WorldWideScience

Sample records for significantly smaller exoplanets

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. Exoplanets Galore!

    Science.gov (United States)

    2000-05-01

    have been detected by CORALIE within this programme. Up to now, a total of 43 low-mass companions to solar-type stars have been detected by different research teams with minimum masses less than 15 Jupiter masses. Of these, 34 have minimum masses smaller than 5 Jupiter masses, 6 are between 5 and 10 Jupiter masses, and 3 are between 10 and 15 Jupiter masses. This repartition of observed planetary masses (and low-mass brown dwarfs) strongly suggests that the maximum mass for giant exoplanets is less than 10 Jupiter masses. Continuation of the programme Significant progress within the current programme is expected soon, when the Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) , now being constructed at Paranal, will become available. This new instrument will have the observational capability of very high-accuracy astrometry and thus to detect even very small wobbles of stellar positions that are due to orbiting planets. This will provide a crucial contribution to the determination of the true repartition of exoplanetary masses, a hotly debated question. Important advancement in our understanding of the formation of planetary systems is also expected with the advent of HARPS. This new high-resolution spectrograph, capable of reaching a radial-velocity precision of 1 m/sec, will be installed on the ESO 3.6-m telescope at La Silla. HARPS will extend the domain of planets accessible with the radial-velocity technique towards significantly lower masses - down to about ten Earth masses on short-period orbits. It will also greatly improve our capability of detecting planets with longer periods and multi-planet systems. More information about this project Further detailed information about these new planet candidates, as well as the corresponding radial-velocity curves, are available on the dedicated web page at the Geneva Observatory web site: http://obswww.unige.ch/~udry/planet/planet.html Notes [1] The team consists of Michel Mayor, Dominique Naef, Francesco Pepe, Didier Queloz

  4. Exoplanet's Figure and Its Interior

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mian, Zhang; Cheng-li, Huang

    2018-01-01

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

  5. 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...

  6. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-01-01

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

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. Exoplanets: A New Era of Comparative Planetology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Meadows, Victoria

    2014-11-01

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

  11. Binary catalogue of exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-02-01

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

  12. A Theory of Exoplanet Transits with Light Scattering

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

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

    2017-02-20

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

  13. Characterizing Gaint Exoplanets through Multiwavelength Transit Observations

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-01-01

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

  14. 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

  15. Exoplanet Biosignatures: Future Directions

    OpenAIRE

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

    2017-01-01

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

  16. 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

  17. Making Microbiology Even Smaller!

    Science.gov (United States)

    Young, Linda Mull; Motz, Vicki Abrams

    2013-01-01

    We outline protocols for producing slant-minis (SLINIs) and mini-deeps (MEEPs) and examples of their use in simple microbiology experiments suitable for high school students. The principal benefits of these protocols are decreased cost associated with significantly reduced media use; easier, less expensive disposal of waste; and increased safety…

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. Chernobyl birds have smaller brains.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Anders Pape Møller

    2011-02-01

    Full Text Available Animals living in areas contaminated by radioactive material from Chernobyl suffer from increased oxidative stress and low levels of antioxidants. Therefore, normal development of the nervous system is jeopardized as reflected by high frequencies of developmental errors, reduced brain size and impaired cognitive abilities in humans. Alternatively, associations between psychological effects and radiation have been attributed to post-traumatic stress in humans.Here we used an extensive sample of 550 birds belonging to 48 species to test the prediction that even in the absence of post-traumatic stress, there is a negative association between relative brain size and level of background radiation. We found a negative association between brain size as reflected by external head volume and level of background radiation, independent of structural body size and body mass. The observed reduction in brain size in relation to background radiation amounted to 5% across the range of almost a factor 5,000 in radiation level. Species differed significantly in reduction in brain size with increasing background radiation, and brain size was the only morphological character that showed a negative relationship with radiation. Brain size was significantly smaller in yearlings than in older individuals.Low dose radiation can have significant effects on normal brain development as reflected by brain size and therefore potentially cognitive ability. The fact that brain size was smaller in yearlings than in older individuals implies that there was significant directional selection on brain size with individuals with larger brains experiencing a viability advantage.

  2. 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...

  3. COMPARATIVE HABITABILITY OF TRANSITING EXOPLANETS

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

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

    2015-12-01

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

  4. COMPARATIVE HABITABILITY OF TRANSITING EXOPLANETS

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    2015-01-01

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

  5. Exoplanets: The Hunt Continues!

    Science.gov (United States)

    2001-04-01

    new high-resolution spectrograph, capable of reaching the extremely high radial-velocity precision of 1 m/sec, will be installed on the ESO 3.6-m telescope at La Silla at the end of 2002. HARPS will extend the domain of planets accessible with the radial-velocity technique towards significantly lower masses - down to about ten Earth masses on short-period orbits . It will also greatly improve our capability of detecting planets with longer periods and multi-planet systems. More information More information on these discoveries may be found in a Press Release from the Tel Aviv University and on the Geneva planet-search web page. Notes [1] The team consists of: Geneva Observatory (Switzerland): Michel Mayor, Dominique Naef, Francesco Pepe, Didier Queloz, Nuno C. Santos, Stephane Udry, Michel Burnet Grenoble Observatory (France): Christian Perrier, Jean-Luc Beuzit Haute-Provence Observatory (France): Jean-Pierre Sivan Center for Astrophysics (Cambridge, Mass., USA): David Latham, Guillermo Torres Tel Aviv University (Israel): Tsevi Mazeh, Shay Zucker, G. Drukier [2] The mass units for the exoplanets used in this text are 1 Jupiter mass = 318 Earth masses. [3] A fundamental limitation of the radial-velocity method, currently used by all planet-hunting research teams, is that because of the uncertainty of the inclination of the planetary orbit, it only allows to determine a lower mass limit for the planet. However, statistical considerations indicate that in most cases, the true mass will not be much higher than this value. [4] Earlier accounts of this research programme have been published as ESO Press Release 18/98 and ESO Press Release 13/00. Views of the 1.2-m Leonard Euler telescope and its dome at La Silla are available as PR Photos 13a-c/00.

  6. Exoplanet atmospheres physical processes

    CERN Document Server

    Seager, Sara

    2010-01-01

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

  7. Exoplanet Biosignatures: Observational Prospects

    OpenAIRE

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

    2017-01-01

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

  8. 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

  9. Tidal heating in multilayered terrestrial exoplanets

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

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

    2014-07-01

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

  10. Tidal Heating in Multilayered Terrestrial Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Henning, Wade G.; Hurford, Terry

    2014-01-01

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

  11. Tidal heating in multilayered terrestrial exoplanets

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Henning, Wade G.; Hurford, Terry

    2014-01-01

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

  12. 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.

  13. Geoengineering on exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lockley, Andrew

    2015-04-01

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

  14. Exoplanet Biosignatures: Observational Prospects

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-01-01

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

  15. 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.

  16. Synchrotron radiation gives insight in smaller and smaller crystals

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Hintsches, E.

    1983-01-01

    Scientists from the ''Max-Planck-Institut fuer Festkoerperforschung'' in Stuttgart have extended the method of X-ray analysis to study the structure of very small crystals. For the first time a crystal with 6 μm linear dimension has been successfully analysed using the synchrotron radiation from the DESY electron synchrotron at Hamburg. Thus this important method of analysis has been demonstrated to be usefull for structural studies of crystals, which are smaller by a factor of 20 than hitherto. (orig.) [de

  17. LIGHT SCATTERING FROM EXOPLANET OCEANS AND ATMOSPHERES

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    2010-01-01

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

  18. Preferred Hosts for Short-Period Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kohler, Susanna

    2015-12-01

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

  19. Qatar Exoplanet Survey

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2017-01-01

    We report the discovery of Qatar-3b, Qatar-4b, and Qatar-5b, three new transiting planets identified by the Qatar Exoplanet Survey. The three planets belong to the hot Jupiter family, with orbital periods of PQ3b=2.50792 days, PQ4b=1.80539 days, and PQ5b=2.87923 days. Follow-up spectroscopic......3= 1.145±0.064 Ṁ, MQ4=0.896±0.048Ṁ, MQ5=1.128±0.056 Ṁ and RQ3=1.272±0.14 RṀ, RQ4=0.849±0.063 R , and RQ5=1.076±0.051 Ṙ for Qatar-3, 4, and 5 respectively. The V magnitudes of the three host stars are VQ3=12.88, VQ4=13.60, and VQ5=12.82. All three new planets can be classified as heavy hot Jupiters...

  20. [1012.5676] The Exoplanet Orbit Database

    Science.gov (United States)

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

  1. Collage of Saturn's smaller satellites

    Science.gov (United States)

    1981-01-01

    This family portrait shows the smaller satellites of Saturn as viewed by Voyager 2 during its swing through the Saturnian system. The following chart corresponds to this composite photograph (distance from the planet increases from left to right) and lists names, standard numerical designations and approximate dimensions (radii where indicated) in kilometers: 1980S26Outer F-ringshepherd120 X 100 1980S1Leadingco-orbital220 X 160 1980S25TrailingTethys trojanradii: 25 1980S28Outer Ashepherdradii: 20 1980S27Inner F-ringco-orbital145 X 70 1980S3TrailingTethys trojan140 X 100 1980S13LeadingTethys trojanradii: 30 1980S6LeadingDione trojanradii: 30 These images have been scaled to show the satellites in true relative sizes. This set of small objects ranges in size from small asteroidal scales to nearly the size of Saturn's moon Mimas. They are probably fragments of somewhat larger bodies broken up during the bombardment period that followed accretion of the Saturnian system. Scientists believe they may be mostly icy bodies with a mixture of meteorite rock. They are somewhat less reflective than the larger satellites, suggesting that thermal evolution of the larger moons 'cleaned up' their icy surfaces. The Voyager project is managed for NASA by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

  2. Tidally Heated Terrestrial Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Henning, Wade Garrett

    This work models the surface and internal temperatures for hypothetical terrestrial planets in situations involving extreme tidal heating. The feasibility of such planets is evaluated in terms of the orbital perturbations that may give rise to them, their required proximity to a hoststar, and the potential for the input tidal heating to cause significant partial melting of the mantle. Trapping terrestrial planets into 2:1 resonances with migrating Hot Jupiters is considered as a reasonable way for Earth-like worlds to both maintain high eccentricities and to move to short enough orbital periods (1-20 days) for extreme tidal heating to occur. Secular resonance and secular orbital perturbations may support moderate tidal heating at a low equilibrium eccentricity. At orbital periods below 10-30 days, with eccentricities from 0.01 to 0.1, tidal heat may greatly exceed radiogenic heat production. It is unlikely to exceed insolation, except when orbiting very low luminosity hosts, and thus will have limited surface temperature expression. Observations of such bodies many not be able to detect tidal surface enhancements given a few percent uncertainty in albedo, except on the nightside of spin synchronous airless objects. Otherwise detection may occur via spectral detection of hotspots or high volcanic gas concentrations including sulfur dioxide and hydrogen sulfide. The most extreme cases may be able to produce magma oceans, or magma slush mantles with up to 40-60% melt fractions. Tides may alter the habitable zones for smaller red dwarf stars, but are generally detrimental. Multiple viscoelastic models, including the Maxwell, Voigt-Kelvin, Standard Anelastic Solid, and Burgers rheologies are explored and applied to objects such as Io and the super-Earth planet GJ 876d. The complex valued Love number for the Burgers rheology is derived and found to be a useful improvement when modeling the low temperature behavior of tidal bodies, particularly during low eccentricity

  3. Physical constraints on the likelihood of life on exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lingam, Manasvi; Loeb, Abraham

    2018-04-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    2014-01-01

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

  5. Exoplanet Characterization With Spitzer Eclipses

    Science.gov (United States)

    Harrington, Joseph

    attempts about 50 different analyses per observation, permuting different photometry aperture sizes, centering methods, and systematic models to find the best according to the standard deviation of normalized residuals and the Akaike and Bayesian Information Criteria. As a demonstration of its ease of use, two undergraduates have recently led papers based on the pipeline. The team now seeks funds for graduate student Patricio Cubillos, who is already trained and working (e.g., Cubillos et al. 2011). He will lead 1-2 secondary eclipse papers per year, based on our recent output. Three undergraduates will handle routine tasks and produce between them about one paper per year. The PI and a programmer are also supported. Our long-term goal is to produce a statistical sample of exoplanet secondary eclipses at wavelengths inaccessible to facilities other than Spitzer. These measure properties of exoplanetary atmospheres and orbits. Each planet is of significant intrinsic interest. In addition, an aggregate plot of planetary brightness vs. equilibrium temperature shows a significant jump in brightness near 2000 K. We will explore this and other results of aggregation, such as why some hot planets do or do not have thermal inversions, and under what circumstances photochemistry is important. There will be three main products from this grant: 1. Secondary eclipse analyses for 11 planets, including assessment of inversions, abundances, and thermal profiles. 2. Aggregate data analyses related to the brightness jump, which planets have thermal inversions and disequilibrium chemistry, and whether stellar metallicity, surface gravity, etc., affect the emitted fluxes. 3. Statistical enhancements to our open-source code for retrieving atmospheric composition and thermal profiles from eclipse data, using the method of Madhusudhan and Seager.

  6. Records of Migration in the Exoplanet Configurations

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-05-01

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

  7. 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.

  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. 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.

  10. Exoplanet Observing: From Art to Science

    Science.gov (United States)

    Conti, Dennis M.; Gleeson, Jack

    2017-06-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Conti, D. M.; Gleeson, J.

    2017-12-01

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

  12. HOMES - Holographic Optical Method for Exoplanet Spectroscopy

    Data.gov (United States)

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

  13. Analytic Reflected Lightcurves for Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Haggard, Hal M.; Cowan, Nicolas B.

    2018-04-01

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

  14. Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS)

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-01-01

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

  15. Stellar Companions of Exoplanet Host Stars in K2

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-10-01

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

  17. Glowing Hot Transiting Exoplanet Discovered

    Science.gov (United States)

    2003-04-01

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

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    2009-09-01

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

  2. Thermal Infrared Imaging of Exoplanets

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Apai, Daniel

    2009-01-01

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

  3. False Positives in Exoplanet Detection

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-06-01

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

  4. Beyond Kepler: Direct Imaging of Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Belikov, Ruslan

    2018-01-01

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

  5. Photometric Exoplanet Characterization and Multimedia Astronomy Communication

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cartier, Kimberly M. S.

    The transit method of detecting exoplanets has dominated the search for distant worlds since the success of the Kepler space telescope and will continue to lead the field after the launch of the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite in 2018. But detections are just the beginning. Transit light curves can only reveal a limited amount of information about a planet, and that information is almost entirely dependent on the properties of the host star or stars. This dissertation discusses follow-up techniques to more precisely characterize transiting planets using photometric observations. A high-resolution follow-up imaging program using the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) searched for previously unknown stars nearby the hosts of small and cool Kepler exoplanets and observed a higher-than-expected occurrence rate of stellar multiplicity. The rate of previously unknown stellar multiples has strong implications for the size and habitability of the orbiting planets. Three systems with newly discovered stellar multiplicity, Kepler-296 (2 stars, 5 planets), KOI-2626 (3 stars, 1 planet), and KOI-3049 (2 stars, 1 planet), were characterized in more detail. In the cases of Kepler-296 and KOI-2626, some of the planets lost their previous habitable zone status because of host star ambiguity. Next, the ultra-short period, ultra-hot Jupiter WASP-103b was used as a casestudy to test for the presence of a stratospheric temperature inversion through dayside emission spectroscopy using HST. WASP-103b's near-infrared emission spectrum is consistent with an isothermal or thermally-inverted atmosphere and shows no significant broadband water absorption feature. Detection of an anomalously strong "super- Rayleigh" slope in its optical transmission spectrum prompted follow-up transmission spectroscopy of WASP-103b's atmosphere using the MINiature Radial Velocity Array (MINERVA), which tentatively verified the unexplained "super-Rayleigh" spectral slope. The final follow-up technique for

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-12-01

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

  7. 75 FR 35881 - Smaller Learning Communities Program

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-06-23

    ... Part II Department of Education Smaller Learning Communities Program; Notice #0;#0;Federal... EDUCATION Smaller Learning Communities Program Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 84.215L. AGENCY: Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, Department of Education. ACTION: Notice of final...

  8. Storm Sewage Dilution in Smaller Streams

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Larsen, Torben; Vestergaard, Kristian

    1987-01-01

    A numerical model has been used to show how dilution in smaller streams can be effected by unsteady hydraulic conditions caused by a storm sewage overflow.......A numerical model has been used to show how dilution in smaller streams can be effected by unsteady hydraulic conditions caused by a storm sewage overflow....

  9. Thermal Structure and Mantle Dynamics of Rocky Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2011-12-01

    the whole mantle and cold downwellings (slabs) disperse in the mid-mantle. This may have a significant effect on thermal evolution, magnetic field generation, and the propensity of plate tectonics on rocky super-Earths. Model calculations also indicate that modest radiogenic heating through the decay of long-lived radioactive elements such as U, Th, and K has a negligible effect on the interior structure of rocky exoplanets. However, the calculated body tide Love numbers strongly scale with planetary mass suggesting that in resonant and sufficiently eccentric orbits the dissipation of tidal energy would substantially affect present thermal state and orbital evolution. Therefore, tidal heating provides a viable present-day heat source for close-in exoplanets such as CoRoT-7b and Kepler-10b.

  10. 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.

  11. Unit size limitations in smaller power systems

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    McConnach, J.S.

