WorldWideScience

Sample records for exoplanet transit depths

  1. High Energy Exoplanet Transits

    Science.gov (United States)

    Llama, Joe; Shkolnik, Evgenya L.

    2017-10-01

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

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (Abstract)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Oelkers, R. J.

    2017-06-01

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

  6. Stellar atmospheres behind transiting exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dravins, D.; Ludwig, H.-G.; Dahlén, E.; Gustavsson, M.; Pazira, H.

    2017-09-01

    Stellar surfaces are covered with brighter and darker structures, just like on the Sun. While solar surface details can be easily studied with telescopes, stellar surfaces cannot thus be resolved. However, one can use planets that happen to pass in front of distant stars as "shades" that successively block out small portions of the stellar surface behind. By measuring how the light from the star changes during such a transit, one can deduce stellar surface properties. Knowing those is required not only to study the star as such, but also to deduce the chemical composition of the planet that is passing in front of it, where some of the detected starlight has been filtered through the planet's atmosphere.

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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...

  10. Characterization of Transiting Exoplanets by Way of Differential Photometry

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cowley, Michael; Hughes, Stephen

    2014-01-01

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

  11. The Young Exoplanet Transit Initiative (YETI)

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2011-07-01

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

  12. Analytic Scattering and Refraction Models for Exoplanet Transit Spectra

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-12-01

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

  13. 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.

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

    OpenAIRE

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

    2017-01-01

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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-01-01

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

  18. Discovery, Characterization, and Dynamics of Transiting Exoplanets

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Van Eylen, Vincent

    2015-01-01

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

  19. Hubble/WFC3 Spectroscopy of the Transiting Exoplanets WASP-19b and WASP-17b

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mandell, A.; Haynes, K.; Sinukoff, E.; Deming, D.; Wlikins, A.; Madhusudhan, N.; Agol, E.; Burrows, A.; Charbonneau, D.; Gilliland, R.; hide

    2012-01-01

    Measurements of transiting exoplanets that target extremes in parameter space offer the best chance to disentangle the structure and composition of the atmospheres of hot Jupiters. WASP-19b is one of the hottest exoplanets discovered to date, while WASP-17b has a much lower equilibrium temperature but has one of the largest atmospheric radii of known transiting planets. We discuss results from HST/WFC3 grism 1.1-1.7 micron spectroscopy of these planets during transit. We compare our integrated-light transit depths to previous IR transit photometry, and derive the 1.4-micron water absorption spectrum. We discuss implications for the atmospheric composition and structure of these hot Jupiters, and outline future observations that will further expand on these results.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dalba, Paul A.

    2017-10-01

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

  1. First Results from the Wesleyan Transiting Exoplanet Program

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2011-01-01

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

  2. ExoPriors: Accounting for observational bias of transiting exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kipping, David M.; Sandford, Emily

    2016-03-01

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

  3. New Data from the Wesleyan Transiting Exoplanet Program

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-01-01

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

  4. The Transiting Exoplanet Community Early Release Science Program

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-11-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Griffith, Caitlin A

    2014-04-28

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

  6. 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.

  7. Exoplanet transit spectro-photometry with SOFIA

    Science.gov (United States)

    Angerhausen, Daniel; Krabbe, Alfred; Zinnecker, Hans

    2011-11-01

    We present the prospects of observing extrasolar planets with the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA). Our analysis shows that optical and near-infrared photometric and spectrophotometric follow-up observations during planetary transits and\\break eclipses will be feasible with SOFIA's instrumentation, especially with the HIPO-FLITECAM optical/NIR instruments. SOFIA has unique advantages in comparison to ground- and space-based observatories in this field of research which will be outlined.

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

    OpenAIRE

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

    2008-01-01

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

  9. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Benni, P.

    2017-06-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2008-07-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nutzman, Philip Andrew

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hatzes, Artie P

    2014-09-18

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-01-01

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

  16. 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.

  17. Trajectory Design for the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-01-01

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

  18. 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).

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-08-01

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

  20. Transit Analysis Package: An IDL Graphical User Interface for Exoplanet Transit Photometry

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    J. Zachary Gazak

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available We present an IDL graphical user-interface-driven software package designed for the analysis of exoplanet transit light curves. The Transit Analysis Package (TAP software uses Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC techniques to fit light curves using the analytic model of Mandal and Agol (2002. The package incorporates a wavelet-based likelihood function developed by Carter and Winn (2009, which allows the MCMC to assess parameter uncertainties more robustly than classic χ2 methods by parameterizing uncorrelated “white” and correlated “red” noise. The software is able to simultaneously analyze multiple transits observed in different conditions (instrument, filter, weather, etc.. The graphical interface allows for the simple execution and interpretation of Bayesian MCMC analysis tailored to a user’s specific data set and has been thoroughly tested on ground-based and Kepler photometry. This paper describes the software release and provides applications to new and existing data. Reanalysis of ground-based observations of TrES-1b, WASP-4b, and WASP-10b (Winn et al., 2007, 2009; Johnson et al., 2009; resp. and space-based Kepler 4b–8b (Kipping and Bakos 2010 show good agreement between TAP and those publications. We also present new multi-filter light curves of WASP-10b and we find excellent agreement with previously published values for a smaller radius.

  1. 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.

  2. A new look at Spitzer primary transit observations of the exoplanet HD 189733b

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Morello, G.; Waldmann, I. P.; Tinetti, G.; Howarth, I. D. [Department of Physics and Astronomy, University College London, Gower Street, WC1E6BT (United Kingdom); Peres, G. [Dipartimento di Fisica, Università degli Studi di Palermo, via Archirafi I-90123, Italy. (Italy); Micela, G., E-mail: giuseppe.morello.11@ucl.ac.uk [Dipartimento di Fisica e Chimica (previously Dipartimento di Fisica), Specola Universitaria, Università degli Studi di Palermo, Piazza del Parlamento 1 I-90123 (Italy)

    2014-05-01

    Blind source separation techniques are used to reanalyze two exoplanetary transit light curves of the exoplanet HD 189733b recorded with the IR camera IRAC on board the Spitzer Space Telescope at 3.6 μm during the 'cold' era. These observations, together with observations at other IR wavelengths, are crucial to characterize the atmosphere of the planet HD 189733b. Previous analyses of the same data sets reported discrepant results, hence the necessity of the reanalyses. The method we used here is based on the Independent Component Analysis (ICA) statistical technique, which ensures a high degree of objectivity. The use of ICA to detrend single photometric observations in a self-consistent way is novel in the literature. The advantage of our reanalyses over previous work is that we do not have to make any assumptions on the structure of the unknown instrumental systematics. Such 'admission of ignorance' may result in larger error bars than reported in the literature, up to a factor 1.6. This is a worthwhile tradeoff for much higher objectivity, necessary for trustworthy claims. Our main results are (1) improved and robust values of orbital and stellar parameters, (2) new measurements of the transit depths at 3.6 μm, (3) consistency between the parameters estimated from the two observations, (4) repeatability of the measurement within the photometric level of ∼2 × 10{sup –4} in the IR, and (5) no evidence of stellar variability at the same photometric level within one year.

  3. Scientific, Back-Illuminated CCD Development for the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite

    Science.gov (United States)

    Suntharalingam, V.; Ciampi, J.; Cooper, M. J.; Lambert, R. D.; O'Mara, D. M.; Prigozhin, I.; Young, D. J.; Warner, K.; Burke, B. E.

    2015-01-01

    We describe the development of the fully depleted, back illuminated charge coupled devices for the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, which includes a set of four wide angle telescopes, each having a 2x2 array of CCDs. The devices are fabricated on the newly upgraded 200-mm wafer line at Lincoln Laboratory. We discuss methods used to produce the devices and present early performance results from the 100- micron thick, 15x15-microns, 2k x 4k pixel frame transfer CCDs.

  4. Infrared Flares from M Dwarfs: a Hinderance to Future Transiting Exoplanet Studies

    OpenAIRE

    Davenport, James R. A.

    2017-01-01

    Many current and future exoplanet missions are pushing to infrared (IR) wavelengths where the flux contrast between the planet and star is more favorable (Deming et al. 2009), and the impact of stellar magnetic activity is decreased. Indeed, a recent analysis of starspots and faculae found these forms of stellar activity do not substantially impact the transit signatures or science potential for FGKM stars with JWST (Zellem et al. 2017). However, this is not true in the case of flares, which ...

  5. A Preparatory Program to Identify the Single Best Transiting Exoplanet for JWST Early Release Science

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stevenson, Kevin

    2016-10-01

    JWST will revolutionize transiting exoplanet atmospheric science due to its capability for continuous, long-duration observations and, compared to existing space-based facilities, its larger collecting area, spectral coverage, and resolution. However, it is unclear precisely how well JWST will perform and which of its myriad instruments and observing modes will be best suited for transiting exoplanet studies. The Early Release Science (ERS) program was devised to provide early and open access to a broad suite of JWST science observations subject to key data analysis challenges so that the community can quickly build experience and develop a list of best observing practices prior to the Cycle 2 proposal deadline. In a recent paper, we identified 12 transiting exoplanets (dubbed community targets) that may be suitable for time-series observations within the ERS program; however, a critical unknown for the most favorable targets is the presence of obscuring clouds. To properly assess each observing mode, it is vital that the selected community target has measurable and identifiable spectroscopic features. We propose HST/WFC3 observations of four exoplanets to identify the single best target by first measuring the size of their 1.4-micron water vapor features. Next, we will perform follow-up Spitzer observations of the top two targets to determine the slopes in their infrared transmission spectra. Together, these measurements will provide the most robust determination of clouds/hazes with the minimum amount of telescope time. Cycle 24 is our final opportunity to identify suitable community targets with cloud-free atmospheres prior to the ERS proposal deadline in mid-2017.

  6. Speckle Imaging and Spectroscopy of Kepler Exo-planet Transit Candidate Stars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Howell, Steve B.; Sherry, William; Horch, Elliott; Doyle, Laurance

    2010-02-01

    The NASA Kepler mission was successfully launched on 6 March 2009 and has begun science operations. Commissioning tests done early on in the mission have shown that for the bright sources, 10-15 ppm relative photometry can be achieved. This level assures we will detect Earth- like transits if they are present. ``Hot Jupiter" and similar large planet candidates have already been discovered and will be discussed at the Jan. AAS meeting as well as in a special issue of Science magazine to appear near years end. The plethora of variability observed is astounding and includes a number of eclipsing binaries which appear to have Jupiter and smaller size objects as an orbiting their body. Our proposal consists of three highly related objectives: 1) To continue our highly successful speckle imaging program which is a major component of defense to weed out false positive candidate transiting planets found by Kepler and move the rest to probable or certain exo-planet detections; 2) To obtain low resolution ``discovery" type spectra for planet candidate stars in order to provide spectral type and luminosity class indicators as well as a first look triage to eliminate binaries and rapid rotators; and 3) to obtain ~1Aresolution time ordered spectra of eclipsing binaries that are exo-planet candidates in order to obtain the velocity solution for the binary star, allowing its signal to be modeled and removed from the Keck or HET exo-planet velocity search. As of this writing, Kepler has produced a list of 227 exo-planet candidates which require false positive decision tree observations. Our proposed effort performs much of the first line of defense for the mission.

  7. 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.

  8. Characterizing transiting exoplanet atmospheres using NIRCam grism spectra

    Science.gov (United States)

    Greene, Thomas P.; Schlawin, Everett; Beichman, Charles A.; Line, Michael R.; Fortney, Jonathan J.; Fraine, Jonathan; JWST NIRCam Team

    2017-06-01

    JWST will enable high signal-to-noise spectroscopic observations of the atmospheres of transiting planets with high sensitivity at wavelengths that are inaccessible with HST or other existing facilities. We plan to exploit this by measuring abundances, chemical compositions, cloud properties, and temperature-pressure parameters of a set of mostly warm (T ~ 600 - 1200 K) and low mass (14 - 200 Earth mass) planets in our guaranteed time program. These planets are expected to have significant molecular absorptions of H2O, CH4, CO2, CO, and other molecules that are key for determining these parameters and illuminating how and where the planets formed. We describe how we will use the NIRCam grisms to observe slitless transmission and emission spectra of these planets over 2.4 - 5.0 microns wavelength and how well these observations can measure our desired parameters. This will include how we set integration times, exposure parameters, and obtain simultaneous shorter wavelength images to track telescope pointing and stellar variability. We will illustrate this with specific examples showing model spectra, simulated observations, expected information retrieval results, completed Astronomer's Proposal Tools observing templates, target visibility, and other considerations.

  9. Community Targets for JWST's Early Release Science Program: Evaluation of Transiting Exoplanet WASP-63b.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kilpatrick, Brian; Cubillos, Patricio; Bruno, Giovanni; Lewis, Nikole K.; Stevenson, Kevin B.; Wakeford, Hannah; Blecic, Jasmina; Burrows, Adam Seth; Deming, Drake; Heng, Kevin; Line, Michael R.; Madhusudhan, Nikku; Morley, Caroline; Waldmann, Ingo P.; Transiting Exoplanet Early Release Science Community (Stevenson et al. 2016)

    2017-06-01

    We present observations of the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) ``A Preparatory Program to Identify the Single Best Transiting Exoplanet for JWST Early Release Science" for WASP-63b, one of the community targets proposed for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) Early Release Science (ERS) program. A large collaboration of transiting exoplanet scientists identified a set of ``community targets" which meet a certain set of criteria for ecliptic latitude, period, host star brightness, well constrained orbital parameters, and strength of spectroscopic features. WASP-63b was one of the targets identified as a potential candidate for the ERS program. It is presented as an inflated planet with a large signal. It will be accessible to JWST approximately six months after the planned start of Cycle 1/ERS in April 2019 making it an ideal candidate should there be any delays in the JWST timetable. Here, we observe WASP-63b to evaluate its suitability as the best target to test the capabilities of JWST. Ideally, a clear atmosphere will be best suited for bench marking the instruments ability to detect spectroscopic features. We can use the strength of the water absorption feature at 1.4 μm as a way to determine the presence of obscuring clouds/hazes. The results of atmospheric retrieval are presented along with a discussion on the suitability of WASP-63b as the best target to be observed during the ERS Program.

  10. Titan-Like Exoplanets: Variations in Geometric Albedo and Effective Transit Height with Haze Production Rate

    Science.gov (United States)

    Checlair, Jade; McKay, Christopher P.; Imanaka, Hiroshi

    2016-01-01

    Extensive studies characterizing Titan present an opportunity to study the atmospheric properties of Titan-like exoplanets. Using an existing model of Titan's atmospheric haze, we computed geometric albedo spectra and effective transit height spectra for six values of the haze production rate (zero haze to twice present) over a wide range of wavelengths (0.2-2 microns). In the geometric albedo spectra, the slope in the UV-visible changes from blue to red when varying the haze production rate values from zero to twice the current Titan value. This spectral feature is the most effective way to characterize the haze production rates. Methane absorption bands in the visible-NIR compete with the absorbing haze, being more prominent for smaller haze production rates. The effective transit heights probe a region of the atmosphere where the haze and gas are optically thin and that is thus not effectively probed by the geometric albedo. The effective transit height decreases smoothly with increasing wavelength, from 376 km to 123 km at 0.2 and 2 microns, respectively. When decreasing the haze production rate, the methane absorption bands become more prominent, and the effective transit height decreases with a steeper slope with increasing wavelength. The slope of the geometric albedo in the UV-visible increases smoothly with increasing haze production rate, while the slope of the effective transit height spectra is not sensitive to the haze production rate other than showing a sharp rise when the haze production rate increases from zero. We conclude that geometric albedo spectra provide the most sensitive indicator of the haze production rate and the background Rayleigh gas. Our results suggest that important and complementary information can be obtained from the geometric albedo and motivates improvements in the technology for direct imaging of nearby exoplanets.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-11-01

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

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-06-18

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

  15. MuSCAT: a multicolor simultaneous camera for studying atmospheres of transiting exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Narita, Norio; Fukui, Akihiko; Kusakabe, Nobuhiko; Onitsuka, Masahiro; Ryu, Tsuguru; Yanagisawa, Kenshi; Izumiura, Hideyuki; Tamura, Motohide; Yamamuro, Tomoyasu

    2015-10-01

    We report a development of a multicolor simultaneous camera for the 188-cm telescope at Okayama Astrophysical Observatory in Japan. The instrument, named MuSCAT (Multicolor Simultaneous Camera for studying Atmospheres of Transiting exoplanets), has a capability of three-color simultaneous imaging in optical wavelengths where CCDs are sensitive. MuSCAT is equipped with three 1024 × 1024 pixel CCDs which can be controlled independently. The three CCDs detect lights in g2‧ (400 to 550 nm), r2‧ (550 to 700 nm), and z (820 to 920 nm) bands using Astrodon Photometrics Generation 2 Sloan filters. The field of view of MuSCAT is 6.1×6.1 arc min2 with the pixel scale of 0.358 arc sec/pixel. The principal purpose of MuSCAT is to perform high-precision multicolor transit photometry. For this purpose, MuSCAT has the capability of self-autoguiding which enables it to fix the positions of stellar images within ˜1 pixel. We demonstrate relative photometric precisions of 0.101%, 0.074%, and 0.076% in g2‧, r2‧, and z bands, respectively, for GJ 436 (magnitudes in g‧=11.81, r‧=10.08, and z‧=8.66) with 30-s exposures. The achieved precisions meet our objective, and the instrument is ready for operation.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-09-01

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

  17. An Application of Kopal's Method for the Analysis of Transit Light Curves of Exoplanets Using Powerful Modern Algorithms

    Science.gov (United States)

    Makris, D.; Niarchos, P.; Gazeas, K.

    2015-07-01

    We present results from the application of Kopal's method for eclipsing binaries to the analysis of the transit light curve of exoplanet HD 209458, using very accurate photometric observations made with the Hubble Space Telescope. The fitting of the model parameters to the data was achieved by use of the Simulated Annealing algorithm. Furthermore, we utilized a transformation of the limb darkening coefficients that negates the need to specify limits for their values (uninformative sampling), yet still yield physically plausible results.

  18. Molecular opacities for exoplanets.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bernath, Peter F

    2014-04-28

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

  19. Transit spectrophotometry of the Super-Earth exoplanet GJ 1214b with FLIPO

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dreyer, Claudia

    2013-10-01

    We propose to use FLIPO on SOFIA to comprehensively analyze the atmospheric composition of the first planet in the super-Earth range to be characterized: the possible water-world GJ 1214b. These observations will allow us to determine the chemical composition of the atmosphere. Our constraints on these aspects of the planetary atmosphere will be achieved through spectrophotometric transmission observations during transits in 2 optical and 2 infrared channels - the 1.90 micron `Paschen alpha cont.' and 3.05 micron `water ice' - that are not observable from the ground. Furthermore HIPO and FLITECAM (in the FLIPO configuration) are the only instruments available for simultaneous optical and IR observations: SOFIA has unique capability to provide quasi space-based photometry enabling us to answer the state-of the-art scientific question whether GJ 1214b is a `water-world' or a small Neptune-like gas-giant. Our observations will pave the way for future observations of a wide range of exoplanet atmospheres with FLIPO on SOFIA.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-12-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-04-01

    Current observations of the atmospheres of close-in exoplanets are predominantly obtained with two techniques: low-resolution spectroscopy with space telescopes and high-resolution spectroscopy from the ground. Although the observables delivered by the two methods are in principle highly complementary, no attempt has ever been made to combine them, perhaps due to the different modeling approaches that are typically used in their interpretation. Here, we present the first combined analysis of previously published dayside spectra of the exoplanet HD 209458 b obtained at low resolution with HST/Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) and Spitzer/IRAC and at high resolution with VLT/CRIRES. By utilizing a novel retrieval algorithm capable of computing the joint probability distribution of low- and high-resolution spectra, we obtain tight constraints on the chemical composition of the planet’s atmosphere. In contrast to the WFC3 data, we do not confidently detect H2O at high spectral resolution. The retrieved water abundance from the combined analysis deviates by 1.9σ from the expectations for a solar-composition atmosphere in chemical equilibrium. Measured relative molecular abundances of CO and H2O strongly favor an oxygen-rich atmosphere (C/O exoplanet surveys between the flagship ground- and space-based facilities, which ultimately will be crucial for characterizing potentially habitable planets.

