, HD 50554, HD 74156, HD 80606, HD 82943, HD 106252, HD 141937, HD 178911B, HD 141937, among which two new multi-planet systems . The masses of these new objects range from slightly less than to about 10 times the mass of the planet Jupiter [2]. The new detections are based on measured velocity changes of the stars [3], performed with the CORALIE spectrometer on the Swiss 1.2-m Leonard Euler telescope at the ESO La Silla Observatory , as well as with instruments on telescopes at the Haute-Provence Observatory and on the Keck telescopes on Mauna Kea (Hawaii, USA). Some of the new planets are unusual: * a two-planet system (around the star HD 82943) in which one orbital period is nearly exactly twice as long as the other - cases like this (refered to as "orbital resonance") are well known in our own solar system; * another two-planet system (HD 74156), with a Jupiter-like planet and a more massive planet further out; * a planet with the most elongated orbit detected so far (HD 80606), moving between 5 and 127 million kilometers from the central star; * a giant planet moving in an orbit around its Sun-like central star that is very similar to the one of the Earth and whose potential satellites (in theory, at least) might be "habitable". At this moment, there are 63 know exoplanet candidates with minimum masses below 10 Jupiter masses, and 67 known objects with minimum masses below 17 Jupiter masses. The present team of astronomers has detected about half of these. PR Photo 13a/01 : Radial-velocity measurements of HD 82943, a two-planet system . PR Photo 13b/01 : Radial

  15. N-body simulations of planet formation: understanding exoplanet system architectures

    Science.gov (United States)

    Coleman, Gavin; Nelson, Richard

    2015-12-01

    Observations have demonstrated the existence of a significant population of compact systems comprised of super-Earths and Neptune-mass planets, and a population of gas giants that appear to occur primarily in either short-period (100 days) orbits. The broad diversity of system architectures raises the question of whether or not the same formation processes operating in standard disc models can explain these planets, or if different scenarios are required instead to explain the widely differing architectures. To explore this issue, we present the results from a comprehensive suite of N-body simulations of planetary system formation that include the following physical processes: gravitational interactions and collisions between planetary embryos and planetesimals; type I and II migration; gas accretion onto planetary cores; self-consistent viscous disc evolution and disc removal through photo-evaporation. Our results indicate that the formation and survival of compact systems of super-Earths and Neptune-mass planets occur commonly in disc models where a simple prescription for the disc viscosity is assumed, but such models never lead to the formation and survival of gas giant planets due to migration into the star. Inspired in part by the ALMA observations of HL Tau, and by MHD simulations that display the formation of long-lived zonal flows, we have explored the consequences of assuming that the disc viscosity varies in both time and space. We find that the radial structuring of the disc leads to conditions in which systems of giant planets are able to form and survive. Furthermore, these giants generally occupy those regions of the mass-period diagram that are densely populated by the observed gas giants, suggesting that the planet traps generated by radial structuring of protoplanetary discs may be a necessary ingredient for forming giant planets.

  16. Spin–Orbit Alignment of Exoplanet Systems: Ensemble Analysis Using Asteroseismology

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Campante, T. L.; Lund, M. N.; Kuszlewicz, James S.

    2016-01-01

    The angle ψ between a planet’s orbital axis and the spin axis of its parent star is an important diagnostic of planet formation, migration, and tidal evolution. We seek empirical constraints on ψ by measuring the stellar inclination i s via asteroseismology for an ensemble of 25 solar-type hosts...... observed with NASA’s Kepler satellite. Our results for i s are consistent with alignment at the 2 σ level for all stars in the sample, meaning that the system surrounding the red-giant star Kepler-56 remains as the only unambiguous misaligned multiple-planet system detected to date. The availability...... of a measurement of the projected spin–orbit angle λ for two of the systems allows us to estimate ψ . We find that the orbit of the hot Jupiter HAT-P-7b is likely to be retrograde ( ##IMG## [http://ej.iop.org/images/0004-637X/819/1/85/apj522683ieqn1.gif] $psi =116rc. 4_-14.7^+30.2$ ), whereas that of Kepler-25c...

  17. A comparison of exposure meter systems for three exoplanet-hunting spectrometers: Hamilton, HIRES and APF

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kibrick, R. I.; Clarke, D. A.; Deich, W. T. S.; Tucker, D.

    2006-06-01

    The majority of extra-solar planets discovered to date have been found using Doppler-shift measurements obtained with the Hamilton Spectrometer at Lick Observatory and the High Resolution Echelle Spectrometer (HIRES) at Keck Observatory. Each of these spectrometers employs an integral exposure meter which enables observers to optimize exposure times so as to achieve the required signal-to-noise and to determine the photon-weighted midpoint of each science exposure (which is needed to correct the Doppler shift to the Solar System barycenter). In both of these systems, a propeller mirror located behind the spectrometer slit picks off a few percent of the light and directs it to a photo-multiplier tube (PMT) used to measure the exposure level versus time. In late 2006, the new Automated Planet Finder (APF) Telescope and APF Spectrometer are scheduled to begin operations at Lick Observatory; both will be dedicated exclusively to the search for extra-solar planets. Like the Hamilton and HIRES Spectrometers, the APF Spectrometer will employ an integral exposure meter, but one with a significantly different design. The APF exposure meter will employ a stationary pellicle located ahead of the slit to pick off 4% of the light and direct it to the guide camera. That camera will produce images typically at a 1 Hz rate, and those images will be used both for autoguiding and for computing the exposure level delivered to the spectrometer. In each guide camera image obtained during a science exposure, the time-tagged signal from the pixels that correspond to the spectrometer slit will be integrated in software to determine the current exposure level and the photon-weighted midpoint of that science exposure. We compare these two different design approaches, and describe the significant hardware and software features of each of these systems.

  18. The Exoplanet Cloud Atlas

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gao, Peter; Marley, Mark S.; Morley, Caroline; Fortney, Jonathan J.

    2017-10-01

    Clouds have been readily inferred from observations of exoplanet atmospheres, and there exists great variability in cloudiness between planets, such that no clear trend in exoplanet cloudiness has so far been discerned. Equilibrium condensation calculations suggest a myriad of species - salts, sulfides, silicates, and metals - could condense in exoplanet atmospheres, but how they behave as clouds is uncertain. The behavior of clouds - their formation, evolution, and equilibrium size distribution - is controlled by cloud microphysics, which includes processes such as nucleation, condensation, and evaporation. In this work, we explore the cloudy exoplanet phase space by using a cloud microphysics model to simulate a suite of cloud species ranging from cooler condensates such as KCl/ZnS, to hotter condensates like perovskite and corundum. We investigate how the cloudiness and cloud particle sizes of exoplanets change due to variations in temperature, metallicity, gravity, and cloud formation mechanisms, and how these changes may be reflected in current and future observations. In particular, we will evaluate where in phase space could cloud spectral features be observable using JWST MIRI at long wavelengths, which will be dependent on the cloud particle size distribution and cloud species.

  19. Supercomputing in the Age of Discovering Superearths, Earths and Exoplanet Systems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jenkins, Jon M.

    2015-01-01

    NASA's Kepler Mission was launched in March 2009 as NASA's first mission capable of finding Earth-size planets orbiting in the habitable zone of Sun-like stars, that range of distances for which liquid water would pool on the surface of a rocky planet. Kepler has discovered over 1000 planets and over 4600 candidates, many of them as small as the Earth. Today, Kepler's amazing success seems to be a fait accompli to those unfamiliar with her history. But twenty years ago, there were no planets known outside our solar system, and few people believed it was possible to detect tiny Earth-size planets orbiting other stars. Motivating NASA to select Kepler for launch required a confluence of the right detector technology, advances in signal processing and algorithms, and the power of supercomputing.

  20. What asteroseismology can do for exoplanets

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Van Eylen Vincent

    2015-01-01

    Full Text Available We describe three useful applications of asteroseismology in the context of exoplanet science: (1 the detailed characterisation of exoplanet host stars; (2 the measurement of stellar inclinations; and (3 the determination of orbital eccentricity from transit duration making use of asteroseismic stellar densities. We do so using the example system Kepler-410 [1]. This is one of the brightest (V = 9.4 Kepler exoplanet host stars, containing a small (2.8 R⊕ transiting planet in a long orbit (17.8 days, and one or more additional non-transiting planets as indicated by transit timing variations. The validation of Kepler-410 (KOI-42 was complicated due to the presence of a companion star, and the planetary nature of the system was confirmed after analyzing a Spitzer transit observation as well as ground-based follow-up observations.

  1. FINESSE & CASE: Two Proposed Transiting Exoplanet Missions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zellem, Robert Thomas; FINESSE and CASE Science Team

    2018-01-01

    The FINESSE mission concept and the proposed CASE Mission of Opportunity, both recently selected by NASA’s Explorer program to proceed to Step 2, would conduct the first characterizations of exoplanet atmospheres for a statistically significant population. FINESSE would determine whether our Solar System is typical or exceptional, the key characteristics of the planet formation mechanism, and what establishes global planetary climate by spectroscopically surveying 500 exoplanets, ranging from terrestrials with extended atmospheres to sub-Neptunes to gas giants. FINESSE’s broad, instantaneous spectral coverage from 0.5-5 microns and capability to survey hundreds of exoplanets would enable follow-up exploration of TESS discoveries and provide a broader context for interpreting detailed JWST observations. Similarly, CASE, a NASA Mission of Opportunity contribution to ESA’s dedicated transiting exoplanet spectroscopy mission ARIEL, would observe 1000 warm transiting gas giants, Neptunes, and super-Earths, using visible to near-IR photometry and spectroscopy. CASE would quantify the occurrence rate of atmospheric aerosols (clouds and hazes) and measure the geometric albedos of the targets in the ARIEL survey. Thus, with the selection of either of these two missions, NASA would ensure access to critical data for the U.S. exoplanet science community.

  2. Exoplanet Community Report on Direct Infrared Imaging of Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Danchi, William C.; Lawson, Peter R.

    2009-01-01

    Direct infrared imaging and spectroscopy of exoplanets will allow for detailed characterization of the atmospheric constituents of more than 200 nearby Earth-like planets, more than is possible with any other method under consideration. A flagship mission based on larger passively cooled infrared telescopes and formation flying technologies would have the highest angular resolution of any concept under consideration. The 2008 Exoplanet Forum committee on Direct Infrared Imaging of Exoplanets recommends: (1) a vigorous technology program including component development, integrated testbeds, and end-to-end modeling in the areas of formation flying and mid-infrared nulling; (2) a probe-scale mission based on a passively cooled structurally connected interferometer to be started within the next two to five years, for exoplanetary system characterization that is not accessible from the ground, and which would provide transformative science and lay the engineering groundwork for the flagship mission with formation flying elements. Such a mission would enable a complete exozodiacal dust survey (<1 solar system zodi) in the habitable zone of all nearby stars. This information will allow for a more efficient strategy of spectral characterization of Earth-sized planets for the flagship missions, and also will allow for optimization of the search strategy of an astrometric mission if such a mission were delayed due to cost or technology reasons. (3) Both the flagship and probe missions should be pursued with international partners if possible. Fruitful collaboration with international partners on mission concepts and relevant technology should be continued. (4) Research and Analysis (R&A) should be supported for the development of preliminary science and mission designs. Ongoing efforts to characterize the the typical level of exozodiacal light around Sun-like stars with ground-based nulling technology should be continued.

  3. The Exoplanet Characterization ToolKit (ExoCTK)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stevenson, Kevin; Fowler, Julia; Lewis, Nikole K.; Fraine, Jonathan; Pueyo, Laurent; Valenti, Jeff; Bruno, Giovanni; Filippazzo, Joseph; Hill, Matthew; Batalha, Natasha E.; Bushra, Rafia

    2018-01-01

    The success of exoplanet characterization depends critically on a patchwork of analysis tools and spectroscopic libraries that currently require extensive development and lack a centralized support system. Due to the complexity of spectroscopic analyses and initial time commitment required to become productive, there are currently a limited number of teams that are actively advancing the field. New teams with significant expertise, but without the proper tools, face prohibitively steep hills to climb before they can contribute. As a solution, we are developing an open-source, modular data analysis package in Python and a publicly facing web interface focused primarily on atmospheric characterization of exoplanets and exoplanet transit observation planning with JWST. The foundation of these software tools and libraries exist within pockets of the exoplanet community. Our project will gather these seedling tools and grow a robust, uniform, and well maintained exoplanet characterization toolkit.

  4. Direct Imaging of Giant Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tamura, Motohide

    Since the first detection of exoplanets around a Sun-like star 51 Peg in 1995, their detection and characterization are mainly led by indirect methods such as radial velocity and transit methods. However, recent progresses of observational techniques have finally enabled the direct imaging observations of giant planets of solar-system-scale orbit (with their semi-major axes less than about 50 AU) around A-type stars (e.g., Marois et al. 2008, 2010) and G-type stars (e.g., Kuzuhara et al. 2013). Direct imaging is useful to obtain the physical and atmospheric parameters of exoplanets. In fact not only colors but also a medium-resolution spectroscopy of such planets has been successfully obtained for their atmospheric characterization (Barman et al. 2013). Their masses are typically a few to ~10 Jupiter masses and they orbit at a Saturn- to-Pluto distance. Therefore, like hot-Jupiters and super-Earths they are unlike any solar-system planets, and called wide-orbit giant planets. A recent large search for planets and disk on the Subaru 8.2-m telescope (SEEDS project) has detected a 3-5 Jupiter-masses planet around a Sun-like star GJ 504 (Kuzuhara et al. 2013). It is the coolest planetary companion so far directly imaged and its near-infrared color is “bluer” than that of other directly imaged planets. In this contribution, I will review the recent progresses on direct imaging of exoplanets, highlight the results of the SEEDS project, and discuss the future developments.

  5. First Temperate Exoplanet Sized Up

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-03-01

    Combining observations from the CoRoT satellite and the ESO HARPS instrument, astronomers have discovered the first "normal" exoplanet that can be studied in great detail. Designated Corot-9b, the planet regularly passes in front of a star similar to the Sun located 1500 light-years away from Earth towards the constellation of Serpens (the Snake). "This is a normal, temperate exoplanet just like dozens we already know, but this is the first whose properties we can study in depth," says Claire Moutou, who is part of the international team of 60 astronomers that made the discovery. "It is bound to become a Rosetta stone in exoplanet research." "Corot-9b is the first exoplanet that really does resemble planets in our solar system," adds lead author Hans Deeg. "It has the size of Jupiter and an orbit similar to that of Mercury." "Like our own giant planets, Jupiter and Saturn, the planet is mostly made of hydrogen and helium," says team member Tristan Guillot, "and it may contain up to 20 Earth masses of other elements, including water and rock at high temperatures and pressures." Corot-9b passes in front of its host star every 95 days, as seen from Earth [1]. This "transit" lasts for about 8 hours, and provides astronomers with much additional information on the planet. This is fortunate as the gas giant shares many features with the majority of exoplanets discovered so far [2]. "Our analysis has provided more information on Corot-9b than for other exoplanets of the same type," says co-author Didier Queloz. "It may open up a new field of research to understand the atmospheres of moderate- and low-temperature planets, and in particular a completely new window in our understanding of low-temperature chemistry." More than 400 exoplanets have been discovered so far, 70 of them through the transit method. Corot-9b is special in that its distance from its host star is about ten times larger than that of any planet previously discovered by this method. And unlike all such

  6. Extrasolar Planets and their Hosts: why exoplanet science needs X-ray observations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Poppenhaeger, K.

    2014-07-01

    The characterization and detection of exoplanet systems has become one of the most active fields in astronomy. A wide spectrum of observational tools is used for this, from high-precision photometry over optical and near-infrared spectra to microlensing experiments. Observations at short wavelengths are a powerful addition to the exoplaneteer's toolbox. I will discuss how short-wavelength data can enhance our understanding of exoplanets and their host stars; I will cover topics ranging from exoplanet atmospheres to coronal activity of exoplanet hosting stars.

  7. Examining the Potential of LSST to Contribute to Exoplanet Discovery

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lund, Michael B.; Pepper, Joshua; Jacklin, Savannah; Stassun, Keivan G.

    2018-01-01

    The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), currently under construction in Chile with scheduled first light in 2019, will be one of the major sources of data in the next decade and is one of the top priorities expressed in the last Decadal Survey. As LSST is intended to cover a range of science questions, and so the LSST community is still working on optimizing the observing strategy of the survey. With a survey area that will cover half the sky in 6 bands providing photometric data on billions of stars from 16th to 24th magnitude, LSST has the ability to be leveraged to help contribute to exoplanet science. In particular, LSST has the potential to detect exoplanets around stellar populations that are not normally usually included in transiting exoplanet searches. This includes searching for exoplanets around red and white dwarfs and stars in the galactic plane and bulge, stellar clusters, and potentially even the Magellanic Clouds. In probing these varied stellar populations, relative exoplanet frequency can be examined, and in turn, LSST may be able to provide fresh insight into how stellar environment can play a role in planetary formation rates.Our initial work on this project has been to demonstrate that even with the limitations of the LSST cadence, exoplanets would be recoverable and detectable in the LSST photometry, and to show that exoplanets indeed worth including in discussions of variable sources that LSST can contribute to. We have continued to expand this work to examine exoplanets around stars in belonging to various stellar populations, both to show the types of systems that LSST is capable of discovering, and to determine the potential exoplanet yields using standard algorithms that have already been implemented in transiting exoplanet searches, as well as how changes to LSST's observing schedule may impact both of these results.

  8. A sub-Mercury-sized exoplanet

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Barclay, T.; et al., [Unknown; Hekker, S.

    2013-01-01

    Since the discovery of the first exoplanets1, 2, it has been known that other planetary systems can look quite unlike our own3. Until fairly recently, we have been able to probe only the upper range of the planet size distribution4, 5, and, since last year, to detect planets that are the size of

  9. Discovery, Characterization, and Dynamics of Transiting Exoplanets

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Van Eylen, Vincent

    2015-01-01

    results of this study, constraining the masses and bulk compositions of three planets. The second part of this thesis focuses on dynamics of exoplanets. All the solar system planets orbit in nearly the same plane, and that plane is also aligned with the equatorial plane of the Sun. That is not true...

  10. A Toolbox for Exoplanet Exploration

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jensen-Clem, Rebecca Marie

    2017-05-01

    In this thesis, I develop a new suite of tools to address two questions in exoplanet science: how common are Earth-mass planets in the habitable zones of Solar-type stars, and can we detect signs of life on other worlds? Answering the first question requires a method for detecting Earth-Sun analogs. Currently, the radial velocity (RV) method of exoplanet detection is one of the most successful tools for probing inner planetary systems. However, degeneracy between a spectrometer's wavelength calibration and the astrophysical RV shift has limited the sensitivity of today's instruments. In my thesis, I address a method for breaking this degeneracy: by combining a traditional spectrometer design with a dynamic interferometer, a fringe pattern is generated at the image plane that is highly sensitive to changes in the radial velocity of the target star. I augmented previous theoretical studies of the method, creating an end-to-end simulation to 1) introduce and recover wavelength calibration errors, and 2) investigate the effects of interferometer position errors on the RV precision. My simulation showed that using this kind of interferometric system, a 5-m class telescope could detect an Earth-Sun analog. Addressing the occurrence rate of Earth twins also requires an understanding of planet formation in multiple star systems, which encompass half of all Solar-type stars. Gravitational interactions between binary components separated by 10-100 astronomical units are predicted to truncate the outer edges of their respective disks, possibly reducing the disks' lifetimes. Consequently, the pool of material and the amount of time available for planet formation may be smaller than in single star systems. The stars' rotational periods provide a fossil record of these events: star-disk magnetic interactions initially prevent a contracting pre-main sequence star from spinning up, and hence a star with a shorter-lived disk is expected to be spinning more quickly when it reaches

  11. Stellar Echo Imaging of Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mann, Chris; Lerch, Kieran; Lucente, Mark; Meza-Galvan, Jesus; Mitchell, Dan; Ruedin, Josh; Williams, Spencer; Zollars, Byron

    2016-01-01

    All stars exhibit intensity fluctuations over several timescales, from nanoseconds to years. These intensity fluctuations echo off bodies and structures in the star system. We posit that it is possible to take advantage of these echoes to detect, and possibly image, Earth-scale exoplanets. Unlike direct imaging techniques, temporal measurements do not require fringe tracking, maintaining an optically-perfect baseline, or utilizing ultra-contrast coronagraphs. Unlike transit or radial velocity techniques, stellar echo detection is not constrained to any specific orbital inclination. Current results suggest that existing and emerging technology can already enable stellar echo techniques at flare stars, such as Proxima Centauri, including detection, spectroscopic interrogation, and possibly even continent-level imaging of exoplanets in a variety of orbits. Detection of Earth-like planets around Sun-like stars appears to be extremely challenging, but cannot be fully quantified without additional data on micro- and millisecond-scale intensity fluctuations of the Sun. We consider survey missions in the mold of Kepler and place preliminary constraints on the feasibility of producing 3D tomographic maps of other structures in star systems, such as accretion disks. In this report we discuss the theory, limitations, models, and future opportunities for stellar echo imaging.

  12. Exoplanets, extremophiles and habitability

    Science.gov (United States)

    Janot Pacheco, E.; Bernardes, L.

    2012-09-01

    Estimates of the average surface temperature and CO2 partial atmospheric pressure of already discovered exoplanets supposed to be in their Habitable Zone of their stars were surveyed from the Exoplanet Encyclopedia database. Moreover, since planetary surface temperature strongly depends on its albedo and geodynamic conditions, we have been feeding exoplanetary data into a comprehensive model of Earth's atmosphere to get better estimations. We also investigated the possible presence of "exomoons" belonging to giant planets capable of harbour dynamic stability and to retain atmospheric layers and keep geodynamic activity for long time spans. Collected information on biological data of micro-organisms classified as "extremophiles" indicate that such kind of microbial species could dwell in many of them. We thus propose an extension of the more astronomically defined "Habitable Zone" concept into the more astrobiologically "Extremophile Zone", taking into account other refined parameters allowing survival of more robust life forms.

  13. CHEOPS: towards exoplanet characterisation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fortier, A.; Beck, T.; Benz, W.; Broeg, C.; Cessa, V.; Ehrenreich, D.; Pagano, I.; Peter, G.; Piazza, D.; Plesseria, J.-Y.; Ragazzoni, R.; Ratti, F.; Steller, M.; Szòke, J.; Thomas, N.

    2014-04-01

    The CHaracterising ExOPlanet Satellite (CHEOPS) is a joint ESA-Switzerland space mission dedicated to search for exoplanet transits by means of ultrahigh precision photometry. It is expected to be launch ready at the end of 2017. CHEOPS will be the first space telescope dedicated to search for transits on bright stars already known to host planets. It will have access to more than 70% of the sky, allowing almost any interesting target to be observed. This will provide the unique capability of determining accurate radii for planets for which the mass has already been estimated from ground-based spectroscopic surveys and for new planets discovered by the next generation ground-based transits surveys (Neptunesize and smaller).

  14. Qatar Exoplanet Survey

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Alsubai, Khalid; Mislis, Dimitris; Tsvetanov, Zlatan I.

    2017-01-01

    We report the discovery of Qatar-3b, Qatar-4b, and Qatar-5b, three new transiting planets identified by the Qatar Exoplanet Survey. The three planets belong to the hot Jupiter family, with orbital periods of PQ3b=2.50792 days, PQ4b=1.80539 days, and PQ5b=2.87923 days. Follow-up spectroscopic obse...... (M > 4 MJ)....

  15. Water in exoplanets.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tinetti, Giovanna; Tennyson, Jonathan; Griffith, Caitlin A; Waldmann, Ingo

    2012-06-13

    Exoplanets--planets orbiting around stars other than our own Sun--appear to be common. Significant research effort is now focused on the observation and characterization of exoplanet atmospheres. Species such as water vapour, methane, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide have been observed in a handful of hot, giant, gaseous planets, but cooler, smaller planets such as Gliese 1214b are now analysable with current telescopes. Water is the key chemical dictating habitability. The current observations of water in exoplanets from both space and the ground are reviewed. Controversies surrounding the interpretation of these observations are discussed. Detailed consideration of available radiative transfer models and linelists are used to analyse these differences in interpretation. Models suggest that there is a clear need for data on the pressure broadening of water transitions by H(2) at high temperatures. The reported detections of water appear to be robust, although final confirmation will have to await the better quality observational data provided by currently planned dedicated space missions.

  16. A New Model for Exoplanet Transmission Spectroscopy

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rustamkulov, Zafar; Robinson, Tyler; Morley, Caroline; Fortney, Jonathan

    2018-01-01

    The recent boom in exoplanet characterization has prompted the need for robust theoretical models to measure the properties of their atmospheres. High resolution infrared spectroscopic instruments such as CRIRES and ESPRESSO on the VLT, and the future MIRI and NIRSpec instruments aboard JWST, present astronomers the opportunity to study exoplanets in great detail. The structural and compositional properties of exoplanet atmospheres are imprinted in their spectra, allowing for constraints on their formation and evolution. In this study we build a novel radiative transfer model to create theoretical transmission spectra of exoplanet atmospheres. The model expands on a previously validated opacity code and an analytic geometric path length distribution prescription to produce high resolution spectra spanning the near and mid-infrared range. The model’s flexibility allows for rapid iterations through many atmospheric and planetary parameters given initial pressure-temperature and abundance profiles and simple cloud profiles. The model outputs show good agreement with other models for terrestrial and Jovian planets alike. The code has already been used to model the spectra of the TRAPPIST-1 system and to help make a precise determination of the sodium abundance in a hot Saturn planet.

  17. Colors of Alien Worlds from Direct Imaging Exoplanet Missions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hu, Renyu

    2016-01-01

    Future direct-imaging exoplanet missions such as WFIRST will measure the reflectivity of exoplanets at visible wavelengths. Most of the exoplanets to be observed will be located further away from their parent stars than is Earth from the Sun. These "cold" exoplanets have atmospheric environments conducive for the formation of water and/or ammonia clouds, like Jupiter in the Solar System. I find the mixing ratio of methane and the pressure level of the uppermost cloud deck on these planets can be uniquely determined from their reflection spectra, with moderate spectral resolution, if the cloud deck is between 0.6 and 1.5 bars. The existence of this unique solution is useful for exoplanet direct imaging missions for several reasons. First, the weak bands and strong bands of methane enable the measurement of the methane mixing ratio and the cloud pressure, although an overlying haze layer can bias the estimate of the latter. Second, the cloud pressure, once derived, yields an important constraint on the internal heat flux from the planet, and thus indicating its thermal evolution. Third, water worlds having H2O-dominated atmospheres are likely to have water clouds located higher than the 10-3 bar pressure level, and muted spectral absorption features. These planets would occupy a confined phase space in the color-color diagrams, likely distinguishable from H2-rich giant exoplanets by broadband observations. Therefore, direct-imaging exoplanet missions may offer the capability to broadly distinguish H2-rich giant exoplanets versus H2O-rich super-Earth exoplanets, and to detect ammonia and/or water clouds and methane gas in their atmospheres.

  18. High Energy Exoplanet Transits

    Science.gov (United States)

    Llama, Joe; Shkolnik, Evgenya L.

    2017-10-01

    X-ray and ultraviolet transits of exoplanets allow us to probe the atmospheres of these worlds. High energy transits have been shown to be deeper but also more variable than in the optical. By simulating exoplanet transits using high-energy observations of the Sun, we can test the limits of our ability to accurately measure the properties of these planets in the presence of stellar activity. We use both disk-resolved images of the Solar disk spanning soft X-rays, the ultraviolet, and the optical and also disk-integrated Sun-as-a-star observations of the Lyα irradiance to simulate transits over a wide wavelength range. We find that for stars with activity levels similar to the Sun, the planet-to-star radius ratio can be overestimated by up to 50% if the planet occults an active region at high energies. We also compare our simulations to high energy transits of WASP-12b, HD 189733, 55 Cnc b, and GJ 436b.

  19. Detected Timing for Exoplanet TrES-5b. Possible Existence of Exoplanet TrES-5c

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sokov, E. N.; Sokova, I. A.; Dyachenko, V. V.; Rastegaev, D. A.; Rusov, S. A.

    2017-06-01

    In this paper, we present timing variations detected for the TrES-5b exoplanet. To obtain necessary photometric data for this exoplanet, we have organized an international campaign for exoplanet searching based on the Transit Timing Variation (TTV) method. We managed to collect N light curves for TrEs-5b. On the basis of the obtained data, we detected timing variations with the period P ≍ 100 days. We carried out the N-body modelling by means of the three-body problem. We detected a perturbation of TrES-5b which can be caused by a second exoplanet in the TrES-5 system. We calculated possible masses and resonances of the objects: M ˜ 0.24 Mjup on the 1:2 Resonance and M ˜ 3.15 Mjup on the 1:3 Resonance.

  20. ARTEMiS (Automated Robotic Terrestrial Exoplanet Microlensing Search): A possible expert-system based cooperative effort to hunt for planets of Earth mass and below

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dominik, M.; Horne, K.; Allan, A.; Rattenbury, N. J.; Tsapras, Y.; Snodgrass, C.; Bode, M. F.; Burgdorf, M. J.; Fraser, S. N.; Kerins, E.; Mottram, C. J.; Steele, I. A.; Street, R. A.; Wheatley, P. J.; Wyrzykowski, Ł.

    2008-03-01

    The technique of gravitational microlensing is currently unique in its ability to provide a sample of terrestrial exoplanets around both Galactic disk and bulge stars, allowing to measure their abundance and determine their distribution with respect to mass and orbital separation. Thus, valuable information for testing models of planet formation and orbital migration is gathered, constituting an important piece in the puzzle for the existence of life forms throughout the Universe. In order to achieve these goals in reasonable time, a well-coordinated effort involving a network of either 2m or 4×1m telescopes at each site is required. It could lead to the first detection of an Earth-mass planet outside the Solar system, and even planets less massive than Earth could be discovered. From April 2008, ARTEMiS (Automated Robotic Terrestrial Exoplanet Microlensing Search) is planned to provide a platform for a three-step strategy of survey, follow-up, and anomaly monitoring. As an expert system embedded in eSTAR (e-Science Telescopes for Astronomical Research), ARTEMiS will give advice for follow-up based on a priority algorithm that selects targets to be observed in order to maximize the expected number of planet detections, and will also alert on deviations from ordinary microlensing light curves by means of the SIGNALMEN anomaly detector. While the use of the VOEvent (Virtual Observatory Event) protocol allows a direct interaction with the telescopes that are part of the HTN (Heterogeneous Telescope Networks) consortium, additional interfaces provide means of communication with all existing microlensing campaigns that rely on human observers. The success of discovering a planet by microlensing critically depends on the availability of a telescope in a suitable location at the right time, which can mean within 10 min. To encourage follow-up observations, microlensing campaigns are therefore releasing photometric data in real time. On ongoing planetary anomalies, world

  1. Statistical Signatures of Panspermia in Exoplanet Surveys

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lin, Henry W.; Loeb, Abraham

    2015-09-01

    A fundamental astrobiological question is whether life can be transported between extrasolar systems. We propose a new strategy to answer this question based on the principle that life which arose via spreading will exhibit more clustering than life which arose spontaneously. We develop simple statistical models of panspermia to illustrate observable consequences of these excess correlations. Future searches for biosignatures in the atmospheres of exoplanets could test these predictions: a smoking gun signature of panspermia would be the detection of large regions in the Milky Way where life saturates its environment interspersed with voids where life is very uncommon. In a favorable scenario, detection of as few as ∼25 biologically active exoplanets could yield a 5σ detection of panspermia. Detectability of position-space correlations is possible unless the timescale for life to become observable once seeded is longer than the timescale for stars to redistribute in the Milky Way.

  2. A Cloudy View of Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Deming, Drake

    2010-01-01

    The lack of absorption features in the transmission spectrum of exoplanet GJ1214b rules out a hydrogen-rich atmosphere for the planet. It is consistent with an atmosphere rich in water vapour or abundant in clouds.

  3. Exoplanet Transits of Stellar Active Regions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Giampapa, Mark S.; Andretta, Vincenzo; Covino, Elvira; Reiners, Ansgar; Esposito, Massimiliano

    2018-01-01

    We report preliminary results of a program to obtain high spectral- and temporal-resolution observations of the neutral helium triplet line at 1083.0 nm in transiting exoplanet systems. The principal objective of our program is to gain insight on the properties of active regions, analogous to solar plages, on late-type dwarfs by essentially using exoplanet transits as high spatial resolution probes of the stellar surface within the transit chord. The 1083 nm helium line is a particularly appropriate diagnostic of magnetized areas since it is weak in the quiet photosphere of solar-type stars but appears strongly in absorption in active regions. Therefore, during an exoplanet transit over the stellar surface, variations in its absorption equivalent width can arise that are functions of the intrinsic strength of the feature in the active region and the known relative size of the exoplanet. We utilized the Galileo Telescope and the GIANO-B near-IR echelle spectrograph to obtain 1083 nm spectra during transits in bright, well-known systems that include HD 189733, HD 209458, and HD 147506 (HAT-P-2). We also obtained simultaneous auxiliary data on the same telescope with the HARPS-N UV-Visible echelle spectrograph. We will present preliminary results from our analysis of the observed variability of the strength of the He I 1083 nm line during transits.Acknowledgements: Based on observations made with the Italian Telescopio Nazionale Galileo (TNG) operated on the island of La Palma by the Fundación Galileo Galilei of the INAF (Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica) at the Spanish Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos of the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias. The NSO is operated by AURA under a cooperative agreement with the NSF.

  4. Integrated Exoplanet Modeling with the GSFC Exoplanet Modeling & Analysis Center (EMAC)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mandell, Avi M.; Hostetter, Carl; Pulkkinen, Antti; Domagal-Goldman, Shawn David

    2018-01-01

    Our ability to characterize the atmospheres of extrasolar planets will be revolutionized by JWST, WFIRST and future ground- and space-based telescopes. In preparation, the exoplanet community must develop an integrated suite of tools with which we can comprehensively predict and analyze observations of exoplanets, in order to characterize the planetary environments and ultimately search them for signs of habitability and life.The GSFC Exoplanet Modeling and Analysis Center (EMAC) will be a web-accessible high-performance computing platform with science support for modelers and software developers to host and integrate their scientific software tools, with the goal of leveraging the scientific contributions from the entire exoplanet community to improve our interpretations of future exoplanet discoveries. Our suite of models will include stellar models, models for star-planet interactions, atmospheric models, planet system science models, telescope models, instrument models, and finally models for retrieving signals from observational data. By integrating this suite of models, the community will be able to self-consistently calculate the emergent spectra from the planet whether from emission, scattering, or in transmission, and use these simulations to model the performance of current and new telescopes and their instrumentation.The EMAC infrastructure will not only provide a repository for planetary and exoplanetary community models, modeling tools and intermodal comparisons, but it will include a "run-on-demand" portal with each software tool hosted on a separate virtual machine. The EMAC system will eventually include a means of running or “checking in” new model simulations that are in accordance with the community-derived standards. Additionally, the results of intermodal comparisons will be used to produce open source publications that quantify the model comparisons and provide an overview of community consensus on model uncertainties on the climates of

  5. Using Exoplanets to Engage Students in Physics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Charbonneau, David

    2011-05-01

    A hundred planets transiting bright stars are now known, ensuring that at any particular site at least one transit is visible on any given night. Most of these worlds were discovered with 4-inch telescopes, and so the modest telescopes that nest atop the physics buildings of many college campuses are more than adequate to pursue the transit events. Fueled by results from the NASA Kepler Mission and the promise of Earth-like worlds, exoplanets offer an enormous opportunity to engage first-year college students in physics. The simple geometric nature of these systems permits the direct application of introductory mechanics to deduce the basic properties of some planets orbiting other stars. Moreover, by gathering and analyzing their own data, students can understand the fundamentals of experimental science and data analysis. I will discuss the opportunities to engage students in physics through transiting exoplanets, with specific examples drawn from a first-year undergraduate course at Harvard University. I will also review the practical aspects, including software and hardware, of establishing an exoplanet observing lab appropriate for college students.

  6. The NASA Exoplanet Exploration Program

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hudgins, Douglas M.; Blackwood, Gary H.; Gagosian, John S.

    2015-12-01

    The NASA Exoplanet Exploration Program (ExEP) is chartered to implement the NASA space science goals of detecting and characterizing exoplanets and to search for signs of life. The ExEP manages space missions, future studies, technology investments, and ground-based science that either enables future missions or completes mission science. The exoplanet science community is engaged by the Program through Science Definition Teams and through the Exoplanet Program Analysis Group (ExoPAG). The ExEP includes the space science missions of Kepler, K2 , and the proposed WFIRST-AFTA that includes dark energy science, a widefield infrared survey, a microlensing survey for outer-exoplanet demographics, and a coronagraph for direct imaging of cool outer gas- and ice-giants around nearby stars. Studies of probe-scale (medium class) missions for a coronagraph (internal occulter) and starshade (external occulter) explore the trades of cost and science and provide motivation for a technology investment program to enable consideration of missions at the next decadal survey for NASA Astrophysics. Program elements include follow-up observations using the Keck Observatory, which contribute to the science yield of Kepler and K2, and include mid-infrared observations of exo-zodiacal dust by the Large Binocular Telescope Interferometer which provide parameters critical to the design and predicted science yield of the next generation of direct imaging missions. ExEP includes the NASA Exoplanet Science Institute which provides archives, tools, and professional education for the exoplanet community. Each of these program elements contribute to the goal of detecting and characterizing earth-like planets orbiting other stars, and seeks to respond to rapid evolution in this discovery-driven field and to ongoing programmatic challenges through engagement of the scientific and technical communities.

  7. Direct imaging of exoplanets.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lagrange, Anne-Marie

    2014-04-28

    Most of the exoplanets known today have been discovered by indirect techniques, based on the study of the host star radial velocity or photometric temporal variations. These detections allowed the study of the planet populations in the first 5-8 AU from the central stars and have provided precious information on the way planets form and evolve at such separations. Direct imaging on 8-10 m class telescopes allows the detection of giant planets at larger separations (currently typically more than 5-10 AU) complementing the indirect techniques. So far, only a few planets have been imaged around young stars, but each of them provides an opportunity for unique dedicated studies of their orbital, physical and atmospheric properties and sometimes also on the interaction with the 'second-generation', debris discs. These few detections already challenge formation theories. In this paper, I present the results of direct imaging surveys obtained so far, and what they already tell us about giant planet (GP) formation and evolution. Individual and emblematic cases are detailed; they illustrate what future instruments will routinely deliver for a much larger number of stars. I also point out the limitations of this approach, as well as the needs for further work in terms of planet formation modelling. I finally present the progress expected in direct imaging in the near future, thanks in particular to forthcoming planet imagers on 8-10 m class telescopes.

  8. A sub-Mercury-sized exoplanet

    OpenAIRE

    Barclay, Thomas; Ciardi, David; Howard, Andrew W.

    2013-01-01

    Since the discovery of the first exoplanets, it has been known that other planetary systems can look quite unlike our own. Until fairly recently, we have been able to probe only the upper range of the planet size distribution, and, since last year, to detect planets that are the size of Earth or somewhat smaller. Hitherto, no planets have been found that are smaller than those we see in the Solar System. Here we report a planet significantly smaller than Mercury. This tiny planet is the inner...

  9. Exoplanet Caught on the Move

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-06-01

    For the first time, astronomers have been able to directly follow the motion of an exoplanet as it moves from one side of its host star to the other. The planet has the smallest orbit so far of all directly imaged exoplanets, lying almost as close to its parent star as Saturn is to the Sun. Scientists believe that it may have formed in a similar way to the giant planets in the Solar System. Because the star is so young, this discovery proves that gas giant planets can form within discs in only a few million years, a short time in cosmic terms. Only 12 million years old, or less than three-thousandths of the age of the Sun, Beta Pictoris is 75% more massive than our parent star. It is located about 60 light-years away towards the constellation of Pictor (the Painter) and is one of the best-known examples of a star surrounded by a dusty debris disc [1]. Earlier observations showed a warp of the disc, a secondary inclined disc and comets falling onto the star. "Those were indirect, but tell-tale signs that strongly suggested the presence of a massive planet, and our new observations now definitively prove this," says team leader Anne-Marie Lagrange. "Because the star is so young, our results prove that giant planets can form in discs in time-spans as short as a few million years." Recent observations have shown that discs around young stars disperse within a few million years, and that giant planet formation must occur faster than previously thought. Beta Pictoris is now clear proof that this is indeed possible. The team used the NAOS-CONICA instrument (or NACO [2]), mounted on one of the 8.2-metre Unit Telescopes of ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT), to study the immediate surroundings of Beta Pictoris in 2003, 2008 and 2009. In 2003 a faint source inside the disc was seen (eso0842), but it was not possible to exclude the remote possibility that it was a background star. In new images taken in 2008 and spring 2009 the source had disappeared! The most recent

  10. Transiting exoplanets: From planet statistics to their physical nature

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rauer H.

    2011-02-01

    Full Text Available The colloquium "Detection and Dynamics of Transiting Exoplanets" was held at the Observatoire de Haute-Provence and discussed the status of transiting exoplanet investigations in a 4.5 day meeting. Topics addressed ranged from planet detection, a discussion on planet composition and interior structure, atmospheres of hot-Jupiter planets, up to the effect of tides and the dynamical evolution of planetary systems. Here, I give a summary of the recent developments of transiting planet detections and investigations discussed at this meeting.

  11. Possible climates on terrestrial exoplanets.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Forget, F; Leconte, J

    2014-04-28

    What kind of environment may exist on terrestrial planets around other stars? In spite of the lack of direct observations, it may not be premature to speculate on exoplanetary climates, for instance, to optimize future telescopic observations or to assess the probability of habitable worlds. To begin with, climate primarily depends on (i) the atmospheric composition and the volatile inventory; (ii) the incident stellar flux; and (iii) the tidal evolution of the planetary spin, which can notably lock a planet with a permanent night side. The atmospheric composition and mass depends on complex processes, which are difficult to model: origins of volatiles, atmospheric escape, geochemistry, photochemistry, etc. We discuss physical constraints, which can help us to speculate on the possible type of atmosphere, depending on the planet size, its final distance for its star and the star type. Assuming that the atmosphere is known, the possible climates can be explored using global climate models analogous to the ones developed to simulate the Earth as well as the other telluric atmospheres in the solar system. Our experience with Mars, Titan and Venus suggests that realistic climate simulators can be developed by combining components, such as a 'dynamical core', a radiative transfer solver, a parametrization of subgrid-scale turbulence and convection, a thermal ground model and a volatile phase change code. On this basis, we can aspire to build reliable climate predictors for exoplanets. However, whatever the accuracy of the models, predicting the actual climate regime on a specific planet will remain challenging because climate systems are affected by strong positive feedbacks. They can drive planets with very similar forcing and volatile inventory to completely different states. For instance, the coupling among temperature, volatile phase changes and radiative properties results in instabilities, such as runaway glaciations and runaway greenhouse effect.

  12. A Multi-object Exoplanet Detecting Technique

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhang, K.

    2011-05-01

    Exoplanet exploration is not only a meaningful astronomical action, but also has a close relation with the extra-terrestrial life. High resolution echelle spectrograph is the key instrument for measuring stellar radial velocity (RV). But with higher precision, better environmental stability and higher cost are required. An improved technique of RV means invented by David J. Erskine in 1997, External Dispersed Interferometry (EDI), can increase the RV measuring precision by combining the moderate resolution spectrograph with a fixed-delay Michelson interferometer. LAMOST with large aperture and large field of view is equipped with 16 multi-object low resolution fiber spectrographs. And these spectrographs are capable to work in medium resolution mode (R=5{K}˜10{K}). LAMOST will be one of the most powerful exoplanet detecting systems over the world by introducing EDI technique. The EDI technique is a new technique for developing astronomical instrumentation in China. The operating theory of EDI was generally verified by a feasibility experiment done in 2009. And then a multi-object exoplanet survey system based on LAMOST spectrograph was proposed. According to this project, three important tasks have been done as follows: Firstly, a simulation of EDI operating theory contains the stellar spectrum model, interferometer transmission model, spectrograph mediation model and RV solution model. In order to meet the practical situation, two detecting modes, temporal and spatial phase-stepping methods, are separately simulated. The interference spectrum is analyzed with Fourier transform algorithm and a higher resolution conventional spectrum is resolved. Secondly, an EDI prototype is composed of a multi-object interferometer prototype and the LAMOST spectrograph. Some ideas are used in the design to reduce the effect of central obscuration, for example, modular structure and external/internal adjusting frames. Another feasibility experiment was done at Xinglong Station in

  13. Undercover Stars Among Exoplanet Candidates

    Science.gov (United States)

    2005-03-01

    in solar units. The newly determined, precise values of the mass and radius of OGLE-TR-122b are indicated as the red dot. The blue symbols are values for low-mass stars, while the black symbols on the left represent exoplanets. Note that the "hot Jupiters" - exoplanets orbiting very close to their host star - are larger than OGLE-TR-122b. The various lines represent theoretical models from G. Chabrier, I. Baraffe and colleagues, showing a good agreement between theory and observations. The newly found stellar gnome is the companion of OGLE-TR-122, a rather remote star in the Milky Way galaxy, seen in the direction of the southern constellation Carina. The OGLE programme revealed that OGLE-TR-122 experiences a 1.5 per cent brightness dip once every 7 days 6 hours and 27 minutes, each time lasting just over 3 hours (about 188 min). The FLAMES/UVES measurements, made during 6 nights in March 2004, reveal radial velocity variations of this period with an amplitude of about 20 km/s. This is the clear signature of a very low-mass star, close to the Hydrogen-burning limit, orbiting OGLE-TR-122. This companion received the name OGLE-TR-122b. As François Bouchy of the Observatoire Astronomique Marseille Provence (France) explains: "Combined with the information collected by OGLE, our spectroscopic data now allow us to determine the nature of the more massive star in the system, which appears to be solar-like". This information can then be used to determine the mass and radius of the much smaller companion OGLE-TR-122b. Indeed, the depth (brightness decrease) of the transit gives a direct estimate of the ratio between the radii of the two stars, and the spectroscopic orbit provides a unique value of the mass of the companion, once the mass of the larger star is known. The astronomers find that OGLE-TR-122b weighs one-eleventh of the mass of the Sun and has a diameter that is only one-eighth of the solar one. Thus, although the star is still 96 times as massive as Jupiter, it

  14. Searching for Exoplanets using Artificial Intelligence

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pearson, Kyle Alexander; Palafox, Leon; Griffith, Caitlin Ann

    2017-10-01

    In the last decade, over a million stars were monitored to detect transiting planets. The large volume of data obtained from current and future missions (e.g. Kepler, K2, TESS and LSST) requires automated methods to detect the signature of a planet. Manual interpretation of potential exoplanet candidates is labor intensive and subject to human error, the results of which are difficult to quantify. Here we present a new method of detecting exoplanet candidates in large planetary search projects which, unlike current methods uses a neural network. Neural networks, also called ``deep learning'' or ``deep nets'', are a state of the art machine learning technique designed to give a computer perception into a specific problem by training it to recognize patterns. Unlike past transit detection algorithms, the deep net learns to characterize the data instead of relying on hand-coded metrics that humans perceive as the most representative. Exoplanet transits have different shapes, as a result of, e.g. the planet's and stellar atmosphere and transit geometry. Thus, a simple template does not suffice to capture the subtle details, especially if the signal is below the noise or strong systematics are present. Current false-positive rates from the Kepler data are estimated around 12.3% for Earth-like planets and there has been no study of the false negative rates. It is therefore important to ask how the properties of current algorithms exactly affect the results of the Kepler mission and, future missions such as TESS, which flies next year. These uncertainties affect the fundamental research derived from missions, such as the discovery of habitable planets, estimates of their occurrence rates and our understanding about the nature and evolution of planetary systems.

  15. TRUE MASSES OF RADIAL-VELOCITY EXOPLANETS

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Brown, Robert A., E-mail: rbrown@stsci.edu [Space Telescope Science Institute (United States)

    2015-06-01

    We study the task of estimating the true masses of known radial-velocity (RV) exoplanets by means of direct astrometry on coronagraphic images to measure the apparent separation between exoplanet and host star. Initially, we assume perfect knowledge of the RV orbital parameters and that all errors are due to photon statistics. We construct design reference missions for four missions currently under study at NASA: EXO-S and WFIRST-S, with external star shades for starlight suppression, EXO-C and WFIRST-C, with internal coronagraphs. These DRMs reveal extreme scheduling constraints due to the combination of solar and anti-solar pointing restrictions, photometric and obscurational completeness, image blurring due to orbital motion, and the “nodal effect,” which is the independence of apparent separation and inclination when the planet crosses the plane of the sky through the host star. Next, we address the issue of nonzero uncertainties in RV orbital parameters by investigating their impact on the observations of 21 single-planet systems. Except for two—GJ 676 A b and 16 Cyg B b, which are observable only by the star-shade missions—we find that current uncertainties in orbital parameters generally prevent accurate, unbiased estimation of true planetary mass. For the coronagraphs, WFIRST-C and EXO-C, the most likely number of good estimators of true mass is currently zero. For the star shades, EXO-S and WFIRST-S, the most likely numbers of good estimators are three and four, respectively, including GJ 676 A b and 16 Cyg B b. We expect that uncertain orbital elements currently undermine all potential programs of direct imaging and spectroscopy of RV exoplanets.

  16. Exploring exoplanet populations with NASA's Kepler Mission.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Batalha, Natalie M

    2014-09-02

    The Kepler Mission is exploring the diversity of planets and planetary systems. Its legacy will be a catalog of discoveries sufficient for computing planet occurrence rates as a function of size, orbital period, star type, and insolation flux. The mission has made significant progress toward achieving that goal. Over 3,500 transiting exoplanets have been identified from the analysis of the first 3 y of data, 100 planets of which are in the habitable zone. The catalog has a high reliability rate (85-90% averaged over the period/radius plane), which is improving as follow-up observations continue. Dynamical (e.g., velocimetry and transit timing) and statistical methods have confirmed and characterized hundreds of planets over a large range of sizes and compositions for both single- and multiple-star systems. Population studies suggest that planets abound in our galaxy and that small planets are particularly frequent. Here, I report on the progress Kepler has made measuring the prevalence of exoplanets orbiting within one astronomical unit of their host stars in support of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's long-term goal of finding habitable environments beyond the solar system.

  17. EPOXI EXOPLANET TRANSIT OBS - HRIV STELLAR PHOTOMETRY V1.0

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — This data set contains aperture photometry of known transiting planet systems GJ 436, HAT-P-4, HAT-P-7, TrES-2, TrES-3, and WASP-3 derived from radiance calibrated,...

  18. Exoplanet Science in the National Science Olympiad

    Science.gov (United States)

    Komacek, Thaddeus D.; Young, Donna

    2015-11-01

    The National Science Olympiad is one of the United States' largest science competitions, reaching over 6,000 schools in 48 states. The Olympiad includes a wide variety of events, stretching a full range of potential future STEM careers, from biological sciences to engineering to earth and space sciences. The Astronomy event has been a mainstay at the high school level for well over a decade, and nominally focuses on aspects of stellar evolution. For the 2014-2015 competition season, the event focus was aligned to include exoplanet discovery and characterization along with star formation. Teams studied both the qualitative features of exoplanets and exoplanetary systems and the quantitative aspects behind their discovery and characterization, including basic calculations with the transit and radial velocity methods. Students were also expected to have a qualitative understanding of stellar evolution and understand the differences between classes of young stars including T Tauri and FU Orionis variables, and Herbig Ae/Be stars. Based on the successes of this event topic, we are continuing this event into the 2015-2016 academic year. The key modification is the selection of new exoplanetary systems for students to research. We welcome feedback from the community on how to improve the event and the related educational resources that are created for Science Olympiad students and coaches. We also encourage any interested community members to contact your regional or state Science Olympiad tournament directors and volunteer to organize competitions and supervise events locally.

  19. Exoplanet Searches by Future Deep Space Missions

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Maccone C.

    2011-02-01

    Full Text Available The search for exoplanets could benefit from gravitational lensing if we could get to 550 AU from the Sun and beyond. This is because the gravitational lens of the Sun would highly intensify there any weak electromagnetic wave reaching the solar system from distant planets in the Galaxy (see Maccone 2009. The gravitational lens of the Sun, however, has a drawback: the solar Corona. Electrons in the Corona make electromagnetic waves diverge and this pushes the focus out to distances higher than 550 AU. Jupiter is the second larger mass in the solar system after the Sun, but in this focal game not only the mass matters: rather, what really matters is the ratio between the radius of the body squared and the mass of the body. In this regard, Jupiter qualifies as the second best choice for a space mission, requiring the spacecraft to reach 6,077 AU. In this paper, we study the benefit of exoplanet searches by deep space missions.

  20. A Cubesat Payload for Exoplanet Detection

    Science.gov (United States)

    Iuzzolino, M.; Accardo, D.; Rufino, G.; Oliva, E.; Tozzi, A.; Schipani, P.

    2017-03-01

    The search for undiscovered planets outside the solar system is a scientific topic that is rapidly spreading into the astrophysical and engineering communities. In this framework, the design of an innovative payload to detect exoplanets from a nano-sized space platform, like a 3U cubesat, is presented. The selected detection method is photometric transit, and the payload aims to detect flux decrements down to 0.01% with a precision of 12 ppm. The payload design is also aimed at false positive recognition. The solution consists of a four-facets pyramid on the top of the payload, to allow for measurement redundancy and low-resolution spectral dispersion of the star images. The innovative concept is the use of a small and cheap platform for a relevant astronomical mission. The faintest observable target star has V-magnitude equal to 3.38. Despite missions aimed at ultra-precise photometry from microsatellites (e.g., MOST, BRITE), the transit of exoplanets orbiting very bright stars has not yet been surveyed photometrically from space, since any observation from a small/medium sized (30 cm optical aperture) telescope would saturate the detector. This cubesat mission can provide these missing measurements. This work is set up as a demonstrative project to verify the feasibility of the payload concept.

  1. A Cubesat Payload for Exoplanet Detection

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Marcella Iuzzolino

    2017-03-01

    Full Text Available The search for undiscovered planets outside the solar system is a scientific topic that is rapidly spreading into the astrophysical and engineering communities. In this framework, the design of an innovative payload to detect exoplanets from a nano-sized space platform, like a 3U cubesat, is presented. The selected detection method is photometric transit, and the payload aims to detect flux decrements down to ~0.01% with a precision of 12 ppm. The payload design is also aimed at false positive recognition. The solution consists of a four-facets pyramid on the top of the payload, to allow for measurement redundancy and low-resolution spectral dispersion of the star images. The innovative concept is the use of a small and cheap platform for a relevant astronomical mission. The faintest observable target star has V-magnitude equal to 3.38. Despite missions aimed at ultra-precise photometry from microsatellites (e.g., MOST, BRITE, the transit of exoplanets orbiting very bright stars has not yet been surveyed photometrically from space, since any observation from a small/medium sized (30 cm optical aperture telescope would saturate the detector. This cubesat mission can provide these missing measurements. This work is set up as a demonstrative project to verify the feasibility of the payload concept.

  2. A Cubesat Payload for Exoplanet Detection.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Iuzzolino, Marcella; Accardo, Domenico; Rufino, Giancarlo; Oliva, Ernesto; Tozzi, Andrea; Schipani, Pietro

    2017-03-02

    The search for undiscovered planets outside the solar system is a scientific topic that is rapidly spreading into the astrophysical and engineering communities. In this framework, the design of an innovative payload to detect exoplanets from a nano-sized space platform, like a 3U cubesat, is presented. The selected detection method is photometric transit, and the payload aims to detect flux decrements down to ~0.01% with a precision of 12 ppm. The payload design is also aimed at false positive recognition. The solution consists of a four-facets pyramid on the top of the payload, to allow for measurement redundancy and low-resolution spectral dispersion of the star images. The innovative concept is the use of a small and cheap platform for a relevant astronomical mission. The faintest observable target star has V-magnitude equal to 3.38. Despite missions aimed at ultra-precise photometry from microsatellites (e.g., MOST, BRITE), the transit of exoplanets orbiting very bright stars has not yet been surveyed photometrically from space, since any observation from a small/medium sized (30 cm optical aperture) telescope would saturate the detector. This cubesat mission can provide these missing measurements. This work is set up as a demonstrative project to verify the feasibility of the payload concept.

  3. Stellar magnetic activity and exoplanets

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Vidotto A.A.

    2017-01-01

    Full Text Available 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.

  4. Stellar magnetic activity and exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vidotto, A. A.

    2017-10-01

    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.

  5. HOMES - Holographic Optical Method for Exoplanet Spectroscopy Project

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — HOMES (Holographic Optical Method for Exoplanet Spectroscopy) is a space telescope designed for exoplanet discovery. Its double dispersion architecture employs a...

  6. HST/WFC3 Observations of Giant Hot Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Deming, D.; Agol, E.; Burrows, A.; Charbonneau, D.; Clampin, M.; Desert, J.-M.; Gilliland, R.; Knutson, H.; Madhusudhan, N.; Mandell, A.; hide

    2011-01-01

    Low resolution thermal emission spectra of several dozen extrasolar planets have been measured using Spitzer, and HST observations of a few key exoplanets have reported molecular abundances via transmission spectroscopy. However, current models for the atmospheric structure of these worlds exhibit degeneracies wherein different combinations of temperature and molecular abundance profiles can fit the same Spitzer data. The advent of the IR capability on HST/WFC3 allows us to address this problem. We are currently obtaining transmission spectroscopy of the 1.4-micron water band in a sample of 13 planets, using the G141 grism on WFC3. This is the largest pure-exoplanet program ever executed on HST (115 orbits). Among the abundant molecules, only water absorbs significantly at 1.4-microns, and our measurement of water abundance will enable us to break the degeneracies in the Spitzer results with minimal model assumptions. We are also using the G141 grism to observe secondary eclipses for 7 very hot giant exoplanets at 1.S-microns, including several bright systems in the Kepler and CoRoT fields. The strong temperature sensitivity of the thermal continuum at 1.S-microns provides high leverage on atmospheric temperature for these worlds, again helping to break degeneracies in interpreting the Spitzer data. We here describe preliminary results for several exoplanets observed in this program.

  7. A sub-Mercury-sized exoplanet.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barclay, Thomas; Rowe, Jason F; Lissauer, Jack J; Huber, Daniel; Fressin, François; Howell, Steve B; Bryson, Stephen T; Chaplin, William J; Désert, Jean-Michel; Lopez, Eric D; Marcy, Geoffrey W; Mullally, Fergal; Ragozzine, Darin; Torres, Guillermo; Adams, Elisabeth R; Agol, Eric; Barrado, David; Basu, Sarbani; Bedding, Timothy R; Buchhave, Lars A; Charbonneau, David; Christiansen, Jessie L; Christensen-Dalsgaard, Jørgen; Ciardi, David; Cochran, William D; Dupree, Andrea K; Elsworth, Yvonne; Everett, Mark; Fischer, Debra A; Ford, Eric B; Fortney, Jonathan J; Geary, John C; Haas, Michael R; Handberg, Rasmus; Hekker, Saskia; Henze, Christopher E; Horch, Elliott; Howard, Andrew W; Hunter, Roger C; Isaacson, Howard; Jenkins, Jon M; Karoff, Christoffer; Kawaler, Steven D; Kjeldsen, Hans; Klaus, Todd C; Latham, David W; Li, Jie; Lillo-Box, Jorge; Lund, Mikkel N; Lundkvist, Mia; Metcalfe, Travis S; Miglio, Andrea; Morris, Robert L; Quintana, Elisa V; Stello, Dennis; Smith, Jeffrey C; Still, Martin; Thompson, Susan E

    2013-02-28

    Since the discovery of the first exoplanets, it has been known that other planetary systems can look quite unlike our own. Until fairly recently, we have been able to probe only the upper range of the planet size distribution, and, since last year, to detect planets that are the size of Earth or somewhat smaller. Hitherto, no planets have been found that are smaller than those we see in the Solar System. Here we report a planet significantly smaller than Mercury. This tiny planet is the innermost of three that orbit the Sun-like host star, which we have designated Kepler-37. Owing to its extremely small size, similar to that of the Moon, and highly irradiated surface, the planet, Kepler-37b, is probably rocky with no atmosphere or water, similar to Mercury.

  8. Walking on Exoplanets: Is Star Wars Right?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ballesteros, Fernando J; Luque, B

    2016-05-01

    As the number of detected extrasolar planets increases, exoplanet databases become a valuable resource, confirming some details about planetary formation but also challenging our theories with new, unexpected properties. Exoplanets-Gravity-Planetary habitability and biosignatures. Astrobiology 16, 325-327.

  9. Crossing the Boundaries in Planetary Atmospheres - From Earth to Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Simon-Miller, Amy A.; Genio, Anthony Del

    2013-01-01

    The past decade has been an especially exciting time to study atmospheres, with a renaissance in fundamental studies of Earths general circulation and hydrological cycle, stimulated by questions about past climates and the urgency of projecting the future impacts of humankinds activities. Long-term spacecraft and Earth-based observation of solar system planets have now reinvigorated the study of comparative planetary climatology. The explosion in discoveries of planets outside our solar system has made atmospheric science integral to understanding the diversity of our solar system and the potential habitability of planets outside it. Thus, the AGU Chapman Conference Crossing the Boundaries in Planetary Atmospheres From Earth to Exoplanets, held in Annapolis, MD from June 24-27, 2013 gathered Earth, solar system, and exoplanet scientists to share experiences, insights, and challenges from their individual disciplines, and discuss areas in which thinking broadly might enhance our fundamental understanding of how atmospheres work.

  10. COMPARATIVE HABITABILITY OF TRANSITING EXOPLANETS

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Barnes, Rory; Meadows, Victoria S.; Evans, Nicole, E-mail: rory@astro.washington.edu [Astronomy Department, University of Washington, Box 951580, Seattle, WA 98195 (United States)

    2015-12-01

    Exoplanet habitability is traditionally assessed by comparing a planet’s semimajor axis to the location of its host star’s “habitable zone,” the shell around a star for which Earth-like planets can possess liquid surface water. The Kepler space telescope has discovered numerous planet candidates near the habitable zone, and many more are expected from missions such as K2, TESS, and PLATO. These candidates often require significant follow-up observations for validation, so prioritizing planets for habitability from transit data has become an important aspect of the search for life in the universe. We propose a method to compare transiting planets for their potential to support life based on transit data, stellar properties and previously reported limits on planetary emitted flux. For a planet in radiative equilibrium, the emitted flux increases with eccentricity, but decreases with albedo. As these parameters are often unconstrained, there is an “eccentricity-albedo degeneracy” for the habitability of transiting exoplanets. Our method mitigates this degeneracy, includes a penalty for large-radius planets, uses terrestrial mass–radius relationships, and, when available, constraints on eccentricity to compute a number we call the “habitability index for transiting exoplanets” that represents the relative probability that an exoplanet could support liquid surface water. We calculate it for Kepler objects of interest and find that planets that receive between 60% and 90% of the Earth’s incident radiation, assuming circular orbits, are most likely to be habitable. Finally, we make predictions for the upcoming TESS and James Webb Space Telescope missions.

  11. Investigating nearby exoplanets via interstellar radar

    Science.gov (United States)

    Scheffer, Louis K.

    2014-01-01

    Interstellar radar is a potential intermediate step between passive observation of exoplanets and interstellar exploratory missions. Compared with passive observation, it has the traditional advantages of radar astronomy. It can measure surface characteristics, determine spin rates and axes, provide extremely accurate ranges, construct maps of planets, distinguish liquid from solid surfaces, find rings and moons, and penetrate clouds. It can do this even for planets close to the parent star. Compared with interstellar travel or probes, it also offers significant advantages. The technology required to build such a radar already exists, radar can return results within a human lifetime, and a single facility can investigate thousands of planetary systems. The cost, although too high for current implementation, is within the reach of Earth's economy.

  12. Subaru SEEDS Survey of Exoplanets and Disks

    Science.gov (United States)

    McElwain, Michael W.

    2012-01-01

    The Strategic Exploration of Exoplanets and Disks at Subaru (SEEDS) is the first strategic observing program (SSOPs) awarded by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ). SEEDS targets a broad sample of stars that span a wide range of masses and ages to explore the formation and evolution of planetary systems. This survey has been awarded 120 nights over five years time to observe nearly 500 stars. Currently in the second year, SEEDS has already produced exciting new results for the protoplanetary disk AB Aur, transitional disk LkCa15, and nearby companion to GJ 758. We present the survey architecture, performance, recent results, and the projected sample. Finally, we will discuss planned upgrades to the high contrast instrumentation at the Subaru Telescope

  13. The Galactic Exoplanet Survey Telescope (GEST)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bennett, David P.; Bally, John; Bond, I.; Cheng, Ed; Cook, Kem; Deming, Drake; Garnavich, P.; Griest, Kim; Jewitt, David; Kaiser, Nick; Lauer, Tod R.; Lunine, Jonathan; Luppino, Gerard; Mather, John C.; Minniti, Dante; Peale, Stanton J.; Rhie, Sun H.; Rhodes, Jason; Schneider, Jean; Sonneborn, George; Stevenson, Robert; Stubbs, Christopher; Tenerelli, Domenick; Woolf, Neville; Yock, Phillip

    2003-02-01

    The Galactic Exoplanet Survey Telescope (GEST) will observe a 2 square degree field in the Galactic bulge to search for extra-solar planets using a gravitational lensing technique. This gravitational lensing technique is the only method employing currently available technology that can detect Earth-mass planets at high signal-to-noise, and can measure the abundance of terrestrial planets as a function of Galactic position. GEST's sensitivity extends down to the mass of Mars, and it can detect hundreds of terrestrial planets with semi-major axes ranging from 0.7 AU to infinity. GEST will be the first truly comprehensive survey of the Galaxy for planets like those in our own Solar System.

  14. Enabling Participation In Exoplanet Science

    Science.gov (United States)

    Taylor, Stuart F.

    2015-08-01

    Determining the distribution of exoplanets has required the contributions of a community of astronomers, who all require the support of colleagues to finish their projects in a manner to enable them to enter new collaborations to continue to contribute to understanding exoplanet science.The contributions of each member of the astronomy community are to be encouraged and must never be intentionally obstructed.We present a member’s long pursuit to be a contributing part of the exoplanet community through doing transit photometry as a means of commissioning the telescopes for a new observatory, followed by pursuit of interpreting the distributions in exoplanet parameter data.We present how the photometry projects have been presented as successful by the others who have claimed to have completed them, but how by requiring its employees to present results while omitting one member has been obstructive against members working together and has prevented the results from being published in what can genuinely be called a peer-reviewed fashion.We present how by tolerating one group to obstruct one member from finishing participation and then falsely denying credit is counterproductive to doing science.We show how expecting one member to attempt to go around an ostracizing group by starting something different is destructive to the entire profession. We repeat previously published appeals to help ostracized members to “go around the observatory” by calling for discussion on how the community must act to reverse cases of shunning, bullying, and other abuses. Without better recourse and support from the community, actions that do not meet standard good collegial behavior end up forcing good members from the community. The most important actions are to enable an ostracized member to have recourse to participating in group papers by either working through other authors or through the journal. All journals and authors must expect that no co-author is keeping out a major

  15. Biosignatures of Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kiang, Nancy Y.

    2017-01-01

    Are we alone? Ancient astronomers across the continents knew the existence of five Solar System planets visible to the naked eye. They could tell that these celestial wanderers were unlike stars in that they only reflected light from the Sun. In the early 1600s, Galileo developed the first telescopes able to observe spots moving across the Sun and the passage of moons across the face of Jupiter. He verified the theory of Aristarchus (3rd c. BC), and refined by Nicolaus Copernicus (mid 16th c.) and Johannes Kepler (late 16th c.), that the Earth and the other planets, in fact, orbit the Sun and not the other way around. Around the same time, Dominican friar Giordano Bruno wondered about the possibility of life on other worlds orbiting other suns (and was burned at the stake for this and other heresies).