    1975-01-01

    The developing nations have generally found it an economic necessity to accept the minimum commercial size limit of 600 MWe. Smaller reactor sizes tendered as 'one off' specials carry high specific cost penalties which considerably weaken the competitiveness of nuclear versus conventional thermal plants. The revised IAEA market survey for nuclear power in developing countries (1974 edition) which takes account of the recent heavy escalation in oil prices, indicates a reasonable market for smaller size reactors in the range 150 MWe to 400 MWe, but until this market is approached seriously by manufacturers, the commercial availability and economic viability of smaller size reactors remains uncertain. (orig.) [de

  12. Characterizing Exoplanet Habitability with Emission Spectroscopy

    Science.gov (United States)

    Robinson, Tyler

    2018-01-01

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

  13. Ground Based Support for Exoplanet Space Missions

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2011-10-01

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

  14. Smaller sized reactors can be economically attractive

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Carelli, M.D.; Petrovic, B.; Mycoff, C.W.; Trucco, P.; Ricotti, M.E.; Locatelli, G.

    2007-01-01

    Smaller size reactors are going to be an important component of the worldwide nuclear renaissance. However, a misguided interpretation of the economy of scale would label these reactors as not economically competitive with larger plants because of their allegedly higher capital cost (dollar/kWe). Economy of scale does apply only if the considered designs are similar, which is not the case here. This paper identifies and briefly discusses the various factors which, beside size (power produced), contribute to determining the capital cost of smaller reactors and provides a preliminary evaluation for a few of these factors. When they are accounted for, in a set of realistic and comparable configurations, the final capital costs of small and large plants are practically equivalent. The Iris reactor is used as the example of smaller reactors, but the analysis and conclusions are applicable to the whole spectrum of small nuclear plants. (authors)

  15. 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-02-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-09-01

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

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. TIDALLY HEATED TERRESTRIAL EXOPLANETS: VISCOELASTIC RESPONSE MODELS

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    2009-01-01

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

  1. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Oklopčić, Antonija; Hirata, Christopher M.

    2018-03-01

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

  3. Do parents leave a smaller carbon footprint?

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Nordström, Leif Jonas; Shogren, Jason F.; Thunström, Linda

    Do parents leave a smaller carbon footprint? While becoming a parent is transformational as one focuses more on the future, the time constraints are more binding right now. Using a unique data set that allows us to compare CO2 emissions from Swedish two-adult households with and without children......, we find becoming a Swedish parent causes a person to leave a larger carbon ootprint—due to changes in transportation patterns and food consumption choices....

  4. The detectability of radio emission from exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-05-01

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

  5. 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.

  6. Core-powered mass-loss and the radius distribution of small exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ginzburg, Sivan; Schlichting, Hilke E.; Sari, Re'em

    2018-05-01

    Recent observations identify a valley in the radius distribution of small exoplanets, with planets in the range 1.5-2.0 R⊕ significantly less common than somewhat smaller or larger planets. This valley may suggest a bimodal population of rocky planets that are either engulfed by massive gas envelopes that significantly enlarge their radius, or do not have detectable atmospheres at all. One explanation of such a bimodal distribution is atmospheric erosion by high-energy stellar photons. We investigate an alternative mechanism: the luminosity of the cooling rocky core, which can completely erode light envelopes while preserving heavy ones, produces a deficit of intermediate sized planets. We evolve planetary populations that are derived from observations using a simple analytical prescription, accounting self-consistently for envelope accretion, cooling and mass-loss, and demonstrate that core-powered mass-loss naturally reproduces the observed radius distribution, regardless of the high-energy incident flux. Observations of planets around different stellar types may distinguish between photoevaporation, which is powered by the high-energy tail of the stellar radiation, and core-powered mass-loss, which depends on the bolometric flux through the planet's equilibrium temperature that sets both its cooling and mass-loss rates.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2010-03-01

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

  8. 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

  9. 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.

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    2015-01-01

    Warm Neptune- and sub-Neptune-sized exoplanets in orbits smaller than Mercury’s are thought to have experienced extensive atmospheric evolution. Here we propose that a potential outcome of this atmospheric evolution is the formation of helium-dominated atmospheres. The hydrodynamic escape rates of Neptune- and sub-Neptune-sized exoplanets are comparable to the diffusion-limited escape rate of hydrogen, and therefore the escape is heavily affected by diffusive separation between hydrogen and helium. A helium atmosphere can thus be formed—from a primordial hydrogen–helium atmosphere—via atmospheric hydrodynamic escape from the planet. The helium atmosphere has very different abundances of major carbon and oxygen species from those of a hydrogen atmosphere, leading to distinctive transmission and thermal emission spectral features. In particular, the hypothesis of a helium-dominated atmosphere can explain the thermal emission spectrum of GJ 436b, a warm Neptune-sized exoplanet, while also being consistent with the transmission spectrum. This model atmosphere contains trace amounts of hydrogen, carbon, and oxygen, with the predominance of CO over CH 4 as the main form of carbon. With our atmospheric evolution model, we find that if the mass of the initial atmosphere envelope is 10 −3 planetary mass, hydrodynamic escape can reduce the hydrogen abundance in the atmosphere by several orders of magnitude in ∼10 billion years. Observations of exoplanet transits may thus detect signatures of helium atmospheres and probe the evolutionary history of small exoplanets

  11. 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.

  12. Surface Variability of Short-wavelength Radiation and Temperature on Exoplanets around M Dwarfs

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Zhang, Xin; Tian, Feng [Ministry of Education Key Laboratory for Earth System Modeling, Department of Earth System Science, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084 (China); Wang, Yuwei [Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, McGill University, Montreal, QC H3A 0B9 (Canada); Dudhia, Jimy; Chen, Ming, E-mail: tianfengco@tsinghua.edu.cn [National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO (United States)

    2017-03-10

    It is a common practice to use 3D General Circulation Models (GCM) with spatial resolution of a few hundred kilometers to simulate the climate of Earth-like exoplanets. The enhanced albedo effect of clouds is especially important for exoplanets in the habitable zones around M dwarfs that likely have fixed substellar regions and substantial cloud coverage. Here, we carry out mesoscale model simulations with 3 km spatial resolution driven by the initial and boundary conditions in a 3D GCM and find that it could significantly underestimate the spatial variability of both the incident short-wavelength radiation and the temperature at planet surface. Our findings suggest that mesoscale models with cloud-resolving capability be considered for future studies of exoplanet climate.

  13. Exoplanet Peer-Learning Exercises for Introductory Astronomy Courses

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wisniewski, John P.; Larson, A.

    2010-01-01

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

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. Economic characteristics of a smaller, simpler reactor

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    LaBar, M.; Bowers, H.

    1988-01-01

    Reduced load growth and heightened concern with economic risk has led to an expressed utility preference for smaller capacity additions. The Modular High Temperature Reactor (MHTGR) plant has been developed as a small, simple plant that has limited financial risk and is economically competitive with comparatively sized coal plants. Competitive economics is achieved by the simplifications made possible in a small MHTGR, reduction in the quantity of nuclear grade construction and design standardization and certification. Assessments show the MHTGR plant to have an economic advantage over coal plants for plant sizes from 270 MWe to 1080 MWe. Financial risk is limited by small unit sizes and short lead times that allow incremental deployment. Evaluations show the MHTGR incremental deployment capability to reduce negative cash flows by almost a factor of 2 relative to that required by a single large nuclear plant

  19. The nature of the TRAPPIST-1 exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-06-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-05-01

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

  1. Long-Period Exoplanets from Photometric Transit Surveys

    Science.gov (United States)

    Osborn, Hugh

    2017-10-01

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

  2. Marketing healthcare: lessons for smaller hospitals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chowdhary, N R

    2000-02-01

    Recently, I have noted ubiquitous trends that lead me to conclude that we are on the brink of a fundamental change in the structure of healthcare delivery. Hospitals are changing. The hospital, that enduring and pervasive organization, which for decades has delivered the vast majority of acute care services is being re-conceptualized. Administrators and executives in today's hospitals are beginning to recognize the disaffection of constituents and the necessity to change from placing their own agenda or that of their profession over the needs of the customer. A lesson that is increasingly being heeded, particularly by the leading hospitals, is that a belief in one's own importance or a feeling of invulnerability represents an anachronistic stance. No hospital today can afford to retain a view that it is more important than the patients it serves, or that it is invulnerable. The external pressures are already clear--the actors, factors and forces in the external environment are forcing hospitals to re-evaluate efficiency, effectiveness and delivery arrangements. The rise to prominence of the outcomes movement is part of this trend. The present study was an attempt to assess the practices and trends in the modern smaller hospitals as a part of their strategy to match the competitive pressures.

  3. 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

  4. Connecting HL Tau to the observed exoplanet sample

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-08-01

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

  5. The Radiation Environment of Exoplanet Atmospheres

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jeffrey L. Linsky

    2014-10-01

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

  6. 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.

  7. WFIRST: Exoplanet Data Challenge. Atmospheric retrieval results

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-01-01

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

  8. 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.

  9. Atmospheric Seasonality as an Exoplanet Biosignature

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-05-01

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

  10. THE FREQUENCY OF LOW-MASS EXOPLANETS

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    2009-01-01

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

  11. TWO EXOPLANETS DISCOVERED AT KECK OBSERVATORY

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    2009-01-01

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

  12. Archaeology and direct imaging of exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Campbell, John B.

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

  13. Exoplanet Population Distribution from Kepler Data

    Science.gov (United States)

    Traub, Wesley A.

    2015-08-01

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

  14. The Gemini Planet Imager Exoplanet Survey

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-01-01

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

  15. A New Spin to Exoplanet Habitability Criteria

    Science.gov (United States)

    Georgoulis, M. K.; Patsourakos, S.

    2017-12-01

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

  16. The Frequency of Low-Mass Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2009-08-01

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

  17. Model-independent Exoplanet Transit Spectroscopy

    Science.gov (United States)

    Aronson, Erik; Piskunov, Nikolai

    2018-05-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-06-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-01-01

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

  20. 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

  1. Exoplanets: Past, Present, and Future

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Chien-Hsiu Lee

    2018-04-01

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

  2. 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.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2010-01-01

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

  4. 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.

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    2010-01-01

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

  6. 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 (pc) and adolescent (pc) stars. The range of separations studied by GPI is completely inaccessible to Doppler and transit techniques (even with Kepler or TESS)— GPI offers a new window into planet formation. We will use GPI to produce the first-ever robust census of giant planet populations in the 5-50 AU range, allowing us to: 1) illuminate the formation pathways of Jovian planets; 2) reconstruct the early dynamical evolution of systems, including migration mechanisms and the interaction with disks and belts of debris; and 3) bridge the gap between Jupiter and the brown dwarfs with the first examples of cool low- gravity planetary atmospheres. Simulations predict this survey will discover approximately 50 exoplanets, increasing the number of exoplanet images by an order of magnitude, enough for statistical investigation. This Origins of Solar Systems proposal will support the execution of the GPI Exoplanet Survey campaign. We will develop tools needed to execute the survey efficiently. We will refine the existing GPI data pipeline to a final version that robustly removes residual speckle artifacts and provides

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-01-01

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

  8. 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

  9. Searching for Exoplanets using Artificial Intelligence

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-10-01

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

  10. 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.

  11. A TEMPERATURE AND ABUNDANCE RETRIEVAL METHOD FOR EXOPLANET ATMOSPHERES

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Madhusudhan, N.; Seager, S.

    2009-01-01

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

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Bentum, Marinus Jan

    2017-01-01

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

  13. Direct Detection of Polarized, Scattered Light from Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Laughlin, Gregory

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

  14. 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.

  15. HAT-P-11: Discovery of a Second Planet and a Clue to Understanding Exoplanet Obliquities

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yee, Samuel W.; Petigura, Erik A.; Fulton, Benjamin J.; Knutson, Heather A.; Batygin, Konstantin; Bakos, Gáspár Á.; Hartman, Joel D.; Hirsch, Lea A.; Howard, Andrew W.; Isaacson, Howard; Kosiarek, Molly R.; Sinukoff, Evan; Weiss, Lauren M.

    2018-06-01

    HAT-P-11 is a mid-K dwarf that hosts one of the first Neptune-sized planets found outside the solar system. The orbit of HAT-P-11b is misaligned with the star’s spin—one of the few known cases of a misaligned planet orbiting a star less massive than the Sun. We find an additional planet in the system based on a decade of precision radial velocity (RV) measurements from Keck/High Resolution Echelle Spectrometer. HAT-P-11c is similar to Jupiter in its mass ({M}P\\sin i=1.6+/- 0.1 M J ) and orbital period (P={9.3}-0.5+1.0 year), but has a much more eccentric orbit (e = 0.60 ± 0.03). In our joint modeling of RV and stellar activity, we found an activity-induced RV signal of ∼7 {{m}} {{{s}}}-1, consistent with other active K dwarfs, but significantly smaller than the 31 {{m}} {{{s}}}-1 reflex motion due to HAT-P-11c. We investigated the dynamical coupling between HAT-P-11b and c as a possible explanation for HAT-P-11b’s misaligned orbit, finding that planet–planet Kozai interactions cannot tilt planet b’s orbit due to general relativistic precession; however, nodal precession operating on million year timescales is a viable mechanism to explain HAT-P-11b’s high obliquity. This leaves open the question of why HAT-P-11c may have such a tilted orbit. At a distance of 38 pc, the HAT-P-11 system offers rich opportunities for further exoplanet characterization through astrometry and direct imaging.

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Kaspi, Yohai; Showman, Adam P.

    2015-01-01

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

  17. TYCHO: Simulating Exoplanets Within Stellar Clusters

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-01-01

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

  18. 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.

  19. ESPRESSO: The next European exoplanet hunter

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-01-01

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

  20. 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.

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

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

    2016-10-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Sengupta, Sujan

    2016-01-01

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

  3. ON THE ORBIT OF EXOPLANET WASP-12b

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    2011-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2006-12-01

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

  5. Habitability constraints on water-rich exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-04-01

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

  6. Terrestrial Zone Exoplanets and Life

    Science.gov (United States)

    Matthews, Brenda

    2018-01-01

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

  7. 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.

  8. Effects of Bulk Composition on the Atmospheric Dynamics on Close-in Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhang, X.; Showman, A. P.

    2015-12-01

    Depending on the metallicity of the protoplanetary disk, the details of gas accretion during planetary formation, and atmospheric loss during planetary evolution, the atmospheres of sub-Jupiter-sized planets could exhibit a variety of bulk compositions. Examples include hydrogen-dominated atmospheres like Jupiter, more metal-rich atmospheres like Neptune, evaporated atmospheres dominated by helium, or of course carbon dioxide, water vapor, nitrogen, and other heavy molecules as exhibited by terrestrial planets in the solar system. Here we systematically investigate the effects of atmospheric bulk compositions on temperature and wind distributions for tidally locked sub-Jupiter-sized planets using an idealized three-dimensional general circulation model (GCM). Composition—in particular, the molecular mass and specific heat—affect the sound speed, gravity wave speeds, atmospheric scale height, and Rossby deformation radius, and therefore in principle can exert significant controls on the atmospheric circulation, including the day-night temperature difference and other observables. We performed numerous simulations exploring a wide range of molecular masses and molar specific heats. The effect of molecular weight dominates. We found that a higher-molecular-weight atmosphere tends to have a larger day-night temperature contrast, a smaller eastward phase shift in the thermal light curve, and a narrower equatorial super-rotating jet that occurs in a deeper atmosphere. The zonal-mean zonal wind is smaller and more prone to exhibit a latitudinally alternating pattern in a higher-molecular-weight atmosphere. If the vertical temperature profile is close to adiabatic, molar specific heat will play a significant role in controlling the transition from a divergent flow in the upper atmosphere to a jet-dominated flow in the lower atmosphere. We are also working on analytical theories to explain aspects of the simulations relevant for possible observables on tidally locked

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. Smaller superior temporal gyrus volume specificity in schizotypal personality disorder

    Science.gov (United States)

    Goldstein, Kim E.; Hazlett, Erin A.; New, Antonia S.; Haznedar, M. Mehmet; Newmark, Randall E.; Zelmanova, Yuliya; Passarelli, Vincent; Weinstein, Shauna R.; Canfield, Emily L.; Meyerson, David A.; Tang, Cheuk Y.; Buchsbaum, Monte S.; Siever, Larry J.

    2009-01-01

    Background Superior temporal gyrus (STG/BA22) volume is reduced in schizophrenia and to a milder degree in schizotypal personality disorder (SPD), representing a less severe disorder in the schizophrenia-spectrum. SPD and Borderline personality disorder (BPD) are severe personality disorders characterized by social and cognitive dysfunction. However, while SPD is characterized by social withdrawal/anhedonia, BPD is marked by hyper-reactivity to interpersonal stimuli and hyper-emotionality. This is the first morphometric study to directly compare SPD and BPD patients in temporal volume. Methods We compared three age-gender- and education-matched groups: 27 unmedicated SPD individuals with no BPD traits, 52 unmedicated BPD individuals with no SPD traits, and 45 healthy controls. We examined gray matter volume of frontal and temporal lobe Brodmann areas (BAs), and dorsal/ventral amygdala from 3T magnetic resonance imaging. Results In the STG, an auditory association area reported to be dysfunctional in SPD and BPD, the SPD patients had significantly smaller volume than healthy controls and BPD patients. No group differences were found between BPD patients and controls. Smaller BA22 volume was associated with greater symptom severity in SPD patients. Reduced STG volume may be an important endophenotype for schizophrenia-spectrum disorders. SPD is distinct from BPD in terms of STG volume abnormalities which may reflect different underlying pathophysiological mechanisms and could help discriminate between them. PMID:19473820

  12. Modeling of exoplanets interiors in the framework of future space missions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brugger, B.; Mousis, O.; Deleuil, M.