  2. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mandell, Avi M.; Haynes, Korey; 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 microns 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. Key words: planetary systems - techniques: photometric - techniques: spectroscopic

  4. 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2010-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2010-01-01

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

  7. EPOXI EXOPLANET TRANSIT OBS - HRIV RAW IMAGES V1.0

    Data.gov (United States)

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

  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. Exoplanet transits with FLIPO: Is GJ 1214b a water-world Super Earth or a cloudy Mini-Neptune?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Angerhausen, Daniel

    2013-10-01

    We propose to use FLIPO on SOFIA to comprehensively analyze the atmospheric composition and temperature structure of the first planet in the super-Earth range to be characterized: the possible water-world GJ 1214b. These observations will allow us to determine the overall structure and the chemical composition of the atmosphere. Our constraints on these aspects of the planetary atmosphere will be achieved through spectrophotometric transmission observations during transit in 2 optical and 2 infrared channels - the 1.90 micron `Paschen alpha cont.' and 3.05 micron `water ice' - that are not observable from the ground. Furthermore HIPO and FLITECAM (in the FLIPO configuration) are the only instruments available for simultaneous optical and IR observations: SOFIA has unique capability to provide quasi space-based photometry enabling us to answer the state-of-the-art scientific question whether GJ 1214b is a `water-world' or a small Neptune-like gas-giant. Our observations will pave the way for future observations of a wide range of exoplanet atmospheres with FLIPO on SOFIA.

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

    Data.gov (United States)

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

  11. 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.

  12. Transit detection of a `starshade' at the inner lagrange point of an exoplanet

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gaidos, E.

    2017-08-01

    All water-covered rocky planets in the inner habitable zones of solar-type stars will inevitably experience a catastrophic runaway climate due to increasing stellar luminosity and limits to outgoing infrared radiation from wet greenhouse atmospheres. Reflectors or scatterers placed near Earth's inner Lagrange point (L_1) have been proposed as a "geoengineering' solution to anthropogenic climate change and an advanced version of this could modulate incident irradiation over many Gyr or `rescue' a planet from the interior of the habitable zone. The distance of the starshade from the planet that minimizes its mass is 1.6 times the Earth-L_1 distance. Such a starshade would have to be similar in size to the planet and the mutual occultations during planetary transits could produce a characteristic maximum at mid-transit in the light curve. Because of a fortuitous ratio of densities, Earth-size planets around G dwarf stars present the best opportunity to detect such an artefact. The signal would be persistent and is potentially detectable by a future space photometry mission to characterize transiting planets. The signal could be distinguished from natural phenomenon, i.e. starspots or cometary dust clouds, by its shape, persistence and transmission spectrum.

  13. 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

  14. SOPHIE velocimetry of Kepler transit candidates XII. KOI-1257 b: a highly eccentric three-month period transiting exoplanet

    OpenAIRE

    Santerne, A.; Hébrard, G.; Deleuil, M.; Havel, M; Correia, A.C.M.; Almenara, J.-M.; Alonso, R.; Arnold, L; Barros, S. C. C.; Behrend, R.; Bernasconi, L.; Boisse, I.; Bonomo, A.S.; Bouchy, F.; Bruno, G.

    2014-01-01

    In this paper we report a new transiting warm giant planet: KOI-1257 b. It was first detected in photometry as a planet-candidate by the ${\\it Kepler}$ space telescope and then validated thanks to a radial velocity follow-up with the SOPHIE spectrograph. It orbits its host star with a period of 86.647661 d $\\pm$ 3 s and a high eccentricity of 0.772 $\\pm$ 0.045. The planet transits the main star of a metal-rich, relatively old binary system with stars of mass of 0.99 $\\pm$ 0.05 Msun and 0.70 $...

  15. 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.

  16. CHEOPS: towards exoplanet characterisation

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-04-01

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

  17. The transiting exoplanet CoRoT-11b and its peculiar tidal evolution

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Damiani C.

    2011-02-01

    Full Text Available CoRoT-11b is a fairly massive hot-Jupiter (Mp = 2.33 ± 0.34 MJup in a 3 days orbit around a F6 V star with an age of 2 ± 1 Gyr. The relatively high projected rotational velocity of the star (v sin i⋆ = 40 ± 5 km/s places CoRoT-11 among the most rapidly rotating planet hosting stars discovered so far. Assuming that the star is seen equator-on, the v sin i⋆ and the star radius (R∗ = 1.37±0.03 R⊙ translate into a stellar rotation period of 1.73±0.26 days. This peculiar planet/star configuration offers an unique opportunity to study the tidal evolution of the system. Owing to the strong tidal interaction, the planet would have moved outwards, from a starting semi-major axis corresponding to an orbital period almost synchronized with the stellar rotation. We found that the present value of the tidal quality factor Q′s could be measured by a timing of the mid-epoch of the transits to be observed with an accuracy of about 0.5 − 1 seconds over a time baseline of about 25 years.

  18. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-01-01

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

  20. Stellar Variability of the Exoplanet Hosting Star HD 63454

    OpenAIRE

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

    2011-01-01

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

  1. 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.

  2. Qatar Exoplanet Survey

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2017-01-01

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

  3. Depth

    Science.gov (United States)

    Koenderink, Jan J; van Doorn, Andrea J; Wagemans, Johan

    2011-01-01

    Depth is the feeling of remoteness, or separateness, that accompanies awareness in human modalities like vision and audition. In specific cases depths can be graded on an ordinal scale, or even measured quantitatively on an interval scale. In the case of pictorial vision this is complicated by the fact that human observers often appear to apply mental transformations that involve depths in distinct visual directions. This implies that a comparison of empirically determined depths between observers involves pictorial space as an integral entity, whereas comparing pictorial depths as such is meaningless. We describe the formal structure of pictorial space purely in the phenomenological domain, without taking recourse to the theories of optics which properly apply to physical space—a distinct ontological domain. We introduce a number of general ways to design and implement methods of geodesy in pictorial space, and discuss some basic problems associated with such measurements. We deal mainly with conceptual issues. PMID:23145244

  4. 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.

  5. Precisely measuring the density of small transiting exoplanets with particular emphasis on longer period planet using the HARPS-N spectrograph

    Science.gov (United States)

    Buchhave, Lars A.

    2015-08-01

    The majority of exoplanets discovered by the Kepler Mission have sizes that range between 1-4 Earth radii, populating a regime of planets with no Solar System analogues. This regime is critical for understanding the frequency of potentially habitable worlds and to help inform planet formation theories, because it contains the transition from lower-density planets with extended H/He envelopes to higher-density rocky planets with compact atmospheres. HARPS-N is an ultra-stable high-resolution spectrograph optimized for the measurement of precise radial velocities, yielding precise planetary masses and thus densities of small transiting exoplanets. In this talk, I will review the progress to populate the mass-radius parameter space with precisely measured densities of small planets. I will in particular focus on the latest HARPS-N results and their implication for our understanding of these super-Earth and small Neptune type planets.Additionally, I will discuss our progress to measure the masses of longer period sub-Neptune sized planets. In Buchhave el al. 2014, we found suggestive observational evidence that the transition from rocky to gaseous planets might depend on the orbital period, such that larger planets further away from their host star could be massive planets without a large gaseous envelope. To test this hypothesis, we have used HARPS-N to observe longer period planet candidates to determine whether they are in fact massive rocky planets or if they have extended H/He envelopes and thus lower bulk densities.HARPS-N at the Telescopio Nazionale Galileo, La Palma is an international collaboration and was funded by the Swiss Space Office, the Harvard Origin of Life Initiative, the Scottish Universities Physics Alliance, the University of Geneva, the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, and the Italian National Astrophysical Institute, University of St. Andrews, Queens University Belfast, and University of Edinburgh.

  6. Water in exoplanets.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-06-13

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

  7. Exoplanet Update

    Science.gov (United States)

    Johnson, John

    2011-04-01

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

  8. The DEdicated MONitor of EXotransits and Transients (DEMONEXT): a Robotic Observatory for Follow-Up of Transiting Exoplanets, Transients, and Time-Series Photometry

    Science.gov (United States)

    Villanueva, Steven; Gaudi, B. Scott; Pogge, Richard; Stassun, Keivan G.; Eastman, Jason; Trueblood, Mark; Trueblood, Pat

    2018-01-01

    The DEdicated MONitor of EXotransits and Transients (DEMONEXT) is a 20 inch (0.5-m) robotic telescope that has been in operation since May 2016. Fully automated, DEMONEXT has observed over 150 transits of exoplanet candidates for the KELT survey, including confirmation observations of KELT-20b. DEMONEXT achieves 2-4 mmag precision with unbinned, 20-120 second exposures, on targets orbiting V<13 host stars. Millimagnitude precision can be achieved by binning the transits on 5-6 minute timescales. During observations of 8 hours with hundreds of consecutive exposures, DEMONEXT maintains sub-pixel (<0.5 pixels) target position stability on the CCD during good observing conditions, with degraded performance during poor observing conditions (<1 pixel). DEMONEXT achieves 1% photometry on targets with V<17 in 5 minute exposures, with detection limits of V~21. In addition to the 150 transits observed by DEMONEXT, 50 supernovae and transients haven been observed for the ASAS-SN supernovae group, as well as time-series observations of Galactic microlensing, active galactic nuclei, stellar variability, and stellar rotation.

  9. 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.

  10. Depth to Transition--Pigeon Point to South Monterey Bay, California

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Geological Survey, Department of the Interior — This part of DS 781 presents data for the depth-to-transition map of the Pigeon Point to South Monterey Bay, California, region. The raster data file is included in...

  11. Beyond hot Jupiters: Characterizing exoplanets below 1000 K with Spitzer and JWST emission spectroscopy

    Science.gov (United States)

    Benneke, Björn; Université de Montréal, Caltech, University of Arizona, Space Science Institute, UCSC, Harvard University

    2018-01-01

    Most thermal emission spectra of exoplanets to date have been obtained for the hot Jupiters with equilibrium temperatures above ~1500K due to their favorable eclipse depth in the NIR. Emission spectroscopy of colder planets, however, provides us with the important opportunity to understand cloud formation and atmospheric chemistry near the CH4/CO transition. In this talk, we will demonstrate JWST’s unique capabilities for these planets and discuss results from our ongoing Spitzer effort to study warm Neptunes and Jupiters.

  12. 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.

  13. Hot Exoplanet Atmospheres Resolved with Transit Spectroscopy (HEARTS). I. Detection of hot neutral sodium at high altitudes on WASP-49b

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wyttenbach, A.; Lovis, C.; Ehrenreich, D.; Bourrier, V.; Pino, L.; Allart, R.; Astudillo-Defru, N.; Cegla, H. M.; Heng, K.; Lavie, B.; Melo, C.; Murgas, F.; Santerne, A.; Ségransan, D.; Udry, S.; Pepe, F.

    2017-06-01

    High-resolution optical spectroscopy during the transit of HD 189733b, a prototypical hot Jupiter, allowed the resolution of the Na I D sodium lines in the planet, giving access to the extreme conditions of the planet upper atmosphere. We have undertaken HEARTS, a spectroscopic survey of exoplanet upper atmospheres, to perform a comparative study of hot gas giants and determine how stellar irradiation affect them. Here, we report on the first HEARTS observations of the hot Saturn-mass planet WASP-49b. We observed the planet with the HARPS high-resolution spectrograph at ESO 3.6 m telescope. We collected 126 spectra of WASP-49, covering three transits of WASP-49b. We analyzed and modeled the planet transit spectrum, while paying particular attention to the treatment of potentially spurious signals of stellar origin. We spectrally resolve the Na I D lines in the planet atmosphere and show that these signatures are unlikely to arise from stellar contamination. The large contrasts of 2.0 ± 0.5% (D2) and 1.8 ± 0.7% (D1) require the presence of hot neutral sodium ( K) at high altitudes ( 1.5 planet radius or 45 000 km). From estimating the cloudiness index of WASP-49b, we determine its atmosphere to be cloud free at the altitudes probed by the sodium lines. WASP-49b is close to the border of the evaporation desert and exhibits an enhanced thermospheric signature with respect to a farther-away planet such as HD 189733b. Based on observations made at ESO 3.6 m telescope at the La Silla Observatory under ESO program 096.C-0331.

  14. 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.

  15. Wave climate, sediment supply and the depth of the sand-mud transition: A global survey

    Science.gov (United States)

    George, D.A.; Hill, P.S.

    2008-01-01

    The influences of wave climate and sediment supply on the depths of sand-mud transitions (hSMT) are investigated. Depths of sand-mud transitions (SMT) are based on published granulometric data from surface samples gathered from 14 sites in different wave-dominated coastal environments with fluvial input, including high energy (Columbia, Eel, Russian, San Lorenzo, Copper, and Nepean rivers), moderate energy (Ebro, Nile, Santa Clara, Tseng-wen and Kao-ping rivers), and low energy (Po, Pescara and Tronto rivers) regimes. Geometric mean diameter (GMD) and mud percent are compiled from samples along shore-normal transects, and significant correlation is found between these two textural descriptors. Nominally, the SMT is defined as the transition from GMD > 63????m to 25% mud. This dual definition is applied to the 14 systems, and hSMT is tabulated for each system. Correlation is found between hSMT and the depth at which wave-induced bottom shear stress equals the critical erosion shear stress of the largest mud particles and also between hSMT and significant wave height. Lack of correlation between hSMT and sediment load of nearby rivers indicates either that the influence of sediment supply on depth of the sand-mud transition is small or is not adequately represented in this study. Shelf width and slope do not correlate with residuals from a formalized linear relationship between hSMT and significant wave height. The relationship between hSMT and wave climate is useful for calibration of numerical models of erosion and deposition in wave-dominated coastal environments, for prediction of seabed properties in remote or inaccessible areas, and for reconstruction of paleodepth based on facies changes from sand to mud in ancient rocks. ?? 2008.

  16. VizieR Online Data Catalog: Transiting Exoplanet Monitoring Project. II. HAT-P-33 (Wang+, 2017)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Y.-H.; Wang, S.; Liu, H.-G.; Hinse, T. C.; Laughlin, G.; Wu, D.-H.; Zhang, X.; Zhou, X.; Wu, Z.; Zhou, J.-L.; Wittenmyer, R. A.; Eastman, J.; Zhang, H.; Hori, Y.; Narita, N.; Chen, Y.; Ma, J.; Peng, X.; Zhang, T.-M.; Zou, H.; Nie, J.-D.; Zhou, Z.-M.

    2017-10-01

    We have recorded a total of 10 light curves of eight different transits events observed by two telescopes (a 60/90cm Schmidt and a 60cm telescope) at Xinglong Station operated by National Astronomical Observatories of China (NAOC) between 2013 December and 2016 January. Two of the transit events were observed by the two telescopes simultaneously. The first seven transit events were monitored by the 60/90cm Schmidt telescope. It has a 4K*4K CCD with a ~94'*~94' field of view, which gives a pixel scale of 1.38''/pixel. The transit events that occurred on UT 2014 February 27 and UT 2014 March 6 were also simultaneously observed by the 60cm, and the last transit in our sequence was also monitored with this telescope. The 60cm telescope is equipped with a 512*512 CCD and covers a field of view of 17'*17', resulting in a pixel scale of 1.95''/pixel. (3 data files).

  17. 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.

  18. A giant comet-like cloud of hydrogen escaping the warm Neptune-mass exoplanet GJ 436b.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ehrenreich, David; Bourrier, Vincent; Wheatley, Peter J; des Etangs, Alain Lecavelier; Hébrard, Guillaume; Udry, Stéphane; Bonfils, Xavier; Delfosse, Xavier; Désert, Jean-Michel; Sing, David K; Vidal-Madjar, Alfred

    2015-06-25

    Exoplanets orbiting close to their parent stars may lose some fraction of their atmospheres because of the extreme irradiation. Atmospheric mass loss primarily affects low-mass exoplanets, leading to the suggestion that hot rocky planets might have begun as Neptune-like, but subsequently lost all of their atmospheres; however, no confident measurements have hitherto been available. The signature of this loss could be observed in the ultraviolet spectrum, when the planet and its escaping atmosphere transit the star, giving rise to deeper and longer transit signatures than in the optical spectrum. Here we report that in the ultraviolet the Neptune-mass exoplanet GJ 436b (also known as Gliese 436b) has transit depths of 56.3 ± 3.5% (1σ), far beyond the 0.69% optical transit depth. The ultraviolet transits repeatedly start about two hours before, and end more than three hours after the approximately one hour optical transit, which is substantially different from one previous claim (based on an inaccurate ephemeris). We infer from this that the planet is surrounded and trailed by a large exospheric cloud composed mainly of hydrogen atoms. We estimate a mass-loss rate in the range of about 10(8)-10(9) grams per second, which is far too small to deplete the atmosphere of a Neptune-like planet in the lifetime of the parent star, but would have been much greater in the past.

  19. Spectra as windows into exoplanet atmospheres.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Burrows, Adam S

    2014-09-02

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

  20. Mass and radius of a transiting exoplanet : a Bayesian approach, with application to 55 Cnc-e

    Science.gov (United States)

    Crida, A.; Ligi, R.

    2017-09-01

    Stellar parameters are the key to derive exoplanetary parameters. We derive analytically the joint likelihood of the mass and radius of a host star and its transiting planet, from the probability density functions of the observed quantities. We then use priors on the luminosity, temperature, metallicity and age of the star to constrain more, and estimate better all the stellar parameters. We show that this approach leads to a finer and more correct probability density function of the mass and radius of the star, hence of the planet.

  1. 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.

  2. Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) Community Observer Program including the Science Enhancement Option Box (SEO Box) - 12 TB On-board Flash Memory for Serendipitous Science

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schingler, Robert; Villasenor, J. N.; Ricker, G. R.; Latham, D. W.; Vanderspek, R. K.; Ennico, K. A.; Lewis, B. S.; Bakos, G.; Brown, T. M.; Burgasser, A. J.; Charbonneau, D.; Clampin, M.; Deming, L. D.; Doty, J. P.; Dunham, E. W.; Elliot, J. L.; Holman, M. J.; Ida, S.; Jenkins, J. M.; Jernigan, J. G.; Kawai, N.; Laughlin, G. P.; Lissauer, J. J.; Martel, F.; Sasselov, D. D.; Seager, S.; Torres, G.; Udry, S.; Winn, J. N.; Worden, S. P.

    2010-01-01

    The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) will perform an all-sky survey in a low-inclination, low-Earth orbit. TESS's 144 GB of raw data collected each orbit will be stacked, cleaned, cut, compressed and downloaded. The Community Observer Program is a Science Enhancement Option (SEO) that takes advantage of the low-radiation environment, technology advances in flash memory, and the vast amount of astronomical data collected by TESS. The Community Observer Program requires the addition of a 12 TB "SEO Box” inside the TESS Bus. The hardware can be built using low-cost Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) components and fits within TESS's margins while accommodating GSFC gold rules. The SEO Box collects and stores a duplicate of the TESS camera data at a "raw” stage ( 4.3 GB/orbit, after stacking and cleaning) and makes them available for on-board processing. The sheer amount of onboard storage provided by the SEO Box allows the stacking and storing of several months of data, allowing the investigator to probe deeper in time prior to a given event. Additionally, with computation power and data in standard formats, investigators can utilize data-mining techniques to investigate serendipitous phenomenon, including pulsating stars, eclipsing binaries, supernovae or other transient phenomena. The Community Observer Program enables ad-hoc teams of citizen scientists to propose, test, refine and rank algorithms for on-board analysis to support serendipitous science. Combining "best practices” of online collaboration, with careful moderation and community management, enables this `crowd sourced’ participatory exploration with a minimal risk and impact on the core TESS Team. This system provides a powerful and independent tool opening a wide range of opportunity for science enhancement and secondary science. Support for this work has been provided by NASA, the Kavli Foundation, Google, and the Smithsonian Institution.