  16. NExSS/NAI Joint ExoPAG SAG 16 Report on Remote Biosignatures for Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kiang, Nancy Y.; Parenteau, Mary Nicole; Domagal-Goldman, Shawn

    2017-01-01

    Future exoplanet observations will soon focus on the search for life beyond the Solar System. Exoplanet biosignatures to be sought are those with global, potentially detectable, impacts on a planet. Biosignatures occur in an environmental context in which geological, atmospheric, and stellar processes and interactions may work to enhance, suppress or mimic these biosignatures. Thus biosignature scienceis inherently interdisciplinary. Its advance is necessary to inform the design of the next flagship missions that will obtain spectra of habitable extrasolar planets. The NExSS NAI Joint Exoplanet Biosignatures Workshop Without Walls brought together the astrobiology, exoplanet, and mission concept communities to review, discuss, debate, and advance the science of remote detection of planetary biosignatures. The multi-meeting workshop began in June 2016, and was a process that engaged a broad range of experts across the interdisciplinary reaches of NASA's Nexus for Exoplanet System Science (NExSS) program, the NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI), NASAs Exoplanet Exploration Program (ExEP), and international partners, such as the European Astrobiology Network Association (EANA) and Japans Earth Life Science Institute (ELSI). These groups spanned expertise in astronomy, planetary science, Earth sciences, heliophysics, biology, instrument mission development, and engineering.

  17. First Solid Evidence for a Rocky Exoplanet - Mass and density of smallest exoplanet finally measured

    Science.gov (United States)

    2009-09-01

    The longest set of HARPS measurements ever made has firmly established the nature of the smallest and fastest-orbiting exoplanet known, CoRoT-7b, revealing its mass as five times that of Earth's. Combined with CoRoT-7b's known radius, which is less than twice that of our terrestrial home, this tells us that the exoplanet's density is quite similar to the Earth's, suggesting a solid, rocky world. The extensive dataset also reveals the presence of another so-called super-Earth in this alien solar system. "This is science at its thrilling and amazing best," says Didier Queloz, leader of the team that made the observations. "We did everything we could to learn what the object discovered by the CoRoT satellite looks like and we found a unique system." In February 2009, the discovery by the CoRoT satellite [1] of a small exoplanet around a rather unremarkable star named TYC 4799-1733-1 was announced one year after its detection and after several months of painstaking measurements with many telescopes on the ground, including several from ESO. The star, now known as CoRoT-7, is located towards the constellation of Monoceros (the Unicorn) at a distance of about 500 light-years. Slightly smaller and cooler than our Sun, CoRoT-7 is also thought to be younger, with an age of about 1.5 billion years. Every 20.4 hours, the planet eclipses a small fraction of the light of the star for a little over one hour by one part in 3000 [2]. This planet, designated CoRoT-7b, is only 2.5 million kilometres away from its host star, or 23 times closer than Mercury is to the Sun. It has a radius that is about 80% greater than the Earth's. The initial set of measurements, however, could not provide the mass of the exoplanet. Such a result requires extremely precise measurements of the velocity of the star, which is pulled a tiny amount by the gravitational tug of the orbiting exoplanet. The problem with CoRoT-7b is that these tiny signals are blurred by stellar activity in the form of

  18. Optimal Strategies for Probing Terrestrial Exoplanet Atmospheres with JWST

    Science.gov (United States)

    Batalha, Natasha E.; Lewis, Nikole K.; Line, Michael

    2018-01-01

    It is imperative that the exoplanet community determines the feasibility and the resources needed to yield high fidelity atmospheric compositions from terrestrial exoplanets. In particular, LHS 1140b and the TRAPPIST-1 system, already slated for observations by JWST’s Guaranteed Time Observers, will be the first two terrestrial planets observed by JWST. I will discuss optimal observing strategies for observing these two systems, focusing on the NIRSpec Prism (1-5μm) and the combination of NIRISS SOSS (1-2.7μm) and NIRSpec G395H (3-5μm). I will also introduce currently unsupported JWST readmodes that have the potential to greatly increase the precision on our atmospheric spectra. Lastly, I will use information content theory to compute the expected confidence interval on the retrieved abundances of key molecular species and temperature profiles as a function of JWST observing cycles.

  19. Searching for new diagnostics of exoplanet atmospheres

    Science.gov (United States)

    Oklopcic, Antonija; Hirata, Christopher M.; Heng, Kevin

    2017-01-01

    By characterizing the atmospheres of exoplanets we learn about their physical properties and chemical composition. This knowledge will ultimately lead to better understanding of the processes that govern planetary formation and evolution. In the light of upcoming space- and ground-based observatories that will enable remarkable advancement in our observational capabilities, it is important to keep searching for new diagnostic tools that may help us place more robust and reliable constraints on different atmospheric properties. As part of my Ph.D. thesis I investigated new methods for probing the atmospheres of exoplanets. I this talk I will present how observing the spectral signatures of Raman scattering imprinted in the reflected light of gaseous exoplanets at short optical wavelengths can be used to constrain the bulk composition of an exoplanet atmosphere, its temperature, and the presence and/or the altitude of thick clouds. I will discuss the prospects for detecting these signatures in nearby exoplanets using the next generation of observational facilities. I will finish by presenting my recent work on looking for new diagnostics of extended exoplanet atmospheres which may help us to better understand the processes of atmospheric escape and mass loss in exoplanets close to their host stars.

  20. The CoRoT Exoplanet program: status & results

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Moutou C.

    2011-02-01

    Full Text Available The CoRoT satellite is the first instrument hunting for planets from space. We will review the status of the CoRoT/Exoplanet program. We will then present the CoRoT exoplanetary systems and how they widen the range of properties of the close-in population and contribute to our understanding of the properties of planets.

  1. Lightning and Life on Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rimmer, Paul; Ardaseva, Aleksandra; Hodosan, Gabriella; Helling, Christiane

    2016-07-01

    Miller and Urey performed a ground-breaking experiment, in which they discovered that electric discharges through a low redox ratio gas of methane, ammonia, water vapor and hydrogen produced a variety of amino acids, the building blocks of proteins. Since this experiment, there has been significant interest on the connection between lightning chemistry and the origin of life. Investigation into the atmosphere of the Early Earth has generated a serious challenge for this project, as it has been determined both that Earth's early atmosphere was likely dominated by carbon dioxide and molecular nitrogen with only small amounts of hydrogen, having a very high redox ratio, and that discharges in gases with high redox ratios fail to yield more than trace amounts of biologically relevant products. This challenge has motivated several origin of life researchers to abandon lightning chemistry, and to concentrate on other pathways for prebiotic synthesis. The discovery of over 2000 exoplanets includes a handful of rocky planets within the habitable zones around their host stars. These planets can be viewed as remote laboratories in which efficient lightning driven prebiotic synthesis may take place. This is because many of these rocky exoplanets, called super-Earths, have masses significantly greater than that of Earth. This higher mass would allow them to more retain greater amounts hydrogen within their atmosphere, reducing the redox ratio. Discharges in super-Earth atmospheres can therefore result in a significant yield of amino acids. In this talk, I will discuss new work on what lightning might look like on exoplanets, and on lightning driven chemistry on super-Earths. Using a chemical kinetics model for a super-Earth atmosphere with smaller redox ratios, I will show that in the presence of lightning, the production of the amino acid glycine is enhanced up to a certain point, but with very low redox ratios, the production of glycine is again inhibited. I will conclude

  2. Laboratory Studies of Planetary Hazes: composition of cool exoplanet atmospheric aerosols with very high resolution mass spectrometry

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moran, Sarah E.; Horst, Sarah; He, Chao; Flandinet, Laurene; Moses, Julianne I.; Orthous-Daunay, Francois-Regis; Vuitton, Veronique; Wolters, Cedric; Lewis, Nikole

    2017-10-01

    We present first results of the composition of laboratory-produced exoplanet haze analogues. With the Planetary HAZE Research (PHAZER) Laboratory, we simulated nine exoplanet atmospheres of varying initial gas phase compositions representing increasing metallicities (100x, 1000x, and 10000x solar) and exposed them to three different temperature regimes (600, 400, and 300 K) with two different “instellation” sources (a plasma source and a UV lamp). The PHAZER exoplanet experiments simulate a temperature and atmospheric composition phase space relevant to the expected planetary yield of the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) mission as well as recently discovered potentially habitable zone exoplanets in the TRAPPIST-1, LHS-1140, and Proxima Centauri systems. Upon exposure to the energy sources, all of these experiments produced aerosol particles, which were collected in a dry nitrogen glove box and then analyzed with an LTQ Orbitrap XL™ Hybrid Ion Trap-Orbitrap Mass Spectrometer utilizing m/z ranging from 50 to 1000. The collected aerosol samples were found to contain complex organics. Constraining the composition of these aerosols allows us to better understand the photochemical and dynamical processes ongoing in exoplanet atmospheres. Moreover, these data can inform our telescope observations of exoplanets, which is of critical importance as we enter a new era of exoplanet atmosphere observation science with the upcoming launch of the James Webb Space Telescope. The molecular makeup of these haze particles provides key information for understanding exoplanet atmospheric spectra, and constraining the structure and behavior of clouds, hazes, and other aerosols is at the forefront of exoplanet atmosphere science.

  3. Three body dynamics and its applications to exoplanets

    CERN Document Server

    Musielak, Zdzislaw

    2017-01-01

    This brief book provides an overview of the gravitational orbital evolution of few-body systems, in particular those consisting of three bodies. The authors present the historical context that begins with the origin of the problem as defined by Newton, which was followed up by Euler, Lagrange, Laplace, and many others. Additionally, they consider the modern works from the 20th and 21st centuries that describe the development of powerful analytical methods by Poincare and others. The development of numerical tools, including modern symplectic methods, are presented as they pertain to the identification of short-term chaos and long term integrations of the orbits of many astronomical architectures such as stellar triples, planets in binaries, and single stars that host multiple exoplanets. The book includes some of the latest discoveries from the Kepler and now K2 missions, as well as applications to exoplanets discovered via the radial velocity method. Specifically, the authors give a unique perspective in rel...

  4. Astrology in the Era of Exoplanets

    CERN Document Server

    Lund, Michael B

    2016-01-01

    The last two decades have seen the number of known exoplanets increase from a small handful to nearly 2000 known exoplanets, thousands more planet candidates, and several upcoming missions that are expected to further increase the population of known exoplanets. Beyond the strictly scientific questions that this has led to regarding planet formation and frequency, this has also led to broader questions such as the philosophical implications of life elsewhere in the universe and the future of human civilization and space exploration. One additional realm that hasn't been adequately considered, however, is that this large increase in exoplanets would also impact claims regarding astrology. In this paper we look at the distribution of planets across the sky and along the Ecliptic, as well as the current and future implications of this planet distribution.

  5. Walking on Exoplanets: Is Star Wars Right?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ballesteros, Fernando J.; Luque, B.

    2016-05-01

    As the number of detected extrasolar planets increases, exoplanet databases become a valuable resource, confirming some details about planetary formation but also challenging our theories with new, unexpected properties.

  6. Spectra as windows into exoplanet atmospheres.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Burrows, Adam S

    2014-09-02

    Understanding a planet's atmosphere is a necessary condition for understanding not only the planet itself, but also its formation, structure, evolution, and habitability. This requirement puts a premium on obtaining spectra and developing credible interpretative tools with which to retrieve vital planetary information. However, for exoplanets, these twin goals are far from being realized. In this paper, I provide a personal perspective on exoplanet theory and remote sensing via photometry and low-resolution spectroscopy. Although not a review in any sense, this paper highlights the limitations in our knowledge of compositions, thermal profiles, and the effects of stellar irradiation, focusing on, but not restricted to, transiting giant planets. I suggest that the true function of the recent past of exoplanet atmospheric research has been not to constrain planet properties for all time, but to train a new generation of scientists who, by rapid trial and error, are fast establishing a solid future foundation for a robust science of exoplanets.

  7. ARIEL: Atmospheric Remote-Sensing Infrared Exoplanet Large-survey

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tinetti, Giovanna

    2015-11-01

    More than 1,000 extrasolar systems have been discovered, hosting nearly 2,000 exoplanets. Ongoing and planned ESA and NASA missions from space such as GAIA, Cheops, PLATO, K2 and TESS will increase the number of known systems to tens of thousands.Of all these exoplanets we know very little, i.e. their orbital data and, for some of these, their physical parameters such as their size and mass. In the past decade, pioneering results have been obtained using transit spectroscopy with Hubble, Spitzer and ground-based facilities, enabling the detection of a few of the most abundant ionic, atomic and molecular species and to constrain the planet’s thermal structure. Future general purpose facilities with large collecting areas will allow the acquisition of better exoplanet spectra, compared to the currently available, especially from fainter targets. A few tens of planets will be observed with JWST and E-ELT in great detail.A breakthrough in our understanding of planet formation and evolution mechanisms will only happen through the observation of the planetary bulk and atmospheric composition of a statistically large sample of planets. This requires conducting spectroscopic observations covering simultaneously a broad spectral region from the visible to the mid-IR. It also requires a dedicated space mission with the necessary photometric stability to perform these challenging measurements and sufficient agility to observe multiple times ~500 exoplanets over mission life-time.The ESA-M4 mission candidate ARIEL is designed to accomplish this goal and will provide a complete, statistically significant sample of gas-giants, Neptunes and super-Earths with temperatures hotter than 600K, as these types of planets will allow direct observation of their bulk properties, enabling us to constrain models of planet formation and evolution.The ARIEL consortium currently includes academic institutes and industry from eleven countries in Europe; the consortium is open and invites new

  8. Galactic cosmic ray-induced radiation dose on terrestrial exoplanets.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Atri, Dimitra; Hariharan, B; Grießmeier, Jean-Mathias

    2013-10-01

    This past decade has seen tremendous advancements in the study of extrasolar planets. Observations are now made with increasing sophistication from both ground- and space-based instruments, and exoplanets are characterized with increasing precision. There is a class of particularly interesting exoplanets that reside in the habitable zone, which is defined as the area around a star where the planet is capable of supporting liquid water on its surface. Planetary systems around M dwarfs are considered to be prime candidates to search for life beyond the Solar System. Such planets are likely to be tidally locked and have close-in habitable zones. Theoretical calculations also suggest that close-in exoplanets are more likely to have weaker planetary magnetic fields, especially in the case of super-Earths. Such exoplanets are subjected to a high flux of galactic cosmic rays (GCRs) due to their weak magnetic moments. GCRs are energetic particles of astrophysical origin that strike the planetary atmosphere and produce secondary particles, including muons, which are highly penetrating. Some of these particles reach the planetary surface and contribute to the radiation dose. Along with the magnetic field, another factor governing the radiation dose is the depth of the planetary atmosphere. The higher the depth of the planetary atmosphere, the lower the flux of secondary particles will be on the surface. If the secondary particles are energetic enough, and their flux is sufficiently high, the radiation from muons can also impact the subsurface regions, such as in the case of Mars. If the radiation dose is too high, the chances of sustaining a long-term biosphere on the planet are very low. We have examined the dependence of the GCR-induced radiation dose on the strength of the planetary magnetic field and its atmospheric depth, and found that the latter is the decisive factor for the protection of a planetary biosphere.

  9. A SEARCH FOR LOST PLANETS IN THEKEPLERMULTI-PLANET SYSTEMS AND THE DISCOVERY OF A LONG PERIOD, NEPTUNE-SIZED EXOPLANET KEPLER-150 F.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schmitt, Joseph R; Jenkins, Jon M; Fischer, Debra A

    2017-04-01

    The vast majority of the 4700 confirmed planets and planet candidates discovered by the Kepler space telescope were first found by the Kepler pipeline. In the pipeline, after a transit signal is found, all data points associated with those transits are removed, creating a "Swiss cheese"-like light curve full of holes, which is then used for subsequent transit searches. These holes could render an additional planet undetectable (or "lost"). We examine a sample of 114 stars with 3+ confirmed planets to see the effect that this "Swiss cheesing" may have. A simulation determined that the probability that a transiting planet is lost due to the transit masking is low, but non-neglible, reaching a plateau at ~3.3% lost in the period range of P = 400 - 500 days. We then model the transits in all quarters of each star and subtract out the transit signals, restoring the in-transit data points, and use the Kepler pipeline to search the transit-subtracted (i.e., transit-cleaned) light curves. However, the pipeline did not discover any credible new transit signals. This demonstrates the validity and robustness of the Kepler pipeline's choice to use transit masking over transit subtraction. However, a follow-up visual search through all the transit-subtracted data, which allows for easier visual identification of new transits, revealed the existence of a new, Neptune-sized exoplanet. Kepler-150 f ( P = 637.2 days, R P = 3.86 R ⊕ ) is confirmed using a combination of false positive probability analysis, transit duration analysis, and the planet multiplicity argument.

  10. Towards consistent mapping of distant worlds: secondary-eclipse scanning of the exoplanet HD 189733b

    Science.gov (United States)

    de Wit, J.; Gillon, M.; Demory, B.-O.; Seager, S.

    2012-12-01

    Context. Mapping distant worlds is the next frontier for exoplanet infrared (IR) photometry studies. Ultimately, constraining spatial and temporal properties of an exoplanet atmosphere (e.g., its temperature) will provide further insight into its physics. For tidally-locked hot Jupiters that transit and are eclipsed by their host star, the first steps are now possible. Aims: Our aim is to constrain an exoplanet's (1) shape, (2) brightness distribution (BD) and (3) system parameters from its phase curve and eclipse measurements. In particular, we rely on the secondary-eclipse scanning which is obtained while an exoplanet is gradually masked by its host star. Methods: We use archived Spitzer/IRAC 8-μm data of HD 189733 (six transits, eight secondary eclipses, and a phase curve) in a global Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) procedure for mitigating systematics. We also include HD 189733's out-of-transit radial velocity (RV) measurements to assess their incidence on the inferences obtained solely from the photometry. Results: We find a 6σ deviation from the expected occultation of a uniformly-bright disk. This deviation emerges mainly from a large-scale hot spot in HD 189733b's atmosphere, not from HD 189733b's shape. We indicate that the correlation of the exoplanet orbital eccentricity, e, and BD ("uniform time offset") does also depend on the stellar density, ρ⋆, and the exoplanet impact parameter, b ("e-b-ρ⋆-BD correlation"). For HD 189733b, we find that relaxing the eccentricity constraint and using more complex BDs lead to lower stellar/planetary densities and a more localized and latitudinally-shifted hot spot. We, therefore, show that the light curve of an exoplanet does not constrain uniquely its brightness peak localization. Finally, we obtain an improved constraint on the upper limit of HD 189733b's orbital eccentricity, e ≤ 0.011 (95% confidence), when including HD 189733's RV measurements. Conclusions: Reanalysis of archived HD 189733's data

  11. Requirements and limits for life in the context of exoplanets.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McKay, Christopher P

    2014-09-02

    The requirements for life on Earth, its elemental composition, and its environmental limits provide a way to assess the habitability of exoplanets. Temperature is key both because of its influence on liquid water and because it can be directly estimated from orbital and climate models of exoplanetary systems. Life can grow and reproduce at temperatures as low as -15 °C, and as high as 122 °C. Studies of life in extreme deserts show that on a dry world, even a small amount of rain, fog, snow, and even atmospheric humidity can be adequate for photosynthetic production producing a small but detectable microbial community. Life is able to use light at levels less than 10(-5) of the solar flux at Earth. UV or ionizing radiation can be tolerated by many microorganisms at very high levels and is unlikely to be life limiting on an exoplanet. Biologically available nitrogen may limit habitability. Levels of O2 over a few percent on an exoplanet would be consistent with the presence of multicellular organisms and high levels of O2 on Earth-like worlds indicate oxygenic photosynthesis. Other factors such as pH and salinity are likely to vary and not limit life over an entire planet or moon.

  12. Tidal locking of habitable exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barnes, Rory

    2017-10-01

    Potentially habitable planets can orbit close enough to their host star that the differential gravity across their diameters can produce an elongated shape. Frictional forces inside the planet prevent the bulges from aligning perfectly with the host star and result in torques that alter the planet's rotational angular momentum. Eventually the tidal torques fix the rotation rate at a specific frequency, a process called tidal locking. Tidally locked planets on circular orbits will rotate synchronously, but those on eccentric orbits will either librate or rotate super-synchronously. Although these features of tidal theory are well known, a systematic survey of the rotational evolution of potentially habitable exoplanets using classic equilibrium tide theories has not been undertaken. I calculate how habitable planets evolve under two commonly used models and find, for example, that one model predicts that the Earth's rotation rate would have synchronized after 4.5 Gyr if its initial rotation period was 3 days, it had no satellites, and it always maintained the modern Earth's tidal properties. Lower mass stellar hosts will induce stronger tidal effects on potentially habitable planets, and tidal locking is possible for most planets in the habitable zones of GKM dwarf stars. For fast-rotating planets, both models predict eccentricity growth and that circularization can only occur once the rotational frequency is similar to the orbital frequency. The orbits of potentially habitable planets of very late M dwarfs ([InlineEquation not available: see fulltext.]) are very likely to be circularized within 1 Gyr, and hence, those planets will be synchronous rotators. Proxima b is almost assuredly tidally locked, but its orbit may not have circularized yet, so the planet could be rotating super-synchronously today. The evolution of the isolated and potentially habitable Kepler planet candidates is computed and about half could be tidally locked. Finally, projected TESS planets

  13. Tidal locking of habitable exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barnes, Rory

    2017-12-01

    Potentially habitable planets can orbit close enough to their host star that the differential gravity across their diameters can produce an elongated shape. Frictional forces inside the planet prevent the bulges from aligning perfectly with the host star and result in torques that alter the planet's rotational angular momentum. Eventually the tidal torques fix the rotation rate at a specific frequency, a process called tidal locking. Tidally locked planets on circular orbits will rotate synchronously, but those on eccentric orbits will either librate or rotate super-synchronously. Although these features of tidal theory are well known, a systematic survey of the rotational evolution of potentially habitable exoplanets using classic equilibrium tide theories has not been undertaken. I calculate how habitable planets evolve under two commonly used models and find, for example, that one model predicts that the Earth's rotation rate would have synchronized after 4.5 Gyr if its initial rotation period was 3 days, it had no satellites, and it always maintained the modern Earth's tidal properties. Lower mass stellar hosts will induce stronger tidal effects on potentially habitable planets, and tidal locking is possible for most planets in the habitable zones of GKM dwarf stars. For fast-rotating planets, both models predict eccentricity growth and that circularization can only occur once the rotational frequency is similar to the orbital frequency. The orbits of potentially habitable planets of very late M dwarfs ([InlineEquation not available: see fulltext.]) are very likely to be circularized within 1 Gyr, and hence, those planets will be synchronous rotators. Proxima b is almost assuredly tidally locked, but its orbit may not have circularized yet, so the planet could be rotating super-synchronously today. The evolution of the isolated and potentially habitable Kepler planet candidates is computed and about half could be tidally locked. Finally, projected TESS planets

  14. The Gemini Planet Imager Exoplanet Survey

    Science.gov (United States)

    Macintosh, Bruce

    The Gemini Planet Imager (GPI) is a next-generation coronagraph constructed for the Gemini Observatory. GPI will see first light this fall. It will be the most advanced planet-imaging system in operation - an order of magnitude more sensitive than any current instrument, capable of detecting and spectroscopically characterizing young Jovian planets 107 times fainter than their parent star at separations of 0.2 arcseconds. GPI was built from the beginning as a facility-class survey instrument, and the observatory will employ it that way. Our team has been selected by Gemini Observatory to carry out an 890-hour program - the GPI Exoplanet Survey (GPIES) campaign from 2014-2017. We will observe 600 stars spanning spectral types A-M. We will use published young association catalogs and a proprietary list in preparation that adds several hundred new young (adolescent (view of the nature of wide-orbit planetary companions, informing our knowledge of solar system formation to guide future NASA planet hunting missions, while simultaneously offering a real- world program using the techniques - from integral field spectroscopy to advanced coronagraphy - that will someday be used to directly image Earthlike planets from space.

  15. Obliquity and Eccentricity Constraints for Terrestrial Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kane, Stephen R.; Torres, Stephanie M.

    2017-11-01

    Exoplanet discoveries over recent years have shown that terrestrial planets are exceptionally common. Many of these planets are in compact systems that result in complex orbital dynamics. A key step toward determining the surface conditions of these planets is understanding the latitudinally dependent flux incident at the top of the atmosphere as a function of orbital phase. The two main properties of a planet that influence the time-dependent nature of the flux are the obliquity and orbital eccentricity of the planet. We derive the criterion for which the flux variation due to obliquity is equivalent to the flux variation due to orbital eccentricity. This equivalence is computed for both the maximum and average flux scenarios, the latter of which includes the effects of the diurnal cycle. We apply these calculations to four known multi-planet systems (GJ 163, K2-3, Kepler-186, and Proxima Centauri), where we constrain the eccentricity of terrestrial planets using orbital dynamics considerations and model the effect of obliquity on incident flux. We discuss the implications of these simulations on climate models for terrestrial planets and outline detectable signatures of planetary obliquity.

  16. Five Kepler target stars that show multiple transiting exoplanet candidates

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Steffen, Jason H.; /Fermilab; Batalha, Natalie M.; /San Jose State U.; Borucki, William J.; /NASA, Ames; Buchhave, Lars A.; /Harvard-Smithsonian Ctr. Astrophys. /Bohr Inst.; Caldwell, Douglas A.; /NASA, Ames /SETI Inst., Mtn. View; Cochran, William D.; /Texas U.; Endl, Michael; /Texas U.; Fabrycky, Daniel C.; /Harvard-Smithsonian Ctr. Astrophys.; Fressin, Francois; /Harvard-Smithsonian Ctr. Astrophys.; Ford, Eric B.; /Florida U.; Fortney, Jonathan J.; /UC, Santa Cruz, Phys. Dept. /NASA, Ames

    2010-06-01

    We present and discuss five candidate exoplanetary systems identified with the Kepler spacecraft. These five systems show transits from multiple exoplanet candidates. Should these objects prove to be planetary in nature, then these five systems open new opportunities for the field of exoplanets and provide new insights into the formation and dynamical evolution of planetary systems. We discuss the methods used to identify multiple transiting objects from the Kepler photometry as well as the false-positive rejection methods that have been applied to these data. One system shows transits from three distinct objects while the remaining four systems show transits from two objects. Three systems have planet candidates that are near mean motion commensurabilities - two near 2:1 and one just outside 5:2. We discuss the implications that multitransiting systems have on the distribution of orbital inclinations in planetary systems, and hence their dynamical histories; as well as their likely masses and chemical compositions. A Monte Carlo study indicates that, with additional data, most of these systems should exhibit detectable transit timing variations (TTV) due to gravitational interactions - though none are apparent in these data. We also discuss new challenges that arise in TTV analyses due to the presence of more than two planets in a system.

  17. Amateur observations of exoplanets in Finland: History and recent activities

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mäkelä, V.; Haukka, H.; Oksanen, A.; Kehusmaa, P.; Hentunen, V.-P.

    2017-09-01

    Exoplanet have been observed by Finnish amateur astronomers already 17 years. Recently there are two active observers, but the interest to photometric observations on exoplanet transits is increasing in Finland.

  18. Advances in Exoplanet Observing by Amateur Astronomers (Abstract)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Conti, D. M.

    2017-06-01

    (Abstract only) This past year has seen a marked increase in amateur astronomer participation in exoplanet research. This has ranged from amateur astronomers helping professional astronomers confirm candidate exoplanets, to helping refine the ephemeris of known exoplanets. In addition, amateur astronomers have been involved in characterizing such exotic objects as disintegrating planetesimals. However, the involvement in such pro/am collaborations has also required that amateur astronomers follow a more disciplined approach to exoplanet observing.

  19. Patterns in exoplanet count and eccentricity distributions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Taylor, Stuart F.

    2018-01-01

    The distribution of exoplanets of contains an unexpected level of features, starting with an unexpected gap the splits the main pileup of much of the planet population. In the population of planets of metal-rich sunlike single stars (SLSS objects), which comprises 40% of planets found by the radial velocity method, when counting logarithmic periods the main pileup of planets with periods longer than 100 days is split into two peaks separated by a significant gap. There is a wide region which has so few planets that none are found in the current data set. We show that this gap is extremely unlikely to occur by random. Because this gap is well-filled among planets of low surface gravity and low metallicity stars with 31 objects, it is unlikely that the bimodal nature of the metal rich SLSS population is due to observational effects. Comparisons of eccentricity of the metal-rich and metal-poor SLSS populations depend strongly on the two-peak-gap structure of counts of the metal-rich SLSS (rSLSS) population. Consideration of these features is essential to properly study the correlations of eccentricity with other planet-system parameters given how the eccentricity of rSLSS objects is highest in the two peaks of the rSLSS population.

  20. Habitable Exoplanet Imager Optical Telescope Concept Design

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stahl, H Philip

    2017-01-01

    The Habitable Exoplanet Imaging Mission (HabEx) is one of four missions under study for the 2020 Astrophysics Decadal Survey. Its goal is to directly image and spectroscopically characterize planetary systems in the habitable zone of Sun-like stars. Additionally, HabEx will perform a broad range of general astrophysics science enabled by 100 to 2500 nm spectral range and 3 x 3 arc-minute FOV. Critical to achieving the HabEx science goals is a large, ultra-stable UV/Optical/Near-IR (UVOIR) telescope. The baseline HabEx telescope is a 4-meter off-axis unobscured three-mirror-anastigmatic, diffraction limited at 400 nm with wavefront stability on the order of a few 10s of picometers. This paper summarizes the opto-mechanical design of the HabEx baseline optical telescope assembly, including a discussion of how science requirements drive the telescope's specifications, and presents analysis that the baseline telescope structure meets its specified tolerances.

  1. THE LEECH EXOPLANET IMAGING SURVEY: CHARACTERIZATION OF THE COLDEST DIRECTLY IMAGED EXOPLANET, GJ 504 b, AND EVIDENCE FOR SUPERSTELLAR METALLICITY

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Skemer, Andrew J.; Leisenring, Jarron; Bailey, Vanessa; Hinz, Philip; Defrére, Denis; Apai, Dániel; Close, Laird; Eisner, Josh [Steward Observatory, University of Arizona, 933 North Cherry Ave. Tucson, AZ 85721 (United States); Morley, Caroline V.; Fortney, Jonathan [University of California, Santa Cruz, 1156 High St. Santa Cruz, CA 95064 (United States); Zimmerman, Neil T.; Buenzli, Esther; Bonnefoy, Mickael; Biller, Beth; Brandner, Wolfgang [Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, Königstuhl 17, 69117 Heidelberg (Germany); Skrutskie, Michael F. [University of Virginia, 530 McCormick Rd., Charlottesville, VA 22904 (United States); Esposito, Simone [Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica-Arcetri Astrophysical Observatory, Largo Enrico Fermi 5, 50125, Florence (Italy); Crepp, Justin R. [Notre Dame University, 225 Nieuwland Science Hall, Notre Dame, IN 46556 (United States); De Rosa, Robert J. [Arizona State University, 781 South Terrace Rd, Tempe, AZ 85281 (United States); Desidera, Silvano [Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica-Padova Astronomical Observatory, Vicolo dell’Osservatorio 5, 35122 Padova (Italy); and others

    2016-02-01

    As gas giant planets and brown dwarfs radiate away the residual heat from their formation, they cool through a spectral type transition from L to T, which encompasses the dissipation of cloud opacity and the appearance of strong methane absorption. While there are hundreds of known T-type brown dwarfs, the first generation of directly imaged exoplanets were all L type. Recently, Kuzuhara et al. announced the discovery of GJ 504 b, the first T dwarf exoplanet. GJ 504 b provides a unique opportunity to study the atmosphere of a new type of exoplanet with a ∼500 K temperature that bridges the gap between the first directly imaged planets (∼1000 K) and our own solar system's Jupiter (∼130 K). We observed GJ 504 b in three narrow L-band filters (3.71, 3.88, and 4.00 μm), spanning the red end of the broad methane fundamental absorption feature (3.3 μm) as part of the LBTI Exozodi Exoplanet Common Hunt (LEECH) exoplanet imaging survey. By comparing our new photometry and literature photometry with a grid of custom model atmospheres, we were able to fit GJ 504 b's unusual spectral energy distribution for the first time. We find that GJ 504 b is well fit by models with the following parameters: T{sub eff} = 544 ± 10 K, g < 600 m s{sup −2}, [M/H] = 0.60 ± 0.12, cloud opacity parameter of f{sub sed} = 2–5, R = 0.96 ± 0.07 R{sub Jup}, and log(L) = −6.13 ± 0.03 L{sub ⊙}, implying a hot start mass of 3–30 M{sub jup} for a conservative age range of 0.1–6.5 Gyr. Of particular interest, our model fits suggest that GJ 504 b has a superstellar metallicity. Since planet formation can create objects with nonstellar metallicities, while binary star formation cannot, this result suggests that GJ 504 b formed like a planet, not like a binary companion.

  2. Natural and artificial spectral edges in exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lingam, Manasvi; Loeb, Abraham

    2017-09-01

    Technological civilizations may rely upon large-scale photovoltaic arrays to harness energy from their host star. Photovoltaic materials, such as silicon, possess distinctive spectral features, including an 'artificial edge' that is characteristically shifted in wavelength shortwards of the 'red edge' of vegetation. Future observations of reflected light from exoplanets would be able to detect both natural and artificial edges photometrically, if a significant fraction of the planet's surface is covered by vegetation or photovoltaic arrays, respectively. The stellar energy thus tapped can be utilized for terraforming activities by transferring heat and light from the day side to the night side on tidally locked exoplanets, thereby producing detectable artefacts.

  3. High-precision ground-based photometry of exoplanets

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    de Mooij Ernst J.W.

    2013-04-01

    Full Text Available High-precision photometry of transiting exoplanet systems has contributed significantly to our understanding of the properties of their atmospheres. The best targets are the bright exoplanet systems, for which the high number of photons allow very high signal-to-noise ratios. Most of the current instruments are not optimised for these high-precision measurements, either they have a large read-out overhead to reduce the readnoise and/or their field-of-view is limited, preventing simultaneous observations of both the target and a reference star. Recently we have proposed a new wide-field imager for the Observatoir de Mont-Megantic optimised for these bright systems (PI: Jayawardhana. The instruments has a dual beam design and a field-of-view of 17' by 17'. The cameras have a read-out time of 2 seconds, significantly reducing read-out overheads. Over the past years we have obtained significant experience with how to reach the high precision required for the characterisation of exoplanet atmospheres. Based on our experience we provide the following advice: Get the best calibrations possible. In the case of bad weather, characterise the instrument (e.g. non-linearity, dome flats, bias level, this is vital for better understanding of the science data. Observe the target for as long as possible, the out-of-transit baseline is as important as the transit/eclipse itself. A short baseline can lead to improperly corrected systematic and mis-estimation of the red-noise. Keep everything (e.g. position on detector, exposure time as stable as possible. Take care that the defocus is not too strong. For a large defocus, the contribution of the total flux from the sky-background in the aperture could well exceed that of the target, resulting in very strict requirements on the precision at which the background is measured.

  4. An introduction to planets ours and others : from Earth to exoplanets

    CERN Document Server

    Encrenaz, Thérèse

    2014-01-01

    What is a planet? The answer seems obvious, but nonetheless the definition of a planet has continuously evolved over the centuries, and their number has changed following successive discoveries. The decision endorsed by the International Astronomical Union to remove Pluto from the list of planets in 2006 well illustrates the difficulty associated with their definition. The recent discovery of hundreds of exoplanets around nearby stars of our Galaxy opens a new and spectacular dimension to astrophysics. We presently know very little about the physical nature of exoplanets. In contrast, our knowledge of Solar System planets has made huge progress over the past decades, thanks, especially, to space planetary exploration. The purpose of this book is first to characterize what planets are, in their global properties and in their diversity. Then, this knowledge is used to try to imagine the physical nature of exoplanets, starting from the few parameters we know about them. Throughout this book, as we explore the su...

  5. Project PANOPTES: a citizen-scientist exoplanet transit survey using commercial digital cameras

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gee, Wilfred T.; Guyon, Olivier; Walawender, Josh; Jovanovic, Nemanja; Boucher, Luc

    2016-08-01

    Project PANOPTES (http://www.projectpanoptes.org) is aimed at establishing a collaboration between professional astronomers, citizen scientists and schools to discover a large number of exoplanets with the transit technique. We have developed digital camera based imaging units to cover large parts of the sky and look for exoplanet transits. Each unit costs approximately $5000 USD and runs automatically every night. By using low-cost, commercial digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) cameras, we have developed a uniquely cost-efficient system for wide field astronomical imaging, offering approximately two orders of magnitude better etendue per unit of cost than professional wide-field surveys. Both science and outreach, our vision is to have thousands of these units built by schools and citizen scientists gathering data, making this project the most productive exoplanet discovery machine in the world.

  6. RISE: a fast-readout imager for exoplanet transit timing

    OpenAIRE

    Steele, IA; Bates, SD; Gibson, N.; Keenan, F.; Meaburn, J.; Mottram, CJ; Pollacco, D.; Todd, I.

    2008-01-01

    By the precise timing of the low amplitude (0.005 - 0.02 magnitude) transits of exoplanets around their parent star it should be possible to infer the presence of other planetary bodies in the system down to Earth-like masses. We describe the design and construction of RISE, a fast-readout frame transfer camera for the Liverpool Telescope designed to carry out this experiment. The results of our commissioning tests are described as well as the data reduction procedure necessary. We present li...

  7. Coronagraphic Imaging of Exoplanets from a High Altitude Balloon Platform

    Science.gov (United States)

    Unwin, S.

    2012-04-01

    Direct imaging of exoplanets orbiting nearby stars is a major observational challenge, demanding high angular resolution and extremely high dynamic range close to the parent star. Such a system could image and characterize the atmospheres of exoplanets, and also observe exozodiacal dust within the exoplanetary system. The ultimate experiment requires a space-based platform, but demonstrating much of the needed technology as well as performing valuable measurements of circumstellar debris disks, can be done from a high-altitude balloon platform. In this paper, we show how progress in key technologies leads to a balloon experiment as a logical future step toward a space mission. The HCIT testbed has shown ultra-high contrast using small optics in a vacuum testbed. A recent ground-based experiment has demonstrated the ability to control three active optics in series - a lightweight controllable primary mirror, and two deformable mirrors - to achieve close to the best wavefront correction possible with large optics in an in-air testbed. We briefly describe the Wallops Arcsecond Pointer (WASP), which as had a very successful first flight, showing the capability of a balloon platform to stably point to the accuracy required for a coronagraph payload experiment. A balloon-borne coronagraph mission would incorporate all of these advances in an instrument that verifies each one in a space-like environment, and enabling forefront science. Such an experiment would be a step toward mitigating the technical risks of a major space-based exoplanet coronagraph. This research was carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Copyright 2012. California Institute of Technology. Government sponsorship acknowledged.

  8. CHARACTERIZING TRANSITING EXOPLANET ATMOSPHERES WITH JWST

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Greene, Thomas P. [NASA Ames Research Center, Space Science and Astrobiology Division, M.S. 245-6, Moffett Field, CA 94035 (United States); Line, Michael R.; Montero, Cezar; Fortney, Jonathan J. [Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA 95064 (United States); Lustig-Yaeger, Jacob [Department of Astronomy, Box 351580, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195 (United States); Luther, Kyle, E-mail: tom.greene@nasa.gov [Department of Physics, University of California, 366 LeConte Hall MC 7300, Berkeley, CA 94720 (United States)

    2016-01-20

    We explore how well spectra from the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) will likely constrain bulk atmospheric properties of transiting exoplanets. We start by modeling the atmospheres of archetypal hot Jupiter, warm Neptune, warm sub-Neptune, and cool super-Earth planets with atmospheres that are clear, cloudy, or of high mean molecular weight (HMMW). Next we simulate the λ = 1–11 μm transmission and emission spectra of these systems for several JWST instrument modes for single-transit or single-eclipse events. We then perform retrievals to determine how well temperatures and molecular mixing ratios (CH{sub 4}, CO, CO{sub 2}, H{sub 2}O, NH{sub 3}) can be constrained. We find that λ = 1–2.5 μm transmission spectra will often constrain the major molecular constituents of clear solar-composition atmospheres well. Cloudy or HMMW atmospheres will often require full 1–11 μm spectra for good constraints, and emission data may be more useful in cases of sufficiently high F{sub p} and high F{sub p}/F{sub *}. Strong temperature inversions in the solar-composition hot-Jupiter atmosphere should be detectable with 1–2.5+ μm emission spectra, and 1–5+ μm emission spectra will constrain the temperature–pressure profiles of warm planets. Transmission spectra over 1–5+ μm will constrain [Fe/H] values to better than 0.5 dex for the clear atmospheres of the hot and warm planets studied. Carbon-to-oxygen ratios can be constrained to better than a factor of 2 in some systems. We expect that these results will provide useful predictions of the scientific value of single-event JWST spectra until its on-orbit performance is known.

  9. Out-of-transit Refracted Light in the Atmospheres of Transiting and Non-transiting Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dalba, Paul A.

    2017-10-01

    Before an exoplanet transit, atmospheric refraction bends light into the line of sight of an observer. The refracted light forms a stellar mirage—a distorted secondary image of the host star. I model this phenomenon and the resultant out-of-transit flux increase across a comprehensive exoplanetary parameter space. At visible wavelengths, Rayleigh scattering limits the detectability of stellar mirages in most exoplanetary systems with semimajor axes ≲ 6 {au}. A notable exception is almost any planet orbiting a late M or ultra-cool dwarf star at ≳ 0.5 {au}, where the maximum relative flux increase is >50 parts per million. Based partly on previous work, I propose that the importance of refraction in an exoplanet system is governed by two angles: the orbital distance divided by the stellar radius and the total deflection achieved by a ray in the optically thin portion of the atmosphere. Atmospheric lensing events caused by non-transiting exoplanets, which allow for exoplanet detection and atmospheric characterization, are also investigated. I derive the basic formalism to determine the total signal-to-noise ratio of an atmospheric lensing event, with application to Kepler data. It is unlikely that out-of-transit refracted light signals are clearly present in Kepler data due to Rayleigh scattering and the bias toward short-period exoplanets. However, observations at long wavelengths (e.g., the near-infrared) are significantly more likely to detect stellar mirages. Lastly, I discuss the potential for the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite to detect refracted light and consider novel science cases enabled by refracted light spectra from the James Webb Space Telescope.

  10. Constraining Exoplanet Habitability with HabEx

    Science.gov (United States)

    Robinson, Tyler

    2018-01-01

    The Habitable Exoplanet Imaging mission, or HabEx, is one of four flagship mission concepts currently under study for the upcoming 2020 Decadal Survey of Astronomy and Astrophysics. The broad goal of HabEx will be to image and study small, rocky planets in the Habitable Zones of nearby stars. Additionally, HabEx will pursue a range of other astrophysical investigations, including the characterization of non-habitable exoplanets and detailed observations of stars and galaxies. Critical to the capability of HabEx to understand Habitable Zone exoplanets will be its ability to search for signs of surface liquid water (i.e., habitability) and an active biosphere. Photometry and moderate resolution spectroscopy, spanning the ultraviolet through near-infrared spectral ranges, will enable constraints on key habitability-related atmospheric species and properties (e.g., surface pressure). In this poster, we will discuss approaches to detecting signs of habitability in reflected-light observations of rocky exoplanets. We will also present initial results for modeling experiments aimed at demonstrating the capabilities of HabEx to study and understand Earth-like worlds around other stars.

  11. Protoplanetary disks and exoplanets in scattered light

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Stolker, T.

    2017-01-01

    High-contrast imaging facilitates the direct detection of protoplanetary disks in scattered light and self-luminous exoplanets on long-period orbits. The combined power of extreme adaptive optics and differential imaging techniques delivers high spatial resolution images of disk morphologies down to

  12. Professional / Amateur collaborations in exoplanet science

    Science.gov (United States)

    Santerne, A.

    2014-04-01

    In this presentation, I will present the niches in exoplanet science where amateur astronomers can substantially contribute. These niches require either highprecision photometry or spectroscopy that are now within reach of amateur facilities. I will also discuss the perspective for future professional / amateur collaborations in the context of the upcoming TESS and PLATO space missions.

  13. Searching for exoplanets using artificial intelligence

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pearson, Kyle A.; Palafox, Leon; Griffith, Caitlin A.

    2018-02-01

    In the last decade, over a million stars were monitored to detect transiting planets. Manual interpretation of potential exoplanet candidates is labor intensive and subject to human error, the results of which are difficult to quantify. Here we present a new method of detecting exoplanet candidates in large planetary search projects which, unlike current methods uses a neural network. Neural networks, also called "deep learning" or "deep nets" are designed to give a computer perception into a specific problem by training it to recognize patterns. Unlike past transit detection algorithms deep nets learn to recognize planet features instead of relying on hand-coded metrics that humans perceive as the most representative. Our convolutional neural network is capable of detecting Earth-like exoplanets in noisy time-series data with a greater accuracy than a least-squares method. Deep nets are highly generalizable allowing data to be evaluated from different time series after interpolation without compromising performance. As validated by our deep net analysis of Kepler light curves, we detect periodic transits consistent with the true period without any model fitting. Our study indicates that machine learning will facilitate the characterization of exoplanets in future analysis of large astronomy data sets.

  14. Exploring exoplanet populations with NASA’s Kepler Mission

    Science.gov (United States)

    Batalha, Natalie M.

    2014-01-01

    The Kepler Mission is exploring the diversity of planets and planetary systems. Its legacy will be a catalog of discoveries sufficient for computing planet occurrence rates as a function of size, orbital period, star type, and insolation flux. The mission has made significant progress toward achieving that goal. Over 3,500 transiting exoplanets have been identified from the analysis of the first 3 y of data, 100 planets of which are in the habitable zone. The catalog has a high reliability rate (85–90% averaged over the period/radius plane), which is improving as follow-up observations continue. Dynamical (e.g., velocimetry and transit timing) and statistical methods have confirmed and characterized hundreds of planets over a large range of sizes and compositions for both single- and multiple-star systems. Population studies suggest that planets abound in our galaxy and that small planets are particularly frequent. Here, I report on the progress Kepler has made measuring the prevalence of exoplanets orbiting within one astronomical unit of their host stars in support of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s long-term goal of finding habitable environments beyond the solar system. PMID:25049406

  15. The Effect of Stellar Contamination on Transmission Spectra of Low-mass Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rackham, Benjamin V.; Apai, Daniel; Giampapa, Mark S.

    2017-10-01

    of small exoplanets, including those of the TRAPPIST-1 system. Constraining stellar contamination will likely be a limiting factor for detecting atmospheric features in transmission spectra of low-mass exoplanets around late-type stars from TESS.

  16. Metallicity of Sun-like G-stars that have Exoplanets

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    Shashanka R. Gurumath

    2017-06-19

    Jun 19, 2017 ... metallicity of host stars that have exoplanets, we try to understand how the metal content of a stellar neb- ula might have affected the planetary formation, (ii) we examine whether single and multiplanetary systems have similar mechanism of planetary formation or not, and the role of host stars' metallicity in ...

  17. Exoplanets, Exo-Solar Life, and Human Significance

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wiseman, Jennifer

    2011-01-01

    With the recent detection of over 500 extrasolar planets, the existence of "other worlds", perhaps even other Earths, is no longer in the realm of science fiction. The study of exoplanets rapidly moved from an activity on the fringe of astronomy to one of the highest priorities of the world's astronomical programs. Actual images of extrasolar planets were revealed over the past two years for the first time. NASA's Hubble Space Telescope is already characterizing the atmospheres of Jupiter-like planets, in other systems. And the recent launch of the NASA Kepler space telescope is enabling the first statistical assessment of how common solar systems like our own really are. As we begin to characterize these "other worlds" and assess their habitability, the question of the significance and uniqueness of life on Earth will impact our society as never before. I will provide a comprehensive overview of the techniques and status of exoplanet detection, followed by reflections as to the societal impact of finding out that Earths are common, or rare. Will finding other potentially habitable planets create another "Copernican Revolution"? Will perceptions of the significance of life on Earth change when we find other Earth-like planets? I will discuss the plans of the scientific community for future telescopes that will be abe to survey our solar neighborhood for Earth-like planets, study their atmospheres, and search for biological signs of life.

  18. Modeling Sodium Abundance Variations in the Lunar Crust: A Likely Proxy of Past Solar System History and a Potential Guide to Close-In Rocky Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Saxena, P.; Killen, R. M.; Petro, N. E.; Airapetian, V.; Mandell, A. M.

    2017-10-01

    The initial sodium budget of the Moon may have been depleted/transported from the surface post-formation. Abundance variations in crustal samples may be a powerful tool towards exploring conditions on the Moon's surface through solar system history.

  19. Physical and Chemical Toeholds for Exoplanet Bioastronomy

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hoehler, Tori

    2013-01-01

    If a search for exoplanet life were mounted today, the likely focus would be to detect oxygen (or ozone) in the atmosphere of a water-bearing rocky planet orbiting roughly 1AU from a G-type star. This appropriately conservative and practical default is necessary in large part because biological input on the question of where and how to look for life has progressed little beyond a purely empirical reliance on the example of terrestrial biology. However, fundamental physical and chemical considerations may impose significant yet universal constraints on biological potential. The liquid water + oxygen paradigm will be considered as an example, with a focus on the question, is liquid water a prerequisite for life? . Life requires a solvent to mediate interactions among biological molecules. A key class of these interactions is molecular recognition with high specificity, which is essential for high fidelity catalysis and (especially) information processing. For example, to correctly reproduce a string consisting of 600,000 units of information (e.g., 600 kilobases, equivalent to the genome of the smallest free living terrestrial organisms) with a 90% success rate requires specificity greater than 10(exp 7):1 for the target molecule vs. incorrect alternatives. Such specificity requires (i) that the correct molecular association is energetically stabilized by at least 40 kJ/mol relative to alternatives, and (ii) that the system is able to sample among possible states (alternative molecular associations) rapidly enough to allow the system to fall under thermodynamic control and express the energetic stabilization. We argue that electrostatic interactions are required to confer the necessary energetic stabilization vs. a large library of molecular alternatives, and that a solvent with polarity and dielectric properties comparable to water is required for the system to sample among possible states and express thermodynamic control. Electrostatic associations can be made in

  20. Finding the Needles in the Haystacks: High-fidelity Models of the Modern and Archean Solar System for Simulating Exoplanet Observations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Roberge, Aki; Rizzo, Maxime J.; Lincowski, Andrew P.; Arney, Giada N.; Stark, Christopher C.; Robinson, Tyler D.; Snyder, Gregory F.; Pueyo, Laurent; Zimmerman, Neil T.; Jansen, Tiffany; Nesvold, Erika R.; Meadows, Victoria S.; Turnbull, Margaret C.

    2017-12-01

    We present two state-of-the-art models of the solar system, one corresponding to the present day and one to the Archean Eon 3.5 billion years ago. Each model contains spatial and spectral information for the star, the planets, and the interplanetary dust, extending to 50 au from the Sun and covering the wavelength range 0.3-2.5 μm. In addition, we created a spectral image cube representative of the astronomical backgrounds that will be seen behind deep observations of extrasolar planetary systems, including galaxies and Milky Way stars. These models are intended as inputs to high-fidelity simulations of direct observations of exoplanetary systems using telescopes equipped with high-contrast capability. They will help improve the realism of observation and instrument parameters that are required inputs to statistical observatory yield calculations, as well as guide development of post-processing algorithms for telescopes capable of directly imaging Earth-like planets.

  1. Is This Speck of Light an Exoplanet?

    Science.gov (United States)

    2004-09-01

    nature of this intriguing object. Thus, the astronomers refer to it as a "Giant Planet Candidate Companion (GPCC)" [4]. Observations will now be made to ascertain whether the motion in the sky of GPCC is compatible with that of a planet orbiting 2M1207. This should become evident within 1-2 years at the most. PR Photo 26a/04: NACO image of the brown dwarf object 2M1207 and GPCC PR Photo 26b/04: Near-infrared spectrum of the brown dwarf object 2M1207 and GPCC PR Photo 26c/04: Comparison between the possible 2M1207 system and the solar system Just a speck of light ESO PR Photo 26a/04 ESO PR Photo 26a/04 The Brown Dwarf Object 2M1207 and GPCC [Preview - JPEG: 400 x 471 pix - 65k] [Normal - JPEG: 800 x 942 pix - 158k] Caption: ESO PR Photo 26a/04 is a composite image of the brown dwarf object 2M1207 (centre) and the fainter object seen near it, at an angular distance of 778 milliarcsec. Designated "Giant Planet Candidate Companion" by the discoverers, it may represent the first image of an exoplanet. Further observations, in particular of its motion in the sky relative to 2M1207 are needed to ascertain its true nature. The photo is based on three near-infrared exposures (in the H, K and L' wavebands) with the NACO adaptive-optics facility at the 8.2-m VLT Yepun telescope at the ESO Paranal Observatory. Since 1998, a team of European and American astronomers [2] is studying the environment of young, nearby "stellar associations", i.e., large conglomerates of mostly young stars and the dust and gas clouds from which they were recently formed. The stars in these associations are ideal targets for the direct imaging of sub-stellar companions (planets or brown dwarf objects). The leader of the team, ESO astronomer Gael Chauvin notes that "whatever their nature, sub-stellar objects are much hotter and brighter when young - tens of millions of years - and therefore can be more easily detected than older objects of similar mass". The team especially focused on the study of the TW

  2. Exploring the Effects of Stellar Multiplicity on Exoplanet Occurrence Rates

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barclay, Thomas; Shabram, Megan

    2017-06-01

    Determining the frequency of habitable worlds is a key goal of the Kepler mission. During Kepler's four year investigation it detected thousands of transiting exoplanets with sizes varying from smaller than Mercury to larger than Jupiter. Finding planets was just the first step to determining frequency, and for the past few years the mission team has been modeling the reliability and completeness of the Kepler planet sample. One effect that has not typically been built into occurrence rate statistics is that of stellar multiplicity. If a planet orbits the primary star in a binary or triple star system then the transit depth will be somewhat diluted resulting in a modest underestimation in the planet size. However, if a detected planet orbits a fainter star then the error in measured planet radius can be very significant. We have taken a hypothetical star and planet population and passed that through a Kepler detection model. From this we have derived completeness corrections for a realistic case of a Universe with binary stars and compared that with a model Universe where all stars are single. We report on the impact that binaries have on exoplanet population statistics.

  3. Interactions between exoplanets and the winds of young stars

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Vidotto A. A.

    2014-01-01

    Full Text Available The topology of the magnetic field of young stars is important not only for the investigation of magnetospheric accretion, but also responsible in shaping the large-scale structure of stellar winds, which are crucial for regulating the rotation evolution of stars. Because winds of young stars are believed to have enhanced mass-loss rates compared to those of cool, main-sequence stars, the interaction of winds with newborn exoplanets might affect the early evolution of planetary systems. This interaction can also give rise to observational signatures which could be used as a way to detect young planets, while simultaneously probing for the presence of their still elusive magnetic fields. Here, we investigate the interaction between winds of young stars and hypothetical planets. For that, we model the stellar winds by means of 3D numerical magnetohydrodynamic simulations. Although these models adopt simplified topologies of the stellar magnetic field (dipolar fields that are misaligned with the rotation axis of the star, we show that asymmetric field topologies can lead to an enhancement of the stellar wind power, resulting not only in an enhancement of angular momentum losses, but also intensifying and rotationally modulating the wind interactions with exoplanets.

  4. SETI OBSERVATIONS OF EXOPLANETS WITH THE ALLEN TELESCOPE ARRAY

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Harp, G. R.; Richards, Jon; Tarter, Jill C.; Dreher, John; Jordan, Jane; Shostak, Seth; Smolek, Ken; Kilsdonk, Tom; Wilcox, Bethany R.; Wimberly, M. K. R.; Ross, John; Barott, W. C.; Ackermann, R. F.; Blair, Samantha [SETI Institute, Mountain View, CA 94043 (United States)

    2016-12-01

    We report radio SETI observations on a large number of known exoplanets and other nearby star systems using the Allen Telescope Array (ATA). Observations were made over about 19000 hr from 2009 May to 2015 December. This search focused on narrowband radio signals from a set totaling 9293 stars, including 2015 exoplanet stars and Kepler objects of interest and an additional 65 whose planets may be close to their habitable zones. The ATA observations were made using multiple synthesized beams and an anticoincidence filter to help identify terrestrial radio interference. Stars were observed over frequencies from 1 to 9 GHz in multiple bands that avoid strong terrestrial communication frequencies. Data were processed in near-real time for narrowband (0.7–100 Hz) continuous and pulsed signals with transmitter/receiver relative accelerations from −0.3 to 0.3 m s{sup −2}. A total of 1.9 × 10{sup 8} unique signals requiring immediate follow-up were detected in observations covering more than 8 × 10{sup 6} star-MHz. We detected no persistent signals from extraterrestrial technology exceeding our frequency-dependent sensitivity threshold of 180–310 × 10{sup −26} W m{sup −2}.

  5. The Radiation Environment of Exoplanet Atmospheres

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jeffrey L. Linsky

    2014-10-01

    Full Text Available Exoplanets are born and evolve in the radiation and particle environment created by their host star. The host star’s optical and infrared radiation heats the exoplanet’s lower atmosphere and surface, while the ultraviolet, extreme ultraviolet and X-radiation control the photochemistry and mass loss from the exoplanet’s upper atmosphere. Stellar radiation, especially at the shorter wavelengths, changes dramatically as a host star evolves leading to changes in the planet’s atmosphere and habitability. This paper reviews the present state of our knowledge concerning the time-dependent radiation emitted by stars with convective zones, that is stars with spectral types F, G, K, and M, which comprise nearly all of the host stars of detected exoplanets.

  6. Exoplanet Observations in SOFIA's Cycle 1

    Science.gov (United States)

    Angerhausen, Daniel

    2013-06-01

    The NASA/DLR Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), a 2.5-meter infrared telescope on board a Boeing 747-SP, will conduct 0.3 - 1,600 micron photometric, spectroscopic, and imaging observations from altitudes as high as 45,000 ft. The airborne-based platform has unique advantages in comparison to ground- and space-based observatories in the field of characterization of the physical properties of exoplanets: parallel optical and near-infrared photometric and spectrophotometric follow-up observations during planetary transits and eclipses will be feasible with SOFIA's instrumentation, in particular the HIPO-FLITECAM optical/NIR instruments and possible future dedicated instrumentation. Here we present spectrophotometric exoplanet observations that were or will be conducted in SOFIA's cycle 1.

  7. Deciphering spectral fingerprints of habitable exoplanets.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kaltenegger, Lisa; Selsis, Frank; Fridlund, Malcolm; Lammer, Helmut; Beichman, Charles; Danchi, William; Eiroa, Carlos; Henning, Thomas; Herbst, Tom; Léger, Alain; Liseau, René; Lunine, Jonathan; Paresce, Francesco; Penny, Alan; Quirrenbach, Andreas; Röttgering, Huub; Schneider, Jean; Stam, Daphne; Tinetti, Giovanna; White, Glenn J

    2010-01-01

    We discuss how to read a planet's spectrum to assess its habitability and search for the signatures of a biosphere. After a decade rich in giant exoplanet detections, observation techniques have advanced to a level where we now have the capability to find planets of less than 10 Earth masses (M(Earth)) (so-called "super Earths"), which may be habitable. How can we characterize those planets and assess whether they are habitable? This new field of exoplanet search has shown an extraordinary capacity to combine research in astrophysics, chemistry, biology, and geophysics into a new and exciting interdisciplinary approach to understanding our place in the Universe. The results of a first-generation mission will most likely generate an amazing scope of diverse planets that will set planet formation, evolution, and our planet into an overall context.

  8. Infrared spectroscopy of exoplanets: observational constraints.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Encrenaz, Thérèse

    2014-04-28

    The exploration of transiting extrasolar planets is an exploding research area in astronomy. With more than 400 transiting exoplanets identified so far, these discoveries have made possible the development of a new research field, the spectroscopic characterization of exoplanets' atmospheres, using both primary and secondary transits. However, these observations have been so far limited to a small number of targets. In this paper, we first review the advantages and limitations of both primary and secondary transit methods. Then, we analyse what kind of infrared spectra can be expected for different types of planets and discuss how to optimize the spectral range and the resolving power of the observations. Finally, we propose a list of favourable targets for present and future ground-based observations.

  9. Observing Exoplanets in the Mid-Ultraviolet

    Science.gov (United States)

    Heap. Sara

    2008-01-01

    There are good reasons for pushing the spectral range of observation to shorter wavelengths than currently envisaged for terrestrial planet-finding missions utilizing with a 4-m, diffraction-limited, optical telescope: (1) The angular resolution is higher, so the image of an exoplanet is better separated from that of the much brighter star. (2) The exozodiacal background per resolution element is smaller, so exposure times are reduced for the same incident flux. (3) Most importantly, the sensitivity to the ozone biomarker is increased by several hundred-fold by access to the ozone absorption band at 250-300 nm. These benefits must be weighed against challenges arising from the faintness of exoplanets in the mid-UV. We will evaluate both the technical and cost challenges including image quality of large telescopes, advanced mirror coatings and innovative designs for enhanced optical throughput, and CCD detectors optimized for 250-400 nm.

  10. ASTRO 850: Teaching Teachers about Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barringer, Daniel; Palma, Christopher

    2017-01-01

    The Earth and Space Science Partnership (ESSP) is a collaboration among Penn State scientists, science educators and seven school districts across Pennsylvania. Penn State also offers through its fully online World Campus the opportunity for In-Service science teachers to earn an M.Ed. degree in Earth Science, and we currently offer a required online astronomy course for that program. We have previously presented descriptions of how have incorporated research-based pedagogical practices into ESSP-sponsored workshops for in-service teachers (Palma et al. 2013), a pilot section of introductory astronomy for non-science majors (Palma et al. 2014), and into the design of an online elective course on exoplanets for the M.Ed. in Earth Science (Barringer and Palma, 2016). Here, we present the finished version of that exoplanet course, ASTRO 850. We gratefully acknowledge support from the NSF MSP program award DUE#0962792.

  11. Understanding Young Exoplanet Analogs with WISE

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rice, Emily

    We propose to tackle outstanding questions about the fundamental properties of young brown dwarfs, which are atmospheric analogs to massive gas giant exoplanets, using public archive data from the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) combined with our extensive dataset of optical and near-infrared observations, including spectra, proper motions, and parallaxes. Using WISE data we will construct color-color diagrams, color- magnitude diagrams, and spectral energy distributions for our sample of candidate young brown dwarfs. We will fully characterize the spectral properties of the candidates and evaluate their membership in nearby young moving groups in order to obtain independent age estimates. The practical outcomes of this project will allow the research community to use observed colors and spectra to reliably constrain the properties - including effective temperature, gravity, and dust/cloud properties - of both brown dwarfs and gas giant exoplanets. We will also search for new young brown dwarfs in the WISE archive using colors and proper motions. The expanded sample of young brown dwarfs will be used to create a self-contained feedback loop to identify and address the shortcomings of cool atmosphere models and low-mass evolutionary tracks, both of which are already being used to infer the properties of massive exoplanets. Disentangling the effects of physical parameters on the observed properties of young brown dwarfs is directly relevant to studies of exoplanets. Direct observations of exoplanets are currently very limited, and young brown dwarfs are the laboratories in which we can solve existing problems before the onslaught of new observations from instruments capable of directly imaging exoplanets, including the Gemini Planet Imager, Project 1640 at the Palomar Observatory, SPHERE on the VLT, and the James Webb Space Telescope. This project addresses the goal of the NASA Science Mission Directorate to discover how the universe works; in particular

  12. Gaia and WEAVE/WxES: Supporting the PLATO Exoplanet Hunter

    Science.gov (United States)

    Walton, N. A.

    2016-10-01

    This paper briefly describes the powerful linkages between the Gaia and PLATO missions and the potential for WEAVE in the study of exoplanet populations, for instance through the proposed WxES survey. Gaia successfully launched in December 2013, and over the course of its nominal five year mission will discover, via their astrometric signatures, upwards of 20 000 massive Jupiter sized long period planets at distances out to several hundred parsecs around all star types. In addition Gaia will discover up to a thousand short period hot Jupiters around M stars. PLATO, to launch in 2024, will through precision photometry, observe in detail some million host stars, and will detect, via the transit technique, planets down to Earth masses. PLATO will observe two fields of over 2 000 square degrees for 2-3 years each. At least one of these will be in the northern hemisphere. WEAVE has the potential to provide detailed chemical characterization of the host stars of the Gaia and PLATO exoplanet systems. This will enable insights into, for instance, metallicity of the host star correlations against both massive exoplanets (perhaps confirming current relationships), and lower mass exoplanets. We note how the rapid exploitation of such a potential WEAVE survey could be achieved, utilizing the WEAVE processing systems being developed at the IoA, Cambridge, coupled with efficient interfaces to both Gaia and PLATO data products, that are also being generated at the IoA.

  13. The LBTI Hunt for Observable Signatures of Terrestrial Systems (HOSTS) Survey: a Key NASA Science Program on the Road to Exoplanet Imaging Missions (SPIE Proceedings 2)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Danchi, William C.; Bailey, V.; Defrere, D.; Haniff, C.; Hinz, P.; Kennedy, G.; Mennesson, B.; Millan-Gabet, R.; Rieke, G.; Roberge, Aki; hide

    2014-01-01

    Telescope Interferometer (LBTI) will survey nearby stars for faint exozodiacal dust (exozodi). This warm circumstellar dust, analogous to the interplanetary dust found in the vicinity of the Earth in our own system, is produced in comet breakups and asteroid collisions. Emission and or scattered light from the exozodi will be the major source of astrophysical noise for a future space telescope aimed at direct imaging and spectroscopy of terrestrial planets (exo- Earths) around nearby stars. About 20 of nearby field stars have cold dust coming from planetesimals at large distances from the stars (Eiroa et al. 2013, AA, 555, A11; Siercho et al. 2014, ApJ, 785, 33). Much less is known about exozodi; current detection limits for individual stars are at best 500 times our solar system's level (aka. 500 zodi). LBTI-HOSTS will be the first survey capable of measuring exozodi at the 10 zodi level (3). Detections of warm dust will also reveal new information about planetary system architectures and evolution. We will describe the motivation for the survey and progress on target selection, not only the actual stars likely to be observed by such a mission but also those whose observation will enable sensible extrapolations for stars that will not be observed with LBTI. We briefly describe the detection of the debris disk around Crv, which is the first scientific result from the LBTI coming from the commissioning of the instrument in December 2013, shortly after the first time the fringes were stabilized.

