WorldWideScience

Sample records for exoplanet transit depths

  1. Characterizing Gaint Exoplanets through Multiwavelength Transit Observations

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-01-01

    Observing the characteristics of giant exoplanets is possible with ground-based telescopes and modern observational methods. We are performing characterizations of multiple giant exoplanets based on 85 allotted nights of transit observations with the 2.3 m Wyoming Infrared Observatory using Sloan filters. In particular, constraints can be made on the atmospheres of our targets from the wavelength (in)dependence in the depth of the transit observations. We present early multiwavelength photometric results on the exoplanet HD 189733 b with comparison to literature sources to exemplify the methodology employed. In total, 15 exoplanets were observed across multiple wavelengths. The majority of the observing allotted to the project was completed as part of the 2017 Summer REU at the University of Wyoming. This work will significantly contribute to the growing number of observed atmospheres and influence interpretation of future WFIRST, JWST, and TESS targets. This work is supported by the National Science Foundation under REU grant AST 1560461.

  2. Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ricker, G. R.; Clampin, M.; Latham, D. W.; Seager, S.; Vanderspek, R. K.; Villasenor, J. S.; Winn, J. N.

    2012-01-01

    The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) will discover thousands of exoplanets in orbit around the brightest stars in the sky. In a two-year survey, TESS will monitor more than 500,000 stars for temporary drops in brightness caused by planetary transits. This first-ever spaceborne all-sky transit survey will identify planets ranging from Earth-sized to gas giants, around a wide range of stellar types and orbital distances. No ground-based survey can achieve this feat. A large fraction of TESS target stars will be 30-100 times brighter than those observed by Kepler satellite, and therefore TESS . planets will be far easier to characterize with follow-up observations. TESS will make it possible to study the masses, sizes, densities, orbits, and atmospheres of a large cohort of small planets, including a sample of rocky worlds in the habitable zones of their host stars. TESS will provide prime targets for observation with the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), as well as other large ground-based and space-based telescopes of the future. TESS data will be released with minimal delay (no proprietary period), inviting immediate community-wide efforts to study the new planets. The TESS legacy will be a catalog of the very nearest and brightest main-sequence stars hosting transiting exoplanets, thus providing future observers with the most favorable targets for detailed investigations.

  3. 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.

  4. COMPARATIVE HABITABILITY OF TRANSITING EXOPLANETS

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Barnes, Rory; Meadows, Victoria S.; Evans, Nicole

    2015-01-01

    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

  5. Glowing Hot Transiting Exoplanet Discovered

    Science.gov (United States)

    2003-04-01

    VLT Spectra Indicate Shortest-Known-Period Planet Orbiting OGLE-TR-3 Summary More than 100 exoplanets in orbit around stars other than the Sun have been found so far. But while their orbital periods and distances from their central stars are well known, their true masses cannot be determined with certainty, only lower limits. This fundamental limitation is inherent in the common observational method to discover exoplanets - the measurements of small and regular changes in the central star's velocity, caused by the planet's gravitational pull as it orbits the star. However, in two cases so far, it has been found that the exoplanet's orbit happens to be positioned in such a way that the planet moves in front of the stellar disk, as seen from the Earth. This "transit" event causes a small and temporary dip in the star's brightness, as the planet covers a small part of its surface, which can be observed. The additional knowledge of the spatial orientation of the planetary orbit then permits a direct determination of the planet's true mass. Now, a group of German astronomers [1] have found a third star in which a planet, somewhat larger than Jupiter, but only half as massive, moves in front of the central star every 28.5 hours . The crucial observation of this solar-type star, designated OGLE-TR-3 [2] was made with the high-dispersion UVES spectrograph on the Very Large Telescope (VLT) at the ESO Paranal Observatory (Chile). It is the exoplanet with the shortest period found so far and it is very close to the star, only 3.5 million km away. The hemisphere that faces the star must be extremely hot, about 2000 °C and the planet is obviously losing its atmosphere at high rate . PR Photo 10a/03 : The star OGLE-TR-3 . PR Photo 10b/03 : VLT UVES spectrum of OGLE-TR-3. PR Photo 10c/03 : Relation between stellar brightness and velocity (diagram). PR Photo 10d/03 : Observed velocity variation of OGLE-TR-3. PR Photo 10e/03 : Observed brightness variation of OGLE-TR-3. The search

  6. Simulating the Exoplanet Yield from the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barclay, Thomas; Pepper, Joshua; Schlieder, Joshua; Quintana, Elisa

    2018-01-01

    In 2018 NASA will launch the MIT-led Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) which has a goal of detecting terrestrial-mass planets orbiting stars bright enough for mass determination via ground-based radial velocity observations. We inferred how many exoplanets the TESS mission will detect, the physical properties of these detected planets, and the properties of the stars that those planets orbit, subject to certain assumptions about the mission performance. To make these predictions we use samples of stars that are drawn from the TESS Input Catalog Candidate Target List. We place zero or more planets in orbit around these stars with physical properties following known exoplanet occurrence rates, and use the TESS noise model to predict the derived properties of the detected exoplanets. We find that it is feasible to detect around 1000 exoplanets, including 250 smaller than 2 earth-radii using the TESS 2-min cadence data. We examined alternative noise models and detection models and find in our pessimistic model that TESS will detect just 500 exoplanets. When potential detections in the full-frame image data are included, the number of detected planets could increase by a factor of 4. Perhaps most excitingly, TESS will find over 2 dozen planets orbiting in the habitable zone of bright, nearby cool stars. These planets will make ideal candidates for atmospheric characerization by JWST.

  7. 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.

  8. A Theory of Exoplanet Transits with Light Scattering

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Robinson, Tyler D., E-mail: tydrobin@ucsc.edu [Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA 95064 (United States)

    2017-02-20

    Exoplanet transit spectroscopy enables the characterization of distant worlds, and will yield key results for NASA's James Webb Space Telescope . However, transit spectra models are often simplified, omitting potentially important processes like refraction and multiple scattering. While the former process has seen recent development, the effects of light multiple scattering on exoplanet transit spectra have received little attention. Here, we develop a detailed theory of exoplanet transit spectroscopy that extends to the full refracting and multiple scattering case. We explore the importance of scattering for planet-wide cloud layers, where the relevant parameters are the slant scattering optical depth, the scattering asymmetry parameter, and the angular size of the host star. The latter determines the size of the “target” for a photon that is back-mapped from an observer. We provide results that straightforwardly indicate the potential importance of multiple scattering for transit spectra. When the orbital distance is smaller than 10–20 times the stellar radius, multiple scattering effects for aerosols with asymmetry parameters larger than 0.8–0.9 can become significant. We provide examples of the impacts of cloud/haze multiple scattering on transit spectra of a hot Jupiter-like exoplanet. For cases with a forward and conservatively scattering cloud/haze, differences due to multiple scattering effects can exceed 200 ppm, but shrink to zero at wavelength ranges corresponding to strong gas absorption or when the slant optical depth of the cloud exceeds several tens. We conclude with a discussion of types of aerosols for which multiple scattering in transit spectra may be important.

  9. 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.

  10. Model-independent Exoplanet Transit Spectroscopy

    Science.gov (United States)

    Aronson, Erik; Piskunov, Nikolai

    2018-05-01

    We propose a new data analysis method for obtaining transmission spectra of exoplanet atmospheres and brightness variation across the stellar disk from transit observations. The new method is capable of recovering exoplanet atmosphere absorption spectra and stellar specific intensities without relying on theoretical models of stars and planets. We simultaneously fit both stellar specific intensity and planetary radius directly to transit light curves. This allows stellar models to be removed from the data analysis. Furthermore, we use a data quality weighted filtering technique to achieve an optimal trade-off between spectral resolution and reconstruction fidelity homogenizing the signal-to-noise ratio across the wavelength range. Such an approach is more efficient than conventional data binning onto a low-resolution wavelength grid. We demonstrate that our analysis is capable of reproducing results achieved by using an explicit quadratic limb-darkening equation and that the filtering technique helps eliminate spurious spectral features in regions with strong telluric absorption. The method is applied to the VLT FORS2 observations of the exoplanets GJ 1214 b and WASP-49 b, and our results are in agreement with previous studies. Comparisons between obtained stellar specific intensity and numerical models indicates that the method is capable of accurately reconstructing the specific intensity. The proposed method enables more robust characterization of exoplanetary atmospheres by separating derivation of planetary transmission and stellar specific intensity spectra (that is model-independent) from chemical and physical interpretation.

  11. 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.

  12. Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Seager, S.

    2010-12-01

    This is a unique time in human history - for the first time, we are on the technological brink of being able to answer questions that have been around for thousands of years: Are there other planets like Earth? Are they common? Do any have signs of life? The field of exoplanets is rapidly moving toward answering these questions with the discovery of hundreds of exoplanets now pushing toward lower and lower masses; the Kepler Space Telescope with its yield of small planets; plans to use the James Webb Space Telescope (launch date 2014) to study atmospheres of a subset of super Earths; and ongoing development for technology to directly image true Earth analogs. Theoretical studies in dynamics, planet formation, and physical characteristics provide the needed framework for prediction and interpretation. People working outside of exoplanets often ask if the field of exoplanets is like a dot.com bubble that will burst, deflating excitement and progress. In my opinion, exciting discoveries and theoretical advances will continue indefinitely in the years ahead, albeit at a slower pace than in the first decade. The reason is that observations uncover new kinds and new populations of exoplanets -- and these observations rely on technological development that usually takes over a decade to mature. For example, in the early 2000s all but one exoplanet was discovered by the radial velocity technique. At that time, many groups around the world were working on wide-field transit surveys. But it was not until recently, a decade into the twenty-first century, that the transit technique is responsible for almost one-quarter of known exoplanets. The planet discovery techniques astrometry (as yet to find a planet) and direct imaging have not yet matured; when they do, they will uncover planets within a new parameter space of planet mass and orbital characteristics. In addition, people are working hard to improve the precision for existing planet discovery techniques to detect lower

  13. 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 a...

  14. 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.

  15. Transit Recovery of Kepler-167e: Providing JWST with an Unprecedented Jupiter-analog Exoplanet Target

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dalba, Paul; Muirhead, Philip; Tamburo, Patrick

    2018-05-01

    The Kepler Mission has uncovered a handful of long-period transiting exoplanets that orbit in the cold outer reaches of their systems, despite their low transit probabilities. Recent work suggests that cold gas giant exoplanet atmospheres are amenable to transmission spectroscopy (the analysis of the transit depth versus wavelength) enabling novel tests of planetary formation and evolution theories. Of particular scientific interest is Kepler-167e, a low-eccentricity Jupiter-analog exoplanet with a 1,071-day orbital period residing well beyond the snow-line. Transmission spectroscopy of Kepler-167e from JWST can reveal the composition of this planet's atmosphere, constrain its heavy-element abundance, and identify atmospheric photochemical processes. JWST characterization also enables unprecedented direct comparison with Jupiter and Saturn, which show a striking diversity in physical properties that is best investigated through comparative exoplanetology. Since Kepler only observed two transits of Kepler-167e, it is not known if this exoplanet exhibits transit timing variations (TTVs). About half of Kepler's long-period exoplanets have TTVs of up to 40 hours. Such a large uncertainty jeopardizes attempts to characterize the atmosphere of this unique Jovian exoplanet with JWST. To mitigate this risk, the upcoming third transit of Kepler-167e must be observed to test for TTVs. We propose a simple 10-hour, single-channel observation to capture ingress or egress of the next transit of Kepler-167e in December 2018. In the absence of TTVs, our observation will reduce the ephemeris uncertainty from an unknown value to approximately 3 minutes, thereby removing the risk in future transit observations with JWST. The excellent photometric precision of Spitzer is sufficient to identify the transit of Kepler-167e. Given the timing and nature of this program, Spitzer is the only observatory--on the ground or in space--that can make this pivotal observation.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-06-01

    The James Webb Space Telescope offers astronomers the opportunity to observe the composition, structure, and dynamics of transiting exoplanet atmospheres with unprecedented detail. However, such observations require very precise time-series spectroscopic monitoring of bright stars and present unique technical challenges. The Transiting Exoplanet Community Early Release Science Program for JWST aims to help the community understand and overcome these technical challenges as early in the mission as possible, and to enable exciting scientific discoveries through the creation of public exoplanet atmosphere datasets. With observations of three hot Jupiters spanning a range of host star brightnesses, this program will exercise time-series modes with all four JWST instruments and cover a full suite of transiting planet characterization geometries (transits, eclipses, and phase curves). We designed the observational strategy through an open and transparent community effort, with contributions from an international collaboration of over 100 experts in exoplanet observations, theory, and instrumentation. Community engagement with the project will be centered around open Data Challenge activities using both simulated and real ERS data, for exoplanet scientists to cross-validate and improve their analysis tools and theoretical models. Recognizing that the scientific utility of JWST will be determined not only by its hardware and software but also by the community of people who use it, we take an intentional approach toward crafting an inclusive collaboration and encourage new participants to join our efforts.

  19. Discovery, Characterization, and Dynamics of Transiting Exoplanets

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Van Eylen, Vincent

    2015-01-01

    of the planet Kepler-410A~b, a Neptune-sized planet in a 17 day orbit. Kepler-410 is composed of two stars, one of which hosts a transiting planet, and an additional non-transiting planet. The latter was discovered due to its gravitational influence on Kepler-410A~b, which causes a variation in the timing...

  20. Long-Period Exoplanets from Photometric Transit Surveys

    Science.gov (United States)

    Osborn, Hugh

    2017-10-01

    Photometric transit surveys on the ground & in space have detected thousands of transiting exoplanets, typically by analytically combining the signals from multiple transits. This technique of exoplanet detection was exploited in K2 to detect nearly 200 candidate planets, and extensive follow-up was able to confirm the planet K2-110b as a 2.6±0.1R⊕, 16.7±3.2M⊙ planet on a 14d orbit around a K-dwarf. The ability to push beyond the time limit set by transit surveys to detect long-period transiting objects from a single eclipse was also studied. This was performed by developing a search technique to search for planets around bright stars in WASP and NGTS photometry, finding NGTS to be marginally better than WASP at detecting such planets with 4.14±0.16 per year compared to 1.43±0.15, and detecting many planet candidates for which follow-up is on-going. This search was then adapted to search for deep, long-duration eclipses in all WASP targets. The results of this survey are described in this thesis, as well as detailed results for the candidate PDS-110, a young T-Tauri star which exhibited ∼20d-long, 30%-deep eclipses in 2008 and 2011. Space-based photometers such as Kepler have the precision to identify small exoplanets and eclipsing binary candidates from only a single eclipse. K2, with its 75d campaign duration and high-precision photometry, is not only ideally suited to detect significant numbers of single-eclipsing objects, but also to characterise them from a single event. The Bayesian transit-fitting tool ("Namaste: An MCMC Analysis of Single Transit Exoplanets") was developed to extract planetary and orbital information from single transits, and was applied to 71 candidate events detected in K2 photometry. The techniques developed in this thesis are highly applicable to future transit surveys such as TESS & PLATO, which will be able to discover & characterise large numbers of long period planets in this way

  1. Characterizing Rosetta Stone Exoplanets with JWST Transit Spectroscopy

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lewis, Nikole K.; Clampin, Mark; Seager, Sara; Valenti, Jeff A.; Mountain, Matt; JWST Telescope Scientist GTO Team

    2017-06-01

    JWST will for the first time provide for spectroscopic (R > 100) observation of systems hosting transiting exoplanets over the critical wavelength range from 0.6 to 28.5 microns. Our team will take advantage of JWST's spectral coverage and resolution to characterize a small number of exoplanets in exquisite detail. We plan to focus our efforts on single representative members of the hot-Jupiter, warm-Neptune, and temperate-Earth populations in both transmission and emission over the full wavelength range of JWST. Our JWST observations will hopefully become 'Rosetta Stones' that will serve as benchmarks for further observations of planets within each representative population and a lasting legacy of the JWST mission. Here we will describe our observational plan and how we turned our science goals into an implemented Cycle 1 JWST program.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. POLARIMETRIC DETECTION OF EXOPLANETS TRANSITING T AND L BROWN DWARFS

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Sengupta, Sujan, E-mail: sujan@iiap.res.in [Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Koramangala 2nd Block, Bangalore 560 034 (India)

    2016-10-01

    While scattering of light by atoms and molecules yields large amounts of polarization at the B-band of both T and L dwarfs, scattering by dust grains in the cloudy atmosphere of L dwarfs gives rise to significant polarization at the far-optical and infrared wavelengths where these objects are much brighter. However, the observable disk-averaged polarization should be zero if the clouds are uniformly distributed and the object is spherically symmetric. Therefore, in order to explain the observed large polarization of several L dwarfs, rotation-induced oblateness or horizontally inhomogeneous cloud distribution in the atmosphere is invoked. On the other hand, when an extra-solar planet of Earth-size or larger transits the brown dwarf along the line of sight, the asymmetry induced during the transit gives rise to a net non-zero, time-dependent polarization. Employing atmospheric models for a range of effective temperature and surface gravity appropriate for T and L dwarfs, I derive the time-dependent polarization profiles of these objects during the transit phase and estimate the peak amplitude of polarization that occurs during the inner contact points of the transit ingress/egress phase. It is found that peak polarization in the range of 0.2%–1.0% at I and J band may arise of cloudy L dwarfs occulted by Earth-size or larger exoplanets. Such an amount of polarization is higher than what can be produced by rotation-induced oblateness of even rapidly rotating L dwarfs. Hence, I suggest that time-resolved imaging polarization could be a potential technique for detecting transiting exoplanets around L dwarfs.

  5. POLARIMETRIC DETECTION OF EXOPLANETS TRANSITING T AND L BROWN DWARFS

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Sengupta, Sujan

    2016-01-01

    While scattering of light by atoms and molecules yields large amounts of polarization at the B-band of both T and L dwarfs, scattering by dust grains in the cloudy atmosphere of L dwarfs gives rise to significant polarization at the far-optical and infrared wavelengths where these objects are much brighter. However, the observable disk-averaged polarization should be zero if the clouds are uniformly distributed and the object is spherically symmetric. Therefore, in order to explain the observed large polarization of several L dwarfs, rotation-induced oblateness or horizontally inhomogeneous cloud distribution in the atmosphere is invoked. On the other hand, when an extra-solar planet of Earth-size or larger transits the brown dwarf along the line of sight, the asymmetry induced during the transit gives rise to a net non-zero, time-dependent polarization. Employing atmospheric models for a range of effective temperature and surface gravity appropriate for T and L dwarfs, I derive the time-dependent polarization profiles of these objects during the transit phase and estimate the peak amplitude of polarization that occurs during the inner contact points of the transit ingress/egress phase. It is found that peak polarization in the range of 0.2%–1.0% at I and J band may arise of cloudy L dwarfs occulted by Earth-size or larger exoplanets. Such an amount of polarization is higher than what can be produced by rotation-induced oblateness of even rapidly rotating L dwarfs. Hence, I suggest that time-resolved imaging polarization could be a potential technique for detecting transiting exoplanets around L dwarfs.

  6. Engaging Undergraduate Students in Transiting Exoplanet Research with Small Telescopes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stephens, Denise C.; Stoker, E.; Gaillard, C.; Ranquist, E.; Lara, P.; Wright, K.

    2013-10-01

    Brigham Young University has a relatively large undergraduate physics program with 300 to 360 physics majors. Each of these students is required to be engaged in a research group and to produce a senior thesis before graduating. For the astronomy professors, this means that each of us is mentoring at least 4-6 undergraduate students at any given time. For the past few years I have been searching for meaningful research projects that make use of our telescope resources and are exciting for both myself and my students. We first started following up Kepler Objects of Interest with our 0.9 meter telescope, but quickly realized that most of the transits we could observe were better analyzed with Kepler data and were false positive objects. So now we have joined a team that is searching for transiting planets, and my students are using our 16" telescope to do ground based follow-up on the hundreds of possible transiting planet candidates produced by this survey. In this presentation I will describe our current telescopes, the observational setup, and how we use our telescopes to search for transiting planets. I'll describe some of the software the students have written. I'll also explain how to use the NASA Exoplanet Archive to gather data on known transiting planets and Kepler Objects of Interests. These databases are useful for determining the observational limits of your small telescopes and teaching your students how to reduce and report data on transiting planets. Once that is in place, you are potentially ready to join existing transiting planet missions by doing ground-based follow-up. I will explain how easy it can be to implement this type of research at any high school, college, or university with a small telescope and CCD camera.

  7. REPEATABILITY AND ACCURACY OF EXOPLANET ECLIPSE DEPTHS MEASURED WITH POST-CRYOGENIC SPITZER

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Ingalls, James G.; Krick, J. E.; Carey, S. J.; Stauffer, John R.; Lowrance, Patrick J.; Grillmair, Carl J.; Capak, Peter; Glaccum, William; Laine, Seppo; Surace, Jason; Storrie-Lombardi, Lisa [Spitzer Science Center, California Institute of Technology, 1200 E California Boulevard, Mail Code 314-6, Pasadena, CA 91125 (United States); Buzasi, Derek [Department of Chemistry and Physics, Florida Gulf Coast University, Fort Myers, FL 33965 (United States); Deming, Drake [Department of Astronomy, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742-2421 (United States); Diamond-Lowe, Hannah; Stevenson, Kevin B. [Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of Chicago, 5640 S Ellis Avenue, Chicago, IL 60637 (United States); Evans, Thomas M. [School of Physics, University of Exeter, EX4 4QL Exeter (United Kingdom); Morello, G. [Department of Physics and Astronomy, University College London, Gower Street, WC1 E6BT (United Kingdom); Wong, Ian, E-mail: ingalls@ipac.caltech.edu [Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125 (United States)

    2016-08-01

    We examine the repeatability, reliability, and accuracy of differential exoplanet eclipse depth measurements made using the InfraRed Array Camera (IRAC) on the Spitzer Space Telescope during the post-cryogenic mission. We have re-analyzed an existing 4.5 μ m data set, consisting of 10 observations of the XO-3b system during secondary eclipse, using seven different techniques for removing correlated noise. We find that, on average, for a given technique, the eclipse depth estimate is repeatable from epoch to epoch to within 156 parts per million (ppm). Most techniques derive eclipse depths that do not vary by more than a factor 3 of the photon noise limit. All methods but one accurately assess their own errors: for these methods, the individual measurement uncertainties are comparable to the scatter in eclipse depths over the 10 epoch sample. To assess the accuracy of the techniques as well as to clarify the difference between instrumental and other sources of measurement error, we have also analyzed a simulated data set of 10 visits to XO-3b, for which the eclipse depth is known. We find that three of the methods (BLISS mapping, Pixel Level Decorrelation, and Independent Component Analysis) obtain results that are within three times the photon limit of the true eclipse depth. When averaged over the 10 epoch ensemble,  5 out of 7 techniques come within 60 ppm of the true value. Spitzer exoplanet data, if obtained following current best practices and reduced using methods such as those described here, can measure repeatable and accurate single eclipse depths, with close to photon-limited results.

  8. 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.

  9. Preparing for TESS: Precision Ground-based Light-curves of Newly Discovered Transiting Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, Yiting; Stefansson, Gudmundur; Mahadevan, Suvrath; Monson, Andy; Hebb, Leslie; Wisniewski, John; Huehnerhoff, Joseph

    2018-01-01

    NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), to be launched in early 2018, is expected to catalog a myriad of transiting exoplanet candidates ranging from Earth-sized to gas giants, orbiting a diverse range of stellar types in the solar neighborhood. In particular, TESS will find small planets orbiting the closest and brightest stars, and will enable detailed atmospheric characterizations of planets with current and future telescopes. In the TESS era, ground-based follow-up resources will play a critical role in validating and confirming the planetary nature of the candidates TESS will discover. Along with confirming the planetary nature of exoplanet transits, high precision ground-based transit observations allow us to put further constraints on exoplanet orbital parameters and transit timing variations. In this talk, we present new observations of transiting exoplanets recently discovered by the K2 mission, using the optical diffuser on the 3.5m ARC Telescope at Apache Point Observatory. These include observations of the mini-Neptunes K2-28b and K2-104b orbiting early-to-mid M-dwarfs. In addition, other recent transit observations performed using the robotic 30cm telescope at Las Campanas Observatory in Chile will be presented.

  10. Results and lessons from the GMOS survey of transiting exoplanet atmospheres

    Science.gov (United States)

    Todorov, Kamen; Desert, Jean-Michel; Huitson, Catherine; Bean, Jacob; Fortney, Jonathan; Bergmann, Marcel; Stevenson, Kevin

    2018-01-01

    We present results from the first comprehensive survey program dedicated to probing transiting exoplanet atmospheres using transmission spectroscopy with a multi-object spectrograph (MOS). Our four-years survey focussed on ten close-in giant planets for which the wavelength dependent transit depths in the visible were measured with Gemini/GMOS. We present the complete analysis of all the targets observed (50 transits, 300 hours), and the challenges to overcome to achieve the best spectrophotometric precision (200-500 ppm / 10 nm). We also present the main results and conclusions from this survey. We show that the precision achieved by this survey permits to distinguish hazy atmospheres from cloud-free ones. We discuss the challenges faced by such an experiment, and the lessons learnt for future MOS survey. We lay out the challenges facing future ground based MOS transit surveys aiming for the atmospheric characterization of habitable worlds, and utilizing the next generation of multi-object spectrographs mounted on extremely large ground based telescopes (ELT, TMT).

  11. NO TIMING VARIATIONS OBSERVED IN THIRD TRANSIT OF SNOW-LINE EXOPLANET KEPLER-421b

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Dalba, Paul A.; Muirhead, Philip S.

    2016-01-01

    We observed Kepler-421 during the anticipated third transit of the snow-line exoplanet Kepler-421b in order to constrain the existence and extent of transit timing variations (TTVs). Previously, the Kepler spacecraft only observed two transits of Kepler-421b, leaving the planet’s transit ephemeris unconstrained. Our visible light, time-series observations from the 4.3 m Discovery Channel Telescope were designed to capture pre-transit baseline and the partial transit of Kepler-421b, barring significant TTVs. We use the light curves to assess the probabilities of various transit models using both the posterior odds ratio and the Bayesian Information Criterion, and find that a transit model with no TTVs is favored to 3.6 σ confidence. These observations suggest that Kepler-421b is either alone in its system or is only experiencing minor dynamic interactions with an unseen companion. With the Kepler-421b ephemeris constrained, we calculate future transit times and discuss the opportunity to characterize the atmosphere of this cold, long-period exoplanet via transmission spectroscopy. Our investigation emphasizes the difficulties associated with observing long-period exoplanet transits and the consequences that arise from failing to refine transit ephemerides.

  12. Exploring the Diversity of Exoplanet Atmospheres Using Ground-Based Transit Spectroscopy

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bean, Jacob

    This is a proposal to fund an observational study of the atmospheres of exoplanets in order to improve our understanding of the nature and origins of these mysterious worlds. The observations will be performed using our new approach for ground-based transit spectroscopy measurements that yields space-telescope quality data. We will also carry out supporting theoretical calculations with new abundance retrieval codes to interpret the measurements. Our project includes a survey of giant exoplanets, and intensive study of especially compelling exoplanets. For the survey, optical and near-infrared transmission spectra, and near-infrared emission spectra will be measured for giant exoplanets with a wide range of estimated temperatures, heavy element abundance, and mass. This comprehensive characterization of a large sample of these planets is now crucial to investigate such issues for their atmospheres as the carbon-to-oxygen ratios and overall metallicities, cause of thermal inversions, and prevalence and nature of high-altitude hazes. The intensive study of compelling individual planets will focus on low-mass (M spectroscopy, and leveraging its particular sensitivity to the atmospheric scale height. Observations for the project will be carried out with Magellan, Keck, Gemini, and VLT. The team has institutional access to Magellan and Keck, and a demonstrated record of obtaining time on Gemini and VLT for these observations through public channels. This proposal is highly relevant for current and future NASA projects. We are seeking to understand the diversity of exoplanets revealed by planet searches like Kepler and the Eta-Earth survey. Our observations will complement, extend, and provide context for similar observations with HST and Spitzer. We will investigate the fundamental nature of the closest kin to Earth-size exoplanets, and this is an important foundation that must be laid down before studying habitable planets with JWST and a future TPF-like mission.

  13. Improving Transit Predictions of Known Exoplanets with TERMS

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mahadevan S.

    2011-02-01

    Full Text Available Transiting planet discoveries have largely been restricted to the short-period or low-periastron distance regimes due to the bias inherent in the geometric transit probability. Through the refinement of planetary orbital parameters, and hence reducing the size of transit windows, long-period planets become feasible targets for photometric follow-up. Here we describe the TERMS project that is monitoring these host stars at predicted transit times.

  14. A Catalog of Cool Dwarf Targets for the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite

    Science.gov (United States)

    Muirhead, Philip S.; Dressing, Courtney D.; Mann, Andrew W.; Rojas-Ayala, Bárbara; Lépine, Sébastien; Paegert, Martin; De Lee, Nathan; Oelkers, Ryan

    2018-04-01

    We present a catalog of cool dwarf targets (V-J> 2.7, T eff ≲ 4000 K) and their stellar properties for the upcoming Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), for the purpose of determining which cool dwarfs should be observed using two minute observations. TESS has the opportunity to search tens of thousands of nearby, cool, late K- and M-type dwarfs for transiting exoplanets, an order of magnitude more than current or previous transiting exoplanet surveys, such as Kepler, K2, and ground-based programs. This necessitates a new approach to choosing cool dwarf targets. Cool dwarfs are chosen by collating parallax and proper motion catalogs from the literature and subjecting them to a variety of selection criteria. We calculate stellar parameters and TESS magnitudes using the best possible relations from the literature while maintaining uniformity of methods for the sake of reproducibility. We estimate the expected planet yield from TESS observations using statistical results from the Kepler mission, and use these results to choose the best targets for two minute observations, optimizing for small planets for which masses can conceivably be measured using follow-up Doppler spectroscopy by current and future Doppler spectrometers. The catalog is available in machine readable format and is incorporated into the TESS Input Catalog and TESS Candidate Target List until a more complete and accurate cool dwarf catalog identified by ESA’s Gaia mission can be incorporated.

  15. Using multi-disciplinary optimization and numerical simulation on the transiting exoplanet survey satellite

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stoeckel, Gerhard P.; Doyle, Keith B.

    2017-08-01

    The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) is an instrument consisting of four, wide fieldof- view CCD cameras dedicated to the discovery of exoplanets around the brightest stars, and understanding the diversity of planets and planetary systems in our galaxy. Each camera utilizes a seven-element lens assembly with low-power and low-noise CCD electronics. Advanced multivariable optimization and numerical simulation capabilities accommodating arbitrarily complex objective functions have been added to the internally developed Lincoln Laboratory Integrated Modeling and Analysis Software (LLIMAS) and used to assess system performance. Various optical phenomena are accounted for in these analyses including full dn/dT spatial distributions in lenses and charge diffusion in the CCD electronics. These capabilities are utilized to design CCD shims for thermal vacuum chamber testing and flight, and verify comparable performance in both environments across a range of wavelengths, field points and temperature distributions. Additionally, optimizations and simulations are used for model correlation and robustness optimizations.

  16. 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.

  17. The Colorado Ultraviolet Transit Experiment (CUTE): Observing Mass Loss on Short-Period Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Egan, Arika; Fleming, Brian; France, Kevin

    2018-06-01

    The Colorado Ultraviolet Transit Experiment (CUTE) is an NUV spectrograph packaged into a 6U CubeSat, designed to characterize the interaction between exoplanetary atmospheres and their host stars. CUTE will conduct a transit spectroscopy survey, gathering data over multiple transits on more than 12 short-period exoplanets with a range of masses and radii. The instrument will characterize the spectral properties of the transit light curves to atomic and molecular absorption features predicted to exist in the upper atmospheres of these planets, including Mg I, Mg II, Fe II, and OH. The shape and evolution of these spectral light curves will be used to quantify mass loss rates, the stellar drives of that mass loss, and the possible existence of exoplanetary magnetic fiends. This poster presents the science motivation for CUTE, planned observation and data analysis methods, and expected results.

  18. Observations and modeling of the transiting exoplanets XO-2b, HAT-P-18b, and WASP-80b

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kjurkchieva Diana P.

    2017-01-01

    Full Text Available We present photometric observations and transit solutions of the exoplanets XO-2b, HAT-P-18b and WASP 80b. Our solution of the XO-2b transit gave system parameters whose values are close to those of the previous studies. The solutions of the new transits of HAT-P-18b and WASP 80b differ from the previous ones by bigger stellar and planet radii. We obtained new values of the target initial epochs corresponding to slightly different periods. Our investigation reaffirmed that small telescopes can be used successfully for the study of exoplanets orbiting stars brighter than 13 mag.

  19. ASTEP South: An Antarctic Search for Transiting ExoPlanets around the celestial South pole

    OpenAIRE

    Crouzet , Nicolas; Guillot , Tristan; Agabi , Karim; Rivet , Jean-Pierre; Bondoux , Erick; Challita , Zalpha; Fanteï-Caujolle , Yan; Fressin , François; Mékarnia , Djamel; Schmider , François-Xavier; Valbousquet , Franck; Blazit , Alain; Bonhomme , Serge; Abe , Lyu; Daban , Jean-Baptiste

    2009-01-01

    ASTEP South is the first phase of the ASTEP project (Antarctic Search for Transiting ExoPlanets). The instrument is a fixed 10 cm refractor with a 4kx4k CCD camera in a thermalized box, pointing continuously a 3.88 degree x 3.88 degree field of view centered on the celestial South pole. ASTEP South became fully functional in June 2008 and obtained 1592 hours of data during the 2008 Antarctic winter. The data are of good quality but the analysis has to account for changes in the point spread f...

  20. Trajectory Design to Mitigate Risk on the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) Mission

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dichmann, Donald

    2016-01-01

    The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) will employ a highly eccentric Earth orbit, in 2:1 lunar resonance, reached with a lunar flyby preceded by 3.5 phasing loops. The TESS mission has limited propellant and several orbit constraints. Based on analysis and simulation, we have designed the phasing loops to reduce delta-V and to mitigate risk due to maneuver execution errors. We have automated the trajectory design process and use distributed processing to generate and to optimize nominal trajectories, check constraint satisfaction, and finally model the effects of maneuver errors to identify trajectories that best meet the mission requirements.

  1. Effect of Surface-mantle Water Exchange Parameterizations on Exoplanet Ocean Depths

    Science.gov (United States)

    Komacek, Thaddeus D.; Abbot, Dorian S.

    2016-11-01

    Terrestrial exoplanets in the canonical habitable zone may have a variety of initial water fractions due to random volatile delivery by planetesimals. If the total planetary water complement is high, the entire surface may be covered in water, forming a “waterworld.” On a planet with active tectonics, competing mechanisms act to regulate the abundance of water on the surface by determining the partitioning of water between interior and surface. Here we explore how the incorporation of different mechanisms for the degassing and regassing of water changes the volatile evolution of a planet. For all of the models considered, volatile cycling reaches an approximate steady state after ∼ 2 {Gyr}. Using these steady states, we find that if volatile cycling is either solely dependent on temperature or seafloor pressure, exoplanets require a high abundance (≳ 0.3 % of total mass) of water to have fully inundated surfaces. However, if degassing is more dependent on seafloor pressure and regassing mainly dependent on mantle temperature, the degassing rate is relatively large at late times and a steady state between degassing and regassing is reached with a substantial surface water fraction. If this hybrid model is physical, super-Earths with a total water fraction similar to that of the Earth can become waterworlds. As a result, further understanding of the processes that drive volatile cycling on terrestrial planets is needed to determine the water fraction at which they are likely to become waterworlds.

  2. The effects of refraction on transit transmission spectroscopy: application to Earth-like exoplanets

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Misra, Amit; Meadows, Victoria [Astronomy Department, University of Washington, Box 351580, Seattle, WA 98195 (United States); Crisp, Dave, E-mail: amit0@astro.washington.edu [NAI Virtual Planetary Laboratory, Seattle, WA (United States)

    2014-09-01

    We quantify the effects of refraction in transit transmission spectroscopy on spectral absorption features and on temporal variations that could be used to obtain altitude-dependent spectra for planets orbiting stars of different stellar types. We validate our model against altitude-dependent transmission spectra of the Earth from ATMOS and against lunar eclipse spectra from Pallé et al. We perform detectability studies to show the potential effects of refraction on hypothetical observations of Earth analogs with the James Webb Space Telescope NIRSPEC. Due to refraction, there will be a maximum tangent pressure level that can be probed during transit for each given planet-star system. We show that because of refraction, for an Earth-analog planet orbiting in the habitable zone of a Sun-like star only the top 0.3 bars of the atmosphere can be probed, leading to a decrease in the signal-to-noise ratio (S/N) of absorption features by 60%, while for an Earth-analog planet orbiting in the habitable zone of an M5V star it is possible to probe almost the entire atmosphere with minimal decreases in S/N. We also show that refraction can result in temporal variations in the transit transmission spectrum which may provide a way to obtain altitude-dependent spectra of exoplanet atmospheres. Additionally, the variations prior to ingress and subsequent to egress provide a way to probe pressures greater than the maximum tangent pressure that can be probed during transit. Therefore, probing the maximum range of atmospheric altitudes, and in particular the near-surface environment of an Earth-analog exoplanet, will require looking at out-of-transit refracted light in addition to the in-transit spectrum.

  3. The effects of refraction on transit transmission spectroscopy: application to Earth-like exoplanets

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Misra, Amit; Meadows, Victoria; Crisp, Dave

    2014-01-01

    We quantify the effects of refraction in transit transmission spectroscopy on spectral absorption features and on temporal variations that could be used to obtain altitude-dependent spectra for planets orbiting stars of different stellar types. We validate our model against altitude-dependent transmission spectra of the Earth from ATMOS and against lunar eclipse spectra from Pallé et al. We perform detectability studies to show the potential effects of refraction on hypothetical observations of Earth analogs with the James Webb Space Telescope NIRSPEC. Due to refraction, there will be a maximum tangent pressure level that can be probed during transit for each given planet-star system. We show that because of refraction, for an Earth-analog planet orbiting in the habitable zone of a Sun-like star only the top 0.3 bars of the atmosphere can be probed, leading to a decrease in the signal-to-noise ratio (S/N) of absorption features by 60%, while for an Earth-analog planet orbiting in the habitable zone of an M5V star it is possible to probe almost the entire atmosphere with minimal decreases in S/N. We also show that refraction can result in temporal variations in the transit transmission spectrum which may provide a way to obtain altitude-dependent spectra of exoplanet atmospheres. Additionally, the variations prior to ingress and subsequent to egress provide a way to probe pressures greater than the maximum tangent pressure that can be probed during transit. Therefore, probing the maximum range of atmospheric altitudes, and in particular the near-surface environment of an Earth-analog exoplanet, will require looking at out-of-transit refracted light in addition to the in-transit spectrum.

  4. Towards Automatic Classification of Exoplanet-Transit-Like Signals: A Case Study on Kepler Mission Data

    Science.gov (United States)

    Valizadegan, Hamed; Martin, Rodney; McCauliff, Sean D.; Jenkins, Jon Michael; Catanzarite, Joseph; Oza, Nikunj C.

    2015-08-01

    Building new catalogues of planetary candidates, astrophysical false alarms, and non-transiting phenomena is a challenging task that currently requires a reviewing team of astrophysicists and astronomers. These scientists need to examine more than 100 diagnostic metrics and associated graphics for each candidate exoplanet-transit-like signal to classify it into one of the three classes. Considering that the NASA Explorer Program's TESS mission and ESA's PLATO mission survey even a larger area of space, the classification of their transit-like signals is more time-consuming for human agents and a bottleneck to successfully construct the new catalogues in a timely manner. This encourages building automatic classification tools that can quickly and reliably classify the new signal data from these missions. The standard tool for building automatic classification systems is the supervised machine learning that requires a large set of highly accurate labeled examples in order to build an effective classifier. This requirement cannot be easily met for classifying transit-like signals because not only are existing labeled signals very limited, but also the current labels may not be reliable (because the labeling process is a subjective task). Our experiments with using different supervised classifiers to categorize transit-like signals verifies that the labeled signals are not rich enough to provide the classifier with enough power to generalize well beyond the observed cases (e.g. to unseen or test signals). That motivated us to utilize a new category of learning techniques, so-called semi-supervised learning, that combines the label information from the costly labeled signals, and distribution information from the cheaply available unlabeled signals in order to construct more effective classifiers. Our study on the Kepler Mission data shows that semi-supervised learning can significantly improve the result of multiple base classifiers (e.g. Support Vector Machines, Ada

  5. 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

    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.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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}Pleiades, Hyades, Praesepe) and conduct a uniform search of the members. We identify all known transiting exoplanets in the clusters, 17 eclipsing binaries, one transiting planet candidate orbiting a potential Pleiades member, and three orbiting unlikely members of the 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.

  10. Asteroseismology of the Transiting Exoplanet Host HD 17156 with Hubble Space Telescope Fine Guidance Sensor

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Gilliland, Ronald L.; McCullough, Peter R.; Nelan, Edmund P.

    2011-01-01

    light curve. Using the density constraint from asteroseismology, and stellar evolution modeling results in M * = 1.285 ± 0.026 M sun, R * = 1.507 ± 0.012 R sun, and a stellar age of 3.2 ± 0.3 Gyr. Based on observations with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, obtained at the Space Telescope Science......Observations conducted with the Fine Guidance Sensor on the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) providing high cadence and precision time-series photometry were obtained over 10 consecutive days in 2008 December on the host star of the transiting exoplanet HD 17156b. During this time, 1.0 × 1012 photons...... Institute, which is operated by AURA, Inc., under NASA contract NAS 5-26555....

  11. Trajectory Design Enhancements to Mitigate Risk for the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dichmann, Donald; Parker, Joel; Nickel, Craig; Lutz, Stephen

    2016-01-01

    The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) will employ a highly eccentric Earth orbit, in 2:1 lunar resonance, which will be reached with a lunar flyby preceded by 3.5 phasing loops. The TESS mission has limited propellant and several constraints on the science orbit and on the phasing loops. Based on analysis and simulation, we have designed the phasing loops to reduce delta-V (DV) and to mitigate risk due to maneuver execution errors. We have automated the trajectory design process and use distributed processing to generate and optimal nominal trajectories; to check constraint satisfaction; and finally to model the effects of maneuver errors to identify trajectories that best meet the mission requirements.

  12. Monte Carlo Analysis as a Trajectory Design Driver for the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) Mission

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nickel, Craig; Parker, Joel; Dichmann, Don; Lebois, Ryan; Lutz, Stephen

    2016-01-01

    The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) will be injected into a highly eccentric Earth orbit and fly 3.5 phasing loops followed by a lunar flyby to enter a mission orbit with lunar 2:1 resonance. Through the phasing loops and mission orbit, the trajectory is significantly affected by lunar and solar gravity. We have developed a trajectory design to achieve the mission orbit and meet mission constraints, including eclipse avoidance and a 30-year geostationary orbit avoidance requirement. A parallelized Monte Carlo simulation was performed to validate the trajectory after injecting common perturbations, including launch dispersions, orbit determination errors, and maneuver execution errors. The Monte Carlo analysis helped identify mission risks and is used in the trajectory selection process.

  13. PHOTOMETRIC AND SPECTRAL SIGNATURES OF THREE-DIMENSIONAL MODELS OF TRANSITING GIANT EXOPLANETS

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Burrows, A.; Spiegel, D. S.; Rauscher, E.; Menou, K.

    2010-01-01

    Using a three-dimensional general circulation model, we create dynamical model atmospheres of a representative transiting giant exoplanet, HD 209458b. We post-process these atmospheres with an opacity code to obtain transit radius spectra during the primary transit. Using a spectral atmosphere code, we integrate over the face of the planet seen by an observer at various orbital phases and calculate light curves as a function of wavelength and for different photometric bands. The products of this study are generic predictions for the phase variations of a zero-eccentricity giant planet's transit spectrum and of its light curves. We find that for these models the temporal variations in all quantities and the ingress/egress contrasts in the transit radii are small (<1.0%). Moreover, we determine that the day/night contrasts and phase shifts of the brightness peaks relative to the ephemeris are functions of photometric band. The J, H, and K bands are shifted most, while the IRAC bands are shifted least. Therefore, we verify that the magnitude of the downwind shift in the planetary 'hot spot' due to equatorial winds is strongly wavelength dependent. The phase and wavelength dependence of light curves, as well as the associated day/night contrasts, can be used to constrain the circulation regime of irradiated giant planets and to probe different pressure levels of a hot Jupiter atmosphere. We posit that though our calculations focus on models of HD 209458b, similar calculations for other transiting hot Jupiters in low-eccentricity orbits should yield transit spectra and light curves of a similar character.

  14. Directly imaged L-T transition exoplanets in the mid-infrared {sup ,}

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Skemer, Andrew J.; Hinz, Philip M.; Morzinski, Katie M.; Leisenring, Jarron M.; Close, Laird M.; Bailey, Vanessa P.; Defrere, Denis; Follette, Katherine B.; Males, Jared R.; Rodigas, Timothy J. [Steward Observatory, Department of Astronomy, University of Arizona, 933 North Cherry Avenue, Tucson, AZ 85721 (United States); Marley, Mark S. [NASA Ames Research Center, MS-245-3, Moffett Field, CA 94035 (United States); Skrutskie, Michael F. [Department of Astronomy, University of Virginia, 530 McCormick Road, Charlottesville, VA 22904 (United States); Saumon, Didier [Los Alamos National Laboratory, Mail Stop F663, Los Alamos, NM 87545 (United States); Briguglio, Runa; Esposito, Simone; Puglisi, Alfio; Xompero, Marco [Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica, Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri Largo E. Fermi 5 50125 Firenze (Italy); Hill, John M. [Large Binocular Telescope Observatory, University of Arizona, 933 North Cherry Avenue, Tucson, AZ 85721 (United States)

    2014-09-01

    Gas-giant planets emit a large fraction of their light in the mid-infrared (≳3 μm), where photometry and spectroscopy are critical to our understanding of the bulk properties of extrasolar planets. Of particular importance are the L- and M-band atmospheric windows (3-5 μm), which are the longest wavelengths currently accessible to ground-based, high-contrast imagers. We present binocular LBT adaptive optics (AO) images of the HR 8799 planetary system in six narrow-band filters from 3 to 4 μm, and a Magellan AO image of the 2M1207 planetary system in a broader 3.3 μm band. These systems encompass the five known exoplanets with luminosities consistent with L → T transition brown dwarfs. Our results show that the exoplanets are brighter and have shallower spectral slopes than equivalent temperature brown dwarfs in a wavelength range that contains the methane fundamental absorption feature (spanned by the narrow-band filters and encompassed by the broader 3.3 μm filter). For 2M1207 b, we find that thick clouds and non-equilibrium chemistry caused by vertical mixing can explain the object's appearance. For the HR 8799 planets, we present new models that suggest the atmospheres must have patchy clouds, along with non-equilibrium chemistry. Together, the presence of a heterogeneous surface and vertical mixing presents a picture of dynamic planetary atmospheres in which both horizontal and vertical motions influence the chemical and condensate profiles.

  15. K2-231 b: A Sub-Neptune Exoplanet Transiting a Solar Twin in Ruprecht 147

    Science.gov (United States)

    Curtis, Jason Lee; Vanderburg, Andrew; Torres, Guillermo; Kraus, Adam L.; Huber, Daniel; Mann, Andrew W.; Rizzuto, Aaron C.; Isaacson, Howard; Howard, Andrew W.; Henze, Christopher E.; Fulton, Benjamin J.; Wright, Jason T.

    2018-04-01

    We identify a sub-Neptune exoplanet (R p = 2.5 ± 0.2 {R}\\oplus ) transiting a solar twin in the Ruprecht 147 star cluster (3 Gyr, 300 pc, [Fe/H] = +0.1 dex). The ∼81 day light curve for EPIC 219800881 (V = 12.71) from K2 Campaign 7 shows six transits with a period of 13.84 days, a depth of ∼0.06%, and a duration of ∼4 hr. Based on our analysis of high-resolution MIKE spectra, broadband optical and NIR photometry, the cluster parallax and interstellar reddening, and isochrone models from PARSEC, Dartmouth, and MIST, we estimate the following properties for the host star: M ⋆ = 1.01 ± 0.03 {M}ȯ , R ⋆ = 0.95 ± 0.03 {R}ȯ , and {T}{{eff}} = 5695 ± 50 K. This star appears to be single based on our modeling of the photometry, the low radial velocity (RV) variability measured over nearly 10 yr, and Keck/NIRC2 adaptive optics imaging and aperture-masking interferometry. Applying a probabilistic mass–radius relation, we estimate that the mass of this planet is M p = 7 + 5 – 3 {M}\\oplus , which would cause an RV semi-amplitude of K = 2 ± 1 {\\text{m s}}-1 that may be measurable with existing precise RV facilities. After statistically validating this planet with BLENDER, we now designate it K2-231b, making it the second substellar object to be discovered in Ruprecht 147 and the first planet; it joins the small but growing ranks of 22 other planets and three candidates found in open clusters.

  16. Transiting Exoplanet Monitoring Project (TEMP). II. Refined System Parameters and Transit Timing Analysis of HAT-P-33b

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Yong-Hao; Wang, Songhu; Liu, Hui-Gen; Hinse, Tobias C.; Laughlin, Gregory; Wu, Dong-Hong; Zhang, Xiaojia; Zhou, Xu; Wu, Zhenyu; Zhou, Ji-Lin; Wittenmyer, R. A.; Eastman, Jason; Zhang, Hui; Hori, Yasunori; Narita, Norio; Chen, Yuanyuan; Ma, Jun; Peng, Xiyan; Zhang, Tian-Meng; Zou, Hu; Nie, Jun-Dan; Zhou, Zhi-Min

    2017-08-01

    We present 10 R-band photometric observations of eight different transits of the hot Jupiter HAT-P-33b, which has been targeted by our Transiting Exoplanet Monitoring Project. The data were obtained by two telescopes at the Xinglong Station of National Astronomical Observatories of China (NAOC) from 2013 December through 2016 January, and exhibit photometric scatter of 1.6{--}3.0 {mmag}. After jointly analyzing the previously published photometric data, radial-velocity (RV) measurements, and our new light curves, we revisit the system parameters and orbital ephemeris for the HAT-P-33b system. Our results are consistent with the published values except for the planet to star radius ratio ({R}{{P}}/{R}* ), the ingress/egress duration (τ) and the total duration (T 14), which together indicate a slightly shallower and shorter transit shape. Our results are based on more complete light curves, whereas the previously published work had only one complete transit light curve. No significant anomalies in Transit Timing Variations (TTVs) are found, and we place upper mass limits on potential perturbers, largely supplanting the loose constraints provided by the extant RV data. The TTV limits are stronger near mean-motion resonances, especially for the low-order commensurabilities. We can exclude the existence of a perturber with mass larger than 0.6, 0.3, 0.5, 0.5, and 0.3 {M}\\oplus near the 1:3, 1:2, 2:3, 3:2, and 2:1 resonances, respectively.

  17. Assembly, alignment and test of the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) optical assemblies

    Science.gov (United States)

    Balonek, Gregory; Brown, Joshua J.; Andre, James E.; Chesbrough, Christian D.; Chrisp, Michael P.; Dalpiaz, Michael; Lennon, Joseph; Richards, B. C.; Clark, Kristin E.

    2017-08-01

    The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) will carry four visible waveband, seven-element, refractive F/1.4 lenses, each with a 34 degree diagonal field of view. This paper describes the methods used for the assembly, alignment and test of the four flight optical assemblies. Prior to commencing the build of the four flight optical assemblies, a Risk Reduction Unit (RRU) was successfully assembled and tested [1]. The lessons learned from the RRU were applied to the build of the flight assemblies. The main modifications to the flight assemblies include the inking of the third lens element stray light mitigation, tighter alignment tolerances, and diamond turning for critical mechanical surfaces. Each of the optical assemblies was tested interferometrically and measured with a low coherence distance measuring interferometer (DMI) to predict the optimal shim thickness between the lens assembly and detector before -75°C environmental testing. In addition to individual test data, environmental test results from prior assemblies allow for the exploration of marginal performance differences between each of the optical assemblies.

  18. The Light Source Problem: The Effect of Heterogeneous Stellar Photospheres on Searches for Transiting Exoplanet Biosignatures

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rackham, B. V.; Apai, D.; Giampapa, M. S.

    2017-11-01

    TESS will soon enable the study of terrestrial exoplanet atmospheres. However, spots and faculae in stellar photospheres can complicate these measurements by mimicking or masking atmospheric features. We detail our work to constrain this effect.

  19. Chasing Small Exoplanets with Ground-Based Near-Infrared Transit Photometry

    Science.gov (United States)

    Colon, K. D.; Barentsen, G.; Vinicius, Z.; Vanderburg, A.; Coughlin, J.; Thompson, S.; Mullally, F.; Barclay, T.; Quintana, E.

    2017-11-01

    I will present results from a ground-based survey to measure the infrared radius and other properties of small K2 exoplanets and candidates. The survey is preparation for upcoming discoveries from TESS and characterization with JWST.

  20. Lyman-alpha transit observations of the warm rocky exoplanet GJ1132b

    Science.gov (United States)

    Waalkes, William; Berta-Thompson, Zachory K.; Charbonneau, David; Irwin, Jonathan; Newton, Elisabeth; Dittmann, Jason; Bourrier, Vincent; Ehrenreich, David; Kempton, Eliza; Will

    2018-06-01

    GJ1132b is one of the few known Earth-sized planets, and at 12pc away it is also one of the closest known transiting planets. With an equilibrium temperature of 500 K, this planet is too hot to be habitable but we can use it to learn about the presence and volatile content of rocky planet atmospheres around M dwarf stars. Using Hubble STIS spectra obtained during primary transit, we search for a Lyman-α transit. If we were to observe a deep Lyman-α transit, that would indicate the presence of a neutral hydrogen envelope flowing from GJ1132b. On the other hand, ruling out deep absorption from neutral hydrogen may indicate that this planet has either retained its volatiles or lost them very early in the star’s life. We carry out this analysis by extracting 1D spectra from the STIS pipeline, splitting the time-tagged spectra into higher resolution samples, and producing light curves of the red and blue wings of the Lyman-α line. We fit for the baseline stellar flux and transit depths in order to constrain the characteristics of the cloud of neutral hydrogen gas that may surround the planet. We do not conclusively detect a transit but the results provide an upper limit for the transit depth. We also analyze the stellar variability and Lyman-α spectrum of GJ1132, a slowly-rotating 0.18 solar mass M dwarf with previously uncharacterized UV activity. Understanding the role that UV variability plays in planetary atmospheres and volatile retention is crucial to assess atmospheric evolution and the habitability of cooler rocky planets.