  3. The Search for Ringed Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kohler, Susanna

    2017-04-01

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

  4. The Galactic Exoplanet Survey Telescope (GEST): A Search for Extra-Solar Planets via Gravitational Microlensing and Transits

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rhie, S. H.; Bennett, D. P.; Clampin, M.; Cook, K. H.; Drake, A. J.; Gould, A.; Horne, K.; Horner, S. D.; Jewitt, D. C.; Langston, G. I.; Lauer, T. R.; Lumsdaine, A.; Minniti, D.; Peale, S. J.; Shao, M.; Stevenson, R. L.; Tenerelli, D.; Tytler, D.; Woolf, N. J.

    2000-10-01

    GEST is a comprehensive extra-solar planet search mission sensitive to planets with masses as low as that of Mars. GEST will monitor the Galactic bulge for 8 months per year for three years to detect planets via gravitational microlensing and transits. GEST's microlensing survey will detect low-mass planets via high signal-to-noise variations of gravitational microlensing light curves. These planetary signals do not require follow-up observations to confirm the planetary interpretation, and they yield direct measurements of the star:planet mass ratio. GEST will be able to detect ~ 100 Earth-mass planets at 1 AU (assuming ~ 1 such planet per star) and will detect its first Earth-mass planets within a few months of launch. GEST's survey of the Galactic bulge will also detect ~ 50,000 planets via transits. When the Galactic bulge is not visible, GEST will do a Kuiper Belt Object (KBO) survey and operate a Participating Scienctist Program (PSP) with observational programs selected via competitive proposals. It is expected that 100,000 new KBOs will be discovered. The GEST mission can be accomplished at low risk with established technology, and a GEST proposal has been submitted to the current Discovery Competition.

  5. Atmospheric Circulation of Exoplanets

    OpenAIRE

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

    2009-01-01

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

  6. WASP-South transiting exoplanets: WASP-130b, WASP-131b, WASP-132b, WASP-139b, WASP-140b, WASP-141b and WASP-142b

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hellier, C.; Anderson, D. R.; Cameron, A. Collier; Delrez, L.; Gillon, M.; Jehin, E.; Lendl, M.; Maxted, P. F. L.; Neveu-VanMalle, M.; Pepe, F.; Pollacco, D.; Queloz, D.; Ségransan, D.; Smalley, B.; Southworth, J.; Triaud, A. H. M. J.; Udry, S.; Wagg, T.; West, R. G.

    2017-03-01

    We describe seven exoplanets transiting stars of brightness V = 10.1-12.4. WASP-130b is a 'warm Jupiter' having an orbital period of 11.6 d around a metal-rich G6 star. Its mass and radius (1.23 ± 0.04 MJup and 0.89 ± 0.03 RJup) support the trend that warm Jupiters have smaller radii than hot Jupiters. WASP-131b is a bloated Saturn-mass planet (0.27 MJup and 1.22 RJup). Its large scaleheight and bright (V = 10.1) host star make it a good target for atmospheric characterization. WASP-132b (0.41 MJup and 0.87 RJup) is among the least irradiated and coolest of WASP planets, having a 7.1-d orbit around a K4 star. WASP-139b is a 'super-Neptune' akin to HATS-7b and HATS-8b, being the lowest mass planet yet found by WASP (0.12 MJup and 0.80 RJup). The metal-rich K0 host star appears to be anomalously dense, akin to HAT-P-11. WASP-140b is a 2.4-MJup planet in an eccentric (e = 0.047 ± 0.004) 2.2-d orbit. The planet's radius is large (1.4 RJup), but uncertain owing to the grazing transit (b = 0.93). The 10.4-d rotation period of the K0 host star suggests a young age, and the time-scale for tidal circularization is likely to be the lowest of all known eccentric hot Jupiters. WASP-141b (2.7 MJup, 1.2 RJup and P = 3.3 d) and WASP-142b (0.84 MJup, 1.53 RJup and P = 2.1 d) are typical hot Jupiters orbiting metal-rich F stars. We show that the period distribution within the hot-Jupiter bulge does not depend on the metallicity of the host star.

  7. The GTC exoplanet transit spectroscopy survey. VIII. Flat transmission spectrum for the warm gas giant WASP-80b

    Science.gov (United States)

    Parviainen, H.; Pallé, E.; Chen, G.; Nortmann, L.; Murgas, F.; Nowak, G.; Aigrain, S.; Booth, A.; Abazorius, M.; Iro, N.

    2018-01-01

    Aims: We set out to study the atmosphere of WASP-80b, a warm inflated gas giant with an equilibrium temperature of 800 K, using ground-based transmission spectroscopy covering the spectral range from 520 to 910 nm. The observations allow us to probe the existence and abundance of K and Na in WASP-80b's atmosphere, existence of high-altitude clouds, and Rayleigh-scattering in the blue end of the spectrum. Methods: We observed two spectroscopic time series of WASP-80b transits with the OSIRIS spectrograph installed in the Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC), and use the observations to estimate the planet's transmission spectrum between 520 nm and 910 nm in 20 nm-wide passbands, and around the K I and Na I resonance doublets in 6 nm-wide passbands. We jointly model three previously published broadband datasets consisting of 27 light curves, prior to a transmission spectroscopy analysis in order to obtain improved estimates of the planet's orbital parameters, average radius ratio, and stellar density. The parameter posteriors from the broadband analysis are used to set informative priors on the transmission spectroscopy analysis. The final transmission spectroscopy analyses are carried out jointly for the two nights using a divide-by-white approach to remove the common-mode systematics, and Gaussian processes to model the residual wavelength-dependent systematics. Results: We recover a flat transmission spectrum with no evidence of Rayleigh scattering or K I or Na I absorption, and obtain an improved system characterisation as a by-product of the broadband- and GTC-dataset modelling. The transmission spectra estimated separately from the two observing runs are consistent with each other, as are the transmission spectra estimated using either a parametric or nonparametric systematics model. The flat transmission spectrum favours an atmosphere model with high-altitude clouds over cloud-free models with stellar or sub-stellar metallicities. Conclusions: Our results disagree

  8. Undercover Stars Among Exoplanet Candidates

    Science.gov (United States)

    2005-03-01

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

  9. 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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhou, Yifan; Apai, Dániel; Lew, Ben W. P.; Schneider, Glenn

    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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barclay, Thomas; Shabram, Megan

    2017-06-01

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

  11. Infrared spectroscopy of exoplanets: observational constraints.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Encrenaz, Thérèse

    2014-04-28

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

  12. 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.

  13. Searching for exoplanets using artificial intelligence

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-02-01

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

  14. A Photometric Diagnostic to Aid in the Identification of Transiting Extrasolar Planets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tingley, Brandon; Sackett, Penny D.

    2005-07-01

    One of the obstacles in the search for exoplanets via transits is the large number of candidates that must be followed up, few of which ultimately prove to be exoplanets. Any method that could make this process more efficient by somehow identifying the best candidates and eliminating the worst would therefore be very useful. Seager & Mallén-Ornelas demonstrated that it was possible to discern between blends and exoplanets using only the photometric characteristics of the transits. However, these techniques are critically dependent on the shape of the transit, characterization of which requires very high precision photometry of a sort that is atypical for candidates identified from transit searches. We present a method relying only on transit duration, depth, and period, which require much less precise photometry to determine accurately. The numerical tool we derive, the exoplanet diagnostic η, is intended to identify the subset of candidates from a transit search that is most likely to contain exoplanets and is thus most worthy of subsequent follow-up studies. The effectiveness of the diagnostic is demonstrated with its success in separating modeled exoplanetary transits and interlopers and by applying it to actual OGLE transit candidates.

  15. 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.

  16. Direct Imaging of Giant Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tamura, Motohide

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

  17. 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

  18. The Exoplanet Cloud Atlas

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-10-01

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

  19. Enabling Participation In Exoplanet Science

    Science.gov (United States)

    Taylor, Stuart F.

    2015-08-01

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

  20. Stellar Echo Imaging of Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-01-01

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

  1. Using Exoplanets to Engage Students in Physics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Charbonneau, David

    2011-05-01

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

  2. 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

  3. 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.

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

    OpenAIRE

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

    2016-01-01

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

  5. 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...

  6. Atmospheric Circulation of Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2010-12-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-06-01

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

  8. 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.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Swinyard, Bruce; Tinetti, Giovanna; Tennyson, Jonathan

    2012-01-01

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

  10. 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.

  11. CHEOPS: CHaracterising ExOPlanets Satellite

    Science.gov (United States)

    Isaak, Kate

    2017-04-01

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

  12. Spatio-temporal representativeness of euphotic depth in situ sampling in transitional coastal waters

    Science.gov (United States)

    Luhtala, Hanna; Tolvanen, Harri

    2016-06-01

    In dynamic coastal waters, the representativeness of spot sampling is limited to the measurement time and place due to local heterogeneity and irregular water property fluctuations. We assessed the representativeness of in situ sampling by analysing spot-sampled depth profiles of photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) in dynamic coastal archipelago waters in the south-western Finnish coast of the Baltic Sea. First, we assessed the role of spatio-temporality within the underwater light dynamics. As a part of this approach, an anomaly detection procedure was tested on a dataset including a large archipelago area and extensive temporal coverage throughout the ice-free season. The results suggest that euphotic depth variability should be treated as a spatio-temporal process rather than considering spatial and temporal dimensions separately. Second, we assessed the representativeness of spot sampling through statistical analysis of comparative data from spatially denser sampling on three test sites on two optically different occasions. The datasets revealed variability in different dimensions and scales. The suitability of a dataset to reveal wanted phenomena can usually be improved by careful planning and by clearly defining the data sampling objectives beforehand. Nonetheless, conducting a sufficient in situ sampling in dynamic coastal area is still challenging: detecting the general patterns at all the relevant dimensions is complicated by the randomness effect, which reduces the reliability of spot samples on a more detailed scale. Our results indicate that good representativeness of a euphotic depth sampling location is not a stable feature in a highly dynamic environment.

  13. Detection of the Atmosphere of the 1.6 M ⊕ Exoplanet GJ 1132 b

    Science.gov (United States)

    Southworth, John; Mancini, Luigi; Madhusudhan, Nikku; Mollière, Paul; Ciceri, Simona; Henning, Thomas

    2017-04-01

    Detecting the atmospheres of low-mass, low-temperature exoplanets is a high-priority goal on the path to ultimately detecting biosignatures in the atmospheres of habitable exoplanets. High-precision HST observations of several super-Earths with equilibrium temperatures below 1000 K have to date all resulted in featureless transmission spectra, which have been suggested to be due to high-altitude clouds. We report the detection of an atmospheric feature in the atmosphere of a 1.6 {M}\\oplus transiting exoplanet, GJ 1132 b, with an equilibrium temperature of ˜600 K and orbiting a nearby M dwarf. We present observations of nine transits of the planet obtained simultaneously in the griz and JHK passbands. We find an average radius of 1.43 ± 0.16 {R}\\oplus for the planet, averaged over all the passbands, and a radius of 0.255 ± 0.023 {R}⊙ for the star, both of which are significantly greater than previously found. The planet radius can be decomposed into a “surface radius” at ˜1.375 {R}\\oplus overlaid by atmospheric features that increase the observed radius in the z and K bands. The z-band radius is 4σ higher than the continuum, suggesting a strong detection of an atmosphere. We deploy a suite of tests to verify the reliability of the transmission spectrum, which are greatly helped by the existence of repeat observations. The large z-band transit depth indicates strong opacity from H2O and/or CH4 or a hitherto-unconsidered opacity. A surface radius of 1.375 ± 0.16 {R}\\oplus allows for a wide range of interior compositions ranging from a nearly Earth-like rocky interior, with ˜70% silicate and ˜30% Fe, to a substantially H2O-rich water world.

  14. Exoplanet Observations in SOFIA's Cycle 1

    Science.gov (United States)

    Angerhausen, Daniel

    2013-06-01

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

  15. 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.

  16. Exoplanets, extremophiles and habitability

    Science.gov (United States)

    Janot Pacheco, E.; Bernardes, L.

    2012-09-01

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

  17. High diving metabolic rate indicated by high-speed transit to depth in negatively buoyant long-finned pilot whales.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Aoki, Kagari; Sato, Katsufumi; Isojunno, Saana; Narazaki, Tomoko; Miller, Patrick J O

    2017-10-15

    To maximize foraging duration at depth, diving mammals are expected to use the lowest cost optimal speed during descent and ascent transit and to minimize the cost of transport by achieving neutral buoyancy. Here, we outfitted 18 deep-diving long-finned pilot whales with multi-sensor data loggers and found indications that their diving strategy is associated with higher costs than those of other deep-diving toothed whales. Theoretical models predict that optimal speed is proportional to (basal metabolic rate/drag)1/3 and therefore to body mass0.05 The transit speed of tagged animals (2.7±0.3 m s-1) was substantially higher than the optimal speed predicted from body mass (1.4-1.7 m s-1). According to the theoretical models, this choice of high transit speed, given a similar drag coefficient (median, 0.0035) to that in other cetaceans, indicated greater basal metabolic costs during diving than for other cetaceans. This could explain the comparatively short duration (8.9±1.5 min) of their deep dives (maximum depth, 444±85 m). Hydrodynamic gliding models indicated negative buoyancy of tissue body density (1038.8±1.6 kg m-3, ±95% credible interval, CI) and similar diving gas volume (34.6±0.6 ml kg-1, ±95% CI) to those in other deep-diving toothed whales. High diving metabolic rate and costly negative buoyancy imply a 'spend more, gain more' strategy of long-finned pilot whales, differing from that in other deep-diving toothed whales, which limits the costs of locomotion during foraging. We also found that net buoyancy affected the optimal speed: high transit speeds gradually decreased during ascent as the whales approached neutral buoyancy owing to gas expansion. © 2017. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.

  18. Tectonics of Slow Spreading Mid-Ocean Ridges and Consequences of a Variable Depth to the Brittle/ductile Transition

    Science.gov (United States)

    Harper, Gregory D.

    1985-06-01

    Geophysical evidence, especially microearthquakes that extend into the upper mantle beneath the inner floor of the Mid-Atlantic and Gorda Ridges, indicates that the axial magma chamber episodically freezes beneath slow spreading ridges. Freezing of the axial magma chamber will result in a variable thermal structure that has important tectonic consequences. Most importantly, large near-axis faults will intersect as the brittle/ductile transition deepens, causing some of the faults to become locked. The topographic effect of fault locking will be a variation in the width of the inner floor from narrow (10 km) when a magma chamber is absent. The deep microearthquakes also imply that faults at slow spreading ridges extend into the upper mantle. The nature of these faults at depth is unknown, but the following hypotheses are presented: (1) the faults may be planar and pass downward into aseismic ductile shear zones, and (2) the faults may sole into a flat detachment fault defining a sharp boundary between brittle faulting and homogeneous ductile flow. Such low-angle normal faults are common in continental extensional domains. Large-scale tilting (50°-70°) is probably common at slow spreading ridges and implies either listric faulting or rotation of planar faults and fault blocks (similar to toppling dominoes). Calculations of temperatures at the brittle/ductile transition are made assuming olivine and diabase rheologies for the mantle and crust, respectively. The temperature is approximately 800°C when the transition is at 8 km depth, and approximately 600° when the transition is at 2 km depth. The strength of the lithosphere varies dramatically with the rise and fall of the brittle/ductile transition as magma chambers form and subsequently freeze. Strong lateral temperature gradients will be present when a magma chamber is formed, resulting in localization of faulting within thin weak crust above the chamber. When the magma chamber freezes, lateral temperature

  19. 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...

  20. 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

  1. 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.

  2. A transitional volume beneath the Sannio-Irpinia border region (southern Apennines): Different tectonic styles at different depths

    Science.gov (United States)

    De Matteo, Ada; Massa, Bruno; Milano, Girolamo; D'Auria, Luca

    2018-01-01

    In this paper we investigate the border between the Sannio and Irpinia seismogenic regions, a sector of the southern Apennine chain considered among the most active seismic areas of the Italian peninsula, to shed further light on its complex seismotectonic setting. We integrated recent seismicity with literature data. A detailed analysis of the seismicity that occurred in the 2013-2016 time interval was performed. The events were relocated, after manual re-picking, using different approaches. To retrieve information about the stress field active in the area, inversion of Fault Plane Solutions was also carried out. Hypocentral distribution of the relocated events (ML ≤ 3.5), whose depth is included between 5 and 25 km with the deepest ones located in the NW sector of the study area, shows a different pattern between the northern sector and the southern one. The computed Fault Plane Solutions can be grouped in three depth ranges: 18 km, dominated by strike-slip kinematics. Stress field inversion across the whole area shows that we are dealing with an heterogeneous set of data, apparently governed by distinct stress fields. We built an upper crustal model profile through integration of geological data, well logs and seismic tomographic profiles. Our results suggest the co-existence of different tectonic styles at distinct crustal depths: the upper crust seems to be affected mostly by normal faulting, whereas strike-slip faulting prevails in the intermediate and lower crust. We infer about the existence of a transitional volume, located between 12 and 18 km depth, between the Sannio and Irpinia regions, acting as a vertical transfer zone.

  3. CHEOPS: CHaracterising ExOPlanet Satellite

    Science.gov (United States)

    Isaak, K. G.

    2015-10-01

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

  4. RADIAL VELOCITY ECLIPSE MAPPING OF EXOPLANETS

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

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

    2015-07-20

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sengupta, Sujan; Marley, Mark Scott

    2016-01-01

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

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. Lightest exoplanet yet discovered

    Science.gov (United States)

    2009-04-01

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

  9. Biosignatures of Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kiang, Nancy Y.

    2017-01-01

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

  10. 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.

  11. Characterizing Exoplanet Atmospheres with the James Webb Space Telescope

    Science.gov (United States)

    Greene, Tom

    2017-01-01

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

  12. 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.......05 ± 0.13RJup, a density of ≈ 3 g cm-3. RV data also clearly reveal a nonzero eccentricity of e = 0.16 ± 0.02. The planet orbits a mature G0 main sequence star of V = 15.5 mag, with a mass M⋆ = 1.14 ± 0.08 M⊙, a radius R ⋆ = 1. 61 ± 0.18 R⊙  and quasi-solarabundances. The age of the system is evaluated...... 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...

  13. The Architecture of Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hatzes, Artie P.

    2016-12-01

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

  14. Characterization of exoplanet hosts

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Valenti Jeff A.

    2013-04-01

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

  15. SPI-ing Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Maggio, A.

    2017-10-01

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

  16. Structure of exoplanets.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-09-02

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

  17. Transiting exoplanets from the CoRoT space mission. XXIII. CoRoT-21b: a doomed large Jupiter around a faint subgiant star

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Pätzold, M.; Endl, M.; Csizmadia, Sz.

    2012-01-01

    CoRoT-21, a F8IV star of magnitude V = 16 mag, was observed by the space telescope CoRoT during the Long Run 01 (LRa01) in the first winter field (constellation Monoceros) from October 2007 to March 2008. Transits were discovered during the light curve processing. Radial velocity follow......-up observations, however, were performed mainly by the 10-m Keck telescope in January 2010. The companion CoRoT-21b is a Jupiter-like planet of 2.26 ± 0.33 Jupiter masses and 1.30 ± 0.14 Jupiter radii in an circular orbit of semi-major axis 0.0417 ± 0.0011 AU and an orbital period of 2.72474 ± 0.00014 days...