  14. Tidally driven evolution of differentiated terrestrial exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Walterova, M.; Behounkova, M.

    2017-09-01

    We present a numerical model of tidally driven orbital evolution based on the solution of continuum mechanics equations for a differentiated spherical body, whose mantle is governed by either the Maxwell or the Andrade viscoelastic rheology. The model enables generally heterogeneous structure of the mantle, making thus possible the analysis of coupling between the internal and the orbital evolution of terrestrial exoplanets or icy moons.

  15. THEORETICAL SPECTRA OF TERRESTRIAL EXOPLANET SURFACES

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Hu Renyu; Seager, Sara [Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139 (United States); Ehlmann, Bethany L., E-mail: hury@mit.edu [Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125 (United States)

    2012-06-10

    We investigate spectra of airless rocky exoplanets with a theoretical framework that self-consistently treats reflection and thermal emission. We find that a silicate surface on an exoplanet is spectroscopically detectable via prominent Si-O features in the thermal emission bands of 7-13 {mu}m and 15-25 {mu}m. The variation of brightness temperature due to the silicate features can be up to 20 K for an airless Earth analog, and the silicate features are wide enough to be distinguished from atmospheric features with relatively high resolution spectra. The surface characterization thus provides a method to unambiguously identify a rocky exoplanet. Furthermore, identification of specific rocky surface types is possible with the planet's reflectance spectrum in near-infrared broad bands. A key parameter to observe is the difference between K-band and J-band geometric albedos (A{sub g}(K) - A{sub g}(J)): A{sub g}(K) - A{sub g}(J) > 0.2 indicates that more than half of the planet's surface has abundant mafic minerals, such as olivine and pyroxene, in other words primary crust from a magma ocean or high-temperature lavas; A{sub g}(K) - A{sub g}(J) < -0.09 indicates that more than half of the planet's surface is covered or partially covered by water ice or hydrated silicates, implying extant or past water on its surface. Also, surface water ice can be specifically distinguished by an H-band geometric albedo lower than the J-band geometric albedo. The surface features can be distinguished from possible atmospheric features with molecule identification of atmospheric species by transmission spectroscopy. We therefore propose that mid-infrared spectroscopy of exoplanets may detect rocky surfaces, and near-infrared spectrophotometry may identify ultramafic surfaces, hydrated surfaces, and water ice.

  16. CHEOPS: CHaracterising ExOPlanets Satellite

    Science.gov (United States)

    Isaak, Kate

    2017-04-01

    CHEOPS (CHaracterising ExOPlanet Satellite) is the first exoplanet mission dedicated to the search for transits of exoplanets by means of ultrahigh precision photometry of bright stars already known to host planets, with launch readiness foreseen by the end of 2018. It is also the first S-class mission in ESA's Cosmic Vision 2015-2025. The mission is a partnership between Switzerland and ESA's science programme, with important contributions from 10 other member states. It will provide the unique capability of determining accurate radii for a subset of those planets in the super- Earth to Neptune mass range, for which the mass has already been estimated from ground- based spectroscopic surveys. It will also provide precision radii for new planets discovered by the next generation of ground-based transits surveys (Neptune-size and smaller). The high photometric precision of CHEOPS will be achieved using a photometer covering the 0.35 - 1.1um waveband, designed around a single frame-transfer CCD which is mounted in the focal plane of a 30 cm equivalent aperture diameter, f/5 on-axis Ritchey-Chretien telescope. 20% of the observing time in the 3.5 year nominal mission will be available to Guest Observers from the Community. Proposals will be requested through open calls from ESA that are foreseen to be every year, with the first 6 months before launch. In this poster I will give a scientific and technical overview of the CHEOPS mission.

  17. CHEOPS: CHaracterising ExOPlanet Satellite

    Science.gov (United States)

    Isaak, K. G.

    2015-10-01

    CHEOPS (CHaracterising ExOPlanet Satellite) is the first exoplanet mission dedicated to the search for transits of exoplanets by means of ultrahigh precision photometry of bright stars already known to host planets. CHEOPS will provide the unique capability of determining radii to ~10% accuracy for a subset of those planets in the super-Earth to Neptune mass range. The high photometric precision of CHEOPS will be achieved using a photometer covering the 0.4 - 1.1um waveband and designed around a single frame-transfer CCD which is mounted in the focal plane of a 30 cm equivalent aperture diameter, f/5 on-axis Ritchey-Chretien telescope. Key to reaching the required performance is rejection of straylight from the Earth that is achieved using a specially designed optical baffle. CHEOPS is the first S-class mission in ESA's Cosmic Vision 2015-2025, and is currently planned to be launch-ready by the end of 2017. The mission is a partnership between Switzerland and ESA's science programme, with important contributions from Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. In this presentation I will give a scientific and technical overview of the mission, as well as an update on the status of the project.

  18. RADIAL VELOCITY ECLIPSE MAPPING OF EXOPLANETS

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Nikolov, Nikolay; Sainsbury-Martinez, Felix, E-mail: nikolay@astro.ex.ac.uk [Astrophysics Group, School of Physics, University of Exeter, Stocker Road, Exeter EX4 4QL (United Kingdom)

    2015-07-20

    Planetary rotation rates and obliquities provide information regarding the history of planet formation, but have not yet been measured for evolved extrasolar planets. Here we investigate the theoretical and observational perspective of the Rossiter–McLaughlin effect during secondary eclipse (RMse) ingress and egress for transiting exoplanets. Near secondary eclipse, when the planet passes behind the parent star, the star sequentially obscures light from the approaching and receding parts of the rotating planetary surface. The temporal block of light emerging from the approaching (blueshifted) or receding (redshifted) parts of the planet causes a temporal distortion in the planet’s spectral line profiles resulting in an anomaly in the planet’s radial velocity curve. We demonstrate that the shape and the ratio of the ingress-to-egress radial velocity amplitudes depends on the planetary rotational rate, axial tilt, and impact factor (i.e., sky-projected planet spin–orbital alignment). In addition, line asymmetries originating from different layers in the atmosphere of the planet could provide information regarding zonal atmospheric winds and constraints on the hot spot shape for giant irradiated exoplanets. The effect is expected to be most-pronounced at near-infrared wavelengths, where the planet-to-star contrasts are large. We create synthetic near-infrared, high-dispersion spectroscopic data and demonstrate how the sky-projected spin axis orientation and equatorial velocity of the planet can be estimated. We conclude that the RMse effect could be a powerful method to measure exoplanet spins.

  19. The CARMENES search for exoplanets around M dwarfs . First visual-channel radial-velocity measurements and orbital parameter updates of seven M-dwarf planetary systems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Trifonov, T.; Kürster, M.; Zechmeister, M.; Tal-Or, L.; Caballero, J. A.; Quirrenbach, A.; Amado, P. J.; Ribas, I.; Reiners, A.; Reffert, S.; Dreizler, S.; Hatzes, A. P.; Kaminski, A.; Launhardt, R.; Henning, Th.; Montes, D.; Béjar, V. J. S.; Mundt, R.; Pavlov, A.; Schmitt, J. H. M. M.; Seifert, W.; Morales, J. C.; Nowak, G.; Jeffers, S. V.; Rodríguez-López, C.; del Burgo, C.; Anglada-Escudé, G.; López-Santiago, J.; Mathar, R. J.; Ammler-von Eiff, M.; Guenther, E. W.; Barrado, D.; González Hernández, J. I.; Mancini, L.; Stürmer, J.; Abril, M.; Aceituno, J.; Alonso-Floriano, F. J.; Antona, R.; Anwand-Heerwart, H.; Arroyo-Torres, B.; Azzaro, M.; Baroch, D.; Bauer, F. F.; Becerril, S.; Benítez, D.; Berdiñas, Z. M.; Bergond, G.; Blümcke, M.; Brinkmöller, M.; Cano, J.; Cárdenas Vázquez, M. C.; Casal, E.; Cifuentes, C.; Claret, A.; Colomé, J.; Cortés-Contreras, M.; Czesla, S.; Díez-Alonso, E.; Feiz, C.; Fernández, M.; Ferro, I. M.; Fuhrmeister, B.; Galadí-Enríquez, D.; Garcia-Piquer, A.; García Vargas, M. L.; Gesa, L.; Gómez Galera, V.; González-Peinado, R.; Grözinger, U.; Grohnert, S.; Guàrdia, J.; Guijarro, A.; de Guindos, E.; Gutiérrez-Soto, J.; Hagen, H.-J.; Hauschildt, P. H.; Hedrosa, R. P.; Helmling, J.; Hermelo, I.; Hernández Arabí, R.; Hernández Castaño, L.; Hernández Hernando, F.; Herrero, E.; Huber, A.; Huke, P.; Johnson, E.; de Juan, E.; Kim, M.; Klein, R.; Klüter, J.; Klutsch, A.; Lafarga, M.; Lampón, M.; Lara, L. M.; Laun, W.; Lemke, U.; Lenzen, R.; López del Fresno, M.; López-González, M. J.; López-Puertas, M.; López Salas, J. F.; Luque, R.; Magán Madinabeitia, H.; Mall, U.; Mandel, H.; Marfil, E.; Marín Molina, J. A.; Maroto Fernández, D.; Martín, E. L.; Martín-Ruiz, S.; Marvin, C. J.; Mirabet, E.; Moya, A.; Moreno-Raya, M. E.; Nagel, E.; Naranjo, V.; Nortmann, L.; Ofir, A.; Oreiro, R.; Pallé, E.; Panduro, J.; Pascual, J.; Passegger, V. M.; Pedraz, S.; Pérez-Calpena, A.; Pérez Medialdea, D.; Perger, M.; Perryman, M. A. C.; Pluto, M.; Rabaza, O.; Ramón, A.; Rebolo, R.; Redondo, P.; Reinhardt, S.; Rhode, P.; Rix, H.-W.; Rodler, F.; Rodríguez, E.; Rodríguez Trinidad, A.; Rohloff, R.-R.; Rosich, A.; Sadegi, S.; Sánchez-Blanco, E.; Sánchez Carrasco, M. A.; Sánchez-López, A.; Sanz-Forcada, J.; Sarkis, P.; Sarmiento, L. F.; Schäfer, S.; Schiller, J.; Schöfer, P.; Schweitzer, A.; Solano, E.; Stahl, O.; Strachan, J. B. P.; Suárez, J. C.; Tabernero, H. M.; Tala, M.; Tulloch, S. M.; Veredas, G.; Vico Linares, J. I.; Vilardell, F.; Wagner, K.; Winkler, J.; Wolthoff, V.; Xu, W.; Yan, F.; Zapatero Osorio, M. R.

    2018-02-01

    Context. The main goal of the CARMENES survey is to find Earth-mass planets around nearby M-dwarf stars. Seven M dwarfs included in the CARMENES sample had been observed before with HIRES and HARPS and either were reported to have one short period planetary companion (GJ 15 A, GJ 176, GJ 436, GJ 536 and GJ 1148) or are multiple planetary systems (GJ 581 and GJ 876). Aims: We aim to report new precise optical radial velocity measurements for these planet hosts and test the overall capabilities of CARMENES. Methods: We combined our CARMENES precise Doppler measurements with those available from HIRES and HARPS and derived new orbital parameters for the systems. Bona-fide single planet systems were fitted with a Keplerian model. The multiple planet systems were analyzed using a self-consistent dynamical model and their best fit orbits were tested for long-term stability. Results: We confirm or provide supportive arguments for planets around all the investigated stars except for GJ 15 A, for which we find that the post-discovery HIRES data and our CARMENES data do not show a signal at 11.4 days. Although we cannot confirm the super-Earth planet GJ 15 Ab, we show evidence for a possible long-period (Pc = 7030-630+970 d) Saturn-mass (mcsini = 51.8M⊕) planet around GJ 15 A. In addition, based on our CARMENES and HIRES data we discover a second planet around GJ 1148, for which we estimate a period Pc = 532.6 days, eccentricity ec = 0.342 and minimum mass mcsini = 68.1M⊕. Conclusions: The CARMENES optical radial velocities have similar precision and overall scatter when compared to the Doppler measurements conducted with HARPS and HIRES. We conclude that CARMENES is an instrument that is up to the challenge of discovering rocky planets around low-mass stars. Based on observations collected at the European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere under ESO programmes 072.C-0488, 072.C-0513, 074.C-0012, 074.C-0364, 075.D-0614, 076.C-0878, 077.C

  20. Instrumentation for the detection and characterization of exoplanets.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pepe, Francesco; Ehrenreich, David; Meyer, Michael R

    2014-09-18

    In no other field of astrophysics has the impact of new instrumentation been as substantial as in the domain of exoplanets. Before 1995 our knowledge of exoplanets was mainly based on philosophical and theoretical considerations. The years that followed have been marked, instead, by surprising discoveries made possible by high-precision instruments. Over the past decade, the availability of new techniques has moved the focus of research from the detection to the characterization of exoplanets. Next-generation facilities will produce even more complementary data that will lead to a comprehensive view of exoplanet characteristics and, by comparison with theoretical models, to a better understanding of planet formation.

  1. Zodiacal Exoplanets in Time (ZEIT). VI. A Three-planet System in the Hyades Cluster Including an Earth-sized Planet

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mann, Andrew W.; Vanderburg, Andrew; Rizzuto, Aaron C.; Kraus, Adam L.; Berlind, Perry; Bieryla, Allyson; Calkins, Michael L.; Esquerdo, Gilbert A.; Latham, David W.; Mace, Gregory N.; Morris, Nathan R.; Quinn, Samuel N.; Sokal, Kimberly R.; Stefanik, Robert P.

    2018-01-01

    Planets in young clusters are powerful probes of the evolution of planetary systems. Here we report the discovery of three planets transiting EPIC 247589423, a late-K dwarf in the Hyades (≃800 Myr) cluster, and robust detection limits for additional planets in the system. The planets were identified from their K2 light curves as part of our survey of young clusters and star-forming regions. The smallest planet has a radius comparable to Earth ({0.99}-0.04+0.06{R}\\oplus ), making it one of the few Earth-sized planets with a known, young age. The two larger planets are likely a mini-Neptune and a super-Earth, with radii of {2.91}-0.10+0.11{R}\\oplus and {1.45}-0.08+0.11{R}\\oplus , respectively. The predicted radial velocity signals from these planets are between 0.4 and 2 m s-1, achievable with modern precision RV spectrographs. Because the target star is bright (V = 11.2) and has relatively low-amplitude stellar variability for a young star (2-6 mmag), EPIC 247589423 hosts the best known planets in a young open cluster for precise radial velocity follow-up, enabling a robust test of earlier claims that young planets are less dense than their older counterparts.

  2. Space missions to the exoplanets: Will they ever be possible

    Science.gov (United States)

    Genta, Giancarlo

    There is no doubt that the discovery of exoplanets has made interstellar space mission much more interesting than they were in the past. The possible discovery of a terrestrial type plane at a reasonable distance will give a strong impulse in this direction. However, there are doubts that such long range space mission will ever become feasible at all and, in case they will be, it is impossible to forecast a timeframe for them. At present, precursor interstellar missions are planned, but they fall way short from yielding interesting information about exoplanets, except perhaps in the case of missions to the focal line of the Sun’s gravitational lens, whose usefulness in this context is still to be demonstrated. They are anyway an essential step in the roadmap toward interstellar missions. Often the difficulties linked with interstellar missions are considered as related with the huge quantity of energy required for reaching the target star system within a reasonable timeframe. While this may well be a showstopper, it is not the only problem to be solved to make them possible. Two other issues are those linked with the probe’s autonomy and the telecommunications required to transmit large quantities of information at those distances. Missions to the exoplanets may be subdivided in the following categories: 1) robotic missions to the destination system, including flybys; 2) robotic missions including landing on an exoplanet; 3) robotic sample return missions; 4) human missions. The main problem to be solved for missions of type 1 is linked with propulsion and with energy availability, while autonomy (artificial intelligence) and telecommunication problems are more or less manageable with predictable technologies. Missions of type 2 are more demanding for what propulsion is concerned, but above all require a much larger artificial intelligence and also will generate a large amount of data, whose transmission back to Earth may become a problem. The suggestion of

  3. Using Adaptive Optics Follow-up to Characterize Microlensing Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Henderson, Calen; Beichman, Charles; Shvartzvald, Yossi

    2018-01-01

    The mass and distance of a microlens are degenerate, thus requiring at least two relations to yield a unique solution. Measuring the finite-source effect from the light curve helps provide one mass-distance relation for the lens system. Currently, the primary avenue for establishing a second relation and thus uniquely solving for the mass and distance of the lens is by measuring the microlens parallax. One specific implementation is the satellite parallax technique, which involves taking observations simultaneously from two locations separated by a significant fraction of an AU, and which has been employed by Spitzer and K2's Campaign 9, transforming this methodology from a cottage industry to a booming economy. However, the majority of microlensing exoplanets to be discovered in the coming decades, up to and including the detections predicted for WFIRST, will not have a measurement of the satellite parallax, requiring another avenue for converting microlensing observables into physical parameters. Enter the lens flux characterization technique, through which a microlensing target is observed with a high-resolution facility, facilitating a constraint on the flux from the lens system. This yields a third mass-distance relation for the lens and can be combined with that from the detection of finite-source effects and/or the microlens parallax to determine the mass of the lens system as well as its distance from Earth. I will highlight recent programs using NIRC2 on Keck that are designed to make lens flux measurements for a myriad of exoplanetary lenses, including: (A) systems with high blend flux, which adaptive optics is perfectly suited to resolve; (B) systems with high relative lens-source proper motion; (C) free-floating planet candidates; and (D) bound exoplanets.

  4. SHINE, The SpHere INfrared survey for Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chauvin, G.; Desidera, S.; Lagrange, A.-M.; Vigan, A.; Feldt, M.; Gratton, R.; Langlois, M.; Cheetham, A.; Bonnefoy, M.; Meyer, M.

    2017-12-01

    The SHINE survey for SPHERE High-contrast ImagiNg survey for Exoplanets, is a large near-infrared survey of 400-600 young, nearby stars and represents a significant component of the SPHERE consortium Guaranteed Time Observations consisting in 200 observing nights. The scientific goals are: i) to characterize known planetary systems (architecture, orbit, stability, luminosity, atmosphere); ii) to search for new planetary systems using SPHERE's unprecedented performance; and finally iii) to determine the occurrence and orbital and mass function properties of the wide-orbit, giant planet population as a function of the stellar host mass and age. Combined, the results will increase our understanding of planetary atmospheric physics and the processes of planetary formation and evolution.

  5. Direct Imaging of a Cold Jovian Exoplanet in Orbit around the Sun-Like Star GJ 504

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kuzuhara, M.; Tamura, M.; Kudo, T.; Janson, M; Kandori, R.; Brandt, T. D.; Thalmann, C.; Spiegel, D.; Biller, B.; Carson, J.; hide

    2013-01-01

    Several exoplanets have recently been imaged at wide separations of >10 AU from their parent stars. These span a limited range of ages ( 0.5 mag), implying thick cloud covers. Furthermore, substantial model uncertainties exist at these young ages due to the unknown initial conditions at formation, which can lead to an order of magnitude of uncertainty in the modeled planet mass. Here, we report the direct imaging discovery of a Jovian exoplanet around the Sun-like star GJ 504, detected as part of the SEEDS survey. The system is older than all other known directly-imaged planets; as a result, its estimated mass remains in the planetary regime independent of uncertainties related to choices of initial conditions in the exoplanet modeling. Using the most common exoplanet cooling model, and given the system age of 160(+350/-60) Myr, GJ 504 b has an estimated mass of 4(+4.5/-1.0) Jupiter masses, among the lowest of directly imaged planets. Its projected separation of 43.5 AU exceeds the typical outer boundary of approx.. 30 AU predicted for the core accretion mechanism. GJ 504 b is also significantly cooler (510(+30/-20) K)) and has a bluer color (J - H = -0.23 mag) than previously imaged exoplanets, suggesting a largely cloud-free atmosphere accessible to spectroscopic characterization. Thus, it has the potential of providing novel insights into the origins of giant planets, as well as their atmospheric properties.

  6. The Automation and Exoplanet Orbital Characterization from the Gemini Planet Imager Exoplanet Survey

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jinfei Wang, Jason; Graham, James; Perrin, Marshall; Pueyo, Laurent; Savransky, Dmitry; Kalas, Paul; arriaga, Pauline; Chilcote, Jeffrey K.; De Rosa, Robert J.; Ruffio, Jean-Baptiste; Sivaramakrishnan, Anand; Gemini Planet Imager Exoplanet Survey Collaboration

    2018-01-01

    The Gemini Planet Imager (GPI) Exoplanet Survey (GPIES) is a multi-year 600-star survey to discover and characterize young Jovian exoplanets and their planet forming environments. For large surveys like GPIES, it is critical to have a uniform dataset processed with the latest techniques and calibrations. I will describe the GPI Data Cruncher, an automated data processing framework that is able to generate fully reduced data minutes after the data are taken and can also reprocess the entire campaign in a single day on a supercomputer. The Data Cruncher integrates into a larger automated data processing infrastructure which syncs, logs, and displays the data. I will discuss the benefits of the GPIES data infrastructure, including optimizing observing strategies, finding planets, characterizing instrument performance, and constraining giant planet occurrence. I will also discuss my work in characterizing the exoplanets we have imaged in GPIES through monitoring their orbits. Using advanced data processing algorithms and GPI's precise astrometric calibration, I will show that GPI can achieve one milliarcsecond astrometry on the extensively-studied planet Beta Pic b. With GPI, we can confidently rule out a possible transit of Beta Pic b, but have precise timings on a Hill sphere transit, and I will discuss efforts to search for transiting circumplanetary material this year. I will also discuss the orbital monitoring of other exoplanets as part of GPIES.

  7. Earth-Like Exoplanets: The Science of NASA's Navigator Program

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lawson, Peter R. (Editor); Traub, Wesley A. (Editor)

    2006-01-01

    This book outlines the exoplanet science content of NASA's Navigator Program, and it identifies the exoplanet research priorities. The goal of Navigator Program missions is to detect and characterize Earth-like planets in the habitable zone of nearby stars and to search for signs of life on those planets.

  8. Characterization of Transiting Exoplanets by Way of Differential Photometry

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cowley, Michael; Hughes, Stephen

    2014-01-01

    This paper describes a simple activity for plotting and characterizing the light curve from an exoplanet transit event by way of differential photometry analysis. Using free digital imaging software, participants analyse a series of telescope images with the goal of calculating various exoplanet parameters, including size, orbital radius and…

  9. The WASP-South search for transiting exoplanets

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Queloz D.

    2011-02-01

    Full Text Available Since 2006 WASP-South has been scanning the Southern sky for transiting exoplanets. Combined with Geneva Observatory radial velocities we have so far found over 30 transiting exoplanets around relatively bright stars of magnitude 9–13. We present a status report for this ongoing survey.

  10. Lightning chemistry on Earth-like exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ardaseva, Aleksandra; Rimmer, Paul B.; Waldmann, Ingo; Rocchetto, Marco; Yurchenko, Sergey N.; Helling, Christiane; Tennyson, Jonathan

    2017-09-01

    We present a model for lightning shock-induced chemistry that can be applied to atmospheres of arbitrary H/C/N/O chemistry, hence for extrasolar planets and brown dwarfs. The model couples hydrodynamics and the STAND2015 kinetic gas-phase chemistry. For an exoplanet analogue to the contemporary Earth, our model predicts NO and NO2 yields in agreement with observation. We predict height-dependent mixing ratios during a storm soon after a lightning shock of NO ≈10-3 at 40 km and NO2 ≈10-4 below 40 km, with O3 reduced to trace quantities (≪10-10). For an Earth-like exoplanet with a CO2/N2 dominated atmosphere and with an extremely intense lightning storm over its entire surface, we predict significant changes in the amount of NO, NO2, O3, H2O, H2 and predict a significant abundance of C2N. We find that, for the Early Earth, O2 is formed in large quantities by lightning but is rapidly processed by the photochemistry, consistent with previous work on lightning. The chemical effect of persistent global lightning storms are predicted to be significant, primarily due to NO2, with the largest spectral features present at ˜3.4 and ˜6.2 μm. The features within the transmission spectrum are on the order of 1 ppm and therefore are not likely detectable with the James Webb Space Telescope. Depending on its spectral properties, C2N could be a key tracer for lightning on Earth-like exoplanets with a N2/CO2 bulk atmosphere, unless destroyed by yet unknown chemical reactions.

  11. Density Estimation for Projected Exoplanet Quantities

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brown, Robert A.

    2011-05-01

    Exoplanet searches using radial velocity (RV) and microlensing (ML) produce samples of "projected" mass and orbital radius, respectively. We present a new method for estimating the probability density distribution (density) of the unprojected quantity from such samples. For a sample of n data values, the method involves solving n simultaneous linear equations to determine the weights of delta functions for the raw, unsmoothed density of the unprojected quantity that cause the associated cumulative distribution function (CDF) of the projected quantity to exactly reproduce the empirical CDF of the sample at the locations of the n data values. We smooth the raw density using nonparametric kernel density estimation with a normal kernel of bandwidth σ. We calibrate the dependence of σ on n by Monte Carlo experiments performed on samples drawn from a theoretical density, in which the integrated square error is minimized. We scale this calibration to the ranges of real RV samples using the Normal Reference Rule. The resolution and amplitude accuracy of the estimated density improve with n. For typical RV and ML samples, we expect the fractional noise at the PDF peak to be approximately 80 n -log 2. For illustrations, we apply the new method to 67 RV values given a similar treatment by Jorissen et al. in 2001, and to the 308 RV values listed at exoplanets.org on 2010 October 20. In addition to analyzing observational results, our methods can be used to develop measurement requirements—particularly on the minimum sample size n—for future programs, such as the microlensing survey of Earth-like exoplanets recommended by the Astro 2010 committee.

  12. RISE: a fast-readout imager for exoplanet transit timing

    Science.gov (United States)

    Steele, I. A.; Bates, S. D.; Gibson, N.; Keenan, F.; Meaburn, J.; Mottram, C. J.; Pollacco, D.; Todd, I.

    2008-07-01

    By the precise timing of the low amplitude (0.005 - 0.02 magnitude) transits of exoplanets around their parent star it should be possible to infer the presence of other planetary bodies in the system down to Earth-like masses. We describe the design and construction of RISE, a fast-readout frame transfer camera for the Liverpool Telescope designed to carry out this experiment. The results of our commissioning tests are described as well as the data reduction procedure necessary. We present light curves of two objects, showing that the desired timing and photometric accuracy can be obtained providing that autoguiding is used to keep the target on the same detector pixel for the entire (typically 4 hour) observing run.

  13. Terrestrial exoplanets: diversity, habitability and characterization

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Selsis, Franck [CRAL: Centre de Recherche Astrophysique de Lyon (CNRS), Universite de Lyon, Ecole Normale Superieure de Lyon, 46 allee d' Italie, F-69007 Lyon (France); Kaltenegger, Lisa [Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 60 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA 02138 (United States); Paillet, Jimmy [ESTEC SCI-SA, Keplerlaan 1, PO Box 299, 2200AG Noordwijk (Netherlands)], E-mail: franck.selsis@ens-lyon.fr, E-mail: lkaltene@cfa.harvard.edu, E-mail: jpaillet@rssd.esa.int

    2008-08-15

    After a decade rich in giant exoplanet detections, observation techniques have now reached the sensitivity to gain information on the physical structure and chemical content of some of the detected planets and also to find planets of less than 10 M{sub +}. The detection and characterization of Earth-like planets is approaching rapidly and dedicated space observatories are already in operation (CoRoT) or in the development phase (Kepler, Darwin and TPF-I/C). In this paper, we explore the domain of terrestrial planets, emphasizing habitable worlds. We discuss the possibility of performing a spectral characterization of their properties using the next generation of astronomical instruments.

  14. Developing Tighter Constraints on Exoplanet Biosignatures by Modeling Atmospheric Haze

    Science.gov (United States)

    Felton, Ryan; Neveu, Marc; Domagal-Goldman, Shawn David; Desch, Steven; Arney, Giada

    2018-01-01

    As we increase our capacity to resolve the atmospheric composition of exoplanets, we must continue to refine our ability to distinguish true biosignatures from false positives in order to ultimately distinguish a life-bearing from a lifeless planet. Of the possible true and false biosignatures, methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2) are of interest, because on Earth geological and biological processes can produce them on large scales. To identify a biotic, Earth-like exoplanet, we must understand how these biosignatures shape their atmospheres. High atmospheric abundances of CH4 produce photochemical organic haze, which dramatically alters the photochemistry, climate, and spectrum of a planet. Arney et al. (2017) have suggested that haze-bearing atmospheres rich in CO2 may be a type of biosignature because the CH4 flux required to produce the haze is similar to the amount of biogenic CH4 on modern Earth. Atmospheric CH4 and CO2 both affect haze-formation photochemistry, and the potential for hazes to form in Earth-like atmospheres at abiotic concentrations of these gases has not been well studied. We will explore a wide range of parameter space of abiotic concentration levels of these gases to determine what spectral signatures are possible from abiotic environments and look for measurable differences between abiotic and biotic atmospheres. We use a 1D photochemical model with an upgraded haze production mechanism to compare Archean and modern Earth atmospheres to abiotic versions while varying atmospheric CH4 and CO2 levels and atmospheric pressure. We will vary CO2 from a trace gas to an amount such that it dominates atmospheric chemistry. For CH4, there is uncertainty regarding the amount of abiotic CH4 that comes from serpentinizing systems. To address this uncertainty, we will model three cases: 1) assume all CH4 comes from photochemistry; 2) use estimates of modern-day serpentinizing fluxes, assuming they are purely abiotic; and 3) assume serpentinizing

  15. Constraining properties of disintegrating exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Veras, D.; Carter, P. J.; Leinhardt, Z. M.; Gänsicke, B. T.

    2017-09-01

    Evaporating and disintegrating planets provide unique insights into chemical makeup and physical constraints. The striking variability, depth (˜10 - 60%) and shape of the photometric transit curves due to the disintegrating minor planet orbiting white dwarf WD 1145+017 has galvanised the post-main- sequence exoplanetary science community. We have performed the first tidal disruption simulations of this planetary object, and have succeeded in constraining its mass, density, eccentricity and physical nature. We illustrate how our simulations can bound these properties, and be used in the future for other exoplanetary systems.

  16. The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (Abstract)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Oelkers, R. J.

    2017-06-01

    (Abstract only) The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) will be conducting a nearly all-sky, photometric survey over the course of two years, with a core mission goal to discover small transiting exoplanets orbiting nearby, bright stars. The satellite will obtain 30-minute cadence observations for more than 1 billion objects in the 26 TESS fields of view and 2-minute cadence observations of 200,000 to 400,000 selected stars. The TESS mission is expected to detect 1,500 transiting planet candidates, including 500 Earth-sized objects, over the course of its two-year mission. The choice of which stars to observe at the 2-minute cadence is driven by the need to detect small, transiting planets, leading to the selection of primarily bright, cool dwarfs. These stars will be 10 to 100 times brighter than the stars observed by Kepler, providing a unique opportunity for an amateur-professional collaboration to heavily contribute to candidate follow-up. I describe the TESS science mission, its current status and the mission's photometric and spectroscopic follow-up needs.

  17. Light from Exoplanets: Present and Future

    Science.gov (United States)

    Deming, Leo

    2010-01-01

    Measurements using the Spitzer Space Telescope have revealed thermal emission from planets orbiting very close to solar-type stars, primarily transiting "hot Jupiter" exoplanets. The thermal emission spectrum of these worlds has been measured by exploiting their secondary eclipse. Also, during transit of the planet, absorption signatures from atoms and molecules in the planet's atmosphere are imprinted onto the spectrum of the star. Results to date from transit and eclipse studies show that the hot Jupiters often have significant haze and cloud components in their atmospheres, and the temperature structure can often be inverted, i.e. temperature is rising with height. New and very strongly irradiated examples of hot Jupiters have been found that are being stripped of their atmospheres by tidal forces from the star. In parallel, transiting superEarth exoplanets are being discovered, and their atmospheres should also be amenable to study using transit techniques. The 2014 launch of the James Webb Space Telescope will clarify the physical nature of hot Jupiters, and will extend transit and eclipse studies to superEarths orbiting in the habitable zones of lower main sequence stars.

  18. Exoplanets finding, exploring, and understanding alien worlds

    CERN Document Server

    Kitchin, Chris

    2012-01-01

    Since 1992 there has been an explosion in the discovery of planets orbiting stars other than the Sun. There are now around 600 alien planets that we know about and that number is likely to break through the 1,000 ‘barrier’ within a couple of years. The recent launch of the Kepler space telescope specifically to look for new worlds opens the prospect of hundreds, maybe thousands, of further exoplanets being found. Many of these planets orbits stars that are not too different from the Sun, but they are so close in to their stars that their surfaces could be flooded with seas of molten lead – or even molten iron. Others orbit so far from their stars that they might as well be alone in interstellar space. A planet closely similar to the Earth has yet to be detected, but that (to us) epoch-making discovery is just a matter of time. Could these alien worlds could provide alternative homes for humankind, new supplies of mineral resources and might they might already be homes to alien life? Exoplanets: Finding,...

  19. ESPRESSO: the ultimate rocky exoplanets hunter for the VLT

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mégevand, Denis; Zerbi, Filippo M.; Cabral, Alexandre; Di Marcantonio, Paolo; Amate, Manuel; Pepe, Francesco; Cristiani, Stefano; Rebolo, Rafael; Santos, Nuno C.; Dekker, Hans; Abreu, Manuel; Affolter, Michael; Avila, Gerardo; Baldini, Veronica; Bristow, Paul; Broeg, Christopher; Carvas, Pedro; Cirami, Roberto; Coelho, João.; Comari, Maurizio; Conconi, Paolo; Coretti, Igor; Cupani, Guido; D'Odorico, Valentina; De Caprio, Vincenzo; Delabre, Bernard; Figueira, Pedro; Fleury, Michel; Fragoso, Ana; Genolet, Ludovic; Gomes, Ricardo; Gonzalez Hernandez, Jonay; Hughes, Ian; Iwert, Olaf; Kerber, Florian; Landoni, Marco; Lima, Jorge; Lizon, Jean-Louis; Lovis, Christophe; Maire, Charles; Mannetta, Marco; Martins, Carlos; Moitinho, André; Molaro, Paolo; Monteiro, Manuel; Rasilla, José Luis; Riva, Marco; Santana Tschudi, Samuel; Santin, Paolo; Sosnowska, Danuta; Sousa, Sergio; Spanò, Paolo; Tenegi, Fabio; Toso, Giorgio; Vanzella, Eros; Viel, Matteo; Zapatero Osorio, Maria Rosa

    2012-09-01

    ESPRESSO, the VLT rocky exoplanets hunter, will combine the efficiency of modern echelle spectrograph with extreme radial-velocity precision. It will be installed at Paranal on ESO's VLT in order to achieve a gain of two magnitudes with respect to its predecessor HARPS, and the instrumental radial-velocity precision will be improved to reach 10 cm/s level. We have constituted a Consortium of astronomical research institutes to fund, design and build ESPRESSO on behalf of and in collaboration with ESO, the European Southern Observatory. The project has passed the preliminary design review in November 2011. The spectrograph will be installed at the so-called "Combined Coudé Laboratory" of the VLT, it will be linked to the four 8.2 meters Unit Telescopes (UT) through four optical "Coudé trains" and will be operated either with a single telescope or with up to four UTs. In exchange of the major financial and human effort the building Consortium will be awarded with guaranteed observing time (GTO), which will be invested in a common scientific program. Thanks to its characteristics and the ability of combining incoherently the light of 4 large telescopes, ESPRESSO will offer new possibilities in many fields of astronomy. Our main scientific objectives are, however, the search and characterization of rocky exoplanets in the habitable zone of quiet, near-by G to M-dwarfs, and the analysis of the variability of fundamental physical constants. In this paper, we present the ambitious scientific objectives, the capabilities of ESPRESSO, the technical solutions for the system and its subsystems, enlightening the main differences between ESPRESSO and its predecessors. The project aspects of this facility are also described, from the consortium and partnership structure to the planning phases and milestones.

  20. Simulating the exoplanet yield of a space-based mid-infrared interferometer based on Kepler statistics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kammerer, Jens; Quanz, Sascha P.

    2018-01-01

    Aims: We predict the exoplanet yield of a space-based mid-infrared nulling interferometer using Monte Carlo simulations. We quantify the number and properties of detectable exoplanets and identify those target stars that have the highest or most complete detection rate. We investigate how changes in the underlying technical assumptions and uncertainties in the underlying planet population impact the scientific return. Methods: We simulated 2000 exoplanetary systems, based on planet occurrence statistics from Kepler with randomly orientated orbits and uniformly distributed albedos around each of 326 nearby (dworlds.

  1. LOWLID FORMATION AND PLATE TECTONICS ON EXOPLANETS

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stamenkovic, V.; Noack, L.; Breuer, D.

    2009-12-01

    The last years of astronomical observation have opened the doors to a universe filled with extrasolar planets. Detection techniques still only offer the possibility to detect mainly Super-Earths above five Earth masses. But detection techniques do steadily improve and are offering the possibility to detect even smaller planets. The observations show that planets seem to exist in many possible sizes just as the planets and moons of our own solar system do. It is only a natural question to ask if planetary mass has an influence on some key habitability factors such as on plate tectonics, allowing us to test which exoplanets might be more likely habitable than others, and allowing us to understand if plate tectonics on Earth is a stable or a critical, instable process that could easily be perturbed. Here we present results derived from 1D parameterized thermal evolution and 2D/3D computer models, showing how planetary mass influences the propensity of plate tectonics for planets with masses ranging from 0.1 to 10 Earth masses. Lately [2, 3] studied the effect of planetary mass on the ability to break plates and hence initiate plate tectonics - but both derived results contradictory to the other. We think that one of the reasons why both studies [2, 3] are not acceptable in their current form is partly due to an oversimplification. Both treated viscosity only temperature-dependent but neglected the effect pressure has on enlarging the viscosity in the deep mantle. More massive planets have therefore a stronger pressure-viscosity-coupling making convection at high pressures sluggish or even impossible. For planets larger than two Earth masses we observe that a conductive lid (termed low-lid) forms above the core-mantle boundary and thus reduces the effective convective part of the mantle when including a pressure-dependent term into the viscosity laws as shown in [1]. Moreover [2, 3] use time independent steady state models neglecting the fact that plate tectonics is a

  2. VLT Detects First Superstorm on Exoplanet

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-06-01

    Astronomers have measured a superstorm for the first time in the atmosphere of an exoplanet, the well-studied "hot Jupiter" HD209458b. The very high-precision observations of carbon monoxide gas show that it is streaming at enormous speed from the extremely hot day side to the cooler night side of the planet. The observations also allow another exciting "first" - measuring the orbital speed of the exoplanet itself, providing a direct determination of its mass. The results appear this week in the journal Nature. "HD209458b is definitely not a place for the faint-hearted. By studying the poisonous carbon monoxide gas with great accuracy we found evidence for a super wind, blowing at a speed of 5000 to 10 000 km per hour" says Ignas Snellen, who led the team of astronomers. HD209458b is an exoplanet of about 60% the mass of Jupiter orbiting a solar-like star located 150 light-years from Earth towards the constellation of Pegasus (the Winged Horse). Circling at a distance of only one twentieth the Sun-Earth distance, the planet is heated intensely by its parent star, and has a surface temperature of about 1000 degrees Celsius on the hot side. But as the planet always has the same side to its star, one side is very hot, while the other is much cooler. "On Earth, big temperature differences inevitably lead to fierce winds, and as our new measurements reveal, the situation is no different on HD209458b," says team member Simon Albrecht. HD209458b was the first exoplanet to be found transiting: every 3.5 days the planet moves in front of its host star, blocking a small portion of the starlight during a three-hour period. During such an event a tiny fraction of the starlight filters through the planet's atmosphere, leaving an imprint. A team of astronomers from the Leiden University, the Netherlands Institute for Space Research (SRON), and MIT in the United States, have used ESO's Very Large Telescope and its powerful CRIRES spectrograph to detect and analyse these faint

  3. Epoxi Exoplanet Transit Obs - Hriv Calibrated Images V1.0

    Science.gov (United States)

    McLaughlin, S. A.; Carcich, B.; Deming, D.; Wellnitz, D. D.; Klaasen, K. P.

    2010-01-01

    This data set set contains calibrated images of eight known transiting extrasolar planetary systems (hot Jupiters) acquired by the Deep Impact High Resolution Visible CCD during the EPOCh phase of the EPOXI mission. From 22 January through 31 August 2008 the HRIV CCD collected over 172,000 usable, photometric-quality visible light images of these transiting planet systems: HAT-P-4, HAT-P-7, GJ 436, TrES-2, TrES-3, XO-2, XO-3, and WASP-3. Time series of continuous 50-second integrations were used with the clear filter (#6) to observe each system for about three weeks, typically covering five or more transits as well as secondary eclipses. An exception was XO-3 which was only observed briefly due to the spacecraft entering safe mode. The transiting planet systems were observed in the integrated light of the planet and star; no spatially resolved image of the planet was possible.

  4. Epoxi Exoplanet Transit Obs - Hriv Raw Images V1.0

    Science.gov (United States)

    McLaughlin, S. A.; Carcich, B.; Deming, D.; Wellnitz, D. D.; Klaasen, K. P.

    2010-01-01

    This data set set contains raw images of eight known transiting extrasolar planetary systems (hot Jupiters) acquired by the Deep Impact High Resolution Visible CCD during the EPOCh phase of the EPOXI mission. From 22 January through 31 August 2008 the HRIV CCD collected over 172,000 usable, photometric-quality visible light images of these transiting planet systems: HAT-P-4, HAT-P-7, GJ 436, TrES-2, TrES-3, XO-2, XO-3, and WASP-3. Time series of continuous 50-second integrations were used with the clear filter (#6) to observe each system for about three weeks, typically covering five or more transits as well as secondary eclipses. An exception was XO-3 which was only observed briefly due to the spacecraft entering safe mode. The transiting planet systems were observed in the integrated light of the planet and star; no spatially resolved image of the planet was possible.

  5. MASS-RADIUS RELATIONSHIPS FOR EXOPLANETS

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Swift, D. C.; Eggert, J. H.; Hicks, D. G.; Hamel, S.; Caspersen, K.; Schwegler, E.; Collins, G. W. [Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, 7000 East Avenue, Livermore, California, CA 94550 (United States); Nettelmann, N. [Institut fuer Physik, Universitaet Rostock, D-18051 Rostock (Germany); Ackland, G. J. [Centre for Science at Extreme Conditions, School of Physics, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH9 3JZ (United Kingdom)

    2012-01-01

    For planets other than Earth, particularly exoplanets, interpretation of the composition and structure depends largely on comparing the mass and radius with the composition expected given their distance from the parent star. The composition implies a mass-radius relation which relies heavily on equations of state calculated from electronic structure theory and measured experimentally on Earth. We lay out a method for deriving and testing equations of state, and deduce mass-radius and mass-pressure relations for key, relevant materials whose equation of state (EOS) is reasonably well established, and for differentiated Fe/rock. We find that variations in the EOS, such as may arise when extrapolating from low-pressure data, can have significant effects on predicted mass-radius relations and on planetary pressure profiles. The relations are compared with the observed masses and radii of planets and exoplanets, broadly supporting recent inferences about exoplanet structures. Kepler-10b is apparently 'Earth-like', likely with a proportionately larger core than Earth's, nominally 2/3 of the mass of the planet. CoRoT-7b is consistent with a rocky mantle over an Fe-based core which is likely to be proportionately smaller than Earth's. GJ 1214b lies between the mass-radius curves for H{sub 2}O and CH{sub 4}, suggesting an 'icy' composition with a relatively large core or a relatively large proportion of H{sub 2}O. CoRoT-2b is less dense than the hydrogen relation, which could be explained by an anomalously high degree of heating or by higher than assumed atmospheric opacity. HAT-P-2b is slightly denser than the mass-radius relation for hydrogen, suggesting the presence of a significant amount of matter of higher atomic number. CoRoT-3b lies close to the hydrogen relation. The pressure at the center of Kepler-10b is 1.5{sup +1.2}{sub -1.0} TPa. The central pressure in CoRoT-7b is probably close to 0.8 TPa, though may be up to 2 TPa. These

  6. Novel Optical SETI Observations of Three Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Welsh, Barry; Vallerga, John; Kotze, Marissa; Wheatley, Jonathan

    2018-01-01

    We report on observations of three nearby stars (Trappist-1, GJ 422 and Wolf 1061) that possess exoplanets located in their respective habitable zones to search for optical signals generated by an advanced alien civilization. Using the photon data collected with the Berkeley Visible Image Tube attached to the 10m Southern African Large Telescope, we searched for very high amplitude events in the pulse height distributions that statistically could only be produced by non-astrophysical means such as an optical laser used for communications purposes.Assuming that a purported ET civilization has access to an orbiting 10m mirror and an optical laser to send signals over the three sight-lines to Earth, we derive upper limits to the output power of their l lasers which might be used for inter-stellar communication.

  7. Detecting Exoplanets using Bayesian Object Detection

    Science.gov (United States)

    Feroz, Farhan

    2015-08-01

    Detecting objects from noisy data-sets is common practice in astrophysics. Object detection presents a particular challenge in terms of statistical inference, not only because of its multi-modal nature but also because it combines both the parameter estimation (for characterizing objects) and model selection problems (in order to quantify the detection). Bayesian inference provides a mathematically rigorous solution to this problem by calculating marginal posterior probabilities of models with different number of sources, but the use of this method in astrophysics has been hampered by the computational cost of evaluating the Bayesian evidence. Nonetheless, Bayesian model selection has the potential to improve the interpretation of existing observational data. I will discuss several Bayesian approaches to object detection problems, both in terms of their theoretical framework and also the practical details about carrying out the computation. I will also describe some recent applications of these methods in the detection of exoplanets.

  8. PynPoint code for exoplanet imaging

    Science.gov (United States)

    Amara, A.; Quanz, S. P.; Akeret, J.

    2015-04-01

    We announce the public release of PynPoint, a Python package that we have developed for analysing exoplanet data taken with the angular differential imaging observing technique. In particular, PynPoint is designed to model the point spread function of the central star and to subtract its flux contribution to reveal nearby faint companion planets. The current version of the package does this correction by using a principal component analysis method to build a basis set for modelling the point spread function of the observations. We demonstrate the performance of the package by reanalysing publicly available data on the exoplanet β Pictoris b, which consists of close to 24,000 individual image frames. We show that PynPoint is able to analyse this typical data in roughly 1.5 min on a Mac Pro, when the number of images is reduced by co-adding in sets of 5. The main computational work, the calculation of the Singular-Value-Decomposition, parallelises well as a result of a reliance on the SciPy and NumPy packages. For this calculation the peak memory load is 6 GB, which can be run comfortably on most workstations. A simpler calculation, by co-adding over 50, takes 3 s with a peak memory usage of 600 MB. This can be performed easily on a laptop. In developing the package we have modularised the code so that we will be able to extend functionality in future releases, through the inclusion of more modules, without it affecting the users application programming interface. We distribute the PynPoint package under GPLv3 licence through the central PyPI server, and the documentation is available online (http://pynpoint.ethz.ch).

  9. Kepler's Rocky Exoplanets: Born Rocky or Stripped Sub-Neptunes?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lopez, E. D.

    2017-11-01

    I will review the current evidence for the role of photo-evaporation in shaping the known exoplanet population and the impact this may have on our current estimates of eta-Earth. I will then discuss observational paths forward.

  10. A two-tiered approach to assessing the habitability of exoplanets.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schulze-Makuch, Dirk; Méndez, Abel; Fairén, Alberto G; von Paris, Philip; Turse, Carol; Boyer, Grayson; Davila, Alfonso F; António, Marina Resendes de Sousa; Catling, David; Irwin, Louis N

    2011-12-01

    In the next few years, the number of catalogued exoplanets will be counted in the thousands. This will vastly expand the number of potentially habitable worlds and lead to a systematic assessment of their astrobiological potential. Here, we suggest a two-tiered classification scheme of exoplanet habitability. The first tier consists of an Earth Similarity Index (ESI), which allows worlds to be screened with regard to their similarity to Earth, the only known inhabited planet at this time. The ESI is based on data available or potentially available for most exoplanets such as mass, radius, and temperature. For the second tier of the classification scheme we propose a Planetary Habitability Index (PHI) based on the presence of a stable substrate, available energy, appropriate chemistry, and the potential for holding a liquid solvent. The PHI has been designed to minimize the biased search for life as we know it and to take into account life that might exist under more exotic conditions. As such, the PHI requires more detailed knowledge than is available for any exoplanet at this time. However, future missions such as the Terrestrial Planet Finder will collect this information and advance the PHI. Both indices are formulated in a way that enables their values to be updated as technology and our knowledge about habitable planets, moons, and life advances. Applying the proposed metrics to bodies within our Solar System for comparison reveals two planets in the Gliese 581 system, GJ 581 c and d, with an ESI comparable to that of Mars and a PHI between that of Europa and Enceladus.

  11. ARIEL - The Atmospheric Remote-sensing Infrared Exoplanet Large-survey

    Science.gov (United States)

    Eccleston, P.; Tinetti, G.

    2015-10-01

    More than 1,000 extrasolar systems have been discovered, hosting nearly 2,000 exoplanets. Ongoing and planned ESA and NASA missions from space such as GAIA, Cheops, PLATO, K2 and TESS, plus ground based surveys, will increase the number of known systems to tens of thousands. Of all these exoplanets we know very little; i.e. their orbital data and, for some of these, their physical parameters such as their size and mass. In the past decade, pioneering results have been obtained using transit spectroscopy with Hubble, Spitzer and ground-based facilities, enabling the detection of a few of the most abundant ionic, atomic and molecular species and to constrain the planet's thermal structure. Future general purpose facilities with large collecting areas will allow the acquisition of better exoplanet spectra, compared to the currently available, especially from fainter targets. A few tens of planets will be observed with JWST and E-ELT in great detail. A breakthrough in our understanding of planet formation and evolution mechanisms will only happen through the observation of the planetary bulk and atmospheric composition of a statistically large sample of planets. This requires conducting spectroscopic observations covering simultaneously a broad spectral region from the visible to the mid-IR. It also requires a dedicated space mission with the necessary photometric stability to perform these challenging measurements and sufficient agility to observe multiple times ~500 exoplanets over 3.5 years. The ESA Cosmic Vision M4 mission candidate ARIEL is designed to accomplish this goal and will provide a complete, statistically significant sample of gas-giants, Neptunes and super-Earths with temperatures hotter than 600K, as these types of planets will allow direct observation of their bulk properties, enabling us to constrain models of planet formation and evolution. The ARIEL consortium currently includes academic institutes and industry from eleven countries in Europe; the

  12. VLT Captures First Direct Spectrum of an Exoplanet

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-01-01

    By studying a triple planetary system that resembles a scaled-up version of our own Sun's family of planets, astronomers have been able to obtain the first direct spectrum - the "chemical fingerprint" [1] - of a planet orbiting a distant star [2], thus bringing new insights into the planet's formation and composition. The result represents a milestone in the search for life elsewhere in the Universe. "The spectrum of a planet is like a fingerprint. It provides key information about the chemical elements in the planet's atmosphere," says Markus Janson, lead author of a paper reporting the new findings. "With this information, we can better understand how the planet formed and, in the future, we might even be able to find tell-tale signs of the presence of life." The researchers obtained the spectrum of a giant exoplanet that orbits the bright, very young star HR 8799. The system is at about 130 light-years from Earth. The star has 1.5 times the mass of the Sun, and hosts a planetary system that resembles a scaled-up model of our own Solar System. Three giant companion planets were detected in 2008 by another team of researchers, with masses between 7 and 10 times that of Jupiter. They are between 20 and 70 times as far from their host star as the Earth is from the Sun; the system also features two belts of smaller objects, similar to our Solar System's asteroid and Kuiper belts. "Our target was the middle planet of the three, which is roughly ten times more massive than Jupiter and has a temperature of about 800 degrees Celsius," says team member Carolina Bergfors. "After more than five hours of exposure time, we were able to tease out the planet's spectrum from the host star's much brighter light." This is the first time the spectrum of an exoplanet orbiting a normal, almost Sun-like star has been obtained directly. Previously, the only spectra to be obtained required a space telescope to watch an exoplanet pass directly behind its host star in an "exoplanetary

  13. Observing Exoplanets with the James Webb Space Telescope

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clampin Mark

    2011-01-01

    The search for exoplanets and characterization of their properties has seen increasing success over the last few years. In excess of 500 exoplanets are known and Kepler has approx. 1000 additional candidates. Recently, progress has been made in direct imaging planets, both from the ground and in space. This presentation will discuss the history and current state of technology used for such discoveries, and highlight the new capabilities that will be enabled by the James Webb Space Telescope.

  14. Forecasting the Impact of Stellar Activity on Transiting Exoplanet Spectra

    OpenAIRE

    Zellem, Robert T.; Swain, Mark R.; Roudier, Gael; Shkolnik, Evgenya L.; Creech-Eakman, Michelle J.; Ciardi, David R.; Line, Michael R.; Iyer, Aishwarya R.; Bryden, Geoffrey; Llama, Joe; Fahy, Kristen A.

    2017-01-01

    Exoplanet host star activity, in the form of unocculted starspots or faculae, alters the observed transmission and emission spectra of the exoplanet. This effect can be exacerbated when combining data from different epochs if the stellar photosphere varies between observations due to activity. Here, we present a method to characterize and correct for relative changes due to stellar activity by exploiting multi-epoch (⩾2 visits/transits) observations to place them in a consistent reference fra...

  15. Titania may produce abiotic oxygen atmospheres on habitable exoplanets

    OpenAIRE

    Norio Narita; Takafumi Enomoto; Shigeyuki Masaoka; Nobuhiko Kusakabe

    2015-01-01

    The search for habitable exoplanets in the Universe is actively ongoing in the field of astronomy. The biggest future milestone is to determine whether life exists on such habitable exoplanets. In that context, oxygen in the atmosphere has been considered strong evidence for the presence of photosynthetic organisms. In this paper, we show that a previously unconsidered photochemical mechanism by titanium (IV) oxide (titania) can produce abiotic oxygen from liquid water under near ultraviolet ...

  16. Bayesian analysis on gravitational waves and exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Deng, Xihao

    constraints on the function space that may be reasonably thought to characterize the range of gravitational wave signals. For example, focus attention on the detection of a gravitational wave burst, by which we mean a signal that begins and ends over the course of an observational epoch. The burst may result from a source that we know how to model - e.g., a near-unity mass ratio black hole binary system - or it may be the result of a process, which we have not imagined and, so, have no model for. Similarly, a gravitational wave background resulting from a superposition of a number of weak sources may be difficult to characterize if the number of weak sources is sufficiently large that none can be individually resolved, but not so large that their superposition leads to a reasonably Gaussian distribution. The fourth part develops Bayesian analysis methods that can be used to detect gravitational waves generated from circular-orbit supermassive black hole binaries with a pulsar timing array. PTA response to such gravitational waves can be modeled as the difference between two sinusoidal terms --- the one with a coherent phase among different pulsars called "Earth term" and the other one with incoherent phases among different pulsars called "pulsar term". For gravitational waves from slowly evolving binaries, the two terms in the PTA response model have the same frequency. Previous methods aimed at detecting gravitational waves from circular-orbit binaries ignored pulsar terms in data analysis since those terms were considered to be negligible when averaging over all the pulsars. However, it is found that we can incorporate the contributions of pulsar terms into data analysis in the case of slowly evolving binaries by treating the incoherent phases in pulsar terms as unknown parameters to be marginalized. The final part of this thesis applies Bayesian analysis to search for the evidence of a planetary system around the K0 giant star HD 102103 detected by the Penn State

  17. Disequilibrium biosignatures over Earth history and implications for detecting exoplanet life.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Krissansen-Totton, Joshua; Olson, Stephanie; Catling, David C

    2018-01-01

    Chemical disequilibrium in planetary atmospheres has been proposed as a generalized method for detecting life on exoplanets through remote spectroscopy. Among solar system planets with substantial atmospheres, the modern Earth has the largest thermodynamic chemical disequilibrium due to the presence of life. However, how this disequilibrium changed over time and, in particular, the biogenic disequilibria maintained in the anoxic Archean or less oxic Proterozoic eons are unknown. We calculate the atmosphere-ocean disequilibrium in the Precambrian using conservative proxy- and model-based estimates of early atmospheric and oceanic compositions. We omit crustal solids because subsurface composition is not detectable on exoplanets, unlike above-surface volatiles. We find that (i) disequilibrium increased through time in step with the rise of oxygen; (ii) both the Proterozoic and Phanerozoic may have had remotely detectable biogenic disequilibria due to the coexistence of O 2 , N 2 , and liquid water; and (iii) the Archean had a biogenic disequilibrium caused by the coexistence of N 2 , CH 4 , CO 2 , and liquid water, which, for an exoplanet twin, may be remotely detectable. On the basis of this disequilibrium, we argue that the simultaneous detection of abundant CH 4 and CO 2 in a habitable exoplanet's atmosphere is a potential biosignature. Specifically, we show that methane mixing ratios greater than 10 -3 are potentially biogenic, whereas those exceeding 10 -2 are likely biogenic due to the difficulty in maintaining large abiotic methane fluxes to support high methane levels in anoxic atmospheres. Biogenicity would be strengthened by the absence of abundant CO, which should not coexist in a biological scenario.

  18. VUV-absorption cross section of CO2 at high temperatures and impact on exoplanet atmospheres

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Venot Olivia

    2014-02-01

    Full Text Available Ultraviolet (UV absorption cross sections are an essential ingredient of photochemical atmosphere models. Exoplanet searches have unveiled a large population of short-period objects with hot atmospheres, very different from what we find in our solar system. Transiting exoplanets whose atmospheres can now be studied by transit spectroscopy receive extremely strong UV fluxes and have typical temperatures ranging from 400 to 2500 K. At these temperatures, UV photolysis cross section data are severely lacking. Our goal is to provide high-temperature absorption cross sections and their temperature dependency for important atmospheric compounds. This study is dedicated to CO2, which is observed and photodissociated in exoplanet atmospheres. We performed these measurements for the 115 - 200 nm range at 300, 410, 480, and 550 K. In the 195 - 230 nm range, we worked at seven temperatures between 465 and 800 K. We found that the absorption cross section of CO2 is very sensitive to temperature, especially above 160 nm. Within the studied range of temperature, the CO2 cross section can vary by more than two orders of magnitude. This, in particular, makes the absorption of CO2 significant up to wavelengths as high as 230 nm, while it is negligible above 200 nm at 300 K. To investigate the influence of these new data on the photochemistry of exoplanets, we implemented the measured cross section into a 1D photochemical model. The model predicts that accounting for this temperature dependency of CO2 cross section can affect the computed abundances of NH3, CO2, and CO by one order of magnitude in the atmospheres of hot Jupiter and hot Neptune.

  19. Direct detection of hundreds of exoplanets with a space-based mid-infrared interferometer

    Science.gov (United States)

    Quanz, S. P.; Kammerer, J.

    2017-09-01

    One of the long-term goals of exoplanet research is the (atmospheric) characterization of a sizeable sample of small, terrestrial planets in order to assess their potential habitability. In this context it is important to quantitatively assess the scientific return of various mission concepts in order to derive robust science requirements. While transit and secondary eclipse spectroscopy may provide data on a few systems, it seems questionable whether a larger planet sample can be investigated given that most planets do not transit in front of their host stars. Hence, direct detection methods may be required. Here we predict the exoplanet yield of a space-based mid-infrared nulling interferometer (akin to the Darwin mission concept) using a catalog of nearby stars and the planet occurrence rates found by NASA's Kepler mission. We find that a mission with the technical specifications of Darwin could detect >300 exoplanets (with radii between 0.5 and 6 Earth radii). Roughly 85 planets have radii between 0.5 and 1.75 Earth radii and equilibrium temperatures between 200 and 450 K and are prime targets for spectroscopic follow-up observations in the second phase of the mission investigating their potential habitability. Higher planet yields can be realized by further optimizing the observing strategy. We also compare the baseline planet yield of a space-based mid-infrared interferometer to that of a large space-based optical/IR telescope. We conclude that a Darwin-like mission concept should be put back on the long-term agenda of the exoplanet community and related space agencies.

  20. Benford's Distribution in Extrasolar World: Do the Exoplanets Follow Benford's Distribution?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shukla, Abhishek; Pandey, Ankit Kumar; Pathak, Anirban

    2017-03-01

    In many real life situations, it is observed that the first digits (i.e., 1,2,…,9) of a numerical data-set, which is expressed using decimal system, do not follow a uniform distribution. In fact, the probability of occurrence of these digits decreases in an almost exponential fashion starting from 30.1 % for 1 to 4.6 % for 9. Specifically, smaller numbers are favoured by nature in accordance with a logarithmic distribution law, which is referred to as Benford's law. The existence and applicability of this empirical law have been extensively studied by physicists, accountants, computer scientists, mathematicians, statisticians, etc., and it has been observed that a large number of data-sets related to diverse problems follow this distribution. However, except two recent works related to astronomy, applicability of Benford's law has not been tested for extrasolar objects. Motivated by this fact, this paper investigates the existence of Benford's distribution in the extrasolar world using Kepler data for exoplanets. The quantitative investigations have revealed the presence of Benford's distribution in various physical properties of these exoplanets. Further, some specific comments have been made on the possible generalizations of the obtained results, its potential applications in analysing the data-set of candidate exoplanets.

  1. A global map of the atmospheric circulation and thermal structure for an ultrahot exoplanet

    Science.gov (United States)

    Evans, Tom; Sing, David; Tiffany, Kataria; Nikolov, Nikolay; Deming, Drake; Lewis, Nikole; Wakeford, Hannah; Marley, Mark; Gibson, Neale; Spake, Jessica; Drummond, Benjamin; Barstow, Joanna; Henry, Gregory; Mayne, Nathan

    2017-10-01

    WASP-121b is one of the standout exoplanets available for atmospheric characterization, both in transmission and emission, due to its large radius (1.8 Jupiter radii), high temperature ( 2700K), and bright host star (H=9.4mag). Recent HST/WFC3 eclipse observations made by our group have revealed the 1.4 micron water band in emission on the dayside hemisphere of WASP-121b, implying that the atmosphere has a thermal inversion. This new development, combined with the favorable system properties, makes it clear that WASP-121b is an ideal target to empirically probe the variation of thermal inversions with longitude. To do this, we propose phase curve measurements of WASP-121b over a full orbital period in each of the Spitzer/IRAC channels. Given the measurement precision demonstrated by our previous IRAC observations of WASP-121b, we anticipate this dataset will be one of the highest signal-to-noise phase curve measurements for an exoplanet to date. It will provide a powerful complement to full-orbit phase curves that have recently been confirmed for shorter wavelengths, to be made by HST/WFC3 and JWST/NIRISS. Combined, this Spitzer+HST+JWST phase curve dataset will produce an unprecedented map of the longitudinally-resolved thermal structure, chemical composition and global circulation of an exoplanet atmosphere, and, in particular, give crucial new insight into the long-standing mystery of thermal inversions in strongly-irradiated gas giants.

  2. The pinwheel pupil discovery: exoplanet science & improved processing with segmented telescopes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Breckinridge, James Bernard

    2018-01-01

    In this paper, we show that by using a “pinwheel” architecture for the segmented primary mirror and curved supports for the secondary mirror, we can achieve a near uniform diffraction background in ground and space large telescope systems needed for high SNR exoplanet science. Also, the point spread function will be nearly rotationally symmetric, enabling improved digital image reconstruction. Large (>4-m) aperture space telescopes are needed to characterize terrestrial exoplanets by direct imaging coronagraphy. Launch vehicle volume constrains these apertures are segmented and deployed in space to form a large mirror aperture that is masked by the gaps between the hexagonal segments and the shadows of the secondary support system. These gaps and shadows over the pupil result in an image plane point spread function that has bright spikes, which may mask or obscure exoplanets.These telescope artifact mask faint exoplanets, making it necessary for the spacecraft to make a roll about the boresight and integrate again to make sure no planets are missed. This increases integration time, and requires expensive space-craft resources to do bore-sight roll.Currently the LUVOIR and HabEx studies have several significant efforts to develop special purpose A/O technology and to place complex absorbing apodizers over their Hex pupils to shape the unwanted diffracted light. These strong apodizers absorb light, decreasing system transmittance and reducing SNR. Implementing curved pupil obscurations will eliminate the need for the highly absorbing apodizers and thus result in higher SNR.Quantitative analysis of diffraction patterns that use the pinwheel architecture are compared to straight hex-segment edges with a straight-line secondary shadow mask to show a gain of over a factor of 100 by reducing the background. For the first-time astronomers are able to control and minimize image plane diffraction background “noise”. This technology will enable 10-m segmented

  3. Transiting Exoplanets: Discovery from the Ground, Characterization from Space

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nutzman, Philip Andrew

    This work considers the prospects for detecting Earth-like, habitable planets from the ground by targeting nearby M dwarf stars. I perform design studies for ground-based transit surveys seeking habitable, Earth-like planets. By studying a list of proper-motion selected M dwarfs, I determine observational requirements on a star-by-star basis. A survey using 10 40 cm telescopes to target 2000 late, northern M dwarfs could yield 27 x etaM,⊕ habitable, sub-Neptune sized planets in less than three years of observations, where etaM,⊕ is the occurrence rate of super-Earths in the habitable zones of late M dwarfs. By extending to the Southern hemisphere, and incorporating a special narrow filter to avoid telluric water vapor bands, a survey using 10 40 cm telescopes in the North and 10 40 cm telescopes in the South could find 30 x eta M,⊕ habitable planets smaller than 1.5 R ⊕, in 5 years of operations. I present space-based observations of the exoplanet systems HD 149026 and HD 17156, with which I vastly improve upon previously existing estimates of stellar and planetary properties. I present Spitzer 8 mum transit observations obtained for the exoplanet HD 149026b. By observing at this wavelength, one can reduce the effects of limb darkening and thereby simplify the modeling of shallow transit events. I find Rp = 0.755 +/- 0.040RJ. I also present the first joint analysis of transit and asteroseismology observations. Using observations obtained with the Fine Guidance Sensors (FGS) on board the Hubble Space Telescope, I analyze 3 transits of the HD 17156 system. By incorporating a stellar mean density constraint obtained from asteroseismology observations, I improve the determination of planetary properties by an order of magnitude versus previous studies. I find a planetary radius of Rp = 1.0870 +/- 0.0066RJ, which is modestly consistent with theoretical models of solar-composition gas giants.