    2017-12-01

    Probing the interior of exoplanets with known masses and radii is possible via the use of models of internal structure. Here we present a model able to handle various planetary compositions, from terrestrial bodies to ocean worlds or carbon-rich planets, and its application to the case of CoRoT-7b. Using the elemental abundances of an exoplanet’s host star, we significantly reduce the degeneracy limiting such models. This further constrains the type and state of material present at the surface, and helps estimating the composition of a secondary atmosphere that could form in these conditions through potential outgassing. Upcoming space missions dedicated to exoplanet characterization, such as PLATO, will provide accurate fundamental parameters of Earth-like planets orbiting in the habitable zone, for which our model is well adapted.

  13. Searching for Exoplanet Effects on the X-ray Spectrum of τ Boo

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wood, Brian; Laming, J. Martin

    2018-01-01

    We study the X-ray spectrum of the exoplanet host star τ Boo A (F7 V), in order to explore the possibility that its very close-in, massive exoplanet (Porb=3.31 days, m sin i=3.9 MJ) may be affecting the coronal emissions of this star. The star was observed recently by Chandra/LETGS for 92 ksec in three pieces between 2017 February 27 and 2017 March 5; and was previously observed by XMM for 65 ksec in 2003 June 24. The new Chandra observations allow us to resolve τ Boo A from its stellar companion, τ Boo B (M2 V), for the first time. The companion accounts for 21% of the system's total X-ray emission at the time of the Chandra observation. Nevertheless, our measurements of τ Boo A emission measures and coronal abundances from Chandra are reasonably consistent with previous measurements from XMM by Maggio et al. (2011, A&A, 527, A144), in which τ Boo A and B are not resolved. Covering planetary orbital phases 0.21-0.31, 0.44-0.49, and 0.69-0.86, the Chandra data show that τ Boo A's coronal X-ray spectrum does not vary significantly with planetary orbital phase. However, our analysis suggests that coronal abundances for τ Boo A are somewhat anomalous, with a significantly weaker "FIP effect" compared to similar stars without close-in exoplanets, particularly π3 Ori (F6 V).

  14. EQUATORIAL SUPERROTATION ON TIDALLY LOCKED EXOPLANETS

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Showman, Adam P.; Polvani, Lorenzo M.

    2011-01-01

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

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

    Data.gov (United States)

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

  16. Helium discovered in the tail of an exoplanet

    Science.gov (United States)

    Deming, Drake

    2018-05-01

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

  17. The Application of Systemic Safety for Smaller Nuclear Installations

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ward, J.

    2016-01-01

    This paper will provide an outline of ARPANSA’s approach to systemic safety as applied to smaller hazard nuclear installations. It will describe ARPANSA’s effort to enable licence holders to better understand the principles of systemic safety so that they may make improvements for themselves. In regard to human and organizational factors, inspections are more often used to highlight areas where performance can be improved to meet best practice rather than strictly as a compliance tool. This takes account of a graded, risk informed approach and is undertaken in a collaborative way that places a premium on openness, clarity, reliability and efficiency. The paper will discuss the challenges faced by the approach, and how ARPANSA is currently managing these. It will describe ARPANSA’s regulatory guidance and inspection processes. The significant stages in ARPANSA development of the systemic approach are provided briefly in the following paragraphs.

  18. 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 ...

  19. Atmospheric Circulation, Chemistry, and Infrared Spectra of Titan-like Exoplanets around Different Stellar Types

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lora, Juan M.; Kataria, Tiffany; Gao, Peter

    2018-01-01

    With the discovery of ever smaller and colder exoplanets, terrestrial worlds with hazy atmospheres must be increasingly considered. Our solar system’s Titan is a prototypical hazy planet, whose atmosphere may be representative of a large number of planets in our Galaxy. As a step toward characterizing such worlds, we present simulations of exoplanets that resemble Titan but orbit three different stellar hosts: G, K, and M dwarf stars. We use general circulation and photochemistry models to explore the circulation and chemistry of these Titan-like planets under varying stellar spectra, in all cases assuming a Titan-like insolation. Due to the strong absorption of visible light by atmospheric haze, the redder radiation accompanying later stellar types produces more isothermal stratospheres, stronger meridional temperature gradients at mbar pressures, and deeper and stronger zonal winds. In all cases, the planets’ atmospheres are strongly superrotating, but meridional circulation cells are weaker aloft under redder starlight. The photochemistry of hydrocarbon and nitrile species varies with stellar spectra, with variations in the FUV/NUV flux ratio playing an important role. Our results tentatively suggest that column haze production rates could be similar under all three hosts, implying that planets around many different stars could have similar characteristics to Titan’s atmosphere. Lastly, we present theoretical emission spectra. Overall, our study indicates that, despite important and subtle differences, the circulation and chemistry of Titan-like exoplanets are relatively insensitive to differences in the host star. These findings may be further probed with future space-based facilities, like WFIRST, LUVOIR, HabEx, and OST.

  20. Synthesizing exoplanet demographics from radial velocity and microlensing surveys. I. Methodology

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Clanton, Christian; Gaudi, B. Scott

    2014-01-01

    Motivated by the order of magnitude difference in the frequency of giant planets orbiting M dwarfs inferred by microlensing and radial velocity (RV) surveys, we present a method for comparing the statistical constraints on exoplanet demographics inferred from these methods. We first derive the mapping from the observable parameters of a microlensing-detected planet to those of an analogous planet orbiting an RV-monitored star. Using this mapping, we predict the distribution of RV observables for the planet population inferred from microlensing surveys, taking care to adopt reasonable priors for, and properly marginalize over, the unknown physical parameters of microlensing-detected systems. Finally, we use simple estimates of the detection limits for a fiducial RV survey to predict the number and properties of analogs of the microlensing planet population such an RV survey should detect. We find that RV and microlensing surveys have some overlap, specifically for super-Jupiter mass planets (m p ≳ 1 M Jup ) with periods between ∼3-10 yr. However, the steeply falling planetary mass function inferred from microlensing implies that, in this region of overlap, RV surveys should infer a much smaller frequency than the overall giant planet frequency (m p ≳ 0.1 M Jup ) inferred by microlensing. Our analysis demonstrates that it is possible to statistically compare and synthesize data sets from multiple exoplanet detection techniques in order to infer exoplanet demographics over wider regions of parameter space than are accessible to individual methods. In a companion paper, we apply our methodology to several representative microlensing and RV surveys to derive the frequency of planets around M dwarfs with orbits of ≲ 30 yr.

  1. Spectroscopy of Exoplanet Atmospheres with the FINESSE Explorer

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-12-01

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

  3. 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.

  4. HabEx: Finding and characterizing Habitable Exoplanets with a potential future flagship astrophysics mission

    Science.gov (United States)

    Domagal-Goldman, S. D.; Gaudi, B. S.; Seager, S.; Mennesson, B.; Warfield, K.; Cahoy, K.; Feinberg, L. D.; Guyon, O.; Kasdin, N. J.; Mawet, D.; Robinson, T. D.; Rogers, L.; Scowen, P. A.; Somerville, R. S.; Stapelfeldt, K. R.; Stern, D.; Turnbull, M. C.; Marois, C.; Mouillet, D.; Prusti, T.; Quirrenbach, A.; Tamura, M.; Still, M.; Hudgins, D.

    2016-12-01

    HabEx - the Habitable Exoplanet Imager - is one of four flagship missions that NASA is studying in advance of the next Astrophysics Decadal Survey. The primary goal of HabEx will be to directly image and characterize rocky planets in the habitable zones of other stars. Specifically, HabEx aims to search for signs of liquid water oceans and biological activity on such worlds. Additionally, HabEx will also be able to pursue a range of other astrophysics investigations, including the study of non-habitable exoplanets, the study of Solar System objects, and observations of galaxies. The technical drivers for HabEx will be determined by the significant challenges associated with the direct imaging and characterization of potentially habitable exoplanets. This requires a large enough collecting area to collect light from these very dim targets, and the ability to block light from the dramatically brighter host star the planet orbits. There are multiple approaches to these challenges, and the goal of the HabEx study is to demonstrate that at least one can be executed with technologies that can be matured in time for a lunch in the 2030s. In this presentation, we will discuss the top-level exoplanet science goals of HabEx, and how those goals led to basic and preliminary architectural properties such as aperture size, starlight suppression technique, wavelength range, etc. We will then discuss how these architectural properties could allow for the astronomical study of other targets in and beyond the Solar System.

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Dalba, Paul A.; Muirhead, Philip S.

    2016-01-01

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

  6. Orbital Dynamics and Habitability of Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Deitrick, Russell J.

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

  7. Ten Indicators of Vitality in Smaller Academic Libraries

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pappas, David

    2009-01-01

    This paper provides a means of quickly ascertaining the relative health of smaller academic libraries by presenting a top ten list of vitality indicators. The list is based on an observational convenience sampling of thirty smaller academic libraries across the United States. The indicators making the list were those which appeared most often in…

  8. 13 CFR 107.710 - Requirement to finance smaller enterprises.

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-01-01

    ... 13 Business Credit and Assistance 1 2010-01-01 2010-01-01 false Requirement to finance smaller enterprises. 107.710 Section 107.710 Business Credit and Assistance SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION SMALL... Small Business for Sbic Financing § 107.710 Requirement to finance smaller enterprises. Your Portfolio...

  9. Designing a Smaller Power Inverter: the Google Littlebox Challenge - Text

    Science.gov (United States)

    Version | Energy Systems Integration Facility | NREL Designing a Smaller Power Inverter: the Google Littlebox Challenge - Text Version er Power Inverter: the Google Littlebox Challenge - Text Version Below is the text version for the Designing a Smaller Power Inverter: the Google Littlebox

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Breckinridge, James Bernard

    2018-01-01

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

  11. 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.

  12. Exoplanet Classification and Yield Estimates for Direct Imaging Missions

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-04-01

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

  13. MASSIVE SATELLITES OF CLOSE-IN GAS GIANT EXOPLANETS

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    2009-01-01

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

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. Starshades for Exoplanet Imaging and Characterization

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-01-01

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

  17. Habitable exoplanet imager optical telescope concept design

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stahl, H. Philip

    2017-09-01

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

  18. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-06-01

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

  20. The Habitable Exoplanet Imaging Mission (HabEx)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mennesson, B.

    2017-12-01

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

  1. 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.

  2. Automated Polarimetry with Smaller Aperture Telescopes: The ROVOR Observatory

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Joseph Moody

    2017-10-01

    Full Text Available To better understand possible blazar jet mechanisms and morphologies, brighter prototypical objects are regularly monitored for variability in optical broad-band light. If the monitoring filters are polarized, the position angles and polarization percentages can be measured and their evolution monitored over time. However, building up a statistically significant time base of polarization parameters requires the arduous task of monitoring sources for months or years to catch and follow interesting events such as flares. Fortunately, monitoring an object is easily done using remotely operated or robotic telescopes. The Remote Observatory for Variable Object Research (ROVOR is a small-aperture telescope that has monitored blazars in broad-band Johnson filters since 2009. Calibration data using a set of four plane-polarized filters suggest that it is suitable for polarimetric monitoring as well. We have successfully collected data on CTA 102 and are encouraged at the prospects of monitoring it and other similar objects. Long-term monitoring campaigns are a scientifically and educationally-effective use of underutilized smaller-aperture telescopes.

  3. The effect of ISM absorption on stellar activity measurements and its relevance for exoplanet studies

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fossati, L.; Marcelja, S. E.; Staab, D.; Cubillos, P. E.; France, K.; Haswell, C. A.; Ingrassia, S.; Jenkins, J. S.; Koskinen, T.; Lanza, A. F.; Redfield, S.; Youngblood, A.; Pelzmann, G.

    2017-05-01

    Past ultraviolet and optical observations of stars hosting close-in Jupiter-mass planets have shown that some of these stars present an anomalously low chromospheric activity, significantly below the basal level. For the hot Jupiter planet host WASP-13, observations have shown that the apparent lack of activity is possibly caused by absorption from the intervening interstellar medium (ISM). Inspired by this result, we study the effect of ISM absorption on activity measurements (S and log R 'HK indices) for main-sequence late-type stars. To this end, we employ synthetic stellar photospheric spectra combined with varying amounts of chromospheric emission and ISM absorption. We present the effect of ISM absorption on activity measurements by varying several instrumental (spectral resolution), stellar (projected rotational velocity, effective temperature, and chromospheric emission flux), and ISM parameters (relative velocity between stellar and ISM Ca II lines, broadening b-parameter, and Ca II column density). We find that for relative velocities between the stellar and ISM lines smaller than 30-40 km s-1 and for ISM Ca II column densities log NCaII ⪆ 12, the ISM absorption has a significant influence on activity measurements. Direct measurements and three dimensional maps of the Galactic ISM absorption indicate that an ISM Ca II column density of log NCaII = 12 is typically reached by a distance of about 100 pc along most sight lines. In particular, for a Sun-like star lying at a distance greater than 100 pc, we expect a depression (bias) in the log R'HK value larger than 0.05-0.1 dex, about the same size as the typical measurement and calibration uncertainties on this parameter. This work shows that the bias introduced by ISM absorption must always be considered when measuring activity for stars lying beyond 100 pc. We also consider the effect of multiple ISM absorption components. We discuss the relevance of this result for exoplanet studies and revise the

  4. Challenges to Constraining Exoplanet Masses via Transmission Spectroscopy

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

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

    2017-02-10

    MassSpec , a method for determining the mass of a transiting exoplanet from its transmission spectrum alone, was proposed by de Wit and Seager. The premise of this method relies on the planet’s surface gravity being extracted from the transmission spectrum via its effect on the atmospheric scale height, which in turn determines the strength of absorption features. Here, we further explore the applicability of MassSpec to low-mass exoplanets—specifically those in the super-Earth size range for which radial velocity determinations of the planetary mass can be extremely challenging and resource intensive. Determining the masses of these planets is of the utmost importance because their nature is otherwise highly unconstrained. Without knowledge of the mass, these planets could be rocky, icy, or gas-dominated. To investigate the effects of planetary mass on transmission spectra, we present simulated observations of super-Earths with atmospheres made up of mixtures of H{sub 2}O and H{sub 2}, both with and without clouds. We model their transmission spectra and run simulations of each planet as it would be observed with James Webb Space Telescope using the NIRISS, NIRSpec, and MIRI instruments. We find that significant degeneracies exist between transmission spectra of planets with different masses and compositions, making it impossible to unambiguously determine the planet’s mass in many cases.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-01-01

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

  6. Achromatic Focal Plane Mask for Exoplanet Imaging Coronagraphy

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-09-01

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

  8. Challenges to Constraining Exoplanet Masses via Transmission Spectroscopy

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    2017-01-01

    MassSpec , a method for determining the mass of a transiting exoplanet from its transmission spectrum alone, was proposed by de Wit and Seager. The premise of this method relies on the planet’s surface gravity being extracted from the transmission spectrum via its effect on the atmospheric scale height, which in turn determines the strength of absorption features. Here, we further explore the applicability of MassSpec to low-mass exoplanets—specifically those in the super-Earth size range for which radial velocity determinations of the planetary mass can be extremely challenging and resource intensive. Determining the masses of these planets is of the utmost importance because their nature is otherwise highly unconstrained. Without knowledge of the mass, these planets could be rocky, icy, or gas-dominated. To investigate the effects of planetary mass on transmission spectra, we present simulated observations of super-Earths with atmospheres made up of mixtures of H 2 O and H 2 , both with and without clouds. We model their transmission spectra and run simulations of each planet as it would be observed with James Webb Space Telescope using the NIRISS, NIRSpec, and MIRI instruments. We find that significant degeneracies exist between transmission spectra of planets with different masses and compositions, making it impossible to unambiguously determine the planet’s mass in many cases.

  9. 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.

  10. DIRECT IMAGING OF A COLD JOVIAN EXOPLANET IN ORBIT AROUND THE SUN-LIKE STAR GJ 504

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Kuzuhara, M. [Department of Earth and Planetary Science, The University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033 (Japan); Tamura, M.; Kandori, R.; Hori, Y.; Suzuki, R.; Suenaga, T.; Takahashi, Y. H.; Kwon, J. [National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, 2-21-1 Osawa, Mitaka, Tokyo 181-8588 (Japan); Kudo, T. [Subaru Telescope, National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, 650 North A' ohoku Place, Hilo, HI 96720 (United States); Janson, M.; Brandt, T. D.; Spiegel, D.; Burrows, A.; Turner, E. L.; Moro-Martin, A. [Department of Astrophysical Sciences, Princeton University, Peyton Hall, Ivy Lane, Princeton, NJ 08544 (United States); Thalmann, C. [Astronomical Institute ' ' Anton Pannekoek' ' , University of Amsterdam, Postbus 94249, 1090 GE, Amsterdam (Netherlands); Biller, B.; Henning, T. [Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, Koenigstuhl 17, D-69117 Heidelberg (Germany); Carson, J. [Department of Physics and Astronomy, College of Charleston, 58 Coming Street, Charleston, SC 29424 (United States); McElwain, M. W., E-mail: m.kuzuhara@nao.ac.jp [Exoplanets and Stellar Astrophysics Laboratory, Code 667, Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771 (United States); and others

    2013-09-01

    Several exoplanets have recently been imaged at wide separations of >10 AU from their parent stars. These span a limited range of ages (<50 Myr) and atmospheric properties, with temperatures of 800-1800 K and very red colors (J - H > 0.5 mag), implying thick cloud covers. Furthermore, substantial model uncertainties exist at these young ages due to the unknown initial conditions at formation, which can lead to an order of magnitude of uncertainty in the modeled planet mass. Here, we report the direct-imaging discovery of a Jovian exoplanet around the Sun-like star GJ 504, detected as part of the SEEDS survey. The system is older than all other known directly imaged planets; as a result, its estimated mass remains in the planetary regime independent of uncertainties related to choices of initial conditions in the exoplanet modeling. Using the most common exoplanet cooling model, and given the system age of 160{sup +350}{sub -60} Myr, GJ 504b has an estimated mass of 4{sup +4.5}{sub -1.0} Jupiter masses, among the lowest of directly imaged planets. Its projected separation of 43.5 AU exceeds the typical outer boundary of {approx}30 AU predicted for the core accretion mechanism. GJ 504b is also significantly cooler (510{sup +30}{sub -20} K) and has a bluer color (J - H = -0.23 mag) than previously imaged exoplanets, suggesting a largely cloud-free atmosphere accessible to spectroscopic characterization. Thus, it has the potential of providing novel insights into the origins of giant planets as well as their atmospheric properties.