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. A Cubesat Payload for Exoplanet Detection

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-03-01

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

  1. A Cubesat Payload for Exoplanet Detection

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Marcella Iuzzolino

    2017-03-01

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

  2. A Cubesat Payload for Exoplanet Detection.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-03-02

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

  3. The NASA Exoplanet Exploration Program

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-12-01

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

  4. 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.

  5. Direct imaging of exoplanets.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lagrange, Anne-Marie

    2014-04-28

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

  6. 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

  7. Exoplanet Science in the National Science Olympiad

    Science.gov (United States)

    Komacek, Thaddeus D.; Young, Donna

    2015-11-01

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

  8. 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.

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

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

    2014-11-20

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

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

    OpenAIRE

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

    2015-01-01

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

  11. Subaru SEEDS Survey of Exoplanets and Disks

    Science.gov (United States)

    McElwain, Michael W.

    2012-01-01

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

  12. 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.

  13. Constraining properties of disintegrating exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-09-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-06-01

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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. Stellar magnetic activity and exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vidotto, A. A.

    2017-10-01

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

  19. JWST and Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mather, John C.

    2009-01-01

    The James Webb Space Telescope is on track for a launch in 2013. The author reviews the status and progress on the key hardware. The first primary mirror segments are already at MSFC for cryogenic tests, the mid IR instrument (MIRI) has already had successful tests of the engineering model, and the detectors are showing excellent performance. The author also describes the scientific objectives of the mission, with emphasis on the predicted capabilities for observing planets by the transit technique and through direct imaging. Recent direct observations of planets by HST and by adaptive optics from the ground have shown that, under favorable circumstances, much can be learned.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-12-01

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

  1. HOMES - Holographic Optical Method for Exoplanet Spectroscopy Project

    Data.gov (United States)

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

  2. VLT Detects First Superstorm on Exoplanet

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-06-01

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

  3. 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....

  4. 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

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

    OpenAIRE

    Hu, Renyu

    2014-01-01

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

  6. 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.

  7. Exoplanet Community Report on Direct Infrared Imaging of Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Danchi, William C.; Lawson, Peter R.

    2009-01-01

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

  8. 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.

  9. Walking on Exoplanets: Is Star Wars Right?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ballesteros, Fernando J; Luque, B

    2016-05-01

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

  10. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tinetti, Giovanna

    2015-11-01

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

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. EXOFASTv2: Generalized publication-quality exoplanet modeling code

    Science.gov (United States)

    Eastman, Jason

    2017-10-01

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

  15. A Toolbox for Exoplanet Exploration

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jensen-Clem, Rebecca Marie

    2017-05-01

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

  16. Searching for new diagnostics of exoplanet atmospheres

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-01-01

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

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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

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

    OpenAIRE

    Chapman, John W; Zellem, Robert T.; Line, Michael R.; Bryden, Geoff; Willacy, Karen; Iyer, Aishwarya R.; Vasisht, Gautam; Bean, Jacob; Cowan, Nicolas B.; Fortney, Jonathan J.; Griffith, Caitlin A.; Kataria, Tiffany; Kempton, Eliza M. -R.; Kreidberg, Laura; Moses, Julianne I.

    2017-01-01

    Using forward models for representative exoplanet atmospheres and a radiometric instrument model, we have generated synthetic observational data to explore how well the major C- and O-bearing chemical species (CO, CO2, CH4, and H2O), important for determining atmospheric opacity and radiation balance, can be constrained by transit measurements as a function of spectral wavelength coverage. This work features simulations for a notional transit spectroscopy mission and compares two cases for in...

  1. Isotope Geochemistry for Comparative Planetology of Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-01-01

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

  2. Astrology in the Era of Exoplanets

    CERN Document Server

    Lund, Michael B

    2016-01-01

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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Lightning on exoplanets and brown dwarfs

    OpenAIRE

    Hodosán, Gabriella

    2017-01-01

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

  6. Habitable Exoplanet Imager Optical Telescope Concept Design

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stahl, H. Philip

    2017-01-01

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

  7. Mapping the Pressure-radius Relationship of Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cubillos, Patricio; Fossati, Luca; Kubyshkina, Darya

    2017-10-01

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

  8. 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

  9. Exoplanets from CoRoT to PLATO

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fridlund, M.

    2008-09-01

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

  10. 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%.

  11. Tidal locking of habitable exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barnes, Rory

    2017-10-01

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

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. Abrupt variations in brittle-ductile transition depth and lower crustal properties beneath two branches of the north Anatolian fault zone, Turkey.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cornwell, D. G.; Kahraman, M.; Thompson, D. A.; Rost, S.; Houseman, G. A.; Turkelli, N.; Teoman, U.; Altuncu Poyraz, S.; Gülen, L.; Utkucu, M.

    2014-12-01

    As part of the multi-disciplinary Faultlab project, we present new detailed images of the crust and upper mantle beneath a major continental strike-slip fault system. Our study region samples the north Anatolian fault zone (NAFZ) near the epicentres of two large earthquakes that occurred in 1999 at Izmit (M7.5) and Düzce (M7.2) and where estimates of current slip rate are 20-25 mm/yr. We calculated receiver functions from teleseismic earthquakes that were recorded by a rectangular seismometer array spanning the NAFZ with 66 stations at a nominal inter-station spacing of 7 km and 7 additional stations further afield. We use a combination of H-K stacking, common conversion point migration and non-linear inversion of receiver function stacks to constrain the subsurface velocity structure and illuminate major changes in the architecture and properties of the upper crust, lower crust and upper mantle, both across the two NAFZ branches and along the NAFZ, at length scales of less than 20 km. We show that the northern NAFZ branch depth extent varies from the mid-crust to the upper mantle and it is likely to be less than 5 km wide. A high velocity lower crust and a region of crustal underthrusting appear to add strength to a heterogeneous crust and play a role in dictating the variation in faulting style and postseismic deformation. Furthermore, we show a direct relationship between crustal terrane, seismicity rate and seismicity depth, indicating that the brittle-ductile transition is likely to vary over horizontal length scales of less than 10 km.

  15. Exoplanet Community Report on Direct Optical Imaging

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2009-01-01

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

  16. 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Savransky, Dmitry; Delacroix, Christian; Garrett, Daniel

    2017-09-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Conti, D. M.

    2017-06-01

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

  19. 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.

  20. PLANETESIMAL COMPOSITIONS IN EXOPLANET SYSTEMS

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

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

    2012-10-01

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

  1. Depth profiles of 230Th excess, transition metals and mineralogy of ferromanganese crusts of the Central Indian Ocean basin and implications for palaeoceanographic influence on crust genesis

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Banakar, V.K.; Borole, D.V.

    6 M HCl leachates of the depth samples using a Perkin Elmer@ 5000 atomic absorption spec- trometer (AAS). (Standard error lo; preci- sion within ? 6% ) . Mineralogical studies were carried out on depth samples using a Philips@ X...

  2. Natural and artificial spectral edges in exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lingam, Manasvi; Loeb, Abraham

    2017-09-01

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

  3. 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 generally assumed that they are inflated owing to their proximity to the host-star. To determine the causes of this inflation, it is necessary to obtain a statistically significant sample of planets with precisely measured masses and radii. Aims. The CoRoT space mission allows us to achieve a very high...... photometric accuracy. By combining CoRoT data with high-precision radial velocity measurements, we derive precise planetary radii and masses. We report the discovery of CoRoT-19b, a gas-giant planet transiting an old, inactive F9V-type star with a period of four days. Methods. After excluding alternative...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Walton, N. A.

    2016-10-01

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

  5. Model Atmospheres and Transit Spectra for Hot Rocky Planets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lupu, Roxana

    hot Jupiters in similar transit configurations. For example, Na has been the first species to be detected in an exoplanet atmosphere, by observing the evaporating hotJupiter HD209458b. Understanding the interplay between the magma outgassing and volatile loss will be an important part of this project. Our team has the expertise in the chemistry, radiative transfer, and atmospheric escape modeling at these exotic temperatures. Our recent work has analyzed the emerging atmospheres of terrestrial planets after giant impacts, using a well-established radiativeconvective atmospheric structure code, with an extensive opacity database for all relevant molecules, and the chemistry self-consistently calculated for continental crust and bulk silicate earth compositions. We will expand on this work by considering a wider range of chemical compositions, assessing the importance of clouds and generating cloudy models, and developing dis-equilibrium models by taking into account vertical mixing and photochemistry. Photo-evaporation will be considered in the energy balance between heating, cooling and mass loss. We also have in-house codes to generate high-resolution eclipse spectra and predict transit depths and observable signatures. The development of the atmospheric code, the molecular opacity updates, the atmospheric structure calculations and the high resolution eclipse spectra will be performed by R. Lupu, M. Marley, and R. Freedman at NASA Ames. The atmospheric chemistry grids will be provided by B. Fegley and K. Lodders at Washington University. The transit spectra and observational features will be computed by J. Fortney at UCSC, and the atmospheric escape calculations will be performed by K. Zahnle at NASA Ames. This proposal addresses the following goals of the Exoplanet Research program: explain observations of exoplanetary systems, and understand the chemical and physical processes of exoplanets. Our results will also inform future JWST observations.

  6. 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.

  7. A New Model for Exoplanet Transmission Spectroscopy

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-01-01

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

  8. A sub-Mercury-sized exoplanet

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2013-01-01

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

  9. 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

  10. Professional / Amateur collaborations in exoplanet science

    Science.gov (United States)

    Santerne, A.

    2014-04-01

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

  11. 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

  12. Confirming the transit of the Earth-mass planet orbiting Alpha Centauri B

    Science.gov (United States)

    Demory, Brice-Olivier

    2013-10-01

    One of the most fascinating exoplanet findings of the past years is undoubtedly the discovery of an Earth-mass exoplanet orbiting Alpha Centauri B. Alpha Cen Bb orbits one component of the closest stellar system to the Earth and has the potential to become a true Rosetta stone in exoplanet science, if its transiting nature were revealed. In 2013, we observed Alpha Centauri B during 16 orbits with HST/STIS to search for the transit of Alpha Cen Bb. We recently carried out in-depth photometric analyses of this dataset that resulted in the clear detection of a transit-shaped pattern. Several factors, however, prevent us from securing the planetary nature of the signal found in the STIS time-series. Now that we know where and when to look for, we propose to confirm the repeatability of this signal and to firmly establish Alpha Cen Bb's existence and tighten its physical and orbital properties. We base our observing strategy on the successful approach employed just one year ago with the same instrument. Until Aug 9th 2014, combination of HST available roll angles, Alpha Cen binary separation and position angle will match the nearly-ideal configuration we had in July 2013. It would even be possible to benefit from CVZ status from 24/7/2014 to 28/7/2014, in which one transit of Alpha Centauri Bb is expected. HST/STIS is the only facility able to confirm a transit from such a small planet at a high confidence level.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    April Thompson, Maggie; Spergel, David N.

    2017-01-01

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

  16. 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.

  17. Every Cloud has a Silver Lining: Synthesizing Spectra for Exoplanets with Inhomogeneous Aerosol Coverage

    Science.gov (United States)

    DiTomasso, Victoria; Kempton, Eliza; Rauscher, Emily; Roman, Michael

    2018-01-01

    In order to learn about exoplanets, we observe the light coming from their host stars. In particular, we can observe a host star while its planet is in transit. During transit, we are able to observe light from the star that has passed through the planet’s atmosphere and isolate that signal in a transmission spectrum. Previous transit observations have suggested that some hot Jupiters have aerosols in their atmospheres. We have calculated the effects that non-uniform aerosol coverage would have on the resulting transmission spectra of hot Jupiters. We used 3D atmospheric models of a planet with varying aerosol coverage to produce synthetic transmission spectra of the planet during full transit. We also produced transmission spectra from the start of transit, ingress, and the end of transit, egress, to determine if we can identify whether atmospheric aerosols are concentrated on the east or west side of the exoplanet. This will help us determine global aerosol structure, as well as indicate whether these planets are dominated by photochemically produced haze or directly condensed clouds. Using these spectra, we will test the feasibility of inferring aerosol coverage on a hot Jupiter using the Hubble Space Telescope.

  18. The physics of brown dwarfs and exoplanets - JWST/NIRSpec GTO program overview

    Science.gov (United States)

    Birkmann, Stephan; Alves de Oliveira, Catarina; Valenti, Jeff A.; Ferruit, Pierre; NIRSpec GTO Team

    2017-06-01

    The Near Infrared Spectrograph (NIRSpec) is one of the science instruments on the James Webb Space Telescope that is scheduled for launch in October 2018. The NIRSpec guaranteed time observer (GTO) team will use ~70 hours of NIRSpec guaranteed time to carry out spectroscopic observations of brown dwarfs as well as transiting and directly imaged exoplanets with NIRSpec. The instrument offers four distinct observing modes to proposers that will all be exercised by the GTO programs presented here: 1) multi object spectroscopy (MOS) of 10s to 100s of sources in a ~9 arcmin field of view (FOV), 2) integral field spectroscopy (IFS) with a 3” x 3” FOV, 3) high contrast slit spectroscopy of individual objects and 4) time series observations of bright sources, e.g. transiting exoplanets host stars. Seven dispersers are available in all observing modes: a prism covering the wavelength range from 0.6 to 5.3 micron with a spectral resolution R of ~30 to 300, and two sets of three gratings covering 0.7 to 5.2 micron with medium (R~1000) and high (R~2700) spectral resolution.We will present the science goals and targets for the brown dwarf and exoplanet GTO programs and discuss the planned implementation of the observations. The latter might be of particular interest to future JWST/NIRSpec proposers.

  19. 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.

  20. Statistical Signatures of Panspermia in Exoplanet Surveys

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lin, Henry W.; Loeb, Abraham

    2015-09-01

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

  1. Deciphering spectral fingerprints of habitable exoplanets.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2010-01-01

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

  2. Observing Exoplanets in the Mid-Ultraviolet

    Science.gov (United States)

    Heap. Sara

    2008-01-01

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

  3. 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.

  4. Understanding Young Exoplanet Analogs with WISE

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rice, Emily

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

  5. Tidally driven evolution of differentiated terrestrial exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Walterova, M.; Behounkova, M.

    2017-09-01

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

  6. THEORETICAL SPECTRA OF TERRESTRIAL EXOPLANET SURFACES

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

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

    2012-06-10

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

  7. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Quanz, S. P.; Kammerer, J.

    2017-09-01

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

  9. Instrumentation for the detection and characterization of exoplanets.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-09-18

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

  10. The Next Generation Transit Survey Becomes Operational at Paranal

    Science.gov (United States)

    West, R. G.; Pollacco, D.; Wheatley, P.; Goad, M.; Queloz, D.; Rauer, H.; Watson, C.; Udry, S.; Bannister, N.; Bayliss, D.; Bouchy, F.; Burleigh, M.; Cabrera, J.; Chaushev, A.; Chazelas, B.; Crausaz, M.; Csizmadia, S.; Eigmüller, P.; Erikson, A.; Genolet, L.; Gillen, E.; Grange, A.; Günther, M.; Hodgkin, S.; Kirk, J.; Lambert, G.; Louden, T.; McCormac, J.; Metrailler, L.; Neveu, M.; Smith, A.; Thompson, A.; Raddi, R.; Walker, S. R.; Jenkins, J.; Jordán, A.

    2016-09-01

    A new facility dedicated to the discovery of exoplanets has commenced science operations at Paranal. The Next-Generation Transit Survey (NGTS) will deliver photometry at a precision unprecedented for a ground-based wide-field survey, enabling the discovery of dozens of transiting exoplanets of the size of Neptune or smaller around bright stars. NGTS is briefly described and the survey prospects are outlined.

  11. 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

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

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

    2016-03-20

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

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2015-01-01

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

  14. The effect of fluorine on the stability of wadsleyite: Implications for the nature and depths of the transition zone in the Earth's mantle

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grützner, Tobias; Klemme, Stephan; Rohrbach, Arno; Gervasoni, Fernanda; Berndt, Jasper

    2018-01-01

    The Earth's mantle contains significant amounts of volatile elements, such as hydrogen (H), carbon (C) and the halogens fluorine (F), chlorine (Cl) and bromine (Br) and iodine (I). There is a wealth of knowledge about the global cycling of H and C, but there is only scant data on the concentrations of halogens in different Earth reservoirs and on the behavior of halogens during recycling in subduction zones. Here we focus on the storage potential of F in deeper parts of the Earth's mantle. The transition zone is a region in the Earth's mantle (410-660 km) known for its high water storage capacity, as the high pressure polymorphs of olivine, wadsleyite and ringwoodite are known to be able to incorporate several per-cent of water. In order to assess potential fractionation between water and F in the transition zone of the Earth's mantle, we set out to investigate the storage capacity of the halogen F in wadsleyite and olivine at transition zone conditions. Experiments were performed in a simplified mantle composition at temperatures from 1400 °C to 1900 °C and pressures from 17 up to 21 GPa in a multi anvil apparatus. The results show that F can shift the olivine-wadsleyite transition towards higher pressure. We find that F has an opposing effect to water, the latter of which extends the transition zone towards lower pressure. Moreover, the F storage capacity of wadsleyite is significantly lower than previously anticipated. F concentrations in wadsleyite range from 1470 ± 60 μg/g to 2110 ± 600 μg/g independent of temperature or pressure. The F storage capacity in wadsleyite is even lower than the F storage capacity of forsterite under transition zone conditions, and the latter can incorporate 3930 ± 140 μg/g F under these conditions. Based on our data we find that the transition zone cannot be a reservoir for F as it is assumed to be for water. Furthermore, we argue that during subduction of a volatile-bearing slab, fractionation of water from F will occur

  15. 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 deri...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2006-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-09-01

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

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. Lightning chemistry on Earth-like exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-09-01

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

  1. Density Estimation for Projected Exoplanet Quantities

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brown, Robert A.

    2011-05-01

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

  2. TRUE MASSES OF RADIAL-VELOCITY EXOPLANETS

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

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

    2015-06-01

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

  3. The Promise of Many Worlds: Detection and Characterization of Exoplanets with Extreme Precision Spectroscopy

    Science.gov (United States)

    Roy, Arpita

    2017-01-01

    Two decades ago, technological advancement aligned with some of mankind's oldest and most compelling questions to give birth to exoplanet science. Since then, the study of exoplanets, more than any other field of astrophysics, has grown in direct consonance with new instrumentation. In this dissertation talk I will discuss the development of three precision spectrographs that are pushing the limits on current radial velocity (RV) precision: (a) PARAS, a workhorse optical instrument achieving ~1m/s over several months, (b) the Habitable Zone Planet Finder, an upcoming NIR instrument for the 10m Hobby Eberly Telescope, and (c) NEID, an extreme precision instrument that will be the centerpiece of the NASA-NSF Exoplanet Observational Research (NN-EXPLORE) partnership. The path to the extreme precisions required to detect Earth analogs (~10cm/s), requires severe technical artistry and demands unprecedented performance from both hardware and software. I will summarize the most challenging sources of measurement error and the hardware solutions we have innovated, including my work on the invention of an efficient ball lens double scrambler (patent pending) that essentially retires issues of illumination instability. As software architect of these instruments, I will also describe the pathways to extreme precision data analysis pipelines, rooted firmly in the heritage of current instruments in the field. Fortunately, the scientific return from these meticulously produced spectra will be manifold, extending beyond precision RVs. I will briefly discuss my work leveraging the stability and resolution of similar instruments for stellar activity diagnosis and the determination of insidious false positives, as well as for the direct detection of reflected light from exoplanets. These efforts together underline both the formidable demands and rich rewards of extreme precision spectroscopy, which remains our fundamental tool for the discovery of potentially habitable non-transiting

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Eccleston, P.; Tinetti, G.