  4. Is plate tectonics needed to evolve technological species on exoplanets?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Robert J. Stern

    2016-07-01

    Full Text Available As we continue searching for exoplanets, we wonder if life and technological species capable of communicating with us exists on any of them. As geoscientists, we can also wonder how important is the presence or absence of plate tectonics for the evolution of technological species. This essay considers this question, focusing on tectonically active rocky (silicate planets, like Earth, Venus, and Mars. The development of technological species on Earth provides key insights for understanding evolution on exoplanets, including the likely role that plate tectonics may play. An Earth-sized silicate planet is likely to experience several tectonic styles over its lifetime, as it cools and its lithosphere thickens, strengthens, and becomes denser. These include magma ocean, various styles of stagnant lid, and perhaps plate tectonics. Abundant liquid water favors both life and plate tectonics. Ocean is required for early evolution of diverse single-celled organisms, then colonies of cells which specialized further to form guts, appendages, and sensory organisms up to the complexity of fish (central nervous system, appendages, eyes. Large expanses of dry land also begin in the ocean, today produced above subduction zones in juvenile arcs and by their coalescence to form continents, although it is not clear that plate tectonics was required to create continental crust on Earth. Dry land of continents is required for further evolution of technological species, where modification of appendages for grasping and manipulating, and improvement of eyes and central nervous system could be perfected. These bioassets allowed intelligent creatures to examine the night sky and wonder, the beginning of abstract thinking, including religion and science. Technology arises from the exigencies of daily living such as tool-making, agriculture, clothing, and weapons, but the pace of innovation accelerates once it is allied with science. Finally, the importance of plate

  5. Stargate: An Open Stellar Catalog for NASA Exoplanet Exploration

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tanner, Angelle

    NASA is invested in a number of space- and ground-based efforts to find extrasolar planets around nearby stars with the ultimate goal of discovering an Earth 2.0 viable for searching for bio-signatures in its atmosphere. With both sky-time and funding resources extremely precious it is crucial that the exoplanet community has the most efficient and functional tools for choosing which stars to observe and then deriving the physical properties of newly discovered planets via the properties of their host stars. Historically, astronomers have utilized a piecemeal set of archives such as SIMBAD, the Washington Double Star Catalog, various exoplanet encyclopedias and electronic tables from the literature to cobble together stellar and planetary parameters in the absence of corresponding images and spectra. The mothballed NStED archive was in the process of collecting such data on nearby stars but its course may have changed if it comes back to NASA mission specific targets and NOT a volume limited sample of nearby stars. This means there is void. A void in the available set of tools many exoplanet astronomers would appreciate to create comprehensive lists of the stellar parameters of stars in our local neighborhood. Also, we need better resources for downloading adaptive optics images and published spectra to help confirm new discoveries and find ideal target stars. With so much data being produced by the stellar and exoplanet community we have decided to propose for the creation of an open access archive in the spirit of the open exoplanet catalog and the Kepler Community Follow-up Program. While we will highly regulate and constantly validate the data being placed into our archive the open nature of its design is intended to allow the database to be updated quickly and have a level of versatility which is necessary in today's fast moving, big data exoplanet community. Here, we propose to develop the Stargate Open stellar catalog for NASA exoplanet exploration.

  6. Asteroseismology of Exoplanet-Host Stars in the TESS Era

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Campante, Tiago L.; Schofield, Mathew; Chaplin, William J.

    2015-01-01

    New insights on stellar evolution and stellar interiors physics are being made possible by asteroseismology, the study of stars by the observation of their natural, resonant oscillations. Throughout the duration of the Kepler mission, asteroseismology has also played an important role in the char......New insights on stellar evolution and stellar interiors physics are being made possible by asteroseismology, the study of stars by the observation of their natural, resonant oscillations. Throughout the duration of the Kepler mission, asteroseismology has also played an important role...... in the characterization of host stars and their planetary systems. Examples include the precise estimation of the fundamental properties of stellar hosts, the obliquity determination of planetary systems, or the orbital eccentricity determination via asterodensity profiling. The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite...... (TESS) will perform a wide-field survey for planets that transit bright host stars. Its excellent photometric precision and long intervals of uninterrupted observations will enable asteroseismology of solar-type stars and their evolved counterparts. Based on existing all-sky simulations of the stellar...

  7. Trajectory Design for the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dichmann, Donald J.; Parker, Joel; Williams, Trevor; Mendelsohn, Chad

    2014-01-01

    The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) is a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) mission launching in 2017. TESS will travel in a highly eccentric orbit around Earth, with initial perigee radius near 17 Earth radii (Re) and apogee radius near 59 Re. The orbit period is near 2:1 resonance with the Moon, with apogee nearly 90 degrees out-of-phase with the Moon, in a configuration that has been shown to be operationally stable. TESS will execute phasing loops followed by a lunar flyby, with a final maneuver to achieve 2:1 resonance with the Moon. The goals of a resonant orbit with long-term stability, short eclipses and limited oscillations of perigee present significant challenges to the trajectory design. To rapidly assess launch opportunities, we adapted the SWM76 launch window tool to assess the TESS mission constraints. To understand the long-term dynamics of such a resonant orbit in the Earth-Moon system we employed Dynamical Systems Theory in the Circular Restricted 3-Body Problem (CR3BP). For precise trajectory analysis we use a high-fidelity model and multiple shooting in the General Mission Analysis Tool (GMAT) to optimize the maneuver delta-V and meet mission constraints. Finally we describe how the techniques we have developed can be applied to missions with similar requirements.

  8. Trajectory Design for the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dichmann, Donald J.; Parker, Joel J. K.; Williams, Trevor W.; Mendelsohn, Chad R.

    2014-01-01

    The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) is a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) mission, scheduled to be launched in 2017. TESS will travel in a highly eccentric orbit around Earth, with initial perigee radius near 17 Earth radii (Re) and apogee radius near 59 Re. The orbit period is near 2:1 resonance with the Moon, with apogee nearly 90 degrees out-of-phase with the Moon, in a configuration that has been shown to be operationally stable. TESS will execute phasing loops followed by a lunar flyby, with a final maneuver to achieve 2:1 resonance with the Moon. The goals of a resonant orbit with long-term stability, short eclipses and limited oscillations of perigee present significant challenges to the trajectory design. To rapidly assess launch opportunities, we adapted the Schematics Window Methodology (SWM76) launch window analysis tool to assess the TESS mission constraints. To understand the long-term dynamics of such a resonant orbit in the Earth-Moon system we employed Dynamical Systems Theory in the Circular Restricted 3-Body Problem (CR3BP). For precise trajectory analysis we use a high-fidelity model and multiple shooting in the General Mission Analysis Tool (GMAT) to optimize the maneuver delta-V and meet mission constraints. Finally we describe how the techniques we have developed can be applied to missions with similar requirements. Keywords: resonant orbit, stability, lunar flyby, phasing loops, trajectory optimization

  9. The Ultraviolet Radiation Environment around M Dwarf Exoplanet Host Stars

    Science.gov (United States)

    France, Kevin; Froning, Cynthia S.; Linsky, Jeffrey L.; Roberge, Aki; Stocke, John T.; Tian, Feng; Bushinsky, Rachel; Desert, Jean-Michel; Mauas, Pablo; Mauas, Pablo; hide

    2013-01-01

    The spectral and temporal behavior of exoplanet host stars is a critical input to models of the chemistry and evolution of planetary atmospheres. Ultraviolet photons influence the atmospheric temperature profiles and production of potential biomarkers on Earth-like planets around these stars. At present, little observational or theoretical basis exists for understanding the ultraviolet spectra of M dwarfs, despite their critical importance to predicting and interpreting the spectra of potentially habitable planets as they are obtained in the coming decades. Using observations from the Hubble Space Telescope, we present a study of the UV radiation fields around nearby M dwarf planet hosts that covers both far-UV (FUV) and near-UV (NUV) wavelengths. The combined FUV+NUV spectra are publicly available in machine-readable format. We find that all six exoplanet host stars in our sample (GJ 581, GJ 876, GJ 436, GJ 832, GJ 667C, and GJ 1214) exhibit some level of chromospheric and transition region UV emission. No "UV-quiet" M dwarfs are observed. The bright stellar Lyman-alpha emission lines are reconstructed, and we find that the Lyman-alpha line fluxes comprise approximately 37%-75% of the total 1150-3100 A flux from most M dwarfs; approximately greater than 10(exp3) times the solar value. We develop an empirical scaling relation between Lyman-alpha and Mg II emission, to be used when interstellar H I attenuation precludes the direct observation of Lyman-alpha. The intrinsic unreddened flux ratio is F(Lyman-alpha)/F(Mg II) = 10(exp3). The F(FUV)/F(NUV) flux ratio, a driver for abiotic production of the suggested biomarkers O2 and O3, is shown to be approximately 0.5-3 for all M dwarfs in our sample, greather than 10(exp3) times the solar ratio. For the four stars with moderate signal-to-noise Cosmic Origins Spectrograph time-resolved spectra, we find UV emission line variability with amplitudes of 50%.500% on 10(exp2)-10(exp3) s timescales. This effect should be taken

  10. Advances in Focal Plane Wavefront Estimation for Directly Imaging Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Eldorado Riggs, A. J.; Kasdin, N. Jeremy; Groff, Tyler Dean

    2015-01-01

    To image cold exoplanets directly in visible light, an instrument on a telescope needs to suppress starlight by about 9 orders of magnitude at small separations from the star. A coronagraph changes the point spread function to create regions of high contrast where exoplanets or disks can be seen. Aberrations on the optics degrade the contrast by several orders of magnitude, so all high-contrast imaging systems incorporate one or more deformable mirrors (DMs) to recover regions of high contrast. With a coronagraphic instrument planned for the WFIRST-AFTA space telescope, there is a pressing need for faster, more robust estimation and control schemes for the DMs. Non-common path aberrations limit conventional phase conjugation schemes to medium star-to-planet contrast ratios of about 1e-6. High-contrast imaging requires estimation and control of both phase and amplitude in the same beam path as the science camera. Field estimation is a challenge since only intensity is measured; the most common approach, including that planned for WFIRST-AFTA, is to use DMs to create diversity, via pairs of small probe shapes, thereby allowing disambiguation of the electric field. Most implementations of DM Diversity require at least five images per electric field estimate and require narrowband measurements. This paper describes our new estimation algorithms that improve the speed (by using fewer images) and bandwidth of focal plane wavefront estimation. For narrowband estimation, we are testing nonlinear, recursive algorithms such as an iterative extended Kalman filter (IEKF) to use three images each iteration and build better, more robust estimates. We are also exploring the use of broadband estimation without the need for narrowband sub-filters and measurements. Here we present simulations of these algorithms with realistic noise and small signals to show how they might perform for WFIRST-AFTA. Once validated in simulations, we will test these algorithms experimentally in

  11. Probing exoplanet clouds with optical phase curves.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Muñoz, Antonio García; Isaak, Kate G

    2015-11-03

    Kepler-7b is to date the only exoplanet for which clouds have been inferred from the optical phase curve--from visible-wavelength whole-disk brightness measurements as a function of orbital phase. Added to this, the fact that the phase curve appears dominated by reflected starlight makes this close-in giant planet a unique study case. Here we investigate the information on coverage and optical properties of the planet clouds contained in the measured phase curve. We generate cloud maps of Kepler-7b and use a multiple-scattering approach to create synthetic phase curves, thus connecting postulated clouds with measurements. We show that optical phase curves can help constrain the composition and size of the cloud particles. Indeed, model fitting for Kepler-7b requires poorly absorbing particles that scatter with low-to-moderate anisotropic efficiency, conclusions consistent with condensates of silicates, perovskite, and silica of submicron radii. We also show that we are limited in our ability to pin down the extent and location of the clouds. These considerations are relevant to the interpretation of optical phase curves with general circulation models. Finally, we estimate that the spherical albedo of Kepler-7b over the Kepler passband is in the range 0.4-0.5.

  12. Developing a user-friendly photometric software for exoplanets to increase participation in Citizen Science

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kokori, A.; Tsiaras, A.

    2017-09-01

    online software. Also the project "planet hunters" asked people to discover planets in other solar systems using data from large telescopes. HOPS, being in the same direction, could be an effective way of participating in research whether as an amateur astronomer or as a person of the general public that wants to engage with exoplanetary research and data analysis. The software is free of charge under the scope of astronomical research and education. We plan to create an online platform, inspired by HOPS, in the near future. In this platform, everyone will have access by creating an account as a user. Amateur astronomers, who have obtained their own exoplanet observations, will be able to upload and analyse their data. For people who are not familiar with photometric analysis - amateurs or general public users - data, as well as educational video and audio material will be provided.

  13. Twinkle Twinkle Little Star - Speckle Imaging for Exoplanet Characterization

    Science.gov (United States)

    Howell, Steve B.; Scott, Nic; Horch, Elliott

    2016-06-01

    The NASA K2 mission is finding many high-value exoplanets and world-wide follow-up is ensuing. The NASA TESS mission will soon be launched, requiring additional ground-based observations as well. As a part of the NASA-NSFNN-EXPLORE program to enable exoplanet research, our group is building two new speckle interferometry cameras for the Kitt Peak WIYN 3.5-m telescope and the Gemini-N 8-m telescope. Modeled after the successful DSSI visitor instrument that has been used at these telescopes for many years, speckle observations provide the highest resolution images available today from any ground- or space-based single telescope. They are the premier method through which small, rocky exoplanets can be validated. Available for public use in early 2017, WIYNSPKL and GEMSPKL will obtain simultaneous images in two filters with fast EMCCD readout, "speckle" and “wide-field” imaging modes, and user support for proposal writing, observing, and data reduction. We describe the new cameras, their design, and their benefits for exoplanet follow-up, characterization, and validation. Funding for this project comes from the NASA Exoplanet Exploration Program and NASA HQ.

  14. Titania may produce abiotic oxygen atmospheres on habitable exoplanets.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Narita, Norio; Enomoto, Takafumi; Masaoka, Shigeyuki; Kusakabe, Nobuhiko

    2015-09-10

    The search for habitable exoplanets in the Universe is actively ongoing in the field of astronomy. The biggest future milestone is to determine whether life exists on such habitable exoplanets. In that context, oxygen in the atmosphere has been considered strong evidence for the presence of photosynthetic organisms. In this paper, we show that a previously unconsidered photochemical mechanism by titanium (IV) oxide (titania) can produce abiotic oxygen from liquid water under near ultraviolet (NUV) lights on the surface of exoplanets. Titania works as a photocatalyst to dissociate liquid water in this process. This mechanism offers a different source of a possibility of abiotic oxygen in atmospheres of exoplanets from previously considered photodissociation of water vapor in upper atmospheres by extreme ultraviolet (XUV) light. Our order-of-magnitude estimation shows that possible amounts of oxygen produced by this abiotic mechanism can be comparable with or even more than that in the atmosphere of the current Earth, depending on the amount of active surface area for this mechanism. We conclude that titania may act as a potential source of false signs of life on habitable exoplanets.

  15. Exploring Exoplanets Out to the Snowline with LCOGT

    Science.gov (United States)

    Street, Rachel

    2015-08-01

    Microlensing is the most efficient technique for the discovery of cool exoplanets between ~2-10 AU from their host stars, and unique in its capacity to detect and characterize objects down to even lunar masses from ground based observations. The field of microlensing is now reaching maturity, with wider field surveys identifying ~2000 events and ~10 planetary systems per year. Continuous, high precision and high cadence photometry is required over many days spanning the peak of an event to ensure the detection of the subtle anomalies caused by terrestrial companions to the lensing star. Until now this has been achieved with a diverse collection of telescope apertures, worldwide. Here we report on the first season of microlensing observations with a new observing facility ideal for this science: the LCOGT 1m network. During 2012-2013, LCOGT deployed 11 x 1m telescopes to 5 sites around the world in both hemispheres, with the majority of the telescopes going to sites in Chile, South Africa and Australia. These homogenous facilities have now completed their first commissioning season of microlensing observations, demonstrating their capability to find and characterize cool terrestrial planets.

  16. Observational Constraints on the Chemistry and Dynamics of Exoplanet Atmospheres

    Science.gov (United States)

    Charbonneau, David

    2008-09-01

    The observational study of the atmospheres of exoplanets is now well underway, despite the fact that astronomers have not yet imaged these bodies directly. These advances are enabled by the discovery of planetary systems that are viewed nearly edge-on to our line-of-sight, such that the star and planet undergo periodic mutual eclipses. When the planet transits in front of the star, starlight passing through the outer scale heights of the atmosphere is attenuated in a wavelength-dependent fashion that encodes information about the atoms, molecules, and condensates that are present. Observations spanning times of secondary eclipse, when the planet passes out of view behind the star, permit the direct study of the planetary thermal emission and estimates of the dayside temperatures. Furthermore, by inverting the time-dependent changes in brightness as features on the planet rotate in and out of view, we have constructed longitudinally-resolved temperature maps. I will review these various rich datasets, which challenge our understanding of the atmospheres of Jovian planets under strong irradiation.

  17. WFIRST Microlensing Exoplanet Characterization with HST Follow up

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bhattacharya, Aparna; David Bennett, Jay Anderson, J.P. Beaulieu.

    2018-01-01

    More than 50 planets are discovered with the different ground based telescopes available for microlensing. But the analysis of ground based data fails to provide a complete solution. To fulfill that gap, space based telescopes, like Hubble space telescope and Spitzer are used. My research work focuses on extracting the planet mass, host star mass, their separation and their distance in physical units from HST Follow-up observations. I will present the challenges faced in developing this method.This is the primary method to be used for NASA's top priority project (according to 2010 decadal survey) Wide Field InfraRed Survey Telescope (WFIRST) Exoplanet microlensing space observatory, to be launched in 2025. The unique ability of microlensing is that with WFIRST it can detect sub-earth- mass planets beyond the reach of Kepler at separation 1 AU to infinity. This will provide us the necessary statistics to study the formation and evolution of planetary systems. This will also provide us with necessary initial conditions to model the formation of planets and the habitable zones around M dwarf stars.

  18. Toward the detection of exoplanet transits with polarimetry

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Wiktorowicz, Sloane J. [NASA Sagan Fellow. (United States); Laughlin, Gregory P., E-mail: sloanew@ucolick.org [Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA 95064 (United States)

    2014-11-01

    In contrast to photometric transits, whose peak signal occurs at mid-transit due to occultation of the brightest region of the disk, polarimetric transits provide a signal upon ingress and egress due to occultation of the polarized stellar limb. Limb polarization, the bright corollary to limb darkening, arises from the 90° scattering angle and low optical depth experienced by photons at the limb. In addition to the ratio R {sub p}/R {sub *}, the amplitude of a polarimetric transit is expected to be controlled by the strength and width of the stellar limb polarization profile, which depend on the scattering-to-total opacity ratio at the stellar limb. We present a short list of the systems providing the highest expected signal-to-noise ratio for detection of this effect, and we draw particular attention to HD 80606b. This planet is spin/orbit misaligned, has a three-hour ingress, and has a bright parent star, which make it an attractive target. We report on test observations of an HD 80606b ingress with the POLISH2 polarimeter at the Lick Observatory Shane 3 m telescope. We conclude that unmodeled telescope systematic effects prevented polarimetric detection of this event. We outline a roadmap for further refinements of exoplanet polarimetry, whose eventual success will require a further factor of ten reduction in systematic noise.

  19. Detecting Exoplanets with the New Worlds Observer: The Problem of Exozodiacal Dust

    Science.gov (United States)

    Roberge, A.; Noecker, M. C.; Glassman, T. M.; Oakley, P.; Turnbull, M. C.

    2009-01-01

    Dust coming from asteroids and comets will strongly affect direct imaging and characterization of terrestrial planets in the Habitable Zones of nearby stars. Such dust in the Solar System is called the zodiacal dust (or 'zodi' for short). Higher levels of similar dust are seen around many nearby stars, confined in disks called debris disks. Future high-contrast images of an Earth-like exoplanet will very likely be background-limited by light scattered of both the local Solar System zodi and the circumstellar dust in the extrasolar system (the exozodiacal dust). Clumps in the exozodiacal dust, which are expected in planet-hosting systems, may also be a source of confusion. Here we discuss the problems associated with imaging an Earth-like planet in the presence of unknown levels of exozodiacal dust. Basic formulae for the exoplanet imaging exposure time as function of star, exoplanet, zodi, exozodi, and telescope parameters will be presented. To examine the behavior of these formulae, we apply them to the New Worlds Observer (NWO) mission. NWO is a proposed 4-meter UV/optical/near-IR telescope, with a free flying starshade to suppress the light from a nearby star and achieve the high contrast needed for detection and characterization of a terrestrial planet in the star's Habitable Zone. We find that NWO can accomplish its science goals even if exozodiacal dust levels are typically much higher than the Solar System zodi level. Finally, we highlight a few additional problems relating to exozodiacal dust that have yet to be solved.

  20. Broadband polarimetry of exoplanets : modelling signals of surfaces, hazes and clouds

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Karalidi, Theodora

    2013-01-01

    It is less than 20 years since astronomers discovered the first exoplanet orbiting a Sun-like star. In this short period more than 770 confirmed exoplanets have been detected. With so many exoplanets the next step is their characterization. What is their atmosphere made of? Does it contain water

  1. Detectability of Trojan and Co-orbital Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dobrovolskis, Anthony R.

    2010-10-01

    By now there have been many papers on the possibility of Trojan companions to planets of other stars. The purpose is of this work is to point out that radial velocity measurements can seriously misjudge the masses of planets in such systems. In a Trojan system, where two exoplanets of similar mass share the same orbit, but are separated by 60 degrees of longitude, the radial velocity method gives a sinusoidal signal 1.73 times as great as that of each individual planet, but only 0.83 times as great as that of a single planet with the combined mass of both. In principle, any number of planets can share the same orbit. Salo and Yoder (A & A 205, 309-327, 1988) have shown that more than 8 planets of equal mass sharing a circular orbit must be equally spaced for dynamical stability. In contrast, less than 7 equal-mass planets are stable only in a configuration where all of the planets remain on the same side of their parent star. In the intermediate cases of 7 or 8 equal-mass planets, both the equally- and unequally-spaced configurations are stable. If they indeed exist, the lopsided "Salo systems" will produce a greater radial velocity signal than a single such planet would, but a smaller signal than if all of the planets were combined into one. In fact, such systems with 7 or 8 planets induce Doppler shifts almost 4 times as great as an individual planet, but only about half as great as their combined mass would. By symmetry, it is clear that equally-spaced Salo systems will produce no reflex motion or radial velocity signal at all in their parent stars. This could lead to their being overlooked entirely, unless they happen to be detected by the transit method.

  2. Effects of Extreme Obliquity Variations on the Habitability of Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Armstrong, J. C.; Barnes, R.; Domagal-Goldman, S.; Breiner, J.; Quinn, T. R.; Meadows, V. S.

    2014-01-01

    We explore the impact of obliquity variations on planetary habitability in hypothetical systems with high mutual inclination. We show that large-amplitude, high-frequency obliquity oscillations on Earth-like exoplanets can suppress the ice-albedo feedback, increasing the outer edge of the habitable zone. We restricted our exploration to hypothetical systems consisting of a solar-mass star, an Earth-mass planet at 1 AU, and 1 or 2 larger planets. We verified that these systems are stable for 108 years with N-body simulations and calculated the obliquity variations induced by the orbital evolution of the Earth-mass planet and a torque from the host star. We ran a simplified energy balance model on the terrestrial planet to assess surface temperature and ice coverage on the planet's surface, and we calculated differences in the outer edge of the habitable zone for planets with rapid obliquity variations. For each hypothetical system, we calculated the outer edge of habitability for two conditions: (1) the full evolution of the planetary spin and orbit and (2) the eccentricity and obliquity fixed at their average values. We recovered previous results that higher values of fixed obliquity and eccentricity expand the habitable zone, but we also found that obliquity oscillations further expand habitable orbits in all cases. Terrestrial planets near the outer edge of the habitable zone may be more likely to support life in systems that induce rapid obliquity oscillations as opposed to fixed-spin planets. Such planets may be the easiest to directly characterize with space-borne telescopes.

  3. The Transiting Exoplanet Community Early Release Science Program for JWST

    Science.gov (United States)

    Batalha, Natalie Marie; Bean, Jacob; Stevenson, Kevin; Sing, David; Crossfield, Ian; Knutson, Heather; Line, Michael; Kreidberg, Laura; Desert, Jean-Michel; Wakeford, Hannah R.; Crouzet, Nicolas; Moses, Julianne; Benneke, Björn; Kempton, Eliza; Berta-Thompson, Zach; Lopez-Morales, Mercedes; Parmentier, Vivien; Gibson, Neale; Schlawin, Everett; Fraine, Jonathan; Kendrew, Sarah; Transiting Exoplanet ERS Team

    2018-01-01

    A community working group was formed in October 2016 to consider early release science with the James Webb Space Telescope that broadly benefits the transiting exoplanet community. Over 100 exoplanet scientists worked collaboratively to identify targets that are observable at the initiation of science operations, yield high SNR with a single event, have substantial scientific merit, and have known spectroscopic features identified by prior observations. The working group developed a program that yields representative datasets for primary transit, secondary eclipse, and phase curve observations using the most promising instrument modes for high-precision spectroscopic timeseries (NIRISS-SOSS, NIRCam, NIRSPec, and MIRI-LRS). The centerpiece of the program is an open data challenge that promotes community engagement and leads to a deeper understanding of the JWST instruments as early as possible in the mission. The program is managed under the premise of open science in order to maximize the value of the early release science observations for the transiting exoplanet community.

  4. WFIRST: Exoplanet Target Selection and Scheduling with Greedy Optimization

    Science.gov (United States)

    Keithly, Dean; Garrett, Daniel; Delacroix, Christian; Savransky, Dmitry

    2018-01-01

    We present target selection and scheduling algorithms for missions with direct imaging of exoplanets, and the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) in particular, which will be equipped with a coronagraphic instrument (CGI). Optimal scheduling of CGI targets can maximize the expected value of directly imaged exoplanets (completeness). Using target completeness as a reward metric and integration time plus overhead time as a cost metric, we can maximize the sum completeness for a mission with a fixed duration. We optimize over these metrics to create a list of target stars using a greedy optimization algorithm based off altruistic yield optimization (AYO) under ideal conditions. We simulate full missions using EXOSIMS by observing targets in this list for their predetermined integration times. In this poster, we report the theoretical maximum sum completeness, mean number of detected exoplanets from Monte Carlo simulations, and the ideal expected value of the simulated missions.

  5. The future of spectroscopic life detection on exoplanets.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Seager, Sara

    2014-09-02

    The discovery and characterization of exoplanets have the potential to offer the world one of the most impactful findings ever in the history of astronomy--the identification of life beyond Earth. Life can be inferred by the presence of atmospheric biosignature gases--gases produced by life that can accumulate to detectable levels in an exoplanet atmosphere. Detection will be made by remote sensing by sophisticated space telescopes. The conviction that biosignature gases will actually be detected in the future is moderated by lessons learned from the dozens of exoplanet atmospheres studied in last decade, namely the difficulty in robustly identifying molecules, the possible interference of clouds, and the permanent limitations from a spectrum of spatially unresolved and globally mixed gases without direct surface observations. The vision for the path to assess the presence of life beyond Earth is being established.

  6. Characterizing Exoplanet Atmospheres with the James Webb Space Telescope

    Science.gov (United States)

    Greene, Tom

    2017-01-01

    The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) will have numerous modes for acquiring photometry and spectra of stars, planets, galaxies, and other astronomical objects over wavelengths of 0.6 - 28 microns. Several of these modes are well-suited for observing atomic and molecular features in the atmospheres of transiting or spatially resolved exoplanets. I will present basic information on JWST capabilities, highlight modes that are well-suited for observing exoplanets, and give examples of what may be learned from JWST observations. This will include simulated spectra and expected retrieved chemical abundance, composition, equilibrium, and thermal information and uncertainties. JWST Cycle 1 general observer proposals are expected to be due in March 2018 with launch in October 2018, and the greater scientific community is encouraged to propose investigations to study exoplanet atmospheres and other topics.

  7. Exclusion of Stellar Companions to Exoplanet Host Stars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wittrock, Justin M.; Kane, Stephen R.; Horch, Elliott P.; Howell, Steve B.; Ciardi, David R.; Everett, Mark E.

    2017-11-01

    Given the frequency of stellar multiplicity in the solar neighborhood, it is important to study the impacts this can have on exoplanet properties and orbital dynamics. There have been numerous imaging survey projects established to detect possible low-mass stellar companions to exoplanet host stars. Here, we provide the results from a systematic speckle imaging survey of known exoplanet host stars. In total, 71 stars were observed at 692 and 880 nm bands using the Differential Speckle Survey Instrument at the Gemini-north Observatory. Our results show that all but two of the stars included in this sample have no evidence of stellar companions with luminosities down to the detection and projected separation limits of our instrumentation. The mass-luminosity relationship is used to estimate the maximum mass a stellar companion can have without being detected. These results are used to discuss the potential for further radial velocity follow-up and interpretation of companion signals.

  8. Predicted Exoplanet Yields for the HabEx Mission Concept

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stark, Christopher; Mennesson, Bertrand; HabEx STDT

    2018-01-01

    The Habitable Exoplanet Imaging Mission (HabEx) is a concept for a flagship mission to directly image and characterize extrasolar planets around nearby stars and to enable a broad range of general astrophysics. The HabEx Science and Technology Definition Team (STDT) is currently studying two architectures for HabEx. Here we summarize the exoplanet science yield of Architecture A, a 4 m monolithic off-axis telescope that uses a vortex coronagraph and a 72m external starshade occulter. We summarize the instruments' capabilities, present science goals and observation strategies, and discuss astrophysical assumptions. Using a yield optimization code, we predict the yield of potentially Earth-like extrasolar planets that could be detected, characterized, and searched for signs of habitability and/or life by HabEx. We demonstrate that HabEx could also detect and characterize a wide variety of exoplanets while searching for potentially Earth-like planets.

  9. Exoplanet Community Report on Direct Optical Imaging

    Science.gov (United States)

    Soummer, Remi; Levine, M.; Exoplanet Forum Direct Optical Imaging Group

    2009-01-01

    Direct Optical Imaging is necessary to characterize exoplanets spectroscopically in most cases (non-transiting planets), and to address the habitability of terrestrial planets around sun like stars. The chapter studies the science objectives, observatory architectures, and needed technology developments as a function of mission scale. Possible architectures can be based on internal coronagraphs or external occulters. The Optical Imaging chapter details the association between Astrometry or RV and imaging in space, expanding on the ExoPTF recommendations for flagship and probe-scale missions. Indirect methods (astrometry or radial velocities) are necessary to obtain a direct measurement of the masses, orbital parameters, and planet "addresses". Careful Design Reference Mission (DRM) development over the next several years will articulate the tradeoffs in cost and performance between imaging missions with and without astrometric precursors. In the short term a probe-scale direct imaging mission can be combined with existing and future Radial Velocities and ground-based Astrometry for the characterization of mature giant planets, Neptunes, and super Earths. A probe scale will also detect and characterize exozodiacal disks, a problem ExoPTF identified as critical for future terrestrial planet imaging missions. This strategy is independent from a space astrometric mission both in terms of scientific goals and timing sequence. The chapter also identifies the critical technologies for the various imaging architectures, for which the maturity is linked to flight requirements ranging from probe-scale to flagship. The chapter provides a brief overview of each technology and its state-of the-art.

  10. Tidal Heating in Multilayered Terrestrial Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Henning, Wade G.; Hurford, Terry

    2014-01-01

    The internal pattern and overall magnitude of tidal heating for spin-synchronous terrestrial exoplanets from 1 to 2.5 R(sub E) is investigated using a propagator matrix method for a variety of layer structures. Particular attention is paid to ice-silicate hybrid super-Earths, where a significant ice mantle is modeled to rest atop an iron-silicate core, and may or may not contain a liquid water ocean. We find multilayer modeling often increases tidal dissipation relative to a homogeneous model, across multiple orbital periods, due to the ability to include smaller volume low viscosity regions, and the added flexure allowed by liquid layers. Gradations in parameters with depth are explored, such as allowed by the Preliminary Earth Reference Model. For ice-silicate hybrid worlds, dramatically greater dissipation is possible beyond the case of a silicate mantle only, allowing non-negligible tidal activity to extend to greater orbital periods than previously predicted. Surface patterns of tidal heating are found to potentially be useful for distinguishing internal structure. The influence of ice mantle depth and water ocean size and position are shown for a range of forcing frequencies. Rates of orbital circularization are found to be 10-100 times faster than standard predictions for Earth-analog planets when interiors are moderately warmer than the modern Earth, as well as for a diverse range of ice-silicate hybrid super-Earths. Circularization rates are shown to be significantly longer for planets with layers equivalent to an ocean-free modern Earth, as well as for planets with high fractions of either ice or silicate melting.

  11. Tidal heating in multilayered terrestrial exoplanets

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Henning, Wade G.; Hurford, Terry, E-mail: wade.g.henning@nasa.gov [NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, 8800 Greenbelt Road, Greenbelt, MD 20771 (United States)

    2014-07-01

    The internal pattern and overall magnitude of tidal heating for spin-synchronous terrestrial exoplanets from 1 to 2.5 R{sub E} is investigated using a propagator matrix method for a variety of layer structures. Particular attention is paid to ice-silicate hybrid super-Earths, where a significant ice mantle is modeled to rest atop an iron-silicate core, and may or may not contain a liquid water ocean. We find multilayer modeling often increases tidal dissipation relative to a homogeneous model, across multiple orbital periods, due to the ability to include smaller volume low viscosity regions, and the added flexure allowed by liquid layers. Gradations in parameters with depth are explored, such as allowed by the Preliminary Earth Reference Model. For ice-silicate hybrid worlds, dramatically greater dissipation is possible beyond the case of a silicate mantle only, allowing non-negligible tidal activity to extend to greater orbital periods than previously predicted. Surface patterns of tidal heating are found to potentially be useful for distinguishing internal structure. The influence of ice mantle depth and water ocean size and position are shown for a range of forcing frequencies. Rates of orbital circularization are found to be 10-100 times faster than standard predictions for Earth-analog planets when interiors are moderately warmer than the modern Earth, as well as for a diverse range of ice-silicate hybrid super-Earths. Circularization rates are shown to be significantly longer for planets with layers equivalent to an ocean-free modern Earth, as well as for planets with high fractions of either ice or silicate melting.

  12. Illusion and reality in the atmospheres of exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Deming, L. Drake; Seager, Sara

    2017-01-01

    The atmospheres of exoplanets reveal all their properties beyond mass, radius, and orbit. Based on bulk densities, we know that exoplanets larger than 1.5 Earth radii must have gaseous envelopes and, hence, atmospheres. We discuss contemporary techniques for characterization of exoplanetary atmospheres. The measurements are difficult, because—even in current favorable cases—the signals can be as small as 0.001% of the host star's flux. Consequently, some early results have been illusory and not confirmed by subsequent investigations. Prominent illusions to date include polarized scattered light, temperature inversions, and the existence of carbon planets. The field moves from the first tentative and often incorrect conclusions, converging to the reality of exoplanetary atmospheres. That reality is revealed using transits for close-in exoplanets and direct imaging for young or massive exoplanets in distant orbits. Several atomic and molecular constituents have now been robustly detected in exoplanets as small as Neptune. In our current observations, the effects of clouds and haze appear ubiquitous. Topics at the current frontier include the measurement of heavy element abundances in giant planets, detection of carbon-based molecules, measurement of atmospheric temperature profiles, definition of heat circulation efficiencies for tidally locked planets, and the push to detect and characterize the atmospheres of super-Earths. Future observatories for this quest include the James Webb Space Telescope and the new generation of extremely large telescopes on the ground. On a more distant horizon, NASA's study concepts for the Habitable Exoplanet Imaging Mission (HabEx) and the Large UV/Optical/Infrared Surveyor (LUVOIR) missions could extend the study of exoplanetary atmospheres to true twins of Earth.

  13. Exoplanets search and characterization with the SOPHIE spectrograph at OHP

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Hébrard G.

    2011-02-01

    Full Text Available Several programs of exoplanets search and characterization have been started with SOPHIE at the 1.93-m telescope of Haute-Provence Observatory, France. SOPHIE is an environmentally stabilized echelle spectrograph dedicated to high-precision radial velocity measurements. The objectives of these programs include systematic searches for exoplanets around different types of stars, characterizations of planet-host stars, studies of transiting planets through RossiterMcLaughlin effect, follow-up observations of photometric surveys. The instrument SOPHIE and a review of its latest results are presented here.

  14. Open-source Software for Exoplanet Atmospheric Modeling

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cubillos, Patricio; Blecic, Jasmina; Harrington, Joseph

    2018-01-01

    I will present a suite of self-standing open-source tools to model and retrieve exoplanet spectra implemented for Python. These include: (1) a Bayesian-statistical package to run Levenberg-Marquardt optimization and Markov-chain Monte Carlo posterior sampling, (2) a package to compress line-transition data from HITRAN or Exomol without loss of information, (3) a package to compute partition functions for HITRAN molecules, (4) a package to compute collision-induced absorption, and (5) a package to produce radiative-transfer spectra of transit and eclipse exoplanet observations and atmospheric retrievals.

  15. The Galactic Plane Exoplanet Survey (GPX) - an Amateur Designed Transiting Exoplanet Wide-Field Search (Abstract)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Benni, P.

    2017-06-01

    (Abstract only) GPX is designed to search high density star fields where other surveys, such as WASP, HATNet, XO, and KELT would find challenging due to blending of transit like events. Using readily available amateur equipment, a survey telescope (Celestron RASA, 279 mm f/2.2, based in Acton, Massachusetts) was configured first with a SBIG ST-8300M camera then later upgraded to an FLI ML16200 camera and tested under different sampling scenarios with multiple image fields to obtain a 9- to 11-minute cadence per field. The resultant image resolution of GPX is about 2 arcsec/pixel compared to 13.7±23 arcsec/pixel of the aforementioned surveys and the future TESS space telescope exoplanet survey.

  16. Statistics and Machine Learning based Outlier Detection Techniques for Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Goel, Amit; Montgomery, Michele

    2015-08-01

    Architectures of planetary systems are observable snapshots in time that can indicate formation and dynamic evolution of planets. The observable key parameters that we consider are planetary mass and orbital period. If planet masses are significantly less than their host star masses, then Keplerian Motion is defined as P^2 = a^3 where P is the orbital period in units of years and a is the orbital period in units of Astronomical Units (AU). Keplerian motion works on small scales such as the size of the Solar System but not on large scales such as the size of the Milky Way Galaxy. In this work, for confirmed exoplanets of known stellar mass, planetary mass, orbital period, and stellar age, we analyze Keplerian motion of systems based on stellar age to seek if Keplerian motion has an age dependency and to identify outliers. For detecting outliers, we apply several techniques based on statistical and machine learning methods such as probabilistic, linear, and proximity based models. In probabilistic and statistical models of outliers, the parameters of a closed form probability distributions are learned in order to detect the outliers. Linear models use regression analysis based techniques for detecting outliers. Proximity based models use distance based algorithms such as k-nearest neighbour, clustering algorithms such as k-means, or density based algorithms such as kernel density estimation. In this work, we will use unsupervised learning algorithms with only the proximity based models. In addition, we explore the relative strengths and weaknesses of the various techniques by validating the outliers. The validation criteria for the outliers is if the ratio of planetary mass to stellar mass is less than 0.001. In this work, we present our statistical analysis of the outliers thus detected.

  17. The search for signs of life on exoplanets at the interface of chemistry and planetary science.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Seager, Sara; Bains, William

    2015-03-01

    The discovery of thousands of exoplanets in the last two decades that are so different from planets in our own solar system challenges many areas of traditional planetary science. However, ideas for how to detect signs of life in this mélange of planetary possibilities have lagged, and only in the last few years has modeling how signs of life might appear on genuinely alien worlds begun in earnest. Recent results have shown that the exciting frontier for biosignature gas ideas is not in the study of biology itself, which is inevitably rooted in Earth's geochemical and evolutionary specifics, but in the interface of chemistry and planetary physics.

  18. TWINKLE - A Low Earth Orbit Visible and Infrared Exoplanet Spectroscopy Observatory

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tessenyi, M.; Savini, G.; Tinetti, G.; Tennyson, J.; Dhesi, M.; Joshua, M.

    2017-07-01

    Twinkle is a space mission designed for visible and near-IR spectroscopic observations of extrasolar planets. Twinkle's highly stable instrument will allow the photometric and spectroscopic observation of a wide range of planetary classes around different types of stars, with a focus on bright sources close to the ecliptic. The planets will be observed through transit and eclipse photometry and spectroscopy, as well as phase curves, eclipse mapping and multiple narrow-band time-series. The targets observed by Twinkle will be composed of known exoplanets mainly discovered by existing and upcoming ground surveys in our galaxy and will also feature new discoveries by space observatories (K2, GAIA, Cheops, TESS). Twinkle is a small satellite with a payload designed to perform high-quality astrophysical observations while adapting to the design of an existing Low Earth Orbit commercial satellite platform. The SSTL-300 bus, to be launched into a low-Earth sun-synchronous polar orbit by 2019, will carry a half-meter class telescope with two instruments (visible and near-IR spectrographs - between 0.4 and 4.5μm - with resolving power R˜300 at the lower end of the wavelength scale) using mostly flight proven spacecraft systems designed by Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd and a combination of high TRL instrumentation and a few lower TRL elements built by a consortium of UK institutes. The Twinkle design will enable the observation of the chemical composition and weather of at least 100 exoplanets in the Milky Way, including super-Earths (rocky planets 1-10 times the mass of Earth), Neptunes, sub-Neptunes and gas giants like Jupiter. It will also allow the follow-up photometric observations of 1000+ exoplanets in the visible and infrared, as well as observations of Solar system objects, bright stars and disks.

  19. CLIMATE INSTABILITY ON TIDALLY LOCKED EXOPLANETS

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Kite, Edwin S.; Manga, Michael [Department of Earth and Planetary Science, University of California at Berkeley, CA 94720 (United States); Gaidos, Eric, E-mail: edwin.kite@gmail.com [Department of Geology and Geophysics, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, HI 96822 (United States)

    2011-12-10

    Feedbacks that can destabilize the climates of synchronously rotating rocky planets may arise on planets with strong day-night surface temperature contrasts. Earth-like habitable planets maintain stable surface liquid water over geologic time. This requires equilibrium between the temperature-dependent rate of greenhouse-gas consumption by weathering, and greenhouse-gas resupply by other processes. Detected small-radius exoplanets, and anticipated M-dwarf habitable-zone rocky planets, are expected to be in synchronous rotation (tidally locked). In this paper, we investigate two hypothetical feedbacks that can destabilize climate on planets in synchronous rotation. (1) If small changes in pressure alter the temperature distribution across a planet's surface such that the weathering rate goes up when the pressure goes down, a runaway positive feedback occurs involving increasing weathering rate near the substellar point, decreasing pressure, and increasing substellar surface temperature. We call this feedback enhanced substellar weathering instability (ESWI). (2) When decreases in pressure increase the fraction of surface area above the melting point (through reduced advective cooling of the substellar point), and the corresponding increase in volume of liquid causes net dissolution of the atmosphere, a further decrease in pressure will occur. This substellar dissolution feedback can also cause a runaway climate shift. We use an idealized energy balance model to map out the conditions under which these instabilities may occur. In this simplified model, the weathering runaway can shrink the habitable zone and cause geologically rapid 10{sup 3}-fold atmospheric pressure shifts within the habitable zone. Mars may have undergone a weathering runaway in the past. Substellar dissolution is usually a negative feedback or weak positive feedback on changes in atmospheric pressure. It can only cause runaway changes for small, deep oceans and highly soluble atmospheric

  20. The Young Exoplanet Transit Initiative (YETI)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Neuhäuser, R.; Errmann, R.; Berndt, A.; Maciejewski, G.; Takahashi, H.; Chen, W. P.; Dimitrov, D. P.; Pribulla, T.; Nikogossian, E. H.; Jensen, E. L. N.; Marschall, L.; Wu, Z.-Y.; Kellerer, A.; Walter, F. M.; Briceño, C.; Chini, R.; Fernandez, M.; Raetz, St.; Torres, G.; Latham, D. W.; Quinn, S. N.; Niedzielski, A.; Bukowiecki, Ł.; Nowak, G.; Tomov, T.; Tachihara, K.; Hu, S. C.-L.; Hung, L. W.; Kjurkchieva, D. P.; Radeva, V. S.; Mihov, B. M.; Slavcheva-Mihova, L.; Bozhinova, I. N.; Budaj, J.; Vaňko, M.; Kundra, E.; Hambálek, Ľ.; Krushevska, V.; Movsessian, T.; Harutyunyan, H.; Downes, J. J.; Hernandez, J.; Hoffmeister, V. H.; Cohen, D. H.; Abel, I.; Ahmad, R.; Chapman, S.; Eckert, S.; Goodman, J.; Guerard, A.; Kim, H. M.; Koontharana, A.; Sokol, J.; Trinh, J.; Wang, Y.; Zhou, X.; Redmer, R.; Kramm, U.; Nettelmann, N.; Mugrauer, M.; Schmidt, J.; Moualla, M.; Ginski, C.; Marka, C.; Adam, C.; Seeliger, M.; Baar, S.; Roell, T.; Schmidt, T. O. B.; Trepl, L.; Eisenbeiß, T.; Fiedler, S.; Tetzlaff, N.; Schmidt, E.; Hohle, M. M.; Kitze, M.; Chakrova, N.; Gräfe, C.; Schreyer, K.; Hambaryan, V. V.; Broeg, C. H.; Koppenhoefer, J.; Pandey, A. K.

    2011-07-01

    We present the Young Exoplanet Transit Initiative (YETI), in which we use several 0.2 to 2.6-m telescopes around the world to monitor continuously young (≤100 Myr), nearby (≤1 kpc) stellar clusters mainly to detect young transiting planets (and to study other variability phenomena on time-scales from minutes to years). The telescope network enables us to observe the targets continuously for several days in order not to miss any transit. The runs are typically one to two weeks long, about three runs per year per cluster in two or three subsequent years for about ten clusters. There are thousands of stars detectable in each field with several hundred known cluster members, e.g. in the first cluster observed, Tr-37, a typical cluster for the YETI survey, there are at least 469 known young stars detected in YETI data down to R=16.5 mag with sufficient precision of 50 millimag rms (5 mmag rms down to R=14.5 mag) to detect transits, so that we can expect at least about one young transiting object in this cluster. If we observe ˜10 similar clusters, we can expect to detect ˜10 young transiting planets with radius determinations. The precision given above is for a typical telescope of the YETI network, namely the 60/90-cm Jena telescope (similar brightness limit, namely within ± 1 mag, for the others) so that planetary transits can be detected. For targets with a periodic transit-like light curve, we obtain spectroscopy to ensure that the star is young and that the transiting object can be sub-stellar; then, we obtain Adaptive Optics infrared images and spectra, to exclude other bright eclipsing stars in the (larger) optical PSF; we carry out other observations as needed to rule out other false positive scenarios; finally, we also perform spectroscopy to determine the mass of the transiting companion. For planets with mass and radius determinations, we can calculate the mean density and probe the internal structure. We aim to constrain planet formation models and

  1. Detecting Exomoons Around Self-Luminous Giant Exoplanets Through Polarization

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sengupta, Sujan; Marley, Mark Scott

    2016-01-01

    Many of the directly imaged self-luminous gas giant exoplanets have been found to have cloudy atmo- spheres. Scattering of the emergent thermal radiation from these planets by the dust grains in their atmospheres should locally give rise to significant linear polarization of the emitted radiation. However, the observable disk averaged polarization should be zero if the planet is spherically symmetric. Rotation-induced oblateness may yield a net non-zero disk averaged polarization if the planets have sufficiently high spin rotation velocity. On the other hand, when a large natural satellite or exomoon transits a planet with cloudy atmosphere along the line of sight, the asymmetry induced during the transit should give rise to a net non-zero, time resolved linear polarization signal. The peak amplitude of such time dependent polarization may be detectable even for slowly rotating exoplanets. Therefore, we suggest that large exomoons around directly imaged self-luminous exoplanets may be detectable through time resolved imaging polarimetry. Adopting detailed atmospheric models for several values of effective temperature and surface gravity which are appropriate for self-luminous exoplanets, we present the polarization profiles of these objects in the infrared during transit phase and estimate the peak amplitude of polarization that occurs during the the inner contacts of the transit ingress/egress phase. The peak polarization is predicted to range between 0.1 and 0.3 % in the infrared.

  2. Is There Life on Exoplanet Maja? A Demonstration for Schools

    Science.gov (United States)

    Planinsic, Gorazd; Marshall, Rick

    2012-01-01

    Astronomy and astrophysics are very popular with pupils, but the experimental work they can do tends to be rather limited. The search for life elsewhere in the Universe ("exobiology") has received an enormous boost since the detection of a rapidly increasing number of planets ("exoplanets") orbiting other stars in our galaxy. Recently (March…

  3. New exoplanets from the SuperWASP-North survey

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Keenan F.

    2011-02-01

    Full Text Available We present the current status of the WASP search for transiting exoplanets, focusing on recent planet discoveries from SuperWASP-North and the joint equatorial region (-20≤Dec≤+20 observed by both WASP telescopes. We report the results of monitoring of WASP planets, and discuss how these contribute to our understanding of planet properties and their diversity.

  4. Flux and polarisation spectra of water clouds on exoplanets

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Karalidi, T.; Stam, D.M.; Hovenier, J.W.

    2011-01-01

    Context. A crucial factor for a planet’s habitability is its climate. Clouds play an important role in planetary climates. Detecting and characterising clouds on an exoplanet is therefore crucial when addressing this planet’s habitability. Aims. We present calculated flux and polarisation spectra of

  5. Benford's Distribution in Extrasolar World: Do the Exoplanets Follow ...

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    Home; Journals; Journal of Astrophysics and Astronomy; Volume 38; Issue 1. Benford's Distribution in ... Research Article Volume 38 Issue 1 March 2017 Article ID 7 ... The quantitative investigations have revealed the presence of Benford's distribution in various physical properties of these exoplanets. Further, some specific ...

  6. Exoplanet Yield Estimation for Decadal Study Concepts using EXOSIMS

    Science.gov (United States)

    Morgan, Rhonda; Lowrance, Patrick; Savransky, Dmitry; Garrett, Daniel

    2016-01-01

    The anticipated upcoming large mission study concepts for the direct imaging of exo-earths present an exciting opportunity for exoplanet discovery and characterization. While these telescope concepts would also be capable of conducting a broad range of astrophysical investigations, the most difficult technology challenges are driven by the requirements for imaging exo-earths. The exoplanet science yield for these mission concepts will drive design trades and mission concept comparisons.To assist in these trade studies, the Exoplanet Exploration Program Office (ExEP) is developing a yield estimation tool that emphasizes transparency and consistent comparison of various design concepts. The tool will provide a parametric estimate of science yield of various mission concepts using contrast curves from physics-based model codes and Monte Carlo simulations of design reference missions using realistic constraints, such as solar avoidance angles, the observatory orbit, propulsion limitations of star shades, the accessibility of candidate targets, local and background zodiacal light levels, and background confusion by stars and galaxies. The python tool utilizes Dmitry Savransky's EXOSIMS (Exoplanet Open-Source Imaging Mission Simulator) design reference mission simulator that is being developed for the WFIRST Preliminary Science program. ExEP is extending and validating the tool for future mission concepts under consideration for the upcoming 2020 decadal review. We present a validation plan and preliminary yield results for a point design.

  7. ACCESS Pointing Control System

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brugarolas, Paul; Alexander, James; Trauger, John; Moody, Dwight; Egerman, Robert; Vallone, Phillip; Elias, Jason; Hejal, Reem; Camelo, Vanessa; Bronowicki, Allen; hide

    2010-01-01

    ACCESS (Actively-Corrected Coronograph for Exoplanet System Studies) was one of four medium-class exoplanet concepts selected for the NASA Astrophysics Strategic Mission Concept Study (ASMCS) program in 2008/2009. The ACCESS study evaluated four major coronograph concepts under a common space observatory. This paper describes the high precision pointing control system (PCS) baselined for this observatory.

  8. Integrated Wavefront Correction and Bias Estimation for the High-Contrast Imaging of Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Riggs, A. J. Eldorado

    Just over two decades ago the first planet outside our solar system was found, and thousands more have been discovered since. Nearly all these exoplanets were indirectly detected by sensing changes in their host stars' light. However, exoplanets must be directly imaged to determine their atmospheric compositions and the orbital parameters unavailable from only indirect detections. The main challenge of direct imaging is to observe stellar companions much fainter than the star and at small angular separations. Coronagraphy is one method of suppressing stellar diffraction to provide high star-to-planet contrast, but coronagraphs are extremely sensitive to quasi-static aberrations in the optical system. Active correction of the stellar wavefront is performed with deformable mirrors to recover high-contrast regions in the image. Estimation and control of the stellar electric field is performed iteratively in the camera's focal plane to avoid non-common path aberrations arising from a separate pupil sensor. Estimation can thus be quite time consuming because it requires several high-contrast intensity images per correction iteration. This thesis focuses on efficient focal plane wavefront correction (FPWC) for coronagraphy. Time is a precious commodity for a space telescope, so there is a strong incentive to reduce the total exposure time required for focal plane wavefront estimation. Much of our work emphasizes faster, more robust estimation via Kalman filtering, which optimally combines prior data with new measurements. The other main contribution of this thesis is a paradigm shift in the use of estimation images. Time for FPWC has generally been considered to be lost overhead, but we demonstrate that estimation images can be used for the detection and characterization of exoplanets and disks. These science targets are incoherent with their host stars, so we developed and implemented an iterated extended Kalman filter (IEKF) for simultaneous estimation of the stellar

  9. Indexing of exoplanets in search for potential habitability: application to Mars-like worlds

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kashyap Jagadeesh, Madhu; Gudennavar, Shivappa B.; Doshi, Urmi; Safonova, Margarita

    2017-08-01

    Study of exoplanets is one of the main goals of present research in planetary sciences and astrobiology. Analysis of huge planetary data from space missions such as CoRoT and Kepler is directed ultimately at finding a planet similar to Earth—the Earth's twin, and answering the question of potential exo-habitability. The Earth Similarity Index (ESI) is a first step in this quest, ranging from 1 (Earth) to 0 (totally dissimilar to Earth). It was defined for the four physical parameters of a planet: radius, density, escape velocity and surface temperature. The ESI is further sub-divided into interior ESI (geometrical mean of radius and density) and surface ESI (geometrical mean of escape velocity and surface temperature). The challenge here is to determine which exoplanet parameter(s) is important in finding this similarity; how exactly the individual parameters entering the interior ESI and surface ESI are contributing to the global ESI. Since the surface temperature entering surface ESI is a non-observable quantity, it is difficult to determine its value. Using the known data for the Solar System objects, we established the calibration relation between surface and equilibrium temperatures to devise an effective way to estimate the value of the surface temperature of exoplanets. ESI is a first step in determining potential exo-habitability that may not be very similar to a terrestrial life. A new approach, called Mars Similarity Index (MSI), is introduced to identify planets that may be habitable to the extreme forms of life. MSI is defined in the range between 1 (present Mars) and 0 (dissimilar to present Mars) and uses the same physical parameters as ESI. We are interested in Mars-like planets to search for planets that may host the extreme life forms, such as the ones living in extreme environments on Earth; for example, methane on Mars may be a product of the methane-specific extremophile life form metabolism.

  10. The Development of New Atmospheric Models for K and M DwarfStars with Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Linsky, Jeffrey L.

    2018-01-01

    The ultraviolet and X-ray emissions of host stars play critical roles in the survival and chemical composition of the atmospheres of their exoplanets. The need to measure and understand this radiative output, in particular for K and M dwarfs, is the main rationale for computing a new generation of stellar models that includes magnetically heated chromospheres and coronae in addition to their photospheres. We describe our method for computing semi-empirical models that includes solutions of the statistical equilibrium equations for 52 atoms and ions and of the non-LTE radiative transfer equations for all important spectral lines. The code is an offspring of the Solar Radiation Physical Modelling system (SRPM) developed by Fontenla et al. (2007--2015) to compute one-dimensional models in hydrostatic equilibrium to fit high-resolution stellar X-ray to IR spectra. Also included are 20 diatomic molecules and their more than 2 million spectral lines. Our-proof-of-concept model is for the M1.5 V star GJ 832 (Fontenla et al. ApJ 830, 154 (2016)). We will fit the line fluxes and profiles of X-ray lines and continua observed by Chandra and XMM-Newton, UV lines observed by the COS and STIS instruments on HST (N V, C IV, Si IV, Si III, Mg II, C II, and O I), optical lines (including H$\\alpha$, Ca II, Na I), and continua. These models will allow us to compute extreme-UV spectra, which are unobservable but required to predict the hydrodynamic mass-loss rate from exoplanet atmospheres, and to predict panchromatic spectra of new exoplanet host stars discovered after the end of the HST mission.This work is supported by grant HST-GO-15038 from the Space Telescope Science Institute to the Univ. of Colorado

  11. Cassini ISS Observations of Jupiter: An Exoplanet Perspective

    Science.gov (United States)

    West, Robert A.; Knowles, Benjamin

    2017-10-01

    Understanding the optical and physical properties of planets in our solar system can guide our approach to the interpretation of observations of exoplanets. Although some work has already been done along these lines, there remain low-hanging fruit. During the Cassini Jupiter encounter, the Imaging Science Subsystem (ISS) obtained an extensive set of images over a large range of phase angles (near-zero to 140 degrees) and in filters from near-UV to near-IR, including three methane bands and nearby continuum. The ISS also obtained images using polarizers. Much later in the mission we also obtained distant images while in orbit around Saturn. Some of these data have already been studied to reveal phase behavior (Dyudina et al., Astrophys. J.822, DOI: 10.3847/0004-637X/822/2/76; Mayorga et al., 2016, Astron. J. 152, DOI: 10.3847/0004-6256/152/6/209). Here we examine rotational modulation to determine wavelength and phase angle dependence, and how these may depend on cloud and haze vertical structure and optical properties. The existence of an optically thin forward-scattering and longitudinally-homogeneous haze overlying photometrically-variable cloud fields tends to suppress rotational modulation as phase angle increases, although in the strong 890-nm methane band cloud vertical structure is important. Cloud particles (non-spherical ammonia ice, mostly) have very small polarization signatures at intermediate phase angles and rotational modulation is not apparent above the noise level of our instrument. Part of this work was performed by the Jet Propulsion Lab, Cal. Inst. Of Technology.

  12. The Galactic Exoplanet Survey Telescope (GEST) Proposed Discovery Mission

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bennett, D. P.; Bally, J.; Bond, I.; Cheng, E.; Cook, K.; Deming, D.; Garnavich, P.; Griest, K.; Jewitt, D.; Lauer, T.; Lunine, J.; Luppino, G.; Mather, J.; Minniti, D.; Peale, S.; Rhie, S.; Sahu, K.; Schneider, J.; Sonneborn, G.; Stevenson, R.; Tenerelli, D.; Woolf, N.; Yock, P.; Rich, M.

    2003-12-01

    The results of detailed simulations of space and ground based microlensing searches for extra-solar terrestrial planets are presented. These simulations indicate that the proposed Galactic Exoplanet Survey Telescope (GEST) can perform a comprehensive survey of extra-solar planetary systems with sensitivity to planets with masses as low as that of Mars (0.1M⊕ ) in orbits ranging from ˜ 0.7AU to infinity. In contrast, a multi-site ground based survey telescopes similar to VISTA or individual PAN-Stars telescopes, would be unlikely to discover a single Earth-like planet due the inability to resolve Galactic bulge main sequence stars from the ground, and the difficulty of obtaining 24 hour light curve coverage with good observing conditions. A space-based microlensing survey like GEST will be able to measure the abundance of extra-solar planets as a function of planet:star mass ratio and separation. For one third of detected events, the lens star will be detected, and this will allow the determination of the stellar type, mass and distance of the planetary host stars. A space-based microlensing survey is the only proposed method which can measure the abundance of free-floating planets which have been ejected from their parent stars. GEST can be accomplished at low risk with established technology at a cost that is within the cost cap of NASA's Discovery Program, but the prospects for planet detection from a possible future network large wide-field of view telescopes is unlikely to justify the funds necessary to build such s telescope network.

  13. Towards a robust green astro-comb for Earth-like exoplanet searches

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ravi, Aakash; Martin, Leopoldo; Phillips, David; Langellier, Nicholas; Milbourne, Timothy; Dolliff, Christian; Walsworth, Ronald

    2017-04-01

    The detection of exoplanets using the radial velocity (RV) method has become a very exciting and active area of research. Detecting Earth-like planets, however, is still very challenging as it requires extremely precise calibration of the spectrographs used in such measurements. To address this challenge, we employ a visible wavelength frequency comb - referenced to the global positioning system - as a calibration source. Our comb calibrator is realized by spectrally broadening and shifting the output of a 1 GHz repetition rate modelocked Ti:sapphire laser using a photonic crystal fiber and then filtering the comb lines to create a 16 GHz-spacing comb. This system has been implemented at the TNG telescope on La Palma to calibrate the HARPS-N spectrograph. However, the complexity of the system has thus far prevented its routine use as it requires frequency comb specialists to be on site during measurements. Here, we propose some automation strategies and present preliminary results from our efforts. We also discuss ongoing comb-calibrated astrophysical observations, including measurements of the Sun. The solar measurements are part of an effort to understand stellar noise sources in the RV data and demonstrate the sensitivity of the instrument to detect terrestrial exoplanets.

  14. Qatar Exoplanet Survey: Qatar-6b—A Grazing Transiting Hot Jupiter

    Science.gov (United States)

    Alsubai, Khalid; Tsvetanov, Zlatan I.; Latham, David W.; Bieryla, Allyson; Esquerdo, Gilbert A.; Mislis, Dimitris; Pyrzas, Stylianos; Foxell, Emma; McCormac, James; Baranec, Christoph; Vilchez, Nicolas P. E.; West, Richard; Esamdin, Ali; Dang, Zhenwei; Dalee, Hani M.; Al-Rajihi, Amani A.; Al-Harbi, Abeer Kh.

    2018-02-01

    We report the discovery of Qatar-6b, a new transiting planet identified by the Qatar Exoplanet Survey (QES). The planet orbits a relatively bright (V = 11.44), early-K main-sequence star at an orbital period of P ∼ 3.506 days. An SED fit to available multi-band photometry, ranging from the near-UV to the mid-IR, yields a distance of d = 101 ± 6 pc to the system. From a global fit to follow-up photometric and spectroscopic observations, we calculate the mass and radius of the planet to be M P = 0.67 ± 0.07 M J and R P = 1.06 ± 0.07 R J, respectively. We use multi-color photometric light curves to show that the transit is grazing, making Qatar-6b one of the few exoplanets known in a grazing transit configuration. It adds to the short list of targets that offer the best opportunity to look for additional bodies in the host planetary system through variations in the transit impact factor and duration.

  15. New Exoplanet Surveys in the Canadian High Arctic at 80 Degrees North

    Science.gov (United States)

    Law, Nicholas M.; Sivanandam, Suresh; Murowinski, Richard; Carlberg, Raymond; Ngan, Wayne; Salbi, Pegah; Ahmadi, Aida; Steinbring, Eric; Halman, Mark; Graham, James

    2012-09-01

    Observations from near the Eureka station on Ellesmere Island, in the Canadian High Arctic at 80° North, benefit from 24-hour darkness combined with dark skies and long cloud-free periods during the winter. Our first astronomical surveys conducted at the site are aimed at transiting exoplanets; compared to mid-latitude sites, the continuous darkness during the Arctic winter greatly improves the survey’s detection effciency for longer-period transiting planets. We detail the design, construction, and testing of the first two instruments: a robotic telescope, and a set of very wide-field imaging cameras. The 0.5m Dunlap Institute Arctic Telescope has a 0.8-square-degree field of view and is designed to search for potentially habitable exoplanets around low-mass stars. The very wide field cameras have several-hundred-square-degree fields of view pointed at Polaris, are designed to search for transiting planets around bright stars, and were tested at the site in February 2012. Finally, we present a conceptual design for the Compound Arctic Telescope Survey (CATS), a multiplexed transient and transit search system which can produce a 10,000-square-degree snapshot image every few minutes throughout the Arctic winter.

  16. Project Blue: Optical Coronagraphic Imaging Search for Terrestrial-class Exoplanets in Alpha Centauri

    Science.gov (United States)

    Morse, Jon; Project Blue team

    2018-01-01

    Project Blue is a coronagraphic imaging space telescope mission designed to search for habitable worlds orbiting the nearest Sun-like stars in the Alpha Centauri system. With a 45-50 cm baseline primary mirror size, Project Blue will perform a reconnaissance of the habitable zones of Alpha Centauri A and B in blue light and one or two longer wavelength bands to determine the hue of any planets discovered. Light passing through the off-axis telescope feeds into a coronagraphic instrument that forms the heart of the mission. Various coronagraph designs are being considered, such as phase induced amplitude apodization (PIAA), vector vortex, etc. Differential orbital image processing techniques will be employed to analyze the data for faint planets embedded in the residual glare of the parent star. Project Blue will advance our knowledge about the presence or absence of terrestrial-class exoplanets in the habitable zones and measure the brightness of zodiacal dust around each star, which will aid future missions in planning their observational surveys of exoplanets. It also provides on-orbit demonstration of high-contrast coronagraphic imaging technologies and techniques that will be useful for planning and implementing future space missions by NASA and other space agencies. We present an overview of the science goals, mission concept and development schedule. As part of our cooperative agreement with NASA, the Project Blue team intends to make the data available in a publicly accessible archive.

  17. An abundance of small exoplanets around stars with a wide range of metallicities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Buchhave, Lars A; Latham, David W; Johansen, Anders; Bizzarro, Martin; Torres, Guillermo; Rowe, Jason F; Batalha, Natalie M; Borucki, William J; Brugamyer, Erik; Caldwell, Caroline; Bryson, Stephen T; Ciardi, David R; Cochran, William D; Endl, Michael; Esquerdo, Gilbert A; Ford, Eric B; Geary, John C; Gilliland, Ronald L; Hansen, Terese; Isaacson, Howard; Laird, John B; Lucas, Philip W; Marcy, Geoffrey W; Morse, Jon A; Robertson, Paul; Shporer, Avi; Stefanik, Robert P; Still, Martin; Quinn, Samuel N

    2012-06-13

    The abundance of heavy elements (metallicity) in the photospheres of stars similar to the Sun provides a 'fossil' record of the chemical composition of the initial protoplanetary disk. Metal-rich stars are much more likely to harbour gas giant planets, supporting the model that planets form by accumulation of dust and ice particles. Recent ground-based surveys suggest that this correlation is weakened for Neptunian-sized planets. However, how the relationship between size and metallicity extends into the regime of terrestrial-sized exoplanets is unknown. Here we report spectroscopic metallicities of the host stars of 226 small exoplanet candidates discovered by NASA's Kepler mission, including objects that are comparable in size to the terrestrial planets in the Solar System. We find that planets with radii less than four Earth radii form around host stars with a wide range of metallicities (but on average a metallicity close to that of the Sun), whereas large planets preferentially form around stars with higher metallicities. This observation suggests that terrestrial planets may be widespread in the disk of the Galaxy, with no special requirement of enhanced metallicity for their formation.