  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. More, smaller bacteria in response to ocean's warming?

    KAUST Repository

    Moran, Xose Anxelu G.

    2015-06-10

    Heterotrophic bacteria play a major role in organic matter cycling in the ocean. Although the high abundances and relatively fast growth rates of coastal surface bacterioplankton make them suitable sentinels of global change, past analyses have largely overlooked this functional group. Here, time series analysis of a decade of monthly observations in temperate Atlantic coastal waters revealed strong seasonal patterns in the abundance, size and biomass of the ubiquitous flow-cytometric groups of low (LNA) and high nucleic acid (HNA) content bacteria. Over this relatively short period, we also found that bacterioplankton cells were significantly smaller, a trend that is consistent with the hypothesized temperature-driven decrease in body size. Although decadal cell shrinking was observed for both groups, it was only LNA cells that were strongly coherent, with ecological theories linking temperature, abundance and individual size on both the seasonal and interannual scale. We explain this finding because, relative to their HNA counterparts, marine LNA bacteria are less diverse, dominated by members of the SAR11 clade. Temperature manipulation experiments in 2012 confirmed a direct effect of warming on bacterial size. Concurrent with rising temperatures in spring, significant decadal trends of increasing standing stocks (3% per year) accompanied by decreasing mean cell size (-1% per year) suggest a major shift in community structure, with a larger contribution of LNA bacteria to total biomass. The increasing prevalence of these typically oligotrophic taxa may severely impact marine foodwebs and carbon fluxes by an overall decrease in the efficiency of the biological pump. © 2014 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    2010-01-01

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

  14. M Dwarf Exoplanet Survey by the Falcon Telescope Network

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carlson, Randall E.

    2016-10-01

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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. THERMODYNAMIC LIMITS ON MAGNETODYNAMOS IN ROCKY EXOPLANETS

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    2010-01-01

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

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moreland, Kimberly D.

    2018-01-01

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

  2. Habitable Exoplanet Imager Optical-Mechanical Design and Analysis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gaskins, Jonathan; Stahl, H. Philip

    2017-01-01

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

  3. 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.

  4. Trends and patterns in smaller companies: The Danish perspective

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Ulhøi, John Parm; Madsen, Henning

    2000-01-01

    This paper presents the empirical findings of a recent survey of Danish managers, with a special focus on managers in smaller companies. The survey, called the 'Danish Management Barometer', is part of a joint research programme between the Aarhus School of Business and the Danish Association...

  5. The Underreported Use of Integrated Marketing Communication by Smaller Businesses.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Johnson, Ed

    This research suggests integrated marketing communication (IMC) is widely used by small business. In a survey of Midwest businesses, it was found that smaller business tend to integrate their marketing communication to the same extent as do larger businesses. Their advertising, P.R., and sales promotion are as likely to present a unified message,…

  6. Healthcare security staffing for smaller facilities: where science meets art.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Warren, Bryan

    2013-01-01

    Obtaining effective security resourcing and staffing for smaller healthcare facilities presents many difficulties, according to the author In this article, he provides guidance to security practitioners on taking existing data and translating it into a language that administration will understand and appreciate.

  7. Library Homepage Design at Smaller Bachelor of Arts Institutions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jones, Scott L.; Leonard, Kirsten

    2011-01-01

    This study examined the homepages of the libraries of 175 smaller bachelor of arts institutions, coding for the presence of 98 design elements. By reporting and examining the frequency of these features, the authors noted what is and is not common practice at these libraries. They found that only fourteen elements were present on at least half of…

  8. Implementation Study of Smaller Learning Communities. Final Report

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bernstein, Lawrence; Millsap, Mary Ann; Schimmenti, Jennifer; Page, Lindsay

    2008-01-01

    The Smaller Learning Communities (SLC) program was established in response to growing national concerns about students too often lost and alienated in large, impersonal high schools, as well as concerns about school safety and low levels of achievement and graduation for many students. Authorized under the "Elementary and Secondary Education Act,"…

  9. CLIMATE INSTABILITY ON TIDALLY LOCKED EXOPLANETS

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    2011-01-01

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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. Flux and polarization signals of spatially inhomogeneous gaseous exoplanets

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2013-01-01

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

  13. 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.

  14. 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…

  15. 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.

  16. Gamma irradiating elm billets reduces their attractancy to the smaller elm bark beetle, Scolytus multistriatus (Marsham)

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    French, J.R.J.; Robinson, P.J.

    1982-01-01

    Irradiating elm billets with gamma rays had a significant effect in reducing the attractancy of these billets to inflight adults of the smaller elm bark beetle Scolytus multistriatus (Marsham). The temperature at which the fresh billets were stored prior to the beetle exposure had little effect. Irradiated billets, irrespective of storage temperature, had significantly fewer holes than the freshly cut billets. There were significant differences associated with the location of the billets in the field, but these differences were smaller than those associated with irradiation. (orig.) [de

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

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

    2016-10-20

    More than three thousand exoplanets have been detected so far, and more and more spectroscopic observations of exoplanets are performed. Future instruments ( James Webb Space Telescope ( JWST ), E-ELT, PLATO, Ariel, etc.,) are eagerly awaited, as they will be able to provide spectroscopic data with greater accuracy and sensitivity than what is currently available. This will allow more accurate conclusions to be drawn regarding the chemistry and dynamics of exoplanetary atmospheres, provided that the observational data are carefully processed. One important aspect to consider is temporal stellar atmospheric disturbances that can influence the planetary composition, and hence spectra, and potentially can lead to incorrect assumptions about the steady-state atmospheric composition of the planet. In this paper, we focus on perturbations coming from the host star in the form of flare events that significantly increase photon flux impingement on the exoplanets atmosphere. In some cases, particularly for M stars, this sudden increase may last for several hours. We aim to discover to what extent a stellar flare is able to modify the chemical composition of the planetary atmosphere and, therefore, influence the resulting spectra. We use a one-dimensional thermo-photochemical model to study the neutral atmospheric composition of two hypothetical planets located around the star AD Leo. We place the two planets at different distances from the star, which results in effective atmospheric temperatures of 412 and 1303 K. AD Leo is an active star that has already been observed during a flare. Therefore, we use the spectroscopic data from this flare event to simulate the evolution of the chemical composition of the atmospheres of the two hypothetical planets. We compute synthetic spectra to evaluate the implications for observations. The increase in the incoming photon flux affects the chemical abundances of some important species (such as H and NH{sub 3}), down to altitudes

  18. A library of ATMO forward model transmission spectra for hot Jupiter exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Goyal, Jayesh M.; Mayne, Nathan; Sing, David K.; Drummond, Benjamin; Tremblin, Pascal; Amundsen, David S.; Evans, Thomas; Carter, Aarynn L.; Spake, Jessica; Baraffe, Isabelle; Nikolov, Nikolay; Manners, James; Chabrier, Gilles; Hebrard, Eric

    2018-03-01

    We present a grid of forward model transmission spectra, adopting an isothermal temperature-pressure profile, alongside corresponding equilibrium chemical abundances for 117 observationally significant hot exoplanets (equilibrium temperatures of 547-2710 K). This model grid has been developed using a 1D radiative-convective-chemical equilibrium model termed ATMO, with up-to-date high-temperature opacities. We present an interpretation of observations of 10 exoplanets, including best-fitting parameters and χ2 maps. In agreement with previous works, we find a continuum from clear to hazy/cloudy atmospheres for this sample of hot Jupiters. The data for all the 10 planets are consistent with subsolar to solar C/O ratio, 0.005 to 10 times solar metallicity and water rather than methane-dominated infrared spectra. We then explore the range of simulated atmospheric spectra for different exoplanets, based on characteristics such as temperature, metallicity, C/O ratio, haziness and cloudiness. We find a transition value for the metallicity between 10 and 50 times solar, which leads to substantial changes in the transmission spectra. We also find a transition value of C/O ratio, from water to carbon species dominated infrared spectra, as found by previous works, revealing a temperature dependence of this transition point ranging from ˜0.56 to ˜1-1.3 for equilibrium temperatures from ˜900 to ˜2600 K. We highlight the potential of the spectral features of HCN and C2H2 to constrain the metallicities and C/O ratios of planets, using James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) observations. Finally, our entire grid (˜460 000 simulations) is publicly available and can be used directly with the JWST simulator PandExo for planning observations.

  19. A Library of ATMO Forward Model Transmission Spectra for Hot Jupiter Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Goyal, Jayesh M.; Mayne, Nathan; Sing, David K.; Drummond, Benjamin; Tremblin, Pascal; Amundsen, David S.; Evans, Thomas; Carter, Aarynn L.; Spake, Jessica; Baraffe, Isabelle; hide

    2017-01-01

    We present a grid of forward model transmission spectra, adopting an isothermal temperature-pressure profile, alongside corresponding equilibrium chemical abundances for 117 observationally significant hot exoplanets (equilibrium temperatures of 547-2710 K). This model grid has been developed using a 1D radiative-convective-chemical equilibrium model termed ATMO, with up-to-date high-temperature opacities. We present an interpretation of observations of 10 exoplanets, including best-fitting parameters and X(exp 2) maps. In agreement with previous works, we find a continuum from clear to hazy/cloudy atmospheres for this sample of hot Jupiters. The data for all the 10 planets are consistent with subsolar to solar C/O ratio, 0.005 to 10 times solar metallicity and water rather than methane-dominated infrared spectra. We then explore the range of simulated atmospheric spectra for different exoplanets, based on characteristics such as temperature, metallicity, C/O ratio, haziness and cloudiness. We find a transition value for the metallicity between 10 and 50 times solar, which leads to substantial changes in the transmission spectra. We also find a transition value of C/O ratio, from water to carbon species dominated infrared spectra, as found by previous works, revealing a temperature dependence of this transition point ranging from approximately 0.56 to approximately 1-1.3 for equilibrium temperatures from approximately 900 to approximately 2600 K. We highlight the potential of the spectral features of HCN and C2H2 to constrain the metallicities and C/O ratios of planets, using James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) observations. Finally, our entire grid (approximately 460 000 simulations) is publicly available and can be used directly with the JWST simulator PandExo for planning observations.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Guillot, Tristan; Havel, M.

    2009-09-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-05-04

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

  2. 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

  3. Exoplanet population inference and the abundance of Earth analogs from noisy, incomplete catalogs

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Foreman-Mackey, Daniel; Hogg, David W.; Morton, Timothy D.

    2014-01-01

    No true extrasolar Earth analog is known. Hundreds of planets have been found around Sun-like stars that are either Earth-sized but on shorter periods, or else on year-long orbits but somewhat larger. Under strong assumptions, exoplanet catalogs have been used to make an extrapolated estimate of the rate at which Sun-like stars host Earth analogs. These studies are complicated by the fact that every catalog is censored by non-trivial selection effects and detection efficiencies, and every property (period, radius, etc.) is measured noisily. Here we present a general hierarchical probabilistic framework for making justified inferences about the population of exoplanets, taking into account survey completeness and, for the first time, observational uncertainties. We are able to make fewer assumptions about the distribution than previous studies; we only require that the occurrence rate density be a smooth function of period and radius (employing a Gaussian process). By applying our method to synthetic catalogs, we demonstrate that it produces more accurate estimates of the whole population than standard procedures based on weighting by inverse detection efficiency. We apply the method to an existing catalog of small planet candidates around G dwarf stars. We confirm a previous result that the radius distribution changes slope near Earth's radius. We find that the rate density of Earth analogs is about 0.02 (per star per natural logarithmic bin in period and radius) with large uncertainty. This number is much smaller than previous estimates made with the same data but stronger assumptions.

  4. PROBABILITY OF CME IMPACT ON EXOPLANETS ORBITING M DWARFS AND SOLAR-LIKE STARS

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Kay, C. [Solar Physics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771 (United States); Opher, M.; Kornbleuth, M., E-mail: ckay@bu.edu [Astronomy Department, Boston University, Boston, MA 02215 (United States)

    2016-08-01

    Solar coronal mass ejections (CMEs) produce adverse space weather effects at Earth. Planets in the close habitable zone of magnetically active M dwarfs may experience more extreme space weather than at Earth, including frequent CME impacts leading to atmospheric erosion and leaving the surface exposed to extreme flare activity. Similar erosion may occur for hot Jupiters with close orbits around solar-like stars. We have developed a model, Forecasting a CME's Altered Trajectory (ForeCAT), which predicts a CME's deflection. We adapt ForeCAT to simulate CME deflections for the mid-type M dwarf V374 Peg and hot Jupiters with solar-type hosts. V374 Peg's strong magnetic fields can trap CMEs at the M dwarfs's Astrospheric Current Sheet, that is, the location of the minimum in the background magnetic field. Solar-type CMEs behave similarly, but have much smaller deflections and do not become trapped at the Astrospheric Current Sheet. The probability of planetary impact decreases with increasing inclination of the planetary orbit with respect to the Astrospheric Current Sheet: 0.5–5 CME impacts per day for M dwarf exoplanets, 0.05–0.5 CME impacts per day for solar-type hot Jupiters. We determine the minimum planetary magnetic field necessary to shield a planet's atmosphere from CME impacts. M dwarf exoplanets require values between tens and hundreds of Gauss. Hot Jupiters around a solar-type star, however, require a more reasonable <30 G. These values exceed the magnitude required to shield a planet from the stellar wind, suggesting that CMEs may be the key driver of atmospheric losses.

  5. PROBABILITY OF CME IMPACT ON EXOPLANETS ORBITING M DWARFS AND SOLAR-LIKE STARS

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Kay, C.; Opher, M.; Kornbleuth, M.

    2016-01-01

    Solar coronal mass ejections (CMEs) produce adverse space weather effects at Earth. Planets in the close habitable zone of magnetically active M dwarfs may experience more extreme space weather than at Earth, including frequent CME impacts leading to atmospheric erosion and leaving the surface exposed to extreme flare activity. Similar erosion may occur for hot Jupiters with close orbits around solar-like stars. We have developed a model, Forecasting a CME's Altered Trajectory (ForeCAT), which predicts a CME's deflection. We adapt ForeCAT to simulate CME deflections for the mid-type M dwarf V374 Peg and hot Jupiters with solar-type hosts. V374 Peg's strong magnetic fields can trap CMEs at the M dwarfs's Astrospheric Current Sheet, that is, the location of the minimum in the background magnetic field. Solar-type CMEs behave similarly, but have much smaller deflections and do not become trapped at the Astrospheric Current Sheet. The probability of planetary impact decreases with increasing inclination of the planetary orbit with respect to the Astrospheric Current Sheet: 0.5–5 CME impacts per day for M dwarf exoplanets, 0.05–0.5 CME impacts per day for solar-type hot Jupiters. We determine the minimum planetary magnetic field necessary to shield a planet's atmosphere from CME impacts. M dwarf exoplanets require values between tens and hundreds of Gauss. Hot Jupiters around a solar-type star, however, require a more reasonable <30 G. These values exceed the magnitude required to shield a planet from the stellar wind, suggesting that CMEs may be the key driver of atmospheric losses.

  6. Statistical and dynamical remastering of classic exoplanet systems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nelson, Benjamin Earl

    architecture of all the planets orbiting Gliese 876 based on the radial velocity data alone. By demanding orbital stability, we find the resonant planets have low mutual inclinations phi so they must be roughly coplanar (phicb = 1.41(+/-0.62/0.57) degrees and phibe = 3.87(+/-1.99/1.86 degrees). The three-dimensional Laplace argument librates chaotically with an amplitude of 50.5(+/-7.9/10.0) degrees, indicating significant past disk migration and ensuring long-term stability. In the final project (Chapter 7), we analyze the RV data for nu Octantis, a closely separated binary with an alleged planet orbiting interior and retrograde to the binary. Preliminary results place very tight constraints on the planet-binary mutual inclination but no model is dynamically stable beyond 105 years. These empirically derived models motivate the need for more sophisticated algorithms to analyze exoplanet data and will provide new challenges for planet formation models.