    2015-10-01

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

  5. Terrestrial exoplanets: diversity, habitability and characterization

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

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

    2008-08-15

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

  6. A Multi-object Exoplanet Detecting Technique

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhang, K.

    2011-05-01

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

  7. 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...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-07-01

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

  9. 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.

  10. The science of exoplanets and their systems.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-09-01

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

  11. Exoplanets finding, exploring, and understanding alien worlds

    CERN Document Server

    Kitchin, Chris

    2012-01-01

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

  12. 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.

  13. A simple model to describe intrinsic stellar noise for exoplanet detection around red giants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    North, Thomas S. H.; Chaplin, William J.; Gilliland, Ronald L.

    2017-01-01

    In spite of the huge advances in exoplanet research provided by the NASA Kepler Mission, there remain only a small number of transit detections around evolved stars. Here, we present a reformulation of the noise properties of red-giant stars, where the intrinsic stellar granulation and the stellar...... of stellar noise for these missions. As an application of our noise model, we explore the minimum detectable planet radii for red giant stars, and find that Neptune-sized planets should be detectable around low-luminosity red giant branch stars....

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Berdyugina, S. V.

    2011-04-01

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

  15. Challenges to Constraining Exoplanet Masses via Transmission Spectroscopy

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-02-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Charbonneau, David

    2008-09-01

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

  17. Colors of Alien Worlds from Direct Imaging Exoplanet Missions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hu, Renyu

    2016-01-01

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

  18. 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

  19. MASS-RADIUS RELATIONSHIPS FOR EXOPLANETS

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

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

    2012-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chapman, John W.; Zellem, Robert T.; Line, Michael R.; Vasisht, Gautam; Bryden, Geoff; Willacy, Karen; Iyer, Aishwarya R.; Bean, Jacob; Cowan, Nicolas B.; Fortney, Jonathan J.; Griffith, Caitlin A.; Kataria, Tiffany; Kempton, Eliza M.-R.; Kreidberg, Laura; Moses, Julianne I.; Stevenson, Kevin B.; Swain, Mark R.

    2017-10-01

    Using forward models for representative exoplanet atmospheres and a radiometric instrument model, we generated synthetic observational data to explore how well the major C- and O-bearing chemical species (CO, CO2, CH4, and H2O), important for determining atmospheric opacity and radiation balance, can be constrained by transit measurements as a function of spectral wavelength coverage. This work features simulations for a notional transit spectroscopy mission and compares two cases for instrument spectral coverage (wavelength coverage from 0.5-2.5 μm and 0.5-5 μm). The simulation is conducted on a grid with a range of stellar magnitudes and incorporates a full retrieval of atmospheric model parameters. We consider a range of planets from sub-Neptunes to hot Jupiters and include both low and high mean molecular weight atmospheres. We find that including the 2.5-5 μm wavelength range provides a significant improvement in the degree of constraint on the retrieved molecular abundances: up to ˜3 orders of magnitude for a low mean molecular weight atmosphere (μ = 2.3) and up to a factor of ˜6 for a high mean molecular weight atmosphere (μ = 28). These decreased uncertainties imply that broad spectral coverage between the visible and the mid-infrared is an important tool for understanding the chemistry and composition of exoplanet atmospheres. This analysis suggests that the James Webb Space Telescope’s (JWST) Near-Infrared Spectrograph (NIRSpec) 0.6-5 μm prism spectroscopy mode, or similar wavelength coverage with possible future missions, will be an important resource for exoplanet atmospheric characterization.

  1. Investigating the physical properties of transiting hot Jupiters with the 1.5-m Kuiper Telescope

    Science.gov (United States)

    Turner, Jake D.; Leiter, Robin M.; Biddle, Lauren I.; Pearson, Kyle A.; Hardegree-Ullman, Kevin K.; Thompson, Robert M.; Teske, Johanna K.; Cates, Ian T.; Cook, Kendall L.; Berube, Michael P.; Nieberding, Megan N.; Jones, Christen K.; Raphael, Brandon; Wallace, Spencer; Watson, Zachary T.; Johnson, Robert E.

    2017-12-01

    We present new photometric data of 11 hot Jupiter transiting exoplanets (CoRoT-12b, HAT-P-5b, HAT-P-12b, HAT-P-33b, HAT-P-37b, WASP-2b, WASP-24b, WASP-60b, WASP-80b, WASP-103b and XO-3b) in order to update their planetary parameters and to constrain information about their atmospheres. These observations of CoRoT-12b, HAT-P-37b and WASP-60b are the first follow-up data since their discovery. Additionally, the first near-UV transits of WASP-80b and WASP-103b are presented. We compare the results of our analysis with previous work to search for transit timing variations (TTVs) and a wavelength dependence in the transit depth. TTVs may be evidence of a third body in the system, and variations in planetary radius with wavelength can help constrain the properties of the exoplanet's atmosphere. For WASP-103b and XO-3b, we find a possible variation in the transit depths which may be evidence of scattering in their atmospheres. The B-band transit depth of HAT-P-37b is found to be smaller than its near-IR transit depth and such a variation may indicate TiO/VO absorption. These variations are detected from 2-4.6σ, so follow-up observations are needed to confirm these results. Additionally, a flat spectrum across optical wavelengths is found for five of the planets (HAT-P-5b, HAT-P-12b, WASP-2b, WASP-24b and WASP-80b), suggestive that clouds may be present in their atmospheres. We calculate a refined orbital period and ephemeris for all the targets, which will help with future observations. No TTVs are seen in our analysis with the exception of WASP-80b and follow-up observations are needed to confirm this possible detection.

  2. Novel Optical SETI Observations of Three Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-01-01

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

  3. Detecting Exoplanets using Bayesian Object Detection

    Science.gov (United States)

    Feroz, Farhan

    2015-08-01

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

  4. 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.

  5. The Galactic Exoplanet Survey Telescope (GEST)

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2003-02-01

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

  6. 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.

  7. PynPoint code for exoplanet imaging

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-04-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lopez, E. D.

    2017-11-01

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

  9. Observing Exoplanets with the James Webb Space Telescope

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clampin Mark

    2011-01-01

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

  10. 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 ...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Forgan, D. H.

    2017-09-01

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

  12. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-12-18

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

  14. 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.

  15. Extrasolar Planet Transits Observed at Kitt Peak National Observatory

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sada, Pedro V.; Deming, Drake; Jennings, Donald E.; Jackson, Brian k.; Hamilton, Catrina M.; Fraine, Jonathan; Peterson, Steven W.; Haase, Flynn; Bays, Kevin; Lunsford, Allen; O'Gorman, Eamon

    2012-03-01

    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 z‧-band and B-band photometry (plus two Hα 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 (Rp/R∗)J = 0.0017 + 0.979(Rp/R∗)vis. (2) We observe starspot crossings during the transit of WASP-11/HAT-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-27/WASP-40. In total, we present 57 individual transits of 32 known exoplanet systems.

  16. 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

  17. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-07-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sing, David K; Fortney, Jonathan J; Nikolov, Nikolay; Wakeford, Hannah R; Kataria, Tiffany; Evans, Thomas M; Aigrain, Suzanne; Ballester, Gilda E; Burrows, Adam S; Deming, Drake; Désert, Jean-Michel; Gibson, Neale P; Henry, Gregory W; Huitson, Catherine M; Knutson, Heather A; des Etangs, Alain Lecavelier; Pont, Frederic; Showman, Adam P; Vidal-Madjar, Alfred; Williamson, Michael H; Wilson, Paul A

    2016-01-07

    Thousands of transiting exoplanets have been discovered, but spectral analysis of their atmospheres has so far been dominated by a small number of exoplanets and data spanning relatively narrow wavelength ranges (such as 1.1-1.7 micrometres). Recent studies show that some hot-Jupiter exoplanets have much weaker water absorption features in their near-infrared spectra than predicted. The low amplitude of water signatures could be explained by very low water abundances, which may be a sign that water was depleted in the protoplanetary disk at the planet's formation location, but it is unclear whether this level of depletion can actually occur. Alternatively, these weak signals could be the result of obscuration by clouds or hazes, as found in some optical spectra. Here we report results from a comparative study of ten hot Jupiters covering the wavelength range 0.3-5 micrometres, which allows us to resolve both the optical scattering and infrared molecular absorption spectroscopically. Our results reveal a diverse group of hot Jupiters that exhibit a continuum from clear to cloudy atmospheres. We find that the difference between the planetary radius measured at optical and infrared wavelengths is an effective metric for distinguishing different atmosphere types. The difference correlates with the spectral strength of water, so that strong water absorption lines are seen in clear-atmosphere planets and the weakest features are associated with clouds and hazes. This result strongly suggests that primordial water depletion during formation is unlikely and that clouds and hazes are the cause of weaker spectral signatures.

  20. Model Atmospheres and Spectral Irradiance Library of the Exoplanet Host Stars Observed in the MUSCLES Survey

    Science.gov (United States)

    Linsky, Jeffrey

    2017-08-01

    We propose to compute state-of-the-art model atmospheres (photospheres, chromospheres, transition regions and coronae) of the 4 K and 7 M exoplanet host stars observed by HST in the MUSCLES Treasury Survey, the nearest host star Proxima Centauri, and TRAPPIST-1. Our semi-empirical models will fit theunique high-resolution panchromatic (X-ray to infrared) spectra of these stars in the MAST High-Level Science Products archive consisting of COS and STIS UV spectra and near-simultaneous Chandra, XMM-Newton, and ground-based observations. We will compute models with the fully tested SSRPM computer software incorporating 52 atoms and ions in full non-LTE (435,986 spectral lines) and the 20 most-abundant diatomic molecules (about 2 million lines). This code has successfully fit the panchromatic spectrum of the M1.5 V exoplanet host star GJ 832 (Fontenla et al. 2016), the first M star with such a detailed model, and solar spectra. Our models will (1) predict the unobservable extreme-UV spectra, (2) determine radiative energy losses and balancing heating rates throughout these atmospheres, (3) compute a stellar irradiance library needed to describe the radiation environment of potentially habitable exoplanets to be studied by TESS and JWST, and (4) in the long post-HST era when UV observations will not be possible, the stellar irradiance library will be a powerful tool for predicting the panchromatic spectra of host stars that have only limited spectral coverage, in particular no UV spectra. The stellar models and spectral irradiance library will be placed quickly in MAST.

  1. Detectability of Trojan and Co-orbital Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dobrovolskis, Anthony R.

    2010-10-01

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

  2. Patterns in exoplanet count and eccentricity distributions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Taylor, Stuart F.

    2018-01-01

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

  3. 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.

  4. The Gemini Planet Imager Exoplanet Survey

    Science.gov (United States)

    Macintosh, Bruce

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

  5. Probing exoplanet clouds with optical phase curves.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Muñoz, Antonio García; Isaak, Kate G

    2015-11-03

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

  6. Obliquity and Eccentricity Constraints for Terrestrial Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kane, Stephen R.; Torres, Stephanie M.

    2017-11-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-05-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-06-01

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

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. Using Final Kepler Catalog Completeness and Reliability Products in Exoplanet Occurrence Rate Estimates

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bryson, Steve; Burke, Christopher; Batalha, Natalie Marie; Thompson, Susan E.; Coughlin, Jeffrey; Christiansen, Jessie; Mullally, Fergal; Shabram, Megan; Kepler Team

    2018-01-01

    Burke et. al. 2015 presented an exoplanet occurrence rate estimate based on the Q1-Q16 Kepler Planet Candidate catalog. That catalog featured uniform planet candidate vetting and analytic approximations to the detection completeness (the fraction of true planets that would be detected) for each target star. We present an extension of that occurrence rate work using the final DR25 Kepler Planet Candidate catalog products, which uses higher-accuracy detection completeness data for each target star, and adds estimates of vetting completeness (the fraction of detected true planets correctly identified as planet candidates) and vetting reliability (the fraction of planet candidates that are true planets). These completeness and reliability products are based on synthetic manipulations of Kepler data, including transit injection, data scrambling, and inversion. We describe how each component is incorporated into the occurrence rate estimate, and how they impact the occurrence rate estimate both individually and in combination. We discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the completeness and reliability products and how they impact our confidence in the occurrence rate values uncertainties. This work is an example of how the community can use the DR25 completeness and reliability products, which are publicly available at the NASA Exoplanet Archive (http://exoplanetarchive.ipac.caltech.edu) and the Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes (http://archive.stsci.edu/kepler).

  13. Water vapour absorption in the clear atmosphere of a Neptune-sized exoplanet.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fraine, Jonathan; Deming, Drake; Benneke, Bjorn; Knutson, Heather; Jordán, Andrés; Espinoza, Néstor; Madhusudhan, Nikku; Wilkins, Ashlee; Todorov, Kamen

    2014-09-25

    Transmission spectroscopy has so far detected atomic and molecular absorption in Jupiter-sized exoplanets, but intense efforts to measure molecular absorption in the atmospheres of smaller (Neptune-sized) planets during transits have revealed only featureless spectra. From this it was concluded that the majority of small, warm planets evolve to sustain atmospheres with high mean molecular weights (little hydrogen), opaque clouds or scattering hazes, reducing our ability to observe the composition of these atmospheres. Here we report observations of the transmission spectrum of the exoplanet HAT-P-11b (which has a radius about four times that of Earth) from the optical wavelength range to the infrared. We detected water vapour absorption at a wavelength of 1.4 micrometres. The amplitude of the water absorption (approximately 250 parts per million) indicates that the planetary atmosphere is predominantly clear down to an altitude corresponding to about 1 millibar, and sufficiently rich in hydrogen to have a large scale height (over which the atmospheric pressure varies by a factor of e). The spectrum is indicative of a planetary atmosphere in which the abundance of heavy elements is no greater than about 700 times the solar value. This is in good agreement with the core-accretion theory of planet formation, in which a gas giant planet acquires its atmosphere by accreting hydrogen-rich gas directly from the protoplanetary nebula onto a large rocky or icy core.

  14. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-01-01

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

  16. The future of spectroscopic life detection on exoplanets.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Seager, Sara

    2014-09-02

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

  17. Exclusion of Stellar Companions to Exoplanet Host Stars

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-11-01

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

  18. 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.

  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. Orbital Architectures of Dynamically Complex Exoplanet Systems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nelson, Benjamin E.

    2015-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Poppenhaeger, K.

    2014-07-01

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

  3. Is This Speck of Light an Exoplanet?

    Science.gov (United States)

    2004-09-01

    VLT Images and Spectra of Intriguing Object near Young Brown Dwarf [1] Summary Is this newly discovered feeble point of light the long-sought bona-fide image of an exoplanet? A research paper by an international team of astronomers [2] provides sound arguments in favour, but the definitive answer is now awaiting further observations. On several occasions during the past years, astronomical images revealed faint objects, seen near much brighter stars. Some of these have been thought to be those of orbiting exoplanets, but after further study, none of them could stand up to the real test. Some turned out to be faint stellar companions, others were entirely unrelated background stars. This one may well be different. In April of this year, the team of European and American astronomers detected a faint and very red point of light very near (at 0.8 arcsec angular distance) a brown-dwarf object, designated 2MASSWJ1207334-393254. Also known as "2M1207", this is a "failed star", i.e. a body too small for major nuclear fusion processes to have ignited in its interior and now producing energy by contraction. It is a member of the TW Hydrae stellar association located at a distance of about 230 light-years. The discovery was made with the adaptive-optics supported NACO facility [3] at the 8.2-m VLT Yepun telescope at the ESO Paranal Observatory (Chile). The feeble object is more than 100 times fainter than 2M1207 and its near-infrared spectrum was obtained with great efforts in June 2004 by NACO, at the technical limit of the powerful facility. This spectrum shows the signatures of water molecules and confirms that the object must be comparatively small and light. None of the available observations contradict that it may be an exoplanet in orbit around 2M1207. Taking into account the infrared colours and the spectral data, evolutionary model calculations point to a 5 jupiter-mass planet in orbit around 2M1207. Still, they do not yet allow a clear-cut decision about the real

  4. A Characteristic Transmission Spectrum dominated by H$_{2}$O applies to the majority of HST/WFC3 exoplanet observations

    OpenAIRE

    Iyer, Aishwarya R.; Swain, Mark R.; Zellem, Robert T.; Line, Michael R.; Roudier, Gael; Rocha, Graca; Livingston, John H.

    2015-01-01

    Currently, 19 transiting exoplanets have published transmission spectra obtained with the Hubble/WFC3 G141 near-IR grism. Using this sample, we have undertaken a uniform analysis incorporating measurement-error debiasing of the spectral modulation due to H$_{2}$O, measured in terms of the estimated atmospheric scale height, ${H_s}$. For those planets with a reported H$_{2}$O detection (10 out of 19), the spectral modulation due to H$_{2}$O ranges from 0.9 to 2.9~${H_s}$ with a mean value of 1...

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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...

  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. 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…

  10. 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

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

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

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

  12. HST/WFC3 Observations of Giant Hot Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2011-01-01

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

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  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. 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

  18. 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.

  19. Hubble space telescope high-resolution imaging of Kepler small and cool exoplanet host stars

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Gilliland, Ronald L.; Cartier, Kimberly M. S.; Wright, Jason T. [Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, and Center for Exoplanets and Habitable Worlds, The Pennsylvania State University, 525 Davey Lab, University Park, PA 16802 (United States); Adams, Elisabeth R. [Planetary Science Institute, 1700 East Fort Lowell, Suite 106, Tucson, AZ 85719 (United States); Ciardi, David R. [NASA Exoplanet Science Institute/Caltech, Pasadena, CA 91125 (United States); Kalas, Paul, E-mail: gillil@stsci.edu [Astronomy Department, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720 (United States)

    2015-01-01

    High-resolution imaging is an important tool for follow-up study of exoplanet candidates found via transit detection with the Kepler mission. We discuss here Hubble Space Telescope imaging with the WFC3 of 23 stars that host particularly interesting Kepler planet candidates based on their small size and cool equilibrium temperature estimates. Results include detections, exclusion of background stars that could be a source of false positives for the transits, and detection of physically associated companions in a number of cases providing dilution measures necessary for planet parameter refinement. For six Kepler objects of interest, we find that there is ambiguity regarding which star hosts the transiting planet(s), with potentially strong implications for planetary characteristics. Our sample is evenly distributed in G, K, and M spectral types. Albeit with a small sample size, we find that physically associated binaries are more common than expected at each spectral type, reaching a factor of 10 frequency excess in M. We document the program detection sensitivities, detections, and deliverables to the Kepler follow-up program archive.

  20. Self-consistent atmosphere modeling with cloud formation for low-mass stars and exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Juncher, Diana; Jørgensen, Uffe G.; Helling, Christiane

    2017-12-01

    Context. Low-mass stars and extrasolar planets have ultra-cool atmospheres where a rich chemistry occurs and clouds form. The increasing amount of spectroscopic observations for extrasolar planets requires self-consistent model atmosphere simulations to consistently include the formation processes that determine cloud formation and their feedback onto the atmosphere. Aims: Our aim is to complement the MARCS model atmosphere suit with simulations applicable to low-mass stars and exoplanets in preparation of E-ELT, JWST, PLATO and other upcoming facilities. Methods: The MARCS code calculates stellar atmosphere models, providing self-consistent solutions of the radiative transfer and the atmospheric structure and chemistry. We combine MARCS with a kinetic model that describes cloud formation in ultra-cool atmospheres (seed formation, growth/evaporation, gravitational settling, convective mixing, element depletion). Results: We present a small grid of self-consistently calculated atmosphere models for Teff = 2000-3000 K with solar initial abundances and log (g) = 4.5. Cloud formation in stellar and sub-stellar atmospheres appears for Teff < 2700 K and has a significant effect on the structure and the spectrum of the atmosphere for Teff < 2400 K. We have compared the synthetic spectra of our models with observed spectra and found that they fit the spectra of mid- to late-type M-dwarfs and early-type L-dwarfs well. The geometrical extension of the atmospheres (at τ = 1) changes with wavelength resulting in a flux variation of 10%. This translates into a change in geometrical extension of the atmosphere of about 50 km, which is the quantitative basis for exoplanetary transit spectroscopy. We also test DRIFT-MARCS for an example exoplanet and demonstrate that our simulations reproduce the Spitzer observations for WASP-19b rather well for Teff = 2600 K, log (g) = 3.2 and solar abundances. Our model points at an exoplanet with a deep cloud-free atmosphere with a substantial

  1. Bayesian analysis on gravitational waves and exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Deng, Xihao

    -Torun planet group at the Hobby Eberly Telescope. It analyzes 116 observations of the star's radial velocity. However, the stellar p-mode oscillation also contributes to the radial velocity data, challenging the search for the planets around the star. The Bayesian method models the stellar oscillation effect and the potential exoplanet signal together, simultaneously inferring their parameters from the data. Consequently, the method removes the ambiguities of the presence of two Jupiter mass planets around the K0 giant and as a bonus, it also characterizes the strength and the frequency of the stellar oscillation. (Abstract shortened by UMI.).