  18. On the feasibility of exomoon detection via exoplanet phase curve spectral contrast

    Science.gov (United States)

    Forgan, D. H.

    2017-09-01

    An exoplanet-exomoon system presents a superposition of phase curves to observers - the dominant component varies according to the planetary period, and the lesser component varies according to both the planetary and the lunar periods. If the spectra of the two bodies differ significantly, then it is likely that there are wavelength regimes where the contrast between the moon and planet is significantly larger. In principle, this effect could be used to isolate periodic oscillations in the combined phase curve. Being able to detect the exomoon component would allow a characterization of the exomoon radius, and potentially some crude atmospheric data. We run a parameter survey of combined exoplanet-exomoon phase curves, which shows that for most sets of planet-moon parameters, the lunar component of the phase curve is undetectable to current state-of-the-art transit observations. Even with future transit survey missions, measuring the exomoon signal will most likely require photometric precision of 10 parts per million or better. The only exception to this is if the moon is strongly tidally heated or in some way self-luminous. In this case, measurements of the phase curve at wavelengths greater than a few μm can be dominated by the lunar contribution. Instruments like the James Webb Space Telescope and its successors are needed to make this method feasible.

  19. A ground-based near-infrared emission spectrum of the exoplanet HD 189733b.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Swain, Mark R; Deroo, Pieter; Griffith, Caitlin A; Tinetti, Giovanna; Thatte, Azam; Vasisht, Gautam; Chen, Pin; Bouwman, Jeroen; Crossfield, Ian J; Angerhausen, Daniel; Afonso, Cristina; Henning, Thomas

    2010-02-04

    Detection of molecules using infrared spectroscopy probes the conditions and compositions of exoplanet atmospheres. Water (H(2)O), methane (CH(4)), carbon dioxide (CO(2)), and carbon monoxide (CO) have been detected in two hot Jupiters. These previous results relied on space-based telescopes that do not provide spectroscopic capability in the 2.4-5.2 microm spectral region. Here we report ground-based observations of the dayside emission spectrum for HD 189733b between 2.0-2.4 microm and 3.1-4.1 microm, where we find a bright emission feature. Where overlap with space-based instruments exists, our results are in excellent agreement with previous measurements. A feature at approximately 3.25 microm is unexpected and difficult to explain with models that assume local thermodynamic equilibrium (LTE) conditions at the 1 bar to 1 x 10(-6) bar pressures typically sampled by infrared measurements. The most likely explanation for this feature is that it arises from non-LTE emission from CH(4), similar to what is seen in the atmospheres of planets in our own Solar System. These results suggest that non-LTE effects may need to be considered when interpreting measurements of strongly irradiated exoplanets.

  20. Orbital misalignment of the Neptune-mass exoplanet GJ 436b with the spin of its cool star

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bourrier, Vincent; Lovis, Christophe; Beust, Hervé; Ehrenreich, David; Henry, Gregory W.; Astudillo-Defru, Nicola; Allart, Romain; Bonfils, Xavier; Ségransan, Damien; Delfosse, Xavier; Cegla, Heather M.; Wyttenbach, Aurélien; Heng, Kevin; Lavie, Baptiste; Pepe, Francesco

    2018-01-01

    The angle between the spin of a star and the orbital planes of its planets traces the history of the planetary system. Exoplanets orbiting close to cool stars are expected to be on circular, aligned orbits because of strong tidal interactions with the stellar convective envelope. Spin–orbit alignment can be measured when the planet transits its star, but such ground-based spectroscopic measurements are challenging for cool, slowly rotating stars. Here we report the three-dimensional characterization of the trajectory of an exoplanet around an M dwarf star, derived by mapping the spectrum of the stellar photosphere along the chord transited by the planet. We find that the eccentric orbit of the Neptune-mass exoplanet GJ 436b is nearly perpendicular to the stellar equator. Both eccentricity and misalignment, surprising around a cool star, can result from dynamical interactions (via Kozai migration) with a yet-undetected outer companion. This inward migration of GJ 436b could have triggered the atmospheric escape that now sustains its giant exosphere.

  1. Orbital misalignment of the Neptune-mass exoplanet GJ 436b with the spin of its cool star.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bourrier, Vincent; Lovis, Christophe; Beust, Hervé; Ehrenreich, David; Henry, Gregory W; Astudillo-Defru, Nicola; Allart, Romain; Bonfils, Xavier; Ségransan, Damien; Delfosse, Xavier; Cegla, Heather M; Wyttenbach, Aurélien; Heng, Kevin; Lavie, Baptiste; Pepe, Francesco

    2017-12-18

    The angle between the spin of a star and the orbital planes of its planets traces the history of the planetary system. Exoplanets orbiting close to cool stars are expected to be on circular, aligned orbits because of strong tidal interactions with the stellar convective envelope. Spin-orbit alignment can be measured when the planet transits its star, but such ground-based spectroscopic measurements are challenging for cool, slowly rotating stars. Here we report the three-dimensional characterization of the trajectory of an exoplanet around an M dwarf star, derived by mapping the spectrum of the stellar photosphere along the chord transited by the planet. We find that the eccentric orbit of the Neptune-mass exoplanet GJ 436b is nearly perpendicular to the stellar equator. Both eccentricity and misalignment, surprising around a cool star, can result from dynamical interactions (via Kozai migration) with a yet-undetected outer companion. This inward migration of GJ 436b could have triggered the atmospheric escape that now sustains its giant exosphere.

  2. Orbits for the Impatient: A Bayesian Rejection-sampling Method for Quickly Fitting the Orbits of Long-period Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Blunt, Sarah; Nielsen, Eric L.; De Rosa, Robert J.; Konopacky, Quinn M.; Ryan, Dominic; Wang, Jason J.; Pueyo, Laurent; Rameau, Julien; Marois, Christian; Marchis, Franck; Macintosh, Bruce; Graham, James R.; Duchêne, Gaspard; Schneider, Adam C.

    2017-05-01

    We describe a Bayesian rejection-sampling algorithm designed to efficiently compute posterior distributions of orbital elements for data covering short fractions of long-period exoplanet orbits. Our implementation of this method, Orbits for the Impatient (OFTI), converges up to several orders of magnitude faster than two implementations of Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) in this regime. We illustrate the efficiency of our approach by showing that OFTI calculates accurate posteriors for all existing astrometry of the exoplanet 51 Eri b up to 100 times faster than a Metropolis-Hastings MCMC. We demonstrate the accuracy of OFTI by comparing our results for several orbiting systems with those of various MCMC implementations, finding the output posteriors to be identical within shot noise. We also describe how our algorithm was used to successfully predict the location of 51 Eri b six months in the future based on less than three months of astrometry. Finally, we apply OFTI to 10 long-period exoplanets and brown dwarfs, all but one of which have been monitored over less than 3% of their orbits, producing fits to their orbits from astrometric records in the literature.

  3. Scalable Gaussian Processes and the search for exoplanets

    CERN Multimedia

    CERN. Geneva

    2015-01-01

    Gaussian Processes are a class of non-parametric models that are often used to model stochastic behavior in time series or spatial data. A major limitation for the application of these models to large datasets is the computational cost. The cost of a single evaluation of the model likelihood scales as the third power of the number of data points. In the search for transiting exoplanets, the datasets of interest have tens of thousands to millions of measurements with uneven sampling, rendering naive application of a Gaussian Process model impractical. To attack this problem, we have developed robust approximate methods for Gaussian Process regression that can be applied at this scale. I will describe the general problem of Gaussian Process regression and offer several applicable use cases. Finally, I will present our work on scaling this model to the exciting field of exoplanet discovery and introduce a well-tested open source implementation of these new methods.

  4. First Results from the Wesleyan Transiting Exoplanet Program

    Science.gov (United States)

    Johnson, Marshall C.; Leiner, E. M.; Redfield, S.

    2011-01-01

    We present results from the first six months of observations of the Wesleyan Transiting Exoplanet Program (WesTEP). A selection of exoplanet transits has been observed using the 24” Perkin Telescope at Wesleyan University's Van Vleck Observatory. The use of defocusing and manual guiding (as no autoguiding is available) has been explored to improve the quality of the data. These techniques allow the achievement of a photometric RMS as low as 1 mmag. The dataset now includes more than two dozen transits, which we use to search for evidence of transit timing variations and refine the ephemerides of recently discovered planets. This research was funded by the NASA CT Space Grant Consortium.

  5. An Introduction to Exoplanets and the Kepler Mission

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lissauer, Jack

    2014-01-01

    A quarter century ago, the only planets known to humanity were the familiar objects that orbit our Sun. But improved observational techniques allowed astronomers to begin detecting planets around other stars in the 1990s. The first extrasolar planets (often referred to as exoplanets) to be discovered were quite exotic and unfamiliar objects. Most were giant objects that are hundreds of times as massive as the Earth and orbit so close to their star that they are hotter than pizza ovens. But as observational capabilities improved, smaller and cooler planets were found. The most capable planet-hunting tool developed to date is NASA's Kepler telescope, which was launched in 2009. Kepler has found that planets similar in size to our Earth are quite abundant within our galaxy. Results of Kepler's research will be summarized and placed into context within the new and growing discipline of exoplanet studies.

  6. Using online telescopes to explore exoplanets from the physics classroom

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gould, Roy R.; Sunbury, Susan; Krumhansl, Ruth

    2012-05-01

    The search for habitable planets offers excellent opportunities to advance students' understanding of core ideas in physics, including gravity and the laws of motion, the interaction of light and matter, and especially the nature of scientific inquiry. Thanks to the development of online telescopes, students can detect more than a dozen of the known exoplanets from the classroom, using data they gather, assess, and interpret for themselves. We present a suite of activities in which students apply basic physics concepts to their investigations of exoplanets. The activities were developed and successfully tested with physics and earth science teachers in secondary schools in 14 states. Included are additional challenges and assessments suitable for introductory college physics courses.

  7. Broadband polarimetry of exoplanets: modelling signals of surfaces, hazes and clouds

    OpenAIRE

    Karalidi, Theodora

    2013-01-01

    It is less than 20 years since astronomers discovered the first exoplanet orbiting a Sun-like star. In this short period more than 770 confirmed exoplanets have been detected. With so many exoplanets the next step is their characterization. What is their atmosphere made of? Does it contain water clouds? Is there water on the planetary surface? Could there be life on these planets? To answer all these questions good and reliable models are necessary for interpreting the signal we observe from ...

  8. A continuum from clear to cloudy hot-Jupiter exoplanets without primordial water depletion

    OpenAIRE

    Sing, DK; Fortney, JJ; Nikolov, N.; Wakeford, HR; Kataria, T.; Evans, TM; Aigrain, S; Ballester, GE; Burrows, AS; Deming, D.; Désert, JM; Gibson, NP; Henry, GW; Huitson, CM; Knutson, HA

    2016-01-01

    © 2016 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved. Thousands of transiting exoplanets have been discovered, but spectral analysis of their atmospheres has so far been dominated by a small number of exoplanets and data spanning relatively narrow wavelength ranges (such as 1.1-1.7 micrometres). Recent studies show that some hot-Jupiter exoplanets have much weaker water absorption features in their near-infrared spectra than predicted. The low amplitude of water signatures could be explai...

  9. ExoPriors: Accounting for observational bias of transiting exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kipping, David M.; Sandford, Emily

    2016-03-01

    ExoPriors calculates a log-likelihood penalty for an input set of transit parameters to account for observational bias (geometric and signal-to-noise ratio detection bias) of transiting exoplanets. Written in Python, the code calculates this log-likelihood penalty in one of seven user-specified cases specified with Boolean input parameters for geometric and/or SNR bias, grazing or non-grazing events, and occultation events.

  10. Habitable zone lifetimes of exoplanets around main sequence stars.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rushby, Andrew J; Claire, Mark W; Osborn, Hugh; Watson, Andrew J

    2013-09-01

    The potential habitability of newly discovered exoplanets is initially assessed by determining whether their orbits fall within the circumstellar habitable zone of their star. However, the habitable zone (HZ) is not static in time or space, and its boundaries migrate outward at a rate proportional to the increase in luminosity of a star undergoing stellar evolution, possibly including or excluding planets over the course of the star's main sequence lifetime. We describe the time that a planet spends within the HZ as its "habitable zone lifetime." The HZ lifetime of a planet has strong astrobiological implications and is especially important when considering the evolution of complex life, which is likely to require a longer residence time within the HZ. Here, we present results from a simple model built to investigate the evolution of the "classic" HZ over time, while also providing estimates for the evolution of stellar luminosity over time in order to develop a "hybrid" HZ model. These models return estimates for the HZ lifetimes of Earth and 7 confirmed HZ exoplanets and 27 unconfirmed Kepler candidates. The HZ lifetime for Earth ranges between 6.29 and 7.79×10⁹ years (Gyr). The 7 exoplanets fall in a range between ∼1 and 54.72 Gyr, while the 27 Kepler candidate planets' HZ lifetimes range between 0.43 and 18.8 Gyr. Our results show that exoplanet HD 85512b is no longer within the HZ, assuming it has an Earth analog atmosphere. The HZ lifetime should be considered in future models of planetary habitability as setting an upper limit on the lifetime of any potential exoplanetary biosphere, and also for identifying planets of high astrobiological potential for continued observational or modeling campaigns.

  11. A roadmap towards habitable exoplanets by the Blue Dots Initiative

    Science.gov (United States)

    Coudé du Foresto, V.

    2011-11-01

    This paper is an abridged version of the report produced by the Blue Dots initiative, whose activities include the elaboration of a roadmap towards the spectroscopic characterization of habitable exoplanets. The full version of the Blue Dots report can be downloaded at http://www.blue-dots.net/spip.php?article105. While the roadmap will need to be updated regularly, it is expected that the methodology developed within Blue Dots will provide a durable framework for the elaboration of future revisions.

  12. PLATO: a multiple telescope spacecraft for exo-planets hunting

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ragazzoni, Roberto; Magrin, Demetrio; Rauer, Heike; Pagano, Isabella; Nascimbeni, Valerio; Piotto, Giampaolo; Piazza, Daniele; Levacher, Patrick; Schweitzer, Mario; Basso, Stefano; Bandy, Timothy; Benz, Willy; Bergomi, Maria; Biondi, Federico; Boerner, Anko; Borsa, Francesco; Brandeker, Alexis; Brändli, Mathias; Bruno, Giordano; Cabrera, Juan; Chinellato, Simonetta; De Roche, Thierry; Dima, Marco; Erikson, Anders; Farinato, Jacopo; Munari, Matteo; Ghigo, Mauro; Greggio, Davide; Gullieuszik, Marco; Klebor, Maximilian; Marafatto, Luca; Mogulsky, Valery; Peter, Gisbert; Rieder, Martin; Sicilia, Daniela; Spiga, Daniele; Viotto, Valentina; Wieser, Matthias; Heras, Ana Maria; Gondoin, Philippe; Bodin, Pierre; Catala, Claude

    2016-07-01

    PLATO stands for PLAnetary Transits and Oscillation of stars and is a Medium sized mission selected as M3 by the European Space Agency as part of the Cosmic Vision program. The strategy behind is to scrutinize a large fraction of the sky collecting lightcurves of a large number of stars and detecting transits of exo-planets whose apparent orbit allow for the transit to be visible from the Earth. Furthermore, as the transit is basically able to provide the ratio of the size of the transiting planet to the host star, the latter is being characterized by asteroseismology, allowing to provide accurate masses, radii and hence density of a large sample of extra solar bodies. In order to be able to then follow up from the ground via spectroscopy radial velocity measurements these candidates the search must be confined to rather bright stars. To comply with the statistical rate of the occurrence of such transits around these kind of stars one needs a telescope with a moderate aperture of the order of one meter but with a Field of View that is of the order of 50 degrees in diameter. This is achieved by splitting the optical aperture into a few dozens identical telescopes with partially overlapping Field of View to build up a mixed ensemble of differently covered area of the sky to comply with various classes of magnitude stars. The single telescopes are refractive optical systems with an internally located pupil defined by a CaF2 lens, and comprising an aspheric front lens and a strong field flattener optical element close to the detectors mosaic. In order to continuously monitor for a few years with the aim to detect planetary transits similar to an hypothetical twin of the Earth, with the same revolution period, the spacecraft is going to be operated while orbiting around the L2 Lagrangian point of the Earth-Sun system so that the Earth disk is no longer a constraints potentially interfering with such a wide field continuous uninterrupted survey.

  13. The Transiting Exoplanet Community Early Release Science Program

    Science.gov (United States)

    Batalha, Natalie; Bean, Jacob; Stevenson, Kevin; Alam, M.; Batalha, N.; Benneke, B.; Berta-Thompson, Z.; Blecic, J.; Bruno, G.; Carter, A.; Chapman, J.; Crossfield, I.; Crouzet, N.; Decin, L.; Demory, B.; Desert, J.; Dragomir, D.; Evans, T.; Fortney, J.; Fraine, J.; Gao, P.; Garcia Munoz, A.; Gibson, N.; Goyal, J.; Harrington, J.; Heng, K.; Hu, R.; Kempton, E.; Kendrew, S.; Kilpatrick, B.; Knutson, H.; Kreidberg, L.; Krick, J.; Lagage, P.; Lendl, M.; Line, M.; Lopez-Morales, M.; Louden, T.; Madhusudhan, N.; Mandell, A.; Mansfield, M.; May, E.; Morello, G.; Morley, C.; Moses, J.; Nikolov, N.; Parmentier, V.; Redfield, S.; Roberts, J.; Schlawin, E.; Showman, A.; Sing, D.; Spake, J.; Swain, M.; Todorov, K.; Tsiaras, A.; Venot, O.; Waalkes, W.; Wakeford, H.; Wheatley, P.; Zellem, R.

    2017-11-01

    JWST presents the opportunity to transform our understanding of planets and the origins of life by revealing the atmospheric compositions, structures, and dynamics of transiting exoplanets in unprecedented detail. However, the high-precision, time-series observations required for such investigations have unique technical challenges, and our prior experience with HST, Spitzer, and Kepler indicates that there will be a steep learning curve when JWST becomes operational. We propose an ERS program to accelerate the acquisition and diffusion of technical expertise for transiting exoplanet observations with JWST. This program will also provide a compelling set of representative datasets, which will enable immediate scientific breakthroughs. We will exercise the time-series modes of all four instruments that have been identified as the consensus highest priority by the community, observe the full suite of transiting planet characterization geometries (transits, eclipses, and phase curves), and target planets with host stars that span an illustrative range of brightnesses. The proposed observations were defined through an inclusive and transparent process that had participation from JWST instrument experts and international leaders in transiting exoplanet studies. The targets have been vetted with previous measurements, will be observable early in the mission, and have exceptional scientific merit. We will engage the community with a two-phase Data Challenge that culminates with the delivery of planetary spectra, time series instrument performance reports, and open-source data analysis toolkits.

  14. Relationship between Luminosity, Irradiance and Temperature of star on the orbital parameters of exoplanets

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Pavel Pintr

    2013-05-01

    Full Text Available For 759 exoplanets detected by radial velocities method we found that distances of exoplanets from central star comply in general Schmidt law and these distances depend on the stellar surface temperature. Every stellar spectral class has a little different distribution. The Luminosity and the Irradiance has not effect on the distribution of distances of exoplanets. We have found the new formulas for calculation of effective temperature of exoplanets for spectral classes F, G, and K. These new formulas we can use for future calculation of habitable planets.

  15. Development of Exoplanet database "ExoKyoto" aiming for inter-comparison with different criteria of Habitable zones

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yamashiki, Yosuke; Notsu, Yuta; Sasaki, Takanori; Hosono, Natsuki; Kuroki, Ryusuke; Notsu, Shota; Murashima, Keiya; Takagi, Fuka; Doi, Takao

    2017-05-01

    An integrated database of confirmed exoplanets has been developed and launched as “ExoKyoto,” for the purpose of better comprehension of exoplanetary systems in different star systems. The HOSTSTAR module of the database includes not only host stars for confirmed exoplanets, but also hundreds of thousands of stars existing in the star database listed in (HYG database). Each hoststar can be referred to in the catalogue with its habitable zone calculated, based on the observed/estimated star parameters. For outreach and observation support purpose, ExoKyoto possesses Stellar Windows, developed by the Xlib & Ggd module, and interfaces with GoogleSky for easy comprehension of those celestial bodies on a stellar map. Target stars can be identified and listed by using this database, based on the target magnitude, transit frequency, and photon decrease ratio by its transit.If we interpolate deficient data using assumed functions about the exoplanets that were discovered until now, Sub-Neptune size (1.9-3.1R_Earth) are the most common (971); then Super Earth size (1.2-1.9 R_earth) have been allocated (681).Using the Solar Equivalent Astronomical Unit (SEAU), most of the exoplanets discovered are within a Venus equivalent orbit (3029), and 197 are located within the habitable zone (Venus to Mars equivalent orbit). If we classify them using Kopparapu et al.(2013), within Recent Venus equivalent orbit (3048), there are 130 located in the habitable zone (runaway greenhouse-maximum greenhouse). For example, Kepler-560b is defined as in the habitable zone by its SEAU, but not by Kopparapu et al. (2013). Furthermore, based on an exoplanet's solar revolution, radius, assumed mass (Larsen & Geoffrey, 2014), transit parameters , and main start information (location, class, spectral class, etc.); observation target selection is practical and possible.In addition to the previous habitable zone based on the normal radiation flux from the host star, we'll discuss stellar flares

  16. It's Far, It's Small, It's Cool: It's an Icy Exoplanet!

    Science.gov (United States)

    2006-01-01

    Using a network of telescopes scattered across the globe, including the Danish 1.54m telescope at ESO La Silla (Chile), astronomers [1] discovered a new extrasolar planet significantly more Earth-like than any other planet found so far. The planet, which is only about 5 times as massive as the Earth, circles its parent star in about 10 years. It is the least massive exoplanet around an ordinary star detected so far and also the coolest [2]. The planet most certainly has a rocky/icy surface. Its discovery marks a groundbreaking result in the search for planets that support life. ESO PR Photo 03a/06 ESO PR Photo 03a/06 Artist's Impression of the Newly Found Exoplanet The new planet, designated by the unglamorous identifier of OGLE-2005-BLG-390Lb, orbits a red star five times less massive than the Sun and located at a distance of about 20,000 light years, not far from the centre of our Milky Way galaxy. Its relatively cool parent star and large orbit implies that the likely surface temperature of the planet is 220 degrees Centigrade below zero, too cold for liquid water. It is likely to have a thin atmosphere, like the Earth, but its rocky surface is probably deeply buried beneath frozen oceans. It may therefore more closely resemble a more massive version of Pluto, rather than the rocky inner planets like Earth and Venus. "This planet is actually the first and only planet that has been discovered so far that is in agreement with the theories for how our Solar System formed ", said Uffe Gråe Jørgensen (Niels Bohr Institute, Copenhagen, Denmark), member of the team. The favoured theoretical explanation for the formation of planetary systems proposes that solid 'planetesimals' accumulate to build up planetary cores, which then accrete nebular gas - to form giant planets - if they are sufficiently massive. Around red dwarfs, the most common stars of our Galaxy, this model favours the formation of Earth- to Neptune-mass planets being between 1 and 10 times the Earth

  17. CHEOPS: a space telescope for ultra-high precision photometry of exoplanet transits

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cessa, V.; Beck, T.; Benz, W.; Broeg, C.; Ehrenreich, D.; Fortier, A.; Peter, G.; Magrin, D.; Pagano, I.; Plesseria, J.-Y.; Steller, M.; Szoke, J.; Thomas, N.; Ragazzoni, R.; Wildi, F.

    2017-11-01

    The CHaracterising ExOPlanet Satellite (CHEOPS) is a joint ESA-Switzerland space mission dedicated to search for exoplanet transits by means of ultra-high precision photometry whose launch readiness is expected end 2017. The CHEOPS instrument will be the first space telescope dedicated to search for transits on bright stars already known to host planets. By being able to point at nearly any location on the sky, it will provide the unique capability of determining accurate radii for a subset of those planets for which the mass has already been estimated from ground-based spectroscopic surveys. CHEOPS will also provide precision radii for new planets discovered by the next generation ground-based transits surveys (Neptune-size and smaller). The main science goals of the CHEOPS mission will be to study the structure of exoplanets with radii typically ranging from 1 to 6 Earth radii orbiting bright stars. With an accurate knowledge of masses and radii for an unprecedented sample of planets, CHEOPS will set new constraints on the structure and hence on the formation and evolution of planets in this mass range. To reach its goals CHEOPS will measure photometric signals with a precision of 20 ppm in 6 hours of integration time for a 9th magnitude star. This corresponds to a signal to noise of 5 for a transit of an Earth-sized planet orbiting a solar-sized star (0.9 solar radii). This precision will be achieved by using a single frame-transfer backside illuminated CCD detector cool down at 233K and stabilized within {10 mK . The CHEOPS optical design is based on a Ritchey-Chretien style telescope with 300 mm effective aperture diameter, which provides a defocussed image of the target star while minimizing straylight using a dedicated field stop and baffle system. As CHEOPS will be in a LEO orbit, straylight suppression is a key point to allow the observation of faint stars. The telescope will be the only payload on a spacecraft platform providing pointing stability of cost

  18. An integrated payload design for the Exoplanet Characterisation Observatory (EChO)

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Swinyard, Bruce; Tinetti, Giovanna; Tennyson, Jonathan

    2012-01-01

    The Exoplanet Characterisation Observatory (EChO) is a space mission dedicated to undertaking spectroscopy of transiting exoplanets over the widest wavelength range possible. It is based around a highly stable space platform with a 1.2 m class telescope. The mission is currently being studied by ...

  19. LONG-LIVED CHAOTIC ORBITAL EVOLUTION OF EXOPLANETS IN MEAN MOTION RESONANCES WITH MUTUAL INCLINATIONS

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Barnes, Rory; Deitrick, Russell; Quinn, Thomas R. [Astronomy Department, University of Washington, Box 951580, Seattle, WA 98195 (United States); Greenberg, Richard [Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona, 1629 E. University Boulevard, Tucson, AZ 86716 (United States); Raymond, Sean N., E-mail: rory@astro.washington.edu [NASA Astrobiology Institute-Virtual Planetary Laboratory Lead Team (United States)

    2015-03-10

    We present N-body simulations of resonant planets with inclined orbits that show chaotically evolving eccentricities and inclinations that can persist for at least 10 Gyr. A wide range of behavior is possible, from fast, low amplitude variations to systems in which eccentricities reach 0.9999 and inclinations 179.°9. While the orbital elements evolve chaotically, at least one resonant argument always librates. We show that the HD 73526, HD 45364, and HD 60532 systems may be in chaotically evolving resonances. Chaotic evolution is apparent in the 2:1, 3:1, and 3:2 resonances, and for planetary masses from lunar- to Jupiter-mass. In some cases, orbital disruption occurs after several gigayears, implying the mechanism is not rigorously stable, just long-lived relative to the main sequence lifetimes of solar-type stars. Planet-planet scattering appears to yield planets in inclined resonances that evolve chaotically in about 0.5% of cases. These results suggest that (1) approximate methods for identifying unstable orbital architectures may have limited applicability, (2) the observed close-in exoplanets may be produced during epochs of high eccentricit induced by inclined resonances, (3) those exoplanets' orbital planes may be misaligned with the host star's spin axis, (4) systems with resonances may be systematically younger than those without, (5) the distribution of period ratios of adjacent planets detected via transit may be skewed due to inclined resonances, and (6) potentially habitable planets may have dramatically different climatic evolution than Earth. The Gaia spacecraft is capable of discovering giant planets in these types of orbits.

  20. The role of space telescopes in the characterization of transiting exoplanets.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hatzes, Artie P

    2014-09-18

    Characterization studies now have a dominant role in the field of exoplanets. Such studies include the measurement of an exoplanet's bulk density, its brightness temperature and the chemical composition of its atmosphere. The use of space telescopes has played a key part in the characterization of transiting exoplanets. These facilities offer astronomers data of exquisite precision and temporal sampling as well as access to wavelength regions of the electromagnetic spectrum that are inaccessible from the ground. Space missions such as the Hubble Space Telescope, Microvariability and Oscillations of Stars (MOST), Spitzer Space Telescope, Convection, Rotation and Planetary Transits (CoRoT), and Kepler have rapidly advanced our knowledge of the physical properties of exoplanets and have blazed a trail for a series of future space missions that will help us to understand the observed diversity of exoplanets.

  1. SEEDS - Strategic explorations of exoplanets and disks with the Subaru Telescope.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tamura, Motohide

    2016-01-01

    The first convincing detection of planets orbiting stars other than the Sun, or exoplanets, was made in 1995. In only 20 years, the number of the exoplanets including promising candidates has already accumulated to more than 5000. Most of the exoplanets discovered so far are detected by indirect methods because the direct imaging of exoplanets needs to overcome the extreme contrast between the bright central star and the faint planets. Using the large Subaru 8.2-m Telescope, a new high-contrast imager, HiCIAO, and second-generation adaptive optics (AO188), the most ambitious high-contrast direct imaging survey to date for giant planets and planet-forming disks has been conducted, the SEEDS project. In this review, we describe the aims and results of the SEEDS project for exoplanet/disk science. The completeness and uniformity of this systematic survey mean that the resulting data set will dominate this field of research for many years.

  2. The 'Wow' Signal, Drake Equation and Exoplanet Considerations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wheeler, E.

    It has been 38 years since the most likely artificial transmission ever recorded from a possible extraterrestrial source was received [1, 2]. Using greatly improved technology, subsequent efforts by the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) have continued, yet silence from space prevails [3]. This article examines whether the transmission was an artificial signal, and if so why it matters, to include the possibility that the modest technology used by the "Big Ear" receiver could have been accommodated by the source. The transmission and the ensuing long silence may be intended. This paper reconsiders the Drake equation, an estimate for the number of civilizations in our galaxy that may possess technology for interstellar signaling [4, 5], and shows that statement of the current alleged best estimate of two civilizations is not supported [6]. An alternate and original method suggests ~100 civilizations. It importantly relies on experience and detectable events, including recent astronomical evidence about exoplanets as cataloged by the European Exoplanet program and by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Exoplanet Science Institute [7, 8]. In addition it addresses major geological and astronomical occurrences that profoundly affected development of life on Earth and might apply similarly for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (ETI). The alternate approach is not intended to compute ETI precisely but to examine the possibility that, though vastly spread, it likely exists. The discussion anticipates difficulties in communication with an alien civilization, hardly an exercise in science fiction, and explores how international groups can participate in future specific response. One response might be to monitor the electromagnetic radiation spectral line of an element to be determined by consensus.

  3. Flight Integral Field Spectrograph (IFS) Optical Design for WFIRST Coronagraphic Exoplanet Demonstration

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gong, Qian; Groff, Tyler D.; Zimmerman, Neil; Mandell, Avi; McElwain, Michael; Rizzo, Maxime; Saxena, Prabal

    2017-01-01

    Based on the experience from Prototype Imaging Spectrograph for Coronagraphic Exoplanet Studies (PISCES) for WFIRST, we have moved to the flight instrument design phase. The specifications for flight IFS have similarities and differences from the prototype. This paper starts with the science and system requirement, discusses a number of critical trade-offs: such as IFS type selection, lenslet array shape and layout versus detector pixel accuracy, how to accommodate the larger Field Of View (FOV) and wider wavelength band for a potential add-on StarShade occulter. Finally, the traditional geometric optical design is also investigated and traded: reflective versus refractive, telecentric versus non-telecentric relay. The relay before the lenslet array controls the chief angle distribution on the lenslet array. Our previous paper has addressed how the relay design combined with lenslet arraypinhole mask can further compress the residual star light and increase the contrast. Finally, a complete phase A IFS optical design is presented.

  4. Characterizing Giant Exoplanets through Multiwavelength Transit Observations: HAT-P-8b

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jarka, Kyla L.; Cole, Jackson Lane; Gardner, Cristilyn N.; Garver, Bethany Ray; Kar, Aman; McGough, Aylin Marie; PeQueen, David Jeffrey; Rivera, Daniel Ivan; Kasper, David; Jang-Condell, Hannah; Kobulnicky, Henry; Dale, Daniel

    2018-01-01

    Discovering and characterizing gas giants is important to the search for other life, as gas giants greatly affect the habitability of a solar system. Transits of exoplanets observed in visual photometric bands have been used to characterize their atmospheres and confirm planet parameters. We observed two primary transits of the hot gas giant HAT-P-8b with the Wyoming Infrared Observatory’s 2.3-meter telescope. Using multi-filter photometry in the g, r, i, and z bands (Sloan filters) we were able to update HAT-P-8b’s planet parameters and constrain characteristics of its atmosphere. Preliminary findings show that there is wavelength dependence in the depth of the transit observations. An infrared spectroscopic follow up of this candidate could yield more details on its atmospheric composition.

  5. Observations of exoplanets in time-evolving habitable zones of pre-main-sequence M dwarfs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tian, Feng

    2015-09-01

    It is recently proposed that planets in the habitable zones (HZ) of pre-main-sequence (PMS) M dwarfs are good targets for the detection of habitable environments. In this note we show that future ground-based telescopes will be able to observe planets in time-evolving HZ of PMS M dwarfs with duration 10-100 Myrs. Based on X-ray measurements, there are >18 M0-M4 PMS stars within 10 pc, the characterization of potentially habitable exoplanets around which could provide highly valuable information regarding the evolution of habitable environments. There are tens of M dwarfs within 10 pc with X-ray to total luminosity ratios similar to that of the young Sun, the observations of potential planets around which could significantly improve our understanding of the physical states of early Solar System rocky planets.

  6. Kepler and K2: Spawning a Revolution in Astrophysics from Exoplanets to Supernovae (Abstract)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ciardi, D.

    2017-06-01

    (Abstract only) Launched in 2009, the Kepler Mission helped to redefine our understanding of the extra-solar planets and began a revolution in how we view our own Solar System. But Kepler was more than an exoplanet finding mission, Kepler helped to redefine how we looked at stars and greatly improved upon our knowledge of how stars work and evolve. After Kepler suffered a mechanical failure which nearly ended the mission, Kepler was reborn at K2. Unlike Kepler which just stared at spot on the sky, K2 has pointed at 11 different areas of the galaxy and has enabled studies not previously possible with Kepler including supernovae studies and searches for planets with microlensing events. I present an overview of the results of Kepler and K2 and how this is leading us to the future with TESS.

  7. An abundance of small exoplanets around stars with a wide range of metallicities

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Buchhave, Lars A.; Latham, David W.; Johansen, Anders

    2012-01-01

    on average a metallicity close to that of the Sun), whereas large planets preferentially form around stars with higher metallicities. This observation suggests that terrestrial planets may be widespread in the disk of the Galaxy, with no special requirement of enhanced metallicity for their formation.......The abundance of heavy elements (metallicity) in the photospheres of stars similar to the Sun provides a fossil record of the chemical composition of the initial protoplanetary disk. Metal-rich stars are much more likely to harbour gas giant planets, supporting the model that planets form...... of the host stars of 226 small exoplanet candidates discovered by NASAs Kepler mission, including objects that are comparable in size to the terrestrial planets in the Solar System. We find that planets with radii less than four Earth radii form around host stars with a wide range of metallicities (but...

  8. New Data from the Wesleyan Transiting Exoplanet Program

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schaeffer, Jakob; Johnson, M. C.; Redfield, S.

    2012-01-01

    We present new data from the Wesleyan Transiting Exoplanet Program (WesTEP). Using the 24” Perkin Telescope at Wesleyan University's Van Vleck Observatory we have observed several new transits allowing for the further refinement of possible transit timing variations (TTVs). The current implementation of an autoguider will hopefully allow us to reach a photometric RMS below our previous benchmark of 1 mmag. In addition we have an expanded target set from previous years, with data on more than thirty-five different transits. A few targets show suggestive signs of TTVs.

  9. Characterising exoplanets and their environment with UV transmission spectroscopy

    OpenAIRE

    Fossati, L.; Bourrier, V.; Ehrenreich, D.; Haswell, C. A.; Kislyakova, K. G.; Lammer, H; Lecavelier des Etangs, A.; Alibert, Y.; Ayres, T. R.; Ballester, G. E.; Barnes, J.; Bisikalo, D. V.; Cameron, A. Collier; Czesla, S.; Desert, J. -M.

    2015-01-01

    Exoplanet science is now in its full expansion, particularly after the CoRoT and Kepler space missions that led us to the discovery of thousands of extra-solar planets. The last decade has taught us that UV observations play a major role in advancing our understanding of planets and of their host stars, but the necessary UV observations can be carried out only by HST, and this is going to be the case for many years to come. It is therefore crucial to build a treasury data archive of UV exopla...

  10. New tools and improvements in the Exoplanet Transit Database

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Pejcha O.

    2011-02-01

    Full Text Available Comprehensive collection of the available light curves, prediction possibilities and the online model fitting procedure, that are available via Exoplanet Transit Database became very popular in the community. In this paper we summarized the changes, that we made in the ETD during last year (including the Kepler candidates into the prediction section, modeling of an unknown planet in the model-fit section and some other small improvements. All this new tools cannot be found in the main ETD paper.

  11. Hunting for Exoplanets at Florida Gulf Coast University

    Science.gov (United States)

    Buzasi, Derek L.; Lezcano, Andy; Fine, Stephanie; Humes, Cassandra; King, Alex; Patel, Keval; Rivers, Dakota; Sinclair, Kelsey; Stacey, Enzo; Vural, Leyla; Zimmer, Jenna

    2016-06-01

    Honors Program participants at Florida Gulf Coast University must complete two of four required "Honors Experiences". One student option is a research experience, and we have developed a "Planet Hunters" course to provide an astronomical research track. In the course, students spend the first semester learning astronomical background and exoplanet detection techniques, while the second semester is devoted to planet searches in Kepler and K2 data, using student-oriented software tools developed specifically for the task. In this poster, we present the tools, data sets, and results obtained by students participating in the first year of the course, along with lessons learned for future implementation.

  12. Post-processing of high-contrast observations of exoplanets

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Gladysz S.

    2011-07-01

    Full Text Available Post-processing of images delivered by the eXtreme Adaptive Optics (XAO instrumentation is a crucial step which can increase achievable contrast even by two orders of magnitude. In this communication I present a new class of algorithms for detection of extrasolar planets from a sequence of adaptive-optics-corrected images. In general, the methods discriminate between real sources and stellar PSF features based on statistics of recorded intensity. The methods are particularly useful in dealing with static speckles which are the greatest obstacle in detecting exoplanets.

  13. Rocky core solubility in Jupiter and giant exoplanets.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilson, Hugh F; Militzer, Burkhard

    2012-03-16

    Gas giants are believed to form by the accretion of hydrogen-helium gas around an initial protocore of rock and ice. The question of whether the rocky parts of the core dissolve into the fluid H-He layers following formation has significant implications for planetary structure and evolution. Here we use ab initio calculations to study rock solubility in fluid hydrogen, choosing MgO as a representative example of planetary rocky materials, and find MgO to be highly soluble in H for temperatures in excess of approximately 10,000 K, implying the potential for significant redistribution of rocky core material in Jupiter and larger exoplanets.

  14. Stellar Variability of the Exoplanet Hosting Star HD 63454

    OpenAIRE

    {Kane} S.~R.; {Dragomir} D.; {Ciardi} D.~R.; {Lee} J.-W.; {Lo Curto} G.; {Lovis} C.; {Naef} D.; {Mahadevan} S.; {Pilyavsky} G.; {Udry} S.; {Wang} X.; {Wright} J.

    2011-01-01

    Of the hundreds of exoplanets discovered using the radial velocity technique, many are orbiting close to their host stars with periods less than 10 days. One of these, HD 63454, is a young active K dwarf which hosts a Jovian planet in a 2.82 day period orbit. The planet has a 14% transit probability and a predicted transit depth of 1.2%. Here we provide a re-analysis of the radial velocity data to produce an accurate transit ephemeris. We further analyse 8 nights of time series data to search...

  15. EXOFASTv2: Generalized publication-quality exoplanet modeling code

    Science.gov (United States)

    Eastman, Jason

    2017-10-01

    EXOFASTv2 improves upon EXOFAST (ascl:1207.001) for exoplanet modeling. It uses a differential evolution Markov Chain Monte Carlo code to fit an arbitrary number of transits (each with their own error scaling, normalization, TTV, and/or detrending parameters), an arbitrary number of RV sources (each with their own zero point and jitter), and an arbitrary number of planets, changing nothing but command line arguments and configuration files. The global model includes integrated isochrone and SED models to constrain the stellar properties and can accept priors on any fitted or derived quantities (e.g., parallax from Gaia). It is easily extensible to add additional effects or parameters.

  16. The Thermal Phase Curve Offset on Tidally and Nontidally Locked Exoplanets: A Shallow Water Model

    Science.gov (United States)

    Penn, James; Vallis, Geoffrey K.

    2017-06-01

    Using a shallow water model with time-dependent forcing, we show that the peak of an exoplanet thermal phase curve is, in general, offset from the secondary eclipse when the planet is rotating. That is, the planetary hot spot is offset from the point of maximal heating (the substellar point) and may lead or lag the forcing; the extent and sign of the offset are functions of both the rotation rate and orbital period of the planet. We also find that the system reaches a steady state in the reference frame of the moving forcing. The model is an extension of the well-studied Matsuno-Gill model into a full spherical geometry and with a planetary-scale translating forcing representing the insolation received on an exoplanet from a host star. The speed of the gravity waves in the model is shown to be a key metric in evaluating the phase curve offset. If the velocity of the substellar point (relative to the planet’s surface) exceeds that of the gravity waves, then the hot spot will lag the substellar point, as might be expected by consideration of forced gravity wave dynamics. However, when the substellar point is moving slower than the internal wave speed of the system, the hottest point may lead the passage of the forcing. We provide an interpretation of this result by consideration of the Rossby and Kelvin wave dynamics, as well as, in the very slowly rotating case, a one-dimensional model that yields an analytic solution. Finally, we consider the inverse problem of constraining planetary rotation rate from an observed phase curve.

  17. NASA High Contrast Imaging for Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lyon, Richard G.

    2008-01-01

    Described is NASA's ongoing program for the detection and characterization of exosolar planets via high-contrast imaging. Some of the more promising proposed techniques under assessment may enable detection of life outside our solar system. In visible light terrestrial planets are approximately 10(exp -10) dimmer than the parent star. Issues such as diffraction, scatter, wavefront, amplitude and polarization all contribute to a reduction in contrast. An overview of the techniques will be discussed.

  18. Comprehensive wide-band magnitudes and albedos for the planets, with applications to exo-planets and Planet Nine

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mallama, Anthony; Krobusek, Bruce; Pavlov, Hristo

    2017-01-01

    Complete sets of reference magnitudes in all 7 Johnson-Cousins bands (U, B, V, R, I, RC and IC) and the 5 principal Sloan bands (u', g', r', i', and z') are presented for the 8 planets. These data are accompanied by illumination phase functions and other formulas which characterize the instantaneous brightness of the planets. The main source of Johnson-Cousins magnitudes is a series of individualized photometric studies reported in recent years. Gaps in that dataset were filled with magnitudes synthesized in this study from published spectrophotometry. The planetary Sloan magnitudes, which are established here for the first time, are an average of newly recorded Sloan filter photometry, synthetic magnitudes and values transformed from the Johnson-Cousins system. Geometric albedos derived from these two sets of magnitudes are consistent within each photometric system and between the systems for all planets and in all bands. This consistency validates the albedos themselves as well as the magnitudes from which they were derived. In addition, a quantity termed the delta stellar magnitude is introduced to indicate the difference between the magnitude of a planet and that of its parent star. A table of these delta values for exo-planets possessing a range of physical characteristics is presented. The delta magnitudes are for phase angle 90° where a planet is near the greatest apparent separation from its star. This quantity may be useful in exo-planet detection and observation strategies when an estimate of the signal-to-noise ratio is needed. Likewise, the phase curves presented in this paper can be used for characterizing exo-planets. Finally, magnitudes for the proposed Planet Nine are estimated, and we note that P9 may be especially faint at red and near-IR wavelengths.

  19. Development of a model to compute the extension of life supporting zones for Earth-like exoplanets.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Neubauer, David; Vrtala, Aron; Leitner, Johannes J; Firneis, Maria G; Hitzenberger, Regina

    2011-12-01

    A radiative convective model to calculate the width and the location of the life supporting zone (LSZ) for different, alternative solvents (i.e. other than water) is presented. This model can be applied to the atmospheres of the terrestrial planets in the solar system as well as (hypothetical, Earth-like) terrestrial exoplanets. Cloud droplet formation and growth are investigated using a cloud parcel model. Clouds can be incorporated into the radiative transfer calculations. Test runs for Earth, Mars and Titan show a good agreement of model results with observations.

  20. Mapping the Pressure-radius Relationship of Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cubillos, Patricio; Fossati, Luca; Kubyshkina, Darya

    2017-10-01

    The radius of a planet is one of the most physically meaningful and readily accessible parameters of extra-solar planets. This parameter is extensively used in the literature to compare planets or study trends in the know population of exoplanets. However, in an atmosphere, the concept of a planet radius is inherently fuzzy. The atmospheric pressures probed by trasmission (transit) or emission (eclipse) spectra are not directly constrained by the observations, they vary as a function of the atmospheric properties and observing wavelengths, and further correlate with the atmospheric properties producing degenerate solutions.Here, we characterize the properties of exoplanet radii using a radiative-transfer model to compute clear- atmosphere transmission and emission spectra of gas-dominated planets. We explore a wide range of planetary temperatures, masses, and radii, sampling from 300 to 3000 K and Jupiter- to Earth-like values. We will discuss how transit and photospheric radii vary over the parameter space, and map the global trends in the atmospheric pressures associated with these radii. We will also highlight the biases introduced by the choice of an observing band, or the assumption of a clear/cloudy atmosphere, and the relevance that these biases take as better instrumentation improves the precision of photometric observations.

  1. The automated data processing architecture for the GPI Exoplanet Survey

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Jason J.; Perrin, Marshall D.; Savransky, Dmitry; Arriaga, Pauline; Chilcote, Jeffrey K.; De Rosa, Robert J.; Millar-Blanchaer, Maxwell A.; Marois, Christian; Rameau, Julien; Wolff, Schuyler G.; Shapiro, Jacob; Ruffio, Jean-Baptiste; Graham, James R.; Macintosh, Bruce

    2017-09-01

    The Gemini Planet Imager Exoplanet Survey (GPIES) is a multi-year direct imaging survey of 600 stars to discover and characterize young Jovian exoplanets and their environments. We have developed an automated data architecture to process and index all data related to the survey uniformly. An automated and flexible data processing framework, which we term the GPIES Data Cruncher, combines multiple data reduction pipelines together to intelligently process all spectroscopic, polarimetric, and calibration data taken with GPIES. With no human intervention, fully reduced and calibrated data products are available less than an hour after the data are taken to expedite follow-up on potential objects of interest. The Data Cruncher can run on a supercomputer to reprocess all GPIES data in a single day as improvements are made to our data reduction pipelines. A backend MySQL database indexes all files, which are synced to the cloud, and a front-end web server allows for easy browsing of all files associated with GPIES. To help observers, quicklook displays show reduced data as they are processed in real-time, and chatbots on Slack post observing information as well as reduced data products. Together, the GPIES automated data processing architecture reduces our workload, provides real-time data reduction, optimizes our observing strategy, and maintains a homogeneously reduced dataset to study planet occurrence and instrument performance.

  2. Multi-mission modeling for space-based exoplanet imagers

    Science.gov (United States)

    Savransky, Dmitry; Delacroix, Christian; Garrett, Daniel

    2017-09-01

    In addition to the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope Coronagraphic Imager (WFIRST CGI), which is currently scheduled for launch in the mid 2020s, there is an extensive, ongoing design effort for next-generation, space-based, exoplanet imaging instrumentation. This work involves mission concepts such as the Large UV/ Optical/Infrared Surveyor (LUVOIR), the Habitable Exoplanet Imaging Misson (HabEx), and a starshade rendezvous mission for WFIRST, among others. While each of these efforts includes detailed mission analysis targeted at the specifics of each design, there is also interest in being able to analyze all such concepts in a unified way (to the extent that this is possible) and to draw specific comparisons between projected concept capabilities. Here, we discuss and compare two fundamental approaches to mission analysis, full mission simulation and depth of search analysis, in the specific context of simulating and comparing multiple different mission concepts. We present strategies for mission analysis at varying stages of concept definition, using WFIRST as a motivating example, and discuss useful metrics for cross-mission comparison, as well as strategies for evaluating these metrics.

  3. Feasibility of exoplanet coronagraphy with the Hubble Space Telescope

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lyon, Richard G.; Woodruff, Robert A.; Brown, Robert; Noecker, M. Charley; Cheng, Edward

    2010-07-01

    Herein we report on a preliminary study to assess the use of the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) for the direct detection and spectroscopic characterization of exoplanets and debris disks - an application for which HST was not originally designed. Coronagraphic advances may enable the design of a science instrument that could achieve limiting contrasts ~109 beyond 275 milli-arcseconds (4 λ/D at 800 nm) inner working angle, thereby enabling detection and characterization of several known jovian planets and imaging of debris disks. Advantages of using HST are that it already exists in orbit, it's primary mirror is thermally stable and it is the most characterized space telescope yet flown. However there is drift of the HST telescope, likely due to thermal effects crossing the terminator. The drift, however, is well characterized and consists of a larger deterministic components and a smaller stochastic component. It is the effect of this drift versus the sensing and control bandwidth of the instrument that would likely limit HST coronagraphic performance. Herein we discuss the science case, quantify the limiting factors and assess the feasibility of using HST for exoplanet discovery using a hypothetical new instrument.

  4. Rotation Periods and Cloud Dynamics of Directly Imaged Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bowler, Brendan

    2017-08-01

    Precision photometric monitoring of brown dwarfs has shown that variability spanning a broad range of amplitudes (0.1-30%) is extremely common in the infrared. These periodic changes are likely caused by rotationally-modulated features produced by heterogeneous coverage of condensate clouds. Time series spectroscopy is an especially informative tool; by simultaneously probing a range of wavelengths, pressure levels, and evolving phases, this method has opened a new window into the atmospheric structure and dynamics of ultracool atmospheres. Recent observations of young brown dwarfs and planetary-mass objects indicate that high-amplitude ( 10%) variability may be even more common at low surface gravities. We propose to obtain the first-ever rotational phase maps for three directly imaged exoplanets with time series WFC3/IR spectroscopy to measure the rotation, cloud structure, and atmospheric dynamics of young (2-300 Myr) giant planets. In addition, by combining projected rotational velocities from high-resolution near-infrared spectroscopy of these planets, these spectroscopic light curves will also be used to determine the first obliquity angle of an imaged exoplanet.

  5. Analyzing Exoplanet Phase Curve Information Content: Toward Optimized Observing Strategies

    Science.gov (United States)

    Placek, Ben; Angerhausen, Daniel; Knuth, Kevin H.

    2017-10-01

    Secondary eclipses and phase curves reveal information about the reflectivity and heat distribution in exoplanet atmospheres. The phase curve is composed of a combination of reflected and thermally emitted light from the planet, and for circular orbits the phase curve peaks during the secondary eclipse or at an orbital phase of 0.5. Physical mechanisms have been discovered that shift the phase curve maximum of tidally locked close-in planets to the right, or left, of the secondary eclipse. These mechanisms include cloud formations and atmospheric superrotation, both of which serve to shift the thermally bright hot-spot or highly reflective bright spot of the atmosphere away from the sub-stellar point. Here, we present a methodology for optimizing observing strategies for both secondary eclipses and phase curves with the goal of maximizing the information gained about the planetary atmosphere while minimizing the (assumed) continuous observation time. We show that we can increase the duty cycle of observations aimed at the measurements of phase curve characteristics (amplitude, phase offset) by up to 50% for future platforms such as CHaracterising ExOPlanets Satellite (CHEOPS) and JWST. We apply this methodology to the test cases of the Spitzer phase curve of 55-Cancri-e, which displays an eastward shift in its phase curve maximum as well as model-generated observations of an ultra-short period planet observed with CHEOPS.

  6. Exoplanets from CoRoT to PLATO

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fridlund, M.

    2008-09-01

    ABSTRACT The first mission designed specifically for exo-planetary discovery - CoRoT - has been launched more than one year ago and the first results are being published. The mission - planned and executed by the French space agency CNES, with participation of the European Space Agency, ESA, as well as national contributions from Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Germany and Spain has dual objectives. It is searching for exoplanets, significantly smaller than so far discovered, and it is doing unprecedented precision asteroseismological measurements. In this paper we give a status report on the results of CoRoT, as well as putting the results into the context of other space (e.g. MOST & Spitzer), as well as ground based (radial velocity, microlensing, transit work) results. Partly as a consequence of the success of CoRoT, and thus the building of a European exoplanetary community, research into exo-planets is now an integral part of the European Space Agency's Cosmic Vision Plan. One of the first three candidates for a mission is PLATO - a project that for the first time integrates asteroseismology and exoplanetary transits by observing the same objects. Planned for a flight in 2017 (and a 6 year mission life time) it is currently being studied industrially in Europe. This paper give some basic information about this mission.

  7. An ultrahot gas-giant exoplanet with a stratosphere

    Science.gov (United States)

    Evans, Thomas M.; Sing, David K.; Kataria, Tiffany; Goyal, Jayesh; Nikolov, Nikolay; Wakeford, Hannah R.; Deming, Drake; Marley, Mark S.; Amundsen, David S.; Ballester, Gilda E.; Barstow, Joanna K.; Ben-Jaffel, Lotfi; Bourrier, Vincent; Buchhave, Lars A.; Cohen, Ofer; Ehrenreich, David; García Muñoz, Antonio; Henry, Gregory W.; Knutson, Heather; Lavvas, Panayotis; Etangs, Alain Lecavelier Des; Lewis, Nikole K.; López-Morales, Mercedes; Mandell, Avi M.; Sanz-Forcada, Jorge; Tremblin, Pascal; Lupu, Roxana

    2017-08-01

    Infrared radiation emitted from a planet contains information about the chemical composition and vertical temperature profile of its atmosphere. If upper layers are cooler than lower layers, molecular gases will produce absorption features in the planetary thermal spectrum. Conversely, if there is a stratosphere—where temperature increases with altitude—these molecular features will be observed in emission. It has been suggested that stratospheres could form in highly irradiated exoplanets, but the extent to which this occurs is unresolved both theoretically and observationally. A previous claim for the presence of a stratosphere remains open to question, owing to the challenges posed by the highly variable host star and the low spectral resolution of the measurements. Here we report a near-infrared thermal spectrum for the ultrahot gas giant WASP-121b, which has an equilibrium temperature of approximately 2,500 kelvin. Water is resolved in emission, providing a detection of an exoplanet stratosphere at 5σ confidence. These observations imply that a substantial fraction of incident stellar radiation is retained at high altitudes in the atmosphere, possibly by absorbing chemical species such as gaseous vanadium oxide and titanium oxide.

  8. Exoplanets: the quest for Earth twins.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mayor, Michel; Udry, Stephane; Pepe, Francesco; Lovis, Christophe

    2011-02-13

    Today, more than 400 extra-solar planets have been discovered. They provide strong constraints on the structure and formation mechanisms of planetary systems. Despite this huge amount of data, we still have little information concerning the constraints for extra-terrestrial life, i.e. the frequency of Earth twins in the habitable zone and the distribution of their orbital eccentricities. On the other hand, these latter questions strongly excite general interest and trigger future searches for life in the Universe. The status of the extra-solar planets field--in particular with respect to very-low-mass planets--will be discussed and an outlook on the search for Earth twins will be given in this paper.

  9. PLANET HUNTERS. VIII. CHARACTERIZATION OF 41 LONG-PERIOD EXOPLANET CANDIDATES FROM KEPLER ARCHIVAL DATA

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Wang, Ji; Fischer, Debra A.; Picard, Alyssa; Schmitt, Joseph R.; Boyajian, Tabetha S. [Department of Astronomy, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06511 (United States); Barclay, Thomas [NASA Ames Research Center, M/S 244-30, Moffett Field, CA 94035 (United States); Ma, Bo [Department of Astronomy, University of Florida, 211 Bryant Space Science Center, Gainesville, FL 32611-2055 (United States); Bowler, Brendan P.; Riddle, Reed [California Institute of Technology, 1200 East California Boulevard, Pasadena, CA 91101 (United States); Jek, Kian J.; LaCourse, Daryll; Simister, Dean Joseph; Grégoire, Boscher; Babin, Sean P.; Poile, Trevor; Jacobs, Thomas Lee; Baranec, Christoph [Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, Hilo, HI 96720-2700 (United States); Law, Nicholas M. [Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3255 (United States); Lintott, Chris [Oxford Astrophysics, Denys Wilkinson Building, Keble Road, Oxford OX1 3RH (United Kingdom); Schawinski, Kevin [Institute for Astronomy, Department of Physics, ETH Zurich, Wolfgang-Pauli-Strasse 27, CH-8093 Zurich (Switzerland); and others

    2015-12-20

    The census of exoplanets is incomplete for orbital distances larger than 1 AU. Here, we present 41 long-period planet candidates in 38 systems identified by Planet Hunters based on Kepler archival data (Q0–Q17). Among them, 17 exhibit only one transit, 14 have two visible transits, and 10 have more than three visible transits. For planet candidates with only one visible transit, we estimate their orbital periods based on transit duration and host star properties. The majority of the planet candidates in this work (75%) have orbital periods that correspond to distances of 1–3 AU from their host stars. We conduct follow-up imaging and spectroscopic observations to validate and characterize planet host stars. In total, we obtain adaptive optics images for 33 stars to search for possible blending sources. Six stars have stellar companions within 4″. We obtain high-resolution spectra for 6 stars to determine their physical properties. Stellar properties for other stars are obtained from the NASA Exoplanet Archive and the Kepler Stellar Catalog by Huber et al. We validate 7 planet candidates that have planet confidence over 0.997 (3σ level). These validated planets include 3 single-transit planets (KIC-3558849b, KIC-5951458b, and KIC-8540376c), 3 planets with double transits (KIC-8540376b, KIC-9663113b, and KIC-10525077b), and 1 planet with four transits (KIC-5437945b). This work provides assessment regarding the existence of planets at wide separations and the associated false positive rate for transiting observation (17%–33%). More than half of the long-period planets with at least three transits in this paper exhibit transit timing variations up to 41 hr, which suggest additional components that dynamically interact with the transiting planet candidates. The nature of these components can be determined by follow-up radial velocity and transit observations.

  10. Know the Star, Know the Planet. V. Characterization of the Stellar Companion to the Exoplanet Host Star HD 177830

    Science.gov (United States)

    Roberts, Lewis C., Jr.; Oppenheimer, Rebecca; Crepp, Justin R.; Baranec, Christoph; Beichman, Charles; Brenner, Douglas; Burruss, Rick; Cady, Eric; Luszcz-Cook, Statia; Dekany, Richard; Hillenbrand, Lynne; Hinkley, Sasha; King, David; Lockhart, Thomas G.; Nilsson, Ricky; Parry, Ian R.; Pueyo, Laurent; Sivaramakrishnan, Anand; Soummer, Rémi; Rice, Emily L.; Veicht, Aaron; Vasisht, Gautam; Zhai, Chengxing; Zimmerman, Neil T.

    2015-10-01

    HD 177830 is an evolved K0IV star with two known exoplanets. In addition to the planetary companions it has a late-type stellar companion discovered with adaptive optics imagery. We observed the binary star system with the PHARO near-IR camera and the Project 1640 coronagraph. Using the Project 1640 coronagraph and integral field spectrograph we extracted a spectrum of the stellar companion. This allowed us to determine that the spectral type of the stellar companion is a M4 ± 1 V. We used both instruments to measure the astrometry of the binary system. Combining these data with published data, we determined that the binary star has a likely period of approximately 800 years with a semimajor axis of 100-200 AU. This implies that the stellar companion has had little or no impact on the dynamics of the exoplanets. The astrometry of the system should continue to be monitored, but due to the slow nature of the system, observations can be made once every 5-10 years.

  11. KNOW THE STAR, KNOW THE PLANET. V. CHARACTERIZATION OF THE STELLAR COMPANION TO THE EXOPLANET HOST STAR HD 177830

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Roberts, Lewis C. Jr.; Beichman, Charles; Burruss, Rick; Cady, Eric; Lockhart, Thomas G. [Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, 4800 Oak Grove Drive, Pasadena CA 91109 (United States); Oppenheimer, Rebecca; Brenner, Douglas; Luszcz-Cook, Statia; Nilsson, Ricky [American Museum of Natural History, Central Park West at 79th Street, New York, NY 10024 (United States); Crepp, Justin R. [Department of Physics, University of Notre Dame, 225 Nieuwland Science Hall, Notre Dame, IN 46556 (United States); Baranec, Christoph [Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, Hilo, HI 96720-2700 (United States); Dekany, Richard; Hillenbrand, Lynne [Division of Physics, Mathematics, and Astronomy, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125 (United States); Hinkley, Sasha [School of Physics, University of Exeter, Stocker Road, Exeter, EX4 4QL (United Kingdom); King, David; Parry, Ian R. [Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge, Madingley Road., Cambridge, CB3 OHA (United Kingdom); Pueyo, Laurent [Space Telescope Science Institute, 3700 San Martin Drive, Baltimore, MD 21218 (United States); Sivaramakrishnan, Anand; Soummer, Rémi [Department of Astronomy, Stockholm University, AlbaNova University Center, Roslagstullsbacken 21, SE-10691 Stockholm (Sweden); Rice, Emily L., E-mail: lewis.c.roberts@jpl.nasa.gov [Department of Engineering Science and Physics, College of Staten Island, City University of New York, Staten Island, NY 10314 (United States); and others

    2015-10-15

    HD 177830 is an evolved K0IV star with two known exoplanets. In addition to the planetary companions it has a late-type stellar companion discovered with adaptive optics imagery. We observed the binary star system with the PHARO near-IR camera and the Project 1640 coronagraph. Using the Project 1640 coronagraph and integral field spectrograph we extracted a spectrum of the stellar companion. This allowed us to determine that the spectral type of the stellar companion is a M4 ± 1 V. We used both instruments to measure the astrometry of the binary system. Combining these data with published data, we determined that the binary star has a likely period of approximately 800 years with a semimajor axis of 100–200 AU. This implies that the stellar companion has had little or no impact on the dynamics of the exoplanets. The astrometry of the system should continue to be monitored, but due to the slow nature of the system, observations can be made once every 5–10 years.

  12. Water-land ratios of exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Höning, Dennis; Tosi, Nicola; Spohn, Tilman

    2017-04-01

    The habitability of ocean planets has been extensively discussed recently (1). We note that there are several arguments for a habitable planet preferably having a solid surface as well as an ocean as we find on Earth. A simple observation is that on Earth most bioactivity is found on continents and continental shelves while the deep oceans are mostly desert. The constancy of Earth's continental volume during the last hundreds of million years suggests that continental crust formation and erosion today are approximately in equilibrium. Although this equilibrium point depends on planet state variables such as the mantle temperature, it could appear reasonable to conjecture that a planet with a similar mass and total water inventory as Earth would possess a similar water-land surface fraction (of 3:2 if continental shelves are accounted for or 2:1 if the water covered surface is compared with the land surface). However, this conjecture neglects self-reinforcing mechanisms associated with continental growth, including a temperature rise below insulating continents and an increased subduction rate of sediments with the emergence of continents. These positive feedbacks become even more pronounced when the mantle-water cycle is accounted for (2). From extensive model calculations varying initial conditions and model parameters over wide ranges, we conclude that bifurcation occurs in the continental growth system and that the water-land fraction that characterizes the present-day Earth is not necessarily a typical result. Most of our models rather show a small continental volume accompanied by a large surface water fraction (water-world) or large continents with little surface water at the present day. An evolution leading to an Earth-like distribution results only for restricted sets of initial conditions. This opens the possibility that planets with Earth-like masses and total water inventory may be found that substantially differ from Earth with respect to their

  13. Characterizing a Diversity of Exoplanetary Systems with HabEx

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rogers, Leslie Anne; Gaudi, B. Scott; Seager, Sara; Mennesson, Bertrand; Kiessling, Alina; Domagal-Goldman, Shawn David; Robinson, Tyler; Stapelfeldt, Karl; Stark, Christopher; HabEx Science and Technology Definition Team

    2018-01-01

    The Habitable Exoplanet Imaging Mission (HabEx) is one of four flagship mission concepts being studied in advance of the 2020 Astrophysics Decadal Survey. The primary goal of HabEx exoplanet science is to directly image and characterize rocky planets in the habitable zones of sun-like stars. In addition to the search for signs of habitability on Earth-like exoplanets, HabEx would pursue a wide range of other exoplanet direct imaging investigations, including the study of disks and non-habitable exoplanets of various sizes and orbits, as well as a broad range of general astrophysics. In this poster, we will summarize the planned exoplanet direct imaging capabilities of HabEx and provide an overview of the diversity of exoplanetary system science that HabEx would enable.

  14. Technology Maturity for the Habitable-zone Exoplanet Imaging Mission (HabEx) Concept

    Science.gov (United States)

    Morgan, Rhonda; Warfield, Keith R.; Stahl, H. Philip; Mennesson, Bertrand; Nikzad, Shouleh; nissen, joel; Balasubramanian, Kunjithapatham; Krist, John; Mawet, Dimitri; Stapelfeldt, Karl; warwick, Steve

    2018-01-01

    HabEx Architecture A is a 4m unobscured telescope optimized for direct imaging and spectroscopy of potentially habitable exoplanets, and also enables a wide range of general astrophysics science. The exoplanet detection and characterization drives the enabling core technologies. A hybrid starlight suppression approach of a starshade and coronagraph diversifies technology maturation risk. In this poster we assess these exoplanet-driven technologies, including elements of coronagraphs, starshades, mirrors, jitter mitigation, wavefront control, and detectors. By utilizing high technology readiness solutions where feasible, and identifying required technology development that can begin early, HabEx will be well positioned for assessment by the community in 2020 Astrophysics Decadal Survey.