  7. Microlens Array/Pinhole Mask to Suppress Starlight for Direct Exoplanet Detection

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zimmerman, Neil

    Direct imaging of habitable exoplanets is a key priority of NASA’s Astrophysics roadmap, “Enduring Quests, Daring Visions.” A coronagraphic starlight suppression system situated on a large space telescope offers a viable path to achieving this goal. This type of instrument is central to both the LUVOIR and HabEx mission concepts currently under study for the 2020 Decadal Survey. To directly image an Earth-like exoplanet, an instrument must be sensitive to objects ten billion times dimmer than their parent star. Advanced coronagraphs are designed to modify the shape of the star’s image so that it does not overwhelm the planet's light. Coronagraphs are complex to design and fabricate, tend to sacrifice a significant portion of the exoplanet light entering the telescope, and are highly sensitive to errors in the telescope. The proposed work reduces the demands on the coronagraph and its sensitivity to errors in the telescope, by changing how we implement optics in the spectrograph following the coronagraph. Through optical analysis and modeling, we have found that a microlens array with a specially arranged pattern of pinholes can suppress residual starlight in the scientific image after the coronagraph by more than two orders of magnitude. This added layer of starlight rejection could be used to relax the extreme observatory stability requirements for exo-Earth imaging applications, for example shifting the wavefront stability requirement from a few picometers to a few nanometers. Ultimately this translates to the instrument detecting and spectrally characterizing more exoplanets than a conventional coronagraph system. This microlens/pinhole concept is also compatible with starshadebased starlight suppression systems. The proposed microlens/pinhole device is entirely passive and augments the performance of existing coronagraph designs, while potentially reducing their cost and risk for mission implementation. Our APRA proposal would support a testbed

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-02-01

    As gas giant planets and brown dwarfs radiate away the residual heat from their formation, they cool through a spectral type transition from L to T, which encompasses the dissipation of cloud opacity and the appearance of strong methane absorption. While there are hundreds of known T-type brown dwarfs, the first generation of directly imaged exoplanets were all L type. Recently, Kuzuhara et al. announced the discovery of GJ 504 b, the first T dwarf exoplanet. GJ 504 b provides a unique opportunity to study the atmosphere of a new type of exoplanet with a ˜500 K temperature that bridges the gap between the first directly imaged planets (˜1000 K) and our own solar system's Jupiter (˜130 K). We observed GJ 504 b in three narrow L-band filters (3.71, 3.88, and 4.00 μm), spanning the red end of the broad methane fundamental absorption feature (3.3 μm) as part of the LBTI Exozodi Exoplanet Common Hunt (LEECH) exoplanet imaging survey. By comparing our new photometry and literature photometry with a grid of custom model atmospheres, we were able to fit GJ 504 b's unusual spectral energy distribution for the first time. We find that GJ 504 b is well fit by models with the following parameters: Teff = 544 ± 10 K, g Germany. LBT Corporation partners are the University of Arizona on behalf of the Arizona university system; Istituto Nazionale di Astrophisica, Italy; LBT Beteiligungsgesellschaft, Germany, representing the Max-Planck Society, the Astrophysical Institute Potsdam, and Heidelberg University; The Ohio State University, and the Research Corporation, on behalf of the University of Notre Dame, University of Minnesota, and University of Virginia.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-05-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    2012-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-01-01

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

  13. 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.

  14. Testing Starshade Manufacturing and Deployment Through NASA's Technology Development for Exoplanet Missions Program

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-01-01

    An external occulter is a satellite employing a large screen, or starshade, that flies in formation with a spaceborne telescope to provide the starlight suppression needed for detecting and characterizing exoplanets. Among the advantages of using an occulter are the broadband allowed for characterization and the removal of light before entering the observatory, greatly relaxing the requirements on the telescope and instrument. In this poster we report on the results of our two Technology Development for Exoplanet Missions (TDEM) studies. In the first we examined the manufacturability and metrology of starshade petals, successfully constructing a full size petal from flight like materials and showing through precise edge shape measurements that an occulter made with petals consistent with the measured accuracy would achieve close to 10^-10 contrast. Our second TDEM tested the deployment precision of a roughly half-scale starshade. We demonstrated the deployment of an existing deployable truss outfitted with four sub-scale petals and a custom designed central hub. We showed that the system can be deployed multiple times with a repeatable positioning accuracy of the petals better than the requirement of 1.0 mm. The combined results of these two TDEM projects has significantly advanced the readiness level of occulter technology and moved the community closer to a realizable mission.

  15. TERRESTRIAL, HABITABLE-ZONE EXOPLANET FREQUENCY FROM KEPLER

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Traub, Wesley A.

    2012-01-01

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

  16. Characterizing Rosetta Stone Exoplanets with JWST Transit Spectroscopy

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-06-01

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

  17. 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.

  18. 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...

  19. Scalable Gaussian Processes and the search for exoplanets

    CERN Multimedia

    CERN. Geneva

    2015-01-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Misra, Amit K.; Meadows, Victoria S.

    2014-01-01

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

  1. 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.

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

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

    2014-11-01

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

  3. Emergent Exoplanet Flux: Review of the Spitzer Results

    OpenAIRE

    Deming, Drake

    2008-01-01

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

  4. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-01-01

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

  6. Participation of smaller size renewable generation in the electricity market trade in UK: Analyses and approaches

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Romanovsky, G.; Xydis, G.; Mutale, J.

    2011-01-01

    a number of specific historical, technical and economic reasons that significantly influenced the ability of the smaller size RES/DG to participate in the electricity market and in provision of balancing services in accordance with the UK National Grid requirements. This paper discusses some perspectives...

  7. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-03-01

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

  9. An Analytic Model Approach to the Frequency of Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Traub, Wesley A.

    2016-10-01

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

  10. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    McKay, Christopher P.

    2014-09-01

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

  12. The Effect of Starspots on Detectability of Exoplanet Atmospheres

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hofmann, Ryan; Berta-Thompson, Zachory

    2018-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-01-01

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

  14. ESCAPING PARTICLE FLUXES IN THE ATMOSPHERES OF CLOSE-IN EXOPLANETS. II. REDUCED MASS-LOSS RATES AND ANISOTROPIC WINDS

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Guo, J. H.

    2013-01-01

    In Paper I, we presented a one-dimensional hydrodynamic model for the winds of close-in exoplanets. However, close-in exoplanets are tidally locked and irradiated only on the day sides by their host stars. This requires two-dimensional hydrodynamic models with self-consistent radiative transfer calculations. In this paper, for the tidal-locking (two-dimensional radiative transfer) and non-tidal-locking cases (one-dimensional radiative transfer), we constructed a multi-fluid two-dimensional hydrodynamic model with detailed radiative transfer to depict the escape of particles. We found that the tidal forces (the sum of tidal gravity of the star and centrifugal force due to the planetary rotation) supply significant accelerations and result in anisotropic winds. An important effect of the tidal forces is that it severely depresses the outflow of particles near the polar regions where the density and the radial velocity are a factor of a few (ten) smaller than those of the low-latitude regions. As a consequence, most particles escape the surface of the planet from the regions of low latitude. Comparing the tidal-locking and non-tidal-locking cases, we found that their optical depths are very different so that the flows also emerge with a different pattern. In the case of non-tidal locking, the radial velocities at the base of the wind are higher than the meridional velocities. However, in the case of tidal locking, the meridional velocities dominate the flow at the base of the wind, and they can effectively transfer mass and energy from the day sides to the night sides. Further, we also found that the differences of the winds show a middle extent at large radii. This means that the structure of the wind at the base can be changed by the two-dimensional radiative transfer due to large optical depths, but the extent is reduced with an increase in radius. Because the escape is depressed in the polar regions, the mass-loss rate predicted by the non-tidal-locking model, in

  15. Science with a lunar low-frequency array: From the dark ages of the Universe to nearby exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jester, Sebastian; Falcke, Heino

    2009-05-01

    , thereby providing pristine cosmological information, e.g., on the inflationary phase of the universe. With a large array also exoplanet magnetospheres could be detected through Jupiter-like coherent bursts. Smaller arrays of order 102 antennas over ˜100 km, which could already be erected robotically by a single mission with current technology and launchers, could tackle surveys of steep-spectrum large-scale radio structures from galaxy clusters and radio galaxies. Also, at very low frequencies the structure of the interstellar medium can be studied tomographically. Moreover, radio emission from neutrino interactions within the moon can potentially be used to create a neutrino detector with a volume of several cubic kilometers. An ultra-high energy cosmic ray detector with thousands of square kilometer area for cosmic ray energies >1020eV could in principle be realized with some hundred antennas. In any case, pathfinder arrays are needed to test the feasibility of these experiments in the not too distant future. Lunar low-frequency arrays are thus a timely option to consider, offering the potential for significant new insights into a wide range of today's crucial scientific topics. This would open up one of the last unexplored frequency domains in the electromagnetic spectrum.

  16. Exo-planet Direct Imaging with On-Axis and/or Segmented Apertures in Space: Adaptive Compensation of Aperture Discontinuities

    Science.gov (United States)

    Soummer, Remi

    Capitalizing on a recent breakthrough in wavefront control theory for obscured apertures made by our group, we propose to demonstrate a method to achieve high contrast exoplanet imaging with on-axis obscured apertures. Our new algorithm, which we named Adaptive Compensation of Aperture Discontinuities (ACAD), provides the ability to compensate for aperture discontinuities (segment gaps and/or secondary mirror supports) by controlling deformable mirrors in a nonlinear wavefront control regime not utilized before but conceptually similar to the beam reshaping used in PIAA coronagraphy. We propose here an in-air demonstration at 1E- 7 contrast, enabled by adding a second deformable mirror to our current test-bed. This expansion of the scope of our current efforts in exoplanet imaging technologies will enabling us to demonstrate an integrated solution for wavefront control and starlight suppression on complex aperture geometries. It is directly applicable at scales from moderate-cost exoplanet probe missions to the 2.4 m AFTA telescopes to future flagship UVOIR observatories with apertures potentially 16-20 m. Searching for nearby habitable worlds with direct imaging is one of the top scientific priorities established by the Astro2010 Decadal Survey. Achieving this ambitious goal will require 1e-10 contrast on a telescope large enough to provide angular resolution and sensitivity to planets around a significant sample of nearby stars. Such a mission must of course also be realized at an achievable cost. Lightweight segmented mirror technology allows larger diameter optics to fit in any given launch vehicle as compared to monolithic mirrors, and lowers total life-cycle costs from construction through integration & test, making it a compelling option for future large space telescopes. At smaller scales, on-axis designs with secondary obscurations and supports are less challenging to fabricate and thus more affordable than the off-axis unobscured primary mirror designs

  17. Atmospheric Retrievals from Exoplanet Observations and Simulations with BART

    Science.gov (United States)

    Harrington, Joseph

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

  18. A new interferometric study of four exoplanet host stars: θ Cygni, 14 Andromedae, υ Andromedae and 42 Draconis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ligi, R.; Mourard, D.; Lagrange, A. M.; Perraut, K.; Boyajian, T.; Bério, Ph.; Nardetto, N.; Tallon-Bosc, I.; McAlister, H.; ten Brummelaar, T.; Ridgway, S.; Sturmann, J.; Sturmann, L.; Turner, N.; Farrington, C.; Goldfinger, P. J.

    2012-09-01

    Context. Since the discovery of the first exoplanet in 1995 around a solar-type star, the interest in exoplanetary systems has kept increasing. Studying exoplanet host stars is of the utmost importance to establish the link between the presence of exoplanets around various types of stars and to understand the respective evolution of stars and exoplanets. Aims: Using the limb-darkened diameter (LDD) obtained from interferometric data, we determine the fundamental parameters of four exoplanet host stars. We are particularly interested in the F4 main-sequence star, θ Cyg, for which Kepler has recently revealed solar-like oscillations that are unexpected for this type of star. Furthermore, recent photometric and spectroscopic measurements with SOPHIE and ELODIE (OHP) show evidence of a quasi-periodic radial velocity of ~150 days. Models of this periodic change in radial velocity predict either a complex planetary system orbiting the star, or a new and unidentified stellar pulsation mode. Methods: We performed interferometric observations of θ Cyg, 14 Andromedae, υ Andromedae and 42 Draconis for two years with VEGA/CHARA (Mount Wilson, California) in several three-telescope configurations. We measured accurate limb darkened diameters and derived their radius, mass and temperature using empirical laws. Results: We obtain new accurate fundamental parameters for stars 14 And, υ And and 42 Dra. We also obtained limb darkened diameters with a minimum precision of ~1.3%, leading to minimum planet masses of Msini = 5.33 ± 0.57, 0.62 ± 0.09 and 3.79 ± 0.29 MJup for 14 And b, υ And b and 42 Dra b, respectively. The interferometric measurements of θ Cyg show a significant diameter variability that remains unexplained up to now. We propose that the presence of these discrepancies in the interferometric data is caused either by an intrinsic variation of the star or an unknown close companion orbiting around it. Based on interferometric observations with the VEGA

  19. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ronald Kaitchuck

    2012-03-01

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

  2. AN AFFINE-INVARIANT SAMPLER FOR EXOPLANET FITTING AND DISCOVERY IN RADIAL VELOCITY DATA

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Hou Fengji; Hogg, David W.; Goodman, Jonathan; Weare, Jonathan; Schwab, Christian

    2012-01-01

    Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) proves to be powerful for Bayesian inference and in particular for exoplanet radial velocity fitting because MCMC provides more statistical information and makes better use of data than common approaches like chi-square fitting. However, the nonlinear density functions encountered in these problems can make MCMC time-consuming. In this paper, we apply an ensemble sampler respecting affine invariance to orbital parameter extraction from radial velocity data. This new sampler has only one free parameter, and does not require much tuning for good performance, which is important for automatization. The autocorrelation time of this sampler is approximately the same for all parameters and far smaller than Metropolis-Hastings, which means it requires many fewer function calls to produce the same number of independent samples. The affine-invariant sampler speeds up MCMC by hundreds of times compared with Metropolis-Hastings in the same computing situation. This novel sampler would be ideal for projects involving large data sets such as statistical investigations of planet distribution. The biggest obstacle to ensemble samplers is the existence of multiple local optima; we present a clustering technique to deal with local optima by clustering based on the likelihood of the walkers in the ensemble. We demonstrate the effectiveness of the sampler on real radial velocity data.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-03-01

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

  4. Design Considerations: Falcon M Dwarf Habitable Exoplanet Survey

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-01-01

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

  5. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-12-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hinkley, Sasha

    2012-04-01

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

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

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

    2014-09-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-01-01

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

  11. 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.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Gladysz S.

    2011-07-01

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

  13. A Population Study of Gaseous Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tsiaras, A.; Waldmann, I. P.; Zingales, T.; Rocchetto, M.; Morello, G.; Damiano, M.; Karpouzas, K.; Tinetti, G.; McKemmish, L. K.; Tennyson, J.; Yurchenko, S. N.

    2018-04-01

    We present here the analysis of 30 gaseous extrasolar planets, with temperatures between 600 and 2400 K and radii between 0.35 and 1.9 R Jup. The quality of the HST/WFC3 spatially scanned data combined with our specialized analysis tools allow us to study the largest and most self-consistent sample of exoplanetary transmission spectra to date and examine the collective behavior of warm and hot gaseous planets rather than isolated case studies. We define a new metric, the Atmospheric Detectability Index (ADI) to evaluate the statistical significance of an atmospheric detection and find statistically significant atmospheres in around 16 planets out of the 30 analyzed. For most of the Jupiters in our sample, we find the detectability of their atmospheres to be dependent on the planetary radius but not on the planetary mass. This indicates that planetary gravity plays a secondary role in the state of gaseous planetary atmospheres. We detect the presence of water vapour in all of the statistically detectable atmospheres, and we cannot rule out its presence in the atmospheres of the others. In addition, TiO and/or VO signatures are detected with 4σ confidence in WASP-76 b, and they are most likely present in WASP-121 b. We find no correlation between expected signal-to-noise and atmospheric detectability for most targets. This has important implications for future large-scale surveys.

  14. An ultrahot gas-giant exoplanet with a stratosphere.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-08-02

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-04-01

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

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

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

    2010-06-01

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

  17. 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}.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-09-01

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

  19. Visible nulling coronagraphy testbed development for exoplanet detection

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2010-07-01

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

  20. 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.

  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. 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

  3. THEORY OF DISPERSED FIXED-DELAY INTERFEROMETRY FOR RADIAL VELOCITY EXOPLANET SEARCHES

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Van Eyken, Julian C.; Ge Jian; Mahadevan, Suvrath

    2010-01-01

    The dispersed fixed-delay interferometer (DFDI) represents a new instrument concept for high-precision radial velocity (RV) surveys for extrasolar planets. A combination of a Michelson interferometer and a medium-resolution spectrograph, it has the potential for performing multi-object surveys, where most previous RV techniques have been limited to observing only one target at a time. Because of the large sample of extrasolar planets needed to better understand planetary formation, evolution, and prevalence, this new technique represents a logical next step in instrumentation for RV extrasolar planet searches, and has been proven with the single-object Exoplanet Tracker (ET) at Kitt Peak National Observatory, and the multi-object W. M. Keck/MARVELS Exoplanet Tracker at Apache Point Observatory. The development of the ET instruments has necessitated fleshing out a detailed understanding of the physical principles of the DFDI technique. Here we summarize the fundamental theoretical material needed to understand the technique and provide an overview of the physics underlying the instrument's working. We also derive some useful analytical formulae that can be used to estimate the level of various sources of error generic to the technique, such as photon shot noise when using a fiducial reference spectrum, contamination by secondary spectra (e.g., crowded sources, spectroscopic binaries, or moonlight contamination), residual interferometer comb, and reference cross-talk error. Following this, we show that the use of a traditional gas absorption fiducial reference with a DFDI can incur significant systematic errors that must be taken into account at the precision levels required to detect extrasolar planets.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-08-01

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

  5. NON-DETECTION OF L-BAND LINE EMISSION FROM THE EXOPLANET HD189733b

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Mandell, Avi M.; Deming, L. Drake; Mumma, Michael J.; Villanueva, Geronimo L.; Blake, Geoffrey A.; Knutson, Heather A.; Salyk, Colette

    2011-01-01

    We attempt to confirm bright non-local thermodynamic equilibrium (non-LTE) emission from the exoplanet HD 189733b at 3.25 μm, as recently reported by Swain et al. based on observations at low spectral resolving power (λ/δλ ∼ 30). Non-LTE emission lines from gas in an exoplanet atmosphere will not be significantly broadened by collisions, so the measured emission intensity per resolution element must be substantially brighter when observed at high spectral resolving power. We observed the planet before, during, and after a secondary eclipse event at a resolving power λ/δλ = 27, 000 using the NIRSPEC spectrometer on the Keck II telescope. Our spectra cover a spectral window near the peak found by Swain et al., and we compare emission cases that could account for the magnitude and wavelength dependence of the Swain et al. result with our final spectral residuals. To model the expected line emission, we use a general non-equilibrium formulation to synthesize emission features from all plausible molecules that emit in this spectral region. In every case, we detect no line emission to a high degree of confidence. After considering possible explanations for the Swain et al. results and the disparity with our own data, we conclude that an astrophysical source for the putative non-LTE emission is unlikely. We note that the wavelength dependence of the signal seen by Swain et al. closely matches the 2ν 2 band of water vapor at 300 K, and we suggest that an imperfect correction for telluric water is the source of the feature claimed by Swain et al.