  1. Chromospheric and Transition Region Emission Properties of G, K, and M dwarf Exoplanet Host Stars

    Science.gov (United States)

    France, Kevin; Arulanantham, Nicole; Fossati, Luca; Lanza, A. F.; Linsky, Jeffrey L.; Redfield, Seth; Loyd, Robert; Schneider, Christian

    2018-01-01

    Exoplanet magnetic fields have proven notoriously hard to detect, despite theoretical predictions of substantial magnetic field strengths on close-in extrasolar giant planets. It has been suggested that stellar and planetary magnetic field interactions can manifest as enhanced stellar activity relative to nominal age-rotation-activity relationships for main sequence stars or enhanced activity on stars hosting short-period massive planets. In a recent study of M and K dwarf exoplanet host stars, we demonstrated a significant correlation between the relative luminosity in high-temperature stellar emission lines (L(ion)/L_Bol) and the “star-planet interaction strength”, M_plan/a_plan. Here, we expand on that work with a survey of G, K, and M dwarf exoplanet host stars obtained in two recent far-ultraviolet spectroscopic programs with the Hubble Space Telescope. We have measured the relative luminosities of stellar lines C II, Si III, Si IV, and N V (formation temperatures from 30,000 – 150,000 K) in a sample of ~60 exoplanet host stars and an additional ~40 dwarf stars without known planets. We present results on star-planet interaction signals as a function of spectral type and line formation temperature, as well as a statistical comparison of stars with and without planets.

  2. A Framework to Combine Low- and High-resolution Spectroscopy for the Atmospheres of Transiting Exoplanets

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Brogi, M.; Line, M.; Bean, J.; Désert, J.-M.; Schwarz, H.

    2017-01-01

    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

  3. Exoplanet Transit Spectroscopy Using WFC3: WASP-12 b, WASP-17 b, and WASP-19 b

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mandell, Avram Max; Haynes, Korey N.; Sinukoff, Evan; Madhusudhan, Nikku; Burrows, Adam; Deming, Drake

    2013-01-01

    We report an analysis of transit spectroscopy of the extrasolar planets WASP-12 b, WASP-17 b, and WASP-19 b using the Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) on the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). We analyze the data for a single transit for each planet using a strategy similar, in certain aspects, to the techniques used by Berta et al., but we extend their methodology to allow us to correct for channel- or wavelength-dependent instrumental effects by utilizing the band-integrated time series and measurements of the drift of the spectrum on the detector over time. We achieve almost photon-limited results for individual spectral bins, but the uncertainties in the transit depth for the band-integrated data are exacerbated by the uneven sampling of the light curve imposed by the orbital phasing of HST's observations. Our final transit spectra for all three objects are consistent with the presence of a broad absorption feature at 1.4 nano meter most likely due to water. However, the amplitude of the absorption is less than that expected based on previous observations with Spitzer, possibly due to hazes absorbing in the NIR or non-solar compositions. The degeneracy of models with different compositions and temperature structures combined with the low amplitude of any features in the data preclude our ability to place unambiguous constraints on the atmospheric composition without additional observations with WFC3 to improve the signal-to-noise ratio and/or a comprehensive multi-wavelength analysis.

  4. Exoplanet transit spectroscopy using WFC3: WASP-12 b, WASP-17 b, and WASP-19 b

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Mandell, Avi M.; Haynes, Korey [Solar System Exploration Division, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771 (United States); Sinukoff, Evan [Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI 96822 (United States); Madhusudhan, Nikku [Yale Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06511 (United States); Burrows, Adam [Department of Astrophysical Sciences, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544 (United States); Deming, Drake, E-mail: Avi.Mandell@nasa.gov [Department of Astronomy, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742 (United States)

    2013-12-20

    We report an analysis of transit spectroscopy of the extrasolar planets WASP-12 b, WASP-17 b, and WASP-19 b using the Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) on the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). We analyze the data for a single transit for each planet using a strategy similar, in certain aspects, to the techniques used by Berta et al., but we extend their methodology to allow us to correct for channel- or wavelength-dependent instrumental effects by utilizing the band-integrated time series and measurements of the drift of the spectrum on the detector over time. We achieve almost photon-limited results for individual spectral bins, but the uncertainties in the transit depth for the band-integrated data are exacerbated by the uneven sampling of the light curve imposed by the orbital phasing of HST's observations. Our final transit spectra for all three objects are consistent with the presence of a broad absorption feature at 1.4 μm most likely due to water. However, the amplitude of the absorption is less than that expected based on previous observations with Spitzer, possibly due to hazes absorbing in the NIR or non-solar compositions. The degeneracy of models with different compositions and temperature structures combined with the low amplitude of any features in the data preclude our ability to place unambiguous constraints on the atmospheric composition without additional observations with WFC3 to improve the signal-to-noise ratio and/or a comprehensive multi-wavelength analysis.

  5. The Transit Light Curve Project. VIII. Six Occultations of the Exoplanet TrES-3

    OpenAIRE

    Winn, Joshua N.; Holman, Matthew J.; Shporer, Avi; Fernandez, Jose; Mazeh, Tsevi; Latham, David W.; Charbonneau, David; Everett, Mark E.

    2008-01-01

    We present photometry of the exoplanet host star TrES-3 spanning six occultations (secondary eclipses) of its giant planet. No flux decrements were detected, leading to 99%-confidence upper limits on the planet-to-star flux ratio of 0.00024, 0.0005, and 0.00086 in the i, z, and R bands respectively. The corresponding upper limits on the planet's geometric albedo are 0.30, 0.62, and 1.07. The upper limit in the i band rules out the presence of highly reflective clouds, and is only a factor of ...

  6. Information Content Analysis for Selection of Optimal JWST  Observing Modes for Transiting Exoplanet Atmospheres

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Batalha, Natasha E. [Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA 16802 (United States); Line, M. R., E-mail: neb149@psu.edu [School of Earth and Space Exploration, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ 85282 (United States)

    2017-04-01

    The James Webb Space Telescope ( JWST ) is nearing its launch date of 2018, and is expected to revolutionize our knowledge of exoplanet atmospheres. In order to specifically identify which observing modes will be most useful for characterizing a diverse range of exoplanetary atmospheres, we use an information content (IC) based approach commonly used in the studies of solar system atmospheres. We develop a system based upon these IC methods to trace the instrumental and atmospheric model phase space in order to identify which observing modes are best suited for particular classes of planets, focusing on transmission spectra. Specifically, the atmospheric parameter space we cover is T  = 600–1800 K, C/O = 0.55–1, [M/H] = 1–100 × Solar for an R  = 1.39 R{sub J}, M  = 0.59 M{sub J} planet orbiting a WASP-62-like star. We also explore the influence of a simplified opaque gray cloud on the IC. We find that obtaining broader wavelength coverage over multiple modes is preferred over higher precision in a single mode given the same amount of observing time. Regardless of the planet temperature and composition, the best modes for constraining terminator temperatures, C/O ratios, and metallicity are NIRISS SOSS+NIRSpec G395. If the target’s host star is dim enough such that the NIRSpec prism is applicable, then it can be used instead of NIRISS SOSS+NIRSpec G395. Lastly, observations that use more than two modes should be carefully analyzed because sometimes the addition of a third mode results in no gain of information. In these cases, higher precision in the original two modes is favorable.

  7. 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

  8. EPOXI EXOPLANET TRANSIT OBS - HRIV CALIBRATED IMAGES V1.0

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — This data set set contains calibrated images of eight known transiting extrasolar planetary systems (hot Jupiters) acquired by the Deep Impact High Resolution...

  9. The Transit Ingress and the Tilted Orbit of the Extraordinarily Eccentric Exoplanet HD 80606b

    Science.gov (United States)

    Winn, Joshua N.; Howard, Andrew W.; Johnson, John A.; Marcy, Geoffrey W.; Gazak, J. Zachary; Starkey, Donn; Ford, Eric B.; Colon, Knicole D.; Reyes, Francisco; Nortmann, Lisa; hide

    2009-01-01

    We reported the first detection of the transit ingress, revealing the transit duration to be 11.64 plus or minus 0.25 hr and allowing more robust determinations of the system parameters. Keck spectra obtained at midtransit exhibited an anomalous blueshift, giving definitive evidence that the stellar spin axis and planetary orbital axis are misaligned. Thus, the orbit of this planet is not only highly eccentric but is also tilted away from the equatorial plane of its parent star. A large tilt had been predicted, based on the idea that the planet's eccentric orbit was caused by the Kozai mechanism.

  10. FIVE NEW TRANSIT EPOCHS OF THE EXOPLANET OGLE-TR-111b

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Hoyer, S.; Rojo, P.; Lopez-Morales, M.; DIaz, R. F.; Chambers, J.; Minniti, D.

    2011-01-01

    We report five new transit epochs of the extrasolar planet OGLE-TR-111b, observed in the v-HIGH and Bessell I bands with the FORS1 and FORS2 at the ESO Very Large Telescope between 2008 April and May. The new transits have been combined with all previously published transit data for this planet to provide a new transit timing variations (TTVs) analysis of its orbit. We find no TTVs with amplitudes larger than 1.5 minutes over a four-year observation time baseline, in agreement with the recent result by Adams et al. Dynamical simulations fully exclude the presence of additional planets in the system with masses greater than 1.3, 0.4, and 0.5 M + at the 3:2, 1:2, and 2:1 resonances, respectively. We also place an upper limit of about 30 M + on the mass of potential second planets in the region between the 3:2 and 1:2 mean-motion resonances.

  11. 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

  12. A pilot investigation to constrain the presence of ring systems around transiting exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hatchett, W. Timothy; Barnes, Jason W.; Ahlers, John P.; MacKenzie, Shannon M.; Hedman, Matthew M.

    2018-04-01

    We demonstrate a process by which to evaluate the presence of large, Saturn-like ring systems around transiting extrasolar giant planets. We use extrasolar planet candidate KOI-422.01 as an example around which to establish limits on the presence of ring systems. We find that the spherical-planet (no-rings) fit matches the lightcurve of KOI-422.01 better than a lightcurve with a planet having obliquity angles 90°, 60°, 45°, or 20°. Hence we find no evidence for rings around KOI-422.01, but the methods that we have developed can be used for more comprehensive ring searches in the future. If the Hedman (2015) low-temperature rings hypothesis is correct, then the first positive detection of exorings might require transits of very long period ( ≳ 10 yr) giant planets outside their stars' ice lines.

  13. Radial velocity follow-up of CoRoT transiting exoplanets

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Deleuil M.

    2011-02-01

    Full Text Available We report on the results from the radial-velocity follow-up program performed to establish the planetary nature and to characterize the transiting candidates discovered by the space mission CoRoT. We use the SOPHIE at OHP, HARPS at ESO and the HIRES at Keck spectrographs to collect spectra and high-precision radial velocity (RV measurements for several dozens different candidates from CoRoT. We have measured the Rossiter-McLaughlin effect of several confirmed planets, especially CoRoT-1b which revealed that it is another highly inclined system. Such high-precision RV data are necessary for the discovery of new transiting planets. Furthermore, several low mass planet candidates have emerged from our Keck and HARPS data.

  14. 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.

  15. An Information-theoretic Approach to Optimize JWST Observations and Retrievals of Transiting Exoplanet Atmospheres

    Science.gov (United States)

    Howe, Alex R.; Burrows, Adam; Deming, Drake

    2017-01-01

    We provide an example of an analysis to explore the optimization of observations of transiting hot Jupiters with the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) to characterize their atmospheres based on a simple three-parameter forward model. We construct expansive forward model sets for 11 hot Jupiters, 10 of which are relatively well characterized, exploring a range of parameters such as equilibrium temperature and metallicity, as well as considering host stars over a wide range in brightness. We compute posterior distributions of our model parameters for each planet with all of the available JWST spectroscopic modes and several programs of combined observations and compute their effectiveness using the metric of estimated mutual information per degree of freedom. From these simulations, clear trends emerge that provide guidelines for designing a JWST observing program. We demonstrate that these guidelines apply over a wide range of planet parameters and target brightnesses for our simple forward model.

  16. AN INFORMATION-THEORETIC APPROACH TO OPTIMIZE JWST OBSERVATIONS AND RETRIEVALS OF TRANSITING EXOPLANET ATMOSPHERES

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Howe, Alex R.; Burrows, Adam [Department of Astronomy, University of Michigan, 1085 S. University, Ann Arbor, MI 48109 (United States); Deming, Drake, E-mail: arhowe@umich.edu, E-mail: burrows@astro.princeton.edu, E-mail: ddeming@astro.umd.edu [Department of Astronomy, University of Maryland College Park, MD 20742 (United States)

    2017-01-20

    We provide an example of an analysis to explore the optimization of observations of transiting hot Jupiters with the James Webb Space Telescope ( JWST ) to characterize their atmospheres based on a simple three-parameter forward model. We construct expansive forward model sets for 11 hot Jupiters, 10 of which are relatively well characterized, exploring a range of parameters such as equilibrium temperature and metallicity, as well as considering host stars over a wide range in brightness. We compute posterior distributions of our model parameters for each planet with all of the available JWST spectroscopic modes and several programs of combined observations and compute their effectiveness using the metric of estimated mutual information per degree of freedom. From these simulations, clear trends emerge that provide guidelines for designing a JWST observing program. We demonstrate that these guidelines apply over a wide range of planet parameters and target brightnesses for our simple forward model.

  17. CONSTRAINING HIGH-SPEED WINDS IN EXOPLANET ATMOSPHERES THROUGH OBSERVATIONS OF ANOMALOUS DOPPLER SHIFTS DURING TRANSIT

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Miller-Ricci Kempton, Eliza; Rauscher, Emily

    2012-01-01

    Three-dimensional (3D) dynamical models of hot Jupiter atmospheres predict very strong wind speeds. For tidally locked hot Jupiters, winds at high altitude in the planet's atmosphere advect heat from the day side to the cooler night side of the planet. Net wind speeds on the order of 1-10 km s –1 directed towards the night side of the planet are predicted at mbar pressures, which is the approximate pressure level probed by transmission spectroscopy. These winds should result in an observed blueshift of spectral lines in transmission on the order of the wind speed. Indeed, Snellen et al. recently observed a 2 ± 1 km s –1 blueshift of CO transmission features for HD 209458b, which has been interpreted as a detection of the day-to-night (substellar to anti-stellar) winds that have been predicted by 3D atmospheric dynamics modeling. Here, we present the results of a coupled 3D atmospheric dynamics and transmission spectrum model, which predicts the Doppler-shifted spectrum of a hot Jupiter during transit resulting from winds in the planet's atmosphere. We explore four different models for the hot Jupiter atmosphere using different prescriptions for atmospheric drag via interaction with planetary magnetic fields. We find that models with no magnetic drag produce net Doppler blueshifts in the transmission spectrum of ∼2 km s –1 and that lower Doppler shifts of ∼1 km s –1 are found for the higher drag cases, results consistent with—but not yet strongly constrained by—the Snellen et al. measurement. We additionally explore the possibility of recovering the average terminator wind speed as a function of altitude by measuring Doppler shifts of individual spectral lines and spatially resolving wind speeds across the leading and trailing terminators during ingress and egress.

  18. 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.

  19. A New Window into Escaping Exoplanet Atmospheres: 10830 Å Line of Helium

    Science.gov (United States)

    Oklopčić, Antonija; Hirata, Christopher M.

    2018-03-01

    Observational evidence for escaping exoplanet atmospheres has been obtained for a few exoplanets to date. It comes from strong transit signals detected in the ultraviolet, most notably in the wings of the hydrogen Lyα (Lyα) line. However, the core of the Lyα line is often heavily affected by interstellar absorption and geocoronal emission, limiting the information about the atmosphere that can be extracted from that part of the spectrum. Transit observations in atomic lines that are (a) sensitive enough to trace the rarefied gas in the planetary wind and (b) do not suffer from significant extinction by the interstellar medium could enable more detailed observations, and thus provide better constraints on theoretical models of escaping atmospheres. The absorption line of a metastable state of helium at 10830 Å could satisfy both of these conditions for some exoplanets. We develop a simple 1D model of escaping planetary atmospheres containing hydrogen and helium. We use it to calculate the density profile of helium in the 23S metastable excited state and the expected in-transit absorption at 10830 Å for two exoplanets known to have escaping atmospheres. Our results indicate that exoplanets similar to GJ 436b and HD 209458b should exhibit enhanced transit depths at 10830 Å, with ∼8% and ∼2% excess absorption in the line core, respectively.

  20. XO-2b: A HOT JUPITER WITH A VARIABLE HOST STAR THAT POTENTIALLY AFFECTS ITS MEASURED TRANSIT DEPTH

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Zellem, Robert T.; Griffith, Caitlin A. [Department of Planetary Sciences, Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona, 1629 East University Boulevard, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721 (United States); Pearson, Kyle A.; Fitzpatrick, M. Ryleigh; Teske, Johanna K.; Biddle, Lauren I. [Department of Astronomy, Steward Observatory, University of Arizona, 933 North Cherry Avenue, Tucson, AZ 85721 (United States); Turner, Jake D. [Department of Planetary Sciences, University of Arizona, 933 North Cherry Avenue, Tucson, AZ 85721 (United States); Henry, Gregory W.; Williamson, Michael H., E-mail: rzellem@lpl.arizona.edu, E-mail: griffith@lpl.arizona.edu [Center of Excellence in Information Systems, Tennessee State University, 3500 John A. Merritt Blvd., P.O. Box 9501, Nashville, TN 37209 (United States)

    2015-09-01

    The transiting hot Jupiter XO-2b is an ideal target for multi-object photometry and spectroscopy as it has a relatively bright (V-mag = 11.25) K0V host star (XO-2N) and a large planet-to-star contrast ratio (R{sub p}/R{sub s} ≈ 0.015). It also has a nearby (31.″21) binary stellar companion (XO-2S) of nearly the same brightness (V-mag = 11.20) and spectral type (G9V), allowing for the characterization and removal of shared systematic errors (e.g., airmass brightness variations). We have therefore conducted a multiyear (2012–2015) study of XO-2b with the University of Arizona’s 61″ (1.55 m) Kuiper Telescope and Mont4k CCD in the Bessel U and Harris B photometric passbands to measure its Rayleigh scattering slope to place upper limits on the pressure-dependent radius at, e.g., 10 bar. Such measurements are needed to constrain its derived molecular abundances from primary transit observations. We have also been monitoring XO-2N since the 2013–2014 winter season with Tennessee State University’s Celestron-14 (0.36 m) automated imaging telescope to investigate stellar variability, which could affect XO-2b’s transit depth. Our observations indicate that XO-2N is variable, potentially due to cool star spots, with a peak-to-peak amplitude of 0.0049 ± 0.0007 R-mag and a period of 29.89 ± 0.16 days for the 2013–2014 observing season and a peak-to-peak amplitude of 0.0035 ± 0.0007 R-mag and 27.34 ± 0.21 day period for the 2014–2015 observing season. Because of the likely influence of XO-2N’s variability on the derivation of XO-2b’s transit depth, we cannot bin multiple nights of data to decrease our uncertainties, preventing us from constraining its gas abundances. This study demonstrates that long-term monitoring programs of exoplanet host stars are crucial for understanding host star variability.

  1. XO-2b: A HOT JUPITER WITH A VARIABLE HOST STAR THAT POTENTIALLY AFFECTS ITS MEASURED TRANSIT DEPTH

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Zellem, Robert T.; Griffith, Caitlin A.; Pearson, Kyle A.; Fitzpatrick, M. Ryleigh; Teske, Johanna K.; Biddle, Lauren I.; Turner, Jake D.; Henry, Gregory W.; Williamson, Michael H.

    2015-01-01

    The transiting hot Jupiter XO-2b is an ideal target for multi-object photometry and spectroscopy as it has a relatively bright (V-mag = 11.25) K0V host star (XO-2N) and a large planet-to-star contrast ratio (R p /R s ≈ 0.015). It also has a nearby (31.″21) binary stellar companion (XO-2S) of nearly the same brightness (V-mag = 11.20) and spectral type (G9V), allowing for the characterization and removal of shared systematic errors (e.g., airmass brightness variations). We have therefore conducted a multiyear (2012–2015) study of XO-2b with the University of Arizona’s 61″ (1.55 m) Kuiper Telescope and Mont4k CCD in the Bessel U and Harris B photometric passbands to measure its Rayleigh scattering slope to place upper limits on the pressure-dependent radius at, e.g., 10 bar. Such measurements are needed to constrain its derived molecular abundances from primary transit observations. We have also been monitoring XO-2N since the 2013–2014 winter season with Tennessee State University’s Celestron-14 (0.36 m) automated imaging telescope to investigate stellar variability, which could affect XO-2b’s transit depth. Our observations indicate that XO-2N is variable, potentially due to cool star spots, with a peak-to-peak amplitude of 0.0049 ± 0.0007 R-mag and a period of 29.89 ± 0.16 days for the 2013–2014 observing season and a peak-to-peak amplitude of 0.0035 ± 0.0007 R-mag and 27.34 ± 0.21 day period for the 2014–2015 observing season. Because of the likely influence of XO-2N’s variability on the derivation of XO-2b’s transit depth, we cannot bin multiple nights of data to decrease our uncertainties, preventing us from constraining its gas abundances. This study demonstrates that long-term monitoring programs of exoplanet host stars are crucial for understanding host star variability

  2. Exoplanet atmospheres physical processes

    CERN Document Server

    Seager, Sara

    2010-01-01

    Over the past twenty years, astronomers have identified hundreds of extrasolar planets--planets orbiting stars other than the sun. Recent research in this burgeoning field has made it possible to observe and measure the atmospheres of these exoplanets. This is the first textbook to describe the basic physical processes--including radiative transfer, molecular absorption, and chemical processes--common to all planetary atmospheres, as well as the transit, eclipse, and thermal phase variation observations that are unique to exoplanets. In each chapter, Sara Seager offers a conceptual introduction, examples that combine the relevant physics equations with real data, and exercises. Topics range from foundational knowledge, such as the origin of atmospheric composition and planetary spectra, to more advanced concepts, such as solutions to the radiative transfer equation, polarization, and molecular and condensate opacities. Since planets vary widely in their atmospheric properties, Seager emphasizes the major p...

  3. The Transit Monitoring in the South (TraMoS project

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    López-Morales Mercedes

    2013-04-01

    Full Text Available We present the Transit Monitoring in the South (TraMoS project. TraMoS has monitored transits of 30 exoplanets with telescopes located in Chile since 2008, whit the following goals: (1 to refine the physical and/or orbital parameters of those exoplanet system, and (2 to search for variations in the mid-times of the transits and in other parameters such as orbital inclination or transit's depth, that could indicate the presence of additional bodies in the system. We highlight here the first results of TraMoS in three selected exoplanets.

  4. A CLOUDINESS INDEX FOR TRANSITING EXOPLANETS BASED ON THE SODIUM AND POTASSIUM LINES: TENTATIVE EVIDENCE FOR HOTTER ATMOSPHERES BEING LESS CLOUDY AT VISIBLE WAVELENGTHS

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Heng, Kevin, E-mail: kevin.heng@csh.unibe.ch [University of Bern, Center for Space and Habitability, Sidlerstrasse 5, CH-3012, Bern (Switzerland)

    2016-07-20

    We present a dimensionless index that quantifies the degree of cloudiness of the atmosphere of a transiting exoplanet. Our cloudiness index is based on measuring the transit radii associated with the line center and wing of the sodium or potassium line. In deriving this index, we revisited the algebraic formulae for inferring the isothermal pressure scale height from transit measurements. We demonstrate that the formulae of Lecavelier et al. and Benneke and Seager are identical: the former is inferring the temperature while assuming a value for the mean molecular mass and the latter is inferring the mean molecular mass while assuming a value for the temperature. More importantly, these formulae cannot be used to distinguish between cloudy and cloud-free atmospheres. We derive values of our cloudiness index for a small sample of seven hot Saturns/Jupiters taken from Sing et al. We show that WASP-17b, WASP-31b, and HAT-P-1b are nearly cloud-free at visible wavelengths. We find the tentative trend that more irradiated atmospheres tend to have fewer clouds consisting of sub-micron-sized particles. We also derive absolute sodium and/or potassium abundances ∼10{sup 2} cm{sup −3} for WASP-17b, WASP-31b, and HAT-P-1b (and upper limits for the other objects). Higher-resolution measurements of both the sodium and potassium lines, for a larger sample of exoplanetary atmospheres, are needed to confirm or refute this trend.

  5. Transiting Exoplanet Monitoring Project (TEMP). IV. Refined System Parameters, Transit Timing Variations, and Orbital Stability of the Transiting Planetary System HAT-P-25

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Xian-Yu; Wang, Songhu; Hinse, Tobias C.; Li, Kai; Wang, Yong-Hao; Laughlin, Gregory; Liu, Hui-Gen; Zhang, Hui; Wu, Zhen-Yu; Zhou, Xu; Zhou, Ji-Lin; Hu, Shao-Ming; Wu, Dong-Hong; Peng, Xi-Yan; Chen, Yuan-Yuan

    2018-06-01

    We present eight new light curves of the transiting extra-solar planet HAT-P-25b obtained from 2013 to 2016 with three telescopes at two observatories. We use the new light curves, along with recent literature material, to estimate the physical and orbital parameters of the transiting planet. Specifically, we determine the mid-transit times (T C ) and update the linear ephemeris, T C[0] = 2456418.80996 ± 0.00025 [BJDTDB] and P = 3.65281572 ± 0.00000095 days. We carry out a search for transit timing variations (TTVs), and find no significant TTV signal at the ΔT = 80 s-level, placing a limit on the possible strength of planet–planet interactions (TTVG). In the course of our analysis, we calculate the upper mass-limits of the potential nearby perturbers. Near the 1:2, 2:1, and 3:1 resonances with HAT-P-25b, perturbers with masses greater than 0.5, 0.3, and 0.5 M ⊕ respectively, can be excluded. Furthermore, based on the analysis of TTVs caused by light travel time effect (LTTE) we also eliminate the possibility that a long-period perturber exists with M p > 3000 MJ within a = 11.2 au of the parent star.

  6. Photometric Exoplanet Characterization and Multimedia Astronomy Communication

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cartier, Kimberly M. S.

    transiting planets presented in this work quantifies the information contained in a sequence of transit depths using a normalized information content metric. The normalized information content metric can distinguish between naturally occurring, regular transits of real exoplanets detected via Kepler (low information content) and simulated artificial beacons whose depth and timing vary in a prime number sequence (high information content). Highly variable transit sequences with natural explanations--as seen with KIC 12557548, for example--can only be distinguished from artificial beacons when observed at a high signal-to-noise ratio (moderate information content) and may otherwise be confused with a more information-rich sequence. This dissertation also presents a review of effective methods for communicating science to various audiences, with specific applications to astronomy. That chapter highlights the necessity of integrating formal communications training into the early stages of a career in astronomy, explains why and how to apply story telling techniques to astronomy communication, and details specific strategies to apply when using common communication media. Examples are given for effectively communicating astronomy through academic research papers, slides for an oral presentation, and academic research posters, as well as examples of popular science blogs, feature articles, and news stories.

  7. The Effect of Starspots on Detectability of Exoplanet Atmospheres

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hofmann, Ryan; Berta-Thompson, Zachory

    2018-01-01

    Transmission spectroscopy is an effective tool for detecting and characterizing the atmospheres of transiting extrasolar planets. However, the presence of cool spots on a planet’s host star can be a source of uncertainty that is difficult to account for. Cool starspots introduce wavelength-dependent features and noise into the transmission spectrum of an orbiting exoplanet. For sufficiently cool stars, especially M dwarfs, this could cause false detections of water and other species in the planet’s atmosphere. To understand the extent of this problem, we use a combination of PHOENIX model spectra and the starspot simulation code MACULA to simulate the effects of starspots on observed transmission spectra for a wide variety of stars and spot configurations. By comparing the simulated DoTV (Depth of Transit Variation) due to starspots with models of the expected DoTV from exoplanet atmospheres with a given composition, we can estimate the level of effect the starspots have on the detectability of various atmospheres. For example, our results indicate for TRAPPIST-1’s planets that while the large amplitude absorption features from a H/He-rich atmosphere should be easily detectable, a pure water atmosphere would be much harder to distinguish from starspot noise. Consequently, proper characterization of exoplanet atmospheres, especially around cool, active host stars, requires a proper understanding of the star’s spot properties and suitable methods for reducing or removing spot-induced brightness fluctuations as a source of noise.

  8. Partitioning of water between surface and mantle on terrestrial exoplanets: effect of surface-mantle water exchange parameterizations on ocean depth

    Science.gov (United States)

    Komacek, T. D.; Abbot, D. S.

    2016-12-01

    Terrestrial exoplanets in the canonical habitable zone may have a variety of initial water fractions due to their volatile delivery rate via planetesimals. If the total planetary water complement is high, the entire surface may be covered in water, forming a "waterworld". The habitable zone for waterworlds is likely smaller than that for planets with partial land coverage because waterworlds lack the stabilizing silicate-weathering feedback. On a planet with active tectonics, competing mechanisms act to regulate the abundance of water on the surface by determining the partitioning of water between interior and surface. We have explored how the incorporation of different mechanisms for the outgassing and regassing of water changes the volatile evolution of a planet. Specifically, we have examined three models for volatile cycling: a model with degassing and regassing both determined by the seafloor pressure, one with mantle temperature-dependent degassing and regassing rates, and a hybrid model that has the degassing rate driven by seafloor pressure and the regassing rate determined by the mantle temperature. We find that the volatile cycling in all three of these scenarios reaches a steady-state after a few billion years. Using these steady-states, we can make predictions from each model for how much water is needed to flood the surface and make a waterworld. We find that if volatile cycling is either solely temperature-dependent or pressure-dependent, exoplanets require a high abundance (more than 0.3% by mass) of water to have fully inundated surfaces. This is because the waterworld boundary for these models is regulated by how much water can be stuffed into the mantle. However, if degassing is more dependent on the seafloor pressure and regassing mainly dependent on mantle temperature, super-Earth mass planets with a total water fraction similar to that of the Earth (approximately 0.05% by mass) can become waterworlds. As a result, further understanding of the

  9. Automation of processing and photometric data analysis for transiting exoplanets observed with ESO NIR instrument HAWK-I

    Science.gov (United States)

    Blažek, M.; Kabáth, P.; Klocová, T.; Skarka, M.

    2018-04-01

    Nowadays, when amount of data still increases, it is necessary to automatise their processing. State-of-the-art instruments are capable to produce even tens of thousands of images during a single night. One of them is HAWK-I that is a part of Very Large Telescope of European Southern Observatory. This instrument works in near-infrared band. In my Master thesis, I dealt with developing a pipeline to process data obtained by the instrument. It is written in Python programming language using commands of IRAF astronomical software and it is developed directly for "Fast Photometry Mode" of HAWK-I. In this mode, a large number of data has been obtained during secondary eclipses of exoplanets by their host star. The pipeline was tested by a data set from sorting of the images to making a light curve. The data of WASP-18 system contained almost 40 000 images observed by using a filter centered at 2.09 μm wavelength and there is a plan to process other data sets. A goal of processing of WASP-18 and the other data sets is consecutive analysis of exoplanetary atmospheres of the observed systems.

  10. Exoplanet Peer-Learning Exercises for Introductory Astronomy Courses

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wisniewski, John P.; Larson, A.

    2010-01-01

    While exoplanet research has witnessed explosive growth over the past decade with over 350 exoplanets identified to date (http://exoplanet.eu), few education and public outreach tools capable of bringing the techniques and results of exoplanet science into the classroom have been developed. To help reduce this shortcoming, we have been developing and implementing a series of exoplanet-related active-learning exercises to be used in non-astronomy major introductory settings, including think-pair-share questions and peer-learning activities. We discuss some of these activities which we have field tested in undergraduate classes at the University of Washington. We also discuss our efforts to engage students in these classes in obtaining and analyzing astronomical observations of exoplanet host stars to identify and characterize exoplanet transit events. JPW acknowledges support from NSF Astronomy & Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellowship AST 08-02230.

  11. 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.

  12. The Gemini Planet Imager Exoplanet Survey

    Science.gov (United States)

    Macintosh, Bruce

    accurate and calibrated recovery of exoplanet spectra. We will produce a complete archive of all reduced GPI data products (supplementing the existing Gemini archive of raw data) for use by our collaboration, and release that archive to the public on an 18-month cycle. Most importantly, we will execute the GPI observations, initially through classical telescope visits, transitioning to remote and queue modes as our techniques are refined. As the first direct-imaging planet search with statistical depth comparable to Doppler planet detection and the first to probe into the snow line, the GPI Exoplanet Survey will provide strong constraints on paradigms for planet formation, completing the picture of the giant planet distribution throughout other solar systems, and also illuminating its evolution with stellar age and mass. We will deliver a catalog of detected exoplanets— the principal legacy of this campaign—released for follow-up by the astronomical community within 18 months of observation, as well as searchable archive of fully reduced images and detection limits for all stars surveyed. For each detected planet, we will produce estimated effective temperatures, luminosities, and semi-major axes: for a subset, high-SNR fiducial spectra, orbital eccentricities, and dynamical characterization through polarimetric imaging of attendant debris disks. GPI will complete final acceptance testing this month (May 2013) and is now ready to ship to Chile for first light in September 2013. The GPI survey will provide the best-yet 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.

  13. Searching for the Transit of the Earth-mass Exoplanet Proxima Centauri b in Antarctica: Preliminary Result

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liu, Hui-Gen; Jiang, Peng; Huang, Xingxing; Yu, Zhou-Yi; Yang, Ming; Jia, Minghao; Awiphan, Supachai; Pan, Xiang; Liu, Bo; Zhang, Hongfei; Wang, Jian; Li, Zhengyang; Du, Fujia; Li, Xiaoyan; Lu, Haiping; Zhang, Zhiyong; Tian, Qi-Guo; Li, Bin; Ji, Tuo; Zhang, Shaohua; Shi, Xiheng; Wang, Ji; Zhou, Ji-Lin; Zhou, Hongyan

    2018-01-01

    Proxima Centauri is known as the closest star to the Sun. Recently, radial velocity (RV) observations revealed the existence of an Earth-mass planet around it. With an orbital period of ∼11 days, Proxima Centauri b is probably in the habitable zone of its host star. We undertook a photometric monitoring campaign to search for its transit, using the Bright Star Survey Telescope at the Zhongshan Station in Antarctica. A transit-like signal appearing on 2016 September 8 has been tentatively identified. Its midtime, T C = 2,457,640.1990 ± 0.0017 HJD, is consistent with the predicted ephemeris based on the RV orbit in a 1σ confidence interval. Time-correlated noise is pronounced in the light curve of Proxima Centauri, affecting the detection of transits. We develop a technique, in a Gaussian process framework, to gauge the statistical significance of a potential transit detection. The tentative transit signal reported here has a confidence level of 2.5σ. Further detection of its periodic signals is necessary to confirm the planetary transit of Proxima Centauri b. We plan to monitor Proxima Centauri in the next polar night at Dome A in Antarctica, taking advantage of continuous darkness. Kipping et al. reported two tentative transit-like signals of Proxima Centauri b observed by the Microvariability and Oscillation of Stars space telescope in 2014 and 2015. The midtransit time of our detection is 138 minutes later than that predicted by their transit ephemeris. If all of the signals are real transits, the misalignment of the epochs plausibly suggests transit timing variations of Proxima Centauri b induced by an outer planet in this system.

  14. Ultra-cool dwarfs viewed equator-on: surveying the best host stars for biosignature detection in transiting exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Miles-Paez, Paulo; Metchev, Stanimir; Burgasser, Adam; Apai, Daniel; Palle, Enric; Zapatero Osorio, Maria Rosa; Artigau, Etienne; Mace, Greg; Tannock, Megan; Triaud, Amaury

    2018-05-01

    There are about 150 known planets around M dwarfs, but only one system around an ultra-cool (>M7) dwarf: Trappist-1. Ultra-cool dwarfs are arguably the most promising hosts for atmospheric and biosignature detection in transiting planets because of the enhanced feature contrast in transit and eclipse spectroscopy. We propose a Spitzer survey to continuously monitor 15 of the brightest ultra-cool dwarfs over 3 days. To maximize the probability of detecting transiting planets, we have selected only targets seen close to equator-on. Spin-orbit alignment expectations dictate that the planetary systems around these ultra-cool dwarfs should also be oriented nearly edge-on. Any planet detections from this survey will immediately become top priority targets for JWST transit spectroscopy. No other telescope, present or within the foreseeable future, will be able to conduct a similarly sensitive and dedicated survey for characterizeable Earth analogs.

  15. The APACHE survey hardware and software design: Tools for an automatic search of small-size transiting exoplanets

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lattanzi M.G.

    2013-04-01

    Full Text Available Small-size ground-based telescopes can effectively be used to look for transiting rocky planets around nearby low-mass M stars using the photometric transit method, as recently demonstrated for example by the MEarth project. Since 2008 at the Astronomical Observatory of the Autonomous Region of Aosta Valley (OAVdA, we have been preparing for the long-term photometric survey APACHE, aimed at finding transiting small-size planets around thousands of nearby early and mid-M dwarfs. APACHE (A PAthway toward the Characterization of Habitable Earths is designed to use an array of five dedicated and identical 40-cm Ritchey-Chretien telescopes and its observations started at the beginning of summer 2012. The main characteristics of the survey final set up and the preliminary results from the first weeks of observations will be discussed.

  16. Worlds Beyond: Follow-up Observations and Confirmation of K2 Exoplanet Candidates

    Science.gov (United States)

    O'Connor, Rachel; Lowenthal, James; Lowenthal, James D.; Cooper, Olivia; Helou, Elana; Papineau, Emily; Peck, Annie; Stephens, Loren; Walker, Kerry

    2018-06-01

    We present the results of an 8-month follow-up transit photometry campaign focused on exoplanet candidates produced by the K2 mission. Observations were conducted at the McConnell Rooftop Observatory at Smith College in Northampton, MA, with a 16” telescope and CCD. Targets were observed through a 400-700 nm broadband filter at a 1 minute cadence. We attempted to observe the complete duration of the transit plus a minimum one-hour baseline before and after the transit event whenever possible. Our observations typically reach an RMS of 2 millimags for an 11th-magnitude star. Candidates were selected based on a number of factors, including a transit depth of around 10 millimags, a host star magnitude between 10-13, a duration that is observable over the span of a night, and a period shorter than 30 days. There are currently around 700 unconfirmed exoplanets from K2, and these criteria shortened that list to around 20 ideal candidates, many of which were flagged as possible false positives. Our results showcase the capability of small observatories to conduct precise follow-up observations of exoplanet transits.

  17. Shallow Transits—Deep Learning. I. Feasibility Study of Deep Learning to Detect Periodic Transits of Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zucker, Shay; Giryes, Raja

    2018-04-01

    Transits of habitable planets around solar-like stars are expected to be shallow, and to have long periods, which means low information content. The current bottleneck in the detection of such transits is caused in large part by the presence of red (correlated) noise in the light curves obtained from the dedicated space telescopes. Based on the groundbreaking results deep learning achieves in many signal and image processing applications, we propose to use deep neural networks to solve this problem. We present a feasibility study, in which we applied a convolutional neural network on a simulated training set. The training set comprised light curves received from a hypothetical high-cadence space-based telescope. We simulated the red noise by using Gaussian Processes with a wide variety of hyper-parameters. We then tested the network on a completely different test set simulated in the same way. Our study proves that very difficult cases can indeed be detected. Furthermore, we show how detection trends can be studied and detection biases quantified. We have also checked the robustness of the neural-network performance against practical artifacts such as outliers and discontinuities, which are known to affect space-based high-cadence light curves. Future work will allow us to use the neural networks to characterize the transit model and identify individual transits. This new approach will certainly be an indispensable tool for the detection of habitable planets in the future planet-detection space missions such as PLATO.

  18. Erratum: "A Smaller Radius for the Transiting Exoplanet WASP-10b" (2009, ApJ, 692, L100)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Johnson, John Asher; Winn, Joshua N.; Cabrera, Nicole E.; Carter, Joshua A.

    2010-03-01

    We have identified an error in our Heliocentric Julian Dates (HJDs) of observation caused by incorrect input to the code used to convert from JD to HJD. The times in Table 1 have been corrected by adding 0.006382 day to each entry in the original Column 1. Similarly, the measured mid-transit time in Table 2 has been changed to Tc = 2454664.037295. We also note that the header in Column 1 of Table 1 is incorrect. The label should read HJD, rather than BJD. The updated Tables 1 and 2 have been included herein. This error has no impact on our main conclusions. We thank Pedro Valdes Sada and Gracjan Maciejewski for pointing out the incorrect mid-transit time.

  19. A Low-mass Exoplanet Candidate Detected by K2 Transiting the Praesepe M Dwarf JS 183

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pepper, Joshua; Gillen, Ed; Parviainen, Hannu; Hillenbrand, Lynne A.; Cody, Ann Marie; Aigrain, Suzanne; Stauffer, John; Vrba, Frederick J.; David, Trevor; Lillo-Box, Jorge; Stassun, Keivan G.; Conroy, Kyle E.; Pope, Benjamin J. S.; Barrado, David

    2017-04-01

    We report the discovery of a repeating photometric signal from a low-mass member of the Praesepe open cluster that we interpret as a Neptune-sized transiting planet. The star is JS 183 (HSHJ 163, EPIC 211916756), with T eff = 3325 ± 100 K, M * = 0.44 ± 0.04 M ⊙, R * = 0.44 ± 0.03 R ⊙, and {log}{g}* = 4.82+/- 0.06. The planet has an orbital period of 10.134588 days and a radius of R P = 0.32 ± 0.02 R J. Since the star is faint at V = 16.5 and J = 13.3, we are unable to obtain a measured radial velocity orbit, but we can constrain the companion mass to below about 1.7 M J, and thus well below the planetary boundary. JS 183b (since designated as K2-95b) is the second transiting planet found with K2 that resides in a several-hundred-megayear open cluster; both planets orbit mid-M dwarf stars and are approximately Neptune sized. With a well-determined stellar density from the planetary transit, and with an independently known metallicity from its cluster membership, JS 183 provides a particularly valuable test of stellar models at the fully convective boundary. We find that JS 183 is the lowest-density transit host known at the fully convective boundary, and that its very low density is consistent with current models of stars just above the fully convective boundary but in tension with the models just below the fully convective boundary.

  20. EXOPLANET CHARACTERIZATION BY PROXY: A TRANSITING 2.15 R{sub Circled-Plus} PLANET NEAR THE HABITABLE ZONE OF THE LATE K DWARF KEPLER-61

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Ballard, Sarah; Charbonneau, David; Fressin, Francois; Torres, Guillermo; Irwin, Jonathan; Newton, Elisabeth [University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195 (United States); Desert, Jean-Michel; Crepp, Justin R.; Shporer, Avi [California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125 (United States); Mann, Andrew W. [Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawai' i, Honolulu, HI 96822 (United States); Ciardi, David R. [NASA Exoplanet Science Institute/Caltech, Pasadena, CA 91125 (United States); Henze, Christopher E.; Bryson, Stephen T.; Howell, Steven B. [NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA 94035 (United States); Horch, Elliott P. [Southern Connecticut State University, New Haven, CT 06515 (United States); Everett, Mark E., E-mail: sarahba@uw.edu [National Optical Astronomy Observatory, Tucson, AZ 85719 (United States)

    2013-08-20

    We present the validation and characterization of Kepler-61b: a 2.15 R{sub Circled-Plus} planet orbiting near the inner edge of the habitable zone of a low-mass star. Our characterization of the host star Kepler-61 is based upon a comparison with a set of spectroscopically similar stars with directly measured radii and temperatures. We apply a stellar prior drawn from the weighted mean of these properties, in tandem with the Kepler photometry, to infer a planetary radius for Kepler-61b of 2.15 {+-} 0.13 R{sub Circled-Plus} and an equilibrium temperature of 273 {+-} 13 K (given its period of 59.87756 {+-} 0.00020 days and assuming a planetary albedo of 0.3). The technique of leveraging the physical properties of nearby ''proxy'' stars allows for an independent check on stellar characterization via the traditional measurements with stellar spectra and evolutionary models. In this case, such a check had implications for the putative habitability of Kepler-61b: the planet is 10% warmer and larger than inferred from K-band spectral characterization. From the Kepler photometry, we estimate a stellar rotation period of 36 days, which implies a stellar age of >1 Gyr. We summarize the evidence for the planetary nature of the Kepler-61 transit signal, which we conclude is 30,000 times more likely to be due to a planet than a blend scenario. Finally, we discuss possible compositions for Kepler-61b with a comparison to theoretical models as well as to known exoplanets with similar radii and dynamically measured masses.

  1. ECLIPSING BINARY SCIENCE VIA THE MERGING OF TRANSIT AND DOPPLER EXOPLANET SURVEY DATA-A CASE STUDY WITH THE MARVELS PILOT PROJECT AND SuperWASP

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Fleming, Scott W.; Ge Jian; De Lee, Nathan M.; Zhao Bo; Wan Xiaoke; Guo Pengcheng; Maxted, Pierre F. L.; Anderson, David R.; Hellier, Coel; Hebb, Leslie; Stassun, Keivan G.; Cargile, Phillip A.; Gary, Bruce; Ghezzi, Luan; Wisniewski, John; Porto de Mello, G. F.; Ferreira, Leticia; West, Richard G.; Mahadevan, Suvrath; Pollacco, Don

    2011-01-01

    Exoplanet transit and Doppler surveys discover many binary stars during their operation that can be used to conduct a variety of ancillary science. Specifically, eclipsing binary stars can be used to study the stellar mass-radius relationship and to test predictions of theoretical stellar evolution models. By cross-referencing 24 binary stars found in the MARVELS Pilot Project with SuperWASP photometry, we find two new eclipsing binaries, TYC 0272-00458-1 and TYC 1422-01328-1, which we use as case studies to develop a general approach to eclipsing binaries in survey data. TYC 0272-00458-1 is a single-lined spectroscopic binary for which we calculate a mass of the secondary and radii for both components using reasonable constraints on the primary mass through several different techniques. For a primary mass of M 1 = 0.92 ± 0.1 M sun , we find M 2 = 0.610 ± 0.036 M sun , R 1 = 0.932 ± 0.076 R sun , and R 2 = 0.559 ± 0.102 R sun , and find that both stars have masses and radii consistent with model predictions. TYC 1422-01328-1 is a triple-component system for which we can directly measure the masses and radii of the eclipsing pair. We find that the eclipsing pair consists of an evolved primary star (M 1 = 1.163 ± 0.034 M sun , R 1 = 2.063 ± 0.058 R sun ) and a G-type dwarf secondary (M 2 = 0.905 ± 0.067 M sun , R 2 = 0.887 ± 0.037 R sun ). We provide the framework necessary to apply this analysis to much larger data sets.

  2. EXOPLANET CHARACTERIZATION BY PROXY: A TRANSITING 2.15 R⊕ PLANET NEAR THE HABITABLE ZONE OF THE LATE K DWARF KEPLER-61

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ballard, Sarah; Charbonneau, David; Fressin, Francois; Torres, Guillermo; Irwin, Jonathan; Newton, Elisabeth; Desert, Jean-Michel; Crepp, Justin R.; Shporer, Avi; Mann, Andrew W.; Ciardi, David R.; Henze, Christopher E.; Bryson, Stephen T.; Howell, Steven B.; Horch, Elliott P.; Everett, Mark E.

    2013-01-01

    We present the validation and characterization of Kepler-61b: a 2.15 R ⊕ planet orbiting near the inner edge of the habitable zone of a low-mass star. Our characterization of the host star Kepler-61 is based upon a comparison with a set of spectroscopically similar stars with directly measured radii and temperatures. We apply a stellar prior drawn from the weighted mean of these properties, in tandem with the Kepler photometry, to infer a planetary radius for Kepler-61b of 2.15 ± 0.13 R ⊕ and an equilibrium temperature of 273 ± 13 K (given its period of 59.87756 ± 0.00020 days and assuming a planetary albedo of 0.3). The technique of leveraging the physical properties of nearby ''proxy'' stars allows for an independent check on stellar characterization via the traditional measurements with stellar spectra and evolutionary models. In this case, such a check had implications for the putative habitability of Kepler-61b: the planet is 10% warmer and larger than inferred from K-band spectral characterization. From the Kepler photometry, we estimate a stellar rotation period of 36 days, which implies a stellar age of >1 Gyr. We summarize the evidence for the planetary nature of the Kepler-61 transit signal, which we conclude is 30,000 times more likely to be due to a planet than a blend scenario. Finally, we discuss possible compositions for Kepler-61b with a comparison to theoretical models as well as to known exoplanets with similar radii and dynamically measured masses

  3. Characterizing Exoplanet Habitability with Emission Spectroscopy

    Science.gov (United States)

    Robinson, Tyler

    2018-01-01

    Results from NASA’s Kepler mission and other recent exoplanet surveys have demonstrated that potentially habitable exoplanets are relatively common, especially in the case of low-mass stellar hosts. The next key question that must be addressed for such planets is whether or not these worlds are actually habitable, implying they could sustain surface liquid water. Only through investigations of the potential habitability of exoplanets and through searches for biosignatures from these planets will we be able to understand if the emergence of life is a common phenomenon in our galaxy. Emission spectroscopy for transiting exoplanets (sometimes called secondary eclipse spectroscopy) is a powerful technique that future missions will use to study the atmospheres and surfaces of worlds orbiting in the habitable zones of nearby, low-mass stars. Emission observations that span the mid-infrared wavelength range for potentially habitable exoplanets provide opportunities to detect key habitability and life signatures, and also allow observers to probe atmospheric and surface temperatures. This presentation will outline the case for using emission spectroscopy to understand if an exoplanet can sustain surface liquid water, which is believed to be a critical precursor to the origin of life.

  4. Relating gas hydrate saturation to depth of sulfate-methane transition

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Bhatnagar, G.; Chapman, W.G.; Hirasaki, G.J. [Rice Univ., Houston, TX (United States). Dept. of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering; Dickens, G.R.; Dugan, B. [Rice Univ., Houston, TX (United States). Dept. of Earth Sciences

    2008-07-01

    The stability of gas hydrates which often form in pore spaces of marine sediment along continental margins, depends on temperature, pressure, salinity and gas composition. Gas hydrate can precipitate in pore space of marine sediment when gas concentrations exceed solubility conditions within a gas hydrate stability zone (GHSZ). The amount of gas hydrate present in the GHSZ can vary significantly because it relates to dynamic inputs and outputs of gas, primarily methane, over a long timescale. In anoxic marine sediments, depletion of pore water sulfate occurs when sulfate is reduced through bacteria or when anaerobic oxidation of methane occurs. The presence of gas hydrates in shallow sediments implies a significant methane flux towards the seafloor, which can make the second route for sulfate depletion significant. This paper presented a numerical model that incorporates a dynamic sulfate-methane transition (SMT) for gas hydrate systems where methane is supplied from depth. The approach has the advantage of needing only pore water data from shallow piston cores. The analytical expressions are only valid for steady-state systems in which all gas is methane, all methane enters the GHSZ from the base, and no methane escapes the top through seafloor venting. These constraints mean that anaerobic oxidation of methane (AOM) is the only sink of gas, allowing a direct coupling of SMT depth to net methane flux. This study showed that a basic gas hydrate saturation profile can be determined from the SMT depth via analytical expressions if site-specific parameters such as sedimentation rate, methane solubility and porosity are known. This analytical model was verified at gas hydrate bearing sites along the Cascadia margin where methane is mostly sourced from depth. It was concluded that the analytical expressions provides a fast and convenient method to calculate gas hydrate saturation for a given geologic setting, including deep-source systems. 28 refs., 2 tabs., 5 figs., 1

  5. Exoplanets: A New Era of Comparative Planetology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Meadows, Victoria

    2014-11-01

    We now know of over 1700 planets orbiting other stars, and several thousand additional planetary candidates. These discoveries have the potential to revolutionize our understanding of planet formation and evolution, while providing targets for the search for life beyond the Solar System. Exoplanets display a larger diversity of planetary types than those seen in our Solar System - including low-density, low-mass objects. They are also found in planetary system architectures very different from our own, even for stars similar to our Sun. Over 20 potentially habitable planets are now known, and half of the M dwarfs stars in our Galaxy may harbor a habitable planet. M dwarfs are plentiful, and they are therefore the most likely habitable planet hosts, but their planets will have radiative and gravitational interactions with their star and sibling planets that are unlike those in our Solar System. Observations to characterize the atmospheres and surfaces of exoplanets are extremely challenging, and transit transmission spectroscopy has been used to measure atmospheric composition for a handful of candidates. Frustratingly, many of the smaller exoplanets have flat, featureless spectra indicative of planet-wide haze or clouds. The James Webb Space Telescope and future ground-based telescopes will improve transit transmission characterization, and enable the first search for signs of life in terrestrial exoplanet atmospheres. Beyond JWST, planned next-generation space telescopes will directly image terrestrial exoplanets, allowing surface and atmospheric characterization that is more robust to haze. Until these observations become available, there is a lot that we can do as planetary scientists to inform required measurements and future data interpretation. Solar System planets can be used as validation targets for extrasolar planet observations and models. The rich heritage of planetary science models can also be used to explore the potential diversity of exoplanet

  6. Binary catalogue of exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schwarz, Richard; Bazso, Akos; Zechner, Renate; Funk, Barbara

    2016-02-01

    Since 1995 there is a database which list most of the known exoplanets (The Extrasolar Planets Encyclopaedia at http://exoplanet.eu/). 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, which is not available in the Extrasolar Planets Encyclopaedia. Therefore we established an online database (which can be found at: http://www.univie.ac.at/adg/schwarz/multiple.html) for all known exoplanets in binary star systems and in addition for multiple star systems, which will be updated regularly and linked to the Extrasolar Planets Encyclopaedia. The binary catalogue of exoplanets is available online as data file and can be used for statistical purposes. Our database is divided into two parts: the data of the stars and the planets, given in a separate list. We describe also the different parameters of the exoplanetary systems and present some applications.