  15. Two Suns in the Sky: Stellar Multiplicity in Exoplanet Systems

    Science.gov (United States)

    2006-03-29

    the Washington Double Star Catalog, in the Catalogs of Nearby Stars Series by Gliese and Jahrei , in Hipparcos results, and in Duquennoy & Mayor s... Double Star Catalog are not gravitationally bound companions. At least three (HD 178911, 16 Cyg B, and HD 219449), and possibly five (including HD

  16. Two Suns in the Sky: Stellar Multiplicity in Exoplanet Systems

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Raghavan, Deepar; Henry, Todd J; Mason, Brian D; Hambly, Nigel C

    2006-01-01

    ... distances estimated photometrically.We also attempt to confirm or refute companions listed in the Washington Double Star Catalog, in the Catalogs of Nearby Stars Series by Gliese and Jahrei , in Hipparcos results, and in Duquennoy...

  17. Zodiacal Exoplanets in Time (ZEIT). V. A Uniform Search for Transiting Planets in Young Clusters Observed by K2

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rizzuto, Aaron C.; Mann, Andrew W.; Vanderburg, Andrew; Kraus, Adam L.; Covey, Kevin R.

    2017-12-01

    Detection of transiting exoplanets around young stars is more difficult than for older systems owing to increased stellar variability. Nine young open cluster planets have been found in the K2 data, but no single analysis pipeline identified all planets. We have developed a transit search pipeline for young stars that uses a transit-shaped notch and quadratic continuum in a 12 or 24 hr window to fit both the stellar variability and the presence of a transit. In addition, for the most rapid rotators ({P}{rot}young clusters. Limited injection recovery testing on the known planet hosts indicates that for the older Praesepe systems we are sensitive to additional exoplanets as small as 1-2 R ⊕, and for the larger Upper Scorpius planet host (K2-33) our pipeline is sensitive to ˜4 R ⊕ transiting planets. The lack of detected multiple systems in the young clusters is consistent with the expected frequency from the original Kepler sample, within our detection limits. With a robust pipeline that detects all known planets in the young clusters, occurrence rate testing at young ages is now possible.

  18. Characterizing exoplanets atmospheres with space photometry at optical wavelengths

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Parmentier Vivien

    2015-01-01

    Full Text Available Space photometry such as performed by Kepler and CoRoT provides exoplanets radius and phase curves with an exquisite precision. The phase curve constrains the longitudinal variation of the albedo and shed light on the horizontal distribution of clouds. The planet radius constraints thermal evolution of the planet, potentially unveiling its atmospheric composition. We present how the atmospheric circulation can affect the cloud distribution of three different planets, HD209458b, Kepler-7b and HD189733b based on three-dimensional models and analytical calculations. Then we use an analytical atmospheric model coupled to a state-of-the-art interior evolution code to study the role of TiO in shaping the thermal evolution and final radius of the planet.

  19. Two Years of Hunting Exoplanets at Florida Gulf Coast University

    Science.gov (United States)

    Buzasi, Derek L.; Carboneau, Lindsey; Childs, Stephen; Colon, Tristan; Dumouchel, Emily; Glenn, William; Humphrey, Morgan; Hunter, Alana; Klunk, Derek; Myers, Riley; Nadreau, Jacob; Nance, Rebecca; Reynolds, Zachary; Romas, Olivia; Smith, Alexandra; Stansfield, Alexis; Sumler, Kendyll; Vignet-Williams, Gabrielle

    2017-06-01

    Honors Program participants at Florida Gulf Coast University must complete two of four required "Honors Experiences". One student option is a research experience, and we have developed a "Planet Hunters" course to provide an astronomical research track. In the course, students spend the first semester learning astronomical background and exoplanet detection techniques, while the second semester is devoted to planet searches in Kepler and K2 data, using student-oriented software tools developed specifically for the task. During the first year, students detected both a brown dwarf candidate and a hot Jupiter candidate. In this poster, we review the tools, data sets, and results obtained by students participating in the second year of the course, along with lessons learned for future implementation, including possible extension to TESS data.

  20. In the Crosshair: Astrometric Exoplanet Detection with WFIRST's Diffraction Spikes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Melchior, Peter; Spergel, David; Lanz, Arianna

    2018-02-01

    WFIRST will conduct a coronagraphic program that characterizes the atmospheres of planets around bright nearby stars. When observed with the WFIRST Wide Field Camera, these stars will saturate the detector and produce very strong diffraction spikes. In this paper, we forecast the astrometric precision that WFIRST can achieve by centering on the diffraction spikes of highly saturated stars. This measurement principle is strongly facilitated by the WFIRST H4RG detectors, which confine excess charges within the potential well of saturated pixels. By adopting a simplified analytical model of the diffraction spike caused by a single support strut obscuring the telescope aperture, integrated over the WFIRST pixel size, we predict the performance of this approach with the Fisher-matrix formalism. We discuss the validity of the model and find that 10 μ {as} astrometric precision is achievable with a single 100 s exposure of an {R}{AB}=6 or a {J}{AB}=5 star. We discuss observational limitations from the optical distortion correction and pixel-level artifacts, which need to be calibrated at the level of 10{--}20 μ {as} so as to not dominate the error budget. To suppress those systematics, we suggest a series of short exposures, dithered by at least several hundred pixels, to reach an effective per-visit astrometric precision better than 10 μ {as}. If this can be achieved, a dedicated WFIRST GO program will be able to detect Earth-mass exoplanets with orbital periods of ≳ 1 {year} around stars within a few pc as well as Neptune-like planets with shorter periods or around more massive or distant stars. Such a program will also enable mass measurements of many anticipated direct-imaging exoplanet targets of the WFIRST coronagraph and a “starshade” occulter.

  1. An exoplanet with a stratosphere: seeking the unknown absorber

    Science.gov (United States)

    Evans, Tom

    2017-08-01

    The extent to which significant stratospheres form in highly-irradiated gas giant exoplanets is still a major unresolved question in the field. Using WFC3 G141, we have recently measured a thermal emission spectrum for WASP-121b (T 2700K). The 1.4 micron water band is spectrally-resolved in emission, providing a clear detection of a thermal inversion in the atmosphere. From this measurement, we conclude that the most likely cause of the inversion is absorption of impinging stellar radiation by a high-altitude optical absorber, as other heating mechanisms are almost certainly insufficient. Intriguingly, the G141 spectrum also shows a flux excess at 1.22 micron, which can be well-explained by vanadium oxide emission. Indeed, absorption by vanadium oxide and titanium oxide has been proposed as a possible means by which to generate stratospheres in the hottest exoplanets. However, we are currently unable to draw a confident conclusion on the presence of vanadium oxide in the atmosphere of WASP-121b with the available data. We propose here to rectify this situation, by extending the wavelength coverage of the measured thermal spectrum across the 0.9-1.1 micron wavelength range using WFC3 G102. This will allow us to target the prominent vanadium oxide and titanium oxide bands at these wavelengths, where the flux from the planet is still high. If observed, a long-theorized link would be established between these important chemical species and thermal inversions in highly-irradiated atmospheres.

  2. Exploring Habitable Worlds: Science Questions for Future Direct Imaging Exoplanet Missions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Apai, D.

    2017-11-01

    We report on the SAG15 team's comprehensive effort to compile community input on key science questions for future exoplanet imaging missions, many of which are essential to recognizing habitable planets and for correcting interpreting biosignatures.

  3. Characterizing Giant Exoplanets through Multiwavelength Transit Observations: HAT-P-5 b

    Science.gov (United States)

    PeQueen, David Jeffrey; Cole, Jackson Lane; Gardner, Cristilyn N.; Garver, Bethany Ray; Jarka, Kyla L.; Kar, Aman; McGough, Aylin M.; Rivera, Daniel Ivan; Kasper, David; Jang-Condell, Hannah; Kobulnicky, Henry; Dale, Daniel

    2018-01-01

    During the summer of 2017, we observed hot Jupiter-type exoplanet transit events using the Wyoming Infrared Observatory’s 2.3 meter telescope. We observed 14 unique exoplanets during transit events; one such target was HAT-P-5 b. In total, we collected 53 usable science images in the Sloan filter set, particularly with the g’, r’, z’, and i’ band wavelength filters. This exoplanet transited approximately 40 minutes earlier than the currently published literature suggests. After reducing the data and running a Markov chain Monte Carlo analysis, we present results describing the planetary radius, semi-major axis, orbital period, and inclination of HAT-P-5 b. Characteristics of Rayleigh scattering are present in the atmosphere of this exoplanet. This work is supported by the National Science Foundation under REU grant AST 1560461.

  4. CLIMATE PATTERNS OF HABITABLE EXOPLANETS IN ECCENTRIC ORBITS AROUND M DWARFS

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Wang, Yuwei; Hu, Yongyun [Laboratory for Climate and Ocean-Atmosphere Sciences, Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, School of Physics, Peking University, Beijing 100871 China (China); Tian, Feng, E-mail: yyhu@pku.edu.cn [Ministry of Education Key Laboratory for Earth System Modeling, Center for Earth System Science, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084 (China)

    2014-08-10

    Previous studies show that synchronous rotating habitable exoplanets around M dwarfs should have an ''eyeball'' climate pattern—a limited region of open water on the day side and ice on the rest of the planet. However, exoplanets with nonzero eccentricities could have spin-orbit resonance states different from the synchronous rotation state. Here, we show that a striped-ball climate pattern, with a global belt of open water at low and middle latitudes and ice over both polar regions, should be common on habitable exoplanets in eccentric orbits around M dwarfs. We further show that these different climate patterns can be observed by future exoplanet detection missions.

  5. Looking for the rainbow on exoplanets covered by liquid and icy water clouds

    OpenAIRE

    Karalidi, T.; Stam, D.M.; Hovenier, J.W.

    2012-01-01

    Aims. Looking for the primary rainbow in starlight that is reflected by exoplanets appears to be a promising method to search for liquid water clouds in exoplanetary atmospheres. Ice water clouds, that consist of water crystals instead of water droplets, could potentially mask the rainbow feature in the planetary signal by covering liquid water clouds. Here, we investigate the strength of the rainbow feature for exoplanets that have liquid and icy water clouds in their atmosphere, and calcula...

  6. The Moving Group Targets of the Seeds High-Contrast Imaging Survey of Exoplanets and Disks: Results and Observations from the First Three Years

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brandt, Timothy D.; Kuzuhara, Masayuki; McElwain, Michael W.; Schlieder, Joshua E.; Wisniewski, John P.; Turner, Edwin L.; Carson, J.; Matsuo, T.; Biller, B.; Bonnefoy, M.; hide

    2014-01-01

    We present results from the first three years of observations of moving group (MG) targets in the Strategic Exploration of Exoplanets and Disks with Subaru (SEEDS) high-contrast imaging survey of exoplanets and disks using the Subaru telescope. We achieve typical contrasts of (is) approximately10(exp 5) at 1" and (is) approximately 10(exp 6) beyond 2" around 63 proposed members of nearby kinematic MGs. We review each of the kinematic associations to which our targets belong, concluding that five, beta Pictoris ((is) approximately 20 Myr), AB Doradus ((is) approximately 100 Myr), Columba ((is) approximately 30 Myr), Tucana-Horogium ((is) approximately 30 Myr), and TW Hydrae ((is) approximately 10 Myr), are sufficiently well-defined to constrain the ages of individual targets. Somewhat less than half of our targets are high-probability members of one of these MGs. For all of our targets, we combine proposed MG membership with other age indicators where available, including Ca ii HK emission, X-ray activity, and rotation period, to produce a posterior probability distribution of age. SEEDS observations discovered a substellar companion to one of our targets, kappa And, a late B star. We do not detect any other substellar companions, but do find seven new close binary systems, of which one still needs to be confirmed. A detailed analysis of the statistics of this sample, and of the companion mass constraints given our age probability distributions and exoplanet cooling models, will be presented in a forthcoming paper.

  7. The Death Spiral of the Hot Jupiter Exoplanet HD 189733b

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dowling Jones, Liam; Marchioni, Lucas; Guinan, Edward; Engle, Scott

    2018-01-01

    HD 189733 is a quintessential example of hot Jupiter-type exoplanet systems in which a gas giant planet with a mass similar to Jupiter is orbiting extremely close to its host star. HD 189733 is the nearest and brightest hot Jupiter system discovered so far and undergoes transit eclipses. Because of this, HD 189733 is well studied across the electromagnetic spectrum. It consists of a 7.7 mag K1.5 V host star and a Jupiter-size planet orbiting with a period of P =2.22 days, only located only 0.030 AU from its host star.About ten years ago HD 189733 system was discovered to be accompanied by gravitationally-bound red dwarf M4 V star companion (HD 189733 B). It was found previously by Guinan et al. (2017) that the age measurement (~0.7 Gyr) of the K-type star indicated by its 11.95 day rotation period and corresponding moderately high levels of coronal X-ray and chromospheric emissions do not agree with the much older age of ~6 - 9 Gyr indicated from the low X-ray activity of the dM companion star. This age discrepancy is can be resolved by assuming an increase in angular momentum or “spin-up” of the HD 189733A by its hosted planet. It is probable is that this extra angular momentum was acquired from the orbiting exoplanet from the tidal and magnetic interactions of the planet and host star.Photometric observations of the planetary transit eclipses of HD 189733b have been carried out for over 11 years. Using new transit timings that we have obtained with the 1.3-m Robotically Controlled Telescope (RCT) when combined with numerous timings available in the literature, we have discovered a very small decrease in the orbital period of the HD 189733b. The change in period is dP/dt = 0.87 sec/100 yrs. This finding support the transfer of orbital angular momentum of the planet to the host star - thus spinning-up the host star and shrinking the orbit of the planet. At this rate of period decrease, the planet will be tidally disrupted in less than 40 million years. However

  8. Worlds Beyond: A Strategy for the Detection and Characterization of Exoplanets

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Lunine, J; Fischer, D; Hammel, H; Hillenbrand, L; Kasting, J; Laughlin, G; Macintosh, B; Marley, M; Melnick, G; Monet, D; Noecker, C; Peale, S; Quirrenbach, A; Seager, S; Winn, J

    2008-06-02

    This report is a comprehensive study of the search for and study of planets around other stars (exoplanets). The young but maturing field of exoplanets is perhaps one of the most compelling fields of study in science today--both because of the discoveries made to date on giant planets around other stars, and because the detection of planets just like our Earth ('Earth analogs') is at last within reach technologically. In the Report we outline the need for a vigorous research program in exoplanets to understand our place in the cosmos: whether planets like our home Earth are a common or rare outcome of cosmic evolution. The strategy we developed is intended to address the following fundamental questions, in priority order, within three distinct 5-yr long phases, over a 15 year period: (1) What are the physical characteristics of planets in the habitable zones around bright, nearby stars? (2) What is the architecture of planetary systems? (3) When, how and in what environments are planets formed? The Report recommends a two-pronged strategy for the detection and characterization of planets the size of the Earth. For stars much less massive and cooler than our Sun (M-dwarfs), existing ground-based techniques including radial velocity and transit searches, and space-based facilities both existing and under development such as Spitzer and JWST, are adequate for finding and studying planets close to the mass and size of the Earth. Conducted in parallel with the M-dwarf strategy is one for the more challenging observations of the hotter and brighter F, G, and K stars, some of which are very close in properties to our Sun, in which the frequency of Earth-sized planets is assessed with Corot and Kepler, but new space missions are required for detection and study of specific Earth-mass and Earth-sized objects. Our Task Force concludes that the development of a space-based astrometric mission, narrowly-focused to identify specific nearby stars with Earth

  9. Laboratory Simulations on Haze Formation in Cool Exoplanet Atmospheres

    Science.gov (United States)

    He, Chao; Horst, Sarah; Lewis, Nikole; Yu, Xinting; McGuiggan, Patricia; Moses, Julianne I.

    2017-10-01

    The Kepler mission has shown that the most abundant types of planets are super-Earths and mini-Neptunes among ~3500 confirmed exoplanets, and these types of exoplanets are expected to exhibit a wide variety of atmospheric compositions. Recent transit spectra have demonstrated that clouds and/or hazes could play a significant role in these planetary atmospheres (Deming et al. 2013, Knutson et al. 2014, Kreidberg et al. 2014, Pont, et al. 2013). However, very little laboratory work has been done to understand the formation of haze over a broad range of atmospheric compositions. Here we conducted a series of laboratory simulations to investigate haze formation in a range of planetary atmospheres using our newly built Planetary HAZE Research (PHAZER) chamber (He et al. 2017). We ran experimental simulations for nine different atmospheres: three temperatures (300 K, 400 K, and 600 K) and three metallicities (100, 1000, and 10000 times solar metallicity) using AC glow discharge as an energy source to irradiate gas mixtures. We found that haze particles are formed in all nine experiments, but the haze production rates are dramatically different for different cases. We investigated the particle sizes of the haze particles deposited on quartz discs using atomic force microscopy (AFM). The AFM images show that the particle size varies from 30 nm to 200 nm. The haze particles are more uniform for 100x solar metallicity experiments (30 nm to 40 nm) while the particles sizes for 1000x and 10000x solar metallicity experiments have wider distributions (30 nm to 200 nm). The particle size affects the scattering of light, and thus the temperature structure of planetary atmospheres. The haze production rates and particle size distributions obtained here can serve as critical inputs to atmospheric physical and chemical tools to understand the exoplanetary atmospheres and help guide future TESS and JWST observations of super-Earths and mini-Neptunes.Ref:Deming, D., et al. 2013, Ap

  10. New results from the first exoplanet survey in the Canadian High Arctic

    Science.gov (United States)

    Law, Nicholas M.; Carlberg, Raymond; Fors, Octavi; Steinbring, Eric; Ngan, Wayne; Wulfken, Philip; Pedersen, Bjorn; Maire, Jérôme; Sivanandam, Suresh

    2014-07-01

    We present new results from the first search for transiting exoplanets undertaken from the High Arctic: the AWCam (Arctic Wide-field Cameras) survey. The survey, which has been operating for 2.5 years, is based at 80 degrees North on Ellesmere Island in the Canadian High Arctic. The small telescopes monitor 70,000 bright stars in a several-hundred square-degree region around Polaris, with milli-magnitude photometric precision, and are capable of discovering giant planets around 10,000 bright, nearby solar-type stars. We present the first longterm monitoring results from the AWCams, including an assessment of the site characteristics and the systems' long-term performance. The High-Arctic site provided excellent survey efficiency, without diurnal windowing and largely uninterrupted by clouds. Useful data was obtained over the entire survey field 71% of the time; the sky was clear 62% of the time. One pristine clear, dark period in winter 2012/13 persisted for 480 hours. In 2012/13 we recorded a period of 480 hours of continuous photometric conditions, attaining 3-4 millimag photometric stability over the entire period. We report the long-term photometric performance of the AWCam systems and detail the discovery of a bright (V=8) low-amplitude eclipsing binary. Finally, we present a concept for an extremely-wide-field arctic survey based on the Evryscope telescope-array design.

  11. STELLAR WIND INDUCED SOFT X-RAY EMISSION FROM CLOSE-IN EXOPLANETS

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Kislyakova, K. G.; Lammer, H. [Space Research Institute, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Graz (Austria); Fossati, L. [Argelander-Institut für Astronomie der Universität Bonn, Bonn (Germany); Johnstone, C. P. [Department of Astrophysics, University of Vienna, Vienna (Austria); Holmström, M. [Swedish Institute of Space Physics, Kiruna (Sweden); Zaitsev, V. V., E-mail: kristina.kislyakova@oeaw.ac.at [Institute of Applied Physics, Russian Academy of Sciences, Nizhny Novgorod (Russian Federation)

    2015-01-30

    In this Letter, we estimate the X-ray emission from close-in exoplanets. We show that the Solar/Stellar Wind Charge Exchange Mechanism (SWCX), which produces soft X-ray emission, is very effective for hot Jupiters. In this mechanism, X-ray photons are emitted as a result of the charge exchange between heavy ions in the solar wind and the atmospheric neutral particles. In the solar system, comets produce X-rays mostly through the SWCX mechanism, but it has also been shown to operate in the heliosphere, in the terrestrial magnetosheath, and on Mars, Venus, and the Moon. Since the number of emitted photons is proportional to the solar wind mass flux, this mechanism is not very effective for the solar system giants. Here we present a simple estimate of the X-ray emission intensity that can be produced by close-in extrasolar giant planets due to charge exchange with the heavy ions of the stellar wind. Using the example of HD 209458b, we show that this mechanism alone can be responsible for an X-ray emission of ≈10{sup 22} erg s{sup –1}, which is 10{sup 6} times stronger than the emission from the Jovian aurora. We discuss also the possibility of observing the predicted soft X-ray flux of hot Jupiters and show that despite high emission intensities they are unobservable with current facilities.

  12. Early-results from SHINE, the SPHERE High-Contrast Imaging Survey for Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Langlois, M.

    2017-09-01

    With the development of high contrast imaging techniques and instruments, vast efforts have been devoted during the past decades to detect and characterize lighter, cooler and closer companions to nearby stars, and ultimately image new planetary systems. Complementary to other planet-hunting techniques, this approach has opened a new astrophysical window to study the physical properties and the formation mechanisms of brown dwarfs and planets. With the SPHERE XAO instrument first Light at VLT in May 2014, we have initiated with SHINE, the Sphere High-contrast-ImagiNg survey for Exoplanets, a systematic characterization of 400-600 young, nearby stars close environment aimed at hunting and studying the physical and statistical properties of the giant planet population at wide orbits (>5 AU) between 2015 and 2020. In this talk, we will briefly present the main properties of the SHINE sample, the observing and data reduction and analysis strategy, the current detection performances achieved with the combination of both near-infrared instruments IRDIS and IFS, finally the key early-results obtained so far with the characterization of giant planets, the study of planetary system architectures, finally the first exploitation of the statistical information after 2.5 years of operation.

  13. Gaussian Process Kalman Filter for Focal Plane Wavefront Correction and Exoplanet Signal Extraction

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sun, He; Kasdin, N. Jeremy

    2018-01-01

    Currently, the ultimate limitation of space-based coronagraphy is the ability to subtract the residual PSF after wavefront correction to reveal the planet. Called reference difference imaging (RDI), the technique consists of conducting wavefront control to collect the reference point spread function (PSF) by observing a bright star, and then extracting target planet signals by subtracting a weighted sum of reference PSFs. Unfortunately, this technique is inherently inefficient because it spends a significant fraction of the observing time on the reference star rather than the target star with the planet. Recent progress in model based wavefront estimation suggests an alternative approach. A Kalman filter can be used to estimate the stellar PSF for correction by the wavefront control system while simultaneously estimating the planet signal. Without observing the reference star, the (extended) Kalman filter directly utilizes the wavefront correction data and combines the time series observations and model predictions to estimate the stellar PSF and planet signals. Because wavefront correction is used during the entire observation with no slewing, the system has inherently better stability. In this poster we show our results aimed at further improving our Kalman filter estimation accuracy by including not only temporal correlations but also spatial correlations among neighboring pixels in the images. This technique is known as a Gaussian process Kalman filter (GPKF). We also demonstrate the advantages of using a Kalman filter rather than RDI by simulating a real space exoplanet detection mission.

  14. Unpacking Exoplanet Detection Using Pedagogical Discipline Representations (PDRs)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Prather, Edward E.; Chambers, Timothy G.; Wallace, Colin Scott; Brissenden, Gina

    2017-01-01

    Successful educators know the importance of using multiple representations to teach the content of their disciplines. We have all seen the moments of epiphany that can be inspired when engaging with just the right representation of a difficult concept. The formal study of the cognitive impact of different representations on learners is now an active area of education research. The affordances of a particular representation are defined as the elements of disciplinary knowledge that students are able to access and reason about using that representation. Instructors with expert pedagogical content knowledge teach each topic using representations with complementary affordances, maximizing their students’ opportunity to develop fluency with all aspects of the topic. The work presented here examines how we have applied the theory of affordances to the development of pedagogical discipline representation (PDR) in an effort to provide access to, and help non-science-majors engage in expert-like reasoning about, general relativity as applied to detection of exoplanets. We define a pedagogical discipline representation (PDR) as a representation that has been uniquely tailored for the purpose of teaching a specific topic within a discipline. PDRs can be simplified versions of expert representations or can be highly contextualized with features that purposefully help unpack specific reasoning or concepts, and engage learners’ pre-existing mental models while promoting and enabling critical discourse. Examples of PDRs used for instruction and assessment will be provided along with preliminary results documenting the effectiveness of their use in the classroom.

  15. HIDING IN THE SHADOWS. II. COLLISIONAL DUST AS EXOPLANET MARKERS

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Dobinson, Jack; Leinhardt, Zoë M.; Lines, Stefan; Carter, Philip J. [University of Bristol, School of Physics, H. H. Wills Physics Laboratory, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 1TL (United Kingdom); Dodson-Robinson, Sarah E. [University of Delaware, Department of Physics and Astronomy, 217 Sharp Lab, Newark, DE 19716 (United States); Teanby, Nick A. [University of Bristol, School of Earth Sciences, H. H. Wills Physics Laboratory, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 1TL (United Kingdom)

    2016-03-20

    Observations of the youngest planets (∼1–10 Myr for a transitional disk) will increase the accuracy of our planet formation models. Unfortunately, observations of such planets are challenging and time-consuming to undertake, even in ideal circumstances. Therefore, we propose the determination of a set of markers that can preselect promising exoplanet-hosting candidate disks. To this end, N-body simulations were conducted to investigate the effect of an embedded Jupiter-mass planet on the dynamics of the surrounding planetesimal disk and the resulting creation of second-generation collisional dust. We use a new collision model that allows fragmentation and erosion of planetesimals, and dust-sized fragments are simulated in a post-process step including non-gravitational forces due to stellar radiation and a gaseous protoplanetary disk. Synthetic images from our numerical simulations show a bright double ring at 850 μm for a low-eccentricity planet, whereas a high-eccentricity planet would produce a characteristic inner ring with asymmetries in the disk. In the presence of first-generation primordial dust these markers would be difficult to detect far from the orbit of the embedded planet, but would be detectable inside a gap of planetary origin in a transitional disk.

  16. Polarimetry of Cool Atmospheres: From the Sun to Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Berdyugina, S. V.

    2011-04-01

    This is a review of a decades-long effort to develop novel tools for exploring magnetism in cold astrophysical media and to establish a new field of molecular spectropolarimetry since Berdyugina et al. (2000). It is most directly applicable to the Sun, cool stars, substellar objects, planets and other minor bodies as well as interstellar and circumstellar matter. It is close to being a mature field with developed theoretical tools poised to uncover new insights into the magnetic structures in cooler environments. Here I attempt a broad description of the literature and present some recent exciting results. In particular, following my programmatic review at SPW3, I discuss advances in molecular magnetic diagnostics which are based on the modeling of about a dozen diatomic molecules with various electronic transitions and states, including the most challenging - FeH. The applications stretch from sunspots to starspots, small-scale and turbulent solar magnetic fields, red and white dwarfs, and spin-offs such as polarimetry of protoplanetary disks and exoplanets.

  17. Finding Exoplanets Using Point Spread Function Photometry on Kepler Data

    Science.gov (United States)

    Amaro, Rachael Christina; Scolnic, Daniel; Montet, Ben

    2018-01-01

    The Kepler Mission has been able to identify over 5,000 exoplanet candidates using mostly aperture photometry. Despite the impressive number of discoveries, a large portion of Kepler’s data set is neglected due to limitations using aperture photometry on faint sources in crowded fields. We present an alternate method that overcomes those restrictions — Point Spread Function (PSF) photometry. This powerful tool, which is already used in supernova astronomy, was used for the first time on Kepler Full Frame Images, rather than just looking at the standard light curves. We present light curves for stars in our data set and demonstrate that PSF photometry can at least get down to the same photometric precision as aperture photometry. As a check for the robustness of this method, we change small variables (stamp size, interpolation amount, and noise correction) and show that the PSF light curves maintain the same repeatability across all combinations for one of our models. We also present our progress in the next steps of this project, including the creation of a PSF model from the data itself and applying the model across the entire data set at once.

  18. Space Telescope Sensitivity and Controls for Exoplanet Imaging

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lyon, Richard G.; Clampin, Mark

    2012-01-01

    Herein we address design considerations and outline requirements for space telescopes with capabilities for high contrast imaging of exoplanets. The approach taken is to identify the span of potentially detectable Earth-sized terrestrial planets in the habitable zone of the nearest stars within 30 parsecs and estimate their inner working angles, flux ratios, SNR, sensitivities, wavefront error requirements and sensing and control times parametrically versus aperture size. We consider 1, 2, 4, 8 and 16-meter diameter telescope apertures. The achievable science, range of telescope architectures, and the coronagraphic approach are all active areas of research and are all subject to change in a rapidly evolving field. Thus, presented is a snapshot of our current understanding with the goal of limiting the choices to those that appear currently technically feasible. We describe the top-level metrics of inner working angle, contrast and photometric throughput and explore how they are related to the range of target stars. A critical point is that for each telescope architecture and coronagraphic choice the telescope stability requirements have differing impacts on the design for open versus closed-loop sensing and control.

  19. Challenges to Constraining Exoplanet Masses via Transmission Spectroscopy

    Science.gov (United States)

    Batalha, Natasha E.; Kempton, Eliza M.-R.; Mbarek, Rostom

    2017-02-01

    MassSpec, a method for determining the mass of a transiting exoplanet from its transmission spectrum alone, was proposed by de Wit & Seager. The premise of this method relies on the planet’s surface gravity being extracted from the transmission spectrum via its effect on the atmospheric scale height, which in turn determines the strength of absorption features. Here, we further explore the applicability of MassSpec to low-mass exoplanets—specifically those in the super-Earth size range for which radial velocity determinations of the planetary mass can be extremely challenging and resource intensive. Determining the masses of these planets is of the utmost importance because their nature is otherwise highly unconstrained. Without knowledge of the mass, these planets could be rocky, icy, or gas-dominated. To investigate the effects of planetary mass on transmission spectra, we present simulated observations of super-Earths with atmospheres made up of mixtures of H2O and H2, both with and without clouds. We model their transmission spectra and run simulations of each planet as it would be observed with James Webb Space Telescope using the NIRISS, NIRSpec, and MIRI instruments. We find that significant degeneracies exist between transmission spectra of planets with different masses and compositions, making it impossible to unambiguously determine the planet’s mass in many cases.

  20. Analytic Scattering and Refraction Models for Exoplanet Transit Spectra

    Science.gov (United States)

    Robinson, Tyler D.; Fortney, Jonathan J.; Hubbard, William B.

    2017-12-01

    Observations of exoplanet transit spectra are essential to understanding the physics and chemistry of distant worlds. The effects of opacity sources and many physical processes combine to set the shape of a transit spectrum. Two such key processes—refraction and cloud and/or haze forward-scattering—have seen substantial recent study. However, models of these processes are typically complex, which prevents their incorporation into observational analyses and standard transit spectrum tools. In this work, we develop analytic expressions that allow for the efficient parameterization of forward-scattering and refraction effects in transit spectra. We derive an effective slant optical depth that includes a correction for forward-scattered light, and present an analytic form of this correction. We validate our correction against a full-physics transit spectrum model that includes scattering, and we explore the extent to which the omission of forward-scattering effects may bias models. Also, we verify a common analytic expression for the location of a refractive boundary, which we express in terms of the maximum pressure probed in a transit spectrum. This expression is designed to be easily incorporated into existing tools, and we discuss how the detection of a refractive boundary could help indicate the background atmospheric composition by constraining the bulk refractivity of the atmosphere. Finally, we show that opacity from Rayleigh scattering and collision-induced absorption will outweigh the effects of refraction for Jupiter-like atmospheres whose equilibrium temperatures are above 400-500 K.

  1. A Research-Informed Approach to Teaching About Exoplanet Detection in STEM Classrooms

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brissenden, Gina; Wallace, C. S.; Prather, E. E.; Traub, W. A.; Greene, W. M.; Biferno, A. A.

    2014-01-01

    JPL’s NASA Exoplanet Exploration Program’s (ExEP) Public Engagement Program, in collaboration with the Center for Astronomy Education (CAE), is engaged in a research and curriculum development program to bring the science of exoplanet detection into STEM classrooms. In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the number of astronomers pursuing research related to exoplanets, along with a significant increase in interest amongst students and the general public regarding the topic of exoplanets. CAE has previously developed a curriculum unit (including Think-Pair-Share questions and a Lecture-Tutorial) to help students develop a deeper understanding of the Doppler method for detecting extrasolar planets. To date, there is a nearly nonexistent research base on students’ conceptual and reasoning difficulties related to the science of the transit and gravitational microlensing methods for detecting extrasolar planets. Appropriate for physical science classrooms from middle school to the introductory college level, the learner-centered active engagement activities we are developing are going through an iterative research and assessment process to ensure that they enable students to achieve increased conceptual understandings and reasoning skills in these areas. In this talk, we will report on our development process for two new Lecture-Tutorials that help students learn about the transit and gravitational microlensing methods for finding exoplanets.

  2. Atmospheric Beacons of Life from Exoplanets Around G and K Stars.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Airapetian, Vladimir S; Jackman, Charles H; Mlynczak, Martin; Danchi, William; Hunt, Linda

    2017-11-02

    The current explosion in detection and characterization of thousands of extrasolar planets from the Kepler mission, the Hubble Space Telescope, and large ground-based telescopes opens a new era in searches for Earth-analog exoplanets with conditions suitable for sustaining life. As more Earth-sized exoplanets are detected in the near future, we will soon have an opportunity to identify habitale worlds. Which atmospheric biosignature gases from habitable planets can be detected with our current capabilities? The detection of the common biosignatures from nitrogen-oxygen rich terrestrial-type exoplanets including molecular oxygen (O2), ozone (O3), water vapor (H2O), carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrous oxide (N2O), and methane (CH4) requires days of integration time with largest space telescopes, and thus are very challenging for current instruments. In this paper we propose to use the powerful emission from rotational-vibrational bands of nitric oxide, hydroxyl and molecular oxygen as signatures of nitrogen, oxygen, and water rich atmospheres of terrestrial type exoplanets "highlighted" by the magnetic activity from young G and K main-sequence stars. The signals from these fundamental chemical prerequisites of life we call atmospheric "beacons of life" create a unique opportunity to perform direct imaging observations of Earth-sized exoplanets with high signal-to-noise and low spectral resolution with the upcoming NASA missions.

  3. SEEDS — Strategic explorations of exoplanets and disks with the Subaru Telescope —

    Science.gov (United States)

    TAMURA, Motohide

    2016-01-01

    The first convincing detection of planets orbiting stars other than the Sun, or exoplanets, was made in 1995. In only 20 years, the number of the exoplanets including promising candidates has already accumulated to more than 5000. Most of the exoplanets discovered so far are detected by indirect methods because the direct imaging of exoplanets needs to overcome the extreme contrast between the bright central star and the faint planets. Using the large Subaru 8.2-m Telescope, a new high-contrast imager, HiCIAO, and second-generation adaptive optics (AO188), the most ambitious high-contrast direct imaging survey to date for giant planets and planet-forming disks has been conducted, the SEEDS project. In this review, we describe the aims and results of the SEEDS project for exoplanet/disk science. The completeness and uniformity of this systematic survey mean that the resulting data set will dominate this field of research for many years. PMID:26860453

  4. Modeling the Cloudy Atmospheres of Cool Stars, Brown Dwarfs and Hot Exoplanets

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Juncher, Diana

    M-dwarfs are very attractive targets when searching for new exoplanets. Unfortunately, they are also very difficult to model since their temperatures are low enough for dust clouds to form in their atmospheres. Because the properties of an exoplanet cannot be determined without knowing the proper......M-dwarfs are very attractive targets when searching for new exoplanets. Unfortunately, they are also very difficult to model since their temperatures are low enough for dust clouds to form in their atmospheres. Because the properties of an exoplanet cannot be determined without knowing......-consistent cloudy atmosphere models that can be used to properly determine the stellar parameters of cool stars. With this enhanced model atmosphere code I have created a grid of cool, dusty atmosphere models ranging in effective temperatures from Teff = 2000 − 3000 K. I have studied the formation and structure...... of their clouds and found that their synthetic spectra fit the observed spectra of mid to late type M-dwarfs and early type L-dwarfs well. With additional development into even cooler regimes, they could be used to characterize the atmospheres of exoplanets and aid us in our search for the kind of chemical...

  5. The Habitable Exoplanet (HabEx) Imaging Mission: Preliminary Science Drivers and Technical Requirements

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gaudi, B. Scott; Habitable Exoplanet Imaging Mission Science and Technology Definition Team

    2017-01-01

    HabEx is one of four candidate flagship missions being studied in detail by NASA, to be submitted for consideration to the 2020 Decadal Survey in Astronomy and Astrophysics for possible launch in the 2030s. It will be optimized for direct imaging and spectroscopy of potentially habitable exoplanets, and will also enable a wide range of general astrophysics science. HabEx aims to fully characterize planetary systems around nearby solar-type stars for the first time, including rocky planets, possible water worlds, gas giants, ice giants, and faint circumstellar debris disks. In particular, it will explore our nearest neighbors and search for signs of habitability and biosignatures in the atmospheres of rocky planets in the habitable zones of their parent stars. Such high spatial resolution, high contrast observations require a large (roughly greater than 3.5m), stable, and diffraction-limited optical space telescope. Such a telescope also opens up unique capabilities for studying the formation and evolution of stars and galaxies. We present some preliminary science objectives identified for HabEx by our Science and Technology Definition Team (STDT), together with a first look at the key challenges and design trades ahead.

  6. Spitzer IRAC Sparsely Sampled Phase Curve of the Exoplanet Wasp-14B

    Science.gov (United States)

    Krick, J. E.; Ingalls, J.; Carey, S.; von Braun, K.; Kane, S. R.; Ciardi, D.; Plavchan, P.; Wong, I.; Lowrance, P.

    2016-06-01

    Motivated by a high Spitzer IRAC oversubscription rate, we present a new technique of randomly and sparsely sampling the phase curves of hot Jupiters. Snapshot phase curves are enabled by technical advances in precision pointing as well as careful characterization of a portion of the central pixel on the array. This method allows for observations which are a factor of approximately two more efficient than full phase curve observations, and are furthermore easier to insert into the Spitzer observing schedule. We present our pilot study from this program using the exoplanet WASP-14b. Data of this system were taken both as a sparsely sampled phase curve as well as a staring-mode phase curve. Both data sets, as well as snapshot-style observations of a calibration star, are used to validate this technique. By fitting our WASP-14b phase snapshot data set, we successfully recover physical parameters for the transit and eclipse depths as well as the amplitude and maximum and minimum of the phase curve shape of this slightly eccentric hot Jupiter. We place a limit on the potential phase to phase variation of these parameters since our data are taken over many phases over the course of a year. We see no evidence for eclipse depth variations compared to other published WASP-14b eclipse depths over a 3.5 year baseline.

  7. The mass of the Mars-sized exoplanet Kepler-138 b from transit timing.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jontof-Hutter, Daniel; Rowe, Jason F; Lissauer, Jack J; Fabrycky, Daniel C; Ford, Eric B

    2015-06-18

    Extrasolar planets that pass in front of their host star (transit) cause a temporary decrease in the apparent brightness of the star, providing a direct measure of the planet's size and orbital period. In some systems with multiple transiting planets, the times of the transits are measurably affected by the gravitational interactions between neighbouring planets. In favourable cases, the departures from Keplerian orbits (that is, unaffected by gravitational effects) implied by the observed transit times permit the planetary masses to be measured, which is key to determining their bulk densities. Characterizing rocky planets is particularly difficult, because they are generally smaller and less massive than gaseous planets. Therefore, few exoplanets near the size of Earth have had their masses measured. Here we report the sizes and masses of three planets orbiting Kepler-138, a star much fainter and cooler than the Sun. We determine that the mass of the Mars-sized inner planet, Kepler-138 b, is 0.066(+0.059)(-0.037) Earth masses. Its density is 2.6(+2.4)(-1.5) grams per cubic centimetre. The middle and outer planets are both slightly larger than Earth. The middle planet's density (6.2(+5.8)(-3.4) grams per cubic centimetre) is similar to that of Earth, and the outer planet is less than half as dense at 2.1(+2.2)(-1.2) grams per cubic centimetre, implying that it contains a greater portion of low-density components such as water and hydrogen.

  8. UNDERSTANDING TRENDS ASSOCIATED WITH CLOUDS IN IRRADIATED EXOPLANETS

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Heng, Kevin [University of Bern, Center for Space and Habitability, Sidlerstrasse 5, CH-3012 Bern (Switzerland); Demory, Brice-Olivier, E-mail: kevin.heng@csh.unibe.ch, E-mail: demory@mit.edu [Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139 (United States)

    2013-11-10

    Unlike previously explored relationships between the properties of hot Jovian atmospheres, the geometric albedo and the incident stellar flux do not exhibit a clear correlation, as revealed by our re-analysis of Q0-Q14 Kepler data. If the albedo is primarily associated with the presence of clouds in these irradiated atmospheres, a holistic modeling approach needs to relate the following properties: the strength of stellar irradiation (and hence the strength and depth of atmospheric circulation), the geometric albedo (which controls both the fraction of starlight absorbed and the pressure level at which it is predominantly absorbed), and the properties of the embedded cloud particles (which determine the albedo). The anticipated diversity in cloud properties renders any correlation between the geometric albedo and the stellar flux weak and characterized by considerable scatter. In the limit of vertically uniform populations of scatterers and absorbers, we use an analytical model and scaling relations to relate the temperature-pressure profile of an irradiated atmosphere and the photon deposition layer and to estimate whether a cloud particle will be lofted by atmospheric circulation. We derive an analytical formula for computing the albedo spectrum in terms of the cloud properties, which we compare to the measured albedo spectrum of HD 189733b by Evans et al. Furthermore, we show that whether an optical phase curve is flat or sinusoidal depends on whether the particles are small or large as defined by the Knudsen number. This may be an explanation for why Kepler-7b exhibits evidence for the longitudinal variation in abundance of condensates, while Kepler-12b shows no evidence for the presence of condensates despite the incident stellar flux being similar for both exoplanets. We include an 'observer's cookbook' for deciphering various scenarios associated with the optical phase curve, the peak offset of the infrared phase curve, and the geometric

  9. Retrieval of exoplanet emission spectra with HyDRA

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gandhi, Siddharth; Madhusudhan, Nikku

    2018-02-01

    Thermal emission spectra of exoplanets provide constraints on the chemical compositions, pressure-temperature (P-T) profiles, and energy transport in exoplanetary atmospheres. Accurate inferences of these properties rely on the robustness of the atmospheric retrieval methods employed. While extant retrieval codes have provided significant constraints on molecular abundances and temperature profiles in several exoplanetary atmospheres, the constraints on their deviations from thermal and chemical equilibria have yet to be fully explored. Our present work is a step in this direction. We report HyDRA, a disequilibrium retrieval framework for thermal emission spectra of exoplanetary atmospheres. The retrieval code uses the standard architecture of a parametric atmospheric model coupled with Bayesian statistical inference using the Nested Sampling algorithm. For a given dataset, the retrieved compositions and P-T profiles are used in tandem with the GENESIS self-consistent atmospheric model to constrain layer-by-layer deviations from chemical and radiative-convective equilibrium in the observable atmosphere. We demonstrate HyDRA on the Hot Jupiter WASP-43b with a high-precision emission spectrum. We retrieve an H2O mixing ratio of log(H2O) = -3.54^{+0.82}_{-0.52}, consistent with previous studies. We detect H2O and a combined CO/CO2 at 8-sigma significance. We find the dayside P-T profile to be consistent with radiative-convective equilibrium within the 1-sigma limits and with low day-night redistribution, consistent with previous studies. The derived compositions are also consistent with thermochemical equilibrium for the corresponding distribution of P-T profiles. In the era of high precision and high resolution emission spectroscopy, HyDRA provides a path to retrieve disequilibrium phenomena in exoplanetary atmospheres.

  10. The potential feasibility of chlorinic photosynthesis on exoplanets.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Haas, Johnson R

    2010-11-01

    The modern search for life-bearing exoplanets emphasizes the potential detection of O(2) and O(3) absorption spectra in exoplanetary atmospheres as ideal signatures of biology. However, oxygenic photosynthesis may not arise ubiquitously in exoplanetary biospheres. Alternative evolutionary paths may yield planetary atmospheres tinted with the waste products of other dominant metabolisms, including potentially exotic biochemistries. This paper defines chlorinic photosynthesis (CPS) as biologically mediated photolytic oxidation of aqueous Cl(-) to form halocarbon or dihalogen products, coupled with CO(2) assimilation. This hypothetical metabolism appears to be feasible energetically, physically, and geochemically, and could potentially develop under conditions that approximate the terrestrial Archean. It is hypothesized that an exoplanetary biosphere in which chlorinic photosynthesis dominates primary production would tend to evolve a strongly oxidizing, halogen-enriched atmosphere over geologic time. It is recommended that astronomical observations of exoplanetary outgoing thermal emission spectra consider signs of halogenated chemical species as likely indicators of the presence of a chlorinic biosphere. Planets that favor the evolution of CPS would probably receive equivalent or greater surface UV flux than is produced by the Sun, which would promote stronger abiotic UV photolysis of aqueous halides than occurred during Earth's Archean era and impose stronger evolutionary selection pressures on endemic life to accommodate and utilize halogenated compounds. Ocean-bearing planets of stars with metallicities equivalent to, or greater than, the Sun should especially favor the evolution of chlorinic biospheres because of the higher relative seawater abundances of Cl, Br, and I such planets would tend to host. Directed searches for chlorinic biospheres should probably focus on G0-G2, F, and A spectral class stars that have bulk metallicities of +0.0 Dex or greater.

  11. Evo-SETI SCALE to measure Life on Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Maccone, Claudio

    2016-04-01

    that the GBM exponential may be regarded as the geometric locus of all the peaks of a one-parameter (i.e. the peak time p) family of b-lognormals. Since b-lognormals are pdf-s, the area under each of them always equals 1 (normalization condition) and so, going from left to right on the time axis, the b-lognormals become more and more ;peaky;, and so they last less and less in time. This is precisely what happened in human history: civilizations that lasted millennia (like Ancient Greece and Rome) lasted just centuries (like the Italian Renaissance and Portuguese, Spanish, French, British and USA Empires) but they were more and more advanced in the ;level of civilization;. This ;level of civilization; is what physicists call ENTROPY. Also, in refs. Maccone [3] and [4], this author proved that, for all GBMs, the (Shannon) Entropy of the b-lognormals in his Peak-Locus Theorem grows LINEARLY in time. The Molecular Clock, well known to geneticists since 50 years, shows that the DNA base-substitutions occur LINEARLY in time since they are neutral with respect to Darwinian selection. In simple words: DNA evolved by obeying the laws of quantum physics only (microscopic laws) and not by obeying assumed ;Darwinian selection laws; (macroscopic laws). This is Kimura's neutral theory of molecular evolution. The conclusion is that the Molecular Clock and the b-lognormal Entropy are the same thing. At last, we reach the new, original result justifying the publication of this paper. On exoplanets, molecular evolution is proceeding at about the same rate as it did proceed on Earth: rather independently of the physical conditions of the exoplanet, if the DNA had the possibility to evolve in water initially. Thus, Evo-Entropy, i.e. the (Shannon) Entropy of the generic b-lognormal of the Peak-Locus Theorem, provides the Evo-SETI SCALE to measure the evolution of life on exoplanets.

  12. HAT-P-26b: A Neptune-mass exoplanet with a well-constrained heavy element abundance.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wakeford, Hannah R; Sing, David K; Kataria, Tiffany; Deming, Drake; Nikolov, Nikolay; Lopez, Eric D; Tremblin, Pascal; Amundsen, David S; Lewis, Nikole K; Mandell, Avi M; Fortney, Jonathan J; Knutson, Heather; Benneke, Björn; Evans, Thomas M

    2017-05-12

    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 micrometers, 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 525 parts per million in the transmission spectrum. Using the water abundance as a proxy for metallicity, we measured HAT-P-26b's atmospheric heavy element content ([Formula: see text] 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. Copyright © 2017, American Association for the Advancement of Science.

  13. HAT-P-26b: A Neptune-mass exoplanet with a well-constrained heavy element abundance

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wakeford, Hannah R.; Sing, David K.; Kataria, Tiffany; Deming, Drake; Nikolov, Nikolay; Lopez, Eric D.; Tremblin, Pascal; Amundsen, David S.; Lewis, Nikole K.; Mandell, Avi M.; Fortney, Jonathan J.; Knutson, Heather; Benneke, Björn; Evans, Thomas M.

    2017-05-01

    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 micrometers, 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 525 parts per million 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.

  14. ASTEP: Towards the detection and characterization of exoplanets from Dome C

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rauer H.

    2011-02-01

    Full Text Available The ASTEP project (Antarctic Search for Transiting ExoPlanets, aims at testing the quality of the Dome C site in Antarctica for photometry in the visible, as well as detecting and characterizing transiting exoplanets. A dedicated telescope, ASTEP400, has been developped and installed at Concordia. The first campaign took place during the winter 2010, and the telescope functionned nominally during all the winter. A first analysis of the data leads to a precision of 189 and 205 ppm for WASP-19 and WASP-18 respectively, for continuous observations during 1 month. This shows that extremely high precision photometry is achievable from Dome C.

  15. Red-edge position of habitable exoplanets around M-dwarfs

    OpenAIRE

    Takizawa, Kenji; Minagawa, Jun; Tamura, Motohide; Kusakabe, Nobuhiko; Narita, Norio

    2017-01-01

    One of the possible signs of life on distant habitable exoplanets is the red-edge, which is a rise in the reflectivity of planets between visible and near-infrared (NIR) wavelengths. Previous studies suggested the possibility that the red-edge position for habitable exoplanets around M-dwarfs may be shifted to a longer wavelength than that for Earth. We investigated plausible red-edge position in terms of the light environment during the course of the evolution of phototrophs. We show that ph...

  16. THE LEECH EXOPLANET IMAGING SURVEY: ORBIT AND COMPONENT MASSES OF THE INTERMEDIATE-AGE, LATE-TYPE BINARY NO UMa

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Schlieder, Joshua E. [NASA Ames Research Center, Space Science and Astrobiology Division, MS 245-6, Moffett Field, CA 94035 (United States); Skemer, Andrew J.; Hinz, Philip; Leisenring, Jarron; Defrère, Denis; Close, Laird M.; Eisner, Josh A. [Steward Observatory, Department of Astronomy, University of Arizona, 933 N. Cherry Avenue, Tucson, AZ 85721 (United States); Maire, Anne-Lise; Desidera, Silvano [INAF—Osservatorio Astronomico di Padova, Vicolo dell’Osservatorio 5, I-35122, Padova (Italy); Skrutskie, Michael F. [Department of Astronomy, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, 22904 (United States); Bailey, Vanessa [Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305 (United States); Esposito, Simone [INAF—Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri, Largo E. Fermi 5, I-50125, Firenze (Italy); Strassmeier, Klaus G.; Weber, Michael [Leibniz-Institut für Astrophysik Potsdam (AIP), An der Sternwarte 16, D-14482, Potsdam (Germany); Biller, Beth A.; Bonnefoy, Mickaël; Buenzli, Esther; Henning, Thomas [Max-Planck-Institut für Astronomie, Königstuhl 17, D-69117, Heidelberg (Germany); Crepp, Justin R. [Department of Physics, University of Notre Dame, 225 Nieuwland Science Hall, Notre Dame, IN, 46556 (United States); Hofmann, Karl-Heinz, E-mail: joshua.e.schlieder@nasa.gov [Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie, Auf dem Hügel 69, D-53121, Bonn (Germany); and others

    2016-02-10

    We present high-resolution Large Binocular Telescope LBTI/LMIRcam images of the spectroscopic and astrometric binary NO UMa obtained as part of the LBT Interferometer Exozodi Exoplanet Common Hunt exoplanet imaging survey. Our H-, K{sub s}-, and L′-band observations resolve the system at angular separations <0.″09. The components exhibit significant orbital motion over a span of ∼7 months. We combine our imaging data with archival images, published speckle interferometry measurements, and existing spectroscopic velocity data to solve the full orbital solution and estimate component masses. The masses of the K2.0 ± 0.5 primary and K6.5 ± 0.5 secondary are 0.83 ± 0.02 M{sub ⊙} and 0.64 ± 0.02 M{sub ⊙}, respectively. We also derive a system distance of d = 25.87 ± 0.02 pc and revise the Galactic kinematics of NO UMa. Our revised Galactic kinematics confirm NO UMa as a nuclear member of the ∼500 Myr old Ursa Major moving group, and it is thus a mass and age benchmark. We compare the masses of the NO UMa binary components to those predicted by five sets of stellar evolution models at the age of the Ursa Major group. We find excellent agreement between our measured masses and model predictions with little systematic scatter between the models. NO UMa joins the short list of nearby, bright, late-type binaries having known ages and fully characterized orbits.

  17. Tidal synchronization of close-in satellites and exoplanets: II. Spin dynamics and extension to Mercury and exoplanet host stars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ferraz-Mello, Sylvio

    2015-08-01

    This paper deals with the application of the creep tide theory (Ferraz-Mello, Celest Mech Dyn Astron 116:109, 2013a) to the rotation of close-in satellites, Mercury, close-in exoplanets, and their host stars. The solutions show different behaviors with two extreme cases: close-in giant gaseous planets with fast relaxation (low viscosity) and satellites and Earth-like planets with slow relaxation (high viscosity). The rotation of close-in gaseous planets follows the classical Darwinian pattern: it is tidally driven toward a stationary solution that is synchronized with the orbital motion when the orbit is circular, but if the orbit is elliptical, it has a frequency larger than the orbital mean motion. The rotation of rocky bodies, however, may be driven to several attractors whose frequencies are times the mean motion. The number of attractors increases with the viscosity of the body and with the orbital eccentricity. The final stationary state depends on the initial conditions. The classical example is Mercury, whose rotational period is 2/3 of the orbital period (3/2 attractor). The planet behaves as a molten body with a relaxation that allowed it to cross the 2/1 attractor without being trapped but not to escape being trapped in the 3/2 one. In that case, the relaxation is estimated to lie in the interval (equivalent to a quality factor roughly constrained to the interval ). The stars have a relaxation similar to the hot Jupiters, and their rotation is also driven to the only stationary solution existing in these cases. However, solar-type stars may lose angular momentum due to stellar wind, braking the rotation and displacing the attractor toward larger periods. Old, active host stars with big close-in companions generally have rotational periods larger than the orbital periods of the companions. The paper also includes a study of energy dissipation and the evolution of orbital eccentricity.

  18. Physical properties of the planetary systems WASP-45 and WASP-46 from simultaneous multiband photometry

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Ciceri, S.; Mancini, L.; Southworth, J.

    2016-01-01

    Accurate measurements of the physical characteristics of a large number of exoplanets are useful to strongly constrain theoretical models of planet formation and evolution, which lead to the large variety of exoplanets and planetary-system configurations that have been observed. We present a stud...

  19. Is this a Brown Dwarf or an Exoplanet?

    Science.gov (United States)

    2005-04-01

    Since the discovery in 1995 of the first planet orbiting a normal star other than the Sun, there are now more than 150 candidates of these so-called exoplanets known. Most of them are detected by indirect methods, based either on variations of the radial velocity or the dimming of the star as the planet passes in front of it (see ESO PR 06/03, ESO PR 11/04 and ESO PR 22/04). Astronomers would, however, prefer to obtain a direct image of an exoplanet, allowing them to better characterize the object's physical nature. This is an exceedingly difficult task, as the planet is generally hidden in the "glare" of its host star. To partly overcome this problem, astronomers study very young objects. Indeed, sub-stellar objects are much hotter and brighter when young and therefore can be more easily detected than older objects of similar mass. Based on this approach, it might well be that last year's detection of a feeble speck of light next to the young brown dwarf 2M1207 by an international team of astronomers using the ESO Very Large Telescope (ESO PR 23/04) is the long-sought bona-fide image of an exoplanet. A recent report based on data from the Hubble Space Telescope seems to confirm this result. The even more recent observations made with the Spitzer Space Telescope of the warm infrared glows of two previously detected "hot Jupiter" planets is another interesting result in this context. This wealth of new results, obtained in the time span of a few months, illustrates perfectly the dynamic of this field of research. Tiny Companion ESO PR Photo 10a/05 ESO PR Photo 10a/05 The Sub-Stellar Companion to GQ Lupi (NACO/VLT) [Preview - JPEG: 400 x 429 pix - 22k] [Normal - JPEG: 800 x 875 pix - 132k] [Full Res - JPEG: 1042 x 1116 pix - 241k] Caption: ESO PR Photo 10a/05 shows the VLT NACO image, taken in the Ks-band, of GQ Lupi. The feeble point of light to the right of the star is the newly found cold companion. It is 250 times fainter than the star itself and it located 0

  20. Clouds and hazes in exoplanets and brown dwarfs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Morley, Caroline Victoria

    The formation of clouds significantly alters the spectra of cool substellar atmospheres from terrestrial planets to brown dwarfs. In cool planets like Earth and Jupiter, volatile species like water and ammonia condense to form ice clouds. In hot planets and brown dwarfs, iron and silicates instead condense, forming dusty clouds. Irradiated methane-rich planets may have substantial hydrocarbon hazes. During my dissertation, I have studied the impact of clouds and hazes in a variety of substellar objects. First, I present results for cool brown dwarfs including clouds previously neglected in model atmospheres. Model spectra that include sulfide and salt clouds can match the spectra of T dwarf atmospheres; water ice clouds will alter the spectra of the newest and coldest brown dwarfs, the Y dwarfs. These sulfide/salt and ice clouds potentially drive spectroscopic variability in these cool objects, and this variability should be distinguishable from variability caused by hot spots. Next, I present results for small, cool exoplanets between the size of Earth and Neptune. They likely have sulfide and salt clouds and also have photochemical hazes caused by stellar irradiation. Vast resources have been dedicated to characterizing the handful of super Earths and Neptunes accessible to current telescopes, yet of the planets smaller than Neptune studied to date, all have radii in the near-infrared consistent with being constant in wavelength, likely showing that these small planets are consistently enshrouded in thick hazes and clouds. For the super Earth GJ 1214b, very thick, lofted clouds of salts or sulfides in high metallicity (1000x solar) atmospheres create featureless transmission spectra in the near-infrared. Photochemical hazes also create featureless transmission spectra at lower metallicities. For the Neptune-sized GJ 436b, its thermal emission and transmission spectra combine indicate a high metallicity atmosphere, potentially heated by tides and affected by

  1. Exoplanet modelling with the Met Office Unified Model

    Science.gov (United States)

    Boutle, Ian; Lines, Stefan; Mayne, Nathan; Lee, Graham; Helling, Christiane; Drummond, Ben; Manners, James; Goyal, Jayesh; Lambert, Hugo; Acreman, David; Earnshaw, Paul; Amundsen, David; Baraffe, Isabelle

    2017-04-01

    This talk will present an overview of work being done to adapt the Unified Model, one of the most sophisticated weather and climate models of this planet, into a flexible planet simulator for use in the study of any exoplanet. We will focus on two current projects: Clouds in hot Jupiter atmospheres - recent HST observations have revealed a continuum in atmospheric composition from cloudy to clear skies. The presence of clouds is inferred from a grey opacity in the near-IR that mutes key absorption features in the transmission spectra. Unlike the L-T Brown Dwarf sequence, this transition does not correlate well with equilibrium temperature, suggesting that a cloud formation scheme more comprehensive than simply considering the condensation temperature needed for homogenous cloud growth, is required. In our work, we conduct 3D simulations of cloud nucleation, growth, advection, evaporation and gravitational settling in the atmospheres of HD209458b and HD189733 using the kinetic and mixed-grain cloud formation code DIHRT, coupled to the Unified Model. We explore cloud composition, vertical structure and particle sizes, as well as highlighting the importance of the strong atmospheric dynamics seen in tidally locked hot Jupiters on the evolution and distribution of the cloud. Climate of Proxima B - we present results of simulations of the climate of the newly discovered planet Proxima Centauri B, examining the responses of both an `Earth-like' atmosphere and simplified nitrogen and trace carbon dioxide atmosphere to the radiation likely received. Overall, our results are in agreement with previous studies in suggesting Proxima Centauri B may well have surface temperatures conducive to the presence of liquid water. Moreover, we have expanded the parameter regime over which the planet may support liquid water to higher values of eccentricity and lower incident fluxes, guided by observational constraints. This increased parameter space arises because of the low sensitivity

  2. The contribution of secondary eclipses as astrophysical false positives to exoplanet transit surveys

    Science.gov (United States)

    Santerne, A.; Fressin, F.; Díaz, R. F.; Figueira, P.; Almenara, J.-M.; Santos, N. C.

    2013-09-01

    We investigate the astrophysical false-positive configuration in exoplanet-transit surveys. It involves eclipsing binaries and giant planets that present only a secondary eclipse, as seen from the Earth. To test how an eclipsing binary configuration can mimic a planetary transit, we generated synthetic light curves of three examples of secondary-only eclipsing binary systems that we fit with a circular planetary model. Then, to evaluate its occurrence we modeled a population of binaries in double and triple systems based on binary statistics and occurrence. We find that 0.061% ± 0.017% of main-sequence binary stars are secondary-only eclipsing binaries that mimics a planetary transit candidate with a size down to the size of the Earth. We then evaluate the occurrence that an occulting-only giant planet can mimic an Earth-like planet or even a smaller one. We find that 0.009% ± 0.002% of stars harbor a giant planet that only presents the secondary transit. Occulting-only giant planets mimic planets that are smaller than the Earth, and they are in the scope of space missions like Kepler and PLATO. We estimate that up to 43.1 ± 5.6 Kepler objects of interest can be mimicked by this configuration of false positives, thereby re-evaluating the global false-positive rate of the Kepler mission from 9.4 ± 0.9% to 11.3 ± 1.1%. We note, however, that this new false-positive scenario occurs at relatively long orbital periods compared with the median period of Kepler candidates.

  3. Imaging polarimetry for the characterisation of exoplanets and protoplanetary discs : scientific and technical challenges

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Juan Ovelar, Maria de

    2013-01-01

    The study of exoplanets and the protoplanetary discs in which they form is a very challenging task. In this thesis we present several studies in which we investigate the potential of imaging polarimetry at visible and near-infrared wavelengths to reveal the characteristics of these objects and

  4. Role of ocean heat transport in climates of tidally locked exoplanets around M dwarf stars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hu, Yongyun; Yang, Jun

    2014-01-01

    The distinctive feature of tidally locked exoplanets is the very uneven heating by stellar radiation between the dayside and nightside. Previous work has focused on the role of atmospheric heat transport in preventing atmospheric collapse on the nightside for terrestrial exoplanets in the habitable zone around M dwarfs. In the present paper, we carry out simulations with a fully coupled atmosphere–ocean general circulation model to investigate the role of ocean heat transport in climate states of tidally locked habitable exoplanets around M dwarfs. Our simulation results demonstrate that ocean heat transport substantially extends the area of open water along the equator, showing a lobster-like spatial pattern of open water, instead of an “eyeball.” For sufficiently high-level greenhouse gases or strong stellar radiation, ocean heat transport can even lead to complete deglaciation of the nightside. Our simulations also suggest that ocean heat transport likely narrows the width of M dwarfs’ habitable zone. This study provides a demonstration of the importance of exooceanography in determining climate states and habitability of exoplanets. PMID:24379386

  5. Role of ocean heat transport in climates of tidally locked exoplanets around M dwarf stars.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hu, Yongyun; Yang, Jun

    2014-01-14

    The distinctive feature of tidally locked exoplanets is the very uneven heating by stellar radiation between the dayside and nightside. Previous work has focused on the role of atmospheric heat transport in preventing atmospheric collapse on the nightside for terrestrial exoplanets in the habitable zone around M dwarfs. In the present paper, we carry out simulations with a fully coupled atmosphere-ocean general circulation model to investigate the role of ocean heat transport in climate states of tidally locked habitable exoplanets around M dwarfs. Our simulation results demonstrate that ocean heat transport substantially extends the area of open water along the equator, showing a lobster-like spatial pattern of open water, instead of an "eyeball." For sufficiently high-level greenhouse gases or strong stellar radiation, ocean heat transport can even lead to complete deglaciation of the nightside. Our simulations also suggest that ocean heat transport likely narrows the width of M dwarfs' habitable zone. This study provides a demonstration of the importance of exooceanography in determining climate states and habitability of exoplanets.

  6. On Advanced Estimation Techniques for Exoplanet Detection and Characterization Using Ground-based Coronagraphs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lawson, Peter R; Poyneer, Lisa; Barrett, Harrison; Frazin, Richard; Caucci, Luca; Devaney, Nicholas; Furenlid, Lars; Gładysz, Szymon; Guyon, Olivier; Krist, John; Maire, Jérôme; Marois, Christian; Mawet, Dimitri; Mouillet, David; Mugnier, Laurent; Pearson, Iain; Perrin, Marshall; Pueyo, Laurent; Savransky, Dmitry

    2012-07-01

    The direct imaging of planets around nearby stars is exceedingly difficult. Only about 14 exoplanets have been imaged to date that have masses less than 13 times that of Jupiter. The next generation of planet-finding coronagraphs, including VLT-SPHERE, the Gemini Planet Imager, Palomar P1640, and Subaru HiCIAO have predicted contrast performance of roughly a thousand times less than would be needed to detect Earth-like planets. In this paper we review the state of the art in exoplanet imaging, most notably the method of Locally Optimized Combination of Images (LOCI), and we investigate the potential of improving the detectability of faint exoplanets through the use of advanced statistical methods based on the concepts of the ideal observer and the Hotelling observer. We propose a formal comparison of techniques using a blind data challenge with an evaluation of performance using the Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) and Localization ROC (LROC) curves. We place particular emphasis on the understanding and modeling of realistic sources of measurement noise in ground-based AO-corrected coronagraphs. The work reported in this paper is the result of interactions between the co-authors during a week-long workshop on exoplanet imaging that was held in Squaw Valley, California, in March of 2012.

  7. Looking for the rainbow on exoplanets covered by liquid and icy water clouds

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Karalidi, T.; Stam, D.M.; Hovenier, J.W.

    2012-01-01

    Aims. Looking for the primary rainbow in starlight that is reflected by exoplanets appears to be a promising method to search for liquid water clouds in exoplanetary atmospheres. Ice water clouds, that consist of water crystals instead of water droplets, could potentially mask the rainbow feature in

  8. Habitable Exoplanet Imaging Mission (HabEx): Architecture of the 4m Mission Concept

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kuan, Gary M.; Warfield, Keith R.; Mennesson, Bertrand; Kiessling, Alina; Stahl, H. Philip; Martin, Stefan; Shaklan, Stuart B.; amini, rashied

    2018-01-01

    The Habitable Exoplanet Imaging Mission (HabEx) study is tasked by NASA to develop a scientifically compelling and technologically feasible exoplanet direct imaging mission concept, with extensive general astrophysics capabilities, for the 2020 Decadal Survey in Astrophysics. The baseline architecture of this space-based observatory concept encompasses an unobscured 4m diameter aperture telescope flying in formation with a 72-meter diameter starshade occulter. This large aperture, ultra-stable observatory concept extends and enhances upon the legacy of the Hubble Space Telescope by allowing us to probe even fainter objects and peer deeper into the Universe in the same ultraviolet, visible, and near infrared wavelengths, and gives us the capability, for the first time, to image and characterize potentially habitable, Earth-sized exoplanets orbiting nearby stars. Revolutionary direct imaging of exoplanets will be undertaken using a high-contrast coronagraph and a starshade imager. General astrophysics science will be undertaken with two world-class instruments – a wide-field workhorse camera for imaging and multi-object grism spectroscopy, and a multi-object, multi-resolution ultraviolet spectrograph. This poster outlines the baseline architecture of the HabEx flagship mission concept.