  6. 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

  7. Analysis of the exoplanet containing system Kepler-13

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-03-01

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

  8. High-Arctic butterflies become smaller with rising temperatures

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Bowden, Joseph James; Eskildsen, Anne; Hansen, Rikke Reisner

    2015-01-01

    size but long growing seasons could also increase body size as was recently shown in an Arctic spider species. Here, we present the longest known time series on body size variation in two High-Arctic butterfly species: Boloria chariclea and Colias hecla. We measured wing length of nearly 4500...... individuals collected annually between 1996 and 2013 from Zackenberg, Greenland and found that wing length significantly decreased at a similar rate in both species in response to warmer summers. Body size is strongly related to dispersal capacity and fecundity and our results suggest that these Arctic...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-01-01

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

  10. Assessing Ozone Detectability on Weakly Oxygenated Terrestrial Exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-06-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Kraus, Adam L.; Ireland, Michael J.

    2012-01-01

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

  12. Dynamical measurements of the interior structure of exoplanets

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Becker, Juliette C.; Batygin, Konstantin

    2013-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kreidberg, Laura

    2018-01-01

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

  14. 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.

  15. Gaia and exoplanets: a revolution in the making

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sozzetti, Alessandro

    2017-09-01

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

  16. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-06-01

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

  18. 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-05-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-09-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    2011-01-01

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

  2. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-11-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ballard, Sarah

    2017-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-11-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-11-01

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

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

    OpenAIRE

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

    2018-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Berriman, G. Bruce

    2018-06-01

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

  10. 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.

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

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

    2016-07-10

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

  12. Characterising exoplanet atmospheres as part of the LRG-BEASTS survey

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kirk, James; Wheatley, Peter; LRG-BEASTS Collaboration

    2018-01-01

    I will present the latest results from the Low Resolution Ground-Based Exoplanet Atmosphere Survey using Transmission Spectroscopy (LRG-BEASTS, ‘large beasts’). This programme has demonstrated the capabilities of 4-metre class telescopes to produce transmission spectra with precision comparable to HST and 8- and 10-metre class telescopes. LRG-BEASTS has so far revealed a Rayleigh scattering haze in the atmosphere of HAT-P-18b, clouds in the atmosphere of WASP-52b, and ruled out a previously claimed detection of potassium in the atmosphere of WASP-80b. Studies of hot Jupiter atmospheres have revealed a startling diversity between systems, with many showing thick clouds and hazes which mask pressure-broadened absorption features. In the small sample of studied planets to date, no strong correlation has emerged between key planetary parameters and the presence, or absence, of clouds and hazes, although there has been a suggestion that temperature might play a role. In order to characterise this diversity and unravel the underlying physical processes, it is essential that we expand the current sample of studied planets. This is the focus of LRG-BEASTS and my dissertation. Clouds and hazes are not just prominent in giant planet atmospheres but also in the handful of smaller planets characterised in transmission. The knowledge and expertise we will gain from the study of giant planets with surveys such as LRG-BEASTS will inform our understanding of analogous processes in the exciting new generation of planets that will be discovered with TESS.

  13. 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.

  14. Radiocarbon evidence for a smaller oceanic carbon dioxide sink than previously believed

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hesshaimer, Vago; Heimann, Martin; Levin, Ingeborg

    1994-07-01

    RADIOCARBON produced naturally in the upper atmosphere or arti-ficially during nuclear weapons testing is the main tracer used to validate models of oceanic carbon cycling, in particular the exchange of carbon dioxide with the atmosphere1-3 and the mixing parameters within the ocean itself4-7. Here we test the overall consistency of exchange fluxes between all relevant compartments in a simple model of the global carbon cycle, using measurements of the long-term tropospheric CO2 concentration8 and radiocarbon composition9-12, the bomb 14C inventory in the stratosphere13,14 and a compilation of bomb detonation dates and strengths15. We find that to balance the budget, we must invoke an extra source to account for 25% of the generally accepted uptake of bomb 14C by the oceans3. The strength of this source decreases from 1970 onwards, with a characteristic timescale similar to that of the ocean uptake. Significant radiocarbon transport from the remote high stratosphere and significantly reduced uptake of bomb 14C by the biosphere can both be ruled out by observational constraints. We therefore conclude that the global oceanic bomb 14C inventory should be revised downwards. A smaller oceanic bomb 14C inventory also implies a smaller oceanic radiocarbon penetration depth16, which in turn implies that the oceans take up 25% less anthropogenic CO2 than had previously been believed.

  15. Comparison between smaller ruptured intracranial aneurysm and larger un-ruptured intracranial aneurysm: gene expression profile analysis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, Hao; Li, Haowen; Yue, Haiyan; Wang, Wen; Yu, Lanbing; ShuoWang; Cao, Yong; Zhao, Jizong

    2017-07-01

    As it grows in size, an intracranial aneurysm (IA) is prone to rupture. In this study, we compared two extreme groups of IAs, ruptured IAs (RIAs) smaller than 10 mm and un-ruptured IAs (UIAs) larger than 10 mm, to investigate the genes involved in the facilitation and prevention of IA rupture. The aneurismal walls of 6 smaller saccular RIAs (size smaller than 10 mm), 6 larger saccular UIAs (size larger than 10 mm) and 12 paired control arteries were obtained during surgery. The transcription profiles of these samples were studied by microarray analysis. RT-qPCR was used to confirm the expression of the genes of interest. In addition, functional group analysis of the differentially expressed genes was performed. Between smaller RIAs and larger UIAs, 101 genes and 179 genes were significantly over-expressed, respectively. In addition, functional group analysis demonstrated that the up-regulated genes in smaller RIAs mainly participated in the cellular response to metal ions and inorganic substances, while most of the up-regulated genes in larger UIAs were involved in inflammation and extracellular matrix (ECM) organization. Moreover, compared with control arteries, inflammation was up-regulated and muscle-related biological processes were down-regulated in both smaller RIAs and larger UIAs. The genes involved in the cellular response to metal ions and inorganic substances may facilitate the rupture of IAs. In addition, the healing process, involving inflammation and ECM organization, may protect IAs from rupture.

  16. 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

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

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

    2013-02-15

    The spectral and temporal behavior of exoplanet host stars is a critical input to models of the chemistry and evolution of planetary atmospheres. Ultraviolet photons influence the atmospheric temperature profiles and production of potential biomarkers on Earth-like planets around these stars. At present, little observational or theoretical basis exists for understanding the ultraviolet spectra of M dwarfs, despite their critical importance to predicting and interpreting the spectra of potentially habitable planets as they are obtained in the coming decades. Using observations from the Hubble Space Telescope, we present a study of the UV radiation fields around nearby M dwarf planet hosts that covers both far-UV (FUV) and near-UV (NUV) wavelengths. The combined FUV+NUV spectra are publicly available in machine-readable format. We find that all six exoplanet host stars in our sample (GJ 581, GJ 876, GJ 436, GJ 832, GJ 667C, and GJ 1214) exhibit some level of chromospheric and transition region UV emission. No 'UV-quiet' M dwarfs are observed. The bright stellar Ly{alpha} emission lines are reconstructed, and we find that the Ly{alpha} line fluxes comprise {approx}37%-75% of the total 1150-3100 A flux from most M dwarfs; {approx}>10{sup 3} times the solar value. We develop an empirical scaling relation between Ly{alpha} and Mg II emission, to be used when interstellar H I attenuation precludes the direct observation of Ly{alpha}. The intrinsic unreddened flux ratio is F(Ly{alpha})/F(Mg II) = 10 {+-} 3. The F(FUV)/F(NUV) flux ratio, a driver for abiotic production of the suggested biomarkers O{sub 2} and O{sub 3}, is shown to be {approx}0.5-3 for all M dwarfs in our sample, >10{sup 3} times the solar ratio. For the four stars with moderate signal-to-noise Cosmic Origins Spectrograph time-resolved spectra, we find UV emission line variability with amplitudes of 50%-500% on 10{sup 2}-10{sup 3} s timescales. This effect should be taken into account in future UV

  18. 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

  19. KEPLER EXOPLANET CANDIDATE HOST STARS ARE PREFERENTIALLY METAL RICH

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Schlaufman, Kevin C.; Laughlin, Gregory

    2011-01-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    2010-01-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    2013-01-01

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

  2. 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.

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

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

    2013-02-01

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

  4. INFERENCE OF INHOMOGENEOUS CLOUDS IN AN EXOPLANET ATMOSPHERE

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

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

    2013-10-20

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

  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. Atmospheres of partially differentiated super-Earth exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schaefer, Laura; Sasselov, Dimitar

    2015-11-01

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

  7. Searching for Strange Quark Matter Objects in Exoplanets

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

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

    2017-10-20

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

  8. DISCERNING EXOPLANET MIGRATION MODELS USING SPIN-ORBIT MEASUREMENTS

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Morton, Timothy D.; Johnson, John Asher

    2011-01-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    2016-01-01

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

  10. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-09-01

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

  12. TouchGrid: Touchpad pointing by recursively mapping taps to smaller display regions

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Hertzum, Morten; Hornbæk, Kasper

    2005-01-01

    Touchpad devices are widely used but lacking in pointing efficiency. The TouchGrid, an instance of what we term cell cursors, replaces moving the cursor through dragging the finger on a touchpad with tapping in different regions of the touchpad. The touchpad regions are recursively mapped...... to smaller display regions and thereby enable high-precision pointing without requiring high tapping precision. In an experiment, six subjects used the TouchGrid and a standard touchpad across different numbers of targets, distances to targets, and target widths. Whereas standard touchpad operation follows...... Fitts’ law, target selection time with the TouchGrid is a linear function of the required number of taps. The TouchGrid was significantly faster for small targets and for tasks requiring one tap, and marginally faster for two-tap tasks. Error rates tended to be higher with the TouchGrid than...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-01-01

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

  14. 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...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-04-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chia Thao, Pa; Mann, Andrew

    2018-01-01

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

  17. 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.

  18. FUNDAMENTAL PARAMETERS OF THE EXOPLANET HOST K GIANT STAR {iota} DRACONIS FROM THE CHARA ARRAY

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Baines, Ellyn K. [Remote Sensing Division, Naval Research Laboratory, 4555 Overlook Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20375 (United States); McAlister, Harold A.; Ten Brummelaar, Theo A.; Turner, Nils H.; Sturmann, Judit; Sturmann, Laszlo; Goldfinger, P. J.; Farrington, Christopher D. [Center for High Angular Resolution Astronomy, Georgia State University, P.O. Box 3969, Atlanta, GA 30302-3969 (United States); Ridgway, Stephen T., E-mail: ellyn.baines@nrl.navy.mil [National Optical Astronomy Observatory, P.O. Box 26732, Tucson, AZ 85726-6732 (United States)

    2011-12-20

    We measured the angular diameter of the exoplanet host star {iota} Dra with Georgia State University's Center for High Angular Resolution Astronomy Array interferometer and, using the star's parallax and photometry from the literature, calculated its physical radius and effective temperature. We then combined our results with stellar oscillation frequencies from Zechmeister et al. and orbital elements from Kane et al. to determine the masses for the star and exoplanet. Our value for the central star's mass is 1.82 {+-} 0.23 M{sub Sun }, which means the exoplanet's minimum mass is 12.6 {+-} 1.1 M{sub Jupiter}. Using our new effective temperature, we recalculated the habitable zone for the system, though it is well outside the star-planet separation.

  19. 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...

  20. Usefulness of CT-guided automatic needle biopsy of solitary pulmonary nodule smaller than 15 mm

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Jin, Gong Yong; Lim, Yeong Su

    2004-01-01

    To evaluate the usefulness of the CT-guided percutaneous lung biopsy for the solitary pulmonary nodules smaller than 15 mm in diameter. Between April 2002 and May 2003, we evaluated twenty-five patients (11 men, 14 women, mean ages: 52.5 years) who had solitary pulmonary nodules, which we could not discriminate as being benign or malignant on the CT findings. All the subjects had CT-guided percutaenous cutting needle biopsy (PCNB) performed on them at our institution. A definitive diagnosis of benignity or malignancy was established to retrospectively analyze the patient's records. We evaluated the accuracy, sensitivity, specificity and complications of PCNB for the definitive diagnosis of benignity or malignancy. The sensitivity and specificity of PCNB were determined using the Chi-square test, and the correlations with pneumothorax and emphysema after biopsy were analyzed using Spearman's rank correlation coefficient. In two nodules of the twenty-five nodules, no definitive diagnosis could be established. Of the remaining twenty-three nodules, 7 (30.4%) were malignant and 16 (69.6%) were benign. Twenty (87%) of the twenty-three definitively diagnosed nodules were correctly diagnosed with PCNB. Of the twenty nodules, 6 (30%) were malignant and 14 (70%) were benign. The sensitivity and specificity of the malignant nodules were 85.7% (6/7) and 100% (16/16), respectively. The sensitivity and specificity of the benign nodules were 87.5% (14/16) and 85.7% (6/7), respectively. Post-biopsy complication occurred in nine patients (36%): Hemoptysis (n=4, 16%) and pneumothorax (n=5, 20%). However, there was not a statistical significance between pneumothorax and emphysema after biopsy (r=0.3, p=0.15). When CT-guided percutaneous lung biopsy of the solitary pulmonary nodules smaller than 15 mm in diameter was performed without an on-site cytopathologist, we know that PCNB can yield high diagnostic accuracy and very few complications

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dalba, Paul; Muirhead, Philip; Tamburo, Patrick

    2018-05-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bean, Jacob

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

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  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. STABILITY OF CO2 ATMOSPHERES ON DESICCATED M DWARF EXOPLANETS

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Gao, Peter; Hu, Renyu; Li, Cheng; Yung, Yuk L.; Robinson, Tyler D.

    2015-01-01

    We investigate the chemical stability of CO 2 -dominated atmospheres of desiccated M dwarf terrestrial exoplanets using a one-dimensional photochemical model. Around Sun-like stars, CO 2 photolysis by Far-UV (FUV) radiation is balanced by recombination reactions that depend on water abundance. Planets orbiting M dwarf stars experience more FUV radiation, and could be depleted in water due to M dwarfs’ prolonged, high-luminosity pre-main sequences. We show that, for water-depleted M dwarf terrestrial planets, a catalytic cycle relying on H 2 O 2 photolysis can maintain a CO 2 atmosphere. However, this cycle breaks down for atmospheric hydrogen mixing ratios <1 ppm, resulting in ∼40% of the atmospheric CO 2 being converted to CO and O 2 on a timescale of 1 Myr. The increased O 2 abundance leads to high O 3 concentrations, the photolysis of which forms another CO 2 -regenerating catalytic cycle. For atmospheres with <0.1 ppm hydrogen, CO 2 is produced directly from the recombination of CO and O. These catalytic cycles place an upper limit of ∼50% on the amount of CO 2 that can be destroyed via photolysis, which is enough to generate Earth-like abundances of (abiotic) O 2 and O 3 . The conditions that lead to such high oxygen levels could be widespread on planets in the habitable zones of M dwarfs. Discrimination between biological and abiotic O 2 and O 3 in this case can perhaps be accomplished by noting the lack of water features in the reflectance and emission spectra of these planets, which necessitates observations at wavelengths longer than 0.95 μm

  7. DETERMINING REFLECTANCE SPECTRA OF SURFACES AND CLOUDS ON EXOPLANETS

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Cowan, Nicolas B.; Strait, Talia E., E-mail: n-cowan@northwestern.edu [Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics (CIERA), Northwestern University, 2131 Tech Dr., IL 60208 (United States)

    2013-03-01

    Planned missions will spatially resolve temperate terrestrial planets from their host star. Although reflected light from such a planet encodes information about its surface, it has not been shown how to establish surface characteristics of a planet without assuming known surfaces to begin with. We present a reanalysis of disk-integrated, time-resolved, multiband photometry of Earth obtained by the Deep Impact spacecraft as part of the EPOXI Mission of Opportunity. We extract reflectance spectra of clouds, ocean, and land without a priori knowledge of the numbers or colors of these surfaces. We show that the inverse problem of extracting surface spectra from such data is a novel and extreme instance of spectral unmixing, a well-studied problem in remote sensing. Principal component analysis is used to determine an appropriate number of model surfaces with which to interpret the data. Shrink-wrapping a simplex to the color excursions of the planet yields a conservative estimate of the planet's endmember spectra. The resulting surface maps are unphysical, however, requiring negative or larger-than-unity surface coverage at certain locations. Our ''rotational unmixing'' supersedes the endmember analysis by simultaneously solving for the surface spectra and their geographical distributions on the planet, under the assumption of diffuse reflection and known viewing geometry. We use a Markov Chain Monte Carlo to determine best-fit parameters and their uncertainties. The resulting albedo spectra are similar to clouds, ocean, and land seen through a Rayleigh-scattering atmosphere. This study suggests that future direct-imaging efforts could identify and map unknown surfaces and clouds on exoplanets.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-10-01

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

  9. UNDERSTANDING TRENDS ASSOCIATED WITH CLOUDS IN IRRADIATED EXOPLANETS

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Heng, Kevin; Demory, Brice-Olivier

    2013-01-01

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

  10. 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

    2014-04-01

    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 10(8) 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.