  7. A Physical Model-based Correction for Charge Traps in the Hubble Space Telescope ’s Wide Field Camera 3 Near-IR Detector and Its Applications to Transiting Exoplanets and Brown Dwarfs

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Zhou, Yifan; Apai, Dániel; Schneider, Glenn [Department of Astronomy/Steward Observatory, The University of Arizona, 933 N. Cherry Avenue, Tucson, AZ 85721 (United States); Lew, Ben W. P., E-mail: yzhou@as.arizona.edu [Department of Planetary Science/Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, The University of Arizona, 1640 E. University Boulevard, Tucson, AZ 85718 (United States)

    2017-06-01

    The Hubble Space Telescope Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) near-IR channel is extensively used in time-resolved observations, especially for transiting exoplanet spectroscopy as well as brown dwarf and directly imaged exoplanet rotational phase mapping. The ramp effect is the dominant source of systematics in the WFC3 for time-resolved observations, which limits its photometric precision. Current mitigation strategies are based on empirical fits and require additional orbits to help the telescope reach a thermal equilibrium . We show that the ramp-effect profiles can be explained and corrected with high fidelity using charge trapping theories. We also present a model for this process that can be used to predict and to correct charge trap systematics. Our model is based on a very small number of parameters that are intrinsic to the detector. We find that these parameters are very stable between the different data sets, and we provide best-fit values. Our model is tested with more than 120 orbits (∼40 visits) of WFC3 observations and is proved to be able to provide near photon noise limited corrections for observations made with both staring and scanning modes of transiting exoplanets as well as for starting-mode observations of brown dwarfs. After our model correction, the light curve of the first orbit in each visit has the same photometric precision as subsequent orbits, so data from the first orbit no longer need to be discarded. Near-IR arrays with the same physical characteristics (e.g., JWST/NIRCam ) may also benefit from the extension of this model if similar systematic profiles are observed.

  8. 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......3= 1.145±0.064 Ṁ, MQ4=0.896±0.048Ṁ, MQ5=1.128±0.056 Ṁ and RQ3=1.272±0.14 RṀ, RQ4=0.849±0.063 R , and RQ5=1.076±0.051 Ṙ for Qatar-3, 4, and 5 respectively. The V magnitudes of the three host stars are VQ3=12.88, VQ4=13.60, and VQ5=12.82. All three new planets can be classified as heavy hot Jupiters...

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. Exoplanet Biosignatures: Future Directions

    OpenAIRE

    Walker, Sara I.; Bains, William; Cronin, Leroy; DasSarma, Shiladitya; Danielache, Sebastian; Domagal-Goldman, Shawn; Kacar, Betul; Kiang, Nancy Y.; Lenardic, Adrian; Reinhard, Christopher T.; Moore, William; Schwieterman, Edward W.; Shkolnik, Evgenya L.; Smith, Harrison B.

    2017-01-01

    Exoplanet science promises a continued rapid accumulation of new observations in the near future, energizing a drive to understand and interpret the forthcoming wealth of data to identify signs of life beyond our Solar System. The large statistics of exoplanet samples, combined with the ambiguity of our understanding of universal properties of life and its signatures, necessitate a quantitative framework for biosignature assessment Here, we introduce a Bayesian framework for guiding future di...

  13. Direct evidence for an evolving dust cloud in the exoplanet KIC 12557548 b

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bochinski, J. J.; Haswell, C. A.; Dhillon, V. S.; Littlefair, S. P.; Marsh, T. R.

    2014-04-01

    We present simultaneous multi-color optical photometry of the transiting exoplanet KIC 12557548 b which reveals, for the first time, the colour dependence of the transit depth. These depths are consistent with dust extinction as observed in the ISM, but require grain sizes comparable to the largest found in the ISM: 0.25μm - 1μm. This provides direct evidence in favour of the disrupting low-mass rocky planet model for this object. Our light curves also give the the highest-quality coverage of individual transits to date. The smooth low amplitude pre-ingress and post-egress features, and the sharp V-shaped transits noted and modelled in the phase-folded Kepler data are probably artefacts of averaging many transits of variable shape. Our light curves reveal instead a step-like shoulder in the egress. The transit shape overall is not too different from that caused by a circular disc of occulting material, suggesting that the bulk of the extincting dust is not significantly elongated along the orbital path. The changing wavelength-dependent transit depth offers an unprecedented opportunity to determine the composition of the disintegrating rocky body KIC 12557548 b. We detected 3 out-of-transit u' band events consistent with stellar flares. These could be signatures of star-planet interactions.

  14. 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

  15. False Positives in Exoplanet Detection

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leuquire, Jacob; Kasper, David; Jang-Condell, Hannah; Kar, Aman; Sorber, Rebecca; Suhaimi, Afiq; KELT (Kilodegree Extremely Little Telescope)

    2018-06-01

    Our team at the University of Wyoming uses a 0.6 m telescope at RBO (Red Buttes Observatory) to help confirm results on potential exoplanet candidates from low resolution, wide field surveys shared by the KELT (Kilodegree Extremely Little Telescope) team. False positives are common in this work. We carry out transit photometry, and this method comes with special types of false positives. The most common false positive seen at the confirmation level is an EB (eclipsing binary). Low resolution images are great in detecting multiple sources for photometric dips in light curves, but they lack the precision to decipher single targets at an accurate level. For example, target star KC18C030621 needed RBO’s photometric precision to determine there was a nearby EB causing exoplanet type light curves. Identifying false positives with our telescope is important work because it helps eliminate the waste of time taken by more expensive telescopes trying to rule out negative candidate stars. It also furthers the identification of other types of photometric events, like eclipsing binaries, so they can be studied on their own.

  16. Standardizing Exoplanet Analysis with the Exoplanet Characterization Tool Kit (ExoCTK)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fowler, Julia; Stevenson, Kevin B.; Lewis, Nikole K.; Fraine, Jonathan D.; Pueyo, Laurent; Bruno, Giovanni; Filippazzo, Joe; Hill, Matthew; Batalha, Natasha; Wakeford, Hannah; Bushra, Rafia

    2018-06-01

    Exoplanet characterization depends critically on analysis tools, models, and spectral libraries that are constantly under development and have no single source nor sense of unified style or methods. The complexity of spectroscopic analysis and initial time commitment required to become competitive is prohibitive to new researchers entering the field, as well as a remaining obstacle for established groups hoping to contribute in a comparable manner to their peers. As a solution, we are developing an open-source, modular data analysis package in Python and a publicly facing web interface including tools that address atmospheric characterization, transit observation planning with JWST, JWST corongraphy simulations, limb darkening, forward modeling, and data reduction, as well as libraries of stellar, planet, and opacity models. The foundation of these software tools and libraries exist within pockets of the exoplanet community, but our project will gather these seedling tools and grow a robust, uniform, and well-maintained exoplanet characterization toolkit.

  17. 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.

  18. Depth distribution of glyphosate and organic matter after 5 years of agroecology transition compared with industrial agriculture

    Science.gov (United States)

    Aparicio, Virginia; Zamora, Martin; Barbera, Agustin; Castro Franco, Mauricio; Domenech, Marisa; De Geronimo, Eduardo; Costa, Jose Luis

    2017-04-01

    The industrial model of agriculture, defined here by its capital intensity and dependence on massive inputs like seeds, fertilizer, and pesticides, is reducing soil organic matter and increasing the inefficiency in agrochemical used. Ecological impacts of industrial agriculture include pollution by pesticides, soil organic matter loss and soil degradation, among many others, with the consequent human health risks. Many of the negative effects of industrial agriculture are remote from fields and farms. The impacts of industrial agriculture on the environment, public health, and rural communities make it an unsustainable way to grow our food over the long term. An alternative approach to the industrial agriculture is the agroecology which has shown promising success on the ground and is actually the only way to ensure that all people have access to sufficient, healthful food. Farming systems designed and managed according to ecological principles can meet the food needs of society while addressing these pressing environmental and social issues. Our concept of agroecological transition is based on increasing resource use efficiency (e.g. fertilizer, pesticides and water), recycling waste or byproducts of one subsystem in another and applying sound? agricultural practices or precision-agriculture technologies. The objective of this work was to compare two production systems: a) industrial agriculture, b) agroecological transition with respect to the impact on the glyphosate load and the organic matter content in the soil and its distribution in depth. The study sites were two field of 15 ha each located at Barrow Experimental Station (38°19´S, 60°15´W). Soil ECa mapping was carried out and the complete experimental area was divided in three ECa classes with similar soil characteristics. Therefore, soil sampling was carried out by zones, based on three ECa classes at each production systems. Soil samples were taken at 0-2, 2-5, 5-10, 10-20, 20-30 and 30-40 cm depth

  19. 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...

  20. Spectroscopy of Exoplanet Atmospheres with the FINESSE Explorer

    Science.gov (United States)

    Deroo, Pieter; Swain, Mark R.; Green, Robert O.

    2012-01-01

    FINESSE (Fast INfrared Exoplanet Spectroscopic Survey Explorer) will provide uniquely detailed information on the growing number of newly discovered planets by characterizing their atmospheric composition and temperature structure. This NASA Explorer mission, selected for a competitive Phase A study, is unique in its breath and scope thanks to broad instantaneous spectroscopy from the optical to the mid-IR (0.7 - 5 micron), with a survey of exoplanets measured in a consistent, uniform way. For 200 transiting exoplanets ranging from Terrestrial to Jovians, FINESSE will measure the chemical composition and temperature structure of their atmospheres and trace changes over time with exoplanet longitude. The mission will do so by measuring the spectroscopic time series for a primary and secondary eclipse over the exoplanet orbital phase curve. With spectrophotometric precision being a key enabling aspect for combined light exoplanet characterization, FINESSE is designed to produce spectrophotometric precision of better than 100 parts-per-million per spectral channel without the need for decorrelation. The exceptional stability of FINESSE will even allow the mission to characterize non-transiting planets, potentially as part of FINESSE's Participating Scientist Program. In this paper, we discuss the flow down from the target availability to observations and scheduling to the analysis and calibration of the data and how it enables FINESSE to be the mission that will truly expand the new field of comparative exoplanetology.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Exoplanet Biosignatures: Observational Prospects

    OpenAIRE

    Fujii, Yuka; Angerhausen, Daniel; Deitrick, Russell; Domagal-Goldman, Shawn; Grenfell, John Lee; Hori, Yasunori; Kane, Stephen R.; Palle, Enric; Rauer, Heike; Siegler, Nicholas; Stapelfeldt, Karl; Stevenson, Kevin B.

    2017-01-01

    Exoplanet hunting efforts have revealed the prevalence of exotic worlds with diverse properties, including temperate Earth-sized bodies, fueling our endeavor to search for life beyond the Solar System. Accumulating experiences in astrophysical, chemical, and climatological characterization of uninhabitable planets are paving the way to characterization of astrobiologically motivated targets. In this paper, we explore our roadmap toward the comprehensive assessment of temperate terrestrial pla...

  5. Analytical theory relating the depth of the sulfate-methane transition to gas hydrate distribution and saturation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bhatnagar, Gaurav; Chatterjee, Sayantan; Chapman, Walter G.; Dugan, Brandon; Dickens, Gerald R.; Hirasaki, George J.

    2011-03-01

    We develop a theory that relates gas hydrate saturation in marine sediments to the depth of the sulfate-methane transition (SMT) zone below the seafloor using steady state, analytical expressions. These expressions are valid for systems in which all methane transported into the gas hydrate stability zone (GHSZ) comes from deeper external sources (i.e., advective systems). This advective constraint causes anaerobic oxidation of methane to be the only sulfate sink, allowing us to link SMT depth to net methane flux. We also develop analytical expressions that define the gas hydrate saturation profile based on SMT depth and site-specific parameters such as sedimentation rate, methane solubility, and porosity. We evaluate our analytical model at four drill sites along the Cascadia Margin where methane sources from depth dominate. With our model, we calculate average gas hydrate saturations across GHSZ and the top occurrence of gas hydrate at these sites as 0.4% and 120 mbsf (Site 889), 1.9% and 70 mbsf (Site U1325), 4.7% and 40 mbsf (Site U1326), and 0% (Site U1329), mbsf being meters below seafloor. These values compare favorably with average saturations and top occurrences computed from resistivity log and chloride data. The analytical expressions thus provide a fast and convenient method to calculate gas hydrate saturation and first-order occurrence at a given geologic setting where vertically upward advection dominates the methane flux.

  6. 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

  7. Precise Estimates of the Physical Parameters for the Exoplanet System HD 17156 Enabled by Hubble Space Telescope Fine Guidance Sensor Transit and Asteroseismic Observations

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Nutzman, Philip; Gilliland, Ronald L.; McCullough, Peter R.

    2011-01-01

    We present observations of three distinct transits of HD 17156b obtained with the Fine Guidance Sensors on board the Hubble Space Telescope. We analyzed both the transit photometry and previously published radial velocities to find the planet-star radius ratio Rp /R sstarf = 0.07454 ± 0.00035, in......We present observations of three distinct transits of HD 17156b obtained with the Fine Guidance Sensors on board the Hubble Space Telescope. We analyzed both the transit photometry and previously published radial velocities to find the planet-star radius ratio Rp /R sstarf = 0.07454 ± 0......-composition gas giant of the same mass and equilibrium temperature. For the three transits, we determine the times of mid-transit to a precision of 6.2 s, 7.6 s, and 6.9 s, and the transit times for HD 17156 do not show any significant departures from a constant period. The joint analysis of transit photometry...

  8. Leveraging Ensemble Dynamical Properties to Prioritize Exoplanet Follow-Up Observations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ballard, Sarah

    2017-01-01

    The number of transiting exoplanets now exceeds several thousand, enabling ensemble studies of the dynamical properties of exoplanetary systems. We require a mixture model of dynamical conditions (whether frozen in from formation or sculpted by planet-planet interactions) to recover Kepler's yield of transiting planets. Around M dwarfs, which will be predominate sites of exoplanet follow-up atmospheric study in the next decade, even a modest orbital eccentricity can sterilize a planet. I will describe efforts to link cheap observables, such as number of transiting planets and presence of transit timing variations, to eccentricity and mutual inclination in exoplanet systems. The addition of a second transiting planet, for example, halves the expected orbital eccentricity. For the vast majority of TESS targets, the light curve alone will furnish the sum total of data about the exoplanet. Extracting information about orbital properties from these light curves will help prioritize precious follow-up resources.

  9. 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.

  10. Exoplanet Population Distribution from Kepler Data

    Science.gov (United States)

    Traub, Wesley A.

    2015-08-01

    The underlying population of exoplanets around stars in the Kepler sample can be inferred by binning the Kepler planets in radius and period, invoking an empirical noise model, assuming a model exoplanet distribution function, randomly assigning planets to each of the Kepler target stars, asking whether each planet’s transit signal could be detected by Kepler, binning the resulting simulated detections, comparing the simulations with the observed data sample, and iterating on the model parameters until a satisfactory fit is obtained. The process is designed to simulate Kepler’s observing procedure. The key assumption is that the distribution function is continuous and the product of separable functions of period and radius. Any additional suspected biases in the sample can be handled by adjusting the noise model. The first advantage of this overall procedure is that the actual detection process is simulated as closely as possible, on a target by target basis, so the resulting estimated population should be closer to the actual population than by any other method of analysis. The second advantage is that the resulting distribution function can be extended to values of period and radius that go beyond the sample space, including, for example, application to estimating eta-sub-Earth, and also estimating the expected science yields of future direct-imaging exoplanet missions such as WFIRST-AFTA.

  11. Transiting exoplanets from the CoRoT space mission. XVII. The hot Jupiter CoRoT-17b: a very old planet

    Science.gov (United States)

    Csizmadia, Sz.; Moutou, C.; Deleuil, M.; Cabrera, J.; Fridlund, M.; Gandolfi, D.; Aigrain, S.; Alonso, R.; Almenara, J.-M.; Auvergne, M.; Baglin, A.; Barge, P.; Bonomo, A. S.; Bordé, P.; Bouchy, F.; Bruntt, H.; Carone, L.; Carpano, S.; Cavarroc, C.; Cochran, W.; Deeg, H. J.; Díaz, R. F.; Dvorak, R.; Endl, M.; Erikson, A.; Ferraz-Mello, S.; Fruth, Th.; Gazzano, J.-C.; Gillon, M.; Guenther, E. W.; Guillot, T.; Hatzes, A.; Havel, M.; Hébrard, G.; Jehin, E.; Jorda, L.; Léger, A.; Llebaria, A.; Lammer, H.; Lovis, C.; MacQueen, P. J.; Mazeh, T.; Ollivier, M.; Pätzold, M.; Queloz, D.; Rauer, H.; Rouan, D.; Santerne, A.; Schneider, J.; Tingley, B.; Titz-Weider, R.; Wuchterl, G.

    2011-07-01

    We report on the discovery of a hot Jupiter-type exoplanet, CoRoT-17b, detected by the CoRoT satellite. It has a mass of 2.43 ± 0.30 MJup and a radius of 1.02 ± 0.07 RJup, while its mean density is 2.82 ± 0.38 g/cm3. CoRoT-17b is in a circular orbit with a period of 3.7681 ± 0.0003 days. The host star is an old (10.7 ± 1.0 Gyr) main-sequence star, which makes it an intriguing object for planetary evolution studies. The planet's internal composition is not well constrained and can range from pure H/He to one that can contain ~380 earth masses of heavier elements. The CoRoT space mission, launched on December 27th 2006, has been developed and is operated by CNES, with the contribution of Austria, Belgium, Brazil, ESA (RSSD and Science Programme), Germany and Spain. Part of the observations were obtained at the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT) which is operated by the National Research Council of Canada, the Institut National des Sciences de l'Univers of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique of France, and the University of Hawaii. Based on observations made with HARPS spectrograph on the 3.6-m European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere telescope at La Silla Observatory, Chile (ESO program 184.C-0639). Based on observations made with the IAC80 telescope operated on the island of Tenerife by the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias in the Spanish Observatorio del Teide. Part of the data presented herein were obtained at the W.M. Keck Observatory, which is operated as a scientific partnership among the California Institute of Technology, the University of California and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The Observatory was made possible by the generous financial support of the W.M. Keck Foundation.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. [Epidemiological transition of mycosis diseases in sub-Saharan Africa: from surface to depth].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chandenier, J; Desoubeaux, G

    2015-02-01

    Fungi are schematically responsible for three distinct kinds of infections: superficial mycoses, subcutaneous and deep ones. The current socio-epidemiological transition observed in sub-Saharan Africa does not actually lead to similar consequences regarding these three categories of fungal entities. For instance, it has long been known that superficial mycoses are very prevalent in tropical areas, since they are partly due to the warm climate and the promiscuity. They are mostly caused by dermatophytic fungi or Malassezia sp. (Pityriasis versicolor). Subcutaneous mycoses are rarer, and usually due to dimorphic fungi which are accidentally inoculated into the body after a skin injury or a trauma. Sometimes very spectacular, the clinical outcome is then described as chronic. Thus, chromoblastomycosis, rhinoentomophtoromycosis or mycetoma are some examples of subcutaneous mycoses which remain well-known by practitioners of endemic countries. Deep mycoses (or invasive / systemic mycoses) are defined by fungal infections of deep anatomical sites that should be normally sterile. By contrast with the other entities mentioned above, the outcome may be rapidly fatal for the patient. One of the most outstanding examples was the great increasing of cryptococcal meningitis during the HIV outbreak in the 80'. A few other similar mycoses may be feared in a near future, since they usually occur in contexts of important immunosuppression which are about to be definitely experienced in Africa: overall increase of chronic diseases like diabetes, lengthening life expectancy and its associated diseases, widespread medical practices which were only seen in advanced intensive care units, onco-haematology departments or graft centers so far. Thus, the deep mycoses will inevitably increase in Africa, as they did in all developed countries over the last two decades. The consequences will not only be limited to the clinical management as described above: the diagnostic approach is also

  15. 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.

  16. Transiting exoplanets from the CoRoT space mission . VI. CoRoT-Exo-3b: the first secure inhabitant of the brown-dwarf desert

    Science.gov (United States)

    Deleuil, M.; Deeg, H. J.; Alonso, R.; Bouchy, F.; Rouan, D.; Auvergne, M.; Baglin, A.; Aigrain, S.; Almenara, J. M.; Barbieri, M.; Barge, P.; Bruntt, H.; Bordé, P.; Collier Cameron, A.; Csizmadia, Sz.; de La Reza, R.; Dvorak, R.; Erikson, A.; Fridlund, M.; Gandolfi, D.; Gillon, M.; Guenther, E.; Guillot, T.; Hatzes, A.; Hébrard, G.; Jorda, L.; Lammer, H.; Léger, A.; Llebaria, A.; Loeillet, B.; Mayor, M.; Mazeh, T.; Moutou, C.; Ollivier, M.; Pätzold, M.; Pont, F.; Queloz, D.; Rauer, H.; Schneider, J.; Shporer, A.; Wuchterl, G.; Zucker, S.

    2008-12-01

    Context: The CoRoT space mission routinely provides high-precision photometric measurements of thousands of stars that have been continuously observed for months. Aims: The discovery and characterization of the first very massive transiting planetary companion with a short orbital period is reported. Methods: A series of 34 transits was detected in the CoRoT light curve of an F3V star, observed from May to October 2007 for 152 days. The radius was accurately determined and the mass derived for this new transiting, thanks to the combined analysis of the light curve and complementary ground-based observations: high-precision radial-velocity measurements, on-off photometry, and high signal-to-noise spectroscopic observations. Results: CoRoT-Exo-3b has a radius of 1.01 ± 0.07 R_Jup and transits around its F3-type primary every 4.26 days in a synchronous orbit. Its mass of 21.66 ± 1.0 M_Jup, density of 26.4 ± 5.6 g cm-3, and surface gravity of logg = 4.72 clearly distinguish it from the regular close-in planet population, making it the most intriguing transiting substellar object discovered so far. Conclusions: With the current data, the nature of CoRoT-Exo-3b is ambiguous, as it could either be a low-mass brown-dwarf or a member of a new class of “superplanets”. Its discovery may help constrain the evolution of close-in planets and brown-dwarfs better. Finally, CoRoT-Exo-3b confirms the trend that massive transiting giant planets (M ≥ 4 M_Jup) are found preferentially around more massive stars than the Sun. The CoRoT space mission, launched on December 27th 2006, has been developed and is operating by CNES, with the contribution of Austria, Belgium, Brasil, ESA, Germany and Spain. The first CoRoT data will be available to the public in February 2009 from the CoRoT archive: http://idoc-corot.ias.u-psud.fr/ Table of the COROT photometry is only available in electronic form at the CDS via anonymous ftp to cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr (130.79.128.5) or via http://cdsweb

  17. Transiting exoplanets from the CoRoT space mission . XIX. CoRoT-23b: a dense hot Jupiter on an eccentric orbit

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Rouan, D.; Parviainen, H.; Moutou, C.

    2012-01-01

    We report the detection of CoRoT-23b, a hot Jupiter transiting in front of its host star with a period of 3.6314 ± 0.0001 days. This planet was discovered thanks to photometric data secured with the CoRoT satellite, combined with spectroscopic radial velocity (RV) measurements. A photometric search...... to be 7 Gyr, not far from the transition to subgiant, in agreement with the rather large stellar radius. The two features of a significant eccentricity of the orbit and of a fairly high density are fairly uncommon for a hot Jupiter. The high density is, however, consistent with a model of contraction...... is more than a few 105, a value that is the lower bound of the usually expected range. Even if CoRoT-23b  features a density and an eccentricity that are atypical of a hot Jupiter, it is thus not an enigmatic object....

  18. Geoengineering on exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lockley, Andrew

    2015-04-01

    Solar radiation management (SRM) geoengineering can be used to deliberately alter the Earth's radiation budget, by reflecting sunlight to space. SRM has been suggested as a response to Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW), to partly or fully balance radiative forcing from AGW [1]. Approximately 22% of sun-like stars have Earth-like exoplanets[2]. Advanced civilisations may exist on these, and may use geoengineering for positive or negative radiative forcing. Additionally, terraforming projects [e.g. 3], may be used to expand alien habitable territory, or for resource management or military operations on non-home planets. Potential observations of alien geoengineering and terraforming may enable detection of technologically advanced alien civilisations, and may help identify widely-used and stable geoengineering technologies. This knowledge may assist the development of safe and stable geoengineering methods for Earth. The potential risks and benefits of possible alien detection of Earth-bound geoengineering schemes must be considered before deployment of terrestrial geoengineering schemes.

  19. Exoplanet Biosignatures: Observational Prospects

    Science.gov (United States)

    Angerhausen, Daniel; Deitrick, Russell; Domagal-Goldman, Shawn; Grenfell, John Lee; Hori, Yasunori; Kane, Stephen R.; Pallé, Enric; Rauer, Heike; Siegler, Nicholas; Stapelfeldt, Karl; Stevenson, Kevin B.

    2018-01-01

    Abstract Exoplanet hunting efforts have revealed the prevalence of exotic worlds with diverse properties, including Earth-sized bodies, which has fueled our endeavor to search for life beyond the Solar System. Accumulating experiences in astrophysical, chemical, and climatological characterization of uninhabitable planets are paving the way to characterization of potentially habitable planets. In this paper, we review our possibilities and limitations in characterizing temperate terrestrial planets with future observational capabilities through the 2030s and beyond, as a basis of a broad range of discussions on how to advance “astrobiology” with exoplanets. We discuss the observability of not only the proposed biosignature candidates themselves but also of more general planetary properties that provide circumstantial evidence, since the evaluation of any biosignature candidate relies on its context. Characterization of temperate Earth-sized planets in the coming years will focus on those around nearby late-type stars. The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) and later 30-meter-class ground-based telescopes will empower their chemical investigations. Spectroscopic studies of potentially habitable planets around solar-type stars will likely require a designated spacecraft mission for direct imaging, leveraging technologies that are already being developed and tested as part of the Wide Field InfraRed Survey Telescope (WFIRST) mission. Successful initial characterization of a few nearby targets will be an important touchstone toward a more detailed scrutiny and a larger survey that are envisioned beyond 2030. The broad outlook this paper presents may help develop new observational techniques to detect relevant features as well as frameworks to diagnose planets based on the observables. Key Words: Exoplanets—Biosignatures—Characterization—Planetary atmospheres—Planetary surfaces. Astrobiology 18, 739–778. PMID:29938537

  20. 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.

  1. KEPLER OBSERVATIONS OF THREE PRE-LAUNCH EXOPLANET CANDIDATES: DISCOVERY OF TWO ECLIPSING BINARIES AND A NEW EXOPLANET

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Howell, Steve B.; Rowe, Jason F.; Bryson, Stephen T.; Sherry, William; Von Braun, Kaspar; Ciardi, David R.; Feldmeier, John J.; Horch, Elliott; Van Belle, Gerard T.

    2010-01-01

    Three transiting exoplanet candidate stars were discovered in a ground-based photometric survey prior to the launch of NASA's Kepler mission. Kepler observations of them were obtained during Quarter 1 of the Kepler mission. All three stars are faint by radial velocity follow-up standards, so we have examined these candidates with regard to eliminating false positives and providing high confidence exoplanet selection. We present a first attempt to exclude false positives for this set of faint stars without high-resolution radial velocity analysis. This method of exoplanet confirmation will form a large part of the Kepler mission follow-up for Jupiter-sized exoplanet candidates orbiting faint stars. Using the Kepler light curves and pixel data, as well as medium-resolution reconnaissance spectroscopy and speckle imaging, we find that two of our candidates are binary stars. One consists of a late-F star with an early M companion, while the other is a K0 star plus a late M-dwarf/brown dwarf in a 19 day elliptical orbit. The third candidate (BOKS-1) is an r = 15 G8V star hosting a newly discovered exoplanet with a radius of 1.12 R Jupiter in a 3.9 day orbit.

  2. The MEarth-North and MEarth-South Transit Surveys: Searching for Habitable Super-Earth Exoplanets Around Nearby M-dwarfs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Irwin, Jonathan M.; Berta-Thompson, Zachory K.; Charbonneau, David; Dittmann, Jason; Falco, Emilio E.; Newton, Elisabeth R.; Nutzman, Philip

    2015-01-01

    Detection and characterization of potentially habitable Earth-size extrasolar planets is one of the major goals of contemporary astronomy. By applying the transit method to very low-mass M-dwarfs , it is possible to find these planets from the ground with present-day instrumentation and observational techniques. The MEarth project is one such survey with stations in both hemispheres: MEarth-North at the Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory, Mount Hopkins, Arizona, and MEarth-South at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory, Chile. We present an update on recent results of this survey, for planet occurrence rates, and interesting stellar astrophysics, for which our sample of 3000 nearby mid-to-late M-dwarfs has been very fruitful. All light curves gathered during the survey are made publicly available after one year, and we describe how to access and use these data.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Transiting exoplanets from the CoRoT space mission. VIII. CoRoT-7b: the first super-Earth with measured radius

    Science.gov (United States)

    Léger, A.; Rouan, D.; Schneider, J.; Barge, P.; Fridlund, M.; Samuel, B.; Ollivier, M.; Guenther, E.; Deleuil, M.; Deeg, H. J.; Auvergne, M.; Alonso, R.; Aigrain, S.; Alapini, A.; Almenara, J. M.; Baglin, A.; Barbieri, M.; Bruntt, H.; Bordé, P.; Bouchy, F.; Cabrera, J.; Catala, C.; Carone, L.; Carpano, S.; Csizmadia, Sz.; Dvorak, R.; Erikson, A.; Ferraz-Mello, S.; Foing, B.; Fressin, F.; Gandolfi, D.; Gillon, M.; Gondoin, Ph.; Grasset, O.; Guillot, T.; Hatzes, A.; Hébrard, G.; Jorda, L.; Lammer, H.; Llebaria, A.; Loeillet, B.; Mayor, M.; Mazeh, T.; Moutou, C.; Pätzold, M.; Pont, F.; Queloz, D.; Rauer, H.; Renner, S.; Samadi, R.; Shporer, A.; Sotin, Ch.; Tingley, B.; Wuchterl, G.; Adda, M.; Agogu, P.; Appourchaux, T.; Ballans, H.; Baron, P.; Beaufort, T.; Bellenger, R.; Berlin, R.; Bernardi, P.; Blouin, D.; Baudin, F.; Bodin, P.; Boisnard, L.; Boit, L.; Bonneau, F.; Borzeix, S.; Briet, R.; Buey, J.-T.; Butler, B.; Cailleau, D.; Cautain, R.; Chabaud, P.-Y.; Chaintreuil, S.; Chiavassa, F.; Costes, V.; Cuna Parrho, V.; de Oliveira Fialho, F.; Decaudin, M.; Defise, J.-M.; Djalal, S.; Epstein, G.; Exil, G.-E.; Fauré, C.; Fenouillet, T.; Gaboriaud, A.; Gallic, A.; Gamet, P.; Gavalda, P.; Grolleau, E.; Gruneisen, R.; Gueguen, L.; Guis, V.; Guivarc'h, V.; Guterman, P.; Hallouard, D.; Hasiba, J.; Heuripeau, F.; Huntzinger, G.; Hustaix, H.; Imad, C.; Imbert, C.; Johlander, B.; Jouret, M.; Journoud, P.; Karioty, F.; Kerjean, L.; Lafaille, V.; Lafond, L.; Lam-Trong, T.; Landiech, P.; Lapeyrere, V.; Larqué, T.; Laudet, P.; Lautier, N.; Lecann, H.; Lefevre, L.; Leruyet, B.; Levacher, P.; Magnan, A.; Mazy, E.; Mertens, F.; Mesnager, J.-M.; Meunier, J.-C.; Michel, J.-P.; Monjoin, W.; Naudet, D.; Nguyen-Kim, K.; Orcesi, J.-L.; Ottacher, H.; Perez, R.; Peter, G.; Plasson, P.; Plesseria, J.-Y.; Pontet, B.; Pradines, A.; Quentin, C.; Reynaud, J.-L.; Rolland, G.; Rollenhagen, F.; Romagnan, R.; Russ, N.; Schmidt, R.; Schwartz, N.; Sebbag, I.; Sedes, G.; Smit, H.; Steller, M. B.; Sunter, W.; Surace, C.; Tello, M.; Tiphène, D.; Toulouse, P.; Ulmer, B.; Vandermarcq, O.; Vergnault, E.; Vuillemin, A.; Zanatta, P.

    2009-10-01

    Aims: We report the discovery of very shallow (Δ F/F ≈ 3.4× 10-4), periodic dips in the light curve of an active V = 11.7 G9V star observed by the CoRoT satellite, which we interpret as caused by a transiting companion. We describe the 3-colour CoRoT data and complementary ground-based observations that support the planetary nature of the companion. Methods: We used CoRoT colours information, good angular resolution ground-based photometric observations in- and out- of transit, adaptive optics imaging, near-infrared spectroscopy, and preliminary results from radial velocity measurements, to test the diluted eclipsing binary scenarios. The parameters of the host star were derived from optical spectra, which were then combined with the CoRoT light curve to derive parameters of the companion. Results: We examined all conceivable cases of false positives carefully, and all the tests support the planetary hypothesis. Blends with separation >0.40´´or triple systems are almost excluded with a 8 × 10-4 risk left. We conclude that, inasmuch we have been exhaustive, we have discovered a planetary companion, named CoRoT-7b, for which we derive a period of 0.853 59 ± 3 × 10-5 day and a radius of Rp = 1.68 ± 0.09 R_Earth. Analysis of preliminary radial velocity data yields an upper limit of 21 M_Earth for the companion mass, supporting the finding. Conclusions: CoRoT-7b is very likely the first Super-Earth with a measured radius. This object illustrates what will probably become a common situation with missions such as Kepler, namely the need to establish the planetary origin of transits in the absence of a firm radial velocity detection and mass measurement. The composition of CoRoT-7b remains loosely constrained without a precise mass. A very high surface temperature on its irradiated face, ≈1800-2600 K at the substellar point, and a very low one, ≈50 K, on its dark face assuming no atmosphere, have been derived. The CoRoT space mission, launched on 27

  6. Exoplanet Characterization With Spitzer Eclipses

    Science.gov (United States)

    Harrington, Joseph

    We will analyze our existing Spitzer eclipse data for 11 exoplanets (GJ 436b, WASP-8b, WASP-29b, WASP-11b, TrES-1, WASP-34b, WASP-43b, HD 209458b, HAT-P-30b, HAT-P-13b, and WASP-12b) along with all other Spitzer eclipse and transit data for these systems (723 hours of total data). In combination with transit results, these measurements reveal the surface fluxes emitted by the planets' atmospheres in the six Spitzer bandpasses (3.6, 4.5, 5.8, 8.0, 16, and 24 1-4m), as well as orbital eccentricity and in a few cases possibly even precession rate. The fluxes, in turn, can constrain atmospheric composition and thermal profiles. We propose here to analyze data for these planets using Monte Carlo-driven, radiative-transfer, model-fitting codes; to conduct aggregate analyses; and to develop and share statistical modeling tools. Secondary eclipses provide us with a unique way to characterize exoplanetary atmospheres. Since other techniques like spectroscopy divide the planetary signal into many channels, they require very high signal-to-noise ratio (S/N) and are only possible for a few planets. Broadband eclipse photometry is thus the only technique that can measure dozens of atmospheres and identify the mechanisms that cause planets at a given irradiation level to behave so differently from one another. Until JWST becomes available, the broad variety of Spitzer data that we already have in hand, along with observations from the Hubble Space Telescope and possibly SOFIA, are our best way to understand the wide diversity of exoplanetary atmospheres. Since 2010, the team has produced six papers from a new, highly modular pipeline that implements optimal methods for analysis of Spitzer photometric time series, and our efficiency is increasing. The sensitivity needed for these measurements is up to 100 times better than Spitzer's design criteria, so careful treatment of systematic error is critically important and first-order approximations rarely work. The new pipeline

  7. 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.

  8. Exoplanet's Figure and Its Interior

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mian, Zhang; Cheng-li, Huang

    2018-01-01

    Along with the development of the observing technology, the observation and study on the exoplanets' oblateness and apsidal precession have achieved significant progress. The oblateness of an exoplanet is determined by its interior density profile and rotation period. Between its Love number k2 and core size exists obviously a negative correlation. So oblateness and k2 can well constrain its interior structure. Starting from the Lane-Emden equation, the planet models based on different polytropic indices are built. Then the flattening factors are obtained by solving the Wavre's integro-differential equation. The result shows that the smaller the polytropic index, the faster the rotation, and the larger the oblateness. We have selected 469 exoplanets, which have simultaneously the observed or estimated values of radius, mass, and orbit period from the NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) Exoplanet Archive, and calculated their flattening factors under the two assumptions: tidal locking and fixed rotation period of 10.55 hours. The result shows that the flattening factors are too small to be detected under the tidal locking assumption, and that 28% of exoplanets have the flattening factors larger than 0.1 under the fixed rotation period of 10.55 hours. The Love numbers under the different polytropic models are solved by the Zharkov's approach, and the relation between k2 and core size is discussed.

  9. [1012.5676] The Exoplanet Orbit Database

    Science.gov (United States)

    : The Exoplanet Orbit Database Authors: Jason T Wright, Onsi Fakhouri, Geoffrey W. Marcy, Eunkyu Han present a database of well determined orbital parameters of exoplanets. This database comprises parameters, and the method used for the planets discovery. This Exoplanet Orbit Database includes all planets

  10. 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

  11. Stellar Companions of Exoplanet Host Stars in K2

    Science.gov (United States)

    Matson, Rachel; Howell, Steve; Horch, Elliott; Everett, Mark

    2018-01-01

    Stellar multiplicity has significant implications for the detection and characterization of exoplanets. A stellar companion can mimic the signal of a transiting planet or distort the true planetary radii, leading to improper density estimates and over-predicting the occurrence rates of Earth-sized planets. Determining the fraction of exoplanet host stars that are also binaries allows us to better determine planetary characteristics as well as establish the relationship between binarity and planet formation. Using high-resolution speckle imaging to obtain diffraction limited images of K2 planet candidate host stars we detect stellar companions within one arcsec and up to six magnitudes fainter than the host star. By comparing our observed companion fraction to TRILEGAL star count simulations, and using the known detection limits of speckle imaging, we find the binary fraction of K2 planet host stars to be similar to that of Kepler host stars and solar-type field stars. Accounting for stellar companions in exoplanet studies is therefore essential for deriving true stellar and planetary properties as well as maximizing the returns for TESS and future exoplanet missions.

  12. STRESS - STEREO TRansiting Exoplanet and Stellar Survey

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sangaralingam, Vinothini; Stevens, Ian R.; Spreckley, Steve; Debosscher, Jonas

    2010-02-01

    The Heliospheric Imager (HI) instruments on board the two STEREO (Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory) spacecraft provides an excellent opportunity for space based stellar photometry. The HI instruments provide a wide area coverage (20° × 20° for the two HI-1 instruments and 70° × 70° for the two HI-2 instruments) and long continuous periods of observations (20 days and 70 days respectively). Using HI-1A which has a pass band of 6500Å to 7500Å and a cadence of 40 minutes, we have gathered photometric information for more than a million stars brighter than 12th magnitude for a period of two years. Here we present some early results from this study on a range of variable stars and the future prospects for the data.

  13. Transiting exoplanets from the CoRoT space mission. IV. CoRoT-Exo-4b: a transiting planet in a 9.2 day synchronous orbit

    Science.gov (United States)

    Aigrain, S.; Collier Cameron, A.; Ollivier, M.; Pont, F.; Jorda, L.; Almenara, J. M.; Alonso, R.; Barge, P.; Bordé, P.; Bouchy, F.; Deeg, H.; de La Reza, R.; Deleuil, M.; Dvorak, R.; Erikson, A.; Fridlund, M.; Gondoin, P.; Gillon, M.; Guillot, T.; Hatzes, A.; Lammer, H.; Lanza, A. F.; Léger, A.; Llebaria, A.; Magain, P.; Mazeh, T.; Moutou, C.; Paetzold, M.; Pinte, C.; Queloz, D.; Rauer, H.; Rouan, D.; Schneider, J.; Wuchter, G.; Zucker, S.

    2008-09-01

    CoRoT, the first space-based transit search, provides ultra-high-precision light curves with continuous time-sampling over periods of up to 5 months. This allows the detection of transiting planets with relatively long periods, and the simultaneous study of the host star's photometric variability. In this Letter, we report the discovery of the transiting giant planet CoRoT-Exo-4b and use the CoRoT light curve to perform a detailed analysis of the transit and determine the stellar rotation period. The CoRoT light curve was pre-processed to remove outliers and correct for orbital residuals and artefacts due to hot pixels on the detector. After removing stellar variability about each transit, the transit light curve was analysed to determine the transit parameters. A discrete autocorrelation function method was used to derive the rotation period of the star from the out-of-transit light curve. We determine the periods of the planetary orbit and star's rotation of 9.20205 ± 0.00037 and 8.87 ± 1.12 days respectively, which is consistent with this being a synchronised system. We also derive the inclination, i = 90.00_-0.085+0.000 in degrees, the ratio of the orbital distance to the stellar radius, a/Rs = 17.36-0.25+0.05, and the planet-to-star radius ratio R_p/R_s=0.1047-0.0022+0.0041. We discuss briefly the coincidence between the orbital period of the planet and the stellar rotation period and its possible implications for the system's migration and star-planet interaction history. The CoRoT space mission, launched on December 27th 2006, has been developed and is operated by CNES, with the contribution of Austria, Belgium, Brazil, ESA, Germany, and Spain. The first CoRoT data will be available to the public in February 2009 from the CoRoT archive: http://idoc-corot.ias.u-psud.fr/ Figures 1, 4 and 5 are only available in electronic form at http://www.aanda.org

  14. Thermal Structure and Mantle Dynamics of Rocky Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wagner, F. W.; Tosi, N.; Hussmann, H.; Sohl, F.

    2011-12-01

    The confirmed detections of CoRoT-7b and Kepler-10b reveal that rocky exoplanets exist. Moreover, recent theoretical studies suggest that small planets beyond the Solar System are indeed common and many of them will be discovered by increasingly precise observational surveys in the years ahead. The knowledge about the interior structure and thermal state of exoplanet interiors provides crucial theoretical input not only for classification and characterization of individual planetary bodies, but also to better understand the origin and evolution of the Solar System and the Earth in general. These developments and considerations have motivated us to address several questions concerning thermal structure and interior dynamics of terrestrial exoplanets. In the present study, depth-dependent structural models of solid exoplanet interiors have been constructed in conjunction with a mixing length approach to calculate self-consistently the radial distribution of temperature and heat flux. Furthermore, 2-D convection simulations using the compressible anelastic approximation have been carried through to examine the effect of thermodynamic quantities (e.g., thermal expansivity) on mantle convection pattern within rocky planets more massive than the Earth. In comparison to parameterized convection models, our calculated results predict generally hotter planetary interiors, which are mainly attributed to a viscosity-regulating feedback mechanism involving temperature and pressure. We find that density and thermal conductivity increase with depth by a factor of two to three, however, thermal expansivity decreases by more than an order of magnitude across the mantle for planets as massive as CoRoT-7b or Kepler-10b. The specific heat capacity is observed to stay almost constant over an extended region of the lower mantle. The planform of mantle convection is strongly modified in the presence of depth-dependent thermodynamic quantities with hot upwellings (plumes) rising across

  15. 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.

  16. Computation of the Transmitted and Polarized Scattered Fluxes by the Exoplanet HD 189733b in X-Rays

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Marin, Frédéric [Astronomical Institute of the Academy of Sciences, Boční II 1401, CZ-14100 Prague (Czech Republic); Grosso, Nicolas, E-mail: frederic.marin@astro.unistra.fr [Université de Strasbourg, CNRS, Observatoire astronomique de Strasbourg, UMR 7550, F-67000 Strasbourg (France)

    2017-02-01

    Thousands of exoplanets have been detected, but only one exoplanetary transit was potentially observed in X-rays from HD 189733A. What makes the detection of exoplanets so difficult in this band? To answer this question, we run Monte-Carlo radiative transfer simulations to estimate the amount of X-ray flux reprocessed by HD 189733b. Despite its extended evaporating atmosphere, we find that the X-ray absorption radius of HD 189733b at 0.7 keV, which is the mean energy of the photons detected in the 0.25–2 keV energy band by XMM-Newton , is ∼1.01 times the planetary radius for an atmosphere of atomic hydrogen and helium (including ions), and produces a maximum depth of ∼2.1% at ∼±46 minutes from the center of the planetary transit on the geometrically thick and optically thin corona. We compute numerically in the 0.25–2 keV energy band that this maximum depth is only of ∼1.6% at ∼±47 minutes from the transit center, and not very sensitive to the metal abundance, assuming that adding metals in the atmosphere would not dramatically change the density–temperature profile. Regarding a direct detection of HD 189733b in X-rays, we find that the amount of flux reprocessed by the exoplanetary atmosphere varies with the orbital phase, spanning between three and five orders of magnitude fainter than the flux of the primary star. Additionally, the degree of linear polarization emerging from HD 189733b is <0.003%, with maximums detected near planetary greatest elongations. This implies that both the modulation of the X-ray flux with the orbital phase and the scatter-induced continuum polarization cannot be observed with current X-ray facilities.

  17. A Bayesian approach shows no correlation between transit-depth and stellar metallicity for confirmed and candidates Kepler gas giants planets

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Nehmé, C; Sarkis, P

    2017-01-01

    Previous study to investigate the correlation between the transit depth and the stellar metallicity of Kepler’s (Q1-Q12) gas giant planets (radii of 5-20R ⊙ ) has led to a weakly significant negative correlation. We use the cumulative catalog of planets detected by the NASA Kepler mission Q1-Q17 catalog, as of April 2015, to perform a solid statistical analysis of this correlation. In the present work, we revise this correlation, within a Bayesian framework, for two large samples: sample A confirmed planets and sample B (confirmed + candidates). We expand a hierarchical method to account for false positives in the studied samples. Our statistical analysis reveals no correlation between the transit depth and the stellar metallicity. This has implications for planet formation theory and interior structure of giant planets. (paper)

  18. The LEECH Exoplanet Imaging Survey: Characterization of the Coldest Directly Imaged Exoplanet, GJ 504 b, and Evidence for Superstellar Metallicity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Skemer, Andrew J.; Morley, Caroline V.; Zimmerman, Neil T.; Skrutskie, Michael F.; Leisenring, Jarron; Buenzli, Esther; Bonnefoy, Mickael; Bailey, Vanessa; Hinz, Philip; Defrére, Denis; Esposito, Simone; Apai, Dániel; Biller, Beth; Brandner, Wolfgang; Close, Laird; Crepp, Justin R.; De Rosa, Robert J.; Desidera, Silvano; Eisner, Josh; Fortney, Jonathan; Freedman, Richard; Henning, Thomas; Hofmann, Karl-Heinz; Kopytova, Taisiya; Lupu, Roxana; Maire, Anne-Lise; Males, Jared R.; Marley, Mark; Morzinski, Katie; Oza, Apurva; Patience, Jenny; Rajan, Abhijith; Rieke, George; Schertl, Dieter; Schlieder, Joshua; Stone, Jordan; Su, Kate; Vaz, Amali; Visscher, Channon; Ward-Duong, Kimberly; Weigelt, Gerd; Woodward, Charles E.

    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: Teff = 544 ± 10 K, g Germany. LBT Corporation partners are the University of Arizona on behalf of the Arizona university system; Istituto Nazionale di Astrophisica, Italy; LBT Beteiligungsgesellschaft, Germany, representing the Max-Planck Society, the Astrophysical Institute Potsdam, and Heidelberg University; The Ohio State University, and the Research Corporation, on behalf of the University of Notre Dame, University of Minnesota, and University of Virginia.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. Exoplanet Observing: From Art to Science

    Science.gov (United States)

    Conti, Dennis M.; Gleeson, Jack

    2017-06-01

    This paper will review the now well-established best practices for conducting high precision exoplanet observing with small telescopes. The paper will also review the AAVSO's activities in promoting these best practices among the amateur astronomer community through training material and online courses, as well as through the establishment of an AAVSO Exoplanet Database. This latter development will be an essential element in supporting followup exoplanet observations for upcoming space telescope missions such as TESS and JWST.

  2. Exoplanet Observing: from Art to Science (Abstract)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Conti, D. M.; Gleeson, J.

    2017-12-01

    (Abstract only) This paper will review the now well-established best practices for conducting high precision exoplanet observing with small telescopes. The paper will also review the AAVSO's activities in promoting these best practices among the amateur astronomer community through training material and online courses, as well as through the establishment of an AAVSO Exoplanet Database. This latter development will be an essential element in supporting followup exoplanet observations for upcoming space telescope missions such as TESS and JWST.

  3. 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.

  4. DISCRIMINATING BETWEEN CLOUDY, HAZY, AND CLEAR SKY EXOPLANETS USING REFRACTION

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Misra, Amit K.; Meadows, Victoria S.

    2014-01-01

    We propose a method to distinguish between cloudy, hazy, and clear sky (free of clouds and hazes) exoplanet atmospheres that could be applicable to upcoming large aperture space- and ground-based telescopes such as the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) and the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT). These facilities will be powerful tools for characterizing transiting exoplanets, but only after a considerable amount of telescope time is devoted to a single planet. A technique that could provide a relatively rapid means of identifying haze-free targets (which may be more valuable targets for characterization) could potentially increase the science return for these telescopes. Our proposed method utilizes broadband observations of refracted light in the out-of-transit spectrum. Light refracted through an exoplanet atmosphere can lead to an increase of flux prior to ingress and subsequent to egress. Because this light is transmitted at pressures greater than those for typical cloud and haze layers, the detection of refracted light could indicate a cloud- or haze-free atmosphere. A detection of refracted light could be accomplished in <10 hr for Jovian exoplanets with JWST and <5 hr for super-Earths/mini-Neptunes with E-ELT. We find that this technique is most effective for planets with equilibrium temperatures between 200 and 500 K, which may include potentially habitable planets. A detection of refracted light for a potentially habitable planet would strongly suggest the planet was free of a global cloud or haze layer, and therefore a promising candidate for follow-up observations

  5. DISCRIMINATING BETWEEN CLOUDY, HAZY, AND CLEAR SKY EXOPLANETS USING REFRACTION

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Misra, Amit K.; Meadows, Victoria S. [Astronomy Department, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195 (United States)

    2014-11-01

    We propose a method to distinguish between cloudy, hazy, and clear sky (free of clouds and hazes) exoplanet atmospheres that could be applicable to upcoming large aperture space- and ground-based telescopes such as the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) and the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT). These facilities will be powerful tools for characterizing transiting exoplanets, but only after a considerable amount of telescope time is devoted to a single planet. A technique that could provide a relatively rapid means of identifying haze-free targets (which may be more valuable targets for characterization) could potentially increase the science return for these telescopes. Our proposed method utilizes broadband observations of refracted light in the out-of-transit spectrum. Light refracted through an exoplanet atmosphere can lead to an increase of flux prior to ingress and subsequent to egress. Because this light is transmitted at pressures greater than those for typical cloud and haze layers, the detection of refracted light could indicate a cloud- or haze-free atmosphere. A detection of refracted light could be accomplished in <10 hr for Jovian exoplanets with JWST and <5 hr for super-Earths/mini-Neptunes with E-ELT. We find that this technique is most effective for planets with equilibrium temperatures between 200 and 500 K, which may include potentially habitable planets. A detection of refracted light for a potentially habitable planet would strongly suggest the planet was free of a global cloud or haze layer, and therefore a promising candidate for follow-up observations.

  6. HOMES - Holographic Optical Method for Exoplanet Spectroscopy

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — HOMES (Holographic Optical Method for Exoplanet Spectroscopy) is a space telescope that employs a double dispersion architecture, using a holographic optical element...

  7. Analytic Reflected Lightcurves for Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Haggard, Hal M.; Cowan, Nicolas B.

    2018-04-01

    The disk-integrated reflected brightness of an exoplanet changes as a function of time due to orbital and rotational motion coupled with an inhomogeneous albedo map. We have previously derived analytic reflected lightcurves for spherical harmonic albedo maps in the special case of a synchronously-rotating planet on an edge-on orbit (Cowan, Fuentes & Haggard 2013). In this letter, we present analytic reflected lightcurves for the general case of a planet on an inclined orbit, with arbitrary spin period and non-zero obliquity. We do so for two different albedo basis maps: bright points (δ-maps), and spherical harmonics (Y_l^m-maps). In particular, we use Wigner D-matrices to express an harmonic lightcurve for an arbitrary viewing geometry as a non-linear combination of harmonic lightcurves for the simpler edge-on, synchronously rotating geometry. These solutions will enable future exploration of the degeneracies and information content of reflected lightcurves, as well as fast calculation of lightcurves for mapping exoplanets based on time-resolved photometry. To these ends we make available Exoplanet Analytic Reflected Lightcurves (EARL), a simple open-source code that allows rapid computation of reflected lightcurves.

  8. Refraction in exoplanet atmospheres. Photometric signatures, implications for transmission spectroscopy, and search in Kepler data

    Science.gov (United States)

    Alp, D.; Demory, B.-O.