  2. 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.

  3. An Introduction to Exoplanets and the Kepler Mission

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lissauer, Jack

    2014-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-01-01

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

  5. 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...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-05-01

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

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

    OpenAIRE

    Karalidi, Theodora

    2013-01-01

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

  8. 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

  9. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-09-01

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

  11. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Coudé du Foresto, V.

    2011-11-01

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

  13. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    McKay, Christopher P

    2014-09-02

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

  15. 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.

  16. 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...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-01-01

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

  18. 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

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

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

    2013-04-01

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

  20. 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.

  1. A combined transmission spectrum of the Earth-sized exoplanets TRAPPIST-1 b and c.

    Science.gov (United States)

    de Wit, Julien; Wakeford, Hannah R; Gillon, Michaël; Lewis, Nikole K; Valenti, Jeff A; Demory, Brice-Olivier; Burgasser, Adam J; Burdanov, Artem; Delrez, Laetitia; Jehin, Emmanuël; Lederer, Susan M; Queloz, Didier; Triaud, Amaury H M J; Van Grootel, Valérie

    2016-09-01

    Three Earth-sized exoplanets were recently discovered close to the habitable zone of the nearby ultracool dwarf star TRAPPIST-1 (ref. 3). The nature of these planets has yet to be determined, as their masses remain unmeasured and no observational constraint is available for the planetary population surrounding ultracool dwarfs, of which the TRAPPIST-1 planets are the first transiting example. Theoretical predictions span the entire atmospheric range, from depleted to extended hydrogen-dominated atmospheres. Here we report observations of the combined transmission spectrum of the two inner planets during their simultaneous transits on 4 May 2016. The lack of features in the combined spectrum rules out cloud-free hydrogen-dominated atmospheres for each planet at ≥10σ levels; TRAPPIST-1 b and c are therefore unlikely to have an extended gas envelope as they occupy a region of parameter space in which high-altitude cloud/haze formation is not expected to be significant for hydrogen-dominated atmospheres. Many denser atmospheres remain consistent with the featureless transmission spectrum-from a cloud-free water-vapour atmosphere to a Venus-like one.

  2. Transit Clairvoyance: Predicting multiple-planet systems for TESS

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kipping, David M.; Lam, Christopher

    2016-11-01

    Transit Clairvoyance uses Artificial Neural Networks (ANNs) to predict the most likely short period transiters to have additional transiters, which may double the discovery yield of the TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite). Clairvoyance is a simple 2-D interpolant that takes in the number of planets in a system with period less than 13.7 days, as well as the maximum radius amongst them (in Earth radii) and orbital period of the planet with maximum radius (in Earth days) in order to predict the probability of additional transiters in this system with period greater than 13.7 days.

  3. The WASP and NGTS ground-based transit surveys

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wheatley, P. J.

    2015-10-01

    I will review the current status of ground-based exoplanet transit surveys, using the Wide Angle Search for Planets (WASP) and the Next Generation Transit Survey (NGTS) as specific examples. I will describe the methods employed by these surveys and show how planets from Neptune to Jupiter-size are detected and confirmed around bright stars. I will also give an overview of the remarkably wide range of exoplanet characterization that is made possible with large-telescope follow up of these bright transiting systems. This characterization includes bulk composition and spin-orbit alignment, as well as atmospheric properties such as thermal structure, composition and dynamics. Finally, I will outline how ground-based photometric studies of transiting planets will evolve with the advent of new space-based surveys such as TESS and PLATO.

  4. Water clouds in Y dwarfs and exoplanets

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Morley, Caroline V.; Fortney, Jonathan J. [Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA 95064 (United States); Marley, Mark S.; Lupu, Roxana; Greene, Tom [NASA Ames Research Center, Naval Air Station, Moffett Field, Mountain View, CA 94035 (United States); Saumon, Didier [Los Alamos National Lab, Los Alamos, NM 87545 (United States); Lodders, Katharina, E-mail: cmorley@ucolick.org [Washington University in St Louis, 1 Brookings Drive, St Louis, MO 63130 (United States)

    2014-05-20

    The formation of clouds affects brown dwarf and planetary atmospheres of nearly all effective temperatures. Iron and silicate condense in L dwarf atmospheres and dissipate at the L/T transition. Minor species such as sulfides and salts condense in mid- to late T dwarfs. For brown dwarfs below T {sub eff} ∼ 450 K, water condenses in the upper atmosphere to form ice clouds. Currently, over a dozen objects in this temperature range have been discovered, and few previous theoretical studies have addressed the effect of water clouds on brown dwarf or exoplanetary spectra. Here we present a new grid of models that include the effect of water cloud opacity. We find that they become optically thick in objects below T {sub eff} ∼ 350-375 K. Unlike refractory cloud materials, water-ice particles are significantly nongray absorbers; they predominantly scatter at optical wavelengths through the J band and absorb in the infrared with prominent features, the strongest of which is at 2.8 μm. H{sub 2}O, NH{sub 3}, CH{sub 4}, and H{sub 2} CIA are dominant opacity sources; less abundant species may also be detectable, including the alkalis, H{sub 2}S, and PH{sub 3}. PH{sub 3}, which has been detected in Jupiter, is expected to have a strong signature in the mid-infrared at 4.3 μm in Y dwarfs around T {sub eff} = 450 K; if disequilibrium chemistry increases the abundance of PH{sub 3}, it may be detectable over a wider effective temperature range than models predict. We show results incorporating disequilibrium nitrogen and carbon chemistry and predict signatures of low gravity in planetary mass objects. Finally, we make predictions for the observability of Y dwarfs and planets with existing and future instruments, including the James Webb Space Telescope and Gemini Planet Imager.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tamura, Motohide

    2016-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Unwin, S.

    2012-04-01

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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. Characterising exoplanets and their environment with UV transmission spectroscopy

    OpenAIRE

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

    2015-01-01

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

  10. Hunting for Exoplanets at Florida Gulf Coast University

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-06-01

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

  11. 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.

  12. Rocky core solubility in Jupiter and giant exoplanets.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilson, Hugh F; Militzer, Burkhard

    2012-03-16

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

  13. Dynamic mineral clouds on HD 189733b. II. Monte Carlo radiative transfer for 3D cloudy exoplanet atmospheres: combining scattering and emission spectra

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lee, G. K. H.; Wood, K.; Dobbs-Dixon, I.; Rice, A.; Helling, Ch.

    2017-05-01

    Context. As the 3D spatial properties of exoplanet atmospheres are being observed in increasing detail by current and new generations of telescopes, the modelling of the 3D scattering effects of cloud forming atmospheres with inhomogeneous opacity structures becomes increasingly important to interpret observational data. Aims: We model the scattering and emission properties of a simulated cloud forming, inhomogeneous opacity, hot Jupiter atmosphere of HD 189733b. We compare our results to available Hubble Space Telescope (HST) and Spitzer data and quantify the effects of 3D multiple scattering on observable properties of the atmosphere. We discuss potential observational properties of HD 189733b for the upcoming Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) and CHaracterising ExOPlanet Satellite (CHEOPS) missions. Methods: We developed a Monte Carlo radiative transfer code and applied it to post-process output of our 3D radiative-hydrodynamic, cloud formation simulation of HD 189733b. We employed three variance reduction techniques, I.e. next event estimation, survival biasing, and composite emission biasing, to improve signal to noise of the output. For cloud particle scattering events, we constructed a log-normal area distribution from the 3D cloud formation radiative-hydrodynamic results, which is stochastically sampled in order to model the Rayleigh and Mie scattering behaviour of a mixture of grain sizes. Results: Stellar photon packets incident on the eastern dayside hemisphere show predominantly Rayleigh, single-scattering behaviour, while multiple scattering occurs on the western hemisphere. Combined scattered and thermal emitted light predictions are consistent with published HST and Spitzer secondary transit observations. Our model predictions are also consistent with geometric albedo constraints from optical wavelength ground-based polarimetry and HST B band measurements. We predict an apparent geometric albedo for HD 189733b of 0.205 and 0.229, in the

  14. REVISITING SPITZER TRANSIT OBSERVATIONS WITH INDEPENDENT COMPONENT ANALYSIS: NEW RESULTS FOR THE GJ 436 SYSTEM

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Morello, G.; Waldmann, I. P.; Tinetti, G.; Howarth, I. D. [Department of Physics and Astronomy, University College London, Gower Street, WC1E6BT (United Kingdom); Micela, G. [INAF—Osservatorio Astronomico di Palermo, Piazza del Parlamento 1, I-90134 (Italy); Allard, F., E-mail: giuseppe.morello.11@ucl.ac.uk [Centre de Recherche Astrophysique de Lyon—École Normale Supérieure de Lyon, 46 Allée d’Italie, 69364 Lyon Cedex 07 (France)

    2015-04-01

    We analyzed four Spitzer/IRAC observations at 3.6 and 4.5 μm of the primary transit of the exoplanet GJ 436b, by using blind source separation techniques. These observations are important for investigating the atmospheric composition of the planet GJ 436b. Previous analyses claimed strong inter-epoch variations of the transit parameters due to stellar variability, casting doubts on the possibility of conclusively extracting an atmospheric signal. Those analyses also reported discrepant results, hence the necessity of this reanalysis. The method we used has been proposed in Morello et al. to analyze 3.6 μm transit light curves of the hot Jupiter HD 189733b. It performes an Independent Component Analysis on a set of pixel light curves, i.e., time series read by individual pixels, from the same photometric observation. Our method only assumes the independence of instrumental and astrophysical signals, and therefore guarantees a higher degree of objectivity compared to parametric detrending techniques published in the literature. The data sets we analyzed in this paper represent a more challenging test than the previous ones. Contrary to previous results reported in the literature, our results (1) do not support any detectable inter-epoch variations of orbital and stellar parameters, (2) are photometrically stable at the level ∼10{sup −4} in the IR, and (3) the transit depth measurements at the two wavelengths are consistent within 1σ. We also (4) detect a possible transit duration variation of ∼80 s (2σ significance level) that has not been pointed out in the literature, and (5) confirm no transit timing variations ≳30 s.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-06-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-04-01

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

  19. 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.

  20. Feasibility of exoplanet coronagraphy with the Hubble Space Telescope

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2010-07-01

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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Rotation Periods and Cloud Dynamics of Directly Imaged Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bowler, Brendan

    2017-08-01

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

  4. SETI OBSERVATIONS OF EXOPLANETS WITH THE ALLEN TELESCOPE ARRAY

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

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

    2016-12-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-10-01

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

  6. An ultrahot gas-giant exoplanet with a stratosphere

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-08-01

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

  7. 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

  8. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-05-12

    A correlation between giant-planet mass and atmospheric heavy elemental abundance was first noted in the past century from observations of planets in our own Solar System and has served as a cornerstone of planet-formation theory. Using data from the Hubble and Spitzer Space Telescopes from 0.5 to 5 micrometers, we conducted a detailed atmospheric study of the transiting Neptune-mass exoplanet HAT-P-26b. We detected prominent H2O absorption bands with a maximum base-to-peak amplitude of 525 parts per million in the transmission spectrum. Using the water abundance as a proxy for metallicity, we measured HAT-P-26b's atmospheric heavy element content ([Formula: see text] times solar). This likely indicates that HAT-P-26b's atmosphere is primordial and obtained its gaseous envelope late in its disk lifetime, with little contamination from metal-rich planetesimals. Copyright © 2017, American Association for the Advancement of Science.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-05-01

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

  11. Early science results from the Next Generation Transit Survey (NGTS)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gillen, E.; Guenther, M. N.

    2017-09-01

    The Next Generation Transit Survey (NGTS) is a new wide-field, ground-based exoplanet survey designed to detect Neptunes and super-Earths transiting bright stars, which are amenable to precise radial velocity confirmation and mass determination. NGTS comprises an array of twelve independent robotised 20-cm telescopes located at ESO's Paranal Observatory in Chile, and has been operational since early 2016. While monitoring 10% of the southern sky during it's survey time, the facility achieves sub-mmag photometric precision, which is unprecedented for wide-field ground-based transit surveys. We will introduce NGTS, describe our novel planet detection and vetting pipeline, and present early science results: new confirmed and candidate exoplanets, low-mass eclipsing binaries, variable stars and stellar flares.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-07-01

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

  13. 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.

  14. A featureless transmission spectrum for the Neptune-mass exoplanet GJ 436b.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Knutson, Heather A; Benneke, Björn; Deming, Drake; Homeier, Derek

    2014-01-02

    GJ 436b is a warm--approximately 800 kelvin--exoplanet that periodically eclipses its low-mass (half the mass of the Sun) host star, and is one of the few Neptune-mass planets that is amenable to detailed characterization. Previous observations have indicated that its atmosphere has a ratio of methane to carbon monoxide that is 10(5) times smaller than predicted by models for hydrogen-dominated atmospheres at these temperatures. A recent study proposed that this unusual chemistry could be explained if the planet's atmosphere is significantly enhanced in elements heavier than hydrogen and helium. Here we report observations of GJ 436b's atmosphere obtained during transit. The data indicate that the planet's transmission spectrum is featureless, ruling out cloud-free, hydrogen-dominated atmosphere models with an extremely high significance of 48σ. The measured spectrum is consistent with either a layer of high cloud located at a pressure level of approximately one millibar or with a relatively hydrogen-poor (three per cent hydrogen and helium mass fraction) atmospheric composition.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. Observation of the primary transit of GJ 3470b: Warm Uranus transmission spectrophotometry with FLIPO

    Science.gov (United States)

    Angerhausen, Daniel

    2014-10-01

    GJ 3470b is one of the first known Uranus sized exoplanets. It occupies the transition regime between Super-earths and Jupiters. Previous observation of the handful of exo-Urani indicated cloudy/hazy atmospheres, making it difficult to probe their atmospheres in depth. Some of the species that we expect to find in their atmospheres (i.e. water, carbon dioxide, methane) are inaccessible from the ground because of the absorption by their counterparts in the Earth's atmosphere. We propose here to address the state-of-the-art scientific question about the nature of exo-atmospheres, taking advantage of the unique capability of SOFIA to provide quasi space-based photometry, which the proposers were able to demonstrate with SOFIA cycle 1 and 2 observations: we will probe the atmosphere of GJ 3470b measuring the planet's radii during one transit, in three optical and in one infrared channels with HIPO and FLITECAM (in the FLIPO configuration with one additional channel from the FPI+) on SOFIA. These observations will allow us to understand the overall structure and the chemical composition of GJ 3470b's atmosphere.

  18. 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

  19. Observational biases for transiting planets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kipping, David M.; Sandford, Emily

    2016-12-01

    Observational biases distort our view of nature, such that the patterns we see within a surveyed population of interest are often unrepresentative of the truth we seek. Transiting planets currently represent the most informative data set on the ensemble properties of exoplanets within 1 au of their star. However, the transit method is inherently biased due to both geometric and detection-driven effects. In this work, we derive the overall observational biases affecting the most basic transit parameters from first principles. By assuming a trapezoidal transit and using conditional probability, we infer the expected distribution of these terms both as a joint distribution and in a marginalized form. These general analytic results provide a baseline against which to compare trends predicted by mission-tailored injection/recovery simulations and offer a simple way to correct for observational bias. Our results explain why the observed population of transiting planets displays a non-uniform impact parameter distribution, with a bias towards near-equatorial geometries. We also find that the geometric bias towards observed planets transiting near periastron is attenuated by the longer durations which occur near apoastron. Finally, we predict that the observational bias with respect to ratio-of-radii is super-quadratic, scaling as (RP/R⋆)5/2, driven by an enhanced geometric transit probability and modestly longer durations.

  20. SHINE, The SpHere INfrared survey for Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-12-01

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

  1. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-06-01

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

  3. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-09-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Melchior, Peter; Spergel, David; Lanz, Arianna

    2018-02-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Henderson, Calen; Beichman, Charles; Shvartzvald, Yossi

    2018-01-01

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

  7. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Limbach, Mary Anne; Turner, Edwin L.

    2015-01-01

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

  9. 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Evans, Tom

    2017-08-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Apai, D.

    2017-11-01

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

  12. 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.

  13. Modeled Daily Thaw Depth and Frozen Ground Depth, Version 1

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — This data set contains modeled daily thaw depth and freezing depth for the Arctic terrestrial drainage basin. Thaw and freezing depths were calculated over the study...

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

    OpenAIRE

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

    2012-01-01

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

  15. Transit visibility zones of the Solar system planets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wells, R.; Poppenhaeger, K.; Watson, C. A.; Heller, R.

    2018-01-01

    The detection of thousands of extrasolar planets by the transit method naturally raises the question of whether potential extrasolar observers could detect the transits of the Solar system planets. We present a comprehensive analysis of the regions in the sky from where transit events of the Solar system planets can be detected. We specify how many different Solar system planets can be observed from any given point in the sky, and find the maximum number to be three. We report the probabilities of a randomly positioned external observer to be able to observe single and multiple Solar system planet transits; specifically, we find a probability of 2.518 per cent to be able to observe at least one transiting planet, 0.229 per cent for at least two transiting planets, and 0.027 per cent for three transiting planets. We identify 68 known exoplanets that have a favourable geometric perspective to allow transit detections in the Solar system and we show how the ongoing K2 mission will extend this list. We use occurrence rates of exoplanets to estimate that there are 3.2 ± 1.2 and 6.6^{+1.3}_{-0.8} temperate Earth-sized planets orbiting GK and M dwarf stars brighter than V = 13 and 16, respectively, that are located in the Earth's transit zone.

  16. 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...

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. Using "residual depths" to monitor pool depths independently of discharge

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thomas E. Lisle

    1987-01-01

    As vital components of habitat for stream fishes, pools are often monitored to follow the effects of enhancement projects and natural stream processes. Variations of water depth with discharge, however, can complicate monitoring changes in the depth and volume of pools. To subtract the effect of discharge on depth in pools, residual depths can be measured. Residual...

  20. VLT Captures First Direct Spectrum of an Exoplanet

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-01-01

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

  1. 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-01-01

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

  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. Unpacking Exoplanet Detection Using Pedagogical Discipline Representations (PDRs)

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-01-01

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

  5. 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.

  6. Exploring Exoplanets Out to the Snowline with LCOGT

    Science.gov (United States)

    Street, Rachel

    2015-08-01

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

  7. Space Telescope Sensitivity and Controls for Exoplanet Imaging

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lyon, Richard G.; Clampin, Mark

    2012-01-01

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

  8. 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.