  11. Cassini ISS Observations of Jupiter: An Exoplanet Perspective

    Science.gov (United States)

    West, Robert A.; Knowles, Benjamin

    2017-10-01

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

  12. A HARDCORE model for constraining an exoplanet's core size

    Science.gov (United States)

    Suissa, Gabrielle; Chen, Jingjing; Kipping, David

    2018-05-01

    The interior structure of an exoplanet is hidden from direct view yet likely plays a crucial role in influencing the habitability of the Earth analogues. Inferences of the interior structure are impeded by a fundamental degeneracy that exists between any model comprising more than two layers and observations constraining just two bulk parameters: mass and radius. In this work, we show that although the inverse problem is indeed degenerate, there exists two boundary conditions that enables one to infer the minimum and maximum core radius fraction, CRFmin and CRFmax. These hold true even for planets with light volatile envelopes, but require the planet to be fully differentiated and that layers denser than iron are forbidden. With both bounds in hand, a marginal CRF can also be inferred by sampling in-between. After validating on the Earth, we apply our method to Kepler-36b and measure CRFmin = (0.50 ± 0.07), CRFmax = (0.78 ± 0.02), and CRFmarg = (0.64 ± 0.11), broadly consistent with the Earth's true CRF value of 0.55. We apply our method to a suite of hypothetical measurements of synthetic planets to serve as a sensitivity analysis. We find that CRFmin and CRFmax have recovered uncertainties proportional to the relative error on the planetary density, but CRFmarg saturates to between 0.03 and 0.16 once (Δρ/ρ) drops below 1-2 per cent. This implies that mass and radius alone cannot provide any better constraints on internal composition once bulk density constraints hit around a per cent, providing a clear target for observers.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. THE POSTERIOR DISTRIBUTION OF sin(i) VALUES FOR EXOPLANETS WITH MT sin(i) DETERMINED FROM RADIAL VELOCITY DATA

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ho, Shirley; Turner, Edwin L.

    2011-01-01

    Radial velocity (RV) observations of an exoplanet system giving a value of M T sin(i) condition (i.e., give information about) not only the planet's true mass M T but also the value of sin(i) for that system (where i is the orbital inclination angle). Thus, the value of sin(i) for a system with any particular observed value of M T sin(i) cannot be assumed to be drawn randomly from a distribution corresponding to an isotropic i distribution, i.e., the presumptive prior distribution. Rather, the posterior distribution from which it is drawn depends on the intrinsic distribution of M T for the exoplanet population being studied. We give a simple Bayesian derivation of this relationship and apply it to several 'toy models' for the intrinsic distribution of M T , on which we have significant information from available RV data in some mass ranges but little or none in others. The results show that the effect can be an important one. For example, even for simple power-law distributions of M T , the median value of sin(i) in an observed RV sample can vary between 0.860 and 0.023 (as compared to the 0.866 value for an isotropic i distribution) for indices of the power law in the range between -2 and +1, respectively. Over the same range of indices, the 95% confidence interval on M T varies from 1.0001-2.405 (α = -2) to 1.13-94.34 (α = +2) times larger than M T sin(i) due to sin(i) uncertainty alone. More complex, but still simple and plausible, distributions of M T yield more complicated and somewhat unintuitive posterior sin(i) distributions. In particular, if the M T distribution contains any characteristic mass scale M c , the posterior sin(i) distribution will depend on the ratio of M T sin(i) to M c , often in a non-trivial way. Our qualitative conclusion is that RV studies of exoplanets, both individual objects and statistical samples, should regard the sin(i) factor as more than a 'numerical constant of order unity' with simple and well-understood statistical

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Swinyard, Bruce; Tinetti, Giovanna; Tennyson, Jonathan

    2012-01-01

    by ESA in the context of a medium class mission within the Cosmic Vision programme for launch post 2020. The payload suite is required to provide simultaneous coverage from the visible to the mid-infrared and must be highly stable and effectively operate as a single instrument. In this paper we describe......The Exoplanet Characterisation Observatory (EChO) is a space mission dedicated to undertaking spectroscopy of transiting exoplanets over the widest wavelength range possible. It is based around a highly stable space platform with a 1.2 m class telescope. The mission is currently being studied...

  17. 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.

  18. Slower gait, slower information processing and smaller prefrontal area in older adults.

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Rosano, C.; Studenski, S.A.; Aizenstein, H.J.; Boudreau, R.M.; Longstreth Jr, W.T.; Newman, A.B.

    2012-01-01

    BACKGROUND: Slower gait in older adults is related to smaller volume of the prefrontal area (PFAv). The pathways underlying this association have not yet been explored. Understanding slowing gait could help improve function in older age. We examine whether the association between smaller PFAv and

  19. Smaller Cigarette Pack as a Commitment to Smoke Less? Insights from Behavioral Economics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Marti, Joachim; Sindelar, Jody

    2015-01-01

    Cigarettes are commonly sold in packs of 20 units and therefore little is known about the potential impact of pack size on consumption. Using insights from behavioral economics, we suggest that cigarette packs smaller than the standard size may help some smokers cut back and/or quit, consistent with their long-term goals. Results from an online hypothetical purchase experiment conducted in a sample of US smokers reveal that over a third of smokers are willing to pay a price premium to purchase in smaller quantities. Further, a desire to quit smoking and high self-control is associated with preference for a smaller pack. While we provide some preliminary evidence that smaller packs may be beneficial to certain types of smokers, further research should be conducted to assess whether the smaller pack size should be considered in the arsenal of tobacco control policies to help current smokers quit (JEL: I18; I12; D12) PMID:26356844

  20. Smaller Cigarette Pack as a Commitment to Smoke Less? Insights from Behavioral Economics.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Joachim Marti

    Full Text Available Cigarettes are commonly sold in packs of 20 units and therefore little is known about the potential impact of pack size on consumption. Using insights from behavioral economics, we suggest that cigarette packs smaller than the standard size may help some smokers cut back and/or quit, consistent with their long-term goals. Results from an online hypothetical purchase experiment conducted in a sample of US smokers reveal that over a third of smokers are willing to pay a price premium to purchase in smaller quantities. Further, a desire to quit smoking and high self-control is associated with preference for a smaller pack. While we provide some preliminary evidence that smaller packs may be beneficial to certain types of smokers, further research should be conducted to assess whether the smaller pack size should be considered in the arsenal of tobacco control policies to help current smokers quit (JEL: I18; I12; D12.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Marley, Mark Scott

    2016-01-01

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

  2. On the Interior of Carbon-Rich Exoplanets: New Insight from Si-C System at Ultra High Pressure

    Science.gov (United States)

    Miozzi Ferrini, F.; Morard, G.; Antonangeli, D.; Clark, A. N.; Edmund, E.; Fiquet, G.; Mezouar, M.

    2017-12-01

    The variability in the mass/radius ratio of the more than 3200 exoplanets discovered so far, is a direct consequence of the large diversity of their internal composition. Exoplanets with a mass between 1 and 10 times the mass of the Earth are typically referred to as super-Earths, and their mineralogical composition depends on that of the protoplanetary disk. The key variable in determining the chemical makeup of such planets is the C/O ratio. Values of C/O ratio smaller than 0.8 correspond to an interior dominated by silicates (e.g. terrestrial planets), whereas for C/O ratios > 0.8 the interior is enriched in carbon. In these C-rich planets, Si may form carbides instead of silicates (Duffy et al., 2015). The detection of planet 55 Cancri e, with a particularly high C/O ratio, has increased the interest in carbon-rich planets. 55 Cancri e has been modelled as a layered structure made by different assemblages of carbon, silicon and iron (Madhusudan et al., 2012). However, the accuracy of such type of models suffers the lack of experimental data on the Si - C system at extreme conditions of pressure and temperature. Experimental equations of state are limited to 80 GPa (Nisr et al., 2017) and little is known about subsolidus relation, with only one theoretical study from Wilson and Militzer (2004) at multi-megabar pressures. Here we present experiments on SiC samples by synchrotron X-ray diffraction, in laser heated diamond anvil cell between 30-200 GPa and 300-3500 K. The results show evidences of coexistence of SiC with Si or C, without the appearance of intermediate compounds. Moreover, between 60 and 75 GPa, SiC undergoes a phase transition from the zinc blend structure (B3), to the rock salt structure (B1). This phase transition, also reported in previous literature work (e.g. Daviau and Lee, 2017), corresponds to a change in the atoms coordination, and is accompanied by an important volume reduction. Acknowledgements: This work was supported by the ERC Planet

  3. The Effect of Introducing a Smaller and Lighter Basketball on Female Basketball Players’ Shot Accuracy

    Science.gov (United States)

    Podmenik, Nadja; Leskošek, Bojan; Erčulj, Frane

    2012-01-01

    Our study examined whether the introduction of a smaller and lighter basketball (no. 6) affected the accuracy of female basketball players’ shots at the basket. The International Basketball Federation (FIBA) introduced a size 6 ball in the 2004/2005 season to improve the efficiency and accuracy of technical elements, primarily shots at the basket. The sample for this study included 573 European female basketball players who were members of national teams that had qualified for the senior women’s European championships in 2001, 2003, 2005 and 2007. A size 7 (larger and heavier) basketball was used by 286 players in 1,870 matches, and a size 6 basketball was used by 287 players in 1,966 matches. The players were categorised into three playing positions: guards, forwards and centres. The results revealed that statistically significant changes by year occurred only in terms of the percentage of successful free throws. With the size 6 basketball, this percentage decreased. Statistically significant differences between the playing positions were observed in terms of the percentage of field goals worth three points (between guards and forwards) and two points (between guards and centres). The results show that the introduction of the size 6 basketball did not lead to improvement in shooting accuracy (the opposite was found for free throws), although the number of three-point shots increased. PMID:23486286

  4. IRIS: A Comprehensive Approach to Implementing Nuclear Power in Countries with Smaller Electric Grids

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Petrovic, B.; Carelli, M. D.; Sandell, L.; Storrick, G. D.; Cavlina, N.

    2008-01-01

    Many emerging markets and smaller size countries are considering the nuclear option and the deployment of their first nuclear reactor(s). However, some of their requirements and available infrastructure are quite different from those of larger countries currently employing nuclear power. Specific considerations might include: a small size electrical grid, in some cases on the order of a few GWe; limited financial resources; no nuclear experience; inadequate availability of necessary material and people infrastructure. Large nuclear power plants of 1000 MWe or greater do not provide best fit. The IRIS (International Reactor Innovative and Secure) reactor, under development by an international team of eighteen organizations from nine countries led by Westinghouse specifically addresses these needs. IRIS is an advanced PWR with integral configuration that yields a simple design with enhanced safety. The IRIS size is 335 MWe and may be deployed in single or multiple modules. It can fit almost any grid, or a small utility within a larger grid; moreover, it allows incremental power additions as needed. The capital outlay is of the order of hundreds of millions rather than a few billions dollars. Successive construction and operation of multiple modules significantly reduces the required capital resources and capital at risk with generation income from earlier plants offsetting the construction outlays of subsequent ones. This is highly desirable in both developed and emerging markets, but it may be of critical importance to the latter. IRIS safety characteristics allow for licensing with a significantly reduced size of emergency zone, a critical feature for small countries and when cogeneration is desired. In fact, IRIS is designed to produce steam for district heating, water desalination and bio-fuel generation in addition to electricity. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced in February 2008 its intention to contribute to funding the licensing of a 'Grid

  5. THE MUSCLES TREASURY SURVEY. II. INTRINSIC LY α AND EXTREME ULTRAVIOLET SPECTRA OF K AND M DWARFS WITH EXOPLANETS

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Youngblood, Allison; France, Kevin; Loyd, R. O. Parke [Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, University of Colorado, 600 UCB, Boulder, CO 80309 (United States); Linsky, Jeffrey L. [JILA, University of Colorado and NIST, 440 UCB, Boulder, CO 80309 (United States); Redfield, Seth [Astronomy Department and Van Vleck Observatory, Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT 06459-0123 (United States); Schneider, P. Christian [European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESA/ESTEC), Keplerlaan 1, 2201 AZ Noordwijk (Netherlands); Wood, Brian E. [Naval Research Laboratory, Space Science Division, Washington, DC 20375 (United States); Brown, Alexander [Center for Astrophysics and Space Astronomy, University of Colorado, 389 UCB, Boulder, CO 80309 (United States); Froning, Cynthia [Dept. of Astronomy C1400, University of Texas, Austin, TX 78712 (United States); Miguel, Yamila [Laboratoire Lagrange, Universite de Nice-Sophia Antipolis, Observatoire de la Cote d’Azur, CNRS, Blvd de l’Observatoire, CS 34229, F-06304 Nice cedex 4 (France); Rugheimer, Sarah [Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Irvine Building, University of St. Andrews, St. Andrews KY16 9AL (United Kingdom); Walkowicz, Lucianne, E-mail: allison.youngblood@colorado.edu [The Adler Planetarium, 1300 S Lakeshore Dr, Chicago, IL 60605 (United States)

    2016-06-20

    The ultraviolet (UV) spectral energy distributions (SEDs) of low-mass (K- and M-type) stars play a critical role in the heating and chemistry of exoplanet atmospheres, but are not observationally well-constrained. Direct observations of the intrinsic flux of the Ly α line (the dominant source of UV photons from low-mass stars) are challenging, as interstellar H i absorbs the entire line core for even the closest stars. To address the existing gap in empirical constraints on the UV flux of K and M dwarfs, the MUSCLES Hubble Space Telescope Treasury Survey has obtained UV observations of 11 nearby M and K dwarfs hosting exoplanets. This paper presents the Ly α and extreme-UV spectral reconstructions for the MUSCLES targets. Most targets are optically inactive, but all exhibit significant UV activity. We use a Markov Chain Monte Carlo technique to correct the observed Ly α profiles for interstellar absorption, and we employ empirical relations to compute the extreme-UV SED from the intrinsic Ly α flux in ∼100 Å bins from 100–1170 Å. The reconstructed Ly α profiles have 300 km s{sup −1} broad cores, while >1% of the total intrinsic Ly α flux is measured in extended wings between 300 and 1200 km s{sup −1}. The Ly α surface flux positively correlates with the Mg ii surface flux and negatively correlates with the stellar rotation period. Stars with larger Ly α surface flux also tend to have larger surface flux in ions formed at higher temperatures, but these correlations remain statistically insignificant in our sample of 11 stars. We also present H i column density measurements for 10 new sightlines through the local interstellar medium.

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

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

    2016-02-10

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-01-01

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

  8. 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

  9. 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.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2012-01-01

    of the host stars of 226 small exoplanet candidates discovered by NASAs Kepler mission, including objects that are comparable in size to the terrestrial planets in the Solar System. We find that planets with radii less than four Earth radii form around host stars with a wide range of metallicities (but...

  11. Traces of exomoons in flux and polarization signals of starlight reflected by exoplanets

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Berzosa Molina (student TUDelft), Javier; Stam, D.M.; Rossi, L.C.G.

    2017-01-01

    The detection of moons around extrasolar planets is one of the main focuses of current and future observatories. These silent companions contribute to the planets' observed signals but are barely detectable with current methods. Numerous gaseous exoplanets are known to orbit in the habitable zones

  12. 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.

  13. WASP-121b: An ultrahot gas-giant exoplanet with a stratosphere

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kataria, Tiffany; Evans, Thomas M.; Sing, David; Goyal, Jayesh; Nikolov, Nikolay; Wakeford, Hannah R.; Deming, Drake; Marley, Mark S.; PanCET Team

    2018-01-01

    Stratospheres are ubiquitous in the atmospheres of solar system planets, and provide crucial information about an atmosphere’s chemical composition, vertical temperature structure, and energy budget. While it has been suggested that stratospheres could form in highly irradiated exoplanets, the extent to which this occurs has so far been unresolved both theoretically and observationally. Here we present secondary eclipse observations of the ultra-hot (Teq ~ 2500 K) gas giant exoplanet WASP-121b made using HST/WFC3 in spectroscopic mode across the 1.12-1.64 micron wavelength range. The spectrum is inconsistent with an isothermal atmosphere and has spectrally-resolved water features in emission, providing a detection of an exoplanet stratosphere at 5-sigma confidence. WASP-121b is one of the standout exoplanets available for atmospheric characterization, both in transmission and emission, due to its large radius (1.8 Rjup), high temperature, and bright host star (H=9.4mag). As such, we will also discuss follow-up observations of WASP-121b with HST and JWST to probe the longitudinal extent of its stratosphere, and the molecular absorbers that may produce it.

  14. 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.

  15. Asteroseismic Determination of Obliquities of the Exoplanet Systems Kepler-50 and Kepler-65

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Chaplin, W.J.; Sanchis-Ojeda, R.; Campante, T.L.; Handberg, R.; Stello, D.; Winn, J.N.; Basu, S.; Christensen-Dalsgaard, J.; Davies, G.R.; Metcalfe, T.S.; Buchhave, L.A.; Fischer, D.A.; Bedding, T.R.; Cochran, W.D.; Elsworth, Y.; Gilliland, R.L.; Hekker, S.; Huber, D.; Isaacson, H.; Karoff, C.; Kawaler, S.D.; Kjeldsen, H.; Latham, D.W.; Lund, M.N.; Lundkvist, M.; Marcy, G.W.; Miglio, A.; Barclay, T.; Lissauer, J.J.