    2018-01-01

    Context. Refraction deflects photons that pass through atmospheres, which affects transit light curves. Refraction thus provides an avenue to probe physical properties of exoplanet atmospheres and to constrain the presence of clouds and hazes. In addition, an effective surface can be imposed by refraction, thereby limiting the pressure levels probed by transmission spectroscopy. Aims: The main objective of the paper is to model the effects of refraction on photometric light curves for realistic planets and to explore the dependencies on atmospheric physical parameters. We also explore under which circumstances transmission spectra are significantly affected by refraction. Finally, we search for refraction signatures in photometric residuals in Kepler data. Methods: We use the model of Hui & Seager (2002, ApJ, 572, 540) to compute deflection angles and refraction transit light curves, allowing us to explore the parameter space of atmospheric properties. The observational search is performed by stacking large samples of transit light curves from Kepler. Results: We find that out-of-transit refraction shoulders are the most easily observable features, which can reach peak amplitudes of 10 parts per million (ppm) for planets around Sun-like stars. More typical amplitudes are a few ppm or less for Jovians and at the sub-ppm level for super-Earths. In-transit, ingress, and egress refraction features are challenging to detect because of the short timescales and degeneracies with other transit model parameters. Interestingly, the signal-to-noise ratio of any refraction residuals for planets orbiting Sun-like hosts are expected to be similar for planets orbiting red dwarfs and ultra-cool stars. We also find that the maximum depth probed by transmission spectroscopy is not limited by refraction for weakly lensing planets, but that the incidence of refraction can vary significantly for strongly lensing planets. We find no signs of refraction features in the stacked Kepler

  9. Alteration in Solid State Phosphorous With Depth in Sediments Along the Salinity Transition Zone of a Major Chesapeake Bay Tributary

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hartzell, J. L.; Jordan, T. E.

    2006-05-01

    Determining the fate of particulate phosphorus in estuaries is essential for addressing the widespread problem of estuarine eutrophication, and is key to understanding P cycling and developing accurate global P budgets. Prominent reservoirs of P in surficial sediments include particulate P associated with iron or organic C. However, the importance of these reservoirs changes with the decomposition of organic matter and the reduction of iron. Also, the importance of iron bound P may decrease with increasing salinity due to the formation of iron sulfides. To investigate estuarine P burial and its relationship to salinity, we collected sediment cores of one-meter depth along the salinity gradient of the Patuxent River estuary (Maryland, USA), a major tributary of Chesapeake Bay. The sediments were analyzed using a sequential sedimentary extraction procedure that quantifies five separate reservoirs of particulate P. Total phosphorus concentrations in freshwater sediments were significantly higher than those in more saline sediments at all depths. Conversely, porewater phosphate concentrations were significantly lower in freshwater sediments than in the more saline sediments. Total P in the saline sediment cores decreased with depth, correlating to a reduction in iron-bound P. However, we did not find a concurrent increase in authigenic apatite with depth. Our findings indicate that mechanisms controlling changes in P sorption to sediments change profoundly with salinity and may contribute to increased bioavailability of phosphates with increasing salinity.

  10. Observing the ExoEarth: Simulating the Retrieval of Exoplanet Parameters Using DSCOVR

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kane, S.; Cowan, N. B.; Domagal-Goldman, S. D.; Herman, J. R.; Robinson, T.; Stine, A.

    2017-12-01

    The field of exoplanets has rapidly expanded from detection to include exoplanet characterization. This has been enabled by developments such as the detection of terrestrial-sized planets and the use of transit spectroscopy to study exoplanet atmospheres. Studies of rocky planets are leading towards the direct imaging of exoplanets and the development of techniques to extract their intrinsic properties. The importance of properties such as rotation, albedo, and obliquity are significant since they inform planet formation theories and are key input parameters for Global Circulation Models used to determine surface conditions, including habitability. Thus, a complete characterization of exoplanets for understanding habitable climates requires the ability to measure these key planetary parameters. The retrieval of planetary rotation rates, albedos, and obliquities from highly undersampled imaging data can be honed using satellites designed to study the Earth's atmosphere. In this talk I will describe how the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) provides a unique opportunity to test such retrieval methods using data for the sunlit hemisphere of the Earth. Our methods use the high-resolution DSCOVR-EPIC images to simulate the Earth as an exoplanet, by deconvolving the images to match a variety of expected exoplanet mission requirements, and by comparing EPIC data with the cavity radiometer data from DSCOVR-NISTAR that views the Earth as a single pixel. Through this methodology, we are creating a grid of retrieval states as a function of image resolution, observing cadence, passband, etc. Our modeling of the DSCOVR data will provide an effective baseline from which to develop tools that can be applied to a variety of exoplanet imaging data.

  11. Hazy Archean Earth as an Analog for Hazy Earthlike Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Arney, Giada; Meadows, Victoria; Domagal-Goldman, Shawn; Claire, Mark; Schwieterman, Edward

    2015-01-01

    Hazy exoplanets may be common (Bean et al. 2010, Sing et al. 2011, Kreidberg et al 2014), and in our solar system, Venus and Titan have photochemically-produced hazes. There is evidence that Earth itself had a hydrocarbon haze in the Archean (Zerkle et al. 2012, Domagal-Goldman et al. 2008) with important climatic effects (Pavlov et al. 2001, Trainer et al. 2006, Haqq-Misra et al. 2008, Wolf and Toon 2012). We use a 1D coupled photochemical-climate model and a line-by-line radiative transfer model to investigate the climactic and spectral impacts of a fractal hydrocarbon haze on Archean Earth. The haze absorbs significantly at shorter wavelengths and can strongly suppress the Rayleigh scattering tail, a broadband effect that would be remotely detectable at low spectral resolution at wavelengths less than 0.5 μm. Hazes may have a more significant impact on transit transmission spectra. Using the transit transmission radiative transfer model developed by Misra et al. (2014) to generate hazy Archean spectra, we find that even a thin hydrocarbon haze masks the lower atmosphere from the visible into the near infrared where the haze optical depth exceeds unity. The transit transmission spectra we generate for hazy Archean Earth are steeply sloped like the Titan solar occultation spectrum observed by Robinson et al. (2014). Thick hazes can also cool the planet significantly: for example, the thick fractal haze generated around Archean Earth with 0.3% CH4, 1% CO2 and 1 ppm C2H6 cools the planet from roughly 290 K without the haze to below freezing with the haze. Finally, we investigate the impact of host star spectral type on haze formation, comparing the hazes generated around a solar-type star to those generated at an Earth analog planet around the M dwarf AD Leo. Our results indicate hazes around M dwarfs for the same initial atmospheric composition may be thinner due to decreased UV photolysis of methane and other hydrocarbons needed for haze formation. Earthlike

  12. 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    2009-09-01

    "starspots" (just like sunspots on our Sun), which are cooler regions on the surface of the star. Therefore, the main signal is linked to the rotation of the star, with makes one complete revolution in about 23 days. To get an answer, astronomers had to call upon the best exoplanet-hunting device in the world, the High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS) spectrograph attached to the ESO 3.6-metre telescope at the La Silla Observatory in Chile. "Even though HARPS is certainly unbeaten when it comes to detecting small exoplanets, the measurements of CoRoT-7b proved to be so demanding that we had to gather 70 hours of observations on the star," says co-author François Bouchy. HARPS delivered, allowing the astronomers to tease out the 20.4-hour signal in the data. This figure led them to infer that CoRoT-7b has a mass of about five Earth masses, placing it in rare company as one of the lightest exoplanets yet found. "Since the planet's orbit is aligned so that we see it crossing the face of its parent star - it is said to be transiting - we can actually measure, and not simply infer, the mass of the exoplanet, which is the smallest that has been precisely measured for an exoplanet [3]," says team member Claire Moutou. "Moreover, as we have both the radius and the mass, we can determine the density and get a better idea of the internal structure of this planet." With a mass much closer to that of Earth than, for example, ice giant Neptune's 17 Earth masses, CoRoT-7b belongs to the category of "super-Earth" exoplanets. About a dozen of these bodies have been detected, though in the case of CoRoT-7b, this is the first time that the density has been measured for such a small exoplanet. The calculated density is close to Earth's, suggesting that the planet's composition is similarly rocky. "CoRoT-7b resulted in a 'tour de force' of astronomical measurements. The superb light curves of the space telescope CoRoT gave us the best radius measurement, and HARPS the best mass

  14. 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.

  15. Transiting exoplanets from the CoRoT space mission . XIII. CoRoT-13b: a dense hot Jupiter in transit around a star with solar metallicity and super-solar lithium content

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cabrera, J.; Bruntt, H.; Ollivier, M.; Díaz, R. F.; Csizmadia, Sz.; Aigrain, S.; Alonso, R.; Almenara, J.-M.; Auvergne, M.; Baglin, A.; Barge, P.; Bonomo, A. S.; Bordé, P.; Bouchy, F.; Carone, L.; Carpano, S.; Deleuil, M.; Deeg, H. J.; Dvorak, R.; Erikson, A.; Ferraz-Mello, S.; Fridlund, M.; Gandolfi, D.; Gazzano, J.-C.; Gillon, M.; Guenther, E. W.; Guillot, T.; Hatzes, A.; Havel, M.; Hébrard, G.; Jorda, L.; Léger, A.; Llebaria, A.; Lammer, H.; Lovis, C.; Mazeh, T.; Moutou, C.; Ofir, A.; von Paris, P.; Pätzold, M.; Queloz, D.; Rauer, H.; Rouan, D.; Santerne, A.; Schneider, J.; Tingley, B.; Titz-Weider, R.; Wuchterl, G.

    2010-11-01

    We announce the discovery of the transiting planet CoRoT-13b. Ground-based follow-up in CFHT and IAC80 confirmed CoRoT's observations. The mass of the planet was measured with the HARPS spectrograph and the properties of the host star were obtained analyzing HIRES spectra from the Keck telescope. It is a hot Jupiter-like planet with an orbital period of 4.04 days, 1.3 Jupiter masses, 0.9 Jupiter radii, and a density of 2.34 g cm-3. It orbits a G0V star with T_eff = 5 945 K, M* = 1.09 M⊙, R_* = 1.01 R⊙, solar metallicity, a lithium content of + 1.45 dex, and an estimated age of between 0.12 and 3.15 Gyr. The lithium abundance of the star is consistent with its effective temperature, activity level, and age range derived from the stellar analysis. The density of the planet is extreme for its mass, implies that heavy elements are present with a mass of between about 140 and 300 {M}⊕. The CoRoT space mission, launched on December 27th 2006, has been developed and is operated by CNES, with the contribution of Austria, Belgium, Brazil, ESA (RSSD and Science Programme), Germany and Spain. Part of the observations were obtained at the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT) which is operated by the National Research Council of Canada, the Institut National des Sciences de l'Univers of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique of France, and the University of Hawaii. Based on observations made with HARPS spectrograph on the 3.6-m European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere telescope at La Silla Observatory, Chile (ESO program 184.C-0639). Based on observations made with the IAC80 telescope operated on the island of Tenerife by the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias in the Spanish Observatorio del Teide. Part of the data presented herein were obtained at the W. M. Keck Observatory, which is operated as a scientific partnership among the California Institute of Technology, the University of California and the National Aeronautics

  16. Eccentricity from transit photometry

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Van Eylen, Vincent; Albrecht, Simon

    2015-01-01

    and can be described by a Rayleigh distribution with $\\sigma$ = 0.049 $\\pm$ 0.013. This is in full agreement with solar system eccentricities, but in contrast to the eccentricity distributions previously derived for exoplanets from radial velocity studies. Our findings are helpful in identifying which...... (TTVs), and we present some previously unreported TTVs. Finally transit durations help distinguish between false positives and true planets and we use our measurements to confirm six new exoplanets....

  17. 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.

  18. Spin reorientation transitions of Fe/Ni/Cu(001) studied by using the depth-resolved X-ray magnetic circular dichroism technique

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Abe, Hitoshi; Amemiya, Kenta; Matsumura, Daiju; Kitagawa, Soichiro; Watanabe, Hirokazu; Yokoyama, Toshihiko; Ohta, Toshiaki

    2006-01-01

    The spin reorientation transition (SRT) of Ni/Cu(001) induced by Fe deposition was investigated using the X-ray magnetic circular dichroism (XMCD) method. In-plane magnetized Ni films (= =10ML) also exhibit a transition to in-plane by 1-2ML Fe deposition. A precise magnetic anisotropy phase diagram was obtained using a combination of wedge-shaped Ni samples and stepwise Fe deposition. Magnetic anisotropy energies in the bulk, surface and interface layers of Ni films were separately determined using the depth-resolved XMCD technique, while values in the 1ML and 2ML portions of the Fe films were obtained from the conventional XMCD measurements. The origin of the SRTs is successfully explained with a simple phenomenological layer model using the obtained magnetic anisotropy energies. es

  19. An Analytic Model Approach to the Frequency of Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Traub, Wesley A.

    2016-10-01

    The underlying population of exoplanets around stars in the Kepler sample can be inferred by a simulation that includes binning the Kepler planets in radius and period, invoking an empirical noise model, assuming a model exoplanet distribution function, randomly assigning planets to each of the Kepler target stars, asking whether each planet's transit signal could be detected by Kepler, binning the resulting simulated detections, comparing the simulations with the observed data sample, and iterating on the model parameters until a satisfactory fit is obtained. The process is designed to simulate the Kepler observing procedure. The key assumption is that the distribution function is the product of separable functions of period and radius. Any additional suspected biases in the sample can be handled by adjusting the noise model or selective editing of the range of input planets. An advantage of this overall procedure is that it is a forward calculation designed to simulate the observed data, subject to a presumed underlying population distribution, minimizing the effect of bin-to-bin fluctuations. Another advantage is that the resulting distribution function can be extended to values of period and radius that go beyond the sample space, including, for example, application to estimating eta-sub-Earth, and also estimating the expected science yields of future direct-imaging exoplanet missions such as WFIRST-AFTA.

  20. 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.

  1. Thermal Infrared Imaging of Exoplanets

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Apai, Daniel

    2009-01-01

    High-contrast imaging remains the only way to search for and study weakly-irradiated giant exoplanets. We review here in brief a new high-contrast imaging technique that operates in the 3-5 μm window and show the exquisite sensitivity that can be reached using this technique. The two key advantages of the L-band high-contrast imaging are the superior image quality and the 2-to 4-magnitude gain in sensitivity provided by the red color of giant planets. Most excitingly, this method can be applied to constrain the yet-unexplored giant planet population at radii between 3 and 30 AU.

  2. 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 stella...

  3. Dusty tails of evaporating exoplanets. I. Constraints on the dust composition

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    van Lieshout, R.; Min, M.; Dominik, C.

    2014-01-01

    Context. Recently, two exoplanet candidates have been discovered, KIC 12557548b and KOI-2700b, whose transit profiles show evidence of a comet-like tail of dust trailing the planet, thought to be fed by the evaporation of the planet’s surface. Aims. We aim to put constraints on the composition of

  4. 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.

  5. 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

    Transmission spectroscopy offers the exciting possibility of studying terrestrial exoplanet atmospheres in the near-term future. The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), scheduled for launch next year, is expected to discover thousands of transiting exoplanets around bright host stars, including an estimated twenty habitable zone super-Earths. The brightness of the TESS host stars, combined with refined observational strategies and near-future facilities, will enable searches for atmospheric signatures from smaller and cooler exoplanets. These observations, however, will be increasingly subject to noise introduced by heterogeneities in the host star photospheres, such as star spots and faculae. In short, the transmission spectroscopy method relies on the assumption that the spectrum of the transit chord does not differ from that of the integrated stellar disk or, if it does, the contribution of photospheric heterogeneities to the transmission spectrum can be constrained by variability monitoring. However, any axisymmetric populations of spots and faculae will strongly affect transmission spectra, and their presence cannot be deduced from monitoring efforts. A clear need exists for a more robust understanding of stellar contamination on transmission spectra. Here we summarize our work on the impact of heterogeneous stellar photospheres on transmission spectra and detail implications for atmospheric characterization efforts. By modeling spot and faculae distributions in stellar photospheres, we find that spot-covering fractions extrapolated from observed variability amplitudes are significantly underestimated. Likewise, corrections based on variability monitoring likely fall short of the actual stellar spectral contamination. We provide examples of contamination spectra for typical levels of stellar activity across a range of spectral types. For M dwarfs, molecular absorption features in spots and faculae can imprint apparent features in transmission spectra

  6. Depth-Dependent Earthquake Properties Beneath Long-Beach, CA: Implications for the Rheology at the Brittle-Ductile Transition Zone

    Science.gov (United States)

    Inbal, A.; Clayton, R. W.; Ampuero, J. P.

    2015-12-01

    Except for a few localities, seismicity along faults in southern California is generally confined to depths shallower than 15 km. Among faults hosting deep seismicity, the Newport-Inglewood Fault (NIF), which traverses the Los-Angeles basin, has an exceptionally mild surface expression and low deformation rates. Moreover, the NIF structure is not as well resolved as other, less well instrumented faults because of poor signal-to-noise ratio. Here we use data from three temporary dense seismic arrays, which were deployed for exploration purposes and contain up to several thousands of vertical geophones, to investigate the properties of deep seismicity beneath Long-Beach (LB), Compton and Santa-Fe Springs (SFS). The latter is located 15 km northeast of the NIF, presumably above a major detachment fault underthrusting the basin.Event detection is carried out using a new approach for microseismic multi-channel picking, in which downward-continued data are back-projected onto the volume beneath the arrays, and locations are derived from statistical analysis of back-projection images. Our technique reveals numerous, previously undetected events along the NIF, and confirms the presence of an active shallow structure gently dipping to the north beneath SFS. Seismicity characteristics vary along the NIF strike and dip. While LB seismicity is uncorrelated with the mapped trace of the NIF, Compton seismicity illuminates a sub-vertical fault that extends down to about 20 km. This result, along with the reported high flux of mantle Helium along the NIF (Boles et al., 2015), suggests that the NIF is deeply rooted and acts as a major conduit for mantle fluids. We find that the LB size distribution obeys the typical power-law at shallow depths, but falls off exponentially for events occurring below 20 km. Because deep seismicity occurs uniformly beneath LB, this transition is attributed to a reduction in seismic asperity density with increasing depth, consistent with a transition

  7. Beyond Kepler: Direct Imaging of Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Belikov, Ruslan

    2018-01-01

    The exoplanets field has been revolutionizing astronomy over the past 20+ years and shows no signs of stopping. The next big wave of exoplanet science may come from direct imaging of exoplanets. Several (non-habitable) exoplanets have already been imaged from the ground and NASA is planning an instrument for its 2020s flagship mission (WFIRST) to directly image large exoplanets. One of the key goals of the field is the detection and characterization of "Earth 2.0", i.e. a rocky planet with an atmosphere capable of supporting life. This appears possible with several potential instruments in the late 2020s such as WFIRST with a starshade, Extremely Large Telescopes (ELTs) from the ground, or one of NASA possible flagship missions in the 2030s (HabEx or LUVOIR). Also, if an Earth-like planet exists around Alpha Centauri (A or B), it may be possible to directly image it in the next approx. 5 years with a small space mission such as the Alpha Centauri Exoplanet Satellite (ACESat). I will describe the current challenges and opportunities in this exciting field, as well as the work we are doing at the Exoplanet Technologies group to enable this exciting science.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Swinyard, Bruce; Tinetti, Giovanna; Tennyson, Jonathan

    2012-01-01

    by ESA in the context of a medium class mission within the Cosmic Vision programme for launch post 2020. The payload suite is required to provide simultaneous coverage from the visible to the mid-infrared and must be highly stable and effectively operate as a single instrument. In this paper we describe......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...

  9. 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.

  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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    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 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. 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

  13. Design Considerations: Falcon M Dwarf Habitable Exoplanet Survey

    Science.gov (United States)

    Polsgrove, Daniel; Novotny, Steven; Della-Rose, Devin J.; Chun, Francis; Tippets, Roger; O'Shea, Patrick; Miller, Matthew

    2016-01-01

    The Falcon Telescope Network (FTN) is an assemblage of twelve automated 20-inch telescopes positioned around the globe, controlled from the Cadet Space Operations Center (CSOC) at the US Air Force Academy (USAFA) in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Five of the 12 sites are currently installed, with full operational capability expected by the end of 2016. Though optimized for studying near-earth objects to accomplish its primary mission of Space Situational Awareness (SSA), the Falcon telescopes are in many ways similar to those used by ongoing and planned exoplanet transit surveys targeting individual M dwarf stars (e.g., MEarth, APACHE, SPECULOOS). The network's worldwide geographic distribution provides additional potential advantages. We have performed analytical and empirical studies exploring the viability of employing the FTN for a future survey of nearby late-type M dwarfs tailored to detect transits of 1-2REarth exoplanets in habitable-zone orbits . We present empirical results on photometric precision derived from data collected with multiple Falcon telescopes on a set of nearby (survey design parameters is also described, including an analysis of site-specific weather data, anticipated telescope time allocation and the percentage of nearby M dwarfs with sufficient check stars within the Falcons' 11' x 11' field-of-view required to perform effective differential photometry. The results of this ongoing effort will inform the likelihood of discovering one (or more) habitable-zone exoplanets given current occurrence rate estimates over a nominal five-year campaign, and will dictate specific survey design features in preparation for initiating project execution when the FTN begins full-scale automated operations.

  14. The nature of the TRAPPIST-1 exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grimm, Simon L.; Demory, Brice-Olivier; Gillon, Michaël; Dorn, Caroline; Agol, Eric; Burdanov, Artem; Delrez, Laetitia; Sestovic, Marko; Triaud, Amaury H. M. J.; Turbet, Martin; Bolmont, Émeline; Caldas, Anthony; Wit, Julien de; Jehin, Emmanuël; Leconte, Jérémy; Raymond, Sean N.; Grootel, Valérie Van; Burgasser, Adam J.; Carey, Sean; Fabrycky, Daniel; Heng, Kevin; Hernandez, David M.; Ingalls, James G.; Lederer, Susan; Selsis, Franck; Queloz, Didier

    2018-06-01

    Context. The TRAPPIST-1 system hosts seven Earth-sized, temperate exoplanets orbiting an ultra-cool dwarf star. As such, it represents a remarkable setting to study the formation and evolution of terrestrial planets that formed in the same protoplanetary disk. While the sizes of the TRAPPIST-1 planets are all known to better than 5% precision, their densities have significant uncertainties (between 28% and 95%) because of poor constraints on the planet's masses. Aims: The goal of this paper is to improve our knowledge of the TRAPPIST-1 planetary masses and densities using transit-timing variations (TTVs). The complexity of the TTV inversion problem is known to be particularly acute in multi-planetary systems (convergence issues, degeneracies and size of the parameter space), especially for resonant chain systems such as TRAPPIST-1. Methods: To overcome these challenges, we have used a novel method that employs a genetic algorithm coupled to a full N-body integrator that we applied to a set of 284 individual transit timings. This approach enables us to efficiently explore the parameter space and to derive reliable masses and densities from TTVs for all seven planets. Results: Our new masses result in a five- to eight-fold improvement on the planetary density uncertainties, with precisions ranging from 5% to 12%. These updated values provide new insights into the bulk structure of the TRAPPIST-1 planets. We find that TRAPPIST-1 c and e likely have largely rocky interiors, while planets b, d, f, g, and h require envelopes of volatiles in the form of thick atmospheres, oceans, or ice, in most cases with water mass fractions less than 5%.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. Ground Based Support for Exoplanet Space Missions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Haukka, H.; Hentunen, V.-P.; Salmi, T.; Aartolahti, H.; Juutilainen, J.; Vilokki, H.; Nissinen, M.

    2011-10-01

    Taurus Hill Observatory (THO), observatory code A95, is an amateur observatory located in Varkaus, Finland. The observatory is maintained by the local astronomical association Warkauden Kassiopeia. THO research team has observed and measured various stellar objects and phenomena. Observatory has mainly focused to asteroid [1] and exoplanet light curve measurements, observing the gamma rays burst, supernova discoveries and monitoring [2] and long term monitoring projects [3]. In the early 2011 Europlanet NA1 and NA2 organized "Coordinated Observations of Exoplanets from Ground and Space"-workshop in Graz, Austria. The workshop gathered together proam astronomers who have the equipment to measure the light curves of the exoplanets. Also there were professional scientists working in the exoplanet field who attended to the workshop. The result of the workshop was to organize coordinated observation campaign for follow-up observations of exoplanets (e.g. CoRoT planets). Also coordinated observation campaign to observe stellar CME outbreaks was planned. THO has a lot of experience in field of exoplanet light curve measurements and therefore this campaign is very supported by the research team of the observatory. In next coming observing seasons THO will concentrate its efforts for this kind of campaigns.

  18. 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

  19. Atmospheric Retrievals from Exoplanet Observations and Simulations with BART

    Science.gov (United States)

    Harrington, Joseph

    This project will determine the observing plans needed to retrieve exoplanet atmospheric composition and thermal profiles over a broad range of planets, stars, instruments, and observing modes. Characterizing exoplanets is hard. The dim planets orbit bright stars, giving orders of magnitude more relative noise than for solar-system planets. Advanced statistical techniques are needed to determine what the data can - and more importantly cannot - say. We therefore developed Bayesian Atmospheric Radiative Transfer (BART). BART explores the parameter space of atmospheric chemical abundances and thermal profiles using Differential-Evolution Markov-Chain Monte Carlo. It generates thousands of candidate spectra, integrates over observational bandpasses, and compares to data, generating a statistical model for an atmosphere's composition and thermal structure. At best, it gives abundances and thermal profiles with uncertainties. At worst, it shows what kinds of planets the data allow. It also gives parameter correlations. BART is open-source, designed for community use and extension (http://github.com/exosports/BART). Three arXived PhD theses (papers in publication) provide technical documentation, tests, and application to Spitzer and HST data. There are detailed user and programmer manuals and community support forums. Exoplanet analysis techniques must be tested against synthetic data, where the answer is known, and vetted by statisticians. Unfortunately, this has rarely been done, and never sufficiently. Several recent papers question the entire body of Spitzer exoplanet observations, because different analyses of the same data give different results. The latest method, pixel-level decorrelation, produces results that diverge from an emerging consensus. We do not know the retrieval problem's strengths and weaknesses relative to low SNR, red noise, low resolution, instrument systematics, or incomplete spectral line lists. In observing eclipses and transits, we assume

  20. Some inconvenient truths about biosignatures involving two chemical species on Earth-like exoplanets.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rein, Hanno; Fujii, Yuka; Spiegel, David S

    2014-05-13

    The detection of strong thermochemical disequilibrium in the atmosphere of an extrasolar planet is thought to be a potential biosignature. In this article we present a previously unidentified kind of false positive that can mimic a disequilibrium or any other biosignature that involves two chemical species. We consider a scenario where the exoplanet hosts a moon that has its own atmosphere and neither of the atmospheres is in chemical disequilibrium. Our results show that the integrated spectrum of the planet and the moon closely resembles that of a single object in strong chemical disequilibrium. We derive a firm limit on the maximum spectral resolution that can be obtained for both directly imaged and transiting planets. The spectral resolution of even idealized space-based spectrographs that might be achievable in the next several decades is in general insufficient to break the degeneracy. Both chemical species can only be definitively confirmed in the same object if absorption features of both chemicals can be unambiguously identified and their combined depth exceeds 100%.

  1. Understanding Experiences of Youth Growing Up with Anorectal Malformation or Hirschsprung's Disease to Inform Transition Care: A Qualitative In-Depth Interview Study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nah, Shireen Anne; Ong, Caroline C P; Lie, Desiree; Marimuttu, Vicknesan Jeyan; Hong, Julian; Te-Lu, Yap; Low, Yee; Jacobsen, Anette Sundfor

    2018-02-01

     The impact of anorectal malformation (ARM) or Hirschsprung's disease (HD) in children continues into adulthood despite early surgical correction. We aimed to explore the physical, social, and emotional impacts of these conditions on youth to inform best transition care strategies.  Eligible participants were those aged between 14 and 21 years who had undergone surgery for ARM/HD in our institution. We conducted one-on-one in-depth interviews to saturation using a question guide developed from literature review and clinician expertise. Deidentified transcripts were coded by four coders (two pediatric surgeons, one psychiatrist, and one qualitative expert) for major themes using a constant comparison approach. A theoretical model for understanding the transition experience was developed using grounded theory.  Out of 120 patients identified as eligible, 11 youth (6 males) participated in the study. Interviews lasted from 50 to 60 minutes. Four major themes emerged: (1) social support (subthemes: family as core, friends as outer support), (2) cognitive and emotional change (subthemes: realization/recognition of illness, matching emotional response), (3) impact of physical symptoms (subthemes: adverse effects of abnormal bowel habits, gaining bowel continence control leading to overall feeling of control, need to keep disease private), and (4) healthcare providers (viewed as important information sources). Themes did not differ by gender.  Our model suggests that participants' understanding of bowel disease evolved over time with a "lightbulb" moment in preteens or early teens accompanied by increasing disease ownership and self-management. Clinicians should independently engage with patients in late childhood to address evolving emotional and information needs and encourage increasing autonomy. Future studies should explore communication approaches to meet transition needs of patients. Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York.

  2. 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

  3. Earth as an Exoplanet: Lessons in Recognizing Planetary Habitability

    Science.gov (United States)

    Meadows, Victoria; Robinson, Tyler; Misra, Amit; Ennico, Kimberly; Sparks, William B.; Claire, Mark; Crisp, David; Schwieterman, Edward; Bussey, D. Ben J.; Breiner, Jonathan

    2015-01-01

    Earth will always be our best-studied example of a habitable world. While extrasolar planets are unlikely to look exactly like Earth, they may share key characteristics, such as oceans, clouds and surface inhomogeneity. Earth's globally-averaged characteristics can therefore help us to recognize planetary habitability in data-limited exoplanet observations. One of the most straightforward ways to detect habitability will be via detection of 'glint', specular reflectance from an ocean (Robinson et al., 2010). Other methods include undertaking a census of atmospheric greenhouse gases, or attempting to measure planetary surface temperature and pressure, to determine if liquid water would be feasible on the planetary surface. Here we present recent research on detecting planetary habitability, led by the NASA Astrobiology Institute's Virtual Planetary Laboratory Team. This work includes a collaboration with the NASA Lunar Science Institute on the detection of ocean glint and ozone absorption using Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) Earth observations (Robinson et al., 2014). This data/model comparison provides the first observational test of a technique that could be used to determine exoplanet habitability from disk-integrated observations at visible and near-infrared wavelengths. We find that the VPL spectral Earth model is in excellent agreement with the LCROSS Earth data, and can be used to reliably predict Earth's appearance at a range of phases relevant to exoplanet observations. Determining atmospheric surface pressure and temperature directly for a potentially habitable planet will be challenging due to the lack of spatial-resolution, presence of clouds, and difficulty in spectrally detecting many bulk constituents of terrestrial atmospheres. Additionally, Rayleigh scattering can be masked by absorbing gases and absorption from the underlying surface. However, new techniques using molecular dimers of oxygen (Misra et al., 2014) and nitrogen

  4. Earth as an Exoplanet: Spectral Monitoring of an Inhabited Planet

    Science.gov (United States)

    Caldwell, D. A.; Marchis, F.; Batalha, N. M.; Cabrol, N. A.; Smith, J. C.

    2018-02-01

    We propose a spectrometer for the Deep Space Gateway to monitor Earth as an exoplanet. We will measure the variability with illumination phase, rotation, clouds, and season. Results will inform future searches for biomarkers on distant exoplanets.

  5. Numerical simulations of contrail-to-cirrus transition – Part 2: Impact of initial ice crystal number, radiation, stratification, secondary nucleation and layer depth

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    S. Unterstrasser

    2010-02-01

    Full Text Available Simulations of contrail-to-cirrus transition were performed with an LES model. In Part 1 the impact of relative humidity, temperature and vertical wind shear was explored in a detailed parametric study. Here, we study atmospheric parameters like stratification and depth of the supersaturated layer and processes which may affect the contrail evolution. We consider contrails in various radiation scenarios herein defined by the season, time of day and the presence of lower-level cloudiness which controls the radiance incident on the contrail layer. Under suitable conditions, controlled by the radiation scenario and stratification, radiative heating lifts the contrail-cirrus and prolongs its lifetime. The potential of contrail-driven secondary nucleation is investigated. We consider homogeneous nucleation and heterogeneous nucleation of preactivated soot cores released from sublimated contrail ice crystals. In our model the contrail dynamics triggered by radiative heating does not suffice to force homogeneous freezing of ambient liquid aerosol particles. Furthermore, our model results suggest that heterogeneous nucleation of preactivated soot cores is unimportant. Contrail evolution is not controlled by the depth of the supersaturated layer as long as it exceeds roughly 500 m. Deep fallstreaks however need thicker layers. A variation of the initial ice crystal number is effective during the whole evolution of a contrail. A cut of the soot particle emission by two orders of magnitude can reduce the contrail timescale by one hour and the optical thickness by a factor of 5. Hence future engines with lower soot particle emissions could potentially lead to a reduction of the climate impact of aviation.

  6. 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

  7. A Test of the Fundamental Physics Underlying Exoplanet Climate Models

    Science.gov (United States)

    Beatty, Thomas; Keating, Dylan; Cowan, Nick; Gaudi, Scott; Kataria, Tiffany; Fortney, Jonathan; Stassun, Keivan; Collins, Karen; Deming, Drake; Bell, Taylor; Dang, Lisa; Rogers, Tamara; Colon, Knicole

    2018-05-01

    A fundamental issue in how we understand exoplanet atmospheres is the assumed physical behavior underlying 3D global circulation models (GCMs). Modeling an entire 3D atmosphere is a Herculean task, and so in exoplanet GCMs we generally assume that there are no clouds, no magnetic effects, and chemical equilibrium (e.g., Kataria et al 2016). These simplifying assumptions are computationally necessary, but at the same time their exclusion allows for a large theoretical lee-way when comparing to data. Thus, though significant discrepancies exist between almost all a priori GCM predictions and their corresponding observations, these are assumed to be due to the lack of clouds, or atmospheric drag, or chemical disequilibrium, in the models (e.g., Wong et al. 2016, Stevenson et al. 2017, Lewis et al. 2017, Zhang et al. 2018). Since these effects compete with one another and have large uncertainties, this makes tests of the fundamental physics in GCMs extremely difficult. To rectify this, we propose to use 88.4 hours of Spitzer time to observe 3.6um and 4.5um phase curves of the transiting giant planet KELT-9b. KELT-9b has an observed dayside temperature of 4600K (Gaudi et al. 2017), which means that there will very likely be no clouds on the day- or nightside, and is hot enough that the atmosphere should be close to local chemical equilibrium. Additionally, we plan to leverage KELT-9b's high temperature to make the first measurement of global wind speed on an exoplanet (Bell & Cowan 2018), giving a constraint on atmospheric drag and magnetic effects. Combined, this means KELT-9b is close to a real-world GCM, without most of the effects present on lower temperature planets. Additionally, since KELT-9b orbits an extremely bright host star these will be the highest signal-to-noise ratio phase curves taken with Spitzer by more than a factor of two. This gives us a unique opportunity to make the first precise and direct investigation into the fundamental physics that are the

  8. The detectability of radio emission from exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lynch, C. R.; Murphy, Tara; Lenc, E.; Kaplan, D. L.

    2018-05-01

    Like the magnetised planets in our Solar System, magnetised exoplanets should emit strongly at radio wavelengths. Radio emission directly traces the planetary magnetic fields and radio detections can place constraints on the physical parameters of these features. Large comparative studies of predicted radio emission characteristics for the known population of exoplanets help to identify what physical parameters could be key for producing bright, observable radio emission. Since the last comparative study, many thousands of exoplanets have been discovered. We report new estimates for the radio flux densities and maximum emission frequencies for the current population of known exoplanets orbiting pre-main sequence and main-sequence stars with spectral types F-M. The set of exoplanets predicted to produce observable radio emission are Hot Jupiters orbiting young stars. The youth of these system predicts strong stellar magnetic fields and/or dense winds, which are key for producing bright, observable radio emission. We use a new all-sky circular polarisation Murchison Widefield Array survey to place sensitive limits on 200 MHz emission from exoplanets, with 3σ values ranging from 4.0 - 45.0 mJy. Using a targeted Giant Metre Wave Radio Telescope observing campaign, we also report a 3σ upper limit of 4.5 mJy on the radio emission from V830 Tau b, the first Hot Jupiter to be discovered orbiting a pre-main sequence star. Our limit is the first to be reported for the low-frequency radio emission from this source.

  9. 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.

  10. Transiting exoplanets from the CoRoT space mission. XXI. CoRoT-19b: a low density planet orbiting an old inactive F9V-star

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Guenther, E. W.; Díaz, R. F.; Gazzano, J.-C.

    2012-01-01

    Context. Observations of transiting extrasolar planets are of key importance to our understanding of planets because their mass, radius, and mass density can be determined. These measurements indicate that planets of similar mass can have very different radii. For low-density planets, it is gener...

  11. 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.

  12. HIGH-RESOLUTION SATELLITE IMAGING OF THE 2004 TRANSIT OF VENUS AND ASYMMETRIES IN THE CYTHEREAN ATMOSPHERE

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Pasachoff, Jay M.; Schneider, Glenn; Widemann, Thomas

    2011-01-01

    This paper presents the only space-borne optical-imaging observations of the 2004 June 8 transit of Venus, the first such transit visible from Earth since AD 1882. The high-resolution, high-cadence satellite images we arranged from NASA's Transition Region and Coronal Explorer (TRACE) reveal the onset of visibility of Venus's atmosphere and give further information about the black-drop effect, whose causes we previously demonstrated from TRACE observations of a transit of Mercury. The atmosphere is gradually revealed before second contact and after third contact, resulting from the changing depth of atmospheric layers refracting the photospheric surface into the observer's direction. We use Venus Express observations to relate the atmospheric arcs seen during the transit to the atmospheric structure of Venus. Finally, we relate the transit images to current and future exoplanet observations, providing a sort of ground truth showing an analog in our solar system to effects observable only with light curves in other solar systems with the Kepler and CoRoT missions and ground-based exoplanet-transit observations.

  13. TRANSIT

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    First page Back Continue Last page Overview Graphics. TRANSIT. SYSTEM: DETERMINE 2D-POSITION GLOBALLY BUT INTERMITTENT (POST-FACTO). IMPROVED ACCURACY. PRINCIPLE: POLAR SATELLITES WITH INNOVATIONS OF: GRAVITY-GRADIENT ATTITUDE CONTROL; DRAG COMPENSATION. WORKS ...

  14. Refraction in exoplanet atmospheres: Photometric signatures, implications for transmission spectroscopy, and search in Kepler data

    OpenAIRE

    Alp, Dennis; Demory, Brice-Olivier

    2017-01-01

    Refraction deflects photons that pass through atmospheres, which affects transit light curves. Refraction thus provides an avenue to probe physical properties of exoplanet atmospheres and to constrain the presence of clouds and hazes. In addition, an effective surface can be imposed by refraction, thereby limiting the pressure levels probed by transmission spectroscopy. The main objective of the paper is to model the effects of refraction on photometric light curves for realistic planets and ...

  15. Dynamical measurements of the interior structure of exoplanets

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Becker, Juliette C.; Batygin, Konstantin

    2013-01-01

    Giant gaseous planets often reside on orbits in sufficient proximity to their host stars for the planetary quadrupole gravitational field to become non-negligible. In presence of an additional planetary companion, a precise characterization of the system's orbital state can yield meaningful constraints on the transiting planet's interior structure. However, such methods can require a very specific type of system. This paper explores the dynamic range of applicability of these methods and shows that interior structure calculations are possible for a wide array of orbital architectures. The HAT-P-13 system is used as a case study, and the implications of perturbations arising from a third distant companion on the feasibility of an interior calculation are discussed. We find that the method discussed here is likely to be useful in studying other planetary systems, allowing the possibility of an expanded survey of the interiors of exoplanets.

  16. Prospects for Detecting Thermal Emission from Terrestrial Exoplanets with JWST

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kreidberg, Laura

    2018-01-01

    A plethora of nearby, terrestrial exoplanets has been discovered recently by ground-based surveys. Excitingly, some of these are in the habitable zones of their host stars, and may be hospitable for life. However, all the planets orbit small, cool stars and have considerably different irradiation environments from the Earth, making them vulnerable to atmospheric escape, erosion and collapse. Atmosphere characterization is therefore critical to assessing the planets' habitability. I will discuss possible JWST thermal emission measurements to determine the atmospheric properties of nearby terrestrial planets. I will focus on prospects for detecting physically motivated atmospheres for planets orbiting LHS 1140, GJ 1132, and TRAPPIST-1. I will also discuss the potential for using phase curve observations to determine whether an atmosphere has survived on the non-transiting planet Proxima b.

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. Habitability constraints on water-rich exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Noack, Lena; Höning, Dennis; Rivoldini, Attilio; Heistracher, Clemens; Zimov, Nastasia; Journaux, Baptiste; Lammer, Helmut; Van Hoolst, Tim; Hendrik Bredehöft, Jan

    2016-04-01

    This research addresses the characterization, modelling, thermal evolution and possible habitability of water-rich exoplanets. Water is necessary for the origin and survival of life as we know it. In the search for habitable worlds, water-rich planets therefore seem obvious candidates. The water layer on such planets could be hundreds of kilometers deep. Depending on the temperature profile and the pressure gradient, it is likely that at great depths a significant part of the water layer is solid high pressure ice. Whether the solid ice layer extends to the bottom of the water layer, or if a shallow lower ocean forms above the silicate mantle, depends amongst others on the thermal state of the planet. We therefore model the thermal evolution of water-rich planets with a 1D parameterized model. Depth-dependent profiles for thermodynamic properties as well as pressure and gravity are obtained by solving the Poisson equation for the gravity and the hydrostatic pressure equation for pre-defined mass and composition (in terms of iron, silicates and water) [1]. For density, equations of state are applied. For the simulation of the thermal evolution of water-rich planets, several parameters (as initial temperatures or layer thicknesses) are unknown. We therefore employ a quantitatve study with more than 20'000 simulations, where we investigated which parameters have the largest influence on the appearance of a lower ocean, i.e. the possible melting of high-pressure ice by heat flowing out of the silicate mantle [2]. We find that the surface temperature has the largest influence on the thickness of water layers, for which a lower ocean can still form between the high-pressure ice layer and the silicate mantle. For higher surface temperatures, not only entirely liquid oceans are possible for deeper water shells, also a liquid ocean can form under high-pressure ice layers of hundreds of kilometer thickness (for a 1 Earth-mass planet). Deeper down, the lower ocean can still

  1. LkCa 15: A YOUNG EXOPLANET CAUGHT AT FORMATION?

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Kraus, Adam L.; Ireland, Michael J.

    2012-01-01

    Young and directly imaged exoplanets offer critical tests of planet-formation models that are not matched by radial velocity surveys of mature stars. These targets have been extremely elusive to date, with no exoplanets younger than 10-20 Myr and only a handful of direct-imaged exoplanets at all ages. We report the direct-imaging discovery of a likely (proto)planet around the young (∼2 Myr) solar analog LkCa 15, located inside a known gap in the protoplanetary disk (a 'transitional disk'). Our observations use non-redundant aperture masking interferometry at three epochs to reveal a faint and relatively blue point source (M K ' =9.1±0.2, K' – L' = 0.98 ± 0.22), flanked by approximately co-orbital emission that is red and resolved into at least two sources (M L ' =7.5±0.2, K' – L' = 2.7 ± 0.3; M L ' =7.4±0.2, K' – L' = 1.94 ± 0.16). We propose that the most likely geometry consists of a newly formed (proto)planet that is surrounded by dusty material. The nominal estimated mass is ∼6 M Jup according to the 1 Myr hot-start models. However, we argue based on its luminosity, color, and the presence of circumplanetary material that the planet has likely been caught at its epoch of assembly, and hence this mass is an upper limit due to its extreme youth and flux contributed by accretion. The projected separations (71.9 ± 1.6 mas, 100.7 ± 1.9 mas, and 88.2 ± 1.8 mas) and deprojected orbital radii (16, 21, and 19 AU) correspond to the center of the disk gap, but are too close to the primary star for a circular orbit to account for the observed inner edge of the outer disk, so an alternative explanation (i.e., additional planets or an eccentric orbit) is likely required. This discovery is the first direct evidence that at least some transitional disks do indeed host newly formed (or forming) exoplanetary systems, and the observed properties provide crucial insight into the gas giant formation process.

  2. 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

  3. Prospects for Ground-Based Detection and Follow-up of TESS-Discovered Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Varakian, Matthew; Deming, Drake

    2018-01-01

    The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) will monitor over 200,000 main sequence dwarf stars for exoplanetary transits, with the goal of discovering small planets orbiting stars that are bright enough for follow-up observations. We here evaluate the prospects for ground-based transit detection and follow-up of the TESS-discovered planets. We focus particularly on the TESS planets that only transit once during each 27.4 day TESS observing window per region, and we calculate to what extent ground-based recovery of additional transits will be possible. Using simulated exoplanet systems from Sullivan et al. and assuming the use of a 60-cm telescope at a high quality observing site, we project the S/N ratios for transits of such planets. We use Phoenix stellar models for stars with surface temperatures from 2500K to 12000K, and we account for limb darkening, red atmospheric noise, and missed transits due to the day-night cycle and poor weather.

  4. 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.

  5. HELIUM ATMOSPHERES ON WARM NEPTUNE- AND SUB-NEPTUNE-SIZED EXOPLANETS AND APPLICATIONS TO GJ 436b

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Hu, Renyu; Yung, Yuk L.; Seager, Sara

    2015-01-01

    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 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 −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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Wang, Ji; Fischer, Debra A.; Picard, Alyssa; Schmitt, Joseph R.; Boyajian, Tabetha S.; Barclay, Thomas; Ma, Bo; Bowler, Brendan P.; Riddle, Reed; Jek, Kian J.; LaCourse, Daryll; Simister, Dean Joseph; Grégoire, Boscher; Babin, Sean P.; Poile, Trevor; Jacobs, Thomas Lee; Baranec, Christoph; Law, Nicholas M.; Lintott, Chris; Schawinski, Kevin

    2015-01-01

    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

  7. 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.

  8. A TEMPERATURE AND ABUNDANCE RETRIEVAL METHOD FOR EXOPLANET ATMOSPHERES

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Madhusudhan, N.; Seager, S.

    2009-01-01

    We present a new method to retrieve molecular abundances and temperature profiles from exoplanet atmosphere photometry and spectroscopy. We run millions of one-dimensional (1D) atmosphere models in order to cover the large range of allowed parameter space. In order to run such a large number of models, we have developed a parametric pressure-temperature (P-T) profile coupled with line-by-line radiative transfer, hydrostatic equilibrium, and energy balance, along with prescriptions for non-equilibrium molecular composition and energy redistribution. The major difference from traditional 1D radiative transfer models is the parametric P-T profile, which essentially means adopting energy balance only at the top of the atmosphere and not in each layer. We see the parametric P-T model as a parallel approach to the traditional exoplanet atmosphere models that rely on several free parameters to encompass unknown absorbers and energy redistribution. The parametric P-T profile captures the basic physical features of temperature structures in planetary atmospheres (including temperature inversions), and fits a wide range of published P-T profiles, including those of solar system planets. We apply our temperature and abundance retrieval method to the atmospheres of two transiting exoplanets, HD 189733b and HD 209458b, which have the best Spitzer and Hubble Space Telescope data available. For HD 189733b, we find efficient day-night redistribution of energy in the atmosphere, and molecular abundance constraints confirming the presence of H 2 O, CO, CH 4 , and CO 2 . For HD 209458b, we confirm and constrain the dayside thermal inversion in an average 1D temperature profile. We also report independent detections of H 2 O, CO, CH 4 , and CO 2 on the dayside of HD 209458b, based on six-channel Spitzer photometry. We report constraints for HD 189733b due to individual data sets separately; a few key observations are variable in different data sets at similar wavelengths. Moreover, a

  9. Combining Photometry from Kepler and TESS to Improve Short-Period Exoplanet Characterization

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-01-01

    Planets emit thermal radiation and reflect incident light that they receive from their host stars. As a planet orbits its host star the photometric variations associated with these two effects produce very similar phase curves. If observed through only a single bandpass, this leads to a degeneracy between certain planetary parameters that hinder the precise characterization of such planets. However, observing the same planet through two different bandpasses gives much more information about the planet. Here we develop a Bayesian methodology for combining photometry from both Kepler and the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite. In addition, we demonstrate via simulations that one can disentangle the reflected and thermally emitted light from the atmosphere of a hot-Jupiter as well as more precisely constrain both the geometric albedo and day-side temperature of the planet. This methodology can further be employed using various combinations of photometry from the James Webb Space Telescope, the Characterizing ExOplanet Satellite, or the PLATO mission.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. ON THE ORBIT OF EXOPLANET WASP-12b

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Campo, Christopher J.; Harrington, Joseph; Hardy, Ryan A.; Stevenson, Kevin B.; Nymeyer, Sarah; Lust, Nate B.; Blecic, Jasmina; Britt, Christopher B. T.; Bowman, William C.; Ragozzine, Darin; Anderson, David R.; Hellier, Coel; Maxted, Pierre F. L.; Collier-Cameron, Andrew; Wheatley, Peter J.; Loredo, Thomas J.; Deming, Drake; Hebb, Leslie; Pollaco, Don; West, Richard G.

    2011-01-01

    We observed two secondary eclipses of the exoplanet WASP-12b using the Infrared Array Camera on the Spitzer Space Telescope. The close proximity of WASP-12b to its G-type star results in extreme tidal forces capable of inducing apsidal precession with a period as short as a few decades. This precession would be measurable if the orbit had a significant eccentricity, leading to an estimate of the tidal Love number and an assessment of the degree of central concentration in the planetary interior. An initial ground-based secondary-eclipse phase reported by Lopez-Morales et al. (0.510 ± 0.002) implied eccentricity at the 4.5σ level. The spectroscopic orbit of Hebb et al. has eccentricity 0.049 ± 0.015, a 3σ result, implying an eclipse phase of 0.509 ± 0.007. However, there is a well-documented tendency of spectroscopic data to overestimate small eccentricities. Our eclipse phases are 0.5010 ± 0.0006 (3.6 and 5.8 μm) and 0.5006 ± 0.0007 (4.5 and 8.0 μm). An unlikely orbital precession scenario invoking an alignment of the orbit during the Spitzer observations could have explained this apparent discrepancy, but the final eclipse phase of Lopez-Morales et al. (0.510 ± +0.007 -0.006 ) is consistent with a circular orbit at better than 2σ. An orbit fit to all the available transit, eclipse, and radial-velocity data indicates precession at <1σ; a non-precessing solution fits better. We also comment on analysis and reporting for Spitzer exoplanet data in light of recent re-analyses.

  13. Revealing Fact or Fiction in Spitzer Exoplanet Phase Curve Trends

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bean, Jacob; Parmentier, Vivien; Mansfield, Megan; Cowan, Nicolas; Kempton, Eliza; Desert, Jean-Michel; Swain, Mark; Dang, Lisa; Bell, Taylor; Keating, Dylan; Zellem, Robert; Fortney, Jonathan; Line, Michael; Kreidberg, Laura; Stevenson, Kevin

    2018-05-01

    The constraints on energy transport in exoplanet atmospheres from phase curve observations is sure to be one of Spitzer's enduring legacies. However, with phase curves for 17 planets now observed we find that the previously observed trends are not coming into sharper focus. Instead, these trends in hot spot offset and day-night flux contrast vs. the fundamental planetary parameters expected to control the energy transport (e.g., irradiation and rotational period) are becoming more uncertain due to the recent discovery of outliers. At the same time, there is a growing understanding that a number of factors like magnetic fields, aerosols, and molecular chemistry could be confounding the search for these correlations. We propose a final phase curve program to advance our understanding of energy transport in transiting exoplanet atmospheres and to cement Spitzer's legacy on this topic. This program tackles the outstanding questions in this area with a comprehensive, two-pronged approach: (1) a survey of an additional 10 high signal-to-noise planets that span a broad parameter space and (2) a search for magnetic field-induced variability in the planet HAT-P-7b. The expanded survey will bring additional statistical power to the search for trends and will enable us to determine if the recently-detected outliers are indeed oddities or are instead actually representative of the intrinsic sample diversity. The variability search will test the hypothesis that the atmospheric dynamics of the partially ionized atmospheres of close-in planets are influenced by magnetic fields, which could explain the observed scatter around the existing trends. All observations will be performed at 4.5 microns, which is the consensus best channel for these measurements. The dataset from this program will provide vital context for JWST observations and will not be superseded until ARIEL flies more than a decade from now.

  14. WFIRST: Exoplanet Data Challenge. Atmospheric retrieval results

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hildebrandt, Sergi; Turnbull, Margaret; Exoplanet Data Challenge Team

    2018-01-01

    We present the results of the Exoplanet Data Challenge for its first 2016/17 cycle and the current cycle 2. Some input spectra for extra-solar systems are processed through the WFIRST IFS instrument model, producing simulated data representative of the flight data. Atmospheric properties are then recovered using complex atmospheric models and multidimensional optimization. The results inform about WFIRST CGI ability to characterize exo-planetray atmospheres.

  15. Atmospheric Seasonality as an Exoplanet Biosignature

    Science.gov (United States)

    Olson, Stephanie L.; Schwieterman, Edward W.; Reinhard, Christopher T.; Ridgwell, Andy; Kane, Stephen R.; Meadows, Victoria S.; Lyons, Timothy W.

    2018-05-01

    Current investigations of exoplanet biosignatures have focused on static evidence of life, such as the presence of biogenic gases like O2 or CH4. However, the expected diversity of terrestrial planet atmospheres and the likelihood of both “false positives” and “false negatives” for conventional biosignatures motivate exploration of additional life detection strategies, including time-varying signals. Seasonal variation in atmospheric composition is a biologically modulated phenomenon on Earth that may occur elsewhere because it arises naturally from the interplay between the biosphere and time-variable insolation. The search for seasonality as a biosignature would avoid many assumptions about specific metabolisms and provide an opportunity to directly quantify biological fluxes—allowing us to characterize, rather than simply recognize, biospheres on exoplanets. Despite this potential, there have been no comprehensive studies of seasonality as an exoplanet biosignature. Here, we provide a foundation for further studies by reviewing both biological and abiological controls on the magnitude and detectability of seasonality of atmospheric CO2, CH4, O2, and O3 on Earth. We also consider an example of an inhabited world for which atmospheric seasonality may be the most notable expression of its biosphere. We show that life on a low O2 planet like the weakly oxygenated mid-Proterozoic Earth could be fingerprinted by seasonal variation in O3 as revealed in its UV Hartley–Huggins bands. This example highlights the need for UV capabilities in future direct-imaging telescope missions (e.g., LUVOIR/HabEx) and illustrates the diagnostic importance of studying temporal biosignatures for exoplanet life detection/characterization.