  9. Red-edge position of habitable exoplanets around M-dwarfs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Takizawa, Kenji; Minagawa, Jun; Tamura, Motohide; Kusakabe, Nobuhiko; Narita, Norio

    2017-08-08

    One of the possible signs of life on distant habitable exoplanets is the red-edge, which is a rise in the reflectivity of planets between visible and near-infrared (NIR) wavelengths. Previous studies suggested the possibility that the red-edge position for habitable exoplanets around M-dwarfs may be shifted to a longer wavelength than that for Earth. We investigated plausible red-edge position in terms of the light environment during the course of the evolution of phototrophs. We show that phototrophs on M-dwarf habitable exoplanets may use visible light when they first evolve in the ocean and when they first colonize the land. The adaptive evolution of oxygenic photosynthesis may eventually also use NIR radiation, by one of two photochemical reaction centers, with the other center continuing to use visible light. These "two-color" reaction centers can absorb more photons, but they will encounter difficulty in adapting to drastically changing light conditions at the boundary between land and water. NIR photosynthesis can be more productive on land, though its evolution would be preceded by the Earth-type vegetation. Thus, the red-edge position caused by photosynthetic organisms on habitable M-dwarf exoplanets could initially be similar to that on Earth and later move to a longer wavelength.

  10. SPHERE: exo-planets science with the new frontier of high contrast imaging

    Science.gov (United States)

    Claudi, R.; Beuzit, J.-L.; Feldt, M.; Mouillet, D.; Dohlen, K.; Puget, P.; Wildi, F.; Baruffolo, A.; Charton, J.; Antichi, J.; Boccaletti, A.; Desidera, S.; Fusco, T.; Gratton, R.; Langlois, M.; Mesa, D.; Pragt, J.; Raboub, P.; Roelfsema, R.; Saisse, M.; Schmid, H.-M.; Turatto, M.; Moutou, C.; Henning, T.; Udry, S.; Vakili, F.; Waters, R.

    2008-09-01

    ABSTRACT High contrast imaging will be the new frontier of exoplanets search providing the opportunity to have at once a deep glance in the neighborhood of the target star. In addition, coupling integral field spectrographs to extreme adaptive optics module at the focus of 8m telescope class and in future to ELTs, gives also the possibility to have a first order characterization of the exoplanets itself. SPHERE, second generation instrument for VLT, is an exo-solar planet imager, which goal is to detect giant exo-solar planets in the vicinity of bright stars and to characterize them through spectroscopic and polarimetric observations. It is a complete system with a core made of an extreme-Adaptive Optics (AO) turbulence correction, pupil tracker and interferential coronagraphs. At its back end, a differential dual imaging camera (IRDIS) and an integral field spectrograph (IFS) work in the Near Infrared (NIR) Y, J, H and Ks bands (0.95-2.32 μm) and a high resolution polarization camera (ZIMPOL) covers the visible (0.6 - 0.9 μm). The three instruments could work simultaneously. As matter of fact, as the instrument has been thought and designed, It should be considered more like an experiment than a typical ancillary instrumentation. The prime objective of SPHERE is the discovery and study of new planets orbiting stars by direct imaging of the circumstellar environment. The challenge consists in the very large contrast of luminosity between the star and the planet (larger than " 12.5 magnitudes or " 105 flux ratio), at very small angular separations, typically inside the seeing halo. The whole design of SPHERE is therefore optimized towards high contrast performance in a limited field of view and at short distances from the central star. Both evolved and young planetary systems will be detected, respectively through their reflected light (mostly by ZIMPOL) and through the intrinsic planet emission (IRDIS+IFS modes). Both components of the near-infrared arm of SPHERE

  11. Disentangling degenerate solutions from primary transit and secondary eclipse spectroscopy of exoplanets.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Griffith, Caitlin A

    2014-04-28

    Infrared transmission and emission spectroscopy of exoplanets, recorded from primary transit and secondary eclipse measurements, indicate the presence of the most abundant carbon and oxygen molecular species (H2O, CH4, CO and CO2) in a few exoplanets. However, efforts to constrain the molecular abundances to within several orders of magnitude are thwarted by the broad range of degenerate solutions that fit the data. Here, we explore, with radiative transfer models and analytical approximations, the nature of the degenerate solution sets resulting from the sparse measurements of 'hot Jupiter' exoplanets. As demonstrated with simple analytical expressions, primary transit measurements probe roughly four atmospheric scale heights at each wavelength band. Derived mixing ratios from these data are highly sensitive to errors in the radius of the planet at a reference pressure. For example, an uncertainty of 1% in the radius of a 1000 K and H2-based exoplanet with Jupiter's radius and mass causes an uncertainty of a factor of approximately 100-10,000 in the derived gas mixing ratios. The degree of sensitivity depends on how the line strength increases with the optical depth (i.e. the curve of growth) and the atmospheric scale height. Temperature degeneracies in the solutions of the primary transit data, which manifest their effects through the scale height and absorption coefficients, are smaller. We argue that these challenges can be partially surmounted by a combination of selected wavelength sampling of optical and infrared measurements and, when possible, the joint analysis of transit and secondary eclipse data of exoplanets. However, additional work is needed to constrain other effects, such as those owing to planetary clouds and star spots. Given the current range of open questions in the field, both observations and theory, there is a need for detailed measurements with space-based large mirror platforms (e.g. James web space telescope) and smaller broad survey

  12. MAPLE: reflected light from exoplanets with a 50-cm diameter stratospheric balloon telescope

    Science.gov (United States)

    Marois, Christian; Bradley, Colin; Pazder, John; Nash, Reston; Metchev, Stanimir; Grandmont, Frédéric; Maire, Anne-Lise; Belikov, Ruslan; Macintosh, Bruce; Currie, Thayne; Galicher, Raphaël.; Marchis, Franck; Mawet, Dimitri; Serabyn, Eugene; Steinbring, Eric

    2014-08-01

    Detecting light reflected from exoplanets by direct imaging is the next major milestone in the search for, and characterization of, an Earth twin. Due to the high-risk and cost associated with satellites and limitations imposed by the atmosphere for ground-based instruments, we propose a bottom-up approach to reach that ultimate goal with an endeavor named MAPLE. MAPLE first project is a stratospheric balloon experiment called MAPLE-50. MAPLE-50 consists of a 50 cm diameter off-axis telescope working in the near-UV. The advantages of the near-UV are a small inner working angle and an improved contrast for blue planets. Along with the sophisticated tracking system to mitigate balloon pointing errors, MAPLE-50 will have a deformable mirror, a vortex coronograph, and a self-coherent camera as a focal plane wavefront-sensor which employs an Electron Multiplying CCD (EMCCD) as the science detector. The EMCCD will allow photon counting at kHz rates, thereby closely tracking telescope and instrument-bench-induced aberrations as they evolve with time. In addition, the EMCCD will acquire the science data with almost no read noise penalty. To mitigate risk and lower costs, MAPLE-50 will at first have a single optical channel with a minimum of moving parts. The goal is to reach a few times 109 contrast in 25 h worth of flying time, allowing direct detection of Jovians around the nearest stars. Once the 50 cm infrastructure has been validated, the telescope diameter will then be increased to a 1.5 m diameter (MAPLE-150) to reach 1010 contrast and have the capability to image another Earth.

  13. The Gemini NICI planet-finding campaign: the orbit of the young exoplanet β Pictoris b

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Nielsen, Eric L.; Liu, Michael C.; Chun, Mark; Ftaclas, Christ [Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawaii, 2680 Woodlawn Drive, Honolulu, HI 96822 (United States); Wahhaj, Zahed [European Southern Observatory, Alonso de Cordova 3107, Vitacura, Casilla 19001, Santiago (Chile); Biller, Beth A. [Institute for Astronomy, The University of Edinburgh, Royal Observatory, Blackford Hill, Edinburgh EH9 3HJ (United Kingdom); Hayward, Thomas L. [Gemini Observatory, Southern Operations Center, c/o AURA, Casilla 603, La Serena (Chile); Males, Jared R.; Close, Laird M.; Morzinski, Katie M.; Skemer, Andrew J.; Hinz, Philip M. [Steward Observatory, University of Arizona, 933 North Cherry Avenue, Tucson, AZ 85721 (United States); Kuchner, Marc J. [Goddard Space Flight Center, Code 667, Greenbelt, MD 20771 (United States); Rodigas, Timothy J. [Department of Terrestrial Magnetism, Carnegie Institute of Washington, 5241 Broad Branch Road, NW, Washington, DC 20015 (United States); Toomey, Douglas W. [Mauna Kea Infrared, LLC, 21 Pookela Street, Hilo, HI 96720 (United States)

    2014-10-20

    We present new astrometry for the young (12-21 Myr) exoplanet β Pictoris b taken with the Gemini/NICI and Magellan/MagAO instruments between 2009 and 2012. The high dynamic range of our observations allows us to measure the relative position of β Pic b with respect to its primary star with greater accuracy than previous observations. Based on a Markov Chain Monte Carlo analysis, we find the planet has an orbital semi-major axis of 9.1{sub −0.5}{sup +5.3} AU and orbital eccentricity <0.15 at 68% confidence (with 95% confidence intervals of 8.2-48 AU and 0.00-0.82 for semi-major axis and eccentricity, respectively, due to a long narrow degenerate tail between the two). We find that the planet has reached its maximum projected elongation, enabling higher precision determination of the orbital parameters than previously possible, and that the planet's projected separation is currently decreasing. With unsaturated data of the entire β Pic system (primary star, planet, and disk) obtained thanks to NICI's semi-transparent focal plane mask, we are able to tightly constrain the relative orientation of the circumstellar components. We find the orbital plane of the planet lies between the inner and outer disks: the position angle (P.A.) of nodes for the planet's orbit (211.8 ± 0.°3) is 7.4σ greater than the P.A. of the spine of the outer disk and 3.2σ less than the warped inner disk P.A., indicating the disk is not collisionally relaxed. Finally, for the first time we are able to dynamically constrain the mass of the primary star β Pic to 1.76{sub −0.17}{sup +0.18} M {sub ☉}.

  14. SIMULTANEOUS DETECTION OF WATER, METHANE, AND CARBON MONOXIDE IN THE ATMOSPHERE OF EXOPLANET HR 8799 b

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Barman, Travis S. [Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721 (United States); Konopacky, Quinn M. [Center for Astrophysics and Space Science, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA, 92093 (United States); Macintosh, Bruce [Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305 (United States); Marois, Christian, E-mail: barman@lpl.arizona.edu [NRC Herzberg Astronomy and Astrophysics, 5071 West Saanich Rd, Victoria, BC V9E 2E7 (Canada)

    2015-05-01

    Absorption lines from water, methane, and carbon monoxide are detected in the atmosphere of exoplanet HR 8799 b. A medium-resolution spectrum presented here shows well-resolved and easily identified spectral features from all three molecules across the K band. The majority of the lines are produced by CO and H{sub 2}O, but several lines clearly belong to CH{sub 4}. Comparisons between these data and atmosphere models covering a range of temperatures and gravities yield log mole fractions of H{sub 2}O between −3.09 and −3.91, CO between −3.30 and −3.72, and CH{sub 4} between −5.06 and −5.85. More precise mole fractions are obtained for each temperature and gravity studied. A reanalysis of H-band data, previously obtained at a similar spectral resolution, results in a nearly identical water abundance as determined from the K-band spectrum. The methane abundance is shown to be sensitive to vertical mixing and indicates an eddy diffusion coefficient in the range of 10{sup 6}–10{sup 8} cm{sup 2} s{sup −1}, comparable to mixing in the deep troposphere of Jupiter. The model comparisons also indicate a carbon-to-oxygen ratio (C/O) between ∼0.58 and 0.7, encompassing previous estimates for a second planet in the same system, HR 8799 c. Super-stellar C/O could indicate planet formation by core-accretion; however, the range of possible C/O for these planets (and the star) is currently too large to comment strongly on planet formation. More precise values of the bulk properties (e.g., effective temperature and surface gravity) are needed for improved abundance estimates.

  15. Density is not Destiny: Characterizing Terrestrial Exoplanet Geology from Stellar Compositional Abundances

    Science.gov (United States)

    Unterborn, Cayman T.

    2018-01-01

    A planet’s mass-radius relationship alone is not a good indicator for its potential to be "Earth-like." While useful in coarse characterizations for distinguishing whether an exoplanet is water/atmosphere- or rock/iron-dominated, there is considerable degeneracy in using the mass-radius relation to determine the mineralogy and structure of a purely terrestrial planet like the Earth. The chemical link between host-stars and rocky planets and the utility of this connection in breaking the degeneracy in the mass-radius relationship is well documented. Given the breadth of observed stellar compositions, modeling the complex effects of these compositional variations on a terrestrial planet’s mineralogy, structure and temperature profile, and the potential pitfalls therein, falls within the purview of the geosciences.I will demonstrate here, the utility in adopting the composition of a terrestrial planet’s host star for contextualizing individual systems (e.g. TRAPPIST-1), as well as for the more general case of quantifying the geophysical consequences of stellar compositional diversity. This includes the potential for a host-star to produce planets able to undergo mantle convection, surface-to-interior degassing and long-term plate tectonics. As we search for truly “Earth-like” planets, we must move away from the simple density-driven definition of “Earth-like” and towards a more holistic view that includes both geochemistry and geophysics. Combining geophysical models and those of planetary formation with host-star abundance data, then, is of paramount importance. This will aid not only in our understanding of the mass-radius relationship but also provide foundational results necessary interpreting future atmospheric observations through the lens of surface-interior interactions (e.g. volcanism) and planetary evolution as a whole.

  16. Modelling the circular polarisation of Earth-like exoplanets: constraints on detecting homochirality

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hogenboom, Michael; Stam, Daphne; Rossi, Loic; Snik, Frans

    2016-04-01

    The circular polarisation of light is a property of electromagnetic radiation from which extensive information can be extracted. It is oft-neglected due to its small signal relative to linear polarisation and the need for advanced instrumentation in measuring it. Additionally, numerical modelling is complex as the full Stokes vector must always be computed. Circular polarisation is commonly induced through the multiple scattering of light by aerosols te{hansen} and multiple reflections of light by rough surfaces te{circplanets}. Most interestingly, distinctive spectral circular polarimetric behaviour is exhibited by light reflected by organisms due to the homochiral molecular structure of all known organisms te{chiralbailey}. Especially fascinating is the unique circular polarimetric behaviour of light reflected by photosynthesising organisms at the absorption wavelength of the chlorophyll pigment te{circpolchar}. This presents the previously unexplored possibility of circular polarimetry as a method for identifying and characterising the presence of organisms, a method which could be applied in the hunt for extraterrestrial life. To date, few telescopes exist that measure circular polarisation and none that have been deployed in space. Observations of the circular polarisation reflected by other planets in the solar system have been made with ground-based telescopes, with significant results te{circplanets}. However, none of these observations have been made at the phase angles at which exoplanets will be observed. Also, none have been made of the Earth, which is the logical starting point for the study of biologically induced circular polarisation signals. This introduces the need for numerical modelling to determine the extent to which circular polarisation is present in light reflected by exoplanets or the Earth. In this study, we model the multiple scattering and reflection of light using the doubling-adding method te{dehaan}. We will present circular

  17. M Stars as Targets for Terrestrial Exoplanet Searches And Biosignature Detection

    Science.gov (United States)

    Scalo, John; Kaltenegger, Lisa; Segura, Ant Gona; Fridlund, Malcolm; Ribas, Ignasi; Kulikov, Yu. N.; Grenfell, John L.; Rauer, Hieke; Odert, Petra; Leitzinger, Martin; Selsis, F.; Khodachenko, Maxim L.; Eiroa, Carlos; Kasting, Jim; Lammer, Helmut

    2007-02-01

    instead because they offer an inspection of the residues from a Gyr-long biochemistry experiment in the presence of extreme environmental fluctuations. A detection or repeated nondetections could provide a unique opportunity to partially answer a fundamental and recurrent question about the relation between stability and complexity, one that is not addressed by remote detection from a planet orbiting a solar-like star, and can only be studied on Earth using restricted microbial systems in serial evolution experiments or in artificial life simulations. This proposal requires a planet that has retained its atmosphere and a water supply. The discussion given here suggests that observations of M star exoplanets can decide this latter question with only slight modifications to plans already in place for direct imaging terrestrial exoplanet missions. Key Words: M star planets-Habitable planets - Life and stellar activity - Spectral biosignatures - Terrestrial planet formation - Exoplanet properties. Astrobiology 7(1), 85 - 166.

  18. Colors of a Second Earth: Estimating the fractional areas of ocean, land, and vegetation of Earth-like exoplanets

    OpenAIRE

    Fujii, Y.; Kawahara, H.; Suto, Y.; Taruya, A.; Fukuda, S.; Nakajima, T.; TURNER, E. L

    2009-01-01

    Characterizing the surfaces of rocky exoplanets via the scattered light will be an essential challenge to investigate the existence of life on habitable exoplanets. We present a simple reconstruction method for fractional areas of different surface types from photometric variations, or colors, of a second Earth. We create mock light curves for Earth without clouds using empirical data. Then these light curves are fitted to the isotropic scattering model consisting of 4 surface types: ocean, s...

  19. De-Trending K2 Exoplanet Targets for High Spacecraft Motion

    Science.gov (United States)

    Saunders, Nicholas; Luger, Rodrigo; Barnes, Rory

    2018-01-01

    After the failure of two reaction wheels, the Kepler space telescope lost its fine pointing ability and entered a new phase of observation, K2. Targets observed by K2 have high motion relative to the detector and K2 light curves have higher noise than Kepler observations. Despite the increased noise, systematics removal pipelines such as K2SFF and EVEREST have enabled continued high-precision transiting planet science with the telescope, resulting in the detection of hundreds of new exoplanets. However, as the spacecraft begins to run out of fuel, sputtering will drive large and random variations in pointing that can prevent detection of exoplanets during the remaining 5 campaigns. In general, higher motion will spread the stellar point spread function (PSF) across more pixels during a campaign, which increases the number of degrees of freedom in the noise component and significantly reduces the de-trending power of traditional systematics removal methods. We use a model of the Kepler CCD combined with pixel-level information of a large number of stars across the detector to improve the performance of the EVEREST pipeline at high motion. We also consider the problem of increased crowding for static apertures in the high-motion regime and develop pixel response function (PRF)-fitting techniques to mitigate contamination and maximize the de-trending power. We assess the performance of our code by simulating sputtering events and assessing exoplanet detection efficiency with transit injection/recovery tests. We find that targets with roll amplitudes of up to 8 pixels, approximately 15 times K2 roll, can be de-trended within 2 to 3 factors of current K2 photometric precision for stars up to 14th magnitude. Achieved recovery precision allows detection of small planets around 11th and 12th magnitude stars. These methods can be applied to the light curves of K2 targets for existing and future campaigns to ensure that precision exoplanet science can still be performed

  20. Habitability of the Paleo-Earth as a Model for Earth-like Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mendez, A.

    2013-05-01

    The Phanerozoic is the current eon of Earth's geological history, from 542 million years ago to today, when large and complex life started to populate the ocean and land areas. Our planet became more hospitable and life took the opportunity to evolve and spread globally, especially on land. This had an impact on surface and atmospheric bio-signatures. Future observations of exoplanets might be able to detect similar changes on nearby exoplanets. Therefore, the application of the evolution of terrestrial habitability might help to determine the potential for life on Earth-like exoplanets. Here we evaluated the habitability of Earth during the Phanerozoic as a model for comparison with future observations of Earth-like exoplanets. Vegetation was used as a global indicator of habitability because as a primary producer it provides the energy for many other simple to complex life forms in the trophic scale. Our first proxy for habitability was the Relative Vegetation Density (RVD) derived from our vegetation datasets of the Visible Paleo-Earth. The RVD is a measure similar to vegetation indices, such as the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), that gives a general idea of the global area-weighted fraction of vegetation cover. Our second habitability proxy was the Standard Primary Habitability (SPH) derived from mean global surface temperatures and relative humidity. The RVD is a more direct measure of the habitability of a planet but the SPH is easier to measure by remote sensors. Our analysis shows that terrestrial habitability has been greater than today for most of the Phanerozoic as demonstrated by both the RVD and SPH, with the Devonian and Cretaceous particularly more habitable. The RVD and SPH are generally correlated except around the Permian-Triassic, matching the P-Tr extinction. There has been a marked decrease in terrestrial habitability during the last 100 million years, even superseding the K-Pg extinction. Additional metrics were used to examine

  1. EFFECT OF LONGITUDE-DEPENDENT CLOUD COVERAGE ON EXOPLANET VISIBLE WAVELENGTH REFLECTED-LIGHT PHASE CURVES

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Webber, Matthew W.; Lewis, Nikole K.; Cahoy, Kerri [Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Cambridge, MA (United States); Marley, Mark [NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA (United States); Morley, Caroline; Fortney, Jonathan J. [Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA 95064 (United States)

    2015-05-10

    We use a planetary albedo model to investigate variations in visible wavelength phase curves of exoplanets. Thermal and cloud properties for these exoplanets are derived using one-dimensional radiative-convective and cloud simulations. The presence of clouds on these exoplanets significantly alters their planetary albedo spectra. We confirm that non-uniform cloud coverage on the dayside of tidally locked exoplanets will manifest as changes to the magnitude and shift of the phase curve. In this work, we first investigate a test case of our model using a Jupiter-like planet, at temperatures consistent to 2.0 AU insolation from a solar type star, to consider the effect of H{sub 2}O clouds. We then extend our application of the model to the exoplanet Kepler-7b and consider the effect of varying cloud species, sedimentation efficiency, particle size, and cloud altitude. We show that, depending on the observational filter, the largest possible shift of the phase curve maximum will be ∼2°–10° for a Jupiter-like planet, and up to ∼30° (∼0.08 in fractional orbital phase) for hot-Jupiter exoplanets at visible wavelengths as a function of dayside cloud distribution with a uniformly averaged thermal profile. The models presented in this work can be adapted for a variety of planetary cases at visible wavelengths to include variations in planet–star separation, gravity, metallicity, and source-observer geometry. Finally, we tailor our model for comparison with, and confirmation of, the recent optical phase-curve observations of Kepler-7b with the Kepler space telescope. The average planetary albedo can vary between 0.1 and 0.6 for the 1300 cloud scenarios that were compared to the observations. Many of these cases cannot produce a high enough albedo to match the observations. We observe that smaller particle size and increasing cloud altitude have a strong effect on increasing albedo. In particular, we show that a set of models where Kepler-7b has roughly half of

  2. Achieving High Contrast for Exoplanet Imaging with a Kalman Filter and Stroke Minimization

    Science.gov (United States)

    Eldorado Riggs, A. J.; Groff, T. D.; Kasdin, N. J.; Carlotti, A.; Vanderbei, R. J.

    2014-01-01

    High contrast imaging requires focal plane wavefront control and estimation to correct aberrations in an optical system; non-common path errors prevent the use of conventional estimation with a separate wavefront sensor. The High Contrast Imaging Laboratory (HCIL) at Princeton has led the development of several techniques for focal plane wavefront control and estimation. In recent years, we developed a Kalman filter for optimal wavefront estimation. Our Kalman filter algorithm is an improvement upon DM Diversity, which requires at least two images pairs each iteration and does not utilize any prior knowledge of the system. The Kalman filter is a recursive estimator, meaning that it uses the data from prior estimates along with as few as one new image pairs per iteration to update the electric field estimate. Stroke minimization has proven to be a feasible controller for achieving high contrast. While similar to a variation of Electric Field Conjugation (EFC), stroke minimization achieves the same contrast with less stroke on the DMs. We recently utilized these algorithms to achieve high contrast for the first time in our experiment at the High Contrast Imaging Testbed (HCIT) at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). Our HCIT experiment was also the first demonstration of symmetric dark hole correction in the image plane using two DMs--this is a major milestone for future space missions. Our ongoing work includes upgrading our optimal estimator to include an estimate of the incoherent light in the system, which allows for simultaneous estimation of the light from a planet along with starlight. The two-DM experiment at the HCIT utilized a shaped pupil coronagraph. Those tests utilized ripple style, free-standing masks etched out of silicon, but our current work is in designing 2-D optimized reflective shaped pupils. In particular, we have created several designs for the AFTA telescope, whose pupil presents major hurdles because of its atypical pupil obstructions. Our

  3. Gravitational Microlensing Observations of Two New Exoplanets Using the Deep Impact High Resolution Instrument

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barry, Richard K.; Bennett, D. P.; Klaasen, K.; Becker, A. C.; Christiansen, J.; Albrow, M.

    2014-01-01

    We have worked to characterize two exoplanets newly detected from the ground: OGLE-2012-BLG-0406 and OGLE-2012-BLG-0838, using microlensing observations of the Galactic Bulge recently obtained by NASA’s Deep Impact (DI) spacecraft, in combination with ground data. These observations of the crowded Bulge fields from Earth and from an observatory at a distance of ~1 AU have permitted the extraction of a microlensing parallax signature - critical for breaking exoplanet model degeneracies. For this effort, we used DI’s High Resolution Instrument, launched with a permanent defocus aberration due to an error in cryogenic testing. We show how the effects of a very large, chromatic PSF can be reduced in differencing photometry. We also compare two approaches to differencing photometry - one of which employs the Bramich algorithm and another using the Fruchter & Hook drizzle algorithm.

  4. Hubble/WFC3 Spectroscopy of the Transiting Exoplanets WASP-19b and WASP-17b

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mandell, A.; Haynes, K.; Sinukoff, E.; Deming, D.; Wlikins, A.; Madhusudhan, N.; Agol, E.; Burrows, A.; Charbonneau, D.; Gilliland, R.; hide

    2012-01-01

    Measurements of transiting exoplanets that target extremes in parameter space offer the best chance to disentangle the structure and composition of the atmospheres of hot Jupiters. WASP-19b is one of the hottest exoplanets discovered to date, while WASP-17b has a much lower equilibrium temperature but has one of the largest atmospheric radii of known transiting planets. We discuss results from HST/WFC3 grism 1.1-1.7 micron spectroscopy of these planets during transit. We compare our integrated-light transit depths to previous IR transit photometry, and derive the 1.4-micron water absorption spectrum. We discuss implications for the atmospheric composition and structure of these hot Jupiters, and outline future observations that will further expand on these results.

  5. Detection of carbon monoxide and water absorption lines in an exoplanet atmosphere.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Konopacky, Quinn M; Barman, Travis S; Macintosh, Bruce A; Marois, Christian

    2013-03-22

    Determining the atmospheric structure and chemical composition of an exoplanet remains a formidable goal. Fortunately, advancements in the study of exoplanets and their atmospheres have come in the form of direct imaging--spatially resolving the planet from its parent star--which enables high-resolution spectroscopy of self-luminous planets in jovian-like orbits. Here, we present a spectrum with numerous, well-resolved molecular lines from both water and carbon monoxide from a massive planet orbiting less than 40 astronomical units from the star HR 8799. These data reveal the planet's chemical composition, atmospheric structure, and surface gravity, confirming that it is indeed a young planet. The spectral lines suggest an atmospheric carbon-to-oxygen ratio that is greater than that of the host star, providing hints about the planet's formation.

  6. Laboratory spectra of hot molecules: Data needs for hot super-Earth exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tennyson, Jonathan; Yurchenko, Sergei N.

    2017-09-01

    The majority of stars are now thought to support exoplanets. Many of those exoplanets discovered thus far are categorized as rocky objects with an atmosphere. Most of these objects are however hot due to their short orbital period. Models suggest that water is the dominant species in their atmospheres. The hot temperatures are expected to turn these atmospheres into a (high pressure) steam bath containing remains of melted rock. The spectroscopy of these hot rocky objects will be very different from that of cooler objects or hot gas giants. Molecules suggested to be important for the spectroscopy of these objects are reviewed together with the current status of the corresponding spectroscopic data. Perspectives of building a comprehensive database of linelist/cross sections applicable for atmospheric models of rocky super-Earths as part of the ExoMol project are discussed. The quantum-mechanical approaches used in linelist productions and their challenges are summarized.

  7. Know the Star, Know the Planet. 2. Speckle Interferometry of Exoplanet Host Stars

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-11-01

    DVA ” is background subtracted through boxcar subtraction and the sharp central peak, which corresponds to the zeroth-order speckles correlating with...them- selves, is clipped. Companions in the resulting DVA are then readily apparent as peaks several sigma above the background. Of the 118 exoplanet...USNO with an ICCD and reduced with the DVA method. Asterisks (N = 11) are those observed by other interferometry groups, and an “X” (N = 292) are

  8. Speckle Imaging and Spectroscopy of Kepler Exo-planet Transit Candidate Stars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Howell, Steve B.; Sherry, William; Horch, Elliott; Doyle, Laurance

    2010-02-01

    The NASA Kepler mission was successfully launched on 6 March 2009 and has begun science operations. Commissioning tests done early on in the mission have shown that for the bright sources, 10-15 ppm relative photometry can be achieved. This level assures we will detect Earth- like transits if they are present. ``Hot Jupiter" and similar large planet candidates have already been discovered and will be discussed at the Jan. AAS meeting as well as in a special issue of Science magazine to appear near years end. The plethora of variability observed is astounding and includes a number of eclipsing binaries which appear to have Jupiter and smaller size objects as an orbiting their body. Our proposal consists of three highly related objectives: 1) To continue our highly successful speckle imaging program which is a major component of defense to weed out false positive candidate transiting planets found by Kepler and move the rest to probable or certain exo-planet detections; 2) To obtain low resolution ``discovery" type spectra for planet candidate stars in order to provide spectral type and luminosity class indicators as well as a first look triage to eliminate binaries and rapid rotators; and 3) to obtain ~1Aresolution time ordered spectra of eclipsing binaries that are exo-planet candidates in order to obtain the velocity solution for the binary star, allowing its signal to be modeled and removed from the Keck or HET exo-planet velocity search. As of this writing, Kepler has produced a list of 227 exo-planet candidates which require false positive decision tree observations. Our proposed effort performs much of the first line of defense for the mission.

  9. Beyond hot Jupiters: Characterizing exoplanets below 1000 K with Spitzer and JWST emission spectroscopy

    Science.gov (United States)

    Benneke, Björn; Université de Montréal, Caltech, University of Arizona, Space Science Institute, UCSC, Harvard University

    2018-01-01

    Most thermal emission spectra of exoplanets to date have been obtained for the hot Jupiters with equilibrium temperatures above ~1500K due to their favorable eclipse depth in the NIR. Emission spectroscopy of colder planets, however, provides us with the important opportunity to understand cloud formation and atmospheric chemistry near the CH4/CO transition. In this talk, we will demonstrate JWST’s unique capabilities for these planets and discuss results from our ongoing Spitzer effort to study warm Neptunes and Jupiters.

  10. The Promise of Many Worlds: Detection and Characterization of Exoplanets with Extreme Precision Spectroscopy

    Science.gov (United States)

    Roy, Arpita

    2017-01-01

    Two decades ago, technological advancement aligned with some of mankind's oldest and most compelling questions to give birth to exoplanet science. Since then, the study of exoplanets, more than any other field of astrophysics, has grown in direct consonance with new instrumentation. In this dissertation talk I will discuss the development of three precision spectrographs that are pushing the limits on current radial velocity (RV) precision: (a) PARAS, a workhorse optical instrument achieving ~1m/s over several months, (b) the Habitable Zone Planet Finder, an upcoming NIR instrument for the 10m Hobby Eberly Telescope, and (c) NEID, an extreme precision instrument that will be the centerpiece of the NASA-NSF Exoplanet Observational Research (NN-EXPLORE) partnership. The path to the extreme precisions required to detect Earth analogs (~10cm/s), requires severe technical artistry and demands unprecedented performance from both hardware and software. I will summarize the most challenging sources of measurement error and the hardware solutions we have innovated, including my work on the invention of an efficient ball lens double scrambler (patent pending) that essentially retires issues of illumination instability. As software architect of these instruments, I will also describe the pathways to extreme precision data analysis pipelines, rooted firmly in the heritage of current instruments in the field. Fortunately, the scientific return from these meticulously produced spectra will be manifold, extending beyond precision RVs. I will briefly discuss my work leveraging the stability and resolution of similar instruments for stellar activity diagnosis and the determination of insidious false positives, as well as for the direct detection of reflected light from exoplanets. These efforts together underline both the formidable demands and rich rewards of extreme precision spectroscopy, which remains our fundamental tool for the discovery of potentially habitable non

  11. Scientific, Back-Illuminated CCD Development for the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite

    Science.gov (United States)

    Suntharalingam, V.; Ciampi, J.; Cooper, M. J.; Lambert, R. D.; O'Mara, D. M.; Prigozhin, I.; Young, D. J.; Warner, K.; Burke, B. E.

    2015-01-01

    We describe the development of the fully depleted, back illuminated charge coupled devices for the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, which includes a set of four wide angle telescopes, each having a 2x2 array of CCDs. The devices are fabricated on the newly upgraded 200-mm wafer line at Lincoln Laboratory. We discuss methods used to produce the devices and present early performance results from the 100- micron thick, 15x15-microns, 2k x 4k pixel frame transfer CCDs.

  12. A Preparatory Program to Identify the Single Best Transiting Exoplanet for JWST Early Release Science

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stevenson, Kevin

    2016-10-01

    JWST will revolutionize transiting exoplanet atmospheric science due to its capability for continuous, long-duration observations and, compared to existing space-based facilities, its larger collecting area, spectral coverage, and resolution. However, it is unclear precisely how well JWST will perform and which of its myriad instruments and observing modes will be best suited for transiting exoplanet studies. The Early Release Science (ERS) program was devised to provide early and open access to a broad suite of JWST science observations subject to key data analysis challenges so that the community can quickly build experience and develop a list of best observing practices prior to the Cycle 2 proposal deadline. In a recent paper, we identified 12 transiting exoplanets (dubbed community targets) that may be suitable for time-series observations within the ERS program; however, a critical unknown for the most favorable targets is the presence of obscuring clouds. To properly assess each observing mode, it is vital that the selected community target has measurable and identifiable spectroscopic features. We propose HST/WFC3 observations of four exoplanets to identify the single best target by first measuring the size of their 1.4-micron water vapor features. Next, we will perform follow-up Spitzer observations of the top two targets to determine the slopes in their infrared transmission spectra. Together, these measurements will provide the most robust determination of clouds/hazes with the minimum amount of telescope time. Cycle 24 is our final opportunity to identify suitable community targets with cloud-free atmospheres prior to the ERS proposal deadline in mid-2017.

  13. Infrared Flares from M Dwarfs: a Hinderance to Future Transiting Exoplanet Studies

    OpenAIRE

    Davenport, James R. A.

    2017-01-01

    Many current and future exoplanet missions are pushing to infrared (IR) wavelengths where the flux contrast between the planet and star is more favorable (Deming et al. 2009), and the impact of stellar magnetic activity is decreased. Indeed, a recent analysis of starspots and faculae found these forms of stellar activity do not substantially impact the transit signatures or science potential for FGKM stars with JWST (Zellem et al. 2017). However, this is not true in the case of flares, which ...

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

    OpenAIRE

    Chapman, John W; Zellem, Robert T.; Line, Michael R.; Bryden, Geoff; Willacy, Karen; Iyer, Aishwarya R.; Vasisht, Gautam; Bean, Jacob; Cowan, Nicolas B.; Fortney, Jonathan J.; Griffith, Caitlin A.; Kataria, Tiffany; Kempton, Eliza M. -R.; Kreidberg, Laura; Moses, Julianne I.

    2017-01-01

    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 in...

  15. Galactic Exoplanet Survey Telescope (GEST): A Proposed Space-Based Microlensing Survey for Terrestrial Extra-Solar Planets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bennett, D.; Rhie, S. H.

    We present a conceptual design for a space based Galactic Exoplanet Survey Telescope (GEST) which will use the gravitational microlensing technique to detect extra solar planets with masses as low as that of Mars at all separations >~ 1 AU. The microlensing data would be collected by a diffraction limited, wide field imaging telescope of ~ 1.5m aperture equipped with a large array of red-optimized CCD detectors. Such a system would be able to monitor $\\sim 2\\times 10^8$ stars in $\\sim 6$ square degrees of the Galactic bulge at intervals of 20-30 minutes, and it would observe $\\sim 12000$ microlensing events in three bulge seasons. If planetary systems like our own are common, GEST should be able to detect $\\sim 5000$ planets over a 2.5 year lifetime. If gas giants like Jupiter and Saturn are rare, then GEST would detect $\\sim 1300$ planets in a 2.5 year mission if we assume that most planetary systems are dominated by planets of about Neptune's' mass. Such a mission would also discover $\\sim 100$ planets of an Earth mass or smaller if such planets are common. This is a factor of $\\sim 50$ better than the most ambitious ground based programs that have been proposed. GEST will also be sensitive to planets which have been separated from their parent stars.

  16. An analytical formalism accounting for clouds and other `surfaces' for exoplanet transmission spectroscopy

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bétrémieux, Yan; Swain, Mark R.

    2017-05-01

    Although the formalism of Lecavelier des Etangs et al. is extremely useful to understand what shapes transmission spectra of exoplanets, it does not include the effects of a sharp change in flux with altitude generally associated with surfaces and optically thick clouds. Recent advances in understanding the effects of refraction in exoplanet transmission spectra have, however, demonstrated that even clear thick atmospheres have such a sharp change in flux due to a refractive boundary. We derive a more widely applicable analytical formalism by including first-order effects from all these 'surfaces' to compute an exoplanet's effective radius, effective atmospheric thickness and spectral modulation for an atmosphere with a constant scaleheight. We show that the effective radius cannot be located below these 'surfaces' and that our formalism matches the formalism of Lecavelier des Etangs et al. in the case of a clear atmosphere. Our formalism explains why clouds and refraction reduce the contrast of spectral features, and why refraction decreases the Rayleigh scattering slope as wavelength increases, but also shows that these are common effects of all 'surfaces'. We introduce the concept of a 'surface' cross-section, the minimum mean cross-section that can be observed, as an index to characterize the location of 'surfaces' and provide a simple method to estimate their effects on the spectral modulation of homogeneous atmospheres. We finally devise a numerical recipe that extends our formalism to atmospheres with a non-constant scaleheight and arbitrary sources of opacity, a potentially necessary step to interpret observations.

  17. The Palaeoclimate and Terrestrial Exoplanet Radiative Transfer Model Intercomparison Project (PALAEOTRIP: experimental design and protocols

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    C. Goldblatt

    2017-11-01

    Full Text Available Accurate radiative transfer calculation is fundamental to all climate modelling. For deep palaeoclimate, and increasingly terrestrial exoplanet climate science, this brings both the joy and the challenge of exotic atmospheric compositions. The challenge here is that most standard radiation codes for climate modelling have been developed for modern atmospheric conditions and may perform poorly away from these. The palaeoclimate or exoclimate modeller must either rely on these or use bespoke radiation codes, and in both cases rely on either blind faith or ad hoc testing of the code. In this paper, we describe the protocols for the Palaeoclimate and Terrestrial Exoplanet Radiative Transfer Model Intercomparison Project (PALAEOTRIP to systematically address this. This will compare as many radiation codes used for palaeoclimate or exoplanets as possible, with the aim of identifying the ranges of far-from-modern atmospheric compositions in which the codes perform well. This paper describes the experimental protocol and invites community participation in the project through 2017–2018.

  18. Magnetic fields in Earth-like exoplanets and implications for habitability around M-dwarfs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    López-Morales, Mercedes; Gómez-Pérez, Natalia; Ruedas, Thomas

    2011-12-01

    We present estimations of dipolar magnetic moments for terrestrial exoplanets using the Olson & Christiansen (EPS Lett 250:561-571, 2006) scaling law and assuming their interior structure is similar to Earth. We find that the dipolar moment of fast rotating planets (where the Coriolis force dominates convection in the core), may amount up to ~80 times the magnetic moment of Earth, M ⊕, for at least part of the planets' lifetime. For slow rotating planets (where the force of inertia dominates), the dipolar magnetic moment only reaches up to ~1.5 M [symbol in text]. Applying our calculations to confirmed rocky exoplanets, we find that CoRoT-7b, Kepler-10b and 55 Cnc e can sustain dynamos up to ~18, 15 and 13 M [symbol in text], respectively. Our results also indicate that the magnetic moment of rocky exoplanets not only depends on rotation rate, but also on their formation history, thermal state, age, composition, and the geometry of the field. These results apply to all rocky planets, but have important implications for the particular case of planets in the Habitable Zone of M-dwarfs.

  19. Caught Red-Handed: A Novel Search for the Culprit Behind Thermal Inversions in Exoplanet Atmospheres

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kreidberg, Laura

    2017-08-01

    Thermal inversions have been one of the mostly hotly debated topics in exoplanet atmospheres over the last decade. Recent observations show conclusively that thermal inversions do exist for some of the most highly irradiated planets. The likeliest culprit for the inversions is strong absorption by titanium and vanadium oxide (TiO/VO) gas, which heats the upper atmosphere. However, TiO/VO have never been detected, despite many attempts. It is possible that these efforts failed because they focused on planets that were too cool, or were foiled by clouds and haze.We propose a novel search for TiO in the atmosphere of WASP-33b, a planet with a known thermal inversion (Haynes et al. 2015). We will measure the planet's thermal emission spectrum with the WFC3/G102 grism, where TiO is expected to have strong spectral features. This is the first proposed use of this grism for exoplanet emission spectroscopy. WASP-33b has the single highest signal-to-noise in thermal emission of any exoplanet known, and with one eclipse observation we will be sensitive to temperature differences in the upper atmosphere of 10 sigma) and definitively settle the thermal inversion debate.

  20. The physics of brown dwarfs and exoplanets - JWST/NIRSpec GTO program overview

    Science.gov (United States)

    Birkmann, Stephan; Alves de Oliveira, Catarina; Valenti, Jeff A.; Ferruit, Pierre; NIRSpec GTO Team

    2017-06-01

    The Near Infrared Spectrograph (NIRSpec) is one of the science instruments on the James Webb Space Telescope that is scheduled for launch in October 2018. The NIRSpec guaranteed time observer (GTO) team will use ~70 hours of NIRSpec guaranteed time to carry out spectroscopic observations of brown dwarfs as well as transiting and directly imaged exoplanets with NIRSpec. The instrument offers four distinct observing modes to proposers that will all be exercised by the GTO programs presented here: 1) multi object spectroscopy (MOS) of 10s to 100s of sources in a ~9 arcmin field of view (FOV), 2) integral field spectroscopy (IFS) with a 3” x 3” FOV, 3) high contrast slit spectroscopy of individual objects and 4) time series observations of bright sources, e.g. transiting exoplanets host stars. Seven dispersers are available in all observing modes: a prism covering the wavelength range from 0.6 to 5.3 micron with a spectral resolution R of ~30 to 300, and two sets of three gratings covering 0.7 to 5.2 micron with medium (R~1000) and high (R~2700) spectral resolution.We will present the science goals and targets for the brown dwarf and exoplanet GTO programs and discuss the planned implementation of the observations. The latter might be of particular interest to future JWST/NIRSpec proposers.

  1. A Framework to Combine Low- and High-resolution Spectroscopy for the Atmospheres of Transiting Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brogi, M.; Line, M.; Bean, J.; Désert, J.-M.; Schwarz, H.

    2017-04-01

    Current observations of the atmospheres of close-in exoplanets are predominantly obtained with two techniques: low-resolution spectroscopy with space telescopes and high-resolution spectroscopy from the ground. Although the observables delivered by the two methods are in principle highly complementary, no attempt has ever been made to combine them, perhaps due to the different modeling approaches that are typically used in their interpretation. Here, we present the first combined analysis of previously published dayside spectra of the exoplanet HD 209458 b obtained at low resolution with HST/Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) and Spitzer/IRAC and at high resolution with VLT/CRIRES. By utilizing a novel retrieval algorithm capable of computing the joint probability distribution of low- and high-resolution spectra, we obtain tight constraints on the chemical composition of the planet’s atmosphere. In contrast to the WFC3 data, we do not confidently detect H2O at high spectral resolution. The retrieved water abundance from the combined analysis deviates by 1.9σ from the expectations for a solar-composition atmosphere in chemical equilibrium. Measured relative molecular abundances of CO and H2O strongly favor an oxygen-rich atmosphere (C/O exoplanet surveys between the flagship ground- and space-based facilities, which ultimately will be crucial for characterizing potentially habitable planets.

  2. Coronal mass ejection (CME) activity of low mass M stars as an important factor for the habitability of terrestrial exoplanets. I. CME impact on expected magnetospheres of Earth-like exoplanets in close-in habitable zones.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Khodachenko, Maxim L; Ribas, Ignasi; Lammer, Helmut; Griessmeier, Jean-Mathias; Leitner, Martin; Selsis, Franck; Eiroa, Carlos; Hanslmeier, Arnold; Biernat, Helfried K; Farrugia, Charles J; Rucker, Helmut O

    2007-02-01

    Low mass M- and K-type stars are much more numerous in the solar neighborhood than solar-like G-type stars. Therefore, some of them may appear as interesting candidates for the target star lists of terrestrial exoplanet (i.e., planets with mass, radius, and internal parameters identical to Earth) search programs like Darwin (ESA) or the Terrestrial Planet Finder Coronagraph/Inferometer (NASA). The higher level of stellar activity of low mass M stars, as compared to solar-like G stars, as well as the closer orbital distances of their habitable zones (HZs), means that terrestrial-type exoplanets within HZs of these stars are more influenced by stellar activity than one would expect for a planet in an HZ of a solar-like star. Here we examine the influences of stellar coronal mass ejection (CME) activity on planetary environments and the role CMEs may play in the definition of habitability criterion for the terrestrial type exoplanets near M stars. We pay attention to the fact that exoplanets within HZs that are in close proximity to low mass M stars may become tidally locked, which, in turn, can result in relatively weak intrinsic planetary magnetic moments. Taking into account existing observational data and models that involve the Sun and related hypothetical parameters of extrasolar CMEs (density, velocity, size, and occurrence rate), we show that Earth-like exoplanets within close-in HZs should experience a continuous CME exposure over long periods of time. This fact, together with small magnetic moments of tidally locked exoplanets, may result in little or no magnetospheric protection of planetary atmospheres from a dense flow of CME plasma. Magnetospheric standoff distances of weakly magnetized Earth-like exoplanets at orbital distances

  3. HELIUM ATMOSPHERES ON WARM NEPTUNE- AND SUB-NEPTUNE-SIZED EXOPLANETS AND APPLICATIONS TO GJ 436b

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Hu, Renyu; Yung, Yuk L. [Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91109 (United States); Seager, Sara, E-mail: renyu.hu@jpl.nasa.gov [Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139 (United States)

    2015-07-01

    Warm Neptune- and sub-Neptune-sized exoplanets in orbits smaller than Mercury’s are thought to have experienced extensive atmospheric evolution. Here we propose that a potential outcome of this atmospheric evolution is the formation of helium-dominated atmospheres. The hydrodynamic escape rates of Neptune- and sub-Neptune-sized exoplanets are comparable to the diffusion-limited escape rate of hydrogen, and therefore the escape is heavily affected by diffusive separation between hydrogen and helium. A helium atmosphere can thus be formed—from a primordial hydrogen–helium atmosphere—via atmospheric hydrodynamic escape from the planet. The helium atmosphere has very different abundances of major carbon and oxygen species from those of a hydrogen atmosphere, leading to distinctive transmission and thermal emission spectral features. In particular, the hypothesis of a helium-dominated atmosphere can explain the thermal emission spectrum of GJ 436b, a warm Neptune-sized exoplanet, while also being consistent with the transmission spectrum. This model atmosphere contains trace amounts of hydrogen, carbon, and oxygen, with the predominance of CO over CH{sub 4} as the main form of carbon. With our atmospheric evolution model, we find that if the mass of the initial atmosphere envelope is 10{sup −3} planetary mass, hydrodynamic escape can reduce the hydrogen abundance in the atmosphere by several orders of magnitude in ∼10 billion years. Observations of exoplanet transits may thus detect signatures of helium atmospheres and probe the evolutionary history of small exoplanets.

  4. Exoplanets as probes of the winds of host stars: the case of the M dwarf GJ 436

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vidotto, A. A.; Bourrier, V.

    2017-10-01

    Winds of cool dwarfs are difficult to observe, with only a few M dwarfs presenting observationally derived mass-loss rates (\\dot{M}), which span several orders of magnitude. Close-in exoplanets are conveniently positioned in the inner regions of stellar winds and can, thus, be used to probe the otherwise-unobservable local properties of their host-stars' winds. Here, we use local stellar wind characteristics observationally derived in the studies of atmospheric evaporation of the warm-neptune GJ 436b to derive the global characteristics of the wind of its M-dwarf host. Using an isothermal wind model, we constrain the stellar wind temperature to be in the range (0.36-0.43) MK, with \\dot{M}=(0.5-2.5) × 10^{-15} M_{⊙} yr^{-1}. By computing the pressure balance between the stellar wind and the interstellar medium, we derive the size of the astrophere of GJ 436 to be around 25 au, significantly more compact than the heliosphere. We demonstrate in this paper that transmission spectroscopy, coupled to planetary atmospheric evaporation and stellar wind models, can be a useful tool for constraining the large-scale wind structure of planet-hosting stars. Extending our approach to future planetary systems discoveries will open new perspectives for the combined characterization of planetary exospheres and winds of cool dwarf stars.

  5. How Does the Shape of the Stellar Spectrum Affect the Raman Scattering Features in the Albedo of Exoplanets?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Oklopčić, Antonija; Hirata, Christopher M.; Heng, Kevin

    2017-09-01

    The diagnostic potential of the spectral signatures of Raman scattering, imprinted in planetary albedo spectra at short optical wavelengths, has been demonstrated in research on planets in the solar system, and has recently been proposed as a probe of exoplanet atmospheres, complementary to albedo studies at longer wavelengths. Spectral features caused by Raman scattering offer insight into the properties of planetary atmospheres, such as the atmospheric depth, composition, and temperature, as well as the possibility of detecting and spectroscopically identifying spectrally inactive species, such as H2 and N2, in the visible wavelength range. Raman albedo features, however, depend on both the properties of the atmosphere and the shape of the incident stellar spectrum. Identical planetary atmospheres can produce very different albedo spectra depending on the spectral properties of the host star. Here we present a set of geometric albedo spectra calculated for atmospheres with H2/He, N2, and CO2 composition, irradiated by different stellar types ranging from late A to late K stars. Prominent albedo features caused by Raman scattering appear at different wavelengths for different types of host stars. We investigate how absorption due to the alkali elements sodium and potassium may affect the intensity of Raman features, and we discuss the preferred strategies for detecting Raman features in future observations.

  6. CONSOLIDATING AND CRUSHING EXOPLANETS: DID IT HAPPEN HERE?

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Volk, Kathryn; Gladman, Brett [Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of British Columbia, 6224 Agricultural Road, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1 (Canada)

    2015-06-20

    The Kepler mission results indicate that systems of tightly packed inner planets (STIPs) are present around of order 5% of FGK field stars (whose median age is ∼5 Gyr). We propose that STIPs initially surrounded nearly all such stars, and those observed are the final survivors of a process in which long-term metastability eventually ceases and the systems proceed to collisional consolidation or destruction, losing roughly equal fractions of systems every decade in time. In this context, we also propose that our solar system initially contained additional large planets interior to the current orbit of Venus, which survived in a metastable dynamical configuration for 1%–10% of the solar system’s age. Long-term gravitational perturbations caused the system orbits to cross, leading to a cataclysmic event that left Mercury as the sole surviving relic.

  7. Titius-Bode’s Relation and Distribution of Exoplanets

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Heon-Young Chang

    2010-03-01

    Full Text Available The distance distribution in our planetary system has been a controversial matter. Two kinds of important issues on Titius-Bode’s relation have been discussed up to now: one is if there is a simple mathematical relation between distances of natural bodies orbiting a central body, and the other is if there is any physical basis for such a relation. We have examined, by applying it to exo-planetary systems, whether Titius-Bode’s relation is exclusively applicable to our solar system. We study, with the X^2 test, the distribution of period ratios of two planets in multiple planet systems by comparing it with that derived from not only Titius-Bode’s relation but also other forms of it. The X^2 value between the distribution of the orbital period derived from Titius-Bode’s relation and that observed in our Solar system is 12.28 (dof = 18 with high probability, i.e., 83.3 %. The value of X^2 and probability resulted from Titius-Bode’s relation and observed exo-planetary systems are 21.38 (dof = 26 and 72.2 %, respectively. Modified forms we adopted seem also to agree with the planetary system as favorably as Titius-Bode’s relation does. As a result, one cannot rule out the possibility that the distribution of the ratio of orbiting periods in multiple planet systems is consistent with that derived from Titius-Bode’s relation. Having speculated Titius-Bode’s relation could be valid in exo-planetary systems, we tentatively conclude it is unlikely that Titius-Bode’s relation explains the distance distribution in our planetary system due to chance. Finally, we point out implications of our finding.

  8. M stars as targets for terrestrial exoplanet searches and biosignature detection.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Scalo, John; Kaltenegger, Lisa; Segura, Antígona; Segura, Ant Gona; Fridlund, Malcolm; Ribas, Ignasi; Kulikov, Yu N; Grenfell, John L; Rauer, Heike; Odert, Petra; Leitzinger, Martin; Selsis, F; Khodachenko, Maxim L; Eiroa, Carlos; Kasting, Jim; Lammer, Helmut

    2007-02-01

    arguments, but instead because they offer an inspection of the residues from a Gyr-long biochemistry experiment in the presence of extreme environmental fluctuations. A detection or repeated nondetections could provide a unique opportunity to partially answer a fundamental and recurrent question about the relation between stability and complexity, one that is not addressed by remote detection from a planet orbiting a solar-like star, and can only be studied on Earth using restricted microbial systems in serial evolution experiments or in artificial life simulations. This proposal requires a planet that has retained its atmosphere and a water supply. The discussion given here suggests that observations of M star exoplanets can decide this latter question with only slight modifications to plans already in place for direct imaging terrestrial exoplanet missions.

  9. Exoplanets - search methods, discoveries, and prospects for astrobiology

    OpenAIRE

    Jones, B. W.

    2009-01-01

    Whereas the Solar System has Mars and Europa as the best candidates for finding fossil/extant life as we know it – based on complex carbon compounds and liquid water – the 263 (non-pulsar) planetary systems around other stars as known at 15 September 2008 could between them possess many more planets where life might exist. Moreover, the number of these exoplanetary systems is growing steadily, and with this growth there is an increase in the number of planets that could bear carbon–liquid wat...

  10. The Moving Group Targets of the SEEDS High-contrast Imaging Survey of Exoplanets and Disks: Results and Observations from the First Three Years

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Brandt, T.D.; et al., [Unknown; Thalmann, C.

    2014-01-01

    We present results from the first three years of observations of moving group (MG) targets in the Strategic Exploration of Exoplanets and Disks with Subaru (SEEDS) high-contrast imaging survey of exoplanets and disks using the Subaru telescope. We achieve typical contrasts of ~105 at 1'' and ~106

  11. Coronal mass ejection (CME) activity of low mass M stars as an important factor for the habitability of terrestrial exoplanets. II. CME-induced ion pick up of Earth-like exoplanets in close-in habitable zones.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lammer, Helmut; Lichtenegger, Herbert I M; Kulikov, Yuri N; Griessmeier, Jean-Mathias; Terada, N; Erkaev, Nikolai V; Biernat, Helfried K; Khodachenko, Maxim L; Ribas, Ignasi; Penz, Thomas; Selsis, Franck

    2007-02-01

    Atmospheric erosion of CO2-rich Earth-size exoplanets due to coronal mass ejection (CME)-induced ion pick up within close-in habitable zones of active M-type dwarf stars is investigated. Since M stars are active at the X-ray and extreme ultraviolet radiation (XUV) wave-lengths over long periods of time, we have applied a thermal balance model at various XUV flux input values for simulating the thermospheric heating by photodissociation and ionization processes due to exothermic chemical reactions and cooling by the CO2 infrared radiation in the 15 microm band. Our study shows that intense XUV radiation of active M stars results in atmospheric expansion and extended exospheres. Using thermospheric neutral and ion densities calculated for various XUV fluxes, we applied a numerical test particle model for simulation of atmospheric ion pick up loss from an extended exosphere arising from its interaction with expected minimum and maximum CME plasma flows. Our results indicate that the Earth-like exoplanets that have no, or weak, magnetic moments may lose tens to hundreds of bars of atmospheric pressure, or even their whole atmospheres due to the CME-induced O ion pick up at orbital distances exoplanet is protected by a "magnetic shield" with its boundary located at 1 Earth radius above the surface. Furthermore, our study indicates that magnetic moments of tidally locked Earth-like exoplanets are essential for protecting their expanded upper atmospheres because of intense XUV radiation against CME plasma erosion. Therefore, we suggest that larger and more massive terrestrial-type exoplanets may better protect their atmospheres against CMEs, because the larger cores of such exoplanets would generate stronger magnetic moments and their higher gravitational acceleration would constrain the expansion of their thermosphere-exosphere regions and reduce atmospheric escape.

  12. Exoplanet orbital eccentricities derived from LAMOST-Kepler analysis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Xie, Ji-Wei; Dong, Subo; Zhu, Zhaohuan; Huber, Daniel; Zheng, Zheng; De Cat, Peter; Fu, Jianning; Liu, Hui-Gen; Luo, Ali; Wu, Yue; Zhang, Haotong; Zhang, Hui; Zhou, Ji-Lin; Cao, Zihuang; Hou, Yonghui; Wang, Yuefei; Zhang, Yong

    2016-10-11

    The nearly circular (mean eccentricity [Formula: see text]) and coplanar (mean mutual inclination [Formula: see text]) orbits of the solar system planets motivated Kant and Laplace to hypothesize that planets are formed in disks, which has developed into the widely accepted theory of planet formation. The first several hundred extrasolar planets (mostly Jovian) discovered using the radial velocity (RV) technique are commonly on eccentric orbits ([Formula: see text]). This raises a fundamental question: Are the solar system and its formation special? The Kepler mission has found thousands of transiting planets dominated by sub-Neptunes, but most of their orbital eccentricities remain unknown. By using the precise spectroscopic host star parameters from the Large Sky Area Multi-Object Fiber Spectroscopic Telescope (LAMOST) observations, we measure the eccentricity distributions for a large (698) and homogeneous Kepler planet sample with transit duration statistics. Nearly half of the planets are in systems with single transiting planets (singles), whereas the other half are multiple transiting planets (multiples). We find an eccentricity dichotomy: on average, Kepler singles are on eccentric orbits with [Formula: see text] 0.3, whereas the multiples are on nearly circular [Formula: see text] and coplanar [Formula: see text] degree) orbits similar to those of the solar system planets. Our results are consistent with previous studies of smaller samples and individual systems. We also show that Kepler multiples and solar system objects follow a common relation [[Formula: see text](1-2)[Formula: see text

  13. HIGH-CADENCE, HIGH-CONTRAST IMAGING FOR EXOPLANET MAPPING: OBSERVATIONS OF THE HR 8799 PLANETS WITH VLT/SPHERE SATELLITE-SPOT-CORRECTED RELATIVE PHOTOMETRY

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Apai, Dániel; Skemer, Andrew; Hanson, Jake R. [Steward Observatory, The University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721 (United States); Kasper, Markus [European Southern Observatory, Garching (Germany); Lagrange, Anne-Marie; Bonnefoy, Mickaël [Université Grenoble Alpes, IPAG, F-38000 Grenoble (France); Biller, Beth A. [Institute for Astronomy, University of Edinburgh, Blackford Hill, Edinburgh EH9 3HJ (United Kingdom); Buenzli, Esther [Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, Königstuhl 17, Heidelberg, D-69117 (Germany); Vigan, Arthur, E-mail: apai@arizona.edu [Aix-Marseille Université, CNRS, Laboratoire d’ Astrophysique de Marseille, UMR 7326, F-13388 Marseille (France)

    2016-03-20

    Time-resolved photometry is an important new probe of the physics of condensate clouds in extrasolar planets and brown dwarfs. Extreme adaptive optics systems can directly image planets, but precise brightness measurements are challenging. We present VLT/SPHERE high-contrast, time-resolved broad H-band near-infrared photometry for four exoplanets in the HR 8799 system, sampling changes from night to night over five nights with relatively short integrations. The photospheres of these four planets are often modeled by patchy clouds and may show large-amplitude rotational brightness modulations. Our observations provide high-quality images of the system. We present a detailed performance analysis of different data analysis approaches to accurately measure the relative brightnesses of the four exoplanets. We explore the information in satellite spots and demonstrate their use as a proxy for image quality. While the brightness variations of the satellite spots are strongly correlated, we also identify a second-order anti-correlation pattern between the different spots. Our study finds that KLIP reduction based on principal components analysis with satellite-spot-modulated artificial-planet-injection-based photometry leads to a significant (∼3×) gain in photometric accuracy over standard aperture-based photometry and reaches 0.1 mag per point accuracy for our data set, the signal-to-noise ratio of which is limited by small field rotation. Relative planet-to-planet photometry can be compared between nights, enabling observations spanning multiple nights to probe variability. Recent high-quality relative H-band photometry of the b–c planet pair agrees to about 1%.

  14. Discovery of a Transiting Adolescent Sub-Neptune Exoplanet in the Cas-Tau Association With K2

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mamajek, Eric; David, Trevor; Bieryla, Allyson; Bristow, Makennah; Ciardi, David; Cody, Ann Marie; Crossfield, Ian; Fulton, Benjamin; Jasmine Gonzales, Erica; Hillenbrand, Lynne; Hirsch, Lea; Howard, Andrew; Isaacson, Howard; Latham, David W.; Petigura, Erik; Rebull, Luisa; Schlieder, Joshua; Stauffer, John; Vanderburg, Andrew; Vasisht, Gautam

    2018-01-01

    The role of stellar age in the measured properties and occurrence rates of exoplanets is not well understood. This is in part due to a paucity of young planets and the uncertainties in age-dating for most exoplanet host stars. Exoplanets belonging to coeval stellar populations, young or old, are particularly useful as benchmarks for studies aiming to constrain the evolutionary timescales relevant for planets. Such timescales may concern orbital migration, gravitational contraction, or photo-evaporation, among other mechanisms. Here we report the serendipitous discovery of a transiting sub-Neptune from K2 photometry of a K-type star that is a new candidate member of the nearby young Cas-Tau association. The size of the planet (3.0 +/- 0.5 Earth radii) and its age (~50-90 Myr) make it an intriguing test case for photo-evaporation models, which predict enhanced atmospheric mass loss during early evolutionary stages.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chapman, John W.; Zellem, Robert T.; Line, Michael R.; Vasisht, Gautam; Bryden, Geoff; Willacy, Karen; Iyer, Aishwarya R.; Bean, Jacob; Cowan, Nicolas B.; Fortney, Jonathan J.; Griffith, Caitlin A.; Kataria, Tiffany; Kempton, Eliza M.-R.; Kreidberg, Laura; Moses, Julianne I.; Stevenson, Kevin B.; Swain, Mark R.

    2017-10-01

    Using forward models for representative exoplanet atmospheres and a radiometric instrument model, we 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 μm and 0.5-5 μm). 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 μm wavelength range provides a significant improvement in the degree of constraint on the retrieved molecular abundances: up to ˜3 orders of magnitude for a low mean molecular weight atmosphere (μ = 2.3) and up to a factor of ˜6 for a high mean molecular weight atmosphere (μ = 28). These decreased uncertainties imply 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 James Webb Space Telescope’s (JWST) Near-Infrared Spectrograph (NIRSpec) 0.6-5 μm prism spectroscopy mode, or similar wavelength coverage with possible future missions, will be an important resource for exoplanet atmospheric characterization.

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Ruffio, Jean-Baptiste; Macintosh, Bruce; Nielsen, Eric L.; Czekala, Ian; Bailey, Vanessa P.; Follette, Katherine B. [Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, 94305 (United States); Wang, Jason J.; Rosa, Robert J. De; Duchêne, Gaspard [Astronomy Department, University of California, Berkeley CA, 94720 (United States); Pueyo, Laurent [Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, MD, 21218 (United States); Marley, Mark S. [NASA Ames Research Center, Mountain View, CA, 94035 (United States); Arriaga, Pauline; Fitzgerald, Michael P. [Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, 90095 (United States); Barman, Travis [Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona, Tucson AZ, 85721 (United States); Bulger, Joanna [Subaru Telescope, NAOJ, 650 North A’ohoku Place, Hilo, HI 96720 (United States); Chilcote, Jeffrey [Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, M5S 3H4 (Canada); Cotten, Tara [Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, 30602 (United States); Doyon, Rene [Institut de Recherche sur les Exoplanètes, Départment de Physique, Université de Montréal, Montréal QC, H3C 3J7 (Canada); Gerard, Benjamin L. [University of Victoria, 3800 Finnerty Road, Victoria, BC, V8P 5C2 (Canada); Goodsell, Stephen J., E-mail: jruffio@stanford.edu [Gemini Observatory, 670 N. A’ohoku Place, Hilo, HI, 96720 (United States); and others

    2017-06-10

    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.

  17. Recursive Focal Plane Wavefront and Bias Estimation for the Direct Imaging of Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Eldorado Riggs, A. J.; Kasdin, N. Jeremy; Groff, Tyler Dean

    2016-01-01

    To image the reflected light from exoplanets and disks, an instrument must suppress diffracted starlight by about nine orders of magnitude. A coronagraph alters the stellar PSF to create regions of high contrast, but it is extremely sensitive to wavefront aberrations. Deformable mirrors (DMs) are necessary to mitigate these quasi-static aberrations and recover high-contrast. To avoid non-common path aberrations, the science camera must be used as the primary wavefront sensor. Focal plane wavefront correction is an iterative process, and obtaining sufficient signal in the dark holes requires long exposure times. The fastest coronagraphic wavefront correction techniques require estimates of the stellar electric field. The main challenge of coronagraphy is thus to perform complex wavefront estimation quickly and efficiently using intensity images from the camera. The most widely applicable and tested technique is DM Diversity, in which a DM modulates the focal plane intensity and several images are used to reconstruct the stellar electric field in a batch process. At the High Contrast Imaging Lab (HCIL) at Princeton, we have developed an iterative extended Kalman filter (IEKF) to improve upon this technique. The IEKF enables recursive starlight estimation and can utilize fewer images per iteration, thereby speeding up wavefront correction. This IEKF formulation also estimates the bias in the images recursively. Since exoplanets and disks are embedded in the incoherent bias signal, the IEKF enables detection of science targets during wavefront correction. Here we present simulated and experimental results from Princeton's HCIL demonstrating the effectiveness of the IEKF for recursive electric field estimation and exoplanet detection.