  9. MuSCAT: a multicolor simultaneous camera for studying atmospheres of transiting exoplanets

    OpenAIRE

    Narita, Norio; Fukui, Akihiko; Kusakabe, Nobuhiko; Onitsuka, Masahiro; Ryu, Tsuguru; Yanagisawa, Kenshi; Izumiura, Hideyuki; Tamura, Motohide; Yamamuro, Tomoyasu

    2015-01-01

    We report a development of a multi-color simultaneous camera for the 188cm telescope at Okayama Astrophysical Observatory in Japan. The instrument, named MuSCAT, has a capability of 3-color simultaneous imaging in optical wavelength where CCDs are sensitive. MuSCAT is equipped with three 1024x1024 pixel CCDs, which can be controlled independently. The three CCDs detect lights in $g'_2$ (400--550 nm), $r'_2$ (550--700 nm), and $z_{s,2}$ (820--920 nm) bands using Astrodon Photometrics Generatio...

  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

    (corrected for detector dead time) were collected in which a noise level of 163 parts per million per 30 s sum resulted, thus providing excellent sensitivity to the detection of the analog of the solar 5-minute p-mode oscillations. For HD 17156, robust detection of p modes supports the determination...

  11. Constraining Accretion Signatures of Exoplanets in the TW Hya Transitional Disk

    Science.gov (United States)

    Uyama, Taichi; Tanigawa, Takayuki; Hashimoto, Jun; Tamura, Motohide; Aoyama, Yuhiko; Brandt, Timothy D.; Ishizuka, Masato

    2017-09-01

    We present a near-infrared direct imaging search for accretion signatures of possible protoplanets around the young stellar object (YSO) TW Hya, a multi-ring disk exhibiting evidence of planet formation. The Paβ line (1.282 μm) is an indication of accretion onto a protoplanet, and its intensity is much higher than that of blackbody radiation from the protoplanet. We focused on the Paβ line and performed Keck/OSIRIS spectroscopic observations. Although spectral differential imaging (SDI) reduction detected no accretion signatures, the results of the present study allowed us to set 5σ detection limits for Paβ emission of 5.8 × 10-18 and 1.5 × 10-18 erg-1 s-1 cm-2 at 0.″4 and 1.″6, respectively. We considered the mass of potential planets using theoretical simulations of circumplanetary disks and hydrogen emission. The resulting masses were 1.45 ± 0.04 M J and {2.29}-0.04+0.03 {M}{{J}} at 25 and 95 au, respectively, which agree with the detection limits obtained from previous broadband imaging. The detection limits should allow for the identification of protoplanets as small as ˜1 M J, which may assist in direct imaging searches around faint YSOs for which extreme adaptive optics instruments are unavailable.

  12. Metal Enrichment Leads to Low Atmospheric C/O Ratios in Transiting Giant Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Espinoza, Néstor; Fortney, Jonathan J.; Miguel, Yamila; Thorngren, Daniel; Murray-Clay, Ruth

    2017-03-01

    We predict the carbon-to-oxygen (C/O) ratios in the hydrogen-helium envelope and atmospheres of a sample of nearly 50 relatively cool ({T}{eq} water vapor absorption features to be ubiquitous in the atmospheres of these planets, and by extension, other gas giants.

  13. Recurring sets of recurring starspot occultations on exoplanet host Qatar-2

    Science.gov (United States)

    Močnik, T.; Southworth, J.; Hellier, C.

    2017-10-01

    We announce the detection of recurring sets of recurring starspot occultation events in the short-cadence K2 light curve of Qatar-2, a K dwarf star transited every 1.34 d by a hot Jupiter. In total, we detect 34 individual starspot occultation events, caused by five different starspots, occulted in up to five consecutive transits or after a full stellar rotation. The longest recurring set of recurring starspot occultations spans over three stellar rotations, setting a lower limit for the longest starspot lifetime of 58 d. Starspot analysis provided a robust stellar rotational period measurement of 18.0 ± 0.2 d and indicates that the system is aligned, having a sky-projected obliquity of 0° ± 8°. A pronounced rotational modulation in the light curve has a period of 18.2 ± 1.6 d, in agreement with the rotational period derived from the starspot occultations. We tentatively detect an ellipsoidal modulation in the phase curve, with a semi-amplitude of 18 ppm, but cannot exclude the possibility that this is the result of red noise or imperfect removal of the rotational modulation. We detect no transit-timing and transit-duration variations with upper limits of 15 s and 1 min, respectively. We also reject any additional transiting planets with transit depths above 280 ppm in the orbital period region 0.5-30 d.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-11-02

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    TAMURA, Motohide

    2016-01-01

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

  16. 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...

  17. Using dimers to measure biosignatures and atmospheric pressure for terrestrial exoplanets.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Misra, Amit; Meadows, Victoria; Claire, Mark; Crisp, Dave

    2014-02-01

    We present a new method to probe atmospheric pressure on Earth-like planets using (O2-O2) dimers in the near-infrared. We also show that dimer features could be the most readily detectable biosignatures for Earth-like atmospheres and may even be detectable in transit transmission with the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). The absorption by dimers changes more rapidly with pressure and density than that of monomers and can therefore provide additional information about atmospheric pressures. By comparing the absorption strengths of rotational and vibrational features to the absorption strengths of dimer features, we show that in some cases it may be possible to estimate the pressure at the reflecting surface of a planet. This method is demonstrated by using the O2 A band and the 1.06 μm dimer feature, either in transmission or reflected spectra. It works best for planets around M dwarfs with atmospheric pressures between 0.1 and 10 bar and for O2 volume mixing ratios above 50% of Earth's present-day level. Furthermore, unlike observations of Rayleigh scattering, this method can be used at wavelengths longer than 0.6 μm and is therefore potentially applicable, although challenging, to near-term planet characterization missions such as JWST. We also performed detectability studies for JWST transit transmission spectroscopy and found that the 1.06 and 1.27 μm dimer features could be detectable (SNR>3) for an Earth analogue orbiting an M5V star at a distance of 5 pc. The detection of these features could provide a constraint on the atmospheric pressure of an exoplanet and serve as biosignatures for oxygenic photosynthesis. We calculated the required signal-to-noise ratios to detect and characterize O2 monomer and dimer features in direct imaging-reflected spectra and found that signal-to-noise ratios greater than 10 at a spectral resolving power of R=100 would be required.

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

    CERN Document Server

    Encrenaz, Thérèse

    2014-01-01

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

  19. Statistical and dynamical remastering of classic exoplanet systems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nelson, Benjamin Earl

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

  20. Cassini ISS Observations of Jupiter: An Exoplanet Perspective

    Science.gov (United States)

    West, Robert A.; Knowles, Benjamin

    2017-10-01

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

  1. Retrieval of exoplanet emission spectra with HyDRA

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gandhi, Siddharth; Madhusudhan, Nikku

    2018-02-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2003-12-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Goel, Amit; Montgomery, Michele

    2015-08-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-01-01

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

  5. The potential feasibility of chlorinic photosynthesis on exoplanets.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Haas, Johnson R

    2010-11-01

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

  6. Offshore Wind Technology Depth Zones

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Coastal bathymetric depth, measured in meters at depth values of: -30, -60, -900 Shallow Zone (0-30m): Technology has been demonstrated on a commercial scale at...

  7. Depth inpainting by tensor voting.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kulkarni, Mandar; Rajagopalan, Ambasamudram N

    2013-06-01

    Depth maps captured by range scanning devices or by using optical cameras often suffer from missing regions due to occlusions, reflectivity, limited scanning area, sensor imperfections, etc. In this paper, we propose a fast and reliable algorithm for depth map inpainting using the tensor voting (TV) framework. For less complex missing regions, local edge and depth information is utilized for synthesizing missing values. The depth variations are modeled by local planes using 3D TV, and missing values are estimated using plane equations. For large and complex missing regions, we collect and evaluate depth estimates from self-similar (training) datasets. We align the depth maps of the training set with the target (defective) depth map and evaluate the goodness of depth estimates among candidate values using 3D TV. We demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed approaches on real as well as synthetic data.

  8. Astr 101 Students' Attitudes Towards Essays On Transits, Eclipses And Occultations

    Science.gov (United States)

    D'Cruz, Noella L.

    2012-05-01

    Joliet Junior College, Joliet, IL offers a one semester introductory astronomy course each semester. We teach over 110 primarily non-science major students each semester. We use proven active learning strategies such lecture tutorials, think-pair-share questions and small group discussions to help these students develop and retain a good understanding of astrophysical concepts. Occasionally, we offer projects that allow students to explore course topics beyond the classroom. We hope that such projects will increase students' interest in astronomy. We also hope that these assignments will help students to improve their critical thinking and writing skills. In Spring 12, we are offering three short individual essay assignments in our face-to-face sections. The essays focus on transits, eclipses and occultations to highlight the 2012 transit of Venus. For the first essay, students will find images of transit and occultation events using the Astronomy Picture of the Day website and describe their chosen events. In addition, students will predict how variations in certain physical and orbital parameters would alter their particular events. The second essay involves transits, eclipses and occultations observed by spacecraft. Students will describe their transit event, their spacecraft's mission, orbital path, how the orbital path was achieved, etc. The third essay deals with transiting exoplanets. Students will choose at least two exoplanets from an exoplanet database, one of which has been discovered through the transit method. This essay will enable students to learn about detecting exoplanets and how they compare with our solar system. Details of the essay assignments and students' reactions to them will be presented at the meeting.

  9. Evo-SETI SCALE to measure Life on Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Maccone, Claudio

    2016-04-01

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

  10. Transits and Occultations of Hot Jupiters

    Science.gov (United States)

    Haynes, Korey

    2015-01-01

    Astronomy has rapidly progressed from the first discovery of an extrasolar planet less than two decades ago to today's age of abundant exoplanet characterization observations. However, interpretation of these observations remains challenging. Resolved spectra of exoplanets, particularly in the infrared, where strong features due to H2O, CO, CO2, and CH4 are expected, could break model degeneracies and answer many questions about C/O ratios and pressure-temperature atmospheric structures. While not the first, Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) on the Hubble Space Telescope is the only current space-based opportunity to study spectrally resolved exoplanet atmospheres in the infrared. We focus on hot Jupiter type exoplanets, and use WFC3 (as well as ancillary data from Spitzer and ground based facilities) to try to break degeneracies between models, resolve past observing conflicts, and determine these planets' atmospheric composition and structure. I report spectroscopic analysis of the transit of WASP-17 b, the occultation of WASP-4 b and WASP-33 b, and both the transit and occultation of WASP-12 b and WASP-19 b. I analyze the data for each planet using a strategy similar, in certain aspects, to the techniques used by Berta et al. (2012), but extend their methodology to allow for correction of 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. For WASP-33 we find evidence for an oxygen rich atmosphere. The final transit spectra for all three objects in the study 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

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

    OpenAIRE

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

    2017-01-01

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

  12. HATS-36b and 24 Other Transiting/Eclipsing Systems from the HATSouth-K2 Campaign 7 Program

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bayliss, D.; Hartman, J. D.; Zhou, G.; Bakos, G. Á.; Vanderburg, A.; Bento, J.; Mancini, L.; Ciceri, S.; Brahm, R.; Jordán, A.; Espinoza, N.; Rabus, M.; Tan, T. G.; Penev, K.; Bhatti, W.; de Val-Borro, M.; Suc, V.; Csubry, Z.; Henning, Th.; Sarkis, P.; Lázár, J.; Papp, I.; Sári, P.

    2018-03-01

    We report on the result of a campaign to monitor 25 HATSouth candidates using the Kepler space telescope during Campaign 7 of the K2 mission. We discover HATS-36b (EPIC 215969174b, K2-145b), an eccentric (e=0.105+/- 0.028) hot Jupiter with a mass of 3.216+/- 0.062 {M}{{J}} and a radius of 1.235+/- 0.043 {R}{{J}}, which transits a solar-type G0V star (V = 14.386) in a 4.1752-day period. We also refine the properties of three previously discovered HATSouth transiting planets (HATS-9b, HATS-11b, and HATS-12b) and search the K2 data for TTVs and additional transiting planets in these systems. In addition, we also report on a further three systems that remain as Jupiter-radius transiting exoplanet candidates. These candidates do not have determined masses, however pass all of our other vetting observations. Finally, we report on the 18 candidates that we are now able to classify as eclipsing binary or blended eclipsing binary systems based on a combination of the HATSouth data, the K2 data, and follow-up ground-based photometry and spectroscopy. These range in periods from 0.7 day to 16.7 days, and down to 1.5 mmag in eclipse depths. Our results show the power of combining ground-based imaging and spectroscopy with higher precision space-based photometry, and serve as an illustration as to what will be possible when combining ground-based observations with TESS data.

  13. A NON-ISOTHERMAL THEORY FOR INTERPRETING SODIUM LINES IN TRANSMISSION SPECTRA OF EXOPLANETS

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Heng, Kevin; Lavie, Baptiste [University of Bern, Physics Institute, Center for Space and Habitability, Sidlerstrasse 5, CH-3012 Bern (Switzerland); Wyttenbach, Aurélien; Ehrenreich, David; Lovis, Christophe [Observatoire de l’Université de Genève, 51 chemin des Maillettes, CH-1290 Sauverny (Switzerland); Sing, David K., E-mail: kevin.heng@csh.unibe.ch [Astrophysics Group, School of Physics, University of Exeter, Stocker Road, Exeter EX4 4QL (United Kingdom)

    2015-04-10

    We present a theory for interpreting the sodium lines detected in transmission spectra of exoplanetary atmospheres. Previous analyses employed the isothermal approximation and dealt only with the transit radius. By recognizing the absorption depth and the transit radius as being independent observables, we develop a theory for jointly interpreting both quantities, which allows us to infer the temperatures and number densities associated with the sodium lines. We are able to treat a non-isothermal situation with a constant temperature gradient. Our novel diagnostics take the form of simple-to-use algebraic formulae and require measurements of the transit radii (and their corresponding absorption depths) at line center and in the line wing for both sodium lines. We apply our diagnostics to the HARPS data of HD 189733b, confirm the upper atmospheric heating reported by Huitson et al., derive a temperature gradient of 0.4376 ± 0.0154 K km{sup −1}, and find densities ∼1–10{sup 4} cm{sup −3}.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ferraz-Mello, Sylvio

    2015-08-01

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

  15. Unleashing the Charges: An Improved Reduction of Key Exoplanet Datasets and a Tool for Ramp Effect Correction

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhou, Yifan

    2017-08-01

    Among HST's most lasting and iconic results are WFC3/IR observations of transiting exoplanets that provided exciting insights into atmospheres of planets ranging from super-earths to hot-Jupiters. However, all time-resolved WFC3/IR observations suffer from an often-limiting detector systematic: the ramp effect. Current efforts are forced to discard orbits most affected and to apply an empirical procedure to minimize the amplitude. We developed and demonstrated a powerful new, solid state physics-motivated detector model that accurately corrects for the ramp effect and reaches essentially photon-noise limited performance for even the most affected orbits. We propose here to apply our RECTE ramp charge trap correction to key archival datasets for which significant improvements are expected. We will also use these datasets to further test and document the RECTE correction on data acquired in different observing modes and to seek further improvements in RECTE's detector parameters. We will document and release RECTE, along with a data reduction cookbook, to the community. We also expect important improvements in the science results from the four key HST datasets.Our charge trap correction will help increasing HST's efficiency for infrared transit spectroscopy by about 20-25% (no more need to discard first orbits), saving dozens of orbits in the future, and will also improve the reliability and reproducibility of infrared time-domain observations. Our work is especially important for the most challenging transit and phase curve observations and will likely provide an example for an approach that can be utilized for JWST instruments with architectures similar to WFC3.

  16. The O{sub 2} A-Band in the Fluxes and Polarization of Starlight Reflected by Earth-Like Exoplanets

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Fauchez, Thomas [Laboratoire d’Optique Atmosphèrique (LOA), UMR 8518, Université Lille 1, Villeneuve d’Ascq (France); Rossi, Loic; Stam, Daphne M. [Faculty of Aerospace Engineering, Delft University of Technology, Kluyverweg 1, 2629 HS Delft (Netherlands)

    2017-06-10

    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 {sub s}, the optical thickness b {sub cloud}, the altitude of water clouds, and the mixing ratio of biosignature O{sub 2} on the strength of the O{sub 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{sub 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{sub 2} or any other absorbing gas.

  17. How Does the Shape of the Stellar Spectrum Affect the Raman Scattering Features in the Albedo of Exoplanets?

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-09-01

    The diagnostic potential of the spectral signatures of Raman scattering, imprinted in planetary albedo spectra at short optical wavelengths, has been demonstrated in research on planets in the solar system, and has recently been proposed as a probe of exoplanet atmospheres, complementary to albedo studies at longer wavelengths. Spectral features caused by Raman scattering offer insight into the properties of planetary atmospheres, such as the atmospheric depth, composition, and temperature, as well as the possibility of detecting and spectroscopically identifying spectrally inactive species, such as H2 and N2, in the visible wavelength range. Raman albedo features, however, depend on both the properties of the atmosphere and the shape of the incident stellar spectrum. Identical planetary atmospheres can produce very different albedo spectra depending on the spectral properties of the host star. Here we present a set of geometric albedo spectra calculated for atmospheres with H2/He, N2, and CO2 composition, irradiated by different stellar types ranging from late A to late K stars. Prominent albedo features caused by Raman scattering appear at different wavelengths for different types of host stars. We investigate how absorption due to the alkali elements sodium and potassium may affect the intensity of Raman features, and we discuss the preferred strategies for detecting Raman features in future observations.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2007-02-01

    frequent stellar flares and sporadic energetic particle events, and impact erosion, both enhanced, the former dramatically, for M star HZ semimajor axes. Loss of atmosphere by interactions with energetic particles is likely unless the planetary magnetic moment is sufficiently large. For the smallest stellar masses a period of high planetary surface temperature, while the parent star approaches the main sequence, must be endured. The formation and retention of a thick atmosphere and a strong magnetic field as buffers for a sufficiently massive planet emerge as prerequisites for an M star planet to enter a long period of stability with its habitability intact. However, the star will then be subjected to short-term fluctuations with consequences including frequent unpredictable variation in atmospheric chemistry and surficial radiation field. After a review of evidence concerning disks and planets associated with M stars, we evaluate M stars as targets for future HZ planet search programs. Strong advantages of M stars for most approaches to HZ detection are offset by their faintness, leading to severe constraints due to accessible sample size, stellar crowding (transits), or angular size of the HZ (direct imaging). Gravitational lensing is unlikely to detect HZ M star planets because the HZ size decreases with mass faster than the Einstein ring size to which the method is sensitive. M star Earth-twin planets are predicted to exhibit surprisingly strong bands of nitrous oxide, methyl chloride, and methane, and work on signatures for other climate categories is summarized. The rest of the paper is devoted to an examination of evidence and implications of the unusual radiation and particle environments for atmospheric chemistry and surface radiation doses, and is summarized in the Synopsis. We conclude that attempts at remote sensing of biosignatures and nonbiological markers from M star planets are important, not as tests of any quantitative theories or rational arguments, but

  19. Is this a Brown Dwarf or an Exoplanet?

    Science.gov (United States)

    2005-04-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    2006-01-01

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

  1. Clouds and hazes in exoplanets and brown dwarfs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Morley, Caroline Victoria

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

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Juan Ovelar, Maria de

    2013-01-01

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

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

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    Shashanka R. Gurumath

    2017-06-19

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hu, Yongyun; Yang, Jun

    2014-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hu, Yongyun; Yang, Jun

    2014-01-14

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-07-01

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

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2012-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-08-08

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

  10. Evaluation of Depth of Field for depth perception in DVR

    KAUST Repository

    Grosset, A.V.Pascal

    2013-02-01

    In this paper we present a user study on the use of Depth of Field for depth perception in Direct Volume Rendering. Direct Volume Rendering with Phong shading and perspective projection is used as the baseline. Depth of Field is then added to see its impact on the correct perception of ordinal depth. Accuracy and response time are used as the metrics to evaluate the usefulness of Depth of Field. The onsite user study has two parts: static and dynamic. Eye tracking is used to monitor the gaze of the subjects. From our results we see that though Depth of Field does not act as a proper depth cue in all conditions, it can be used to reinforce the perception of which feature is in front of the other. The best results (high accuracy & fast response time) for correct perception of ordinal depth occurs when the front feature (out of the two features users were to choose from) is in focus and perspective projection is used. © 2013 IEEE.