  16. The First 90 Days of the New Middle School Principal in a Turnaround School: In-Depth Case Study of the Transition Period (First 90 Days)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baeza, Marco A.

    2010-01-01

    This study analyzed skills, strategies, and theories that new middle school principals used to be successful during their transition period (the first 90 days) in turnaround schools. Based on research on transitions, three research questions guided the study: 1. Do middle school principals in a turnaround school situation find the transition…

  17. TRANSITING THE SUN. II. THE IMPACT OF STELLAR ACTIVITY ON Lyα TRANSITS

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Llama, J.; Shkolnik, E. L., E-mail: joe.llama@lowell.edu [Lowell Observatory, 1400 W Mars Hill Road, Flagstaff, AZ 86001 (United States)

    2016-01-20

    High-energy observations of the Sun provide an opportunity to test the limits of our ability to accurately measure the properties of transiting exoplanets in the presence of stellar activity. Here we insert the transit of a hot Jupiter into continuous disk integrated data of the Sun in Lyα from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory/EVE instrument to assess the impact of stellar activity on the measured planet-to-star radius ratio (R{sub p}/R{sub ⋆}). In 75% of our simulated light curves, we measure the correct radius ratio; however, incorrect values can be measured if there is significant short-term variability in the light curve. The maximum measured value of R{sub p}/R{sub ⋆} is 50% larger than the input value, which is much smaller than the large Lyα transit depths that have been reported in the literature, suggesting that for stars with activity levels comparable to the Sun, stellar activity alone cannot account for these deep transits. We ran simulations without a transit and found that stellar activity cannot mimic the Lyα transit of 55 Cancari b, strengthening the conclusion that this planet has a partially transiting exopshere. We were able to compare our simulations to more active stars by artificially increasing the variability in the Solar Lyα light curve. In the higher variability data, the largest value of R{sub p}/R{sub ⋆} we measured is <3× the input value, which again is not large enough to reproduce the Lyα transit depth reported for the more active stars HD 189733 and GJ 436, supporting the interpretation that these planets have extended atmospheres and possible cometary tails.

  18. TRANSITING THE SUN. II. THE IMPACT OF STELLAR ACTIVITY ON Lyα TRANSITS

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Llama, J.; Shkolnik, E. L.

    2016-01-01

    High-energy observations of the Sun provide an opportunity to test the limits of our ability to accurately measure the properties of transiting exoplanets in the presence of stellar activity. Here we insert the transit of a hot Jupiter into continuous disk integrated data of the Sun in Lyα from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory/EVE instrument to assess the impact of stellar activity on the measured planet-to-star radius ratio (R p /R ⋆ ). In 75% of our simulated light curves, we measure the correct radius ratio; however, incorrect values can be measured if there is significant short-term variability in the light curve. The maximum measured value of R p /R ⋆ is 50% larger than the input value, which is much smaller than the large Lyα transit depths that have been reported in the literature, suggesting that for stars with activity levels comparable to the Sun, stellar activity alone cannot account for these deep transits. We ran simulations without a transit and found that stellar activity cannot mimic the Lyα transit of 55 Cancari b, strengthening the conclusion that this planet has a partially transiting exopshere. We were able to compare our simulations to more active stars by artificially increasing the variability in the Solar Lyα light curve. In the higher variability data, the largest value of R p /R ⋆ we measured is <3× the input value, which again is not large enough to reproduce the Lyα transit depth reported for the more active stars HD 189733 and GJ 436, supporting the interpretation that these planets have extended atmospheres and possible cometary tails

  19. 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.

  20. THE FREQUENCY OF LOW-MASS EXOPLANETS

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    O'Toole, S. J.; Jones, H. R. A.; Tinney, C. G.; Bailey, J.; Wittenmyer, R. A.; Butler, R. P.; Marcy, G. W.; Carter, B.

    2009-01-01

    We report first results from the Anglo-Australian Telescope Rocky Planet Search-an intensive, high-precision Doppler planet search targeting low-mass exoplanets in contiguous 48 night observing blocks. On this run, we targeted 24 bright, nearby and intrinsically stable Sun-like stars selected from the Anglo-Australian Planet Search's main sample. These observations have already detected one low-mass planet reported elsewhere (HD 16417b), and here we reconfirm the detection of HD 4308b. Further, we have Monte Carlo simulated data from this run on a star-by-star basis to produce robust detection constraints. These simulations demonstrate clear differences in the exoplanet detectability functions from star to star due to differences in sampling, data quality and intrinsic stellar stability. They reinforce the importance of star-by-star simulation when interpreting the data from Doppler planet searches. These simulations indicate that for some of our target stars we are sensitive to close-orbiting planets as small as a few Earth masses. The two low-mass planets present in our 24-star sample indicate that the exoplanet minimum mass function at low masses is likely to be a flat α ∼ -1 (for dN/dM ∝ M α ) and that between 15% ± 10% (at α = -0.3) and 48% ± 34% (at α = -1.3) of stars host planets with orbital periods of less than 16 days and minimum masses greater than 3 M + .

  1. TWO EXOPLANETS DISCOVERED AT KECK OBSERVATORY

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Valenti, Jeff A.; Fischer, Debra; Giguere, Matt; Isaacson, Howard; Marcy, Geoffrey W.; Howard, Andrew W.; Johnson, John A.; Henry, Gregory W.; Wright, Jason T.

    2009-01-01

    We present two exoplanets detected at Keck Observatory. HD 179079 is a G5 subgiant that hosts a hot Neptune planet with M sin i = 27.5 M + in a 14.48 days, low-eccentricity orbit. The stellar reflex velocity induced by this planet has a semiamplitude of K = 6.6 m s -1 . HD 73534 is a G5 subgiant with a Jupiter-like planet of M sin i = 1.1 M Jup and K = 16 m s -1 in a nearly circular 4.85 yr orbit. Both stars are chromospherically inactive and metal-rich. We discuss a known, classical bias in measuring eccentricities for orbits with velocity semiamplitudes, K, comparable to the radial velocity uncertainties. For exoplanets with periods longer than 10 days, the observed exoplanet eccentricity distribution is nearly flat for large amplitude systems (K > 80 m s -1 ), but rises linearly toward low eccentricity for lower amplitude systems (K > 20 m s -1 ).

  2. Archaeology and direct imaging of exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Campbell, John B.

    The search for extraterrestrial technology effectively began 45 years ago with Frank Drake's Project Ozma and a radioastronomy start to the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI). Eventually searches began for possible interstellar probes in stable orbits in the Solar System, as well as for infrared excesses from possible Dyson spheres round Sun-like stars. Whilst the Cold War was still underway, some scientists looked for evidence of nuclear waste dumps and nuclear wars elsewhere in the Milky Way. None of this work was carried out by archaeologists, even though by their very nature archaeologists are experts in the detection of ancient technologies. The technologies being searched for would have been partly ancient in age though advanced in techniques and science. The development of ESA's Darwin and NASA's TPF for detection and imaging of Earth-like exoplanets in our galactic neighbourhood represents an opportunity for the testing of techniques for detecting signatures of technological activities. Ideally, both Darwin and TPF might be able to provide spectroscopic data on the chemistry and biochemistry of the atmospheres of Earth-like exoplanets, and thus to detect some of the signs of life. If this can be accomplished successfully, then in theory evidence for pollution and nuclear accidents and wars should be detectable. Some infrared signatures of ETT on or round exoplanets might be detectable. Direct visual imaging of ETT structures will probably not be feasible till we have extremely powerful interstellar telescopes or actually send orbital craft.

  3. The Gemini Planet Imager Exoplanet Survey

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nielsen, Eric L.; Macintosh, Bruce; Graham, James R.; Barman, Travis S.; Doyon, Rene; Fabrycky, Daniel; Fitzgerald, Michael P.; Kalas, Paul; Konopacky, Quinn M.; Marchis, Franck; Marley, Mark S.; Marois, Christian; Patience, Jenny; Perrin, Marshall D.; Oppenheimer, Rebecca; Song, Inseok; GPIES Team

    2017-01-01

    The Gemini Planet Imager Exoplanet Survey (GPIES) is one of the largest most sensitive direct imaging searches for exoplanets conducted to date, and having observed more than 300 stars the survey is halfway complete. We present highlights from the first half of the survey, including the discovery and characterization of the young exoplanet 51 Eri b and the brown dwarf HR 2562 B, new imaging of multiple disks, and resolving the young stellar binary V343 Nor for the first time. GPI has also provided new spectra and orbits of previous known planets and brown dwarfs and polarization measurements of a wide range of disks. Finally, we discuss the constraints placed by the first half of the GPIES campaign on the population of giant planets at orbital separations beyond that of Jupiter. Supported by NSF grants AST-0909188 and AST-1313718, AST-1411868, AST 141378, NNX11AF74G, and DGE-1232825, and by NASA grants NNX15AD95G/NEXSS and NNX11AD21G.

  4. A New Spin to Exoplanet Habitability Criteria

    Science.gov (United States)

    Georgoulis, M. K.; Patsourakos, S.

    2017-12-01

    We describe a physically- and statistically-based method to infer the near-Sun magnetic field of coronal mass ejections (CMEs) and then extrapolate it to the inner heliosphere and beyond. Besides a ballpark agreement with in-situ observations of interplanetary CMEs (ICMEs) at L1, we use our estimates to show that Earth does not seem to be at risk of an extinction-level atmospheric erosion or stripping by the magnetic pressure of extreme solar eruptions, even way above a Carrington-type event. This does not seem to be the case with exoplanets, however, at least those orbiting in the classically defined habitability zones of magnetically active dwarf stars at orbital radii of a small fraction of 1 AU. We show that the combination of stellar ICMEs and the tidally locking zone of mother stars, that quite likely does not allow these exoplanets to attain Earth-like magnetic fields to shield themselves, probably render the existence of a proper atmosphere in them untenable. We propose, therefore, a critical revision of habitability criteria in these cases that would limit the number of target exoplanets considered as potential biosphere hosts.

  5. The Frequency of Low-Mass Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    O'Toole, S. J.; Jones, H. R. A.; Tinney, C. G.; Butler, R. P.; Marcy, G. W.; Carter, B.; Bailey, J.; Wittenmyer, R. A.

    2009-08-01

    We report first results from the Anglo-Australian Telescope Rocky Planet Search—an intensive, high-precision Doppler planet search targeting low-mass exoplanets in contiguous 48 night observing blocks. On this run, we targeted 24 bright, nearby and intrinsically stable Sun-like stars selected from the Anglo-Australian Planet Search's main sample. These observations have already detected one low-mass planet reported elsewhere (HD 16417b), and here we reconfirm the detection of HD 4308b. Further, we have Monte Carlo simulated data from this run on a star-by-star basis to produce robust detection constraints. These simulations demonstrate clear differences in the exoplanet detectability functions from star to star due to differences in sampling, data quality and intrinsic stellar stability. They reinforce the importance of star-by-star simulation when interpreting the data from Doppler planet searches. These simulations indicate that for some of our target stars we are sensitive to close-orbiting planets as small as a few Earth masses. The two low-mass planets present in our 24-star sample indicate that the exoplanet minimum mass function at low masses is likely to be a flat α ~ -1 (for dN/dM vprop M α) and that between 15% ± 10% (at α = -0.3) and 48% ± 34% (at α = -1.3) of stars host planets with orbital periods of less than 16 days and minimum masses greater than 3 M ⊕.

  6. 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

    Previous research on Citizen Science projects agree that Citizen Science (CS) would serve as a way of both increasing levels of public understanding of science and public participation in scientific research. Historically, the concept of CS is not new, it dates back to the 20th century when citizens where making skilled observations, particularly in archaeology, ecology, and astronomy. Recently, the idea of CS has been improved due to technological progress and the arrival of Internet. The phrase "astronomy from the chair" that is being used in the literature highlights the extent of the convenience for analysing observational data. Citizen science benefits a variety of communities, such as scientific researchers, volunteers and STEM educators. Participating in CS projects is not only engaging the volunteers with the research goals of a science team, but is also helping them learning more about specialised scientific topics. In the case of astronomy, typical examples of CS projects are gathering observational data or/and analysing them. The Holomon Photometric Software (HOPS) is a user-friendly photometric software for exoplanets, with graphical representations, statistics, models, options are brought together into a single package. It was originally developed to analyse observations of transiting exoplanets obtained from the Holomon Astronomical Station of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. Here, we make the case that this software can be used as part of a CS project in analysing transiting exoplanets and producing light-curves. HOPS could contribute to the scientific data analysis but it could be used also as an educational tool for learning and visualizing photometry analyses of transiting exoplanets. Such a tool could be proven very efficient in the context of public participation in the research. In recent successful representative examples such as Galaxy Zoo professional astronomers cooperating with CS discovered a group of rare galaxies by using

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Dobinson, Jack; Leinhardt, Zoë M.; Lines, Stefan; Carter, Philip J.; Dodson-Robinson, Sarah E.; Teanby, Nick A.

    2016-01-01

    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

  8. Characterizing Exoplanet Atmospheres : A Complete Line List for Phosphine

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sousa-Silva, C.; Yurchenko, S. N.; Tennyson, J.

    2013-09-01

    The ability to characterise the atmospheres of cool stars, brown dwarfs and exoplanets requires fundamental data for all species contributing significantly to their opacity. However, with notable exceptions such as water and ammonia, existing molecular line lists are not sufficiently accurate or complete to allow for a full spectroscopic analysis of these bodies. ExoMol (www.exomol.com [1]) is a project that aims to rectify this by generating comprehensive line lists for all molecules likely to be detected in the atmospheres of cool astrophysical objects in the foreseeable future. The spectral data is generated by employing ab initio quantum mechanical methods, performing empirical refinement based on experimental spectroscopic data and harnessing high performance computing. Here we present our work on phosphine, (PH3), an equilateral pyramidal molecule (the phosphorus analogue to ammonia). Phosphine is known to be important for the atmospheres of giant-planets, cool stars and many other astronomical bodies. Rotational transition features of phosphine have been found in the far- infrared spectra of Saturn and Jupiter [2, 3], where it is a marker for vertical convection zones. A computed room temperature line list of phosphine is presented here [4], illustrated in the accompanying figure 1. This line list is a precursor to a high temperature equivalent to be produced in the near future, necessary for the analysis of cool stars and brown dwarfs. All the transitions' energy levels and Einstein A-coefficients were computed using the program TROVE [5].

  9. Terrestrial Zone Exoplanets and Life

    Science.gov (United States)

    Matthews, Brenda

    2018-01-01

    One of the most exciting results from ALMA has been the detection of significant substructure within protoplanetary disks that can be linked to planet formation processes. For the first time, we are able to observe the process of assembly of material into larger bodies within such disks. It is not possible, however, for ALMA to probe the growth of planets in protoplanetary disks at small radii, i.e., in the terrestrial zone, where we expect rocky terrestrial planets to form. In this regime, the optical depths prohibit observation at the high frequencies observed by ALMA. To probe the effects of planet building processes and detect telltale gaps and signatures of planetary mass bodies at such small separations from the parent star, we require a facility of superior resolution and sensitivity at lower frequencies. The ngVLA is just such a facility. We will present the fundamental science that will be enabled by the ngVLA in protoplanetary disk structure and the formation of planets. In addition, we will discuss the potential for an ngVLA facility to detect the molecules that are the building blocks of life, reaching limits well beyond those reachable with the current generation of telescopes, and also to determine whether such planets will be habitable based on studies of the impact of stars on their nearest planetary neighbours.

  10. Exoplanets: Past, Present, and Future

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Chien-Hsiu Lee

    2018-04-01

    Full Text Available Our understanding of extra-solar planet systems is highly driven by advances in observations in the past decade. Thanks to high precision spectrographs, we are able to reveal unseen companions to stars with the radial velocity method. High precision photometry from the space, especially with the Kepler mission, enables us to detect planets when they transit their stars and dim the stellar light by merely one percent or smaller. Ultra wide-field, high cadence, continuous monitoring of the Galactic bulge from different sites around the southern hemisphere provides us the opportunity to observe microlensing effects caused by planetary systems from the solar neighborhood, all the way to the Milky Way center. The exquisite AO imaging from ground-based large telescopes, coupled with high-contrast coronagraph, captured the photons directly emitted by planets around other stars. In this article, I present a concise review of the extra-solar planet discoveries, discussing the strengths and weaknesses of the major planetary detection methods, providing an overview of our current understanding of planetary formation and evolution given the tremendous observations delivered by various methods, as well as on-going and planned observation endeavors to provide a clear picture of extra-solar planetary systems.

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. THE ULTRAVIOLET RADIATION ENVIRONMENT AROUND M DWARF EXOPLANET HOST STARS

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    France, Kevin; Froning, Cynthia S.; Stocke, John T.; Bushinsky, Rachel [Center for Astrophysics and Space Astronomy, University of Colorado, 389 UCB, Boulder, CO 80309 (United States); Linsky, Jeffrey L. [JILA, University of Colorado and NIST, 440 UCB, Boulder, CO 80309 (United States); Roberge, Aki [Exoplanets and Stellar Astrophysics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771 (United States); Tian, Feng [Center for Earth System Sciences, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084 (China); Desert, Jean-Michel [Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125 (United States); Mauas, Pablo; Vieytes, Mariela [Instituto de Astronomsica del Espacio (CONICET-UBA), C.C. 67 Sucursal 28, 1428 Buenos Aires (Argentina); Walkowicz, Lucianne M., E-mail: kevin.france@colorado.edu [Department of Astrophysical Sciences, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544 (United States)

    2013-02-15

    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 Ly{alpha} emission lines are reconstructed, and we find that the Ly{alpha} line fluxes comprise {approx}37%-75% of the total 1150-3100 A flux from most M dwarfs; {approx}>10{sup 3} times the solar value. We develop an empirical scaling relation between Ly{alpha} and Mg II emission, to be used when interstellar H I attenuation precludes the direct observation of Ly{alpha}. The intrinsic unreddened flux ratio is F(Ly{alpha})/F(Mg II) = 10 {+-} 3. The F(FUV)/F(NUV) flux ratio, a driver for abiotic production of the suggested biomarkers O{sub 2} and O{sub 3}, is shown to be {approx}0.5-3 for all M dwarfs in our sample, >10{sup 3} 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{sup 2}-10{sup 3} s timescales. This effect should be taken into account in future UV

  14. Transiting exoplanets from the CoRoT space mission

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Ollivier, M.; Gillon, M.; Santerne, A.

    2012-01-01

    Aims. We report the discovery of CoRoT-16b, a low density hot jupiter that orbits a faint G5V star (mV = 15.63) in 5.3523 ± 0.0002 days with slight eccentricity. A fit of the data with no a priori assumptions on the orbit leads to an eccentricity of 0.33 ± 0.1. We discuss this value and also derive......RoT-16b is a 0.535 −0.083/+0.085 MJ, 1.17 −0.14/+0.16 RJ hot Jupiter with a density of 0.44 −0.14/+0.21 g cm-3. Despite its short orbital distance (0.0618 ± 0.0015 AU) and the age of the parent star (6.73 ± 2.8 Gyr), the planet orbit exhibits significantly non-zero eccentricity. This is very uncommon...

  15. 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...

  16. The Search for Exoplanets using Ultra-long Wavelength Radio Astronomy

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Bentum, Marinus Jan

    2017-01-01

    Recent studies on extra solar planets (exoplanets) provide us with a new glimpse into the Milky Way's composition. Exoplanets appear to be very typical around Sunlike stars. Most of these exoplanets are observed via indirect measurements. If a direct radio observation of the exoplanet's signal was

  17. Direct Detection of Polarized, Scattered Light from Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Laughlin, Gregory

    We propose to radically advance the state of exoplanet characterization, which lags dramatically behind exoplanet discovery. We propose to directly detect scattered light from the atmospheres of close-in, highly eccentric, and extended/non-spherical exoplanets and thereby determine the following: orbital inclination (and therefore masses free of the M sin i mass ambiguity), geometric albedo, presence or lack of hazes and cloud layers, and scattering particle size and composition. Such measurements are crucial to the understanding of exoplanet atmospheres, because observations with NASA s Hubble, Spitzer, and Kepler space telescopes present the following questions: 1) Do exoplanets have highly reflective haze layers? 2) How does the upper atmospheric composition differ between exoplanets with and without thermal inversions? 3) What are the optical manifestations of the extreme heating of highly eccentric exoplanets? 4) Are the atmospheres of certain exoplanets truly escaping their Roche lobes? Using the POLISH2 polarimeter developed by the Postdoctoral Associate (Wiktorowicz) for the Lick 3-m telescope, we propose to monitor the linear polarization state of exoplanet host stars at the part per million level. POLISH2 consistently delivers nearly photon shot noise limited measurements with this precision. In addition, the simultaneous full-Stokes measurements of POLISH2 and the equatorial mount of the Lick 3-m telescope ensure that systematic effects are mitigated to the part per million level. Indeed, we find the accuracy of the POLISH2 polarimeter to be 0.1 parts per million. This instrument and telescope represent the highest precision polarimeter in the world for exoplanet research. We present potential detection of polarized, scattered light from the HD 189733b, Tau Boo b, and WASP-12b exoplanets. We propose to observe hot Jupiters on circular orbits, highly eccentric exoplanets, exoplanets with extended or non-spherical scattering surfaces, and 55 Cnc e, the

  18. 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.

  19. 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; hide

    2017-01-01

    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 X(exp 2) 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 approximately 0.56 to approximately 1-1.3 for equilibrium temperatures from approximately 900 to approximately 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 (approximately 460 000 simulations) is publicly available and can be used directly with the JWST simulator PandExo for planning observations.

  20. EXOPLANET ALBEDO SPECTRA AND COLORS AS A FUNCTION OF PLANET PHASE, SEPARATION, AND METALLICITY

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Cahoy, Kerri L.; Marley, Mark S.; Fortney, Jonathan J.

    2010-01-01

    First generation space-based optical coronagraphic telescopes will obtain images of cool gas- and ice-giant exoplanets around nearby stars. Exoplanets lying at planet-star separations larger than about 1 AU-where an exoplanet can be resolved from its parent star-have spectra that are dominated by reflected light to beyond 1 μm and punctuated by molecular absorption features. Here, we consider how exoplanet albedo spectra and colors vary as a function of planet-star separation, metallicity, mass, and observed phase for Jupiter and Neptune analogs from 0.35 to 1 μm. We model Jupiter analogs with 1x and 3x the solar abundance of heavy elements, and Neptune analogs with 10x and 30x the solar abundance of heavy elements. Our model planets orbit a solar analog parent star at separations of 0.8 AU, 2 AU, 5 AU, and 10 AU. We use a radiative-convective model to compute temperature-pressure profiles. The giant exoplanets are found to be cloud-free at 0.8 AU, possess H 2 O clouds at 2 AU, and have both NH 3 and H 2 O clouds at 5 AU and 10 AU. For each model planet we compute moderate resolution (R = λ/Δλ ∼ 800) albedo spectra as a function of phase. We also consider low-resolution spectra and colors that are more consistent with the capabilities of early direct imaging capabilities. As expected, the presence and vertical structure of clouds strongly influence the albedo spectra since cloud particles not only affect optical depth but also have highly directional scattering properties. Observations at different phases also probe different volumes of atmosphere as the source-observer geometry changes. Because the images of the planets themselves will be unresolved, their phase will not necessarily be immediately obvious, and multiple observations will be needed to discriminate between the effects of planet-star separation, metallicity, and phase on the observed albedo spectra. We consider the range of these combined effects on spectra and colors. For example, we find that

  1. Design, fabrication, and testing of stellar coronagraphs for exoplanet imaging

    Science.gov (United States)

    Knight, Justin M.; Brewer, John; Hamilton, Ryan; Ward, Karen; Milster, Tom D.; Guyon, Olivier

    2017-09-01

    Complex-mask coronagraphs destructively interfere unwanted starlight with itself to enable direct imaging of exoplanets. This is accomplished using a focal plane mask (FPM); a FPM can be a simple occulter mask, or in the case of a complex-mask, is a multi-zoned device designed to phase-shift starlight over multiple wavelengths to create a deep achromatic null in the stellar point spread function. Creating these masks requires microfabrication techniques, yet many such methods remain largely unexplored in this context. We explore methods of fabrication of complex FPMs for a Phased-Induced Amplitude Apodization Complex-Mask Coronagraph (PIAACMC). Previous FPM fabrication efforts for PIAACMC have concentrated on mask manufacturability while modeling science yield, as well as assessing broadband wavelength operation. Moreover current fabrication efforts are concentrated on assessing coronagraph performance given a single approach. We present FPMs fabricated using several process paths, including deep reactive ion etching and focused ion beam etching using a silicon substrate. The characteristic size of the mask features is 5μm with depths ranging over 1μm. The masks are characterized for manufacturing quality using an optical interferometer and a scanning electron microscope. Initial testing is performed at the Subaru Extreme Adaptive Optics testbed, providing a baseline for future experiments to determine and improve coronagraph performance within fabrication tolerances.

  2. TYCHO: Simulating Exoplanets Within Stellar Clusters

    Science.gov (United States)

    Glaser, Joseph Paul; Thornton, Jonathan; Geller, Aaron M.; McMillan, Stephen

    2018-01-01

    Recent surveys exploring nearby open clusters have yielded noticeable differences in the planetary population from that seen in the Field. This is surprising, as the two should be indistinguishable given currently accepted theories on how a majority of stars form within the Galaxy. Currently, the existence of this apparent deficit is not fully understood. While detection bias in previous observational surveys certainly contributes to this issue, the dynamical effects of star-star scattering must also be taken into account. However, this effect can only be investigated via computational simulations and current solutions of the multi-scale N-body problem are limited and drastically simplified.To remedy this, we aim to create a physically complete computational solution to explore the role of stellar close encounters and interplanetary interactions in producing the observed exoplanet populations for both open cluster stars and Field stars. To achieve this, TYCHO employs a variety of different computational techniques, including: multiple n-body integration methods; close-encounter handling; Monte Carlo scattering experiments; and a variety of observationally-backed initial condition generators. Herein, we discuss the current state of the code's implantation within the AMUSE framework and its applications towards present exoplanet surveys.

  3. LIGHT SCATTERING FROM EXOPLANET OCEANS AND ATMOSPHERES

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Zugger, M. E.; Kane, T. J.; Kasting, J. F.; Williams, D. M.; Philbrick, C. R.

    2010-01-01

    Orbital variation in reflected starlight from exoplanets could eventually be used to detect surface oceans. Exoplanets with rough surfaces, or dominated by atmospheric Rayleigh scattering, should reach peak brightness in full phase, orbital longitude (OL) = 180 0 , whereas ocean planets with transparent atmospheres should reach peak brightness in crescent phase near OL = 30 0 . Application of Fresnel theory to a planet with no atmosphere covered by a calm ocean predicts a peak polarization fraction of 1 at OL = 74 0 ; however, our model shows that clouds, wind-driven waves, aerosols, absorption, and Rayleigh scattering in the atmosphere and within the water column dilute the polarization fraction and shift the peak to other OLs. Observing at longer wavelengths reduces the obfuscation of the water polarization signature by Rayleigh scattering but does not mitigate the other effects. Planets with thick Rayleigh scattering atmospheres reach peak polarization near OL = 90 0 , but clouds and Lambertian surface scattering dilute and shift this peak to smaller OL. A shifted Rayleigh peak might be mistaken for a water signature unless data from multiple wavelength bands are available. Our calculations suggest that polarization alone may not positively identify the presence of an ocean under an Earth-like atmosphere; however, polarization adds another dimension which can be used, in combination with unpolarized orbital light curves and contrast ratios, to detect extrasolar oceans, atmospheric water aerosols, and water clouds. Additionally, the presence and direction of the polarization vector could be used to determine planet association with the star, and constrain orbit inclination.

  4. 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.

  5. ESPRESSO: The next European exoplanet hunter

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pepe, F.; Molaro, P.; Cristiani, S.; Rebolo, R.; Santos, N. C.; Dekker, H.; Mégevand, D.; Zerbi, F. M.; Cabral, A.; Di Marcantonio, P.; Abreu, M.; Affolter, M.; Aliverti, M.; Allende Prieto, C.; Amate, M.; Avila, G.; Baldini, V.; Bristow, P.; Broeg, C.; Cirami, R.; Coelho, J.; Conconi, P.; Coretti, I.; Cupani, G.; D'Odorico, V.; De Caprio, V.; Delabre, B.; Dorn, R.; Figueira, P.; Fragoso, A.; Galeotta, S.; Genolet, L.; Gomes, R.; González Hernández, J. I.; Hughes, I.; Iwert, O.; Kerber, F.; Landoni, M.; Lizon, J.-L.; Lovis, C.; Maire, C.; Mannetta, M.; Martins, C.; Monteiro, M.; Oliveira, A.; Poretti, E.; Rasilla, J. L.; Riva, M.; Santana Tschudi, S.; Santos, P.; Sosnowska, D.; Sousa, S.; Spanó, P.; Tenegi, F.; Toso, G.; Vanzella, E.; Viel, M.; Zapatero Osorio, M. R.

    2014-01-01

    The acronym ESPRESSO stems for Echelle SPectrograph for Rocky Exoplanets and Stable Spectroscopic Observations; this instrument will be the next VLT high resolution spectrograph. The spectrograph will be installed at the Combined-Coudé Laboratory of the VLT and linked to the four 8.2 m Unit Telescopes (UT) through four optical Coudé trains. ESPRESSO will combine efficiency and extreme spectroscopic precision. ESPRESSO is foreseen to achieve a gain of two magnitudes with respect to its predecessor HARPS, and to improve the instrumental radial-velocity precision to reach the 10 cm s-1 level. It can be operated either with a single UT or with up to four UTs, enabling an additional gain in the latter mode. The incoherent combination of four telescopes and the extreme precision requirements called for many innovative design solutions while ensuring the technical heritage of the successful HARPS experience. ESPRESSO will allow to explore new frontiers in most domains of astrophysics that require precision and sensitivity. The main scientific drivers are the search and characterization of rocky exoplanets in the habitable zone of quiet, nearby G to M-dwarfs and the analysis of the variability of fundamental physical constants. The project passed the final design review in May 2013 and entered the manufacturing phase. ESPRESSO will be installed at the Paranal Observatory in 2016 and its operation is planned to start by the end of the same year.

  6. 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.

  7. MODELS OF NEPTUNE-MASS EXOPLANETS: EMERGENT FLUXES AND ALBEDOS

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Spiegel, David S.; Burrows, Adam; Ibgui, Laurent; Hubeny, Ivan; Milsom, John A.

    2010-01-01

    There are now many known exoplanets with Msin i within a factor of 2 of Neptune's, including the transiting planets GJ 436b and HAT-P-11b. Planets in this mass range are different from their more massive cousins in several ways that are relevant to their radiative properties and thermal structures. By analogy with Neptune and Uranus, they are likely to have metal abundances that are an order of magnitude or more greater than those of larger, more massive planets. This increases their opacity, decreases Rayleigh scattering, and changes their equation of state. Furthermore, their smaller radii mean that fluxes from these planets are roughly an order of magnitude lower than those of otherwise identical gas giant planets. Here, we compute a range of plausible radiative equilibrium models of GJ 436b and HAT-P-11b. In addition, we explore the dependence of generic Neptune-mass planets on a range of physical properties, including their distance from their host stars, their metallicity, the spectral type of their stars, the redistribution of heat in their atmospheres, and the possible presence of additional optical opacity in their upper atmospheres.

  8. Challenges to Constraining Exoplanet Masses via Transmission Spectroscopy

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Batalha, Natasha E. [Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA 16802 (United States); Kempton, Eliza M.-R. [Department of Physics, Grinnell College, 1116 8th Avenue, Grinnell, IA 50112 (United States); Mbarek, Rostom, E-mail: neb149@psu.edu [Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of Chicago, 5640 South Ellis Avenue, Chicago, IL 60637 (United States)

    2017-02-10

    MassSpec , a method for determining the mass of a transiting exoplanet from its transmission spectrum alone, was proposed by de Wit and 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 H{sub 2}O and H{sub 2}, 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.

  9. MASSIVE SATELLITES OF CLOSE-IN GAS GIANT EXOPLANETS

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Cassidy, Timothy A.; Johnson, Robert E.; Mendez, Rolando; Arras, Phil; Skrutskie, Michael F.

    2009-01-01

    We study the orbits, tidal heating and mass loss from satellites around close-in gas giant exoplanets. The focus is on large satellites which are potentially observable by their transit signature. We argue that even Earth-size satellites around hot Jupiters can be immune to destruction by orbital decay; detection of such a massive satellite would strongly constrain theories of tidal dissipation in gas giants, in a manner complementary to orbital circularization. The star's gravity induces significant periodic eccentricity in the satellite's orbit. The resulting tidal heating rates, per unit mass, are far in excess of Io's and dominate radioactive heating out to planet orbital periods of months for reasonable satellite tidal Q. Inside planet orbital periods of about a week, tidal heating can completely melt the satellite. Lastly, we compute an upper limit to the satellite mass loss rate due to thermal evaporation from the surface, valid if the satellite's atmosphere is thin and vapor pressure is negligible. Using this upper limit, we find that although rocky satellites around hot Jupiters with orbital periods less than a few days can be significantly evaporated in their lifetimes, detectable satellites suffer negligible mass loss at longer orbital periods.

  10. Challenges to Constraining Exoplanet Masses via Transmission Spectroscopy

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    2017-01-01

    MassSpec , a method for determining the mass of a transiting exoplanet from its transmission spectrum alone, was proposed by de Wit and 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 H 2 O and H 2 , 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. Transit and radial velocity survey efficiency comparison for a habitable zone Earth

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Burke, Christopher J.; McCullough, P. R.

    2014-01-01

    Transit and radial velocity searches are two techniques for identifying nearby extrasolar planets to Earth that transit bright stars. Identifying a robust sample of these exoplanets around bright stars for detailed atmospheric characterization is a major observational undertaking. In this study we describe a framework that answers the question of whether a transit or radial velocity survey is more efficient at finding transiting exoplanets given the same amount of observing time. Within the framework we show that a transit survey's window function can be approximated using the hypergeometric probability distribution. We estimate the observing time required for a transit survey to find a transiting Earth-sized exoplanet in the habitable zone (HZ) with an emphasis on late-type stars. We also estimate the radial velocity precision necessary to detect the equivalent HZ Earth-mass exoplanet that also transits when using an equal amount of observing time as the transit survey. We find that a radial velocity survey with σ rv ∼ 0.6 m s –1 precision has comparable efficiency in terms of observing time to a transit survey with the requisite photometric precision σ phot ∼ 300 ppm to find a transiting Earth-sized exoplanet in the HZ of late M dwarfs. For super-Earths, a σ rv ∼ 2.0 m s –1 precision radial velocity survey has comparable efficiency to a transit survey with σ phot ∼ 2300 ppm.

  15. EQUATORIAL SUPERROTATION ON TIDALLY LOCKED EXOPLANETS

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Showman, Adam P.; Polvani, Lorenzo M.

    2011-01-01

    The increasing richness of exoplanet observations has motivated a variety of three-dimensional (3D) atmospheric circulation models of these planets. Under strongly irradiated conditions, models of tidally locked, short-period planets (both hot Jupiters and terrestrial planets) tend to exhibit a circulation dominated by a fast eastward, or 'superrotating', jet stream at the equator. When the radiative and advection timescales are comparable, this phenomenon can cause the hottest regions to be displaced eastward from the substellar point by tens of degrees longitude. Such an offset has been subsequently observed on HD 189733b, supporting the possibility of equatorial jets on short-period exoplanets. Despite its relevance, however, the dynamical mechanisms responsible for generating the equatorial superrotation in such models have not been identified. Here, we show that the equatorial jet results from the interaction of the mean flow with standing Rossby waves induced by the day-night thermal forcing. The strong longitudinal variations in radiative heating-namely intense dayside heating and nightside cooling-trigger the formation of standing, planetary-scale equatorial Rossby and Kelvin waves. The Rossby waves develop phase tilts that pump eastward momentum from high latitudes to the equator, thereby inducing equatorial superrotation. We present an analytic theory demonstrating this mechanism and explore its properties in a hierarchy of one-layer (shallow-water) calculations and fully 3D models. The wave-mean-flow interaction produces an equatorial jet whose latitudinal width is comparable to that of the Rossby waves, namely the equatorial Rossby deformation radius modified by radiative and frictional effects. For conditions typical of synchronously rotating hot Jupiters, this length is comparable to a planetary radius, explaining the broad scale of the equatorial jet obtained in most hot-Jupiter models. Our theory illuminates the dependence of the equatorial jet

  16. Records of Migration in the Exoplanet Configurations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Michtchenko, Tatiana A.; Rodriguez Colucci, A.; Tadeu Dos Santos, M.

    2013-05-01

    Abstract (2,250 Maximum Characters): When compared to our Solar System, many exoplanet systems exhibit quite unusual planet configurations; some of these are hot Jupiters, which orbit their central stars with periods of a few days, others are resonant systems composed of two or more planets with commensurable orbital periods. It has been suggested that these configurations can be the result of a migration processes originated by tidal interactions of the planets with disks and central stars. The process known as planet migration occurs due to dissipative forces which affect the planetary semi-major axes and cause the planets to move towards to, or away from, the central star. In this talk, we present possible signatures of planet migration in the distribution of the hot Jupiters and resonant exoplanet pairs. For this task, we develop a semi-analytical model to describe the evolution of the migrating planetary pair, based on the fundamental concepts of conservative and dissipative dynamics of the three-body problem. Our approach is based on an analysis of the energy and the orbital angular momentum exchange between the two-planet system and an external medium; thus no specific kind of dissipative forces needs to be invoked. We show that, under assumption that dissipation is weak and slow, the evolutionary routes of the migrating planets are traced by the stationary solutions of the conservative problem (Birkhoff, Dynamical systems, 1966). The ultimate convergence and the evolution of the system along one of these modes of motion are determined uniquely by the condition that the dissipation rate is sufficiently smaller than the roper frequencies of the system. We show that it is possible to reassemble the starting configurations and migration history of the systems on the basis of their final states, and consequently to constrain the parameters of the physical processes involved.

  17. Optimal Electric Field Estimation for Exoplanet Imaging Observatories in Space

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — The discovery and characterization of Earth-like planets around other stars is a high priority in modern astronomy. While over 900 confirmed exoplanets have been...

  18. Helium discovered in the tail of an exoplanet

    Science.gov (United States)

    Deming, Drake

    2018-05-01

    As the exoplanet WASP-107b orbits its host star, its atmosphere escapes to form a comet-like tail. Helium atoms detected in the escaping gases give astronomers a powerful tool for investigating exoplanetary atmospheres.

  19. 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 ...

  20. Are "Habitable" Exoplanets Really Habitable? -A perspective from atmospheric loss

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dong, C.; Huang, Z.; Jin, M.; Lingam, M.; Ma, Y. J.; Toth, G.; van der Holst, B.; Airapetian, V.; Cohen, O.; Gombosi, T. I.

    2017-12-01

    In the last two decades, the field of exoplanets has witnessed a tremendous creative surge. Research in exoplanets now encompasses a wide range of fields ranging from astrophysics to heliophysics and atmospheric science. One of the primary objectives of studying exoplanets is to determine the criteria for habitability, and whether certain exoplanets meet these requirements. The classical definition of the Habitable Zone (HZ) is the region around a star where liquid water can exist on the planetary surface given sufficient atmospheric pressure. However, this definition largely ignores the impact of the stellar wind and stellar magnetic activity on the erosion of an exoplanet's atmosphere. Amongst the many factors that determine habitability, understanding the mechanisms of atmospheric loss is of paramount importance. We will discuss the impact of exoplanetary space weather on climate and habitability, which offers fresh insights concerning the habitability of exoplanets, especially those orbiting M-dwarfs, such as Proxima b and the TRAPPIST-1 system. For each case, we will demonstrate the importance of the exoplanetary space weather on atmospheric ion loss and habitability.

  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

    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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kempton, Eliza; Bean, Jacob; Parmentier, Vivien

    2018-01-01

    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 present 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 idea that the two key types of aerosols -- photochemically generated hazes and equilibrium condensate clouds -- are expected to form and persist in different regions of a highly irradiated planet's atmosphere. Haze can only be produced on the permanent daysides of tidally-locked hot Jupiters, and will be carried downwind by atmospheric dynamics to the evening terminator (seen as the trailing limb during transit). Clouds can only form in cooler regions on the night side and morning terminator 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, we find that observations with JWST and potentially with HST should be able to distinguish between clouds and haze for currently known HIHJs.

  3. PyTranSpot: A tool for multiband light curve modeling of planetary transits and stellar spots

    Science.gov (United States)

    Juvan, Ines G.; Lendl, M.; Cubillos, P. E.; Fossati, L.; Tregloan-Reed, J.; Lammer, H.; Guenther, E. W.; Hanslmeier, A.

    2018-02-01

    Several studies have shown that stellar activity features, such as occulted and non-occulted starspots, can affect the measurement of transit parameters biasing studies of transit timing variations and transmission spectra. We present PyTranSpot, which we designed to model multiband transit light curves showing starspot anomalies, inferring both transit and spot parameters. The code follows a pixellation approach to model the star with its corresponding limb darkening, spots, and transiting planet on a two dimensional Cartesian coordinate grid. We combine PyTranSpot with a Markov chain Monte Carlo framework to study and derive exoplanet transmission spectra, which provides statistically robust values for the physical properties and uncertainties of a transiting star-planet system. We validate PyTranSpot's performance by analyzing eleven synthetic light curves of four different star-planet systems and 20 transit light curves of the well-studied WASP-41b system. We also investigate the impact of starspots on transit parameters and derive wavelength dependent transit depth values for WASP-41b covering a range of 6200-9200 Å, indicating a flat transmission spectrum.

  4. Challenges in the transition toward a hydrogen-based society. An in-depth study to assess the potential of a transition to a hydrogen-based energy supply in Europe

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Mourik, R.; De Groot, A.; Jeeninga, H.

    2006-12-01

    The Hysociety project, financed under the FP5 framework of the European Commission, aimed to contribute to European policies on hydrogen-related issues through the development of an action plan for the introduction of hydrogen. The geographic target was Europe, focusing on the 15 European Union member states, plus Norway and Iceland. In addition, demonstration projects in Canada, the United States, Japan, Brazil, and China were analyzed. Work package 1 addressed the technological, infrastructural, ecological, economic, political, and cultural challenges of the transition to a hydrogen-based society. The work built upon an analysis of the challenges identified in demonstration projects in all participating countries. In this article we first discuss the transition theory and the methodology used in Hysociety work package 1 and conclude with a discussion of results of the Hysociety project

  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. 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

  7. UNDERSTANDING TRENDS ASSOCIATED WITH CLOUDS IN IRRADIATED EXOPLANETS

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Heng, Kevin; Demory, Brice-Olivier

    2013-01-01

    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 albedo

  8. Orbital Dynamics and Habitability of Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Deitrick, Russell J.

    With the discoveries of thousands of extra-solar planets, a handful of which are terrestrial in size and located within the "habitable zone" of their host stars, the discovery of another instance of life in the universe seems increasingly within our grasp. Yet, a number of difficulties remain--with current and developing technologies, the full characterization of a terrestrial atmosphere and, hence, the detection of biosignatures will be extraordinarily difficult and expensive. Furthermore, observations will be ambiguous, as recent developments have shown that there is no "smoking gun" for the presence of life. Ultimately, the interpretation of observations will depend heavily upon our understanding of life's fundamental properties and the physical context of a planet's observed properties. This thesis is devoted to a development of the latter quantity, physical context, focusing on a topic oft-neglected in theoretical works of habitability: orbital dynamics. I show a number of ways in which orbital dynamics can affect the habitability of exoplanets. This work highlights the crucial role of stability, mutual inclinations, and resonances, demonstrating how these properties influence atmospheric states. Studies of exoplanetary systems tend to assume that the planets are coplanar, however, the large mutual inclination of the planets orbiting upsilon Andromedae suggests that coplanarity is not always a valid assumption. In my study of this system, I show that the large inclination between planets c and d and their large eccentricities lead to dramatic orbital variations. Though there is almost certainly no habitable planet orbiting upsilon And, the existence of this system demonstrates that we should expect other such dynamically "hot" planetary systems, some of which may contain potentially habitable planets. Minute variations in a planet's orbit can lead to changes in the global temperature, and indeed, these variations seem to be intimately connected to Earth

  9. 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.

  10. Exoplanet Classification and Yield Estimates for Direct Imaging Missions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kopparapu, Ravi Kumar; Hébrard, Eric; Belikov, Rus; Batalha, Natalie M.; Mulders, Gijs D.; Stark, Chris; Teal, Dillon; Domagal-Goldman, Shawn; Mandell, Avi

    2018-04-01

    Future NASA concept missions that are currently under study, like the Habitable Exoplanet Imaging Mission (HabEx) and the Large Ultra-violet Optical Infra Red Surveyor, could discover a large diversity of exoplanets. We propose here a classification scheme that distinguishes exoplanets into different categories based on their size and incident stellar flux, for the purpose of providing the expected number of exoplanets observed (yield) with direct imaging missions. The boundaries of this classification can be computed using the known chemical behavior of gases and condensates at different pressures and temperatures in a planetary atmosphere. In this study, we initially focus on condensation curves for sphalerite ZnS, {{{H}}}2{{O}}, {CO}}2, and {CH}}4. The order in which these species condense in a planetary atmosphere define the boundaries between different classes of planets. Broadly, the planets are divided into rocky planets (0.5–1.0 R ⊕), super-Earths (1.0–1.75 R ⊕), sub-Neptunes (1.75–3.5 R ⊕), sub-Jovians (3.5–6.0 R ⊕), and Jovians (6–14.3 R ⊕) based on their planet sizes, and “hot,” “warm,” and “cold” based on the incident stellar flux. We then calculate planet occurrence rates within these boundaries for different kinds of exoplanets, η planet, using the community coordinated results of NASA’s Exoplanet Program Analysis Group’s Science Analysis Group-13 (SAG-13). These occurrence rate estimates are in turn used to estimate the expected exoplanet yields for direct imaging missions of different telescope diameters.

  11. Correcting Estimates of the Occurrence Rate of Earth-like Exoplanets for Stellar Multiplicity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cantor, Elliot; Dressing, Courtney D.; Ciardi, David R.; Christiansen, Jessie

    2018-06-01

    One of the most prominent questions in the exoplanet field has been determining the true occurrence rate of potentially habitable Earth-like planets. NASA’s Kepler mission has been instrumental in answering this question by searching for transiting exoplanets, but follow-up observations of Kepler target stars are needed to determine whether or not the surveyed Kepler targets are in multi-star systems. While many researchers have searched for companions to Kepler planet host stars, few studies have investigated the larger target sample. Regardless of physical association, the presence of nearby stellar companions biases our measurements of a system’s planetary parameters and reduces our sensitivity to small planets. Assuming that all Kepler target stars are single (as is done in many occurrence rate calculations) would overestimate our search completeness and result in an underestimate of the frequency of potentially habitable Earth-like planets. We aim to correct for this bias by characterizing the set of targets for which Kepler could have detected Earth-like planets. We are using adaptive optics (AO) imaging to reveal potential stellar companions and near-infrared spectroscopy to refine stellar parameters for a subset of the Kepler targets that are most amenable to the detection of Earth-like planets. We will then derive correction factors to correct for the biases in the larger set of target stars and determine the true frequency of systems with Earth-like planets. Due to the prevalence of stellar multiples, we expect to calculate an occurrence rate for Earth-like exoplanets that is higher than current figures.

  12. A map of the large day-night temperature gradient of a super-Earth exoplanet.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Demory, Brice-Olivier; Gillon, Michael; de Wit, Julien; Madhusudhan, Nikku; Bolmont, Emeline; Heng, Kevin; Kataria, Tiffany; Lewis, Nikole; Hu, Renyu; Krick, Jessica; Stamenković, Vlada; Benneke, Björn; Kane, Stephen; Queloz, Didier

    2016-04-14

    Over the past decade, observations of giant exoplanets (Jupiter-size) have provided key insights into their atmospheres, but the properties of lower-mass exoplanets (sub-Neptune) remain largely unconstrained because of the challenges of observing small planets. Numerous efforts to observe the spectra of super-Earths--exoplanets with masses of one to ten times that of Earth--have so far revealed only featureless spectra. Here we report a longitudinal thermal brightness map of the nearby transiting super-Earth 55 Cancri e (refs 4, 5) revealing highly asymmetric dayside thermal emission and a strong day-night temperature contrast. Dedicated space-based monitoring of the planet in the infrared revealed a modulation of the thermal flux as 55 Cancri e revolves around its star in a tidally locked configuration. These observations reveal a hot spot that is located 41 ± 12 degrees east of the substellar point (the point at which incident light from the star is perpendicular to the surface of the planet). From the orbital phase curve, we also constrain the nightside brightness temperature of the planet to 1,380 ± 400 kelvin and the temperature of the warmest hemisphere (centred on the hot spot) to be about 1,300 kelvin hotter (2,700 ± 270 kelvin) at a wavelength of 4.5 micrometres, which indicates inefficient heat redistribution from the dayside to the nightside. Our observations are consistent with either an optically thick atmosphere with heat recirculation confined to the planetary dayside, or a planet devoid of atmosphere with low-viscosity magma flows at the surface.

  13. 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.

  14. CoRoT-2b: a Tidally Inflated, Young Exoplanet?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Guillot, Tristan; Havel, M.

    2009-09-01

    CoRoT-2b is among the most anomalously large transiting exoplanet known. Due to its large mass (3.3 Mjup), its large radius ( 1.5 Rjup) cannot be explained by standard evolution models. Recipes that work for other anomalously large exoplanets (e.g. HD209458b), such as invoking kinetic energy transport in the planetary interior or increased opacities, clearly fail for CoRoT-2b. Interestingly, the planet's parent star is an active star with a large fraction (7 to 20%) of spots and a rapid rotation (4.5 days). We first model the star's evolution to accurately constrain the planetary parameters. We find that the stellar activity has little influence on the star's evolution and inferred parameters. However, stellar evolution models point towards two kind of solutions for the star-planet system: (i) a very young system (20-40 Ma) with a star still undergoing pre-main sequence contraction, and a planet which could have a radius as low as 1.4 Rjup, or (ii) a young main-sequence star (40 to 500 Ma) with a planet that is slightly more inflated ( 1.5 Rjup). In either case, planetary evolution models require a significant added internal energy to explain the inferred planet size: from a minimum of 3x1028 erg/s in case (i), to up to 1.5x1029 erg/s in case (ii). We find that evolution models consistently including planet/star tides are able to reproduce the inferred radius but only for a short period of time ( 10 Ma). This points towards a young age for the star/planet system and dissipation by tides due to either circularization or synchronization of the planet. Additional observations of the star (infrared excess due to disk?) and of the planet (precise Rossiter effect, IR secondary eclispe) would be highly valuable to understand the early evolution of star-exoplanet systems.

  15. Extrasolar Planet Transits Observed at Kitt Peak National Observatory

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sada, Pedro V.; Jennings, Donald E.; Deming, Drake; Jennings, Donald E.; Jackson, Brian; Hamilton, Catrina M.; Fraine, Jonathan; Peterson, Steven W.; Haase, Flynn; Bays, Kevin; hide

    2012-01-01

    We obtained J-, H-, and JH-band photometry of known extrasolar planet transiting systems at the 2.1 m Kitt Peak National Observatory Telescope using the FLAMINGOS infrared camera between 2008 October and 2011 October. From the derived light curves we have extracted the midtransit times, transit depths and transit durations for these events. The precise midtransit times obtained help improve the orbital periods and also constrain transit-time variations of the systems. For most cases the published system parameters successfully accounted for our observed light curves, but in some instances we derive improved planetary radii and orbital periods. We complemented our 2.1 m infrared observations using CCD z0-band and B-band photometry (plus two H(alpha) filter observations) obtained with the Kitt Peak Visitor Center Telescope, and with four H-band transits observed in 2007 October with the NSO's 1.6 m McMath-Pierce Solar Telescope. The principal highlights of our results are (1) Our ensemble of J-band planetary radii agree with optical radii, with the best-fit relation being RpRJ0:0017 0:979RpRvis. (2) We observe starspot crossings during the transit of WASP-11HAT-P-10. (3) We detect starspot crossings by HAT-P-11b (Kepler-3b), thus confirming that the magnetic evolution of the stellar active regions can be monitored even after the Kepler mission has ended. (4) We confirm a grazing transit for HAT-P-27WASP-40. In total, we present 57 individual transits of 32 known exoplanet systems.

  16. 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.

  17. TIDALLY HEATED TERRESTRIAL EXOPLANETS: VISCOELASTIC RESPONSE MODELS

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Henning, Wade G.; O'Connell, Richard J.; Sasselov, Dimitar D.

    2009-01-01

    Tidal friction in exoplanet systems, driven by orbits that allow for durable nonzero eccentricities at short heliocentric periods, can generate internal heating far in excess of the conditions observed in our own solar system. Secular perturbations or a notional 2:1 resonance between a hot Earth and hot Jupiter can be used as a baseline to consider the thermal evolution of convecting bodies subject to strong viscoelastic tidal heating. We compare results first from simple models using a fixed Quality factor and Love number, and then for three different viscoelastic rheologies: the Maxwell body, the Standard Anelastic Solid (SAS), and the Burgers body. The SAS and Burgers models are shown to alter the potential for extreme tidal heating by introducing the possibility of new equilibria and multiple response peaks. We find that tidal heating tends to exceed radionuclide heating at periods below 10-30 days, and exceed insolation only below 1-2 days. Extreme cases produce enough tidal heat to initiate global-scale partial melting, and an analysis of tidal limiting mechanisms such as advective cooling for earthlike planets is discussed. To explore long-term behaviors, we map equilibria points between convective heat loss and tidal heat input as functions of eccentricity. For the periods and magnitudes discussed, we show that tidal heating, if significant, is generally detrimental to the width of habitable zones.