  18. SCIENCE PARAMETRICS FOR MISSIONS TO SEARCH FOR EARTH-LIKE EXOPLANETS BY DIRECT IMAGING

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Brown, Robert A., E-mail: rbrown@stsci.edu [Space Telescope Science Institute, 3700 San Martin Drive, Baltimore, MD 21218 (United States)

    2015-01-20

    We use N{sub t} , the number of exoplanets observed in time t, as a science metric to study direct-search missions like Terrestrial Planet Finder. In our model, N has 27 parameters, divided into three categories: 2 astronomical, 7 instrumental, and 18 science-operational. For various ''27-vectors'' of those parameters chosen to explore parameter space, we compute design reference missions to estimate N{sub t} . Our treatment includes the recovery of completeness c after a search observation, for revisits, solar and antisolar avoidance, observational overhead, and follow-on spectroscopy. Our baseline 27-vector has aperture D = 16 m, inner working angle IWA = 0.039'', mission time t = 0-5 yr, occurrence probability for Earth-like exoplanets η = 0.2, and typical values for the remaining 23 parameters. For the baseline case, a typical five-year design reference mission has an input catalog of ∼4700 stars with nonzero completeness, ∼1300 unique stars observed in ∼2600 observations, of which ∼1300 are revisits, and it produces N {sub 1} ∼ 50 exoplanets after one year and N {sub 5} ∼ 130 after five years. We explore offsets from the baseline for 10 parameters. We find that N depends strongly on IWA and only weakly on D. It also depends only weakly on zodiacal light for Z < 50 zodis, end-to-end efficiency for h > 0.2, and scattered starlight for ζ < 10{sup –10}. We find that observational overheads, completeness recovery and revisits, solar and antisolar avoidance, and follow-on spectroscopy are all important factors in estimating N.

  19. A continuum from clear to cloudy hot-Jupiter exoplanets without primordial water depletion.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sing, David K; Fortney, Jonathan J; Nikolov, Nikolay; Wakeford, Hannah R; Kataria, Tiffany; Evans, Thomas M; Aigrain, Suzanne; Ballester, Gilda E; Burrows, Adam S; Deming, Drake; Désert, Jean-Michel; Gibson, Neale P; Henry, Gregory W; Huitson, Catherine M; Knutson, Heather A; des Etangs, Alain Lecavelier; Pont, Frederic; Showman, Adam P; Vidal-Madjar, Alfred; Williamson, Michael H; Wilson, Paul A

    2016-01-07

    Thousands of transiting exoplanets have been discovered, but spectral analysis of their atmospheres has so far been dominated by a small number of exoplanets and data spanning relatively narrow wavelength ranges (such as 1.1-1.7 micrometres). Recent studies show that some hot-Jupiter exoplanets have much weaker water absorption features in their near-infrared spectra than predicted. The low amplitude of water signatures could be explained by very low water abundances, which may be a sign that water was depleted in the protoplanetary disk at the planet's formation location, but it is unclear whether this level of depletion can actually occur. Alternatively, these weak signals could be the result of obscuration by clouds or hazes, as found in some optical spectra. Here we report results from a comparative study of ten hot Jupiters covering the wavelength range 0.3-5 micrometres, which allows us to resolve both the optical scattering and infrared molecular absorption spectroscopically. Our results reveal a diverse group of hot Jupiters that exhibit a continuum from clear to cloudy atmospheres. We find that the difference between the planetary radius measured at optical and infrared wavelengths is an effective metric for distinguishing different atmosphere types. The difference correlates with the spectral strength of water, so that strong water absorption lines are seen in clear-atmosphere planets and the weakest features are associated with clouds and hazes. This result strongly suggests that primordial water depletion during formation is unlikely and that clouds and hazes are the cause of weaker spectral signatures.

  20. Combining angular differential imaging and accurate polarimetry with SPHERE/IRDIS to characterize young giant exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    van Holstein, Rob G.; Snik, Frans; Girard, Julien H.; de Boer, Jozua; Ginski, C.; Keller, Christoph U.; Stam, Daphne M.; Beuzit, Jean-Luc; Mouillet, David; Kasper, Markus; Langlois, Maud; Zurlo, Alice; de Kok, Remco J.; Vigan, Arthur

    2017-09-01

    Young giant exoplanets emit infrared radiation that can be linearly polarized up to several percent. This linear polarization can trace: 1) the presence of atmospheric cloud and haze layers, 2) spatial structure, e.g. cloud bands and rotational flattening, 3) the spin axis orientation and 4) particle sizes and cloud top pressure. We introduce a novel high-contrast imaging scheme that combines angular differential imaging (ADI) and accurate near-infrared polarimetry to characterize self-luminous giant exoplanets. We implemented this technique at VLT/SPHEREIRDIS and developed the corresponding observing strategies, the polarization calibration and the data-reduction approaches. The combination of ADI and polarimetry is challenging, because the field rotation required for ADI negatively affects the polarimetric performance. By combining ADI and polarimetry we can characterize planets that can be directly imaged with a very high signal-to-noise ratio. We use the IRDIS pupil-tracking mode and combine ADI and principal component analysis to reduce speckle noise. We take advantage of IRDIS' dual-beam polarimetric mode to eliminate differential effects that severely limit the polarimetric sensitivity (flat-fielding errors, differential aberrations and seeing), and thus further suppress speckle noise. To correct for instrumental polarization effects, we apply a detailed Mueller matrix model that describes the telescope and instrument and that has an absolute polarimetric accuracy analysis. We estimate preliminary 1σ upper limits on the degree of linear polarization of ˜ 1% and ˜ 0.1% for the planets of HR 8799 and PZ Tel B, respectively. The achieved sub-percent sensitivity and accuracy show that our technique has great promise for characterizing exoplanets through direct-imaging polarimetry

  1. Model Atmospheres and Spectral Irradiance Library of the Exoplanet Host Stars Observed in the MUSCLES Survey

    Science.gov (United States)

    Linsky, Jeffrey

    2017-08-01

    We propose to compute state-of-the-art model atmospheres (photospheres, chromospheres, transition regions and coronae) of the 4 K and 7 M exoplanet host stars observed by HST in the MUSCLES Treasury Survey, the nearest host star Proxima Centauri, and TRAPPIST-1. Our semi-empirical models will fit theunique high-resolution panchromatic (X-ray to infrared) spectra of these stars in the MAST High-Level Science Products archive consisting of COS and STIS UV spectra and near-simultaneous Chandra, XMM-Newton, and ground-based observations. We will compute models with the fully tested SSRPM computer software incorporating 52 atoms and ions in full non-LTE (435,986 spectral lines) and the 20 most-abundant diatomic molecules (about 2 million lines). This code has successfully fit the panchromatic spectrum of the M1.5 V exoplanet host star GJ 832 (Fontenla et al. 2016), the first M star with such a detailed model, and solar spectra. Our models will (1) predict the unobservable extreme-UV spectra, (2) determine radiative energy losses and balancing heating rates throughout these atmospheres, (3) compute a stellar irradiance library needed to describe the radiation environment of potentially habitable exoplanets to be studied by TESS and JWST, and (4) in the long post-HST era when UV observations will not be possible, the stellar irradiance library will be a powerful tool for predicting the panchromatic spectra of host stars that have only limited spectral coverage, in particular no UV spectra. The stellar models and spectral irradiance library will be placed quickly in MAST.

  2. A library of ATMO forward model transmission spectra for hot Jupiter exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Goyal, Jayesh M.; Mayne, Nathan; Sing, David K.; Drummond, Benjamin; Tremblin, Pascal; Amundsen, David S.; Evans, Thomas; Carter, Aarynn L.; Spake, Jessica; Baraffe, Isabelle; Nikolov, Nikolay; Manners, James; Chabrier, Gilles; Hebrard, Eric

    2018-03-01

    We present a grid of forward model transmission spectra, adopting an isothermal temperature-pressure profile, alongside corresponding equilibrium chemical abundances for 117 observationally significant hot exoplanets (equilibrium temperatures of 547-2710 K). This model grid has been developed using a 1D radiative-convective-chemical equilibrium model termed ATMO, with up-to-date high-temperature opacities. We present an interpretation of observations of 10 exoplanets, including best-fitting parameters and χ2 maps. In agreement with previous works, we find a continuum from clear to hazy/cloudy atmospheres for this sample of hot Jupiters. The data for all the 10 planets are consistent with subsolar to solar C/O ratio, 0.005 to 10 times solar metallicity and water rather than methane-dominated infrared spectra. We then explore the range of simulated atmospheric spectra for different exoplanets, based on characteristics such as temperature, metallicity, C/O ratio, haziness and cloudiness. We find a transition value for the metallicity between 10 and 50 times solar, which leads to substantial changes in the transmission spectra. We also find a transition value of C/O ratio, from water to carbon species dominated infrared spectra, as found by previous works, revealing a temperature dependence of this transition point ranging from ˜0.56 to ˜1-1.3 for equilibrium temperatures from ˜900 to ˜2600 K. We highlight the potential of the spectral features of HCN and C2H2 to constrain the metallicities and C/O ratios of planets, using James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) observations. Finally, our entire grid (˜460 000 simulations) is publicly available and can be used directly with the JWST simulator PandExo for planning observations.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ruffio, Jean-Baptiste; Macintosh, Bruce; Wang, Jason J.; Pueyo, Laurent; Nielsen, Eric L.; De Rosa, Robert J.; Czekala, Ian; Marley, Mark S.; Arriaga, Pauline; Bailey, Vanessa P.; Barman, Travis; Bulger, Joanna; Chilcote, Jeffrey; Cotten, Tara; Doyon, Rene; Duchêne, Gaspard; Fitzgerald, Michael P.; Follette, Katherine B.; Gerard, Benjamin L.; Goodsell, Stephen J.; Graham, James R.; Greenbaum, Alexandra Z.; Hibon, Pascale; Hung, Li-Wei; Ingraham, Patrick; Kalas, Paul; Konopacky, Quinn; Larkin, James E.; Maire, Jérôme; Marchis, Franck; Marois, Christian; Metchev, Stanimir; Millar-Blanchaer, Maxwell A.; Morzinski, Katie M.; Oppenheimer, Rebecca; Palmer, David; Patience, Jennifer; Perrin, Marshall; Poyneer, Lisa; Rajan, Abhijith; Rameau, Julien; Rantakyrö, Fredrik T.; Savransky, Dmitry; Schneider, Adam C.; Sivaramakrishnan, Anand; Song, Inseok; Soummer, Remi; Thomas, Sandrine; Wallace, J. Kent; Ward-Duong, Kimberly; Wiktorowicz, Sloane; Wolff, Schuyler

    2017-06-01

    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.

  4. Detection of the Atmosphere of the 1.6 M ⊕ Exoplanet GJ 1132 b

    Science.gov (United States)

    Southworth, John; Mancini, Luigi; Madhusudhan, Nikku; Mollière, Paul; Ciceri, Simona; Henning, Thomas

    2017-04-01

    Detecting the atmospheres of low-mass, low-temperature exoplanets is a high-priority goal on the path to ultimately detecting biosignatures in the atmospheres of habitable exoplanets. High-precision HST observations of several super-Earths with equilibrium temperatures below 1000 K have to date all resulted in featureless transmission spectra, which have been suggested to be due to high-altitude clouds. We report the detection of an atmospheric feature in the atmosphere of a 1.6 {M}\\oplus transiting exoplanet, GJ 1132 b, with an equilibrium temperature of ˜600 K and orbiting a nearby M dwarf. We present observations of nine transits of the planet obtained simultaneously in the griz and JHK passbands. We find an average radius of 1.43 ± 0.16 {R}\\oplus for the planet, averaged over all the passbands, and a radius of 0.255 ± 0.023 {R}⊙ for the star, both of which are significantly greater than previously found. The planet radius can be decomposed into a “surface radius” at ˜1.375 {R}\\oplus overlaid by atmospheric features that increase the observed radius in the z and K bands. The z-band radius is 4σ higher than the continuum, suggesting a strong detection of an atmosphere. We deploy a suite of tests to verify the reliability of the transmission spectrum, which are greatly helped by the existence of repeat observations. The large z-band transit depth indicates strong opacity from H2O and/or CH4 or a hitherto-unconsidered opacity. A surface radius of 1.375 ± 0.16 {R}\\oplus allows for a wide range of interior compositions ranging from a nearly Earth-like rocky interior, with ˜70% silicate and ˜30% Fe, to a substantially H2O-rich water world.

  5. A simple model to describe intrinsic stellar noise for exoplanet detection around red giants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    North, Thomas S. H.; Chaplin, William J.; Gilliland, Ronald L.

    2017-01-01

    In spite of the huge advances in exoplanet research provided by the NASA Kepler Mission, there remain only a small number of transit detections around evolved stars. Here, we present a reformulation of the noise properties of red-giant stars, where the intrinsic stellar granulation and the stellar...... of stellar noise for these missions. As an application of our noise model, we explore the minimum detectable planet radii for red giant stars, and find that Neptune-sized planets should be detectable around low-luminosity red giant branch stars....

  6. Earths in Other Solar Systems: Fundamental Protoplanetary Disk Properties and Their Evolution

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kim, J. S.; Pascucci, I.; Allen, L.; Apai, D.; Bergin, T.; Ciesla, F.; Eisner, J.; Fang, M.; Krijt, S.; Najita, J.; Rieke, G.; Salyk, C.

    2017-11-01

    Earths in Other Solar Systems is a NASA interdisciplinary exoplanet research program aiming at understanding how and where habitable planets form. We present an overview of objective 2: How are volatiles and organics processed in protoplanetary disks?

  7. The Impact of Gaia and LSST on Binaries and Exoplanets

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Eyer, L.; Dubath, P.; Mowlavi, N.

    2012-01-01

    Two upcoming large scale surveys, the ESA Gaia and LSST projects, will bring a new era in astronomy. The number of binary systems that will be observed and detected by these projects is enormous, estimations range from millions for Gaia to several tens of millions for LSST. We review some tools t...

  8. Synergies between exoplanet surveys and variable star research

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kovacs Geza

    2017-01-01

    Full Text Available With the discovery of the first transiting extrasolar planetary system back in 1999, a great number of projects started to hunt for other similar systems. Because the incidence rate of such systems was unknown and the length of the shallow transit events is only a few percent of the orbital period, the goal was to monitor continuously as many stars as possible for at least a period of a few months. Small aperture, large field of view automated telescope systems have been installed with a parallel development of new data reduction and analysis methods, leading to better than 1% per data point precision for thousands of stars. With the successful launch of the photometric satellites CoRoT and Kepler, the precision increased further by one-two orders of magnitude. Millions of stars have been analyzed and searched for transits. In the history of variable star astronomy this is the biggest undertaking so far, resulting in photometric time series inventories immensely valuable for the whole field. In this review we briefly discuss the methods of data analysis that were inspired by the main science driver of these surveys and highlight some of the most interesting variable star results that impact the field of variable star astronomy.

  9. Synergies between exoplanet surveys and variable star research

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kovacs, Geza

    2017-09-01

    With the discovery of the first transiting extrasolar planetary system back in 1999, a great number of projects started to hunt for other similar systems. Because the incidence rate of such systems was unknown and the length of the shallow transit events is only a few percent of the orbital period, the goal was to monitor continuously as many stars as possible for at least a period of a few months. Small aperture, large field of view automated telescope systems have been installed with a parallel development of new data reduction and analysis methods, leading to better than 1% per data point precision for thousands of stars. With the successful launch of the photometric satellites CoRoT and Kepler, the precision increased further by one-two orders of magnitude. Millions of stars have been analyzed and searched for transits. In the history of variable star astronomy this is the biggest undertaking so far, resulting in photometric time series inventories immensely valuable for the whole field. In this review we briefly discuss the methods of data analysis that were inspired by the main science driver of these surveys and highlight some of the most interesting variable star results that impact the field of variable star astronomy.

  10. Stellar imaging coronagraph an additional instrument for exoplanet exploration onboard the WSO-UV 1.7 meter orbital telescope

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shashkova, I.; Frolov, P.; Dzyuban, I.; Kiselev, A.; Tavrov, A.; Korablev, O.; Sachkov, M.; Nishikawa, J.; Kameda, S.

    2017-09-01

    The WSO-UV (World Space Observatory for Ultraviolet) is the orbital optical telescope with a 1.7 m diameter of primary mirror under construction. The WSO-UV is aimed for a 110-310 nm UV spectral range observations and it will have onboard science instruments: the spectrographs in UV and the imaging field cameras with filter wheels. Currently the WSO-UV project has the development up to a "C" phase and the telescope launch is optimistically scheduled to 2022. Recently, a new science instrument dedicated for exoplanets exploration has been proposed to the WSO-UV named SCEDI - Stellar Coronagraph for Exoplanet Direct Imaging.

  11. Alien skies planetary atmospheres from earth to exoplanets

    CERN Document Server

    Pont, Frédéric J

    2014-01-01

    Planetary atmospheres are complex and evolving entities, as mankind is rapidly coming to realise whilst attempting to understand, forecast and mitigate human-induced climate change. In the Solar System, our neighbours Venus and Mars provide striking examples of two endpoints of planetary evolution, runaway greenhouse and loss of atmosphere to space. The variety of extra-solar planets brings a wider angle to the issue: from scorching "hot jupiters'' to ocean worlds, exo-atmospheres explore many configurations unknown in the Solar System, such as iron clouds, silicate rains, extreme plate tectonics, and steam volcanoes. Exoplanetary atmospheres have recently become accessible to observations. This book puts our own climate in the wider context of the trials and tribulations of planetary atmospheres. Based on cutting-edge research, it uses a grand tour of the atmospheres of other planets to shine a new light on our own atmosphere, and its relation with life.

  12. The Rossiter-McLaughlin effect for exoplanets

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Winn J.N.

    2011-02-01

    Full Text Available There are now more than 30 stars with transiting planets for which the stellar obliquity—or more precisely its sky projection—has been measured, via the eponymous effect of Rossiter and McLaughlin. The history of these measurements is intriguing. For 8 years a case was gradually building that the orbits of hot Jupiters are always well-aligned with the rotation of their parent stars. Then in a sudden reversal, many misaligned systems were found, and it now seems that even retrograde systems are not uncommon. I review the measurement technique underlying these discoveries, the patterns that have emerged from the data, and the implications for theories of planet formation and migration.

  13. Exoplanets -New Results from Space and Ground-based Surveys

    Science.gov (United States)

    Udry, Stephane

    The exploration of the outer solar system and in particular of the giant planets and their environments is an on-going process with the Cassini spacecraft currently around Saturn, the Juno mission to Jupiter preparing to depart and two large future space missions planned to launch in the 2020-2025 time frame for the Jupiter system and its satellites (Europa and Ganymede) on the one hand, and the Saturnian system and Titan on the other hand [1,2]. Titan, Saturn's largest satellite, is the only other object in our Solar system to possess an extensive nitrogen atmosphere, host to an active organic chemistry, based on the interaction of N2 with methane (CH4). Following the Voyager flyby in 1980, Titan has been intensely studied from the ground-based large telescopes (such as the Keck or the VLT) and by artificial satellites (such as the Infrared Space Observatory and the Hubble Space Telescope) for the past three decades. Prior to Cassini-Huygens, Titan's atmospheric composition was thus known to us from the Voyager missions and also through the explorations by the ISO. Our perception of Titan had thus greatly been enhanced accordingly, but many questions remained as to the nature of the haze surrounding the satellite and the composition of the surface. The recent revelations by the Cassini-Huygens mission have managed to surprise us with many discoveries [3-8] and have yet to reveal more of the interesting aspects of the satellite. The Cassini-Huygens mission to the Saturnian system has been an extraordinary success for the planetary community since the Saturn-Orbit-Insertion (SOI) in July 2004 and again the very successful probe descent and landing of Huygens on January 14, 2005. One of its main targets was Titan. Titan was revealed to be a complex world more like the Earth than any other: it has a dense mostly nitrogen atmosphere and active climate and meteorological cycles where the working fluid, methane, behaves under Titan conditions the way that water does on

  14. ARIEL: Atmospheric Remote Sensing Infrared Exoplanet Large Survey. A proposal for the ESA Cosmic Vision M4

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pace, E.; Micela, G.; Ariel Team

    The Atmospheric Remote sensing Infrared Exoplanet Large survey (ARIEL) is a proposal in response to the call for a Medium-size mission opportunity in ESA’s Cosmic Vision 2015-2025 Science Programme for a launch in 2025 (M4). This mission will be devoted to observe spectroscopically in the IR a large population (hundreds to one thousand) of known planets in our Galaxy, opening a new discovery space in the field of extrasolar planet exploration and enabling a quantum leap in the understanding of the physics and chemistry of these far away worlds. The population of planets will include warm and hot gas‑giants, Neptunes and large terrestrial planets. The main ARIEL goal is the determination of the composition, formation and history of these planetary systems In order to fulfill the scientific goals of ARIEL, we propose the development of a 1‑meter class aperture space telescope, passively cooled to 70‑80K, to observe the combined light of stars and their planets, building on the current experience of transit and combined light observations with Hubble, Spitzer, and ground-based telescopes. While JWST and EELT will initiate a detailed mid- to high-resolution IR spectroscopic observation of a few tens of planets, this mission will extend the study to a much larger (an order of magnitude difference) representative population of extrasolar planets discovered by ESA GAIA, Cheops, PLATO, NASA Kepler II, TESS and from the ground. The statistical perspective provided by this mission, will allow us to address some of the fundamental questions of the Cosmic Vision programme: What are the conditions for planet formation and the emergence of life? ls our Solar System unique, rare or very common? How does the Solar System work?

  15. Li depletion in solar analogues with exoplanets Extending the sample

    OpenAIRE

    Mena, E. Delgado; Israelian, G.; Hernandez, J. I. Gonazlez; Sousa, S. G.; Mortier, A.; Santos, N. C.; Adibekyan, V. Zh.; Fernandes, J.; Rebolo, R.; Udry, S.; Mayor, M.

    2014-01-01

    We want to study the effects of the formation of planets and planetary systems on the atmospheric Li abundance of planet host stars. In this work we present new determinations of lithium abundances for 326 Main Sequence stars with and without planets in the T$_\\mathrm{eff}$ range 5600-5900 K. 277 stars come from the HARPS sample, the remaining targets have been observed with a variety of high resolution spectrographs. We confirm significant differences in the Li distribution of solar twins (T...

  16. Proxima b and prospects for exoplanet detections around red dwarfs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Anglada-Escude, Guillem; Barnes, John

    2017-04-01

    The detection of Proxima b -a possibly terrestrial planet around Proxima Centauri- is the explicit a manifestation of something that should have been obvious for a while. That is, Earth-sized/Earth-mass planets are now easily detectable around red dwarfs, and offer the first chances for more detailed characterization studies of atmospheres (and maybe geophysical processes) beyond the Solar System. With size ratios comparable to those of hot-Jupiters, the transiting fraction of these planets are bound to become the prime source of observational constrains in the short term, especially concerning methods such as transmission spectroscopy. In a longer time-frame, extreme adaptive optics systems combined with high spectral resolution instruments hold the promise for direct imaging of terrestrial planets and obtaining complementary measurements on their atmosphere. I will review the body of evidence justifying the variety and characteristics of the objects to be detected around bright/nearby stars objects in the next few years, as well as the most promising follow-up techniques that should also become available soon.

  17. Earth's Early Atmosphere in the Light of Exoplanet Studies

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shematovich, V. I.

    2017-05-01

    Review of current approaches to the study of formation and evolution of early Earth's atmosphere is presented basing on the data of comparative planetology. Recent intensive studies of the atmospheres of the planets in the Solar and extrasolar planetary systems have led to the improvement of our knowledge about the formation and evolution of protoatmospheres of celestial bodies at the earliest stages of the planetary system formation [Massol et al., 2016]. Proto- or primary atmosphere of planet now is associated with the following scenario of the formation. When the protoplanetary core accretes the matter and grows in side a gaseous disk, it can capture the basic - H2, He, and the admixture gases from the disk. When the gas is evaporated from the disk, the planetary core, surrounded by an gas envelope of H2 and He, is exposed to the intense fluxes of stellar radiation in the X-ray and extreme ultraviolet wavelength's ranges and stellar wind plasma from the young host star. This time period can be considered as a beginning of the dissipation of the primary atmosphere. The main role is played by the processes of thermal escape in the modes of evaporation and/or hydrodynamic outflow of the atmospheric gas. The modern models of thermal and non-thermal escape used to study the loss of the Earth's primary atmosphere and the formation and evolution of the secondary atmosphere are discussed in this review

  18. Trends in Atmospheric Properties of Neptune-size Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Crossfield, Ian J. M.; Kreidberg, Laura

    2017-12-01

    Precise atmospheric observations have been made for a growing sample of warm Neptunes. Here, we investigate the correlations between these observations and a large number of system parameters to show that, at 95% confidence, the amplitude of a warm Neptune’s spectral features in transmission correlates with either its equilibrium temperature (T eq) or its bulk H/He mass fraction (f HHe)—in addition to the standard {kT}/μ g scaling. These correlations could indicate either more optically thick, photochemically produced hazes at lower T eq and/or higher-metallicity atmospheres for planets with smaller radii and lower f HHe. We derive an analytic relation to estimate the observing time needed with JWST/NIRISS to confidently distinguish a nominal gas giant’s transmission spectrum from a flat line. Using this tool, we show that these possible atmospheric trends could reduce the number of expected TESS planets accessible to JWST spectroscopy by up to a factor of eight. Additional observations of a larger sample of planets are required to confirm these trends in atmospheric properties as a function of planet or system quantities. If these trends can be confidently identified, the community will be well-positioned to prioritize new targets for atmospheric study and eventually break the complex degeneracies between atmospheric chemistry, composition, and cloud properties.

  19. Magnetodynamo lifetimes for rocky, Earth-mass exoplanets with contrasting mantle convection regimes

    Science.gov (United States)

    van Summeren, Joost; Gaidos, Eric; Conrad, Clinton P.

    2013-05-01

    We used a thermal model of an iron core to calculate magnetodynamo evolution in Earth-mass rocky planets to determine the sensitivity of dynamo lifetime and intensity to planets with different mantle tectonic regimes, surface temperatures, and core properties. The heat flow at the core-mantle boundary (CMB) is derived from numerical models of mantle convection with a viscous/pseudoplastic rheology that captures the phenomenology of plate-like tectonics. Our thermal evolution models predict a long-lived ( 8 Gyr) field for Earth and similar dynamo evolution for Earth-mass exoplanets with plate tectonics. Both elevated surface temperature and pressure-dependent mantle viscosity reduce the CMB heat flow but produce only slightly longer-lived dynamos ( 8-9.5 Gyr). Single-plate ("stagnant lid") planets with relatively low CMB heat flow produce long-lived ( 10.5 Gyr) dynamos. These weaker dynamos can cease for several billions of years and subsequently reactivate due to the additional entropy production associated with inner core growth, a possible explanation for the absence of a magnetic field on present-day Venus. We also show that dynamo operation is sensitive to the initial temperature, size, and solidus of a planet's core. These dependencies would severely challenge any attempt to distinguish exoplanets with plate tectonics and stagnant lids based on the presence or absence of a magnetic field.

  20. TRANSMISSION SPECTRUM OF EARTH AS A TRANSITING EXOPLANET FROM THE ULTRAVIOLET TO THE NEAR-INFRARED

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Betremieux, Y. [Max-Planck-Institut fuer Astronomie, Koenigstuhl 17, D-69117 Heidelberg (Germany); Kaltenegger, L., E-mail: betremieux@mpia.de, E-mail: kaltenegger@mpia.de [Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 60 Garden street, Cambridge MA 02138 (United States)

    2013-08-01

    Transmission spectroscopy of exoplanets is a tool to characterize rocky planets and explore their habitability. Using the Earth itself as a proxy, we model the atmospheric cross section as a function of wavelength, and show the effect of each atmospheric species, Rayleigh scattering, and refraction from 115 to 1000 nm. Clouds do not significantly affect this picture because refraction prevents the lowest 12.75 km of the atmosphere, in a transiting geometry for an Earth-Sun analog, to be sampled by a distant observer. We calculate the effective planetary radius for the primary eclipse spectrum of an Earth-like exoplanet around a Sun-like star. Below 200 nm, ultraviolet (UV) O{sub 2} absorption increases the effective planetary radius by about 180 km, versus 27 km at 760.3 nm, and 14 km in the near-infrared (NIR) due predominantly to refraction. This translates into a 2.6% change in effective planetary radius over the UV-NIR wavelength range, showing that the UV is an interesting wavelength range for future space missions.

  1. Using Final Kepler Catalog Completeness and Reliability Products in Exoplanet Occurrence Rate Estimates

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bryson, Steve; Burke, Christopher; Batalha, Natalie Marie; Thompson, Susan E.; Coughlin, Jeffrey; Christiansen, Jessie; Mullally, Fergal; Shabram, Megan; Kepler Team

    2018-01-01

    Burke et. al. 2015 presented an exoplanet occurrence rate estimate based on the Q1-Q16 Kepler Planet Candidate catalog. That catalog featured uniform planet candidate vetting and analytic approximations to the detection completeness (the fraction of true planets that would be detected) for each target star. We present an extension of that occurrence rate work using the final DR25 Kepler Planet Candidate catalog products, which uses higher-accuracy detection completeness data for each target star, and adds estimates of vetting completeness (the fraction of detected true planets correctly identified as planet candidates) and vetting reliability (the fraction of planet candidates that are true planets). These completeness and reliability products are based on synthetic manipulations of Kepler data, including transit injection, data scrambling, and inversion. We describe how each component is incorporated into the occurrence rate estimate, and how they impact the occurrence rate estimate both individually and in combination. We discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the completeness and reliability products and how they impact our confidence in the occurrence rate values uncertainties. This work is an example of how the community can use the DR25 completeness and reliability products, which are publicly available at the NASA Exoplanet Archive (http://exoplanetarchive.ipac.caltech.edu) and the Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes (http://archive.stsci.edu/kepler).

  2. Every Cloud has a Silver Lining: Synthesizing Spectra for Exoplanets with Inhomogeneous Aerosol Coverage

    Science.gov (United States)

    DiTomasso, Victoria; Kempton, Eliza; Rauscher, Emily; Roman, Michael

    2018-01-01

    In order to learn about exoplanets, we observe the light coming from their host stars. In particular, we can observe a host star while its planet is in transit. During transit, we are able to observe light from the star that has passed through the planet’s atmosphere and isolate that signal in a transmission spectrum. Previous transit observations have suggested that some hot Jupiters have aerosols in their atmospheres. We have calculated the effects that non-uniform aerosol coverage would have on the resulting transmission spectra of hot Jupiters. We used 3D atmospheric models of a planet with varying aerosol coverage to produce synthetic transmission spectra of the planet during full transit. We also produced transmission spectra from the start of transit, ingress, and the end of transit, egress, to determine if we can identify whether atmospheric aerosols are concentrated on the east or west side of the exoplanet. This will help us determine global aerosol structure, as well as indicate whether these planets are dominated by photochemically produced haze or directly condensed clouds. Using these spectra, we will test the feasibility of inferring aerosol coverage on a hot Jupiter using the Hubble Space Telescope.

  3. Water vapour absorption in the clear atmosphere of a Neptune-sized exoplanet.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fraine, Jonathan; Deming, Drake; Benneke, Bjorn; Knutson, Heather; Jordán, Andrés; Espinoza, Néstor; Madhusudhan, Nikku; Wilkins, Ashlee; Todorov, Kamen

    2014-09-25

    Transmission spectroscopy has so far detected atomic and molecular absorption in Jupiter-sized exoplanets, but intense efforts to measure molecular absorption in the atmospheres of smaller (Neptune-sized) planets during transits have revealed only featureless spectra. From this it was concluded that the majority of small, warm planets evolve to sustain atmospheres with high mean molecular weights (little hydrogen), opaque clouds or scattering hazes, reducing our ability to observe the composition of these atmospheres. Here we report observations of the transmission spectrum of the exoplanet HAT-P-11b (which has a radius about four times that of Earth) from the optical wavelength range to the infrared. We detected water vapour absorption at a wavelength of 1.4 micrometres. The amplitude of the water absorption (approximately 250 parts per million) indicates that the planetary atmosphere is predominantly clear down to an altitude corresponding to about 1 millibar, and sufficiently rich in hydrogen to have a large scale height (over which the atmospheric pressure varies by a factor of e). The spectrum is indicative of a planetary atmosphere in which the abundance of heavy elements is no greater than about 700 times the solar value. This is in good agreement with the core-accretion theory of planet formation, in which a gas giant planet acquires its atmosphere by accreting hydrogen-rich gas directly from the protoplanetary nebula onto a large rocky or icy core.

  4. Community Targets for JWST's Early Release Science Program: Evaluation of Transiting Exoplanet WASP-63b.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kilpatrick, Brian; Cubillos, Patricio; Bruno, Giovanni; Lewis, Nikole K.; Stevenson, Kevin B.; Wakeford, Hannah; Blecic, Jasmina; Burrows, Adam Seth; Deming, Drake; Heng, Kevin; Line, Michael R.; Madhusudhan, Nikku; Morley, Caroline; Waldmann, Ingo P.; Transiting Exoplanet Early Release Science Community (Stevenson et al. 2016)

    2017-06-01

    We present observations of the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) ``A Preparatory Program to Identify the Single Best Transiting Exoplanet for JWST Early Release Science" for WASP-63b, one of the community targets proposed for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) Early Release Science (ERS) program. A large collaboration of transiting exoplanet scientists identified a set of ``community targets" which meet a certain set of criteria for ecliptic latitude, period, host star brightness, well constrained orbital parameters, and strength of spectroscopic features. WASP-63b was one of the targets identified as a potential candidate for the ERS program. It is presented as an inflated planet with a large signal. It will be accessible to JWST approximately six months after the planned start of Cycle 1/ERS in April 2019 making it an ideal candidate should there be any delays in the JWST timetable. Here, we observe WASP-63b to evaluate its suitability as the best target to test the capabilities of JWST. Ideally, a clear atmosphere will be best suited for bench marking the instruments ability to detect spectroscopic features. We can use the strength of the water absorption feature at 1.4 μm as a way to determine the presence of obscuring clouds/hazes. The results of atmospheric retrieval are presented along with a discussion on the suitability of WASP-63b as the best target to be observed during the ERS Program.

  5. Exoplanet recycling in massive white-dwarf debris discs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Van Lieshout, Rik

    2017-06-01

    When a star evolves into a white dwarf, the planetary system it hosts can become unstable. Planets in such systems may then be scattered onto star-grazing orbits, leading to their tidal disruption as they pass within the white dwarf’s Roche limit. We study the massive, compact debris discs that may arrise from this process using a combination of analytical estimates and numerical modelling. The discs are gravitationally unstable, resulting in an enhanced effective viscosity due to angular momentum transport associated with self-gravity wakes. For disc masses greater than ~1026 g (corresponding to progenitor objects comparable to the Galilean moons), viscous spreading dominates over Poynting-Robertson drag in the outer parts of the disc. In such massive discs, mass is transported both in- and outwards. When the outward-flowing material spreads beyond the Roche limit, it coagulates into new (minor) planets in a process analogous to the ongoing formation of Saturn’s innermost moonlets. This process recycles a substantial fraction of the original disc mass (tens of percents), with the bulk of the mass locked in a single large body orbitting in a 2:1 mean-motion resonance with the Roche limit. As such, the recycling of a tidally disrupted super-Earth could yield an Earth-mass planet on a 10--20 hr orbit. For white dwarfs with a temperature below 6000-7000 K (corresponding to a cooling age of >1--2 Gyr), this orbit is located in the white dwarf’s habitable zone. The recycling process also creates a string of smaller bodies just outside the Roche limit. These may account for the collection of minor planets postulated to orbit white dwarf WD 1145+017.

  6. THEIA: Telescope for Habitable Exoplanets and Interstellar/Intergalactic Astronomy

    Science.gov (United States)

    Spergel, David N.; Kasdin, J.; Belikov, R.; Atcheson, P.; Beasley, M.; Calzetti, D.; Cameron, B.; Copi, C.; Desch, S.; Dressler, A.; Ebbets, D.; Egerman, R.; Fullerton, A.; Gallagher, J.; Green, J.; Guyon, O.; Heap, S.; Jansen, R.; Jenkins, E.; Kasting, J.; Keski-Kuha, R.; Kuchner, M.; Lee, R.; Lindler, D.; Linfield, R.; Lisman, D.; Lyon, R.; Malhotra, S.; Mathews, G.; McCaughrean, M.; Mentzel, J.; Mountain, M.; NIkzad, S.; O'Connell, R.; Oey, S.; Padgett, D.; Parvin, B.; Procashka, J.; Reeve, W.; Reid, I. N.; Rhoads, J.; Roberge, A.; Saif, B.; Scowen, P.; Seager, S.; Seigmund, O.; Sembach, K.; Shaklan, S.; Shull, M.; Soummer, R.

    2009-01-01

    By combining an occultor with a 4-meter optical/ultraviolet telescope, THEIA (Telescope for Habiatable Earths and Interstellar/Intergalactic Astronomy) will conduct an observational program that address many of the most exciting questions in astrophysics. The telescope is an on-axis telescope with a MgF-coated primary and a LiF-coated secondary. This hybrid approach allows reasonable through-put in the UV without the need to coat a large piimary with LiF. The coronagraph/occultor system is also a hybrid that aims to reduce the requirements on each approach. The telescope feeds a rich instrument complement. The eXtrasolar Planet Characterizer (XPC) baseline instruments are three narrow-field cameras for the UV (0.25-4.0 microns), blue (0.4-0.7 microns) and red (0.7-1.0 microns) with filters, and an integral field spectrograph (IFS) operating in the red. A wide-field high-resolution camera (Star Formation Camera) operating with a blue (190--517nm) and a red (517--1075nm) channel will conduct a comprehensive and systematic study of the astrophysical processes and environments relevant for the births and life cycles of stars and their planetary systems. A UV high-resolution spectrograph (UVS) with R=30,000-100,000 in the far-UV (1000-1700 A) and near-UV (1700-3000 A) will strengthen the foundations of observational cosmology by examining the cosmic web (IGM), its interactions with galaxies, and its enrichment with the products of stellar and galactic evolution. This mission has two basic opseration modes. While the occultor is moving from target star to target star, the telescope carries out an exciting program of general astrophysics. While the occultor is on target, it will characterize the key properties of a detected planet and deeply image adjacent fields in parallel mode.

  7. Precisely measuring the density of small transiting exoplanets with particular emphasis on longer period planet using the HARPS-N spectrograph

    Science.gov (United States)

    Buchhave, Lars A.

    2015-08-01

    The majority of exoplanets discovered by the Kepler Mission have sizes that range between 1-4 Earth radii, populating a regime of planets with no Solar System analogues. This regime is critical for understanding the frequency of potentially habitable worlds and to help inform planet formation theories, because it contains the transition from lower-density planets with extended H/He envelopes to higher-density rocky planets with compact atmospheres. HARPS-N is an ultra-stable high-resolution spectrograph optimized for the measurement of precise radial velocities, yielding precise planetary masses and thus densities of small transiting exoplanets. In this talk, I will review the progress to populate the mass-radius parameter space with precisely measured densities of small planets. I will in particular focus on the latest HARPS-N results and their implication for our understanding of these super-Earth and small Neptune type planets.Additionally, I will discuss our progress to measure the masses of longer period sub-Neptune sized planets. In Buchhave el al. 2014, we found suggestive observational evidence that the transition from rocky to gaseous planets might depend on the orbital period, such that larger planets further away from their host star could be massive planets without a large gaseous envelope. To test this hypothesis, we have used HARPS-N to observe longer period planet candidates to determine whether they are in fact massive rocky planets or if they have extended H/He envelopes and thus lower bulk densities.HARPS-N at the Telescopio Nazionale Galileo, La Palma is an international collaboration and was funded by the Swiss Space Office, the Harvard Origin of Life Initiative, the Scottish Universities Physics Alliance, the University of Geneva, the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, and the Italian National Astrophysical Institute, University of St. Andrews, Queens University Belfast, and University of Edinburgh.

  8. The Education and Public Outreach Plan for UCLA's Institute for Planets and Exoplanets (iPLEX)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Glesener, G. B.; Jewitt, D. C.; Curren, I. S.

    2012-12-01

    Increasing the number and diversity of students pursuing and completing STEM education is a crucial part of UCLA's Institute for Planets and Exoplanets (iPLEX)'s goal of promoting research on planetary systems around the sun and other stars. Cultivating students' interest and success in STEM subject areas from K-12 to the bachelor's degree is an important factor in student retention. As they pursue a bachelor's degree in a STEM major, many become discouraged and decide not to finish with this type of degree; women, underrepresented minorities (URM), and students of low socioeconomic status (SES) have the highest attrition rates (Bayer 2010). Focusing primarily on students at the high school and community college levels, our education and public outreach plan utilizes the multidisciplinary science of astrobiology as a resource for building stronger learning environments in STEM education. By implementing formal education programs that encourage and foster student learning in STEM fields, we intend to (1) increase the efficiency with which students move from high school into STEM-related undergraduate programs, (2) improve the corresponding transfer rate from community colleges to advanced degree programs in STEM at the 4-year university level, and (3) create more opportunities for students to become involved in meaningful research as they progress in their studies. To ensure the success of these programs, we will partner with teachers from local high schools and community colleges, and UCLA's Center X. By being geographically located in Los Angeles County, having one of the highest URM populations in the United States (US Census Bureau, 2007), and partnering with Hampton University (HU) in Virginia, whose student body is 91% African American, we are in a position to make a large impact on diversity. To further ensure the success of our EPO, an independent evaluator will measure and track the following program objectives: increase (1) post-secondary STEM enrollment

  9. ExoPlex: A code for calculating interior structure and mineralogy and mass-radius relationships for exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Desch, Steven; Lorenzo, Alejandro; Ko, Byeongkwan

    2016-06-01

    We present a computer code we have written for general release that calculates the interior structure and mass-radius relationships of solid exoplanets up to a few Earth masses. The basic algorithm is that of Seager et al. (2007), Zeng & Sasselov (2013) and Dorn et al. (2015): the code integrates the 1-D (spherical) equation of hydrostatic equilibrium to find pressure in shells of various depths assuming a gravitational acceleration, uses the bulk modulus of the materials as inputs to an equation of state to convert pressures into density and volume in each shell, recomputes the shell thicknesses and gravitational acceleration, and iterates the solution to convergence. Unlike most existing codes, we do not impose a particular mineralogy in each shell. Instead we adopt the approach of Dorn et al. (2015), in which we impose a stoichiometry in each shell; for rocky shells and the metal core the code calls the PerpleX code (Connolly et al. 2005) to compute the mineralogy and material properties appropriate to that shell’s stoichiometry, pressure and temperature. Unique attributes of the code are as follows. The mineralogy is complete in the Fe-Mg-Si-O system, including species like FeSi and FeO in the core. We also include FeS (VII) in the core. We have also included an approximate phase diagram for water ice to account for an icy mantle. We also include the effects of adiabatic temperature profiles and a temperature jump at the core-mantle boundary. Finally, we have created a user-friendly interface allowing the code to be downloaded and used as a teaching tool. Results of the code and a demonstration of its use will be presented at the meeting.

  10. Self-consistent atmosphere modeling with cloud formation for low-mass stars and exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Juncher, Diana; Jørgensen, Uffe G.; Helling, Christiane

    2017-12-01

    Context. Low-mass stars and extrasolar planets have ultra-cool atmospheres where a rich chemistry occurs and clouds form. The increasing amount of spectroscopic observations for extrasolar planets requires self-consistent model atmosphere simulations to consistently include the formation processes that determine cloud formation and their feedback onto the atmosphere. Aims: Our aim is to complement the MARCS model atmosphere suit with simulations applicable to low-mass stars and exoplanets in preparation of E-ELT, JWST, PLATO and other upcoming facilities. Methods: The MARCS code calculates stellar atmosphere models, providing self-consistent solutions of the radiative transfer and the atmospheric structure and chemistry. We combine MARCS with a kinetic model that describes cloud formation in ultra-cool atmospheres (seed formation, growth/evaporation, gravitational settling, convective mixing, element depletion). Results: We present a small grid of self-consistently calculated atmosphere models for Teff = 2000-3000 K with solar initial abundances and log (g) = 4.5. Cloud formation in stellar and sub-stellar atmospheres appears for Teff < 2700 K and has a significant effect on the structure and the spectrum of the atmosphere for Teff < 2400 K. We have compared the synthetic spectra of our models with observed spectra and found that they fit the spectra of mid- to late-type M-dwarfs and early-type L-dwarfs well. The geometrical extension of the atmospheres (at τ = 1) changes with wavelength resulting in a flux variation of 10%. This translates into a change in geometrical extension of the atmosphere of about 50 km, which is the quantitative basis for exoplanetary transit spectroscopy. We also test DRIFT-MARCS for an example exoplanet and demonstrate that our simulations reproduce the Spitzer observations for WASP-19b rather well for Teff = 2600 K, log (g) = 3.2 and solar abundances. Our model points at an exoplanet with a deep cloud-free atmosphere with a substantial

  11. The Earth Through Time: Implications for Searching for Habitability and Life on Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pilcher, Carl B.

    2016-01-01

    The Earth has been both a habitable and inhabited planet for around 4 billion years, yet distant observers studying Earth at different epochs in our history would have detected substantially different and probably varying conditions. Understanding Earth's history thus has much to tell us about how to interpret observations of potentially habitable exoplanets. In this talk I will review the history of life on Earth, from the earliest microbial biosphere living under a relatively methane-rich atmosphere to the modern world of animals, plants, and atmospheric oxygen, with a focus on how observable conditions on Earth changed as the planet and its biosphere evolved. I'll discuss the implications of this history for assessing the habitability of-or presence of life on-planets around other stars.

  12. DiskDetective.org: Finding Homes for Exoplanets Through Citizen Science

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kuchner, Marc J.

    2016-01-01

    The Disk Detective project is scouring the data archive from the WISE all-sky survey to find new debris disks and protoplanetary disks-the dusty dens where exoplanets form and dwell. Volunteers on this citizen science website have already performed 1.6 million classifications, searching a catalog 8x the size of any published WISE survey. We follow up candidates using ground based telescopes in California, Arizona, Chile, Hawaii, and Argentina. We ultimately expect to increase the pool of known debris disks by approx. 400 and triple the solid angle in clusters of young stars examined with WISE, providing a unique new catalog of isolated disk stars, key planet-search targets, and candidate advanced extraterrestrial civilizations. Come to this talk to hear the news about our latest dusty discoveries and the trials and the ecstasy of launching a new citizen science project. Please bring your laptop or smartphone if you like!

  13. Dissociation of MgSiO3 in the cores of gas giants and terrestrial exoplanets.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Umemoto, Koichiro; Wentzcovitch, Renata M; Allen, Philip B

    2006-02-17

    CaIrO3-type MgSiO3 is the planet-forming silicate stable at pressures and temperatures beyond those of Earth's core-mantle boundary. First-principles quasiharmonic free-energy computations show that this mineral should dissociate into CsCl-type MgO cotunnite-type SiO2 at pressures and temperatures expected to occur in the cores of the gas giants + and in terrestrial exoplanets. At approximately 10 megabars and approximately 10,000 kelvin, cotunnite-type SiO2 should have thermally activated electron carriers and thus electrical conductivity close to metallic values. Electrons will give a large contribution to thermal conductivity, and electronic damping will suppress radiative heat transport.

  14. High-Frequency Gravitational Wave research and application to exoplanet studies

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baker, R. M. L., Jr.

    2017-10-01

    A discussion of the history of High-Frequency Gravitational Wave (HFGW) research is first presented. Over the years until modern times, starting with the first mention of Gravitational Waves by Poincaré in 1905 and the definition of HFGWs in 1961 by Robert L. Forward, the discussion continues concerning the international research efforts to detect HFGWs. The article highlights the accomplishments of HFGW researchers in China, Russia, Ukraine, England, Australia, Japan, Germany, Spain, Italy, and the United States. Comparisons are made with Low-Frequency Gravitational Wave (LFGW) research, especially concerning the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Observatory or LIGO. In fine, there are presented several interesting perspectives concerning cosmology, the speed of time and, especially, exoplanet applications of HFGWs.

  15. Terrestrial exo-planet science by nulling interferometry: instrument design and scientific performance

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wallner, Oswald; Ergenzinger, Klaus; Johann, Ulrich

    2008-07-01

    The detection of terrestrial exo-planets in the habitable zone of Sun-like stars as well as the proof of biomarkers is one of the most exciting goals in Astrophysics today. A nulling interferometer operated in the mid-infrared wavelength regime allows for overcoming the obstacles of huge contrast ratio and small angular separation between star and planet. Dedicated missions, as ESA's DARWIN or NASA's TPF-I, are implemented as a closely controlled formation of free-flying spacecraft which carry the distributed payload. We discuss various implementation alternatives and present an optimized design of the DARWIN instrument including the science payload and the formation-flying subsystem. We analyze the achievable scientific performance of the DARWIN instrument by taking into account the target properties and the instrument performance. We show that the DARWIN mission is feasible and that the mission goals can be fulfilled.

  16. 1st Advanced School on Exoplanetary Science : Methods of Detecting Exoplanets

    CERN Document Server

    Mancini, Luigi; Sozzetti, Alessandro

    2016-01-01

    In this book, renowned scientists describe the various techniques used to detect and characterize extrasolar planets, or exoplanets, with a view to unveiling the “tricks of the trade” of planet detection to a wider community. The radial velocity method, transit method, microlensing method, and direct imaging method are all clearly explained, drawing attention to their advantages and limitations and highlighting the complementary roles that they can play in improving the characterization of exoplanets’ physical and orbital properties. By probing the planetary frequency at different distances and in different conditions, these techniques are helping astrophysicists to reconstruct the scenarios of planetary formation and to give robust scientific answers to questions regarding the frequency of potentially habitable worlds. Twenty years have passed since the discovery of a Jupiter-mass companion to a main sequence star other than the Sun, heralding the birth of extrasolar planetary research; this book fully...

  17. High resolution transmission spectroscopy as a diagnostic for Jovian exoplanet atmospheres: constraints from theoretical models

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Kempton, Eliza M.-R. [Department of Physics, Grinnell College, Grinnell, IA 50112 (United States); Perna, Rosalba [Department of Physics and Astronomy, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11794 (United States); Heng, Kevin, E-mail: kemptone@grinnell.edu [University of Bern, Center for Space and Habitability, Sidlerstrasse 5, CH-3012 Bern (Switzerland)

    2014-11-01

    We present high resolution transmission spectra of giant planet atmospheres from a coupled three-dimensional (3D) atmospheric dynamics and transmission spectrum model that includes Doppler shifts which arise from winds and planetary motion. We model Jovian planets covering more than two orders of magnitude in incident flux, corresponding to planets with 0.9-55 day orbital periods around solar-type stars. The results of our 3D dynamical models reveal certain aspects of high resolution transmission spectra that are not present in simple one-dimensional (1D) models. We find that the hottest planets experience strong substellar to anti-stellar (SSAS) winds, resulting in transmission spectra with net blueshifts of up to 3 km s{sup –1}, whereas less irradiated planets show almost no net Doppler shifts. We find only minor differences between transmission spectra for atmospheres with temperature inversions and those without. Compared to 1D models, peak line strengths are significantly reduced for the hottest atmospheres owing to Doppler broadening from a combination of rotation (which is faster for close-in planets under the assumption of tidal locking) and atmospheric winds. Finally, high resolution transmission spectra may be useful in studying the atmospheres of exoplanets with optically thick clouds since line cores for very strong transitions should remain optically thick to very high altitude. High resolution transmission spectra are an excellent observational test for the validity of 3D atmospheric dynamics models, because they provide a direct probe of wind structures and heat circulation. Ground-based exoplanet spectroscopy is currently on the verge of being able to verify some of our modeling predictions, most notably the dependence of SSAS winds on insolation. We caution that interpretation of high resolution transmission spectra based on 1D atmospheric models may be inadequate, as 3D atmospheric motions can produce a noticeable effect on the absorption

  18. Improvement on Exoplanet Detection Methods and Analysis via Gaussian Process Fitting Techniques

    Science.gov (United States)

    Van Ross, Bryce; Teske, Johanna

    2018-01-01

    Planetary signals in radial velocity (RV) data are often accompanied by signals coming solely from stellar photo- or chromospheric variation. Such variation can reduce the precision of planet detection and mass measurements, and cause misidentification of planetary signals. Recently, several authors have demonstrated the utility of Gaussian Process (GP) regression for disentangling planetary signals in RV observations (Aigrain et al. 2012; Angus et al. 2017; Czekala et al. 2017; Faria et al. 2016; Gregory 2015; Haywood et al. 2014; Rajpaul et al. 2015; Foreman-Mackey et al. 2017). GP models the covariance of multivariate data to make predictions about likely underlying trends in the data, which can be applied to regions where there are no existing observations. The potency of GP has been used to infer stellar rotation periods; to model and disentangle time series spectra; and to determine physical aspects, populations, and detection of exoplanets, among other astrophysical applications. Here, we implement similar analysis techniques to times series of the Ca-2 H and K activity indicator measured simultaneously with RVs in a small sample of stars from the large Keck/HIRES RV planet search program. Our goal is to characterize the pattern(s) of non-planetary variation to be able to know what is/ is not a planetary signal. We investigated ten different GP kernels and their respective hyperparameters to determine the optimal combination (e.g., the lowest Bayesian Information Criterion value) in each stellar data set. To assess the hyperparameters’ error, we sampled their posterior distributions using Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) analysis on the optimized kernels. Our results demonstrate how GP analysis of stellar activity indicators alone can contribute to exoplanet detection in RV data, and highlight the challenges in applying GP analysis to relatively small, irregularly sampled time series.

  19. Titan-Like Exoplanets: Variations in Geometric Albedo and Effective Transit Height with Haze Production Rate

    Science.gov (United States)

    Checlair, Jade; McKay, Christopher P.; Imanaka, Hiroshi

    2016-01-01

    Extensive studies characterizing Titan present an opportunity to study the atmospheric properties of Titan-like exoplanets. Using an existing model of Titan's atmospheric haze, we computed geometric albedo spectra and effective transit height spectra for six values of the haze production rate (zero haze to twice present) over a wide range of wavelengths (0.2-2 microns). In the geometric albedo spectra, the slope in the UV-visible changes from blue to red when varying the haze production rate values from zero to twice the current Titan value. This spectral feature is the most effective way to characterize the haze production rates. Methane absorption bands in the visible-NIR compete with the absorbing haze, being more prominent for smaller haze production rates. The effective transit heights probe a region of the atmosphere where the haze and gas are optically thin and that is thus not effectively probed by the geometric albedo. The effective transit height decreases smoothly with increasing wavelength, from 376 km to 123 km at 0.2 and 2 microns, respectively. When decreasing the haze production rate, the methane absorption bands become more prominent, and the effective transit height decreases with a steeper slope with increasing wavelength. The slope of the geometric albedo in the UV-visible increases smoothly with increasing haze production rate, while the slope of the effective transit height spectra is not sensitive to the haze production rate other than showing a sharp rise when the haze production rate increases from zero. We conclude that geometric albedo spectra provide the most sensitive indicator of the haze production rate and the background Rayleigh gas. Our results suggest that important and complementary information can be obtained from the geometric albedo and motivates improvements in the technology for direct imaging of nearby exoplanets.

  20. An Observational Diagnostic for Distinguishing between Clouds and Haze in Hot Exoplanet Atmospheres

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Kempton, Eliza M.-R. [Department of Physics, Grinnell College, 1116 8th Avenue, Grinnell, IA 50112 (United States); Bean, Jacob L. [Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of Chicago, 5640 S. Ellis Avenue, Chicago, IL 60637 (United States); Parmentier, Vivien, E-mail: kemptone@grinnell.edu [Department of Planetary Sciences and Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, The University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721 (United States)

    2017-08-20

    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 (HIHJs). 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 nightside and morning terminator of HIHJs (seen as the leading limb during transit). 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. We show that the benchmark HIHJ, WASP-121b, has a transmission spectrum consistent with partial aerosol coverage and that ingress–egress spectroscopy would constrain the location and formation mechanism of those aerosols. In general, using this diagnostic we find that observations with the James Webb Space Telescope and potentially with the Hubble Space Telescope should be able to distinguish between clouds and haze for currently known HIHJs.

  1. Comparison of BT Settl Model Spectra in NIR to Brown Dwarfs and Massive Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Popinchalk, Mark; Buzard, Cam; Alam, Munazza; Camnasio, Sara; Cruz, Kelle L.; Faherty, Jacqueline K.; Rice, Emily L.

    2017-01-01

    Brown dwarfs and giant exoplanets are difficult to observe, which hampers our understanding of their properties. Model spectra, such as the BT Settl model grid, can provide an opportunity to augment and validate our understanding of these faint objects by serving to contrast and complement our analysis of their observed spectra. We present work from an upcoming paper that leverages this opportunity. The near infrared (NIR) wavelength region is favorable for analysis of low mass brown dwarfs and high mass gaseous companions, in particular the K band (1.97 - 2.40 µm) due to its relatively high resolution and high signal-to-noise ratio wavelength range for spectra of planetary companions. We present a method to analyze two regions of the K band spectral structure (2.03 - 2.10 µm and 2.215 - 2.290 µm), and apply it to a sample of objects with field gravity, low gravity, and planetary mass as well as the BT Settl model grid for a similar range of effective temperatures and surface gravities. A correlation between spectral structure and effective temperature is found for the shorter wavelength region and there is evidence of gravity dependence for the longer wavelength range. This work suggests that the K band has the potential to be an indicator for brown dwarf and exoplanet surface gravity and effective temperature. We also present preliminary analysis from another upcoming paper. We examine equivalent widths of K I absorption lines at 1.1693 µm, 1.1773 µm, 1.2436 µm and 1.2525 µm in a selection of L dwarfs to explore their physical properties by comparing them to equivalent measurements in the BT Settl model grid.

  2. Parallelization of exoplanets detection algorithms based on field rotation; example of the MOODS algorithm for SPHERE

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mattei, D.; Smith, I.; Ferrari, A.; Carbillet, M.

    2010-10-01

    Post-processing for exoplanet detection using direct imaging requires large data cubes and/or sophisticated signal processing technics. For alt-azimuthal mounts, a projection effect called field rotation makes the potential planet rotate in a known manner on the set of images. For ground based telescopes that use extreme adaptive optics and advanced coronagraphy, technics based on field rotation are already broadly used and still under progress. In most such technics, for a given initial position of the planet the planet intensity estimate is a linear function of the set of images. However, due to field rotation the modified instrumental response applied is not shift invariant like usual linear filters. Testing all possible initial positions is therefore very time-consuming. To reduce the time process, we propose to deal with each subset of initial positions computed on a different machine using parallelization programming. In particular, the MOODS algorithm dedicated to the VLT-SPHERE instrument, that estimates jointly the light contributions of the star and the potential exoplanet, is parallelized on the Observatoire de la Cote d'Azur cluster. Different parallelization methods (OpenMP, MPI, Jobs Array) have been elaborated for the initial MOODS code and compared to each other. The one finally chosen splits the initial positions on the processors available by accounting at best for the different constraints of the cluster structure: memory, job submission queues, number of available CPUs, cluster average load. At the end, a standard set of images is satisfactorily processed in a few hours instead of a few days.

  3. Demonstration of a Speckle Nulling Algorithm and Kalman Filter Estimator with a Fiber Injection Unit for Observing Exoplanets with High-dispersion Coronagraphy

    Science.gov (United States)

    Xin, Yeyuan; Klimovich, Nikita; Mawet, Dimitri; Ruane, Garreth; Delorme, Jacques; Jovanovic, Nemanja; Llop Sayson, Jorge

    2018-01-01

    High-dispersion coronagraphy (HDC) combines high contrast imaging techniques with high spectral resolution spectroscopy to observe exoplanets and determine characteristics such as chemical composition, temperature, and rotational velocities. It has been demonstrated in lab at the Caltech Exoplanet Technology Lab’s transmissive testbed that a fiber injection unit (FIU), in which a single mode optical fiber is used to couple to light from the exoplanet, could be used to direct exoplanet light to a high-resolution spectrograph, with robust performance and starlight suppression that exceeds conventional image-based starlight suppression by at least two orders of magnitude. We now demonstrate this technique in lab with a speckle nulling starlight suppression algorithm and corresponding Kalman filter estimator that achieves the same suppression as an exhaustive probing of the parameter space, but within a few probe cycles.

  4. Using Exoplanet Models to Explore NGSS and the Nature of Science and as a Tool for Understanding the Scientific Results from NIRCam/JWST

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lebofsky, Larry A.; McCarthy, Donald W.; Higgins, Michelle L.; Lebofsky, Nancy R.

    2014-11-01

    Our Solar System is no longer unique. To date, about 1,800 planets are known to orbit over 1,100 other stars and nearly 50% are in multiple-planet systems. Planetary systems seem [to be] fairly common and astronomers are now finding Earth-sized planets in the Goldilocks Zone, suggesting there may be other habitable planets. To this end, characterizing the atmospheric chemistries of such planets is a major science goal of the NIRCam instrument on the James Webb Space Telescope.For NIRCam's E/PO program with the Girl Scouts of the USA, we have produced scale models and associated activities to compare the size, scale, and dynamics of the Solar System with several exoplanet systems. Our models illustrate the techniques used to investigate these systems: radial velocity, transits, direct observations, and gravitational microlensing. By comparing and contrasting these models, we place our Solar System in a more cosmic context and enable discussion of current questions within the scientific community: How do planetary systems form and evolve? Is our present definition of a planet a good definition in the context of other planetary systems? Are there other planets/moons that might harbor life as we know it?These models are appropriate for use in classrooms and conform to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) through the Disciplinary Core Idea: Earth's Place in the Universe and Crosscutting Concepts—Patterns Scale, Portion, and Quantity; and Systems and System Models. NGSS also states that the Nature of Science (NOS) should be an “essential part” of science education. NOS topics include, for example, understanding that scientific investigations use a variety of methods, that scientific knowledge is based on empirical evidence, that scientific explanations are open to revision in light of new evidence, and an understanding the nature of scientific models.

  5. THE INFLUENCE OF THE EXTREME ULTRAVIOLET SPECTRAL ENERGY DISTRIBUTION ON THE STRUCTURE AND COMPOSITION OF THE UPPER ATMOSPHERE OF EXOPLANETS

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Guo, J. H. [Yunnan Observatories, Chinese Academy of Sciences, P.O. Box 110, Kunming 650011 (China); Ben-Jaffel, Lotfi, E-mail: guojh@ynao.ac.cn, E-mail: bjaffel@iap.fr [Sorbonne Universités, UPMC Univ. Paris 6 et CNRS, UMR 7095, Institut Astrophysique de Paris, F-75014 Paris (France)

    2016-02-20

    By varying the profiles of stellar extreme ultraviolet (EUV) spectral energy distributions (SEDs), we tested the influences of stellar EUV SEDs on the physical and chemical properties of an escaping atmosphere. We apply our model to study four exoplanets: HD 189733b, HD 209458b, GJ 436b, and Kepler-11b. We find that the total mass loss rates of an exoplanet, which are determined mainly by the integrated fluxes, are moderately affected by the profiles of the EUV SED, but the composition and species distributions in the atmosphere can be dramatically modified by the different profiles of the EUV SED. For exoplanets with a high hydrodynamic escape parameter (λ), the amount of atomic hydrogen produced by photoionization at different altitudes can vary by one to two orders of magnitude with the variation of stellar EUV SEDs. The effect of photoionization of H is prominent when the EUV SED is dominated by the low-energy spectral region (400–900 Å), which pushes the transition of H/H{sup +} to low altitudes. In contrast, the transition of H/H{sup +} moves to higher altitudes when most photons are concentrated in the high-energy spectral region (50–400 Å). For exoplanets with a low λ, the lower temperatures of the atmosphere make many chemical reactions so important that photoionization alone can no longer determine the composition of the escaping atmosphere. For HD 189733b, it is possible to explain the time variability of Lyα between 2010 and 2011 by a change in the EUV SED of the host K-type star, yet invoking only thermal H i in the atmosphere.

  6. An Application of Kopal's Method for the Analysis of Transit Light Curves of Exoplanets Using Powerful Modern Algorithms

    Science.gov (United States)

    Makris, D.; Niarchos, P.; Gazeas, K.

    2015-07-01

    We present results from the application of Kopal's method for eclipsing binaries to the analysis of the transit light curve of exoplanet HD 209458, using very accurate photometric observations made with the Hubble Space Telescope. The fitting of the model parameters to the data was achieved by use of the Simulated Annealing algorithm. Furthermore, we utilized a transformation of the limb darkening coefficients that negates the need to specify limits for their values (uninformative sampling), yet still yield physically plausible results.

  7. Enabling the Direct Detection of Earth-Sized Exoplanets with the LBTI HOSTS Project: A Progress Report

    Science.gov (United States)

    Danchi, W.; Bailey, V.; Bryden, G.; Defrere, D.; Ertel, S.; Haniff, C.; Hinz, P.; Kennedy, G.; Mennesson, B.; Millan-Gabet, R.; hide

    2016-01-01

    NASA has funded a project called the Hunt for Observable Signatures of Terrestrial Systems (HOSTS) to survey nearby solar type stars to determine the amount of warm zodiacal dust in their habitable zones. The goal is not only to determine the luminosity distribution function but also to know which individual stars have the least amount of zodiacal dust. It is important to have this information for future missions that directly image exoplanets as this dust is the main source of astrophysical noise for them. The HOSTS project utilizes the Large Binocular Telescope Interferometer (LBTI), which consists of two 8.4-m apertures separated by a 14.4-m baseline on Mt. Graham, Arizona. The LBTI operates in a nulling mode in the mid-infrared spectral window (8-13 micrometers), in which light from the two telescopes is coherently combined with a 180 degree phase shift between them, producing a dark fringe at the location of the target star. In doing so the starlight is greatly reduced, increasing the contrast, analogous to a coronagraph operating at shorter wavelengths. The LBTI is a unique instrument, having only three warm reflections before the starlight reaches cold mirrors, giving it the best photometric sensitivity of any interferometer operating in the mid-infrared. It also has a superb Adaptive Optics (AO) system giving it Strehl ratios greater than 98% at 10 micrometers. In 2014 into early 2015 LBTI was undergoing commissioning. The HOSTS. project team passed its Operational Readiness Review (ORR) in April 2015. The team recently published papers on the target sample, modeling of the nulled disk images, and initial results such as the detection of warm dust around eta Corvi. Recently a paper was published on the data pipeline and on-sky performance. An additional paper is in preparation on Beta Leo. We will discuss the scientific and programmatic context for the LBTI project, and we will report recent progress, new results, and plans for the science verification

  8. Constraints on the magnetic field strength of HAT-P-7 b and other hot giant exoplanets

    Science.gov (United