  11. Exoplanet orbital eccentricities derived from LAMOST-Kepler analysis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Xie, Ji-Wei; Dong, Subo; Zhu, Zhaohuan; Huber, Daniel; Zheng, Zheng; De Cat, Peter; Fu, Jianning; Liu, Hui-Gen; Luo, Ali; Wu, Yue; Zhang, Haotong; Zhang, Hui; Zhou, Ji-Lin; Cao, Zihuang; Hou, Yonghui; Wang, Yuefei; Zhang, Yong

    2016-10-11

    The nearly circular (mean eccentricity [Formula: see text]) and coplanar (mean mutual inclination [Formula: see text]) orbits of the solar system planets motivated Kant and Laplace to hypothesize that planets are formed in disks, which has developed into the widely accepted theory of planet formation. The first several hundred extrasolar planets (mostly Jovian) discovered using the radial velocity (RV) technique are commonly on eccentric orbits ([Formula: see text]). This raises a fundamental question: Are the solar system and its formation special? The Kepler mission has found thousands of transiting planets dominated by sub-Neptunes, but most of their orbital eccentricities remain unknown. By using the precise spectroscopic host star parameters from the Large Sky Area Multi-Object Fiber Spectroscopic Telescope (LAMOST) observations, we measure the eccentricity distributions for a large (698) and homogeneous Kepler planet sample with transit duration statistics. Nearly half of the planets are in systems with single transiting planets (singles), whereas the other half are multiple transiting planets (multiples). We find an eccentricity dichotomy: on average, Kepler singles are on eccentric orbits with [Formula: see text] 0.3, whereas the multiples are on nearly circular [Formula: see text] and coplanar [Formula: see text] degree) orbits similar to those of the solar system planets. Our results are consistent with previous studies of smaller samples and individual systems. We also show that Kepler multiples and solar system objects follow a common relation [[Formula: see text](1-2)[Formula: see text

  12. Probing the young circumplanetary environment of Beta Pic b during transit egress

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Jason

    2017-08-01

    Among the thousands of known exoplanets, Beta Pic b is the only directly imaged exoplanet with a nearly edge-on orbit. We show that the latest astrometric measurements rule out a transit by the planet at 10-sigma significance, but we are certain that the Hill sphere of the planet will transit. With a period of 22 years and no other system like it, this Hill sphere transit provides a rare opportunity to study the evolving circumplanetary environment of a young and well-characterized exoplanet. To compliment GO-14621, our Cycle 25 proposal to monitor the ingress of the Hill sphere, we propose a modest HST program to photometrically search for signatures of the planet's large scale circumplanetary material during the egress of the Hill sphere transit. The existence of such material is plausible given that Beta Pic's young age is similar to that of the ring-bearing J1407b system. Combined with GO-14621 and less-precise but dedicated ground-based monitoring, these observations will give us a comprehensive set of observations about this young circumplanetary environment. Given the sparse observational data of circumplanetary environments, non-detections will also be valuable for constraining the timescales relevant to circumplanetary material and moon formation. If photometric variations are detected with HST, these results would yield empirical information concerning the dynamics of the system and the evolution of planetary systems as a whole.

  13. Citizens in sustainable transitions

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Hoffmann, Birgitte; Agger, Annika

    2013-01-01

    and thereby facilitating new actor configurations in urban social-technical systems. This perspective may contribute to the study of transition processes that so far have not studied citizens' roles in depth. Based on discussions of theories on transition and institutional capacity building, the article...... the intermediary actors facilitate citizens' participatory processes in sustainable urban transitions, and the paper explores the concept of institutional capacity building as a way to develop learning processes and new practises? The aim is to analyse approaches of creating platforms for involving citizens...... discusses the mobilisation of citizens through social learning processes and how the develop-ment of new platforms plays a part in societal transitions. Empirically, the article is based on case studies from Denmark of local environmental centres, green guides etc. that have per-formed innovative forms...

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

    OpenAIRE

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

    2009-01-01

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

  15. Habitability of the Paleo-Earth as a Model for Earth-like Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mendez, A.

    2013-05-01

    The Phanerozoic is the current eon of Earth's geological history, from 542 million years ago to today, when large and complex life started to populate the ocean and land areas. Our planet became more hospitable and life took the opportunity to evolve and spread globally, especially on land. This had an impact on surface and atmospheric bio-signatures. Future observations of exoplanets might be able to detect similar changes on nearby exoplanets. Therefore, the application of the evolution of terrestrial habitability might help to determine the potential for life on Earth-like exoplanets. Here we evaluated the habitability of Earth during the Phanerozoic as a model for comparison with future observations of Earth-like exoplanets. Vegetation was used as a global indicator of habitability because as a primary producer it provides the energy for many other simple to complex life forms in the trophic scale. Our first proxy for habitability was the Relative Vegetation Density (RVD) derived from our vegetation datasets of the Visible Paleo-Earth. The RVD is a measure similar to vegetation indices, such as the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), that gives a general idea of the global area-weighted fraction of vegetation cover. Our second habitability proxy was the Standard Primary Habitability (SPH) derived from mean global surface temperatures and relative humidity. The RVD is a more direct measure of the habitability of a planet but the SPH is easier to measure by remote sensors. Our analysis shows that terrestrial habitability has been greater than today for most of the Phanerozoic as demonstrated by both the RVD and SPH, with the Devonian and Cretaceous particularly more habitable. The RVD and SPH are generally correlated except around the Permian-Triassic, matching the P-Tr extinction. There has been a marked decrease in terrestrial habitability during the last 100 million years, even superseding the K-Pg extinction. Additional metrics were used to examine

  16. EFFECT OF LONGITUDE-DEPENDENT CLOUD COVERAGE ON EXOPLANET VISIBLE WAVELENGTH REFLECTED-LIGHT PHASE CURVES

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Webber, Matthew W.; Lewis, Nikole K.; Cahoy, Kerri [Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Cambridge, MA (United States); Marley, Mark [NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA (United States); Morley, Caroline; Fortney, Jonathan J. [Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA 95064 (United States)

    2015-05-10

    We use a planetary albedo model to investigate variations in visible wavelength phase curves of exoplanets. Thermal and cloud properties for these exoplanets are derived using one-dimensional radiative-convective and cloud simulations. The presence of clouds on these exoplanets significantly alters their planetary albedo spectra. We confirm that non-uniform cloud coverage on the dayside of tidally locked exoplanets will manifest as changes to the magnitude and shift of the phase curve. In this work, we first investigate a test case of our model using a Jupiter-like planet, at temperatures consistent to 2.0 AU insolation from a solar type star, to consider the effect of H{sub 2}O clouds. We then extend our application of the model to the exoplanet Kepler-7b and consider the effect of varying cloud species, sedimentation efficiency, particle size, and cloud altitude. We show that, depending on the observational filter, the largest possible shift of the phase curve maximum will be ∼2°–10° for a Jupiter-like planet, and up to ∼30° (∼0.08 in fractional orbital phase) for hot-Jupiter exoplanets at visible wavelengths as a function of dayside cloud distribution with a uniformly averaged thermal profile. The models presented in this work can be adapted for a variety of planetary cases at visible wavelengths to include variations in planet–star separation, gravity, metallicity, and source-observer geometry. Finally, we tailor our model for comparison with, and confirmation of, the recent optical phase-curve observations of Kepler-7b with the Kepler space telescope. The average planetary albedo can vary between 0.1 and 0.6 for the 1300 cloud scenarios that were compared to the observations. Many of these cases cannot produce a high enough albedo to match the observations. We observe that smaller particle size and increasing cloud altitude have a strong effect on increasing albedo. In particular, we show that a set of models where Kepler-7b has roughly half of

  17. Looking for transiting warm Jupiters - win some, lose some

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shporer, Avi; Zhou, George; Vanderburg, Andrew; Fulton, Benjamin; Bieryla, Allyson; Ciardi, David; Collins, Karen; Espinoza, Néstor; Isaacson, Howard; Morton, Timothy; Torres, Guillermo; Armstrong, James; Bayliss, Daniel; Bento, Joao; Berlind, Perry; Bouchy, Francois; Calkins, Mike; Cameron, Andrew; Cochran, William; Colon, Knicole; Crossfield, Ian; Dragomir, Diana; Esquerdo, Gil; Howard, Andrew; Howell, Steve; Kielkopf, John; Latham, David; Murgas, Felipe; Sefako, Ramotholo; Sinukoff, Evan; Siverd, Robert; Udry, Stephane; TECH

    2018-01-01

    We have initiated a project to discover transiting warm Jupiters - gas giant planets receiving stellar irradiation below 108 erg s-1 cm-2, corresponding to orbital periods beyond about 10 days around Sun-like stars, through follow-up of transiting candidates identified by K2 and other transit surveys. Our goals are to (1) investigate the inflated gas giants conundrum, (2) study the mystery of hot Jupiters orbital evolution, and (3) identify targets for extending exoplanet atmosphere and stellar obliquity studies beyond the hot Jupiters class. This project has so far resulted in the discovery of two new transiting warm Jupiters (K2-114b and K2-115b), and the identification of three statistically validated planets as low-mass stars.

  18. Synergies between exoplanet surveys and variable star research

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kovacs Geza

    2017-01-01

    Full Text Available With the discovery of the first transiting extrasolar planetary system back in 1999, a great number of projects started to hunt for other similar systems. Because the incidence rate of such systems was unknown and the length of the shallow transit events is only a few percent of the orbital period, the goal was to monitor continuously as many stars as possible for at least a period of a few months. Small aperture, large field of view automated telescope systems have been installed with a parallel development of new data reduction and analysis methods, leading to better than 1% per data point precision for thousands of stars. With the successful launch of the photometric satellites CoRoT and Kepler, the precision increased further by one-two orders of magnitude. Millions of stars have been analyzed and searched for transits. In the history of variable star astronomy this is the biggest undertaking so far, resulting in photometric time series inventories immensely valuable for the whole field. In this review we briefly discuss the methods of data analysis that were inspired by the main science driver of these surveys and highlight some of the most interesting variable star results that impact the field of variable star astronomy.

  19. Synergies between exoplanet surveys and variable star research

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kovacs, Geza

    2017-09-01

    With the discovery of the first transiting extrasolar planetary system back in 1999, a great number of projects started to hunt for other similar systems. Because the incidence rate of such systems was unknown and the length of the shallow transit events is only a few percent of the orbital period, the goal was to monitor continuously as many stars as possible for at least a period of a few months. Small aperture, large field of view automated telescope systems have been installed with a parallel development of new data reduction and analysis methods, leading to better than 1% per data point precision for thousands of stars. With the successful launch of the photometric satellites CoRoT and Kepler, the precision increased further by one-two orders of magnitude. Millions of stars have been analyzed and searched for transits. In the history of variable star astronomy this is the biggest undertaking so far, resulting in photometric time series inventories immensely valuable for the whole field. In this review we briefly discuss the methods of data analysis that were inspired by the main science driver of these surveys and highlight some of the most interesting variable star results that impact the field of variable star astronomy.

  20. Do starspots inflate the exoplanet CoRoT-2b?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Huber, Klaus

    2014-10-01

    We propose to use SOFIA's combination of HIPO and FLITECAM to obtain simultaneous optical and infrared transit photometry of the CoRoT-2 system. This system consists of the highly active planet host-star CoRoT-2A and the unusually inflated hot Jupiter CoRoT-2b. CoRoT-2A's surface is densely covered with starspots, which influence the transit lightcurves and, thus, complicate the determination of accurate planetary parameters. In particular, this can lead to an overestimation of the planetary radius, which could, at least partially, account for the unusually large radius inferred for CoRoT-2b. Using SOFIA, the weaker starspot contrast at longer wavelengths will allow us to derive an accurate planetary radius from infrared photometry and, thereby, pin down CoRoT-2b's radius anomaly. Because of SOFIA's unique capability to simultaneously obtain optical photometry, we will also be able to determine starspot temperatures and estimate the total spot-coverage of CoRoT-2A's surface by comparing the deformation and depth of the infrared and visual-band transit lightcurves. Only SOFIA's combination of HIPO and FLITECAM provides the quasi space-based high-precision multi-band photometry required to address these open questions on the young planetary system CoRoT-2.

  1. Full depth reclamation : workshop materials.

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-01-01

    Rehabilitating an old pavement by pulverizing and stabilizing the existing pavement is a process referred to as Full Depth Reclamation (FDR). This process shows great potential as an economical rehabilitation alternative that provides deep structural...

  2. Archetypal Depth Criticism and Melville.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Maud, Ralph

    1983-01-01

    Applies psychologist James Hillman's idea of soul-making to literary studies. Uses the works of Melville to discuss the terms (1) depth, (2) image, and (3) archetype as they relate to the concept of soul-making. (MM)

  3. ISLSCP II Ecosystem Rooting Depths

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — ABSTRACT: The goal of this study was to predict the global distribution of plant rooting depths based on data about global aboveground vegetation structure and...

  4. ISLSCP II Ecosystem Rooting Depths

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — The goal of this study was to predict the global distribution of plant rooting depths based on data about global aboveground vegetation structure and climate....

  5. BART: A Probabilistic and automated tool for the vetting of transits

    Science.gov (United States)

    Demangeon, Olivier; Bordé, Pascal

    2015-08-01

    With the present and future surveys for exoplanet detection by transit photometry (K2, TESS and PLATO), one of the biggest challenge of the next decade for the exoplanet community will be to maximise the scientific return from this huge amount of data. These missions will give us hundreds of thousands of light-curves, amongst which approximatively 10 % will exhibit transit signals. Without any vetting, around 90 % of them will be false positive, in the sense that they will not correspond to an exoplanet transiting the target star. So a key step will be to focus the follow-up ressources (in terms of telescope time, computer time and human ressources) one the planetary transit.In order address this problematic, we developed a software called BART which stands for Bayesian Analysis for the Ranking of Transits. When most of the existing ranking tools rely on a set of individual criteria, our tool performs a fully coherent analysis combining the most used criteria and taking into account their correlations.It is automated and relies on bayesian model comparison, bayesian parameter inference and Monte Carlo Markov Chain exploration technique. It produces a ranked list of transits where those which are the most likely to be due to planets (around the target stars) have a higher rank allowing to focus the follow-up on targets with the highest scientific merit.But it also gives the most probable scenario for the transits and provides an estimate of the parameters for each possible scenarios. This is a priceless information since it allows to estimate the precision required for a given follow-up observation. Thus it will allow to optimize the follow-up strategy and direct the observations.This tool has been originally developed and tested with CoRoT and I will present the results obtained on the CoRoT transit list. I will also show the results recently obtained with K2 data.

  6. Gravitational Microlensing Observations of Two New Exoplanets Using the Deep Impact High Resolution Instrument

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barry, Richard K.; Bennett, D. P.; Klaasen, K.; Becker, A. C.; Christiansen, J.; Albrow, M.

    2014-01-01

    We have worked to characterize two exoplanets newly detected from the ground: OGLE-2012-BLG-0406 and OGLE-2012-BLG-0838, using microlensing observations of the Galactic Bulge recently obtained by NASA’s Deep Impact (DI) spacecraft, in combination with ground data. These observations of the crowded Bulge fields from Earth and from an observatory at a distance of ~1 AU have permitted the extraction of a microlensing parallax signature - critical for breaking exoplanet model degeneracies. For this effort, we used DI’s High Resolution Instrument, launched with a permanent defocus aberration due to an error in cryogenic testing. We show how the effects of a very large, chromatic PSF can be reduced in differencing photometry. We also compare two approaches to differencing photometry - one of which employs the Bramich algorithm and another using the Fruchter & Hook drizzle algorithm.

  7. Detection of carbon monoxide and water absorption lines in an exoplanet atmosphere.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Konopacky, Quinn M; Barman, Travis S; Macintosh, Bruce A; Marois, Christian

    2013-03-22

    Determining the atmospheric structure and chemical composition of an exoplanet remains a formidable goal. Fortunately, advancements in the study of exoplanets and their atmospheres have come in the form of direct imaging--spatially resolving the planet from its parent star--which enables high-resolution spectroscopy of self-luminous planets in jovian-like orbits. Here, we present a spectrum with numerous, well-resolved molecular lines from both water and carbon monoxide from a massive planet orbiting less than 40 astronomical units from the star HR 8799. These data reveal the planet's chemical composition, atmospheric structure, and surface gravity, confirming that it is indeed a young planet. The spectral lines suggest an atmospheric carbon-to-oxygen ratio that is greater than that of the host star, providing hints about the planet's formation.

  8. Laboratory spectra of hot molecules: Data needs for hot super-Earth exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tennyson, Jonathan; Yurchenko, Sergei N.

    2017-09-01

    The majority of stars are now thought to support exoplanets. Many of those exoplanets discovered thus far are categorized as rocky objects with an atmosphere. Most of these objects are however hot due to their short orbital period. Models suggest that water is the dominant species in their atmospheres. The hot temperatures are expected to turn these atmospheres into a (high pressure) steam bath containing remains of melted rock. The spectroscopy of these hot rocky objects will be very different from that of cooler objects or hot gas giants. Molecules suggested to be important for the spectroscopy of these objects are reviewed together with the current status of the corresponding spectroscopic data. Perspectives of building a comprehensive database of linelist/cross sections applicable for atmospheric models of rocky super-Earths as part of the ExoMol project are discussed. The quantum-mechanical approaches used in linelist productions and their challenges are summarized.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-12-01

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

  10. Know the Star, Know the Planet. 2. Speckle Interferometry of Exoplanet Host Stars

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-11-01

    DVA ” is background subtracted through boxcar subtraction and the sharp central peak, which corresponds to the zeroth-order speckles correlating with...them- selves, is clipped. Companions in the resulting DVA are then readily apparent as peaks several sigma above the background. Of the 118 exoplanet...USNO with an ICCD and reduced with the DVA method. Asterisks (N = 11) are those observed by other interferometry groups, and an “X” (N = 292) are

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vilella, Kenny; Kaminski, Edouard

    2017-05-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-12-01

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

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2011-12-01

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

  16. An analytical formalism accounting for clouds and other `surfaces' for exoplanet transmission spectroscopy

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bétrémieux, Yan; Swain, Mark R.

    2017-05-01

    Although the formalism of Lecavelier des Etangs et al. is extremely useful to understand what shapes transmission spectra of exoplanets, it does not include the effects of a sharp change in flux with altitude generally associated with surfaces and optically thick clouds. Recent advances in understanding the effects of refraction in exoplanet transmission spectra have, however, demonstrated that even clear thick atmospheres have such a sharp change in flux due to a refractive boundary. We derive a more widely applicable analytical formalism by including first-order effects from all these 'surfaces' to compute an exoplanet's effective radius, effective atmospheric thickness and spectral modulation for an atmosphere with a constant scaleheight. We show that the effective radius cannot be located below these 'surfaces' and that our formalism matches the formalism of Lecavelier des Etangs et al. in the case of a clear atmosphere. Our formalism explains why clouds and refraction reduce the contrast of spectral features, and why refraction decreases the Rayleigh scattering slope as wavelength increases, but also shows that these are common effects of all 'surfaces'. We introduce the concept of a 'surface' cross-section, the minimum mean cross-section that can be observed, as an index to characterize the location of 'surfaces' and provide a simple method to estimate their effects on the spectral modulation of homogeneous atmospheres. We finally devise a numerical recipe that extends our formalism to atmospheres with a non-constant scaleheight and arbitrary sources of opacity, a potentially necessary step to interpret observations.

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

    Science.gov (United States)