  18. Starshades for Exoplanet Imaging and Characterization

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kasdin, N. J.; Vanderbei, R. J.; Shaklan, S.; Lisman, D.; Thomson, M.; Cady, E.; Macintosh, B.; Sirbu, D.; Lo, A.

    2014-01-01

    An external occulter is a satellite employing a large screen, or starshade, that flies in formation with a spaceborne telescope to provide the starlight suppression needed for detecting and characterizing exoplanets. Among the advantages of using an occulter are the broadband allowed for characterization and the removal of light before entering the observatory, greatly relaxing the requirements on the telescope and instrument. In this presentation I will explain how star shades achieve high contrast through precise design and control of their shape and how we develop an error budget to establish requirements on the manufacturing and control. Raising the technology readiness level of starshades requires a sequence of activities to verify approaches to manufacturing, deployment, test, and analysis. The SAT-TDEM program has been instrumental in raising the readiness level of the most critical technology. In particular, I will show the results of our first TDEM in 2010-2012 that verified a full scale petal could be built and measured to the needed accuracy for 10 orders of magnitude of contrast. Our second TDEM in 2012-2014 verified that a starshade could be deployed and the petals could be placed to the required position to better than 1 mm. Finally, laboratory experiments have verified the optical modeling used to predict starshade performance to better than 1e-10.

  19. Habitable exoplanet imager optical telescope concept design

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stahl, H. Philip

    2017-09-01

    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 Sunlike 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-mirroranastigmatic, 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.

  20. Thermodynamic Equations of State for Aqueous Solutions Applied to Deep Icy Satellite and Exoplanet Oceans

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vance, S.; Brown, J. M.; Bollengier, O.; Journaux, B.; Sotin, C.; Choukroun, M.; Barnes, R.

    2014-12-01

    Supporting life in icy world or exoplanet oceans may require global seafloor chemical reactions between water and rock. Such interactions have been regarded as limited in larger icy worlds such as Ganymede and Titan, where ocean depths approach 800 km and GPa pressures (>10katm). If the oceans are composed of pure water, such conditions are consistent with the presence of dense ice phases V and VI that cover the rocky seafloor. Exoplanets with oceans can obtain pressures sufficient to generate ices VII and VIII. We have previously demonstrated temperature gradients in such oceans on the order of 20 K or more, resulting from fluid compressibility in a deep adiabatic ocean based on our experimental work. Accounting for increases in density for highly saline oceans leads to the possibility of oceans perched under and between high pressure ices. Ammonia has the opposite effect, instead decreasing ocean density, as reported by others and confirmed by our laboratory measurements in the ammonia water system. Here we report on the completed equation of state for aqueous ammonia derived from our prior measurements and optimized global b-spline fitting methods We use recent diamond anvil cell measurements for water and ammonia to extend the equation of state to 400°C and beyond 2 GPa, temperatures and pressures applicable to icy worlds and exoplanets. Densities show much less temperature dependence but comparabe high-pressure derivatives to previously published ammonia-water properties derived for application to Titan (Croft et al. 1988). Thermal expansion is in better agreement with the more self-consistent equation of state of Tillner-Roth and Friend (1998). We also describe development of a planetary NaCl equation of state using recent measurements of phase boundaries and sound speeds. We examine implications of realistic ocean-ice thermodynamics for Titan and exoplanet interiors using the methodology recently applied to Ganymede for oceans dominated by MgSO4. High

  1. Fatigue properties for the fracture strength of columnar accessory minerals embedded within metamorphic tectonites: implications for stress magnitude in continental crust at the depth of the brittle-plastic transition zone

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kimura, N.; Iwashita, N.; Masuda, T.

    2009-04-01

    1. Introduction Previous studies have compiled yield-strength profiles of continental lithosphere based on the results of laboratory measurements and numerical calculations; however, yield-strength values remain poorly constrained, especially at depths below the brittle-plastic transition zone. Recent studies by the authors have refined the microboudin technique for estimating palaeostress magnitude in the deep crust (> 10 km depth). This technique has the potential to provide important information on stress levels in the deep continental crust, an environment to which available in situ stress measurements and palaeopiezometric methods cannot be applied. In applying the microboudinage technique, obtaining an estimate of the palaeostress magnitude requires knowledge of the fracture strength of columnar accessory minerals (e.g., tourmaline, amphibole, and epidote) that are subjected to brittle fracturing during plastic deformation of the surrounding matrix minerals. The absolute magnitude of fracture strength is known to show a marked reduction in the case of fatigue fracture. Fatigue fracture falls into two categories: static fatigue and cyclic fatigue. In the field of experimental rock deformation, stress corrosion by water molecules (static fatigue) is commonly invoked as the mechanism of fatigue fracture; however, evidence of both static and cyclic fatigue has been reported from studies of natural geological samples. The present study focused on the fatigue properties of columnar accessory minerals at high temperatures, with the aim of improving the accuracy of estimates of natural palaeostress magnitude at depth in the crust. 2. Constant stress-rate test A constant stress-rate test was performed to determine the influence of static fatigue on the strength of columnar accessory minerals. The test was conducted under three-point bending with a span distance of 10 mm. Temperature conditions and the crosshead speed were set in the ranges of ambient to 600°C, and 0

  2. 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.

  3. The Habitable Exoplanet Imaging Mission (HabEx)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mennesson, B.

    2017-12-01

    The Habitable-Exoplanet Imaging Mission (HabEx) is a candidate flagship mission being studied by NASA and the astrophysics community in preparation for the 2020 Decadal Survey. The HabEx mission concept is a large ( 4 to 6.5m) diffraction-limited optical space telescope, providing unprecedented resolution and contrast in the optical, with likely extensions into the near UV and near infrared domains. One of the primary goals of HabEx is to answer fundamental questions in exoplanet science, searching for and characterizing potentially habitable worlds, providing the first complete "family portraits" of planets around our nearest Sun-like neighbors and placing the solar system in the context of a diverse set of exoplanets. We report here on our team's early efforts in defining a scientifically compelling HabEx mission that is technologically executable, and timely for the next decade. In particular, we present preliminary architectures trade study results, quantifying technical requirements and predicting scientific outcome for a small number of design reference missions. We describe here our currently favorite "hybrid" architecture and its expected capabilities in terms of low resolution (R= 70 to 140) reflected light spectroscopic measurements and orbit determination. Results are shown for different types of exoplanets, including potentially habitable exoplanets located within the snow line of nearby main sequence stars. This research was carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. INFLUENCE OF STELLAR FLARES ON THE CHEMICAL COMPOSITION OF EXOPLANETS AND SPECTRA

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Venot, Olivia; Decin, Leen [Instituut voor Sterrenkunde, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Celestijnenlaan 200D, B-3001 Leuven (Belgium); Rocchetto, Marco [University College London, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT (United Kingdom); Carl, Shaun; Hashim, Aysha Roshni, E-mail: olivia.venot@kuleuven.be [Department of Quantum Chemistry and Physical Chemistry, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Celestijnenlaan 200F, B-3001 Leuven (Belgium)

    2016-10-20

    associated with an atmospheric pressure of 1 bar, which can lead to variations in planetary spectra (up to 150 ppm) if performed during transit. We find that each exoplanet has a post-flare steady-state composition that is significantly different from the pre-flare steady-state. We predict that these variations could be detectable with both current and future spectroscopic instruments, if sufficiently high signal-to-noise spectra are obtained.

  7. UTILITARIAN OPACITY MODEL FOR AGGREGATE PARTICLES IN PROTOPLANETARY NEBULAE AND EXOPLANET ATMOSPHERES

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Cuzzi, Jeffrey N.; Davis, Sanford S.; Estrada, Paul R.

    2014-01-01

    As small solid grains grow into larger ones in protoplanetary nebulae, or in the cloudy atmospheres of exoplanets, they generally form porous aggregates rather than solid spheres. A number of previous studies have used highly sophisticated schemes to calculate opacity models for irregular, porous particles with sizes much smaller than a wavelength. However, mere growth itself can affect the opacity of the medium in far more significant ways than the detailed compositional and/or structural differences between grain constituents once aggregate particle sizes exceed the relevant wavelengths. This physics is not new; our goal here is to provide a model that provides physical insight and is simple to use in the increasing number of protoplanetary nebula evolution and exoplanet atmosphere models appearing in recent years, yet quantitatively captures the main radiative properties of mixtures of particles of arbitrary size, porosity, and composition. The model is a simple combination of effective medium theory with small-particle closed-form expressions, combined with suitably chosen transitions to geometric optics behavior. Calculations of wavelength-dependent emission and Rosseland mean opacity are shown and compared with Mie theory. The model's fidelity is very good in all comparisons we have made except in cases involving pure metal particles or monochromatic opacities for solid particles with sizes comparable to the wavelength

  8. A SEARCH FOR ADDITIONAL PLANETS IN THE NASA EPOXI OBSERVATIONS OF THE EXOPLANET SYSTEM GJ 436

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ballard, Sarah; Christiansen, Jessie L.; Charbonneau, David; Holman, Matthew J.; Fabrycky, Daniel; Deming, Drake; Barry, Richard K.; Kuchner, Marc J.; Livengood, Timothy A.; Hewagama, Tilak; A'Hearn, Michael F.; Wellnitz, Dennis D.; Sunshine, Jessica M.; Hampton, Don L.; Lisse, Carey M.; Seager, Sara; Veverka, Joseph F.

    2010-01-01

    We present time series photometry of the M dwarf transiting exoplanet system GJ 436 obtained with the Extrasolar Planet Observation and Characterization (EPOCh) component of the NASA EPOXI mission. We conduct a search of the high-precision time series for additional planets around GJ 436, which could be revealed either directly through their photometric transits or indirectly through the variations these second planets induce on the transits of the previously known planet. In the case of GJ 436, the presence of a second planet is perhaps indicated by the residual orbital eccentricity of the known hot Neptune companion. We find no candidate transits with significance higher than our detection limit. From Monte Carlo tests of the time series, we rule out transiting planets larger than 1.5 R + interior to GJ 436b with 95% confidence and larger than 1.25 R + with 80% confidence. Assuming coplanarity of additional planets with the orbit of GJ 436b, we cannot expect that putative planets with orbital periods longer than about 3.4 days will transit. However, if such a planet were to transit, we would rule out planets larger than 2.0 R + with orbital periods less than 8.5 days with 95% confidence. We also place dynamical constraints on additional bodies in the GJ 436 system, independent of radial velocity measurements. Our analysis should serve as a useful guide for similar analyses of transiting exoplanets for which radial velocity measurements are not available, such as those discovered by the Kepler mission. From the lack of observed secular perturbations, we set upper limits on the mass of a second planet as small as 10 M + in coplanar orbits and 1 M + in non-coplanar orbits close to GJ 436b. We present refined estimates of the system parameters for GJ 436. We find P = 2.64389579 ± 0.00000080 d, R * = 0.437 ± 0.016 R sun , and R p = 3.880 ± 0.147 R + . We also report a sinusoidal modulation in the GJ 436 light curve that we attribute to star spots. This signal is

  9. M Dwarf Exoplanet Survey by the Falcon Telescope Network

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carlson, Randall E.

    2016-10-01

    The Falcon Telescope Network (FTN) consists of twelve automated 20-inch telescopes located around the globe. We control it at the US Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado from the Cadet Space Operations Center. We have installed 10 of the 12 sites and anticipate full operational capability by the beginning of 2017. The network's worldwide geographic distribution provides advantages. The primary mission of the FTN is Space Situational Awareness and studying Near Earth Objects. However, we are employing the FTN with its 11' x 11' field-of-view for a five-year, M dwarf exoplanet survey. Specifically, we are searching for Earth-radius exoplanets. We describe the FTN, design considerations going into the FTN's M dwarf exoplanet survey including automated operations, and initial results of the survey.

  10. 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.

  11. Preferred Hosts for Short-Period Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kohler, Susanna

    2015-12-01

    In an effort to learn more about how planets form around their host stars, a team of scientists has analyzed the population of Kepler-discovered exoplanet candidates, looking for trends in where theyre found.Planetary OccurrenceSince its launch in 2009, Kepler has found thousands of candidate exoplanets around a variety of star types. Especially intriguing is the large population of super-Earths and mini-Neptunes planets with masses between that of Earth and Neptune that have short orbital periods. How did they come to exist so close to their host star? Did they form in situ, or migrate inwards, or some combination of both processes?To constrain these formation mechanisms, a team of scientists led by Gijs Mulders (University of Arizona and NASAs NExSS coalition) analyzed the population of Kepler planet candidates that have orbital periods between 2 and 50 days.Mulders and collaborators used statistical reconstructions to find the average number of planets, within this orbital range, around each star in the Kepler field. They then determined how this planet occurrence rate changed for different spectral types and therefore the masses of the host stars: do low-mass M-dwarf stars host more or fewer planets than higher-mass, main-sequence F, G, or K stars?Challenging ModelsAuthors estimates for the occurrence rate for short-period planets of different radii around M-dwarfs (purple) and around F, G, and K-type stars (blue). [Mulders et al. 2015]The team found that M dwarfs, compared to F, G, or K stars, host about half as many large planets with orbital periods of P 50 days. But, surprisingly, they host significantly more small planets, racking up an average of 3.5 times the number of planets in the size range of 12.8 Earth-radii.Could it be that M dwarfs have a lower total mass of planets, but that mass is distributed into more, smaller planets? Apparently not: the authors show that the mass of heavy elements trapped in short-orbital-period planets is higher for M

  12. Modeling Multi-wavelength Stellar Astrometry. III. Determination of the Absolute Masses of Exoplanets and Their Host Stars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Coughlin, J. L.; López-Morales, Mercedes

    2012-05-01

    Astrometric measurements of stellar systems are becoming significantly more precise and common, with many ground- and space-based instruments and missions approaching 1 μas precision. We examine the multi-wavelength astrometric orbits of exoplanetary systems via both analytical formulae and numerical modeling. Exoplanets have a combination of reflected and thermally emitted light that causes the photocenter of the system to shift increasingly farther away from the host star with increasing wavelength. We find that, if observed at long enough wavelengths, the planet can dominate the astrometric motion of the system, and thus it is possible to directly measure the orbits of both the planet and star, and thus directly determine the physical masses of the star and planet, using multi-wavelength astrometry. In general, this technique works best for, though is certainly not limited to, systems that have large, high-mass stars and large, low-mass planets, which is a unique parameter space not covered by other exoplanet characterization techniques. Exoplanets that happen to transit their host star present unique cases where the physical radii of the planet and star can be directly determined via astrometry alone. Planetary albedos and day-night contrast ratios may also be probed via this technique due to the unique signature they impart on the observed astrometric orbits. We develop a tool to examine the prospects for near-term detection of this effect, and give examples of some exoplanets that appear to be good targets for detection in the K to N infrared observing bands, if the required precision can be achieved.

  13. MODELING MULTI-WAVELENGTH STELLAR ASTROMETRY. III. DETERMINATION OF THE ABSOLUTE MASSES OF EXOPLANETS AND THEIR HOST STARS

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Coughlin, J. L.; López-Morales, Mercedes

    2012-01-01

    Astrometric measurements of stellar systems are becoming significantly more precise and common, with many ground- and space-based instruments and missions approaching 1 μas precision. We examine the multi-wavelength astrometric orbits of exoplanetary systems via both analytical formulae and numerical modeling. Exoplanets have a combination of reflected and thermally emitted light that causes the photocenter of the system to shift increasingly farther away from the host star with increasing wavelength. We find that, if observed at long enough wavelengths, the planet can dominate the astrometric motion of the system, and thus it is possible to directly measure the orbits of both the planet and star, and thus directly determine the physical masses of the star and planet, using multi-wavelength astrometry. In general, this technique works best for, though is certainly not limited to, systems that have large, high-mass stars and large, low-mass planets, which is a unique parameter space not covered by other exoplanet characterization techniques. Exoplanets that happen to transit their host star present unique cases where the physical radii of the planet and star can be directly determined via astrometry alone. Planetary albedos and day-night contrast ratios may also be probed via this technique due to the unique signature they impart on the observed astrometric orbits. We develop a tool to examine the prospects for near-term detection of this effect, and give examples of some exoplanets that appear to be good targets for detection in the K to N infrared observing bands, if the required precision can be achieved.

  14. The emergent 1.1-1.7 μm spectrum of the exoplanet COROT-2B as measured using the Hubble space telescope

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Wilkins, Ashlee N.; Deming, Drake; Madhusudhan, Nikku; Burrows, Adam; Knutson, Heather; McCullough, Peter; Ranjan, Sukrit

    2014-01-01

    We have used Hubble/WFC3 and the G141 grism to measure the secondary eclipse of the transiting, very hot Jupiter CoRoT-2b in the 1.1-1.7 μm spectral region. We find an eclipse depth averaged over this band equal to 395 −45 +69 parts per million, equivalent to a blackbody temperature of 1788 ± 18 K. We study and characterize several WFC3 instrumental effects, especially the 'hook' phenomenon described by Deming et al. We use data from several transiting exoplanet systems to find a quantitative relation between the amplitude of the hook and the exposure level of a given pixel. Although the uncertainties in this relation are too large to allow us to develop an empirical correction for our data, our study provides a useful guide for optimizing exposure levels in future WFC3 observations. We derive the planet's spectrum using a differential method. The planet-to-star contrast increases to longer wavelength within the WFC3 bandpass, but without water absorption or emission to a 3σ limit of 85 ppm. The slope of the WFC3 spectrum is significantly less than the slope of the best-fit blackbody. We compare all existing eclipse data for this planet to a blackbody spectrum, and to spectra from both solar abundance and carbon-rich (C/O = 1) models. A blackbody spectrum is an acceptable fit to the full data set. Extra continuous opacity due to clouds or haze, and flattened temperature profiles, are strong candidates to produce quasi-blackbody spectra, and to account for the amplitude of the optical eclipses. Our results show ambiguous evidence for a temperature inversion in this planet.

  15. The emergent 1.1-1.7 μm spectrum of the exoplanet COROT-2B as measured using the Hubble space telescope

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Wilkins, Ashlee N.; Deming, Drake [Department of Astronomy, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742 (United States); Madhusudhan, Nikku [Yale Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06511 (United States); Burrows, Adam [Department of Astrophysical Sciences, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544-1001 (United States); Knutson, Heather [Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125 (United States); McCullough, Peter [Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, MD 21218 (United States); Ranjan, Sukrit, E-mail: awilkins@astro.umd.edu [Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, MA 02138 (United States)

    2014-03-10

    We have used Hubble/WFC3 and the G141 grism to measure the secondary eclipse of the transiting, very hot Jupiter CoRoT-2b in the 1.1-1.7 μm spectral region. We find an eclipse depth averaged over this band equal to 395{sub −45}{sup +69} parts per million, equivalent to a blackbody temperature of 1788 ± 18 K. We study and characterize several WFC3 instrumental effects, especially the 'hook' phenomenon described by Deming et al. We use data from several transiting exoplanet systems to find a quantitative relation between the amplitude of the hook and the exposure level of a given pixel. Although the uncertainties in this relation are too large to allow us to develop an empirical correction for our data, our study provides a useful guide for optimizing exposure levels in future WFC3 observations. We derive the planet's spectrum using a differential method. The planet-to-star contrast increases to longer wavelength within the WFC3 bandpass, but without water absorption or emission to a 3σ limit of 85 ppm. The slope of the WFC3 spectrum is significantly less than the slope of the best-fit blackbody. We compare all existing eclipse data for this planet to a blackbody spectrum, and to spectra from both solar abundance and carbon-rich (C/O = 1) models. A blackbody spectrum is an acceptable fit to the full data set. Extra continuous opacity due to clouds or haze, and flattened temperature profiles, are strong candidates to produce quasi-blackbody spectra, and to account for the amplitude of the optical eclipses. Our results show ambiguous evidence for a temperature inversion in this planet.

  16. THERMODYNAMIC LIMITS ON MAGNETODYNAMOS IN ROCKY EXOPLANETS

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Gaidos, Eric; Conrad, Clinton P.; Manga, Michael; Hernlund, John

    2010-01-01

    To ascertain whether magnetic dynamos operate in rocky exoplanets more massive or hotter than the Earth, we developed a parametric model of a differentiated rocky planet and its thermal evolution. Our model reproduces the established properties of Earth's interior and magnetic field at the present time. When applied to Venus, assuming that planet lacks plate tectonics and has a dehydrated mantle with an elevated viscosity, the model shows that the dynamo shuts down or never operated. Our model predicts that at a fixed planet mass, dynamo history is sensitive to core size, but not to the initial inventory of long-lived, heat-producing radionuclides. It predicts that rocky planets larger than 2.5 Earth masses will not develop inner cores because the temperature-pressure slope of the iron solidus becomes flatter than that of the core adiabat. Instead, iron 'snow' will condense near or at the top of these cores, and the net transfer of latent heat upward will suppress convection and a dynamo. More massive planets can have anemic dynamos due to core cooling, but only if they have mobile lids (plate tectonics). The lifetime of these dynamos is shorter with increasing planet mass but longer with higher surface temperature. Massive Venus-like planets with stagnant lids and more viscous mantles will lack dynamos altogether. We identify two alternative sources of magnetic fields on rocky planets: eddy currents induced in the hot or molten upper layers of planets on very short-period orbits, and dynamos in the ionic conducting layers of 'ocean' planets with ∼10% mass in an upper mantle of water (ice).

  17. Conducting Research from Small University Observatories: Investigating Exoplanet Candidates

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moreland, Kimberly D.

    2018-01-01

    Kepler has to date discovered 4,496 exoplanet candidates, but only half are confirmed, and only a handful are thought to be Earth sized and in the habitable zone. Planet verification often involves extensive follow-up observations, which are both time and resource intensive. The data set collected by Kepler is massive and will be studied for decades. University/small observatories, such as the one at Texas State University, are in a good position to assist with the exoplanet candidate verification process. By preforming extended monitoring campaigns, which are otherwise cost ineffective for larger observatories, students gain valuable research experience and contribute valuable data and results to the scientific community.

  18. Habitable Exoplanet Imager Optical-Mechanical Design and Analysis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gaskins, Jonathan; Stahl, H. Philip

    2017-01-01

    The Habitable Exoplanet Imager (HabEx) is a space telescope currently in development whose mission includes finding and spectroscopically characterizing exoplanets. Effective high-contrast imaging requires tight stability requirements of the mirrors to prevent issues such as line of sight and wavefront errors. PATRAN and NASTRAN were used to model updates in the design of the HabEx telescope and find how those updates affected stability. Most of the structural modifications increased first mode frequencies and improved line of sight errors. These studies will be used to help define the baseline HabEx telescope design.

  19. A search for transit timing variation

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kramm U.

    2011-02-01

    Full Text Available Photometric follow-ups of transiting exoplanets (TEPs may lead to discoveries of additional, less massive bodies in extrasolar systems. This is possible by detecting and then analysing variations in transit timing of transiting exoplanets. In 2009 we launched an international observing campaign, the aim of which is to detect and characterise signals of transit timing variation (TTV in selected TEPs. The programme is realised by collecting data from 0.6-2.2-m telescopes spread worldwide at different longitudes. We present our observing strategy and summarise first results for WASP-3b with evidence for a 15 Earth-mass perturber in an outer 2:1 orbital resonance.

  20. System Geometries and Transit/Eclipse Probabilities

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Howard A.

    2011-02-01

    Full Text Available Transiting exoplanets provide access to data to study the mass-radius relation and internal structure of extrasolar planets. Long-period transiting planets allow insight into planetary environments similar to the Solar System where, in contrast to hot Jupiters, planets are not constantly exposed to the intense radiation of their parent stars. Observations of secondary eclipses additionally permit studies of exoplanet temperatures and large-scale exo-atmospheric properties. We show how transit and eclipse probabilities are related to planet-star system geometries, particularly for long-period, eccentric orbits. The resulting target selection and observational strategies represent the principal ingredients of our photometric survey of known radial-velocity planets with the aim of detecting transit signatures (TERMS.

  1. Objev nové ELL proměnné hvězdy v souhvězdí Kentaura a možnost detekce nových exoplanet pomocí dalekohledu FRAM

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Pintr, Pavel; Vápenka, David; Mašek, M.

    2015-01-01

    Roč. 60, č. 2 (2015), s. 65-68 ISSN 0447-6441 R&D Projects: GA MŠk(CZ) LO1206; GA ČR GA13-10365S Institutional support: RVO:61389021 Keywords : variable star * light curve * FRAM * period analysis * exoplanet transit Subject RIV: BN - Astronomy, Celestial Mechanics, Astrophysics http://jmo.fzu.cz/

  2. 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

  3. CLIMATE INSTABILITY ON TIDALLY LOCKED EXOPLANETS

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Kite, Edwin S.; Manga, Michael; Gaidos, Eric

    2011-01-01

    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 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 gases. Both

  4. 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

  5. Characterization of exoplanet atmospheres using high-dispersion spectroscopy with the E-ELT and beyond

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Snellen Ignas

    2013-04-01

    Full Text Available Ground-based high-dispersion (R ∼ 100,000 spectroscopy provides unique information on exoplanet atmospheres, inaccessible from space - even using the JWST or other future space telescopes. Recent successes in transmission- and dayside spectroscopy using CRIRES on the Very Large Telescope prelude the enormous discovery potential of high-dispersion spectrographs on the E-ELT, such as METIS in the thermal infrared, and HIRES in the optical/near-infrared. This includes the orbital inclination and masses of hundred(s of non-transiting planets, line-by-line molecular band spectra, planet rotation and global wind patterns, longitudinal spectral variations, and possibly isotopologue ratios. Thinking beyond the E-ELT, we advocate that ultimately a systematic search for oxygen in atmospheres of nearby Earth-like planets can be conducted using large arrays of relatively low-cost flux collector telescopes equipped with high-dispersion spectrographs.

  6. 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...

  7. DETECTING INDUSTRIAL POLLUTION IN THE ATMOSPHERES OF EARTH-LIKE EXOPLANETS

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Lin, Henry W. [Harvard College, Cambridge, MA 02138 (United States); Abad, Gonzalo Gonzalez; Loeb, Abraham, E-mail: henrylin@college.harvard.edu, E-mail: ggonzalezabad@cfa.harvard.edu, E-mail: aloeb@cfa.harvard.edu [Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 60 Garden St., Cambridge, MA 02138 (United States)

    2014-09-01

    Detecting biosignatures, such as molecular oxygen in combination with a reducing gas, in the atmospheres of transiting exoplanets has been a major focus in the search for alien life. We point out that in addition to these generic indicators, anthropogenic pollution could be used as a novel biosignature for intelligent life. To this end, we identify pollutants in the Earth's atmosphere that have significant absorption features in the spectral range covered by the James Webb Space Telescope. We focus on tetrafluoromethane (CF{sub 4}) and trichlorofluoromethane (CCl{sub 3}F), which are the easiest to detect chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) produced by anthropogenic activity. We estimate that ∼1.2 days (∼1.7 days) of total integration time will be sufficient to detect or constrain the concentration of CCl{sub 3}F (CF{sub 4}) to ∼10 times the current terrestrial level.

  8. JUPITER AS AN EXOPLANET: UV TO NIR TRANSMISSION SPECTRUM REVEALS HAZES, A Na LAYER, AND POSSIBLY STRATOSPHERIC H{sub 2}O-ICE CLOUDS

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Montañés-Rodríguez, Pilar; González-Merino, B.; Pallé, E. [Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, C/Vía Láctea s/n, E-38200 La Laguna (Spain); López-Puertas, Manuel [Departamento de Astrofísica, Universidad de La Laguna, Av., Astrofísico Francisco Sánchez, s/n, E-38206 La Laguna (Spain); García-Melendo, E., E-mail: pmr@iac.es [Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía (CSIC), Glorieta de la Astronomía s/n, E-18080 Granada (Spain)

    2015-03-01

    Currently, the analysis of transmission spectra is the most successful technique to probe the chemical composition of exoplanet atmospheres. However, the accuracy of these measurements is constrained by observational limitations and the diversity of possible atmospheric compositions. Here, we show the UV–VIS–IR transmission spectrum of Jupiter as if it were a transiting exoplanet, obtained by observing one of its satellites, Ganymede, while passing through Jupiter’s shadow, i.e., during a solar eclipse from Ganymede. The spectrum shows strong extinction due to the presence of clouds (aerosols) and haze in the atmosphere and strong absorption features from CH{sub 4}. More interestingly, the comparison with radiative transfer models reveals a spectral signature, which we attribute here to a Jupiter stratospheric layer of crystalline H{sub 2}O ice. The atomic transitions of Na are also present. These results are relevant for the modeling and interpretation of giant transiting exoplanets. They also open a new technique to explore the atmospheric composition of the upper layers of Jupiter’s atmosphere.

  9. 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

  10. Flux and polarization signals of spatially inhomogeneous gaseous exoplanets

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Karalidi, T.; Stam, D.M.; Guirado, D.

    2013-01-01

    Aims. We present numerically calculated, disk-integrated, spectropolarimetric signals of starlight that is reflected by vertically and horizontally inhomogeneous gaseous exoplanets. We include various spatial features that are present on Solar System’s gaseous planets: belts and zones, cyclonic

  11. 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…

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. An Observational Diagnostic for Distinguishing between Clouds and Haze in Hot Exoplanet Atmospheres

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Kempton, Eliza M.-R.; Bean, Jacob L.; Parmentier, Vivien

    2017-01-01

    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.

  15. Extending and Characterizing an Exoplanet System in a Pristine Chain of Resonances

    Science.gov (United States)

    Christiansen, Jessie; Gorjian, Varoujan; Hardegree-Ullman, Kevin; Livingston, John; Dressing, Courtney; Barclay, Thomas; Lintott, Chris; Ciardi, David; Barentson, Geert; Kristiansen, Martti; Crossfield, Ian; Benneke, Bjorn; Howard, Andrew

    2018-01-01

    The K2-138 (EPIC 245950175; 2MASS J23154776-1050590) exoplanet system was recently identified in the K2 mission campaign 12 data (Christiansen et al. 2018). The moderately bright (K=10.3) K1V star hosts at least five sub-Neptune planets (1.6-3.3 Re) in a compact configuration, all with periods shorter than 13 days. The five confirmed planets in the system form an unbroken chain of near first-order mean motion resonances, with each successive pair of planets having close to a 3:2 commensurability; this is the longest such chain as yet discovered. The K2 data contain two additional transits which, if confirmed as due to a sixth planet, could extend the chain even further. Due to the proximity of the K2-138 planets to mean motion resonances, it is an ideal target to search for transit timing variations (TTVs). In order to further both of these time-critical and important science cases, we propose for DDT time to capture a third transit of the candidate sixth planet, and also observe a chance nearby cluster of three transits of planets b, c, and d. (12hr for the 6th planet was approved.)

  16. 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

  17. Exoplanet Biosignatures: A Review of Remotely Detectable Signs of Life.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schwieterman, Edward W; Kiang, Nancy Y; Parenteau, Mary N; Harman, Chester E; DasSarma, Shiladitya; Fisher, Theresa M; Arney, Giada N; Hartnett, Hilairy E; Reinhard, Christopher T; Olson, Stephanie L; Meadows, Victoria S; Cockell, Charles S; Walker, Sara I; Grenfell, John Lee; Hegde, Siddharth; Rugheimer, Sarah; Hu, Renyu; Lyons, Timothy W

    2018-05-04

    In the coming years and decades, advanced space- and ground-based observatories will allow an unprecedented opportunity to probe the atmospheres and surfaces of potentially habitable exoplanets for signatures of life. Life on Earth, through its gaseous products and reflectance and scattering properties, has left its fingerprint on the spectrum of our planet. Aided by the universality of the laws of physics and chemistry, we turn to Earth's biosphere, both in the present and through geologic time, for analog signatures that will aid in the search for life elsewhere. Considering the insights gained from modern and ancient Earth, and the broader array of hypothetical exoplanet possibilities, we have compiled a comprehensive overview of our current understanding of potential exoplanet biosignatures, including gaseous, surface, and temporal biosignatures. We additionally survey biogenic spectral features that are well known in the specialist literature but have not yet been robustly vetted in the context of exoplanet biosignatures. We briefly review advances in assessing biosignature plausibility, including novel methods for determining chemical disequilibrium from remotely obtainable data and assessment tools for determining the minimum biomass required to maintain short-lived biogenic gases as atmospheric signatures. We focus particularly on advances made since the seminal review by Des Marais et al. The purpose of this work is not to propose new biosignature strategies, a goal left to companion articles in this series, but to review the current literature, draw meaningful connections between seemingly disparate areas, and clear the way for a path forward. Key Words: Exoplanets-Biosignatures-Habitability markers-Photosynthesis-Planetary surfaces-Atmospheres-Spectroscopy-Cryptic biospheres-False positives. Astrobiology 18, xxx-xxx.

  18. THE Ĝ SEARCH FOR EXTRATERRESTRIAL CIVILIZATIONS WITH LARGE ENERGY SUPPLIES. IV. THE SIGNATURES AND INFORMATION CONTENT OF TRANSITING MEGASTRUCTURES

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Wright, Jason T.; Cartier, Kimberly M. S.; Zhao, Ming; Jontof-Hutter, Daniel; Ford, Eric B. [Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, and Center for Exoplanets and Habitable Worlds, 525 Davey Lab, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, 16802 (United States)

    2016-01-01

    Arnold, Forgan, and Korpela et al. noted that planet-sized artificial structures could be discovered with Kepler as they transit their host star. We present a general discussion of transiting megastructures, and enumerate 10 potential ways their anomalous silhouettes, orbits, and transmission properties would distinguish them from exoplanets. We also enumerate the natural sources of such signatures. Several anomalous objects, such as KIC 12557548 and CoRoT-29, have variability in depth consistent with Arnold’s prediction and/or an asymmetric shape consistent with Forgan’s model. Since well-motivated physical models have so far provided natural explanations for these signals, the ETI hypothesis is not warranted for these objects, but they still serve as useful examples of how non-standard transit signatures might be identified and interpreted in a SETI context. Boyajian et al. recently announced KIC 8462852, an object with a bizarre light curve consistent with a “swarm” of megastructures. We suggest that this is an outstanding SETI target. We develop the normalized information content statistic M to quantify the information content in a signal embedded in a discrete series of bounded measurements, such as variable transit depths, and show that it can be used to distinguish among constant sources, interstellar beacons, and naturally stochastic or artificial, information-rich signals. We apply this formalism to KIC 12557548 and a specific form of beacon suggested by Arnold to illustrate its utility.

  19. The Search for Extraterrestrial Civilizations with Large Energy Supplies. IV. The Signatures and Information Content of Transiting Megastructures

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wright, Jason T.; Cartier, Kimberly M. S.; Zhao, Ming; Jontof-Hutter, Daniel; Ford, Eric B.

    2016-01-01

    Arnold, Forgan, and Korpela et al. noted that planet-sized artificial structures could be discovered with Kepler as they transit their host star. We present a general discussion of transiting megastructures, and enumerate 10 potential ways their anomalous silhouettes, orbits, and transmission properties would distinguish them from exoplanets. We also enumerate the natural sources of such signatures. Several anomalous objects, such as KIC 12557548 and CoRoT-29, have variability in depth consistent with Arnold’s prediction and/or an asymmetric shape consistent with Forgan’s model. Since well-motivated physical models have so far provided natural explanations for these signals, the ETI hypothesis is not warranted for these objects, but they still serve as useful examples of how non-standard transit signatures might be identified and interpreted in a SETI context. Boyajian et al. recently announced KIC 8462852, an object with a bizarre light curve consistent with a “swarm” of megastructures. We suggest that this is an outstanding SETI target. We develop the normalized information content statistic M to quantify the information content in a signal embedded in a discrete series of bounded measurements, such as variable transit depths, and show that it can be used to distinguish among constant sources, interstellar beacons, and naturally stochastic or artificial, information-rich signals. We apply this formalism to KIC 12557548 and a specific form of beacon suggested by Arnold to illustrate its utility.

  20. Analysis of the exoplanet containing system Kepler-13

    Science.gov (United States)

    Budding, E.; Püsküllü, Ç.; Rhodes, M. D.

    2018-03-01

    We have applied the close binary system analysis program WinFitter, with its physically detailed fitting function, to an intensive study of the complex multiple system Kepler-13 using photometry data from all 13 short cadence quarters downloaded from the NASA Exoplanet Archive (NEA) (http://exoplanetarchive.ipac.caltech.edu). The data-point error of our normalized, phase-sequenced and binned (380 points per bin: 0.00025 phase interval) flux values, at 14 ppm, allows the model's specification for the mean reference flux level of the system to a precision better than 1 ppm. Our photometrically derived values for the mass and radius of KOI13.01 are 6.8±0.6 MJ and 1.44±0.04 RJ. The star has a radius of 1.67±0.05 R_{⊙}. Our modelling sets the mean of the orbital inclination i at 94.35±0.14°, with the star's mean precession angle φp—49.1±5.0° and obliquity θo 67.9 ± 3.0°, though there are known ambiguities about the sense in which such angles are measured. Our findings did not confirm secular variation in the transit modelling parameters greater than their full correlated errors, as argued by previous authors, when each quarter's data was best-fitted with a determinable parameter set without prejudice. However, if we accept that most of the parameters remain the same for each transit, then we could confirm a small but steady diminution in the cosine of the orbital inclination over the 17 quarter timespan. This is accompanied by a slight increase of the star's precession angle (less negative), but with no significant change in the obliquity of its spin axis. There are suggestions of a history of strong dynamical interaction with a highly distorted planet rotating in a 3:2 resonance with its revolution, together with a tidal lag of ˜30 deg. The mean precessional period is derived to be about 1000 y, but at the present time the motion of the star's rotation axis appears to be supporting the gravitational torque, rather than providing the balance against it

  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. Modelling secondary eclipses of Kepler exoplanets

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Hambálek Lubomír

    2015-01-01

    Full Text Available We have selected several Kepler objects with potentially the deepest secondary eclipses. By combination of many single phased light-curves (LCs we have produced a smooth LC with a larger SNR and made the secondary eclipses more distinct. This allowed us to measure the depth of primary and secondary minimum with greater accuracy and then to determine stellar and planetary radii by simplex modelling.

  3. Enabling Technologies for Characterizing Exoplanet Systems with Exo-C

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cahoy, Kerri Lynn; Belikov, Ruslan; Stapelfeldt, Karl R.; Chakrabarti, Supriya; Trauger, John T.; Serabyn, Eugene; McElwain, Michael W.; Pong, Christopher M.; Brugarolas, Paul

    2015-01-01

    The Exoplanet Science and Technology Definition Team's Internal Coronagraph mission design, called 'Exo-C', utilizes several technologies that have advanced over the past decade with support from the Exoplanet Exploration Program. Following the flow of photons through the telescope, the science measurement is enabled by (i) a precision pointing system to keep the target exoplanet system precisely positioned on the detector during the integration time, (ii) high-performance coronagraphs to block the parent star's light so that the planet's reflected light can be detected, (iii) a wavefront control system to compensate for any wavefront errors such as those due to thermal or mechanical deformations in the optical path, especially errors with high spatial frequencies that could cause contrast-reducing speckles, and (iv) an integral field spectrograph (IFS) that provides moderate resolution spectra of the target exoplanets, permitting their characterization and comparison with models and other data sets. Technologies such as the wavefront control system and coronagraphs will also benefit from other funded efforts in progress, such as the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope Astrophysics Focused Telescope Assets (WFIRST-AFTA) program. Similarly, the Exo-C IFS will benefit from the Prototype Imaging Spectrograph for Coronagraphic Exoplanet Studies (PISCES) demonstration. We present specific examples for each of these technologies showing that the state of the art has advanced to levels that will meet the overall scientific, cost, and schedule requirements of the Exo-C mission. These capabilities have matured with testbed and/or ground-telescope demonstrations and have reached a technological readiness level (TRL) that supports their inclusion in the baseline design for potential flight at the end of this decade. While additional work remains to build and test flight-like components (that concurrently meet science as well as size, weight, power, and environmental

  4. Gemini Planet Imager Exoplanet Survey: Key Results Two Years Into The Survey

    Science.gov (United States)

    Marchis, Franck; Rameau, Julien; Nielsen, Eric L.; De Rosa, Robert J.; Esposito, Thomas; Draper, Zachary H.; Macintosh, Bruce; Graham, James R.; GPIES

    2016-10-01

    The Gemini Planet Imager Exoplanet Survey (GPIES) is targeting 600 young, nearby stars using the GPI instrument. We report here on recent results obtained with this instrument from our team.Rameau et al. (ApJL, 822 2, L2, 2016) presented astrometric monitoring of the young exoplanet HD 95086 b obtained with GPI between 2013 and 2016. Efficient Monte Carlo techniques place preliminary constraints on the orbital parameters of HD 95086 b. Under the assumption of a coplanar planet-disk system, the periastron of HD 95086 b is beyond 51 AU. Therefore, HD 95086 b cannot carve the entire gap inferred from the measured infrared excess in the SED of HD 95086. Additional photometric and spectroscopic measurements reported by de Rosa et al. (2016, apJ, in press) showed that the spectral energy distribution of HD 95086 b is best fit by low temperature (T~800-1300 K), low surface gravity spectra from models which simulate high photospheric dust content. Its temperature is typical to L/T transition objects, but the spectral type is poorly constrained. HD 95086 b is an important exoplanet to test our models of atmospheric properties of young extrasolar planets.Direct detections of debris disk are keys to infer the collisional past and understand the formation of planetary systems. Two debris disks were recently studied with GPI:- Draper et al. (submitted to ApJ, 2016) show the resolved circumstellar debris disk around HD 111520 at a projected range of ~30-100 AU using both total and polarized H-band intensity. Structures in the disks such as a large brightness asymmetry and symmetric polarization fraction are seen. Additional data would confirm if a large disruption event from a stellar fly-by or planetary perturbations altered the disk density- Esposito et al. (submitted to ApJ, 2016) combined Keck NIRC2 data taken at 1.2-2.3 microns and GPI 1.6 micron total intensity and polarized light detections that probes down to projected separations less than 10 AU to show that the HD

  5. BIOSIGNATURE GASES IN H{sub 2}-DOMINATED ATMOSPHERES ON ROCKY EXOPLANETS

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Seager, S.; Bains, W.; Hu, R. [Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139 (United States)

    2013-11-10

    Super-Earth exoplanets are being discovered with increasing frequency and some will be able to retain stable H{sub 2}-dominated atmospheres. We study biosignature gases on exoplanets with thin H{sub 2} atmospheres and habitable surface temperatures, using a model atmosphere with photochemistry and a biomass estimate framework for evaluating the plausibility of a range of biosignature gas candidates. We find that photochemically produced H atoms are the most abundant reactive species in H{sub 2} atmospheres. In atmospheres with high CO{sub 2} levels, atomic O is the major destructive species for some molecules. In Sun-Earth-like UV radiation environments, H (and in some cases O) will rapidly destroy nearly all biosignature gases of interest. The lower UV fluxes from UV-quiet M stars would produce a lower concentration of H (or O) for the same scenario, enabling some biosignature gases to accumulate. The favorability of low-UV radiation environments to accumulate detectable biosignature gases in an H{sub 2} atmosphere is closely analogous to the case of oxidized atmospheres, where photochemically produced OH is the major destructive species. Most potential biosignature gases, such as dimethylsulfide and CH{sub 3}Cl, are therefore more favorable in low-UV, as compared with solar-like UV, environments. A few promising biosignature gas candidates, including NH{sub 3} and N{sub 2}O, are favorable even in solar-like UV environments, as these gases are destroyed directly by photolysis and not by H (or O). A more subtle finding is that most gases produced by life that are fully hydrogenated forms of an element, such as CH{sub 4} and H{sub 2}S, are not effective signs of life in an H{sub 2}-rich atmosphere because the dominant atmospheric chemistry will generate such gases abiologically, through photochemistry or geochemistry. Suitable biosignature gases in H{sub 2}-rich atmospheres for super-Earth exoplanets transiting M stars could potentially be detected in transmission

  6. TERRESTRIAL, HABITABLE-ZONE EXOPLANET FREQUENCY FROM KEPLER

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Traub, Wesley A.

    2012-01-01

    Data from Kepler's first 136 days of operation are analyzed to determine the distribution of exoplanets with respect to radius, period, and host-star spectral type. The analysis is extrapolated to estimate the percentage of terrestrial, habitable-zone (HZ) exoplanets. The Kepler census is assumed to be complete for bright stars (magnitude 0.5 Earth radius and periods β–1 , with β ≅ 0.71 ± 0.08; and an extrapolation to longer periods gives the frequency of terrestrial planets in the HZs of FGK stars as η ⊕ ≅ (34 ± 14)%. Thus about one-third of FGK stars are predicted to have at least one terrestrial, HZ planet.

  7. 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.

  8. 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...

  9. Physical constraints on the likelihood of life on exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lingam, Manasvi; Loeb, Abraham

    2018-04-01

    One of the most fundamental questions in exoplanetology is to determine whether a given planet is habitable. We estimate the relative likelihood of a planet's propensity towards habitability by considering key physical characteristics such as the role of temperature on ecological and evolutionary processes, and atmospheric losses via hydrodynamic escape and stellar wind erosion. From our analysis, we demonstrate that Earth-sized exoplanets in the habitable zone around M-dwarfs seemingly display much lower prospects of being habitable relative to Earth, owing to the higher incident ultraviolet fluxes and closer distances to the host star. We illustrate our results by specifically computing the likelihood (of supporting life) for the recently discovered exoplanets, Proxima b and TRAPPIST-1e, which we find to be several orders of magnitude smaller than that of Earth.

  10. 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

  11. 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.

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Barnes, Rory; Deitrick, Russell; Quinn, Thomas R.; Greenberg, Richard; Raymond, Sean N.

    2015-01-01

    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

  13. Emergent Exoplanet Flux: Review of the Spitzer Results

    OpenAIRE

    Deming, Drake

    2008-01-01

    Observations using the Spitzer Space Telescope provided the first detections of photons from extrasolar planets. Spitzer observations are allowing us to infer the temperature structure, composition, and dynamics of exoplanet atmospheres. The Spitzer studies extend from many hot Jupiters, to the hot Neptune orbiting GJ436. Here I review the current status of Spitzer secondary eclipse observations, and summarize the results from the viewpoint of what is robust, what needs more work, and what th...

  14. 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.

  15. The First Atmospheric Characterization of a Habitable-Zone Exoplanet

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stevenson, Kevin; Bean, Jacob; Charbonneau, David; Desert, Jean-Michel; Fortney, Jonathan; Irwin, Jonathan; Kreidberg, Laura; Line, Michael; Montet, Ben; Morley, Caroline

    2015-10-01

    Exoplanet surveys have recently revealed nearby planets orbiting within stellar habitable zones. This highly-anticipated breakthrough brings us one step closer in our quest to identify cosmic biosignatures, the indicators of extrasolar life. To achieve our goal, we must first study the atmospheres of these temperate worlds to measure their compositions and determine the prevalence of obscuring clouds. Using observations from the K2 mission, Co-I Montet recently announced the discovery of a 2.2 Earth-radii planet within the habitable zone of its relatively bright, nearby M dwarf parent star, K2-18. This temperate world is currently the best habitable-zone target for atmospheric characterization. Congruent with currently planned HST observations, we propose a Spitzer program to measure the transmission spectrum of the first habitable-zone exoplanet. Both telescopes are essential to revealing K2-18b's chemical composition. In a cloud-free, hydrogen-dominated atmosphere, the precision achieved by these measurements will be sufficient to detect methane, ammonia, and water vapor, which are the dominant C, N, and O bearing species at these temperatures. In turn, elemental abundance constraints from a primordial atmosphere can tell us about the composition of a protoplanetary disk in which Earth-like planets could have formed. Conversely, if the atmosphere contains thick clouds then the multi-wavelength observations from K2, HST, and Spitzer will constrain the clouds' properties. Because temperature plays a key role in the formation of clouds, their detection within the atmosphere of this habitable-zone exoplanet would be an important signpost that serves as a guide to future investigations of smaller, rocky exoplanets. As K2 continues discovering more habitable-zone planets, it is imperative that we perform spectral reconnaissance with Spitzer to determine their physical characteristics and begin understanding the prevalence of potentially-obscuring clouds prior to the

  16. Exoplanet Biosignatures: A Review of Remotely Detectable Signs of Life

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kiang, Nancy Y.; Parenteau, Mary N.; Harman, Chester E.; DasSarma, Shiladitya; Fisher, Theresa M.; Arney, Giada N.; Hartnett, Hilairy E.; Reinhard, Christopher T.; Olson, Stephanie L.; Meadows, Victoria S.; Cockell, Charles S.; Walker, Sara I.; Grenfell, John Lee; Hegde, Siddharth; Rugheimer, Sarah; Hu, Renyu; Lyons, Timothy W.

    2018-01-01

    Abstract In the coming years and decades, advanced space- and ground-based observatories will allow an unprecedented opportunity to probe the atmospheres and surfaces of potentially habitable exoplanets for signatures of life. Life on Earth, through its gaseous products and reflectance and scattering properties, has left its fingerprint on the spectrum of our planet. Aided by the universality of the laws of physics and chemistry, we turn to Earth's biosphere, both in the present and through geologic time, for analog signatures that will aid in the search for life elsewhere. Considering the insights gained from modern and ancient Earth, and the broader array of hypothetical exoplanet possibilities, we have compiled a comprehensive overview of our current understanding of potential exoplanet biosignatures, including gaseous, surface, and temporal biosignatures. We additionally survey biogenic spectral features that are well known in the specialist literature but have not yet been robustly vetted in the context of exoplanet biosignatures. We briefly review advances in assessing biosignature plausibility, including novel methods for determining chemical disequilibrium from remotely obtainable data and assessment tools for determining the minimum biomass required to maintain short-lived biogenic gases as atmospheric signatures. We focus particularly on advances made since the seminal review by Des Marais et al. The purpose of this work is not to propose new biosignature strategies, a goal left to companion articles in this series, but to review the current literature, draw meaningful connections between seemingly disparate areas, and clear the way for a path forward. Key Words: Exoplanets—Biosignatures—Habitability markers—Photosynthesis—Planetary surfaces—Atmospheres—Spectroscopy—Cryptic biospheres—False positives. Astrobiology 18, 663–708. PMID:29727196

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    McKay, Christopher P.

    2014-09-01

    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.

  20. KMTNet: A Cold Exoplanet Census Through a Global Microlensing Survey

    Science.gov (United States)

    Henderson, Calen B.; Gaudi, B. Scott; Han, Cheongho; Nataf, David; Skowron, Jan; Penny, Matthew; Gould, Andrew

    2015-01-01

    The unique sensitivity of gravitational microlensing to low-mass planets near and beyond the snow line makes it an indispensable tool for understanding the distribution and formation mechanisms of exoplanets. The Korean Microlensing Telescope Network (KMTNet) consists of three 1.6m telescopes each with a 4 deg2 field of view and will be dedicated to monitoring the Galactic Bulge in order to detect exoplanets via gravitational microlensing. With its relatively large aperture, large field of view, high (~10-minute) cadence, and near-complete longitudinal coverage of the Galactic Bulge for 8 months a year, KMTNet is expected to increase the the annual detection rate of exoplanets via microlensing by a factor of ~5 over current surveys, pushing down to the mass of Earth for bound and unbound planets. I will summarize the predicted yields of KMTNet's survey based on detailed simulations, highlighting its sensitivity to low-mass planets and its expected haul of free-floating planets. I will also describe the prospects for characterization of the exoplanetary systems KMTNet will detect, focusing on the variety of techniques current and future high-resolution facilities such as VLT, GMT, and JWST can use to measure the flux from the host stars and ultimately derive planet masses.

  1. KEPLER-10 c: A 2.2 EARTH RADIUS TRANSITING PLANET IN A MULTIPLE SYSTEM

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Fressin, Francois; Torres, Guillermo; Desert, Jean-Michel; Charbonneau, David; Holman, Matthew J.; Batalha, Natalie M.; Fortney, Jonathan J.; Fabrycky, Daniel C.; Rowe, Jason F.; Allen, Christopher; Borucki, William J.; Bryson, Stephen T.; Henze, Christopher E.; Brown, Timothy M.; Ciardi, David R.; Cochran, William D.; Deming, Drake; Dunham, Edward W.; Gautier III, Thomas N.; Gilliland, Ronald L.

    2011-01-01

    The Kepler mission has recently announced the discovery of Kepler-10 b, the smallest exoplanet discovered to date and the first rocky planet found by the spacecraft. A second, 45 day period transit-like signal present in the photometry from the first eight months of data could not be confirmed as being caused by a planet at the time of that announcement. Here we apply the light curve modeling technique known as BLENDER to explore the possibility that the signal might be due to an astrophysical false positive (blend). To aid in this analysis we report the observation of two transits with the Spitzer Space Telescope at 4.5 μm. When combined, they yield a transit depth of 344 ± 85 ppm that is consistent with the depth in the Kepler passband (376 ± 9 ppm, ignoring limb darkening), which rules out blends with an eclipsing binary of a significantly different color than the target. Using these observations along with other constraints from high-resolution imaging and spectroscopy, we are able to exclude the vast majority of possible false positives. We assess the likelihood of the remaining blends, and arrive conservatively at a false alarm rate of 1.6 x 10 -5 that is small enough to validate the candidate as a planet (designated Kepler-10 c) with a very high level of confidence. The radius of this object is measured to be R p = 2.227 +0.052 -0.057 R + (in which the error includes the uncertainty in the stellar properties), but currently available radial-velocity measurements only place an upper limit on its mass of about 20 M + . Kepler-10 c represents another example (with Kepler-9 d and Kepler-11 g) of statistical 'validation' of a transiting exoplanet, as opposed to the usual 'confirmation' that can take place when the Doppler signal is detected or transit timing variations are measured. It is anticipated that many of Kepler's smaller candidates will receive a similar treatment since dynamical confirmation may be difficult or impractical with the sensitivity of

  2. Advances in Telescope and Detector Technologies - Impacts on the Study and Understanding of Binary Star and Exoplanet Systems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Guinan, Edward F.; Engle, Scott; Devinney, Edward J.

    2012-04-01

    Current and planned telescope systems (both on the ground and in space) as well as new technologies will be discussed with emphasis on their impact on the studies of binary star and exoplanet systems. Although no telescopes or space missions are primarily designed to study binary stars (what a pity!), several are available (or will be shortly) to study exoplanet systems. Nonetheless those telescopes and instruments can also be powerful tools for studying binary and variable stars. For example, early microlensing missions (mid-1990s) such as EROS, MACHO and OGLE were initially designed for probing dark matter in the halos of galaxies but, serendipitously, these programs turned out to be a bonanza for the studies of eclipsing binaries and variable stars in the Magellanic Clouds and in the Galactic Bulge. A more recent example of this kind of serendipity is the Kepler Mission. Although Kepler was designed to discover exoplanet transits (and so far has been very successful, returning many planetary candidates), Kepler is turning out to be a ``stealth'' stellar astrophysics mission returning fundamentally important and new information on eclipsing binaries, variable stars and, in particular, providing a treasure trove of data of all types of pulsating stars suitable for detailed Asteroseismology studies. With this in mind, current and planned telescopes and networks, new instruments and techniques (including interferometers) are discussed that can play important roles in our understanding of both binary star and exoplanet systems. Recent advances in detectors (e.g. laser frequency comb spectrographs), telescope networks (both small and large - e.g. Super-WASP, HAT-net, RoboNet, Las Combres Observatory Global Telescope (LCOGT) Network), wide field (panoramic) telescope systems (e.g. Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) and Pan-Starrs), huge telescopes (e.g. the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT), the Overwhelming Large Telescope (OWL) and the Extremely Large Telescope (ELT

  3. New National Telescope at La Silla - TRAPPIST to Scout the Sky and Uncover Exoplanets and Comets

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-06-01

    A new robotic telescope has had first light at ESO's La Silla Observatory, in Chile. TRAPPIST (TRAnsiting Planets and PlanetesImals Small Telescope) is devoted to the study of planetary systems through two approaches: the detection and characterisation of planets located outside the Solar System (exoplanets) and the study of comets orbiting around the Sun. The 60-cm telescope is operated from a control room in Liège, Belgium, 12 000 km away. "The two themes of the TRAPPIST project are important parts of an emerging interdisciplinary field of research - astrobiology - that aims at studying the origin and distribution of life in the Universe," explains Michaël Gillon, who is in charge of the exoplanet studies. "Terrestrial planets similar to our Earth are obvious targets for the search for life outside the Solar System, while comets are suspected to have played an important role in the appearance and development of life on our planet," adds his colleague Emmanuël Jehin, who leads the cometary part of the project. TRAPPIST will detect and characterise exoplanets by making high precision measurements of "brightness dips" that might possibly be caused by exoplanet transits. During such a transit, the observed brightness of the star decreases slightly because the planet blocks a part of the starlight. The larger the planet, the more of the light is blocked and the more the brightness of the star will decrease [1]. "ESO's La Silla Observatory on the outskirts of the Atacama Desert is certainly one of the best astronomical sites in the world," says Gillon. "And because it is already home to two superb exoplanet hunters, we couldn't have found a better place to install our robotic telescope." The astronomers behind the TRAPPIST initiative will work very closely with the teams using HARPS on the 3.6-metre telescope and CORALIE attached to the Swiss 1.2-metre Leonhard Euler Telescope, both at La Silla. TRAPPIST is a collaboration between the University of Liège and the

  4. Newborn exoplanet eyed for moons and rings

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clery, Daniel

    2018-01-01

    Astronomers are staring at a nearby star in hopes of seeing a giant baby of a planet—perhaps accompanied by dust clouds, rings, or newborn moons—pass across its face. Last week, the newest and tiniest telescope joined the vigil, when the French-built PicSat rode into orbit on an Indian rocket. It will be able to continuously monitor the star, β Pictoris, until chances of seeing the once-in-20-year transit event diminish in a few months' time. Astronomers are fascinated by β Pictoris, a bright star just 63 light-years away, because it is a natural laboratory for how solar systems form given its age of only 24 million years—an infant in stellar terms.

  5. Non-detection of Previously Reported Transits of HD 97658b with MOST Photometry

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Dragomir, Diana; Matthews, Jaymie M.; Howard, Andrew W.

    2012-01-01

    The radial velocity-discovered exoplanet HD 97658b was recently announced to transit, with a derived planetary radius of 2.93 ± 0.28 R ⊕. As a transiting super-Earth orbiting a bright star, this planet would make an attractive candidate for additional observations, including studies of its atmosp...

  6. POPULATION PROPERTIES OF BROWN DWARF ANALOGS TO EXOPLANETS

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Faherty, Jacqueline K.; Gagne, Jonathan; Weinberger, Alycia; Riedel, Adric R.; Cruz, Kelle L.; Filippazzo, Joseph C.; Lambrides, Erini; Fica, Haley; Baldassare, Vivienne; Lemonier, Emily; Rice, Emily L.; Thorstensen, John R.; Tinney, C. G.

    2016-01-01

    We present a kinematic analysis of 152 low surface gravity M7-L8 dwarfs by adding 18 new parallaxes (including 10 for comparative field objects), 38 new radial velocities, and 19 new proper motions. We also add low- or moderate-resolution near-infrared spectra for 43 sources confirming their low surface gravity features. Among the full sample, we find 39 objects to be high-likelihood or new bona fide members of nearby moving groups, 92 objects to be ambiguous members and 21 objects that are non-members. Using this age-calibrated sample, we investigate trends in gravity classification, photometric color, absolute magnitude, color–magnitude, luminosity, and effective temperature. We find that gravity classification and photometric color clearly separate 5–130 Myr sources from >3 Gyr field objects, but they do not correlate one to one with the narrower 5–130 Myr age range. Sources with the same spectral subtype in the same group have systematically redder colors, but they are distributed between 1 and 4 σ from the field sequences and the most extreme outlier switches between intermediate- and low-gravity sources either confirmed in a group or not. The absolute magnitudes of low-gravity sources from the J band through W 3 show a flux redistribution when compared to equivalently typed field brown dwarfs that is correlated with spectral subtype. Low-gravity, late-type L dwarfs are fainter at J than the field sequence but brighter by W 3. Low-gravity M dwarfs are >1 mag brighter than field dwarfs in all bands from J through W 3. Clouds, which are a far more dominant opacity source for L dwarfs, are the likely cause. On color–magnitude diagrams, the latest-type, low-gravity L dwarfs drive the elbow of the L/T transition up to 1 mag redder and 1 mag fainter than field dwarfs at M J but are consistent with or brighter than the elbow at M W1 and M W2 . We conclude that low-gravity dwarfs carry an extreme version of the cloud conditions of field objects to lower

  7. NEAT: an astrometric space telescope to search for habitable exoplanets in the solar neighborhood

    Science.gov (United States)

    Crouzier, A.; Malbet, F.; Kern, P.; Feautrier, P.; Preiss, O.; Martin, G.; Henault, F.; Stadler, E.; Lafrasse, S.; Behar, E.; Saintpe, M.; Dupont, J.; Potin, S.; Lagage, P.-O.; Cara, C.; Leger, A.; Leduigou, J.-M.; Shao, M.; Goullioud, R.

    2014-03-01

    The last decade has witnessed a spectacular development of exoplanet detection techniques, which led to an exponential number of discoveries and a great diversity of known exoplanets. However, it must be noted that the quest for the holy grail of astrobiology, i.e. a nearby terrestrial exoplanet in habitable zone around a solar type star, is still ongoing and proves to be very hard. Radial velocities will have to overcome stellar noise if there are to discover habitable planets around stars more massive than M ones. For very close systems, transits are impeded by their low geometrical probability. Here we present an alternative concept: space astrometry. NEAT (Nearby Earth Astrometric Telescope) is a concept of astrometric mission proposed to ESA which goal is to make a whole sky survey of close (less then 20 pc) planetary systems. The detection limit required for the instrument is the astrometric signal of an Earth analog (at 10 pc). Differential astrometry is a very interesting tool to detect nearby habitable exoplanets. Indeed, for F, G and K main sequence stars, the astrophysical noise is smaller than the astrometric signal, contrary to the case for radial velocities. The difficulty lies in the fact that the signal of an exo-Earth around a G type star at 10 pc is a tiny 0.3 micro arc sec, which is equivalent to a coin on the moon, seen from the Earth: the main challenge is related to instrumentation. In order to reach this specification, NEAT consists of two formation flying spacecraft at a 40m distance, one carries the mirror and the other one the focal plane. Thus NEAT has a configuration with only one optical surface: an off-axis parabola. Consequently, beamwalk errors are common to the whole field of view and have a small effect on differential astrometry. Moreover a metrology system projects young fringes on the focal plane, which can characterize the pixels whenever necessary during the mission. NEAT has two main scientific objectives: combined with

  8. The Kepler and K2 Near-Infrared Transit Survey (KNITS)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Colon, Knicole; Rodriguez, Joseph E.; Barentsen, Geert; Cardoso, Jose Vinicius de Miranda; Vanderburg, Andrew

    2018-01-01

    NASA's Kepler mission discovered a plethora of transiting exoplanets after observing a single region of the Galaxy for four years. After a second reaction wheel failed, NASA's Kepler spacecraft was repurposed as K2 to observe different fields along the ecliptic in ~80 day campaigns. To date, K2 has discovered ~130 exoplanets along with another ~400 candidates. The exoplanets that have been confirmed or validated from Kepler and K2 have been primarily subject to spectroscopic observations, high-resolution imaging, or statistical methods. However, most of these, along with all the remaining candidate exoplanets, have had no follow-up transit photometry. In addition, recent studies have shown that for single-planet systems, statistical validation alone can be unreliable and additional follow-up observations are required to reveal the true nature of the system. I will present the latest results from an ongoing program to use the 3.5-meter WIYN telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory for near-infrared transit photometry of Kepler and K2 exoplanets and candidates. Our program of high-precision, high-cadence, high-spatial-resolution near-infrared transit photometry is providing new measurements of the transit ephemerides and planetary radii as well as weeding out false positives lurking within the candidate lists. To date, 25 K2 and 5 Kepler targets have been observed with WIYN. I will also describe upcoming observations with WIYN that will take place in January 2018 as part of a campaign to observe exoplanet transits in the near-infrared simultaneously with the Kepler spacecraft during K2 Campaign 16. Our program ultimately provides a vetted sample of exoplanets that could be targeted in the future by NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) and also demonstrates WIYN’s capabilities for observations of exoplanets to be discovered by NASA's all-sky Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS).Data presented herein were obtained at the WIYN Observatory from

  9. Probing Into the Atmosphere of the Young Exoplanet K2-25b

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chia Thao, Pa; Mann, Andrew

    2018-01-01

    Planets are most transformative during their early life, yet there remains little research on this developmental stage. In order to construct a more accurate picture of the diversity and evolution of planetary atmospheres, we present Spitzer infrared photometry of five transits both in 3.6 μm and 4.5 μm bands of the young exoplanet, K2-25b (650-800 Myr). To correct for the intra-pixel photometric response, we interpolated high-resolution sensitivity maps. Light curves were then created using a transit model and an MCMC framework to find the planet parameters in each wavelength. In comparison to atmospheric theoretical models, we find K2-25b unlikely to have a solar-metallicity atmosphere. However, observed through a full transmission spectrum, K2-25b is consistent with either a high-metallicity atmosphere or a cloudy/hazy layer. Further HST data would provide significantly more detail on the structure of the atmosphere. In a future project, we plan to apply this same method to a younger planet, K2-33b (11 Myr), to determine if cloudy/hazy atmospheres are primordial.

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Chaplin, W. J.; Campante, T. L.; Davies, G. R.; Elsworth, Y.; Hekker, S.; Sanchis-Ojeda, R.; Winn, J. N.; Handberg, R.; Christensen-Dalsgaard, J.; Karoff, C.; Stello, D.; Bedding, T. R.; Basu, S.; Fischer, D. A.; Metcalfe, T. S.; Buchhave, L. A.; Cochran, W. D.; Gilliland, R. L.; Huber, D.; Isaacson, H.

    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 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 1σ 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.

  11. Processing and Managing the Kepler Mission's Treasure Trove of Stellar and Exoplanet Data

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jenkins, Jon M.

    2016-01-01

    The Kepler telescope launched into orbit in March 2009, initiating NASAs first mission to discover Earth-size planets orbiting Sun-like stars. Kepler simultaneously collected data for 160,000 target stars at a time over its four-year mission, identifying over 4700 planet candidates, 2300 confirmed or validated planets, and over 2100 eclipsing binaries. While Kepler was designed to discover exoplanets, the long term, ultra- high photometric precision measurements it achieved made it a premier observational facility for stellar astrophysics, especially in the field of asteroseismology, and for variable stars, such as RR Lyraes. The Kepler Science Operations Center (SOC) was developed at NASA Ames Research Center to process the data acquired by Kepler from pixel-level calibrations all the way to identifying transiting planet signatures and subjecting them to a suite of diagnostic tests to establish or break confidence in their planetary nature. Detecting small, rocky planets transiting Sun-like stars presents a variety of daunting challenges, from achieving an unprecedented photometric precision of 20 parts per million (ppm) on 6.5-hour timescales, supporting the science operations, management, processing, and repeated reprocessing of the accumulating data stream. This paper describes how the design of the SOC meets these varied challenges, discusses the architecture of the SOC and how the SOC pipeline is operated and is run on the NAS Pleiades supercomputer, and summarizes the most important pipeline features addressing the multiple computational, image and signal processing challenges posed by Kepler.

  12. Exoplanet Science in the Classroom: Learning Activities for an Introductory Physics Course

    Science.gov (United States)

    Della-Rose, Devin; Carlson, Randall; de La Harpe, Kimberly; Novotny, Steven; Polsgrove, Daniel

    2018-01-01

    Discovery of planets outside our solar system, known as extra-solar planets or exoplanets for short, has been at the forefront of astronomical research for over 25 years. Reports of new discoveries have almost become routine; however, the excitement surrounding them has not. Amazingly, as groundbreaking as exoplanet science is, the basic physics…

  13. Weighted halfspace depth

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Kotík, Lukáš; Hlubinka, D.; Vencálek, O.

    Vol. 46, č. 1 (2010), s. 125-148 ISSN 0023-5954 Institutional research plan: CEZ:AV0Z10750506 Keywords : data depth * nonparametric multivariate analysis * strong consistency of depth * mixture of distributions Subject RIV: BB - Applied Statistics, Operational Research Impact factor: 0.461, year: 2010 http://library.utia.cas.cz/separaty/2010/SI/kotik-weighted halfspace depth.pdf

  14. Exoplanet Science in the Classroom: Learning Activities for an Introductory Physics Course

    Science.gov (United States)

    Della-Rose, Devin; Carlson, Randall; de La Harpe, Kimberly; Novotny, Steven; Polsgrove, Daniel

    2018-03-01

    Discovery of planets outside our solar system, known as extra-solar planets or exoplanets for short, has been at the forefront of astronomical research for over 25 years. Reports of new discoveries have almost become routine; however, the excitement surrounding them has not. Amazingly, as groundbreaking as exoplanet science is, the basic physics is quite accessible to first-year physics students, as discussed in previous TPT articles. To further illustrate this point, we developed an iOS application that generates synthetic exoplanet data to provide students and teachers with interactive learning activities. Using introductory physics concepts, we demonstrate how to estimate exoplanet mass, radius, and density from the app output. These calculations form the basis for a diverse range of classroom activities. We conclude with a summary of exoplanet science resources for teachers.

  15. 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.

  16. #AltPlanets: Exploring the Exoplanet Catalogue with Neural Networks

    Science.gov (United States)

    Laneuville, M.; Tasker, E. J.; Guttenberg, N.

    2017-12-01

    The launch of Kepler in 2009 brought the number of known exoplanets into the thousands, in a growth explosion that shows no sign of abating. While the data available for individual planets is presently typically restricted to orbital and bulk properties, the quantity of data points allows the potential for meaningful statistical analysis. It is not clear how planet mass, radius, orbital path, stellar properties and neighbouring planets influence one another, therefore it seems inevitable that patterns will be missed simply due to the difficulty of including so many dimensions. Even simple trends may be overlooked if they fall outside our expectation of planet formation; a strong risk in a field where new discoveries have destroyed theories from the first observations of hot Jupiters. A possible way forward is to take advantage of the capabilities of neural network autoencoders. The idea of such algorithms is to learn a representation (encoding) of the data in a lower dimension space, without a priori knowledge about links between the elements. This encoding space can then be used to discover the strongest correlations in the original dataset.The key point is that trends identified by a neural network are independent of any previous analysis and pre-conceived ideas about physical processes. Results can reveal new relationships between planet properties and verify existing trends. We applied this concept to study data from the NASA Exoplanet Archive and while we have begun to explore the potential use of neural networks for exoplanet data, there are many possible extensions. For example, the network can produce a large number of 'alternative planets' whose statistics should match the current distribution. This larger dataset could highlight gaps in the parameter space or indicate observations are missing particular regimes. This could guide instrument proposals towards objects liable to yield the most information.

  17. Adaptive Optics Observations of Exoplanets, Brown Dwarfs, and Binary Stars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hinkley, Sasha

    2012-04-01

    The current direct observations of brown dwarfs and exoplanets have been obtained using instruments not specifically designed for overcoming the large contrast ratio between the host star and any wide-separation faint companions. However, we are about to witness the birth of several new dedicated observing platforms specifically geared towards high contrast imaging of these objects. The Gemini Planet Imager, VLT-SPHERE, Subaru HiCIAO, and Project 1640 at the Palomar 5m telescope will return images of numerous exoplanets and brown dwarfs over hundreds of observing nights in the next five years. Along with diffraction-limited coronagraphs and high-order adaptive optics, these instruments also will return spectral and polarimetric information on any discovered targets, giving clues to their atmospheric compositions and characteristics. Such spectral characterization will be key to forming a detailed theory of comparative exoplanetary science which will be widely applicable to both exoplanets and brown dwarfs. Further, the prevalence of aperture masking interferometry in the field of high contrast imaging is also allowing observers to sense massive, young planets at solar system scales (~3-30 AU)- separations out of reach to conventional direct imaging techniques. Such observations can provide snapshots at the earliest phases of planet formation-information essential for constraining formation mechanisms as well as evolutionary models of planetary mass companions. As a demonstration of the power of this technique, I briefly review recent aperture masking observations of the HR 8799 system. Moreover, all of the aforementioned techniques are already extremely adept at detecting low-mass stellar companions to their target stars, and I present some recent highlights.

  18. TWO NEARBY SUB-EARTH-SIZED EXOPLANET CANDIDATES IN THE GJ 436 SYSTEM

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Stevenson, Kevin B.; Harrington, Joseph; Lust, Nate B.; Blecic, Jasmina; Hardy, Ryan A.; Cubillos, Patricio; Campo, Christopher J.; Lewis, Nikole K.; Montagnier, Guillaume; Moses, Julianne I.; Visscher, Channon

    2012-01-01

    We report the detection of UCF-1.01, a strong exoplanet candidate with a radius 0.66 ± 0.04 times that of Earth (R ⊕ ). This sub-Earth-sized planet transits the nearby M-dwarf star GJ 436 with a period of 1.365862 ± 8 × 10 –6 days. We also report evidence of a 0.65 ± 0.06 R ⊕ exoplanet candidate (labeled UCF-1.02) orbiting the same star with an undetermined period. Using the Spitzer Space Telescope, we measure the dimming of light as the planets pass in front of their parent star to assess their sizes and orbital parameters. If confirmed today, UCF-1.01 and UCF-1.02 would be designated GJ 436c and GJ 436d, respectively, and would be part of the first multiple-transiting-planet system outside of the Kepler field. Assuming Earth-like densities of 5.515 g cm –3 , we predict both candidates to have similar masses (∼0.28 Earth-masses, M ⊕ , 2.6 Mars-masses) and surface gravities of ∼0.65 g (where g is the gravity on Earth). UCF-1.01's equilibrium temperature (T eq , where emitted and absorbed radiation balance for an equivalent blackbody) is 860 K, making the planet unlikely to harbor life as on Earth. Its weak gravitational field and close proximity to its host star imply that UCF-1.01 is unlikely to have retained its original atmosphere; however, a transient atmosphere is possible if recent impacts or tidal heating were to supply volatiles to the surface. We also present additional observations of GJ 436b during secondary eclipse. The 3.6 μm light curve shows indications of stellar activity, making a reliable secondary eclipse measurement impossible. A second non-detection at 4.5 μm supports our previous work in which we find a methane-deficient and carbon monoxide-rich dayside atmosphere.

  19. Two nearby Sub-Earth-sized Exoplanet Candidates in the GJ 436 System

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stevenson, Kevin B.; Harrington, Joseph; Lust, Nate B.; Lewis, Nikole K.; Montagnier, Guillaume; Moses, Julianne I.; Visscher, Channon; Blecic, Jasmina; Hardy, Ryan A.; Cubillos, Patricio; Campo, Christopher J.

    2012-08-01

    We report the detection of UCF-1.01, a strong exoplanet candidate with a radius 0.66 ± 0.04 times that of Earth (R ⊕). This sub-Earth-sized planet transits the nearby M-dwarf star GJ 436 with a period of 1.365862 ± 8 × 10-6 days. We also report evidence of a 0.65 ± 0.06 R ⊕ exoplanet candidate (labeled UCF-1.02) orbiting the same star with an undetermined period. Using the Spitzer Space Telescope, we measure the dimming of light as the planets pass in front of their parent star to assess their sizes and orbital parameters. If confirmed today, UCF-1.01 and UCF-1.02 would be designated GJ 436c and GJ 436d, respectively, and would be part of the first multiple-transiting-planet system outside of the Kepler field. Assuming Earth-like densities of 5.515 g cm-3, we predict both candidates to have similar masses (~0.28 Earth-masses, M ⊕, 2.6 Mars-masses) and surface gravities of ~0.65 g (where g is the gravity on Earth). UCF-1.01's equilibrium temperature (T eq, where emitted and absorbed radiation balance for an equivalent blackbody) is 860 K, making the planet unlikely to harbor life as on Earth. Its weak gravitational field and close proximity to its host star imply that UCF-1.01 is unlikely to have retained its original atmosphere; however, a transient atmosphere is possible if recent impacts or tidal heating were to supply volatiles to the surface. We also present additional observations of GJ 436b during secondary eclipse. The 3.6 μm light curve shows indications of stellar activity, making a reliable secondary eclipse measurement impossible. A second non-detection at 4.5 μm supports our previous work in which we find a methane-deficient and carbon monoxide-rich dayside atmosphere.

  20. A SEMI-ANALYTICAL MODEL OF VISIBLE-WAVELENGTH PHASE CURVES OF EXOPLANETS AND APPLICATIONS TO KEPLER- 7 B AND KEPLER- 10 B

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Hu, Renyu [Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91109 (United States); Demory, Brice-Olivier [Astrophysics Group, Cavendish Laboratory, J.J. Thomson Avenue, Cambridge CB3 0HE (United Kingdom); Seager, Sara; Lewis, Nikole [Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139 (United States); Showman, Adam P., E-mail: renyu.hu@jpl.nasa.gov [Department of Planetary Sciences, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721 (United States)

    2015-03-20

    Kepler has detected numerous exoplanet transits by measuring stellar light in a single visible-wavelength band. In addition to detection, the precise photometry provides phase curves of exoplanets, which can be used to study the dynamic processes on these planets. However, the interpretation of these observations can be complicated by the fact that visible-wavelength phase curves can represent both thermal emission and scattering from the planets. Here we present a semi-analytical model framework that can be applied to study Kepler and future visible-wavelength phase curve observations of exoplanets. The model efficiently computes reflection and thermal emission components for both rocky and gaseous planets, considering both homogeneous and inhomogeneous surfaces or atmospheres. We analyze the phase curves of the gaseous planet Kepler- 7 b and the rocky planet Kepler- 10 b using the model. In general, we find that a hot exoplanet’s visible-wavelength phase curve having a significant phase offset can usually be explained by two classes of solutions: one class requires a thermal hot spot shifted to one side of the substellar point, and the other class requires reflective clouds concentrated on the same side of the substellar point. Particularly for Kepler- 7 b, reflective clouds located on the west side of the substellar point can best explain its phase curve. The reflectivity of the clear part of the atmosphere should be less than 7% and that of the cloudy part should be greater than 80%, and the cloud boundary should be located at 11° ± 3° to the west of the substellar point. We suggest single-band photometry surveys could yield valuable information on exoplanet atmospheres and surfaces.

  1. 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.

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Fauchez, Thomas; Rossi, Loic; Stam, Daphne M.

    2017-01-01

    Earth-like, potentially habitable exoplanets are prime targets in the search for extraterrestrial life. Information about their atmospheres and surfaces can be derived by analyzing the light of the parent star reflected by the planet. We investigate the influence of the surface albedo A s , the optical thickness b cloud , the altitude of water clouds, and the mixing ratio of biosignature O 2 on the strength of the O 2 A-band (around 760 nm) in the flux and polarization spectra of starlight reflected by Earth-like exoplanets. Our computations for horizontally homogeneous planets show that small mixing ratios ( η < 0.4) will yield moderately deep bands in flux and moderate-to-small band strengths in polarization, and that clouds will usually decrease the band depth in flux and the band strength in polarization. However, cloud influence will be strongly dependent on properties such as optical thickness, top altitude, particle phase, coverage fraction, and horizontal distribution. Depending on the surface albedo and cloud properties, different O 2 mixing ratios η can give similar absorption-band depths in flux and band strengths in polarization, especially if the clouds have moderate-to-high optical thicknesses. Measuring both the flux and the polarization is essential to reduce the degeneracies, although it will not solve them, especially not for horizontally inhomogeneous planets. Observations at a wide range of phase angles and with a high temporal resolution could help to derive cloud properties and, once those are known, the mixing ratio of O 2 or any other absorbing gas.

  3. Complexity and Dynamical Depth

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Terrence Deacon

    2014-07-01

    Full Text Available We argue that a critical difference distinguishing machines from organisms and computers from brains is not complexity in a structural sense, but a difference in dynamical organization that is not well accounted for by current complexity measures. We propose a measure of the complexity of a system that is largely orthogonal to computational, information theoretic, or thermodynamic conceptions of structural complexity. What we call a system’s dynamical depth is a separate dimension of system complexity that measures the degree to which it exhibits discrete levels of nonlinear dynamical organization in which successive levels are distinguished by local entropy reduction and constraint generation. A system with greater dynamical depth than another consists of a greater number of such nested dynamical levels. Thus, a mechanical or linear thermodynamic system has less dynamical depth than an inorganic self-organized system, which has less dynamical depth than a living system. Including an assessment of dynamical depth can provide a more precise and systematic account of the fundamental difference between inorganic systems (low dynamical depth and living systems (high dynamical depth, irrespective of the number of their parts and the causal relations between them.

  4. 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

    2017-08-02

    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.

  5. A search for radio emission from exoplanets around evolved stars

    Science.gov (United States)

    O'Gorman, E.; Coughlan, C. P.; Vlemmings, W.; Varenius, E.; Sirothia, S.; Ray, T. P.; Olofsson, H.

    2018-04-01

    The majority of searches for radio emission from exoplanets have to date focused on short period planets, i.e., the so-called hot Jupiter type planets. However, these planets are likely to be tidally locked to their host stars and may not generate sufficiently strong magnetic fields to emit electron cyclotron maser emission at the low frequencies used in observations (typically ≥150 MHz). In comparison, the large mass-loss rates of evolved stars could enable exoplanets at larger orbital distances to emit detectable radio emission. Here, we first show that the large ionized mass-loss rates of certain evolved stars relative to the solar value could make them detectable with the LOw Frequency ARray (LOFAR) at 150 MHz (λ = 2 m), provided they have surface magnetic field strengths >50 G. We then report radio observations of three long period (>1 au) planets that orbit the evolved stars β Gem, ι Dra, and β UMi using LOFAR at 150 MHz. We do not detect radio emission from any system but place tight 3σ upper limits of 0.98, 0.87, and 0.57 mJy on the flux density at 150 MHz for β Gem, ι Dra, and β UMi, respectively. Despite our non-detections these stringent upper limits highlight the potential of LOFAR as a tool to search for exoplanetary radio emission at meter wavelengths.

  6. 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}.

  7. Technology demonstration of starshade manufacturing for NASA's Exoplanet mission program

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kasdin, N. J.; Lisman, D.; Shaklan, S.; Thomson, M.; Cady, E.; Martin, S.; Marchen, L.; Vanderbei, R. J.; Macintosh, B.; Rudd, R. E.; Savransky, D.; Mikula, J.; Lynch, D.

    2012-09-01

    It is likely that the coming decade will see the development of a large visible light telescope with enabling technology for imaging exosolar Earthlike planets in the habitable zone of nearby stars. One such technology utilizes an external occulter, a satellite flying far from the telescope and employing a large screen, or starshade, to suppress the incoming starlight suffciently for detecting and characterizing exoplanets. This trades the added complexity of building the precisely shaped starshade and flying it in formation against simplifications in the telescope since extremely precise wavefront control is no longer necessary. In this paper we present the results of our project to design, manufacture, and measure a prototype occulter petal as part of NASA's first Technology Development for Exoplanet Missions program. We describe the mechanical design of the starshade and petal, the precision manufacturing tolerances, and the metrology approach. We demonstrate that the prototype petal meets the requirements and is consistent with a full-size occulter achieving better than 10-10 contrast.

  8. Visible nulling coronagraphy testbed development for exoplanet detection

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lyon, Richard G.; Clampin, Mark; Woodruff, Robert A.; Vasudevan, Gopal; Thompson, Patrick; Chen, Andrew; Petrone, Peter; Booth, Andrew; Madison, Timothy; Bolcar, Matthew; Noecker, M. Charley; Kendrick, Stephen; Melnick, Gary; Tolls, Volker

    2010-07-01

    Three of the recently completed NASA Astrophysics Strategic Mission Concept (ASMC) studies addressed the feasibility of using a Visible Nulling Coronagraph (VNC) as the prime instrument for exoplanet science. The VNC approach is one of the few approaches that works with filled, segmented and sparse or diluted aperture telescope systems and thus spans the space of potential ASMC exoplanet missions. NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) has a well-established effort to develop VNC technologies and has developed an incremental sequence of VNC testbeds to advance the this approach and the technologies associated with it. Herein we report on the continued development of the vacuum Visible Nulling Coronagraph testbed (VNT). The VNT is an ultra-stable vibration isolated testbed that operates under high bandwidth closed-loop control within a vacuum chamber. It will be used to achieve an incremental sequence of three visible light nulling milestones of sequentially higher contrasts of 108, 109 and 1010 at an inner working angle of 2*λ/D and ultimately culminate in spectrally broadband (>20%) high contrast imaging. Each of the milestones, one per year, is traceable to one or more of the ASMC studies. The VNT uses a modified Mach-Zehnder nulling interferometer, modified with a modified "W" configuration to accommodate a hex-packed MEMS based deformable mirror, a coherent fiber bundle and achromatic phase shifters. Discussed will be the optical configuration laboratory results, critical technologies and the null sensing and control approach.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. Connecting HL Tau to the observed exoplanet sample

    Science.gov (United States)

    Simbulan, Christopher; Tamayo, Daniel; Petrovich, Cristobal; Rein, Hanno; Murray, Norman

    2017-08-01

    The Atacama Large Millimeter/submilimeter Array (ALMA) recently revealed a set of nearly concentric gaps in the protoplanetary disc surrounding the young star HL Tauri (HL Tau). If these are carved by forming gas giants, this provides the first set of orbital initial conditions for planets as they emerge from their birth discs. Using N-body integrations, we have followed the evolution of the system for 5 Gyr to explore the possible outcomes. We find that HL Tau initial conditions scaled down to the size of typically observed exoplanet orbits naturally produce several populations in the observed exoplanet sample. First, for a plausible range of planetary masses, we can match the observed eccentricity distribution of dynamically excited radial velocity giant planets with eccentricities >0.2. Secondly, we roughly obtain the observed rate of hot Jupiters around FGK stars. Finally, we obtain a large efficiency of planetary ejections of ≈2 per HL Tau-like system, but the small fraction of stars observed to host giant planets makes it hard to match the rate of free-floating planets inferred from microlensing observations. In view of upcoming Gaia results, we also provide predictions for the expected mutual inclination distribution, which is significantly broader than the absolute inclination distributions typically considered by previous studies.

  12. 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.

  13. Detecting and Interpreting the Dynamical Evolution of Transiting Multiplanet Systems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mills, Sean Martin

    The dynamical interactions of our Solar System have been studied in depth since Isaac Newton recognized that the planets may not be stable to each other's gravitational perturbations. Recently, the discovery of exoplanet systems, including approximately a thousand planet candidates in systems of more than two bodies, has opened an extremely vast and diverse laboratory for planetary dynamics. In this dissertation, I describe techniques for measuring the dynamical, post-Keplerian interactions of planetary systems. Such signals often require numerical N-body analysis and photodynamic techniques combined with Bayesian statistics to correctly determine the properties of the planetary systems causing them. By simultaneously fitting the entire lightcurve data set at once, I am able to extract low signal-to-noise effects such as the resonance dynamics of a very faint system (Kepler-223), the slow orbital precession of a giant planet system (Kepler-108), and transit timing variations among very small and low mass planets (Kepler-444). I use these analyses to gain physical insight into the system's history, such as Kepler-108's potentially chaotic, violent past. Kepler-223's present structure indicates a migration origin for at least some close-in, sub-Neptune planets, which I explore in terms of tidal dissipation, smooth and stochastic migration, and secular evolution. I also analyze circumbinary systems including the newly discovered KIC 10753734. Taken together, these results provide insight into planetary formation in a broad array of environments for planet from compact sub-Neptune systems to Jupiters and circumbinary planets.

  14. 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

  15. A Search for Lost Planets in the Kepler Multi-Planet Systems and the Discovery of the Long-Period, Neptune-Sized Exoplanet Kepler-150 f

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-01-01

    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 approximately 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 pipelines 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, RP = 3.86 R earth) is confirmed using a combination of false positive probability analysis, transit duration analysis, and the planet multiplicity argument.

  16. A SEARCH FOR LOST PLANETS IN THE KEPLER MULTI-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.

  17. Transit spectroscopy with GTC

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Osorio M.R. Zapatero

    2013-04-01

    Full Text Available Thanks to different ground-based surveys and space missions, nowadays we have a fairly large sample of discovered extra-solar planets to study and, without a doubt, this number will increase in the future. One of the most succesful techniques that allows us to prove the physical properties and atmospheric composition of these exoplanets is transmission spectroscopy. The level of precision that is require to measure these effects provides a technical challenge that is solved by using big telescopes and stable instruments to reach low noise levels. In this article, we will discuss the use of the 10m class telescope GTC to observed planetary transits in spectroscopic mode and some of the results that we are currently obtaining.

  18. CHEOPS: A transit photometry mission for ESA's small mission programme

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Queloz D.

    2013-04-01

    Full Text Available Ground based radial velocity (RV searches continue to discover exoplanets below Neptune mass down to Earth mass. Furthermore, ground based transit searches now reach milli-mag photometric precision and can discover Neptune size planets around bright stars. These searches will find exoplanets around bright stars anywhere on the sky, their discoveries representing prime science targets for further study due to the proximity and brightness of their host stars. A mission for transit follow-up measurements of these prime targets is currently lacking. The first ESA S-class mission CHEOPS (CHaracterizing ExoPlanet Satellite will fill this gap. It will perform ultra-high precision photometric monitoring of selected bright target stars almost anywhere on the sky with sufficient precision to detect Earth sized transits. It will be able to detect transits of RV-planets by photometric monitoring if the geometric configuration results in a transit. For Hot Neptunes discovered from the ground, CHEOPS will be able to improve the transit light curve so that the radius can be determined precisely. Because of the host stars' brightness, high precision RV measurements will be possible for all targets. All planets observed in transit by CHEOPS will be validated and their masses will be known. This will provide valuable data for constraining the mass-radius relation of exoplanets, especially in the Neptune-mass regime. During the planned 3.5 year mission, about 500 targets will be observed. There will be 20% of open time available for the community to develop new science programmes.

  19. Advection of Potential Temperature in the Atmosphere of Irradiated Exoplanets: A Robust Mechanism to Explain Radius Inflation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tremblin, P.; Chabrier, G.; Mayne, N. J.; Amundsen, D. S.; Baraffe, I.; Debras, F.; Drummond, B.; Manners, J.; Fromang, S.

    2017-01-01

    The anomalously large radii of strongly irradiated exoplanets have remained a major puzzle in astronomy. Based on a two-dimensional steady-state atmospheric circulation model, the validity of which is assessed by comparison to three-dimensional calculations, we reveal a new mechanism, namely the advection of the potential temperature due to mass and longitudinal momentum conservation, a process occurring in the Earth's atmosphere or oceans. In the deep atmosphere, the vanishing heating flux forces the atmospheric structure to converge to a hotter adiabat than the one obtained with 1D calculations, implying a larger radius for the planet. Not only do the calculations reproduce the observed radius of HD 209458b, but also reproduce the observed correlation between radius inflation and irradiation for transiting planets. Vertical advection of potential temperature induced by non-uniform atmospheric heating thus provides a robust mechanism to explain the inflated radii of irradiated hot Jupiters.

  20. Advection of Potential Temperature in the Atmosphere of Irradiated Exoplanets: A Robust Mechanism to Explain Radius Inflation

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Tremblin, P.; Chabrier, G.; Mayne, N. J.; Baraffe, I.; Debras, F.; Drummond, B.; Manners, J.; Amundsen, D. S.; Fromang, S.

    2017-01-01

    The anomalously large radii of strongly irradiated exoplanets have remained a major puzzle in astronomy. Based on a two-dimensional steady-state atmospheric circulation model, the validity of which is assessed by comparison to three-dimensional calculations, we reveal a new mechanism, namely the advection of the potential temperature due to mass and longitudinal momentum conservation, a process occurring in the Earth’s atmosphere or oceans. In the deep atmosphere, the vanishing heating flux forces the atmospheric structure to converge to a hotter adiabat than the one obtained with 1D calculations, implying a larger radius for the planet. Not only do the calculations reproduce the observed radius of HD 209458b, but also reproduce the observed correlation between radius inflation and irradiation for transiting planets. Vertical advection of potential temperature induced by non-uniform atmospheric heating thus provides a robust mechanism to explain the inflated radii of irradiated hot Jupiters.

  1. 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 H 2 O 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.

  2. Advection of Potential Temperature in the Atmosphere of Irradiated Exoplanets: A Robust Mechanism to Explain Radius Inflation

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Tremblin, P. [Maison de la Simulation, CEA-CNRS-INRIA-UPS-UVSQ, USR 3441, CEA Paris-Saclay, F-91191 Gif-Sur-Yvette (France); Chabrier, G.; Mayne, N. J.; Baraffe, I.; Debras, F.; Drummond, B.; Manners, J. [Astrophysics Group, University of Exeter, EX4 4QL Exeter (United Kingdom); Amundsen, D. S. [Department of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics, Columbia University, New York, NY 10025 (United States); Fromang, S., E-mail: pascal.tremblin@cea.fr [Laboratoire AIM, CEA/DSM-CNRS-Université Paris 7, Irfu/Service d’Astrophysique, CEA Paris-Saclay, F-91191 Gif-sur-Yvette (France)

    2017-05-20

    The anomalously large radii of strongly irradiated exoplanets have remained a major puzzle in astronomy. Based on a two-dimensional steady-state atmospheric circulation model, the validity of which is assessed by comparison to three-dimensional calculations, we reveal a new mechanism, namely the advection of the potential temperature due to mass and longitudinal momentum conservation, a process occurring in the Earth’s atmosphere or oceans. In the deep atmosphere, the vanishing heating flux forces the atmospheric structure to converge to a hotter adiabat than the one obtained with 1D calculations, implying a larger radius for the planet. Not only do the calculations reproduce the observed radius of HD 209458b, but also reproduce the observed correlation between radius inflation and irradiation for transiting planets. Vertical advection of potential temperature induced by non-uniform atmospheric heating thus provides a robust mechanism to explain the inflated radii of irradiated hot Jupiters.

  3. Motivation with Depth.

    Science.gov (United States)

    DiSpezio, Michael A.

    2000-01-01

    Presents an illusional arena by offering experience in optical illusions in which students must apply critical analysis to their innate information gathering systems. Introduces different types of depth illusions for students to experience. (ASK)

  4. An Earth-sized exoplanet with a Mercury-like composition

    Science.gov (United States)

    Santerne, A.; Brugger, B.; Armstrong, D. J.; Adibekyan, V.; Lillo-Box, J.; Gosselin, H.; Aguichine, A.; Almenara, J.-M.; Barrado, D.; Barros, S. C. C.; Bayliss, D.; Boisse, I.; Bonomo, A. S.; Bouchy, F.; Brown, D. J. A.; Deleuil, M.; Delgado Mena, E.; Demangeon, O.; Díaz, R. F.; Doyle, A.; Dumusque, X.; Faedi, F.; Faria, J. P.; Figueira, P.; Foxell, E.; Giles, H.; Hébrard, G.; Hojjatpanah, S.; Hobson, M.; Jackman, J.; King, G.; Kirk, J.; Lam, K. W. F.; Ligi, R.; Lovis, C.; Louden, T.; McCormac, J.; Mousis, O.; Neal, J. J.; Osborn, H. P.; Pepe, F.; Pollacco, D.; Santos, N. C.; Sousa, S. G.; Udry, S.; Vigan, A.

    2018-05-01

    Earth, Venus, Mars and some extrasolar terrestrial planets1 have a mass and radius that is consistent with a mass fraction of about 30% metallic core and 70% silicate mantle2. At the inner frontier of the Solar System, Mercury has a completely different composition, with a mass fraction of about 70% metallic core and 30% silicate mantle3. Several formation or evolution scenarios are proposed to explain this metal-rich composition, such as a giant impact4, mantle evaporation5 or the depletion of silicate at the inner edge of the protoplanetary disk6. These scenarios are still strongly debated. Here, we report the discovery of a multiple transiting planetary system (K2-229) in which the inner planet has a radius of 1.165 ± 0.066 Earth radii and a mass of 2.59 ± 0.43 Earth masses. This Earth-sized planet thus has a core-mass fraction that is compatible with that of Mercury, although it was expected to be similar to that of Earth based on host-star chemistry7. This larger Mercury analogue either formed with a very peculiar composition or has evolved, for example, by losing part of its mantle. Further characterization of Mercury-like exoplanets such as K2-229 b will help to put the detailed in situ observations of Mercury (with MESSENGER and BepiColombo8) into the global context of the formation and evolution of solar and extrasolar terrestrial planets.

  5. A NEW CONCEPT FOR SPECTROPHOTOMETRY OF EXOPLANETS WITH SPACE-BORNE TELESCOPES

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Matsuo, Taro; Itoh, Satoshi; Shibai, Hiroshi; Sumi, Takahiro [Department of Earth and Space Science, Graduate School of Science, Osaka University, 1-1, Machikaneyamacho, Toyonaka, Osaka 560-0043 (Japan); Yamamuro, Tomoyasu [Optocraft, 3-16-8-101, Higashi Hashimoto, Midori-ku, Sagamihara, Kanagawa 252-0144 (Japan)

    2016-06-01

    We propose a new concept for the spectral characterization of transiting exoplanets with future space-based telescopes. This concept, called densified pupil spectroscopy, allows us to perform high, stable spectrophotometry against telescope pointing jitter and deformation of the primary mirror. This densified pupil spectrometer comprises the following three roles: division of a pupil into a number of sub-pupils, densification of each sub-pupil, and acquisition of the spectrum of each sub-pupil with a conventional spectrometer. Focusing on the fact that the divided and densified sub-pupil can be treated as a point source, we discovered that a simplified spectrometer allows us to acquire the spectra of the densified sub-pupils on the detector plane−an optical conjugate with the primary mirror−by putting the divided and densified sub-pupils on the entrance slit of the spectrometer. The acquired multiple spectra are not principally moved on the detector against low-order aberrations such as the telescope pointing jitter and any deformation of the primary mirror. The reliability of the observation result is also increased by statistically treating them. Our numerical calculations show that because this method suppresses the instrumental systematic errors down to 10 ppm under telescopes with modest pointing accuracy, next generation space telescopes with more than 2.5 m diameter potentially provide opportunities to characterize temperate super-Earths around nearby late-type stars through the transmission spectroscopy and secondary eclipse.

  6. Detection of the Secondary Eclipse of Exoplanet HAT P-11b

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barry, R. K.; Deming, L. D.; Bakos, G.; Harrington, J.; Madhusudhan, N.; Noyes, R.; Seager, S.

    2010-01-01

    We have successfully conducted secondary eclipse observations of exoplanet HAT-P-11b using the Spitzer Space Telescope. HAT-P-11b was, until very recently, the smallest transiting extrasolar planet yet found and one of only two known exo-Neptunes. We observed the system at 3.6 microns for a period of 22 hours centered on the anticipated secondary eclipse time, to detect the eclipse and determine its phase. Having detected the secondary eclipse, we are at present making a more focused series of observations in both the 3.6 and 4.5 micron bands to fully characterize it. HAT-P-11b has a period of 4.8878 days, radius of 0.422 RJ, mass of 0.081 MJ and semi-major axis 0.053 AU. Measurements of the secondary eclipse will serve to clarify two key issues; 1) the planetary brightness temperature and the nature of its atmosphere, and 2) the eccentricity of its orbit, with implications for its dynamical evolution. A precise determination of the orbit phase for the secondary eclipse will also be of great utility for Kepler observations of this system at visible wavelengths.

  7. Making the Most of Kepler Photometry: Characterizing Exoplanets through Phase Curve Analysis

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Esteves Lisa J.

    2015-01-01

    Full Text Available The Kepler mission’s long-term monitoring of stars through high-precision photometry has not only revealed a plethora of exoplanet transits but also provided valuable data for characterizing a subset of these planets. Using over four years of Kepler observations, we have derived phase curves for over a dozen planets, and use these measurements to constrain their mass, brightness/temperature and energy redistribution between the day and the night sides. In our new study, we also investigate possible offsets of the peak brightness of the phase curve, which could be indicative of inhomogeneous clouds and/or substantial winds in the planet’s atmosphere. We find significant offsets for over a half-dozen planets. With this growing sample of measured phase curves, we are able to better examine the trends of hot Jupiter energy budgets and albedos, and for the first time relate these properties to the presence of clouds or winds on a planet.

  8. An Earth-sized exoplanet with a Mercury-like composition

    Science.gov (United States)

    Santerne, A.; Brugger, B.; Armstrong, D. J.; Adibekyan, V.; Lillo-Box, J.; Gosselin, H.; Aguichine, A.; Almenara, J.-M.; Barrado, D.; Barros, S. C. C.; Bayliss, D.; Boisse, I.; Bonomo, A. S.; Bouchy, F.; Brown, D. J. A.; Deleuil, M.; Delgado Mena, E.; Demangeon, O.; Díaz, R. F.; Doyle, A.; Dumusque, X.; Faedi, F.; Faria, J. P.; Figueira, P.; Foxell, E.; Giles, H.; Hébrard, G.; Hojjatpanah, S.; Hobson, M.; Jackman, J.; King, G.; Kirk, J.; Lam, K. W. F.; Ligi, R.; Lovis, C.; Louden, T.; McCormac, J.; Mousis, O.; Neal, J. J.; Osborn, H. P.; Pepe, F.; Pollacco, D.; Santos, N. C.; Sousa, S. G.; Udry, S.; Vigan, A.

    2018-03-01

    Earth, Venus, Mars and some extrasolar terrestrial planets1 have a mass and radius that is consistent with a mass fraction of about 30% metallic core and 70% silicate mantle2. At the inner frontier of the Solar System, Mercury has a completely different composition, with a mass fraction of about 70% metallic core and 30% silicate mantle3. Several formation or evolution scenarios are proposed to explain this metal-rich composition, such as a giant impact4, mantle evaporation5 or the depletion of silicate at the inner edge of the protoplanetary disk6. These scenarios are still strongly debated. Here, we report the discovery of a multiple transiting planetary system (K2-229) in which the inner planet has a radius of 1.165 ± 0.066 Earth radii and a mass of 2.59 ± 0.43 Earth masses. This Earth-sized planet thus has a core-mass fraction that is compatible with that of Mercury, although it was expected to be similar to that of Earth based on host-star chemistry7. This larger Mercury analogue either formed with a very peculiar composition or has evolved, for example, by losing part of its mantle. Further characterization of Mercury-like exoplanets such as K2-229 b will help to put the detailed in situ observations of Mercury (with MESSENGER and BepiColombo8) into the global context of the formation and evolution of solar and extrasolar terrestrial planets.

  9. 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.

  10. Atmospheric retrieval analysis of the directly imaged exoplanet HR 8799b

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Lee, Jae-Min [University of Zürich, Institute for Theoretical Physics, Winterthurerstrasse 190, CH-8057 Zürich (Switzerland); Heng, Kevin [University of Bern, Center for Space and Habitability, Sidlerstrasse 5, CH-3012 Bern (Switzerland); Irwin, Patrick G. J., E-mail: lee@physik.uzh.ch, E-mail: kevin.heng@csh.unibe.ch, E-mail: irwin@atm.ox.ac.uk [University of Oxford, Atmospheric, Oceanic and Planetary Physics, Clarendon Laboratory, Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3PU (United Kingdom)

    2013-12-01

    Directly imaged exoplanets are unexplored laboratories for the application of the spectral and temperature retrieval method, where the chemistry and composition of their atmospheres are inferred from inverse modeling of the available data. As a pilot study, we focus on the extrasolar gas giant HR 8799b, for which more than 50 data points are available. We upgrade our non-linear optimal estimation retrieval method to include a phenomenological model of clouds that requires the cloud optical depth and monodisperse particle size to be specified. Previous studies have focused on forward models with assumed values of the exoplanetary properties; there is no consensus on the best-fit values of the radius, mass, surface gravity, and effective temperature of HR 8799b. We show that cloud-free models produce reasonable fits to the data if the atmosphere is of super-solar metallicity and non-solar elemental abundances. Intermediate cloudy models with moderate values of the cloud optical depth and micron-sized particles provide an equally reasonable fit to the data and require a lower mean molecular weight. We report our best-fit values for the radius, mass, surface gravity, and effective temperature of HR 8799b. The mean molecular weight is about 3.8, while the carbon-to-oxygen ratio is about unity due to the prevalence of carbon monoxide. Our study emphasizes the need for robust claims about the nature of an exoplanetary atmosphere to be based on analyses involving both photometry and spectroscopy and inferred from beyond a few photometric data points, such as are typically reported for hot Jupiters.

  11. THE TRANSIT TRANSMISSION SPECTRUM OF A COLD GAS GIANT PLANET

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Dalba, Paul A.; Muirhead, Philip S.; Veyette, Mark J. [Department of Astronomy, Boston University, 725 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215 (United States); Fortney, Jonathan J. [Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA 95064 (United States); Hedman, Matthew M. [Department of Physics, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID 83843 (United States); Nicholson, Philip D., E-mail: pdalba@bu.edu [Department of Astronomy, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853 (United States)

    2015-12-01

    We use solar occultations observed by the Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer on board the Cassini Spacecraft to extract the 1–5 μm transmission spectrum of Saturn, as if it were a transiting exoplanet. We detect absorption from methane, ethane, acetylene, aliphatic hydrocarbons, and possibly carbon monoxide, with peak-to-peak features of up to 90 parts-per-million despite the presence of ammonia clouds. We also find that atmospheric refraction, as opposed to clouds or haze, determines the minimum altitude that could be probed during mid-transit. Self-consistent exoplanet atmosphere models show good agreement with Saturn’s transmission spectrum but fail to reproduce a large absorption feature near 3.4 μm, likely caused by gaseous ethane and a C–H stretching mode of an unknown aliphatic hydrocarbon. This large feature is located in one of the Spitzer Space Telescope bandpasses and could alter interpretations of transmission spectra if not properly modeled. The large signal in Saturn’s transmission spectrum suggests that transmission spectroscopy of cold, long-period gaseous exoplanets should be possible with current and future observatories. Motivated by these results, we briefly consider the feasibility of  using a survey to search for and characterize cold exoplanets that are analogous to Jupiter and Saturn utilizing a target-of-opportunity approach.

  12. Assessing Ozone Detectability on Weakly Oxygenated Terrestrial Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schwieterman, Edward; Olson, Stephanie; Reinhard, Christopher; Ridgwell, Andy; Kane, Stephen R.; Meadows, Victoria; Lyons, Timothy

    2018-06-01

    Space-based telescope mission concepts currently under development by NASA would be capable of directly imaging exoplanets within the habitable zones of their host stars. The spectroscopic data from such missions could provide an opportunity to detect biosignatures. The strongest remotely detectable signature of life on our planet today is the photosynthetically produced oxygen (O2) in our atmosphere. However, recent studies of Earth’s geochemical proxy record suggest that for all but the last ~500 million years, atmospheric O2 would have been undetectable to a remote observer, a potential false negative for life. During an extended period in Earth’s middle history (2.0 – 0.7 billion years ago, Ga), O2 was likely present but in low concentrations, with pO2 estimates of ~ 0.1 – 1% of present-day levels. Recent biogeochemical modeling results have suggested methane (CH4) was likewise undetectably low during this period. Although O2 has a weak spectral impact in reflected light at abundances consistent with Earth’s middle history, O3 in photochemical equilibrium with that O2 would produce notable spectral features in the UV Hartley-Huggins band (~0.25 µm), with a weaker impact in the mid-IR band near 9.7 µm. Thus, taking Earth history as an informative example, there likely exists a category of exoplanets for which conventional biosignatures can only be identified in the UV. We use simulated observations to emphasize the importance of UV capabilities in the design of future space-based direct imaging telescopes such as HabEx or LUVOIR to detect O3 on planets with weakly oxygenated states. We also show that under low-O2 conditions, seasonal variations in O2 production and consumption by the biosphere could manifest as time-variable O3. Such seasonality in the Hartley-Huggins band provides both an opportunity and a challenge for remote life-detection studies because this biosignature may only be detectable intermittently over a planet’s orbital period

  13. A Decade of H α Transits for HD 189733 b: Stellar Activity versus Absorption in the Extended Atmosphere

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Cauley, P. Wilson; Redfield, Seth [Wesleyan University, Astronomy Department, Van Vleck Observatory, 96 Foss Hill Drive, Middletown, CT 06459 (United States); Jensen, Adam G., E-mail: pcauley@wesleyan.edu [University of Nebraska-Kearney, Department of Physics and Astronomy, 24011 11th Avenue, Kearney, NE 68849 (United States)

    2017-05-01

    HD 189733 b is one of the most well studied exoplanets due to its large transit depth and host star brightness. The focus on this object has produced a number of high-cadence transit observations using high-resolution optical spectrographs. Here we present an analysis of seven full H α transits of HD 189733 b using HARPS on the 3.6 meter La Silla telescope and HIRES on Keck I, taken over the course of nine years from 2006 to 2015. H α transmission signals are analyzed as a function of the stellar activity level, as measured using the normalized core flux of the Ca ii H and K lines. We find strong variations in the strength of the H α transmission spectrum from epoch to epoch. However, there is no clear trend between the Ca ii core emission and the strength of the in-transit H α signal, although the transit showing the largest absorption value also occurs when the star is the most active. We present simulations of the in-transit contrast effect and find that the planet must consistently transit active latitudes with very strong facular and plage emission regions in order to reproduce the observed line strengths. We also investigate the measured velocity centroids with models of planetary rotation and show that the small line profile velocities could be due to large velocities in the upper atmosphere of the planet. Overall, we find it more likely that the measured H α signals arise in the extended planetary atmosphere, although a better understanding of active region emission for active stars such as HD 189733 is needed.

  14. 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

  15. Prestack depth migration

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Postma, R.W.

    1991-01-01

    Two lines form the southern North Sea, with known velocity inhomogeneities in the overburden, have been pre-stack depth migrated. The pre-stack depth migrations are compared with conventional processing, one with severe distortions and one with subtle distortions on the conventionally processed sections. The line with subtle distortions is also compared with post-stack depth migration. The results on both lines were very successful. Both have already influenced drilling decisions, and have caused a modification of structural interpretation in the respective areas. Wells have been drilled on each of the lines, and well tops confirm the results. In fact, conventional processing led to incorrect locations for the wells, both of which were dry holes. The depth migrated sections indicate the incorrect placement, and on one line reveals a much better drilling location. This paper reports that even though processing costs are high for pre-stack depth migration, appropriate use can save millions of dollars in dry-hole expense

  16. Radon depth migration

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Hildebrand, S.T.; Carroll, R.J.

    1993-01-01

    A depth migration method is presented that used Radon-transformed common-source seismograms as input. It is shown that the Radon depth migration method can be extended to spatially varying velocity depth models by using asymptotic ray theory (ART) to construct wavefield continuation operators. These operators downward continue an incident receiver-array plane wave and an assumed point-source wavefield into the subsurface. The migration velocity model is constrain to have longer characteristic wavelengths than the dominant source wavelength such that the ART approximations for the continuation operators are valid. This method is used successfully to migrate two synthetic data examples: (1) a point diffractor, and (2) a dipping layer and syncline interface model. It is shown that the Radon migration method has a computational advantage over the standard Kirchhoff migration method in that fewer rays are computed in a main memory implementation

  17. Qatar Exoplanet Survey : Qatar-3b, Qatar-4b, and Qatar-5b

    Science.gov (United States)

    Alsubai, Khalid; Mislis, Dimitris; Tsvetanov, Zlatan I.; Latham, David W.; Bieryla, Allyson; Buchhave, Lars A.; Esquerdo, Gilbert A.; Bramich, D. M.; Pyrzas, Stylianos; Vilchez, Nicolas P. E.; Mancini, Luigi; Southworth, John; Evans, Daniel F.; Henning, Thomas; Ciceri, Simona

    2017-04-01

    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 {P}{{Q}3{{b}}} = 2.50792 days, {P}{{Q}4{{b}}} = 1.80539 days, and {P}{{Q}5{{b}}} = 2.87923 days. Follow-up spectroscopic observations reveal the masses of the planets to be {M}{{Q}3{{b}}} = 4.31 ± 0.47 {M}{{J}}, {M}{{Q}4{{b}}} = 6.10 ± 0.54 {M}{{J}}, and {M}{{Q}5{{b}}} = 4.32 ± 0.18 {M}{{J}}, while model fits to the transit light curves yield radii of {R}{{Q}3{{b}}} = 1.096 ± 0.14 {R}{{J}}, {R}{{Q}4{{b}}} = 1.135 ± 0.11 {R}{{J}}, and {R}{{Q}5{{b}}} = 1.107 ± 0.064 {R}{{J}}. The host stars are low-mass main sequence stars with masses and radii M Q3 = 1.145 ± 0.064 M ⊙, M Q4 = 0.896 ± 0.048 M ⊙, M Q5 = 1.128 ± 0.056 M ⊙ and R Q3 = 1.272 ± 0.14 R ⊙, R Q4 = 0.849 ± 0.063 R ⊙, and R Q5 = 1.076 ± 0.051 R ⊙ for Qatar-3, 4, and 5 respectively. The V magnitudes of the three host stars are V Q3 = 12.88, V Q4 = 13.60, and V Q5 = 12.82. All three new planets can be classified as heavy hot Jupiters (M > 4 M J).

  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. Gaia and exoplanets: a revolution in the making

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sozzetti, Alessandro

    2017-09-01

    The Gaia global astrometry mission is now entering its fourth year of routine science operations. With the publication of the first data release in September 2016, it has begun to fulfil its promise for revolutionary science in countless aspects of Galactic astronomy and astrophysics. I briefly review the Gaia mission status of operations and the scenario for the upcoming intermediate data releases, focusing on important lessons learned. Then, I illustrate the Gaia exoplanet science case, and discuss how the field will be revolutionized by the power of microarcsecond (μas) astrometry that is about to be unleashed. I conclude by touching upon some of the synergy elements that will call for combination of Gaia data with other indirect and direct detection and characterization techniques, for much improved understanding of exoplanetary systems.

  20. Measuring depth in boreholes

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Hodson, G.M.

    1979-01-01

    This invention relates to a method of determining the depth of rock strata and other features of a borehole. It may be employed with particular advantage when access to the top of the borehole is difficult, for example in underwater operations. A radioactive marker, such as a source of gamma rays, is positioned near the top of the riser of a sub-sea wellhead structure. A radiation detector is lowered between the marker and a radioactive stratum and the length of line supplied is measured on the floating platform. This enables the depth of the stratum to be measured irrespective of tidal variations of the height of the platform. (U.K.)

  1. 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.

  2. Supervised detection of exoplanets in high-contrast imaging sequences

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gomez Gonzalez, C. A.; Absil, O.; Van Droogenbroeck, M.

    2018-06-01

    Context. Post-processing algorithms play a key role in pushing the detection limits of high-contrast imaging (HCI) instruments. State-of-the-art image processing approaches for HCI enable the production of science-ready images relying on unsupervised learning techniques, such as low-rank approximations, for generating a model point spread function (PSF) and subtracting the residual starlight and speckle noise. Aims: In order to maximize the detection rate of HCI instruments and survey campaigns, advanced algorithms with higher sensitivities to faint companions are needed, especially for the speckle-dominated innermost region of the images. Methods: We propose a reformulation of the exoplanet detection task (for ADI sequences) that builds on well-established machine learning techniques to take HCI post-processing from an unsupervised to a supervised learning context. In this new framework, we present algorithmic solutions using two different discriminative models: SODIRF (random forests) and SODINN (neural networks). We test these algorithms on real ADI datasets from VLT/NACO and VLT/SPHERE HCI instruments. We then assess their performances by injecting fake companions and using receiver operating characteristic analysis. This is done in comparison with state-of-the-art ADI algorithms, such as ADI principal component analysis (ADI-PCA). Results: This study shows the improved sensitivity versus specificity trade-off of the proposed supervised detection approach. At the diffraction limit, SODINN improves the true positive rate by a factor ranging from 2 to 10 (depending on the dataset and angular separation) with respect to ADI-PCA when working at the same false-positive level. Conclusions: The proposed supervised detection framework outperforms state-of-the-art techniques in the task of discriminating planet signal from speckles. In addition, it offers the possibility of re-processing existing HCI databases to maximize their scientific return and potentially improve

  3. 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

  4. External occulter edge scattering control using metamaterials for exoplanet detection

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bendek, Eduardo A.; Sirbu, Dan; Liu, Zhaowei; Martin, Stefan; Lu, Dylan

    2015-09-01

    Direct imaging of earth-like exoplanets in the Habitable Zone of sun-like stars requires image contrast of ~10^10 at angular separations of around a hundred milliarcseconds. One approach for achieving this performance is to fly a starshade at a long distance in front of the telescope, shading the telescope from the direct starlight, but allowing planets around the star to be seen. The starshade is positioned so that sunlight falls on the surface away from the telescope, so the sun does not directly illuminate it. However, sunlight scattered from the starshade edge can enter the telescope, raising the background light level and potentially preventing the starshade from delivering the required contrast. As a result, starshade edge design has been identified as one of the highest priority technology gaps for external occulter missions in the NASAs Exoplanet Exploration Program Technology Plan 2013. To reduce the sunlight edge scatter to an acceptable level, the edge Radius Of Curvature (ROC) should be 1μm or less (commercial razor blades have ROC of a few hundred nanometer). This poses a challenging manufacturing requirement and may make the occulter difficult to handle. In this paper we propose an alternative approach to controlling the edge scattering by applying a flexible metamaterial to the occulter edge. Metamaterials are artificially structured materials, which have been designed to display properties not found in natural materials. Metamaterials can be designed to direct the scatter at planned incident angles away from the space telescope, thereby directly decreasing the contaminating background light. Reduction of the background light translates into shorter integration time to characterize a target planet and therefore improves the efficiency of the observations. As an additional benefit, metamaterials also have potential to produce increased tolerance to edge defects.

  5. Latest Results from the Multi-Object Keck Exoplanet Tracker

    Science.gov (United States)

    Van Eyken, Julian C.; Ge, J.; Wan, X.; Zhao, B.; Hariharan, A.; Mahadevan, S.; DeWitt, C.; Guo, P.; Cohen, R.; Fleming, S. W.; Crepp, J.; Warner, C.; Kane, S.; Leger, F.; Pan, K.

    2006-12-01

    The W. M. Keck Exoplanet Tracker is a precision Doppler radial velocity instrument based on dispersed fixed-delay interferometry (DFDI) which takes advantage of the new technique to allow multi-object RV surveying. Installed at the 2.5m Sloan telescope at Apache Point Observatory, the combination of Michelson interferometer and medium resolution spectrograph allows design for simultaneous Doppler measurements of up to 60 targets, while maintaining high instrument throughput. Using a single-object prototype of the instrument at the Kitt Peak National Observatory 2.1m telescope, we previously discovered a 0.49MJup planet, HD 102195b (ET-1), orbiting with a 4.11d period, and other interesting targets are being followed up. From recent trial observations, the Keck Exoplanet Tracker now yields 59 usable simultaneous fringing stellar spectra, of a quality sufficient to attempt to detect short period hot-Jupiter type planets. Recent engineering improvements reduced errors by a factor of 2, and typical photon limits for stellar data are now at the 30m/s level for magnitude V 10.5 (depending on spectral type and v sin i), with a best value of 6.9m/s at V=7.6. Preliminary RMS precisions from solar data (daytime sky) are around 10m/s over a few days, with some spectra reaching close to their photon limit of 6-7m/s on the short term ( 1 hour). A number of targets showing interesting RV variability are currently being followed up independently. Additional engineering work is planned which should make for further significant gains in Doppler precision. Here we present the latest results and updates from the most recent engineering and observing runs with the Keck ET.

  6. KNOW THE STAR, KNOW THE PLANET. II. SPECKLE INTERFEROMETRY OF EXOPLANET HOST STARS

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Mason, Brian D.; Hartkopf, William I.; Raghavan, Deepak; Subasavage, John P.; Roberts, Lewis C.; Turner, Nils H.; Ten Brummelaar, Theo A.

    2011-01-01

    A study of the host stars to exoplanets is important for understanding their environment. To that end, we report new speckle observations of a sample of exoplanet host primaries. The bright exoplanet host HD 8673 (= HIP 6702) is revealed to have a companion, although at this time we cannot definitively establish the companion as physical or optical. The observing lists for planet searches and for these observations have for the most part been pre-screened for known duplicity, so the detected binary fraction is lower than what would otherwise be expected. Therefore, a large number of double stars were observed contemporaneously for verification and quality control purposes, to ensure that the lack of detection of companions for exoplanet hosts was valid. In these additional observations, 10 pairs are resolved for the first time and 60 pairs are confirmed. These observations were obtained with the USNO speckle camera on the NOAO 4 m telescopes at both KPNO and CTIO from 2001 to 2010.

  7. 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.

  8. WFIRST: The Exoplanet Microlensing Survey Tells Us Where We Can Find the Cool Planets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bennett, David; Gaudi, B. Scott; WFIRST Microlensing Science Investigation Team

    2018-01-01

    The WFIRST Exoplanet microlensing survey will complete a demographic survey of all types of planets ranging from ~0.5 AU to planets that have become unbound from the stellar systems of their birth. WFIRST's sensitivity extends down below the mass of Mars (or 0.1 Earth masses,and it is sensitive to analogs of all the planets in the Solar System, except for Mercury. When combined with Kepler's statistical census of hot and warm planets in short period orbits, WFIRST's exoplanet microlensing survey will give us a complete picture the mass and separation distribution of all types of planets. The current plans for this survey are presented, and recent developments relating to the WFIRST exoplanet microlensing survey will be presented, including recent ground-based microlensing results that challenge current theories of planet formation. Opportunities for community involvement in the WFIRST exoplanet microlensing survey will be mentioned.

  9. The Habitable Zone Gallery 2.0: The Online Exoplanet System Visualization Suite

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chandler, C. O.; Kane, S. R.; Gelino, D. M.

    2017-11-01

    The Habitable Zone Gallery 2.0 provides new and improved visualization and data analysis tools to the exoplanet habitability community and beyond. Modules include interactive habitable zone plotting and downloadable 3D animations.

  10. Depth resolution and preferential sputtering in depth profiling of sharp interfaces

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Hofmann, S.; Han, Y.S.; Wang, J.Y.

    2017-01-01

    Highlights: • Interfacial depth resolution from MRI model depends on sputtering rate differences. • Depth resolution critically depends on the dominance of roughness or atomic mixing. • True (depth scale) and apparent (time scale) depth resolutions are different. • Average sputtering rate approximately yields true from apparent depth resolution. • Profiles by SIMS and XPS are different but similar to surface concentrations. - Abstract: The influence of preferential sputtering on depth resolution of sputter depth profiles is studied for different sputtering rates of the two components at an A/B interface. Surface concentration and intensity depth profiles on both the sputtering time scale (as measured) and the depth scale are obtained by calculations with an extended Mixing-Roughness-Information depth (MRI)-model. The results show a clear difference for the two extreme cases (a) preponderant roughness and (b) preponderant atomic mixing. In case (a), the interface width on the time scale (Δt(16–84%)) increases with preferential sputtering if the faster sputtering component is on top of the slower sputtering component, but the true resolution on the depth scale (Δz(16–84%)) stays constant. In case (b), the interface width on the time scale stays constant but the true resolution on the depth scale varies with preferential sputtering. For similar order of magnitude of the atomic mixing and the roughness parameters, a transition state between the two extremes is obtained. While the normalized intensity profile of SIMS represents that of the surface concentration, an additional broadening effect is encountered in XPS or AES by the influence of the mean electron escape depth which may even cause an additional matrix effect at the interface.

  11. Depth resolution and preferential sputtering in depth profiling of sharp interfaces

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Hofmann, S. [Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems (formerly MPI for Metals Research), Heisenbergstrasse 3, D-70569 Stuttgart (Germany); Han, Y.S. [Department of Physics, Shantou University, 243 Daxue Road, Shantou, 515063 Guangdong (China); Wang, J.Y., E-mail: wangjy@stu.edu.cn [Department of Physics, Shantou University, 243 Daxue Road, Shantou, 515063 Guangdong (China)

    2017-07-15

    Highlights: • Interfacial depth resolution from MRI model depends on sputtering rate differences. • Depth resolution critically depends on the dominance of roughness or atomic mixing. • True (depth scale) and apparent (time scale) depth resolutions are different. • Average sputtering rate approximately yields true from apparent depth resolution. • Profiles by SIMS and XPS are different but similar to surface concentrations. - Abstract: The influence of preferential sputtering on depth resolution of sputter depth profiles is studied for different sputtering rates of the two components at an A/B interface. Surface concentration and intensity depth profiles on both the sputtering time scale (as measured) and the depth scale are obtained by calculations with an extended Mixing-Roughness-Information depth (MRI)-model. The results show a clear difference for the two extreme cases (a) preponderant roughness and (b) preponderant atomic mixing. In case (a), the interface width on the time scale (Δt(16–84%)) increases with preferential sputtering if the faster sputtering component is on top of the slower sputtering component, but the true resolution on the depth scale (Δz(16–84%)) stays constant. In case (b), the interface width on the time scale stays constant but the true resolution on the depth scale varies with preferential sputtering. For similar order of magnitude of the atomic mixing and the roughness parameters, a transition state between the two extremes is obtained. While the normalized intensity profile of SIMS represents that of the surface concentration, an additional broadening effect is encountered in XPS or AES by the influence of the mean electron escape depth which may even cause an additional matrix effect at the interface.

  12. Life Beyond the Solar System: Observation and Modeling of Exoplanet Environments

    OpenAIRE

    Del Genio, Anthony; Airapetian, Vladimir; Apai, Daniel; Batalha, Natalie; Brain, Dave; Danchi, William; Gelino, Dawn; Domagal-Goldman, Shawn; Fortney, Jonathan J.; Henning, Wade; Rushby, Andrew

    2018-01-01

    The search for life on planets outside our solar system has largely been the province of the astrophysics community until recently. A major development since the NASA Astrobiology Strategy 2015 document (AS15) has been the integration of other NASA science disciplines (planetary science, heliophysics, Earth science) with ongoing exoplanet research in astrophysics. The NASA Nexus for Exoplanet System Science (NExSS) provides a forum for scientists to collaborate across disciplines to accelerat...

  13. New Developments At The Science Archives Of The NASA Exoplanet Science Institute

    Science.gov (United States)

    Berriman, G. Bruce

    2018-06-01

    The NASA Exoplanet Science Institute (NExScI) at Caltech/IPAC is the science center for NASA's Exoplanet Exploration Program and as such, NExScI operates three scientific archives: the NASA Exoplanet Archive (NEA) and Exoplanet Follow-up Observation Program Website (ExoFOP), and the Keck Observatory Archive (KOA).The NASA Exoplanet Archive supports research and mission planning by the exoplanet community by operating a service that provides confirmed and candidate planets, numerous project and contributed data sets and integrated analysis tools. The ExoFOP provides an environment for exoplanet observers to share and exchange data, observing notes, and information regarding the Kepler, K2, and TESS candidates. KOA serves all raw science and calibration observations acquired by all active and decommissioned instruments at the W. M. Keck Observatory, as well as reduced data sets contributed by Keck observers.In the coming years, the NExScI archives will support a series of major endeavours allowing flexible, interactive analysis of the data available at the archives. These endeavours exploit a common infrastructure based upon modern interfaces such as JuypterLab and Python. The first service will enable reduction and analysis of precision radial velocity data from the HIRES Keck instrument. The Exoplanet Archive is developing a JuypterLab environment based on the HIRES PRV interactive environment. Additionally, KOA is supporting an Observatory initiative to develop modern, Python based pipelines, and as part of this work, it has delivered a NIRSPEC reduction pipeline. The ensemble of pipelines will be accessible through the same environments.

  14. Why bother about depth?

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Stæhr, Peter A.; Obrador, Biel; Christensen, Jesper Philip

    We present results from a newly developed method to determine depth specific rates of GPP, NEP and R using frequent automated profiles of DO and temperature. Metabolic rate calculations were made for three lakes of different trophic status using a diel DO methodology that integrates rates across...

  15. Defining depth of anesthesia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shafer, S L; Stanski, D R

    2008-01-01

    In this chapter, drawn largely from the synthesis of material that we first presented in the sixth edition of Miller's Anesthesia, Chap 31 (Stanski and Shafer 2005; used by permission of the publisher), we have defined anesthetic depth as the probability of non-response to stimulation, calibrated against the strength of the stimulus, the difficulty of suppressing the response, and the drug-induced probability of non-responsiveness at defined effect site concentrations. This definition requires measurement of multiple different stimuli and responses at well-defined drug concentrations. There is no one stimulus and response measurement that will capture depth of anesthesia in a clinically or scientifically meaningful manner. The "clinical art" of anesthesia requires calibration of these observations of stimuli and responses (verbal responses, movement, tachycardia) against the dose and concentration of anesthetic drugs used to reduce the probability of response, constantly adjusting the administered dose to achieve the desired anesthetic depth. In our definition of "depth of anesthesia" we define the need for two components to create the anesthetic state: hypnosis created with drugs such as propofol or the inhalational anesthetics and analgesia created with the opioids or nitrous oxide. We demonstrate the scientific evidence that profound degrees of hypnosis in the absence of analgesia will not prevent the hemodynamic responses to profoundly noxious stimuli. Also, profound degrees of analgesia do not guarantee unconsciousness. However, the combination of hypnosis and analgesia suppresses hemodynamic response to noxious stimuli and guarantees unconsciousness.

  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. TRANSITING PLANETS WITH LSST. II. PERIOD DETECTION OF PLANETS ORBITING 1 M{sub ⊙} HOSTS

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Jacklin, Savannah [Department of Astrophysics and Planetary Science, Villanova University, Villanova, PA 19085 (United States); Lund, Michael B.; Stassun, Keivan G. [Department of Physics and Astronomy, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37235 (United States); Pepper, Joshua [Department of Physics, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA 18015 (United States)

    2015-07-15

    The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) will photometrically monitor ∼10{sup 9} stars for 10 years. The resulting light curves can be used to detect transiting exoplanets. In particular, as demonstrated by Lund et al., LSST will probe stellar populations currently undersampled in most exoplanet transit surveys, including out to extragalactic distances. In this paper we test the efficiency of the box-fitting least-squares (BLS) algorithm for accurately recovering the periods of transiting exoplanets using simulated LSST data. We model planets with a range of radii orbiting a solar-mass star at a distance of 7 kpc, with orbital periods ranging from 0.5 to 20 days. We find that standard-cadence LSST observations will be able to reliably recover the periods of Hot Jupiters with periods shorter than ∼3 days; however, it will remain a challenge to confidently distinguish these transiting planets from false positives. At the same time, we find that the LSST deep-drilling cadence is extremely powerful: the BLS algorithm successfully recovers at least 30% of sub-Saturn-size exoplanets with orbital periods as long as 20 days, and a simple BLS power criterion robustly distinguishes ∼98% of these from photometric (i.e., statistical) false positives.

  18. STELLAR ACTIVITY AND ITS IMPLICATIONS FOR EXOPLANET DETECTION ON GJ 176

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Robertson, Paul; Endl, Michael; Cochran, William D.; MacQueen, Phillip J.; Henry, Gregory W.; Williamson, Michael H.

    2015-01-01

    We present an in-depth analysis of stellar activity and its effects on radial velocity (RV) for the M2 dwarf GJ 176 based on spectra taken over 10 yr from the High Resolution Spectrograph on the Hobby-Eberly Telescope. These data are supplemented with spectra from previous observations with the HIRES and HARPS spectrographs, and V- and R-band photometry taken over six years at the Dyer and Fairborn observatories. Previous studies of GJ 176 revealed a super-Earth exoplanet in an 8.8-day orbit. However, the velocities of this star are also known to be contaminated by activity, particularly at the 39-day stellar rotation period. We have examined the magnetic activity of GJ 176 using the sodium I D lines, which have been shown to be a sensitive activity tracer in cool stars. In addition to rotational modulation, we see evidence of a long-term trend in our Na I D index, which may be part of a long-period activity cycle. The sodium index is well correlated with our RVs, and we show that this activity trend drives a corresponding slope in RV. Interestingly, the rotation signal remains in phase in photometry, but not in the spectral activity indicators. We interpret this phenomenon as the result of one or more large spot complexes or active regions which dominate the photometric variability, while the spectral indices are driven by the overall magnetic activity across the stellar surface. In light of these results, we discuss the potential for correcting activity signals in the RVs of M dwarfs

  19. 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

  20. KEPLER EXOPLANET CANDIDATE HOST STARS ARE PREFERENTIALLY METAL RICH

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Schlaufman, Kevin C.; Laughlin, Gregory

    2011-01-01

    We find that Kepler exoplanet candidate (EC) host stars are preferentially metal rich, including the low-mass stellar hosts of small-radius ECs. The last observation confirms a tentative hint that there is a correlation between the metallicity of low-mass stars and the presence of low-mass and small-radius exoplanets. In particular, we compare the J-H-g-r color-color distribution of Kepler EC host stars with a control sample of dwarf stars selected from the ∼150, 000 stars observed during Q1 and Q2 of the Kepler mission but with no detected planets. We find that at J - H = 0.30 characteristic of solar-type stars, the average g-r color of stars that host giant ECs is 4σ redder than the average color of the stars in the control sample. At the same J - H color, the average g-r color of solar-type stars that host small-radius ECs is indistinguishable from the average color of the stars in the control sample. In addition, we find that at J - H = 0.62 indicative of late K dwarfs, the average g-r color of stars that host small-radius ECs is 4σ redder than the average color of the stars in the control sample. These offsets are unlikely to be caused by differential reddening, age differences between the two populations, or the presence of giant stars in the control sample. Stellar models suggest that the first color offset is due to a 0.2 dex enhancement in [Fe/H] of the giant EC host population at M * ∼ 1 M sun , while Sloan photometry of M 67 and NGC 6791 suggests that the second color offset is due to a similar [Fe/H] enhancement of the small-radius EC host population at M * ∼ 0.7 M sun . These correlations are a natural consequence of the core-accretion model of planet formation.

  1. Depth dependent stress revealed by aftershocks

    Science.gov (United States)

    Narteau, C.; Shebalin, P.

    2017-12-01

    Aftershocks occur in response to perturbations of the state of stress induced either by earthquakes or human activities. Along major strike-slip fault segments of the San Andreas fault system, the time-delay before the onset of the power-law aftershock decay rate (the c-value) varies by three orders of magnitude in the first twenty kilometers below the surface. Despite the influence of the lithostatic stress, there is no continuous change in c-value with respect to depth. Instead, two decay phases are separated by an abrupt increase at an intermediate depth range of 2 to 5 km. This transitional regime is the only one observed in fluid-injection-induced seismic areas. This provides strong evidence for the role of fluid and a porosity reduction mechanism at depth of few kilometers in active fault zones. Aftershock statistics can then be used to predict the evolution the differential shear stress with depth until the brittle-ductile transition is reached.

  2. Tapir: A web interface for transit/eclipse observability

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jensen, Eric

    2013-06-01

    Tapir is a set of tools, written in Perl, that provides a web interface for showing the observability of periodic astronomical events, such as exoplanet transits or eclipsing binaries. The package provides tools for creating finding charts for each target and airmass plots for each event. The code can access target lists that are stored on-line in a Google spreadsheet or in a local text file.

  3. ATMOSPHERIC DYNAMICS OF TERRESTRIAL EXOPLANETS OVER A WIDE RANGE OF ORBITAL AND ATMOSPHERIC PARAMETERS

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Kaspi, Yohai [Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Weizmann Institute of Science, 234 Herzl st., 76100, Rehovot (Israel); Showman, Adam P., E-mail: yohai.kaspi@weizmann.ac.il [Department of Planetary Sciences and Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, The University of Arizona, 1629 University Blvd., Tucson, AZ 85721 (United States)

    2015-05-01

    The recent discoveries of terrestrial exoplanets and super-Earths extending over a broad range of orbital and physical parameters suggest that these planets will span a wide range of climatic regimes. Characterization of the atmospheres of warm super-Earths has already begun and will be extended to smaller and more distant planets over the coming decade. The habitability of these worlds may be strongly affected by their three-dimensional atmospheric circulation regimes, since the global climate feedbacks that control the inner and outer edges of the habitable zone—including transitions to Snowball-like states and runaway-greenhouse feedbacks—depend on the equator-to-pole temperature differences, patterns of relative humidity, and other aspects of the dynamics. Here, using an idealized moist atmospheric general circulation model including a hydrological cycle, we study the dynamical principles governing the atmospheric dynamics on such planets. We show how the planetary rotation rate, stellar flux, atmospheric mass, surface gravity, optical thickness, and planetary radius affect the atmospheric circulation and temperature distribution on such planets. Our simulations demonstrate that equator-to-pole temperature differences, meridional heat transport rates, structure and strength of the winds, and the hydrological cycle vary strongly with these parameters, implying that the sensitivity of the planet to global climate feedbacks will depend significantly on the atmospheric circulation. We elucidate the possible climatic regimes and diagnose the mechanisms controlling the formation of atmospheric jet streams, Hadley and Ferrel cells, and latitudinal temperature differences. Finally, we discuss the implications for understanding how the atmospheric circulation influences the global climate.

  4. TEMPERATURE STRUCTURE AND ATMOSPHERIC CIRCULATION OF DRY TIDALLY LOCKED ROCKY EXOPLANETS

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Koll, Daniel D. B.; Abbot, Dorian S., E-mail: dkoll@uchicago.edu [Department of the Geophysical Sciences, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637 (United States)

    2016-07-10

    Next-generation space telescopes will observe the atmospheres of rocky planets orbiting nearby M-dwarfs. Understanding these observations will require well-developed theory in addition to numerical simulations. Here we present theoretical models for the temperature structure and atmospheric circulation of dry, tidally locked rocky exoplanets with gray radiative transfer and test them using a general circulation model (GCM). First, we develop a radiative-convective (RC) model that captures surface temperatures of slowly rotating and cool atmospheres. Second, we show that the atmospheric circulation acts as a global heat engine, which places strong constraints on large-scale wind speeds. Third, we develop an RC-subsiding model which extends our RC model to hot and thin atmospheres. We find that rocky planets develop large day–night temperature gradients at a ratio of wave-to-radiative timescales up to two orders of magnitude smaller than the value suggested by work on hot Jupiters. The small ratio is due to the heat engine inefficiency and asymmetry between updrafts and subsidence in convecting atmospheres. Fourth, we show, using GCM simulations, that rotation only has a strong effect on temperature structure if the atmosphere is hot or thin. Our models let us map out atmospheric scenarios for planets such as GJ 1132b, and show how thermal phase curves could constrain them. Measuring phase curves of short-period planets will require similar amounts of time on the James Webb Space Telescope as detecting molecules via transit spectroscopy, so future observations should pursue both techniques.

  5. REFLECTED LIGHT CURVES, SPHERICAL AND BOND ALBEDOS OF JUPITER- AND SATURN-LIKE EXOPLANETS

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Dyudina, Ulyana; Kopparla, Pushkar; Ingersoll, Andrew P.; Yung, Yuk L. [Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, 150-21 California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125 (United States); Zhang, Xi [University of California Santa Cruz 1156 High Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95064 (United States); Li, Liming [Department of Physics, University of Houston, Houston, TX 77204 (United States); Dones, Luke [Southwest Research Institute, 1050 Walnut Street, Suite 300, Boulder CO 80302 (United States); Verbiscer, Anne, E-mail: ulyana@gps.caltech.edu [Department of Astronomy, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22904-4325 (United States)

    2016-05-10

    Reflected light curves observed for exoplanets indicate that a few of them host bright clouds. We estimate how the light curve and total stellar heating of a planet depends on forward and backward scattering in the clouds based on Pioneer and Cassini spacecraft images of Jupiter and Saturn. We fit analytical functions to the local reflected brightnesses of Jupiter and Saturn depending on the planet’s phase. These observations cover broadbands at 0.59–0.72 and 0.39–0.5 μ m, and narrowbands at 0.938 (atmospheric window), 0.889 (CH4 absorption band), and 0.24–0.28 μ m. We simulate the images of the planets with a ray-tracing model, and disk-integrate them to produce the full-orbit light curves. For Jupiter, we also fit the modeled light curves to the observed full-disk brightness. We derive spherical albedos for Jupiter and Saturn, and for planets with Lambertian and Rayleigh-scattering atmospheres. Jupiter-like atmospheres can produce light curves that are a factor of two fainter at half-phase than the Lambertian planet, given the same geometric albedo at transit. The spherical albedo is typically lower than for a Lambertian planet by up to a factor of ∼1.5. The Lambertian assumption will underestimate the absorption of the stellar light and the equilibrium temperature of the planetary atmosphere. We also compare our light curves with the light curves of solid bodies: the moons Enceladus and Callisto. Their strong backscattering peak within a few degrees of opposition (secondary eclipse) can lead to an even stronger underestimate of the stellar heating.

  6. ATMOSPHERIC DYNAMICS OF TERRESTRIAL EXOPLANETS OVER A WIDE RANGE OF ORBITAL AND ATMOSPHERIC PARAMETERS

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Kaspi, Yohai; Showman, Adam P.

    2015-01-01

    The recent discoveries of terrestrial exoplanets and super-Earths extending over a broad range of orbital and physical parameters suggest that these planets will span a wide range of climatic regimes. Characterization of the atmospheres of warm super-Earths has already begun and will be extended to smaller and more distant planets over the coming decade. The habitability of these worlds may be strongly affected by their three-dimensional atmospheric circulation regimes, since the global climate feedbacks that control the inner and outer edges of the habitable zone—including transitions to Snowball-like states and runaway-greenhouse feedbacks—depend on the equator-to-pole temperature differences, patterns of relative humidity, and other aspects of the dynamics. Here, using an idealized moist atmospheric general circulation model including a hydrological cycle, we study the dynamical principles governing the atmospheric dynamics on such planets. We show how the planetary rotation rate, stellar flux, atmospheric mass, surface gravity, optical thickness, and planetary radius affect the atmospheric circulation and temperature distribution on such planets. Our simulations demonstrate that equator-to-pole temperature differences, meridional heat transport rates, structure and strength of the winds, and the hydrological cycle vary strongly with these parameters, implying that the sensitivity of the planet to global climate feedbacks will depend significantly on the atmospheric circulation. We elucidate the possible climatic regimes and diagnose the mechanisms controlling the formation of atmospheric jet streams, Hadley and Ferrel cells, and latitudinal temperature differences. Finally, we discuss the implications for understanding how the atmospheric circulation influences the global climate

  7. EXO-DAT: AN INFORMATION SYSTEM IN SUPPORT OF THE CoRoT/EXOPLANET SCIENCE

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Deleuil, M.; Meunier, J. C.; Moutou, C.; Surace, C.; Barbieri, M.; Agneray, F.; Granet, Y.; Guterman, P.; Deeg, H. J.; Almenara, J. M.; Debosscher, J.; Hodgkin, S.

    2009-01-01

    Exo-Dat is a database and an information system created primarily in support of the exoplanet program of the COnvection ROtation and planetary Transits (CoRoT) mission. In the directions of CoRoT pointings, it provides a united interface to several sets of data: stellar published catalogs, photometric and spectroscopic data obtained during the mission preparation, results from the mission and from follow-up observations, and several mission-specific technical parameters. The new photometric data constitute the subcatalog Exo-Cat, and give consistent 4-color photometry of 14.0 million stars with a completeness to 19th magnitude in the r-filter. It covers several zones in the galactic plane around CoRoT pointings, with a total area of 209 deg 2 . This Exo-Dat information system provides essential technical support to the ongoing CoRoT light-curve analyses and ground-based follow-up by supplying additional complementary information such as the prior knowledge of the star's fundamental parameters or its contamination level inside the large CoRoT photometric mask. The database is fully interfaced with VO tools and thus benefits from existing visualization and analysis tools like TOPCAT or ALADIN. It is accessible to the CoRoT community through the Web, and will be gradually opened to the public. It is the ideal tool to prepare the foreseen statistical studies of the properties of the exoplanetary systems. As a VO-compliant system, such analyses could thus benefit from the most up-to-date classifier tools.

  8. The New Worlds Observer: Direct Detection and Study of Exoplanets from the Habitable Zone Outward

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cash, Webster C.; New Worlds Study Team

    2009-01-01

    Direct detection and spectroscopic study of the planets around the nearby stars is generally recognized as a prime goal of astronomy. The New Worlds Observer mission concept is being studied as an Astrophysics Strategic Mission Concept Study for this purpose. NWO features two spacecraft: a general purpose 4m telescope that operates from the UV to the Near IR, and a starshade, a flower-shaped occulter about 50m in diameter flying in alignment about 70,000km away. Our study shows this is the most effective way to map nearby planetary systems. Images will show dust and debris down to a fraction of our zodiacal light level. Planets fainter than the Earth can be seen from the Habitable Zone outward, at distances up to 20pc. High throughput and low noise enable immediate follow-up spectroscopy of discovered planets. NWO can discover many more Earth-like planets than all competing approaches including astrometric, interferometric, and internal coronagraphic. Within hours of discovery, a high quality spectrum can determine the true nature of the exoplanet and open the search for biomarkers and life. Over half of the time will be spent with the starshade in transit to the next target. During those times the telescope will be available to for general astrophysics purposes. Operating from the ultraviolet to the near infrared, this will be a true HST follow-on. The study shows all needed technologies already exist. The cost scales primarily with telescope size. The mission is definitely within the financial and technical reach of NASA for the coming decade.

  9. MAGNETIC ACTIVITY CYCLES IN THE EXOPLANET HOST STAR ε ERIDANI

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Metcalfe, T. S.; Mathur, S.; Buccino, A. P.; Mauas, P. J. D.; Petrucci, R.; Brown, B. P.; Soderblom, D. R.; Henry, T. J.; Hall, J. C.; Basu, S.

    2013-01-01

    The active K2 dwarf ε Eri has been extensively characterized both as a young solar analog and more recently as an exoplanet host star. As one of the nearest and brightest stars in the sky, it provides an unparalleled opportunity to constrain stellar dynamo theory beyond the Sun. We confirm and document the 3-year magnetic activity cycle in ε Eri originally reported by Hatzes and coworkers, and we examine the archival data from previous observations spanning 45 years. The data show coexisting 3-year and 13-year periods leading into a broad activity minimum that resembles a Maunder minimum-like state, followed by the resurgence of a coherent 3-year cycle. The nearly continuous activity record suggests the simultaneous operation of two stellar dynamos with cycle periods of 2.95 ± 0.03 years and 12.7 ± 0.3 years, which, by analogy with the solar case, suggests a revised identification of the dynamo mechanisms that are responsible for the so-called 'active' and 'inactive' sequences as proposed by Böhm-Vitense. Finally, based on the observed properties of ε Eri, we argue that the rotational history of the Sun is what makes it an outlier in the context of magnetic cycles observed in other stars (as also suggested by its Li depletion), and that a Jovian-mass companion cannot be the universal explanation for the solar peculiarities.

  10. MAGNETIC ACTIVITY CYCLES IN THE EXOPLANET HOST STAR {epsilon} ERIDANI

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Metcalfe, T. S.; Mathur, S. [Space Science Institute, 4750 Walnut Street, Suite 205, Boulder, CO 80301 (United States); Buccino, A. P.; Mauas, P. J. D.; Petrucci, R. [Instituto de Astronomia y Fisica del Espacio (CONICET), C.C. 67 Sucursal 28, C1428EHA-Buenos Aires (Argentina); Brown, B. P. [Department of Astronomy and Center for Magnetic Self-Organization, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706-1582 (United States); Soderblom, D. R. [Space Telescope Science Institute, 3700 San Martin Dr., Baltimore, MD 21218 (United States); Henry, T. J. [Department of Physics and Astronomy, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA 30302 (United States); Hall, J. C. [Lowell Observatory, 1400 West Mars Hill Road, Flagstaff, AZ 86001 (United States); Basu, S. [Department of Astronomy, Yale University, P.O. Box 208101, New Haven, CT 06520 (United States)

    2013-02-01

    The active K2 dwarf {epsilon} Eri has been extensively characterized both as a young solar analog and more recently as an exoplanet host star. As one of the nearest and brightest stars in the sky, it provides an unparalleled opportunity to constrain stellar dynamo theory beyond the Sun. We confirm and document the 3-year magnetic activity cycle in {epsilon} Eri originally reported by Hatzes and coworkers, and we examine the archival data from previous observations spanning 45 years. The data show coexisting 3-year and 13-year periods leading into a broad activity minimum that resembles a Maunder minimum-like state, followed by the resurgence of a coherent 3-year cycle. The nearly continuous activity record suggests the simultaneous operation of two stellar dynamos with cycle periods of 2.95 {+-} 0.03 years and 12.7 {+-} 0.3 years, which, by analogy with the solar case, suggests a revised identification of the dynamo mechanisms that are responsible for the so-called 'active' and 'inactive' sequences as proposed by Boehm-Vitense. Finally, based on the observed properties of {epsilon} Eri, we argue that the rotational history of the Sun is what makes it an outlier in the context of magnetic cycles observed in other stars (as also suggested by its Li depletion), and that a Jovian-mass companion cannot be the universal explanation for the solar peculiarities.

  11. INFERENCE OF INHOMOGENEOUS CLOUDS IN AN EXOPLANET ATMOSPHERE

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Demory, Brice-Olivier; De Wit, Julien; Lewis, Nikole; Zsom, Andras; Seager, Sara [Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139 (United States); Fortney, Jonathan [Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA 95064 (United States); Knutson, Heather; Desert, Jean-Michel [Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125 (United States); Heng, Kevin [Center for Space and Habitability, University of Bern, Sidlerstrasse 5, CH-3012, Bern (Switzerland); Madhusudhan, Nikku [Department of Physics and Department of Astronomy, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520 (United States); Gillon, Michael [Institut d' Astrophysique et de Géophysique, Université de Liège, Allée du 6 Août, 17, Bat. B5C, B-4000 Liège 1 (Belgium); Barclay, Thomas [NASA Ames Research Center, M/S 244-30, Moffett Field, CA 94035 (United States); Parmentier, Vivien [Laboratoire J.-L. Lagrange, UMR 7293, Université de Nice-Sophia Antipolis, CNRS, Observatoire de la Côte d' Azur B.P. 4229, F-06304 Nice Cedex 4 (France); Cowan, Nicolas B., E-mail: demory@mit.edu [Department of Physics and Astronomy, Northwestern University, 2145 Sheridan Road, F165, Evanston, IL 60208 (United States)

    2013-10-20

    We present new visible and infrared observations of the hot Jupiter Kepler-7b to determine its atmospheric properties. Our analysis allows us to (1) refine Kepler-7b's relatively large geometric albedo of Ag = 0.35 ± 0.02, (2) place upper limits on Kepler-7b thermal emission that remains undetected in both Spitzer bandpasses and (3) report a westward shift in the Kepler optical phase curve. We argue that Kepler-7b's visible flux cannot be due to thermal emission or Rayleigh scattering from H{sub 2} molecules. We therefore conclude that high altitude, optically reflective clouds located west from the substellar point are present in its atmosphere. We find that a silicate-based cloud composition is a possible candidate. Kepler-7b exhibits several properties that may make it particularly amenable to cloud formation in its upper atmosphere. These include a hot deep atmosphere that avoids a cloud cold trap, very low surface gravity to suppress cloud sedimentation, and a planetary equilibrium temperature in a range that allows for silicate clouds to potentially form in the visible atmosphere probed by Kepler. Our analysis does not only present evidence of optically thick clouds on Kepler-7b but also yields the first map of clouds in an exoplanet atmosphere.

  12. 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.

  13. Atmospheres of partially differentiated super-Earth exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schaefer, Laura; Sasselov, Dimitar

    2015-11-01

    Terrestrial exoplanets have been discovered in a range of sizes, densities and orbital locations that defy our expectations based upon the Solar System. Planets discovered to date with radii less than ~1.5-1.6 Earth radii all seem to fall on an iso-density curve with the Earth [1]. However, mass and radius determinations, which depend on the known properties of the host star, are not accurate enough to distinguish between a fully differentiated three-layer planet (core, mantle, ocean/atmosphere) and an incompletely differentiated planet [2]. Full differentiation of a planet will depend upon the conditions at the time of accretion, including the abundance of short-lived radioisotopes, which will vary from system to system, as well as the number of giant impacts the planet experiences. Furthermore, separation of metal and silicates at the much larger pressures found inside super-Earths will depend on how the chemistry of these materials change at high pressures. There are therefore hints emerging that not all super-Earths will be fully differentiated. Incomplete differentiation will result in a more reduced mantle oxidation state and may have implications for the composition of an outgassed atmosphere. Here we will present the first results from a chemical equilibrium model of the composition of such an outgassed atmosphere and discuss the possibility of distinguishing between fully and incompletely differentiated planets through atmospheric observations.[1] Rogers, L. 2015. ApJ, 801, 41. [2] Zeng, L. & Sasselov, D. 2013. PASP, 125, 227.

  14. Linear-constraint wavefront control for exoplanet coronagraphic imaging systems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sun, He; Eldorado Riggs, A. J.; Kasdin, N. Jeremy; Vanderbei, Robert J.; Groff, Tyler Dean

    2017-01-01

    A coronagraph is a leading technology for achieving high-contrast imaging of exoplanets in a space telescope. It uses a system of several masks to modify the diffraction and achieve extremely high contrast in the image plane around target stars. However, coronagraphic imaging systems are very sensitive to optical aberrations, so wavefront correction using deformable mirrors (DMs) is necessary to avoid contrast degradation in the image plane. Electric field conjugation (EFC) and Stroke minimization (SM) are two primary high-contrast wavefront controllers explored in the past decade. EFC minimizes the average contrast in the search areas while regularizing the strength of the control inputs. Stroke minimization calculates the minimum DM commands under the constraint that a target average contrast is achieved. Recently in the High Contrast Imaging Lab at Princeton University (HCIL), a new linear-constraint wavefront controller based on stroke minimization was developed and demonstrated using numerical simulation. Instead of only constraining the average contrast over the entire search area, the new controller constrains the electric field of each single pixel using linear programming, which could led to significant increases in speed of the wavefront correction and also create more uniform dark holes. As a follow-up of this work, another linear-constraint controller modified from EFC is demonstrated theoretically and numerically and the lab verification of the linear-constraint controllers is reported. Based on the simulation and lab results, the pros and cons of linear-constraint controllers are carefully compared with EFC and stroke minimization.

  15. Searching for Strange Quark Matter Objects in Exoplanets

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Huang, Y. F.; Yu, Y. B., E-mail: hyf@nju.edu.cn [Department of Astronomy, School of Astronomy and Space Science, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210023 (China)

    2017-10-20

    The true ground state of hadronic matter may be strange quark matter (SQM). Consequently, observed pulsars may actually be strange quark stars, but not neutron stars. However, proving or disproving the SQM hypothesis still remains a difficult problem to solve due to the similarity between the macroscopical characteristics of strange quark stars and neutron stars. Here, we propose a hopeful method to probe the existence of SQM. In the framework of the SQM hypothesis, strange quark dwarfs and even strange quark planets can also stably exist. Noting that SQM planets will not be tidally disrupted even when they get very close to their host stars due to their extreme compactness, we argue that we could identify SQM planets by searching for very close-in planets among extrasolar planetary systems. Especially, we should keep our eyes on possible pulsar planets with orbital radius less than ∼5.6 × 10{sup 10} cm and period less than ∼6100 s. A thorough search in the currently detected ∼2950 exoplanets around normal main-sequence stars has failed to identify any stable close-in objects that meet the SQM criteria, i.e., lying in the tidal disruption region for normal matter planets. However, the pulsar planet PSR J1719-1438B, with an orbital radius of ∼6 × 10{sup 10} cm and orbital period of 7837 s, is, encouragingly, found to be a good candidate.

  16. DISCERNING EXOPLANET MIGRATION MODELS USING SPIN-ORBIT MEASUREMENTS

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Morton, Timothy D.; Johnson, John Asher

    2011-01-01

    We investigate the current sample of exoplanet spin-orbit measurements to determine whether a dominant planet migration channel can be identified, and at what confidence. We use the predictions of Kozai migration plus tidal friction and planet-planet scattering as our misalignment models, and we allow for a fraction of intrinsically aligned systems, explainable by disk migration. Bayesian model comparison demonstrates that the current sample of 32 spin-orbit measurements strongly favors a two-mode migration scenario combining planet-planet scattering and disk migration over a single-mode Kozai migration scenario. Our analysis indicates that between 34% and 76% of close-in planets (95% confidence) migrated via planet-planet scattering. Separately analyzing the subsample of 12 stars with T eff >6250 K-which Winn et al. predict to be the only type of stars to maintain their primordial misalignments-we find that the data favor a single-mode scattering model over Kozai with 85% confidence. We also assess the number of additional hot star spin-orbit measurements that will likely be necessary to provide a more confident model selection, finding that an additional 20-30 measurement has a >50% chance of resulting in a 95% confident model selection, if the current model selection is correct. While we test only the predictions of particular Kozai and scattering migration models in this work, our methods may be used to test the predictions of any other spin-orbit misaligning mechanism.

  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. Achromatic Focal Plane Mask for Exoplanet Imaging Coronagraphy

    Science.gov (United States)

    Newman, Kevin Edward; Belikov, Ruslan; Guyon, Olivier; Balasubramanian, Kunjithapatham; Wilson, Dan

    2013-01-01

    Recent advances in coronagraph technologies for exoplanet imaging have achieved contrasts close to 1e10 at 4 lambda/D and 1e-9 at 2 lambda/D in monochromatic light. A remaining technological challenge is to achieve high contrast in broadband light; a challenge that is largely limited by chromaticity of the focal plane mask. The size of a star image scales linearly with wavelength. Focal plane masks are typically the same size at all wavelengths, and must be sized for the longest wavelength in the observational band to avoid starlight leakage. However, this oversized mask blocks useful discovery space from the shorter wavelengths. We present here the design, development, and testing of an achromatic focal plane mask based on the concept of optical filtering by a diffractive optical element (DOE). The mask consists of an array of DOE cells, the combination of which functions as a wavelength filter with any desired amplitude and phase transmission. The effective size of the mask scales nearly linearly with wavelength, and allows significant improvement in the inner working angle of the coronagraph at shorter wavelengths. The design is applicable to almost any coronagraph configuration, and enables operation in a wider band of wavelengths than would otherwise be possible. We include initial results from a laboratory demonstration of the mask with the Phase Induced Amplitude Apodization coronagraph.

  19. USING STELLAR DENSITIES TO EVALUATE TRANSITING EXOPLANETARY CANDIDATES

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Tingley, B.; Deeg, H. J.; Bonomo, A. S.

    2011-01-01

    One of the persistent complications in searches for transiting exoplanets is the low percentage of the detected candidates that ultimately prove to be planets, which significantly increases the load on the telescopes used for the follow-up observations to confirm or reject candidates. Several attempts have been made at creating techniques that can pare down candidate lists without the need of additional observations. Some of these techniques involve a detailed analysis of light curve characteristics; others estimate the stellar density or some proxy thereof. In this paper, we extend upon this second approach, exploring the use of independently calculated stellar densities to identify the most promising transiting exoplanet candidates. We use a set of CoRoT candidates and the set of known transiting exoplanets to examine the potential of this approach. In particular, we note the possibilities inherent in the high-precision photometry from space missions, which can detect stellar asteroseismic pulsations from which accurate stellar densities can be extracted without additional observations.

  20. Detection of H2O and Evidence for TiO VO in an Ultra Hot Exoplanet Atmosphere.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Evans, Thomas M.; Sing, David K.; Wakeford, Hannah R.; Nikolov, Nikolay; Ballester, Gilda E.; Drummond, Benjamin; Kataria, Tiffany; Gibson, Neale P.; Amundsen, David S.; Spake, Jessica

    2016-01-01

    We present a primary transit observation for the ultra-hot (Teq approx. 2400 K) gas giant expolanet WASP-121b, made using the Hubble Space Telescope Wide Field Camera 3 in spectroscopic mode across the 1.12-1.64 micron wavelength range. The 1.4 microns water absorption band is detected at high confidence (5.4(sigma)) in the planetary atmosphere. We also reanalyze ground-based photometric light curves taken in the B, r', and z' filters. Significantly deeper transits are measured in these optical bandpasses relative to the near-infrared wavelengths. We conclude that scattering by high-altitude haze alone is unlikely to account for this difference and instead interpret it as evidence for titanium oxide and vanadium oxide absorption. Enhanced opacity is also inferred across the 1.12-1.3 micron wavelength range, possibly due to iron hydride absorption. If confirmed, WASP-121b will be the first exoplanet with titanium oxide, vanadium oxide, and iron hydride detected in transmission. The latter are important species in M/L dwarfs and their presence is likely to have a significant effect on the overall physics and chemistry of the atmosphere, including the production of a strong thermal inversion.

  1. 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...

  2. Shave-off depth profiling: Depth profiling with an absolute depth scale

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Nojima, M.; Maekawa, A.; Yamamoto, T.; Tomiyasu, B.; Sakamoto, T.; Owari, M.; Nihei, Y.

    2006-01-01

    Shave-off depth profiling provides profiling with an absolute depth scale. This method uses a focused ion beam (FIB) micro-machining process to provide the depth profile. We show that the shave-off d