    2013-01-01

    Results on the obliquity of exoplanet host stars?the angle between the stellar spin axis and the planetary orbital axis?provide important diagnostic information for theories describing planetary formation. Here we present the first application of asteroseismology to the problem of stellar obliquity

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2017-01-01

    In spite of the huge advances in exoplanet research provided by the NASA Kepler Mission, there remain only a small number of transit detections around evolved stars. Here, we present a reformulation of the noise properties of red-giant stars, where the intrinsic stellar granulation and the stella...

  17. 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 obl...

  18. Limits on stellar companions to exoplanet host stars with eccentric planets

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Kane, Stephen R.; Hinkel, Natalie R.; Howell, Steve B.; Horch, Elliott P.; Feng, Ying; Wright, Jason T.; Ciardi, David R.; Everett, Mark E.; Howard, Andrew W.

    2014-01-01

    Though there are now many hundreds of confirmed exoplanets known, the binarity of exoplanet host stars is not well understood. This is particularly true of host stars that harbor a giant planet in a highly eccentric orbit since these are more likely to have had a dramatic dynamical history that transferred angular momentum to the planet. Here we present observations of four exoplanet host stars that utilize the excellent resolving power of the Differential Speckle Survey Instrument on the Gemini North telescope. Two of the stars are giants and two are dwarfs. Each star is host to a giant planet with an orbital eccentricity >0.5 and whose radial velocity (RV) data contain a trend in the residuals to the Keplerian orbit fit. These observations rule out stellar companions 4-8 mag fainter than the host star at passbands of 692 nm and 880 nm. The resolution and field of view of the instrument result in exclusion radii of 0.''05-1.''4, which excludes stellar companions within several AU of the host star in most cases. We further provide new RVs for the HD 4203 system that confirm that the linear trend previously observed in the residuals is due to an additional planet. These results place dynamical constraints on the source of the planet's eccentricities, place constraints on additional planetary companions, and inform the known distribution of multiplicity amongst exoplanet host stars.

  19. 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.

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2017-01-01

    Current observations of the atmospheres of close-in exoplanets are predominantly obtained with two techniques: low-resolution spectroscopy with space telescopes and high-resolution spectroscopy from the ground. Although the observables delivered by the two methods are in principle highly

  1. 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

  2. Geometric effects on the flux and polarization signals of Jupiter-sized exoplanets

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Palmer (student TUDelft), Chris; Rossi, L.C.G.; Stam, D.M.

    2017-01-01

    The direct detection of reflected starlight from exoplanets marks the beginning of a new era in the characterization of extrasolar planetary atmospheres. The flux and in particular the linear polarization signals from such planets are sensitive to atmospheric structure and composition, but other

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2014-01-01

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

  4. 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

  5. Increased expression and altered methylation of HERVWE1 in the human placentas of smaller fetuses from monozygotic, dichorionic, discordant twins.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Yu Gao

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: The human endogenous retroviral family W, Env(C7, member 1 gene (HERVWE1 is thought to participate in trophoblast cell fusion, and its expression is diminished in the placentas of singleton intrauterine growth-retarded pregnancies. However, there is limited information about the role of HERVWE1 in discordant fetal growth in twins. This study was to compare HERVWE1 gene expression between the placentas of discordant monozygotic twins and to identify its regulation by methylation. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Fetuses from twenty-one pairs of monozygotic, dichorionic, discordant twins were marked as "smaller" or "larger" according to birth weight. Placental HERVWE1 mRNA and protein expression profiles were analyzed using quantitative RT-PCR and immunohistochemistry (IHC staining. Methylation profiles of the HERVWE1 promoter region were analyzed using a pyrosequencing assay. DNA methyltransferase (DNMT transcript levels were analyzed by RT-PCR. 5-methyl cytosine (5-MC was stained using an immunohistochemical assay. There was a significant negative correlation between HERVWE1 mRNA levels and birth weight in twins (P0.05. The DNMT3b3 mRNA levels in the smaller group were significantly downregulated compared with the larger group in discordant twins(P<0.05, whereas the DNMT3b7 mRNA levels in the smaller group were significantly upregulated compared with the larger group in discordant twins(P<0.05. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: In discordant, monozygotic, dichorionic twins, HERVWE1 expression was higher in smaller fetuses and lower in larger fetuses. Methylation of the HERVWE1 gene promoter region may participate in the regulation of HERVWE1 gene expression in discordant twin pregnancies.

  6. Any effects of social orientation priming on object-location memory are smaller than initially reported.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Drouin, Héloïse; Davidson, Patrick S R

    2015-12-01

    It has previously been reported that priming a collectivistic social orientation (compared with an individualistic one) boosts object-location memory (Kühnen & Oyserman, 2002; Oyserman, Sorensen, Reber, & Chen, 2009). We conducted 4 experiments to replicate this reported effect, using the same methods as in those initial reports. In Experiment 1 (n = 145), we found a hint of a priming effect on object-location memory, but also an unanticipated interaction between priming and gender. In Experiment 2 (n = 90), we included gender as a formal factor and doubled the "dosage" of the priming, yet did not see any priming effects on memory. In Experiment 3 (n = 101), we octupled the priming "dosage" and again saw no significant effects on memory. Finally, in Experiment 4 (n = 102), we performed an exact replication of the methods of the original reports and again found no priming effects on memory. Any effects of this type of social orientation priming on object-location memory appear to be smaller and/or less robust than initially thought. (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved).

  7. High proportion of smaller ranged hummingbird species coincides with ecological specialization across the Americas

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Sonne, Jesper; Martín González, Ana M.; Maruyama, Pietro K.

    2016-01-01

    Ecological communities that experience stable climate conditions have been speculated to preserve more specialized interspecific associations and have higher proportions of smaller ranged species (SRS). Thus, areas with disproportionally large numbers of SRS are expected to coincide geographicall...

  8. Evidence for smaller right amygdala volumes in posttraumatic stress disorder following childhood trauma

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Veer, I.M.; Oei, N.Y.L.; van Buchem, M.A.; Spinhoven, Ph.; Elzinga, B.M.; Rombouts, S.A.R.B.

    2015-01-01

    Hippocampus and amygdala volumes in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) related to childhood trauma are relatively understudied, albeit the potential importance to the disorder. Whereas some studies reported smaller hippocampal volumes, little evidence was found for abnormal amygdala volumes. Here

  9. A FALSE POSITIVE FOR OCEAN GLINT ON EXOPLANETS: THE LATITUDE-ALBEDO EFFECT

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Cowan, Nicolas B.; Abbot, Dorian S.; Voigt, Aiko

    2012-01-01

    Identifying liquid water on the surface of planets is a high priority, as this traditionally defines habitability. One proposed signature of oceans is specular reflection ('glint'), which increases the apparent albedo of a planet at crescent phases. We post-process a global climate model of an Earth-like planet to simulate reflected light curves. Significantly, we obtain glint-like phase variations even though we do not include specular reflection in our model. This false positive is the product of two generic properties: (1) for modest obliquities, a planet's poles receive less orbit-averaged stellar flux than its equator, so the poles are more likely to be covered in highly reflective snow and ice; and (2) we show that reflected light from a modest-obliquity planet at crescent phases probes higher latitudes than at gibbous phases, therefore a planet's apparent albedo will naturally increase at crescent phase. We suggest that this 'latitude-albedo effect' will operate even for large obliquities: in that case the equator receives less orbit-averaged flux than the poles, and the equator is preferentially sampled at crescent phase. Using rotational and orbital color variations to map the surfaces of directly imaged planets and estimate their obliquity will therefore be a necessary pre-condition for properly interpreting their reflected phase variations. The latitude-albedo effect is a particularly convincing glint false positive for zero-obliquity planets, and such worlds are not amenable to latitudinal mapping. This effect severely limits the utility of specular reflection for detecting oceans on exoplanets.

  10. Tidal Heating of Earth-like Exoplanets around M Stars: Thermal, Magnetic, and Orbital Evolutions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Driscoll, P E; Barnes, R

    2015-09-01

    The internal thermal and magnetic evolution of rocky exoplanets is critical to their habitability. We focus on the thermal-orbital evolution of Earth-mass planets around low-mass M stars whose radiative habitable zone overlaps with the "tidal zone," where tidal dissipation is expected to be a significant heat source in the interior. We develop a thermal-orbital evolution model calibrated to Earth that couples tidal dissipation, with a temperature-dependent Maxwell rheology, to orbital circularization and migration. We illustrate thermal-orbital steady states where surface heat flow is balanced by tidal dissipation and cooling can be stalled for billions of years until circularization occurs. Orbital energy dissipated as tidal heat in the interior drives both inward migration and circularization, with a circularization time that is inversely proportional to the dissipation rate. We identify a peak in the internal dissipation rate as the mantle passes through a viscoelastic state at mantle temperatures near 1800 K. Planets orbiting a 0.1 solar-mass star within 0.07 AU circularize before 10 Gyr, independent of initial eccentricity. Once circular, these planets cool monotonically and maintain dynamos similar to that of Earth. Planets forced into eccentric orbits can experience a super-cooling of the core and rapid core solidification, inhibiting dynamo action for planets in the habitable zone. We find that tidal heating is insignificant in the habitable zone around 0.45 (or larger) solar-mass stars because tidal dissipation is a stronger function of orbital distance than stellar mass, and the habitable zone is farther from larger stars. Suppression of the planetary magnetic field exposes the atmosphere to stellar wind erosion and the surface to harmful radiation. In addition to weak magnetic fields, massive melt eruption rates and prolonged magma oceans may render eccentric planets in the habitable zone of low-mass stars inhospitable for life.

  11. POPULATION PROPERTIES OF BROWN DWARF ANALOGS TO EXOPLANETS

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    2016-01-01

    temperatures, which logically extends into the lowest-mass, directly imaged exoplanets. Furthermore, there is an indication on color-magnitude diagrams (CMDs; such as M J versus (J – W 2)) of increasingly redder sequences separated by gravity classification, although it is not consistent across all CMD combinations. Examining bolometric luminosities for planets and low-gravity objects, we confirm that (in general) young M dwarfs are overluminous while young L dwarfs are normal compared to the field. Using model extracted radii, this translates into normal to slightly warmer M dwarf temperatures compared to the field sequence and lower temperatures for L dwarfs with no obvious correlation with the assigned moving group.

  12. Measurement of smaller colon polyp in CT colonography images using morphological image processing.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Manjunath, K N; Siddalingaswamy, P C; Prabhu, G K

    2017-11-01

    Automated measurement of the size and shape of colon polyps is one of the challenges in Computed tomography colonography (CTC). The objective of this retrospective study was to improve the sensitivity and specificity of smaller polyp measurement in CTC using image processing techniques. A domain knowledge-based method has been implemented with hybrid method of colon segmentation, morphological image processing operators for detecting the colonic structures, and the decision-making system for delineating the smaller polyp-based on a priori knowledge. The method was applied on 45 CTC dataset. The key finding was that the smaller polyps were accurately measured. In addition to 6-9 mm range, polyps of even processing. It takes [Formula: see text] min for measuring the smaller polyp in a dataset of 500 CTC images. With this method, [Formula: see text] and [Formula: see text] were achieved. The domain-based approach with morphological image processing has given good results. The smaller polyps were measured accurately which helps in making right clinical decisions. Qualitatively and quantitatively the results were acceptable when compared to the ground truth at [Formula: see text].

  13. Fewer but not smaller schools in declining fish and krill populations.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brierley, Andrew S; Cox, Martin J

    2015-01-05

    Many pelagic species (species that live in the water column), including herring and krill, aggregate to form schools, shoals, or swarms (hereafter simply "schools," although the words are not synonyms). Schools provide benefits to individual members, including locomotory economy and protection from predators that prey on individuals, but paradoxically make schooling species energetically viable and commercially attractive targets for predators of groups and for fishers. Large schools are easier to find and yield greater prey/catch than small schools, and there is a requirement from fields as diverse as theoretical ecology and fisheries management to understand whether and how aggregation sizes change with changing population size. We collated data from vertical echosounder surveys of taxonomically diverse pelagic stocks from geographically diverse ecosystems. The data contain common significant positive linear stock-biomass to school-number relationships. They show that the numbers of schools in the stocks change with changing stock biomass and suggest that the distributions of school sizes do not change with stock biomass. New data that we collected using a multibeam sonar, which can image entire schools, contained the same stock-biomass to school-number relationship and confirm that the distribution of school sizes is not related to changing stock size: put simply, as stocks decline, individuals are distributed among fewer schools, not smaller schools. Since school characteristics affect catchability (the ease or difficulty with which fishers can capture target species) and availability of prey to predators, our findings have commercial and ecological implications, particularly within the aspirational framework of ecosystem-based management of marine systems. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  14. Poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) (PEDOT) polymer coatings facilitate smaller neural recording electrodes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ludwig, Kip A.; Langhals, Nicholas B.; Joseph, Mike D.; Richardson-Burns, Sarah M.; Hendricks, Jeffrey L.; Kipke, Daryl R.

    2011-02-01

    We investigated using poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) (PEDOT) to lower the impedance of small, gold recording electrodes with initial impedances outside of the effective recording range. Smaller electrode sites enable more densely packed arrays, increasing the number of input and output channels to and from the brain. Moreover, smaller electrode sizes promote smaller probe designs; decreasing the dimensions of the implanted probe has been demonstrated to decrease the inherent immune response, a known contributor to the failure of long-term implants. As expected, chronically implanted control electrodes were unable to record well-isolated unit activity, primarily as a result of a dramatically increased noise floor. Conversely, electrodes coated with PEDOT consistently recorded high-quality neural activity, and exhibited a much lower noise floor than controls. These results demonstrate that PEDOT coatings enable electrode designs 15 µm in diameter.

  15. Wake flow behaviour behind a smaller cylinder oscillating in the wake of an upstream stationary cylinder

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Gao, Yangyang; Sun, Zhilin [Ocean College, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310058 (China); Tan, Danielle S [Maritime Research Centre, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore 639798 (Singapore); Yu, Dingyong [College of Engineering, Ocean University of China, 266100 (China); Tan, Soon Keat, E-mail: yygao@zju.edu.cn [Nanyang Environment and Water Research Institute, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore 639798 (Singapore)

    2014-04-01

    The flow patterns around a cylinder oscillating freely in the wake of a larger cylinder upstream were investigated using the particle image velocimetry technique. The upstream cylinder was fixed at both ends while the downstream smaller cylinder was held by springs such that it was free to oscillate in the transverse direction. The flow patterns, amplitudes of oscillation and vortex shedding frequencies were compared with those of a single cylinder. In the presence of the upstream cylinder, the three parameters characterizing the oscillation response of the smaller cylinder—amplitude of oscillation, vortex shedding frequency and Reynolds stresses—were greatly reduced. While their magnitude increased with gap ratio, these three parameters were still smaller than the corresponding magnitudes for a single oscillating cylinder. The peak values of turbulence statistics such as Reynolds shear stress and normal stress behind the oscillating downstream cylinder were similarly reduced, and increased with gap ratios. (paper)

  16. Opportunities for smaller engineering companies despite globalization. Chancen kleiner Ingenieurbueros trotz Globalisierung

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Lorentzen, P. (IPL Ingenieurbuero Peter Lorentzen, Frankfurt am Main (Germany))

    1999-06-01

    The trend to size is escalating into gigantism. The biggest in the branch merge to become the oversized. In view of this situation, the question which arises is what are the survival chances of the smaller players Will they all drop out of the running The answer to this question does not only concern the future order books of smaller companies, but in conjunction therewith and predominately the social security of employees, type and scope of assignments as well as the competitive situation and the consequences of all these on remuneration. (orig.)

  17. Increased Expression and Altered Methylation of HERVWE1 in the Human Placentas of Smaller Fetuses from Monozygotic, Dichorionic, Discordant Twins

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Zilian; Luo, Yanmin; Sun, Hongyu; Zhou, Yi; Huang, Linhuan; Li, Manchao; Fang, Qun; Jiang, Shiwen

    2012-01-01

    Background The human endogenous retroviral family W, Env(C7), member 1 gene (HERVWE1) is thought to participate in trophoblast cell fusion, and its expression is diminished in the placentas of singleton intrauterine growth-retarded pregnancies. However, there is limited information about the role of HERVWE1 in discordant fetal growth in twins. This study was to compare HERVWE1 gene expression between the placentas of discordant monozygotic twins and to identify its regulation by methylation. Methodology/Principal Findings Fetuses from twenty-one pairs of monozygotic, dichorionic, discordant twins were marked as “smaller” or “larger” according to birth weight. Placental HERVWE1 mRNA and protein expression profiles were analyzed using quantitative RT-PCR and immunohistochemistry (IHC) staining. Methylation profiles of the HERVWE1 promoter region were analyzed using a pyrosequencing assay. DNA methyltransferase (DNMT) transcript levels were analyzed by RT-PCR. 5-methyl cytosine (5-MC) was stained using an immunohistochemical assay. There was a significant negative correlation between HERVWE1 mRNA levels and birth weight in twins (P0.05). The DNMT3b3 mRNA levels in the smaller group were significantly downregulated compared with the larger group in discordant twins(P<0.05), whereas the DNMT3b7 mRNA levels in the smaller group were significantly upregulated compared with the larger group in discordant twins(P<0.05). Conclusions/Significance In discordant, monozygotic, dichorionic twins, HERVWE1 expression was higher in smaller fetuses and lower in larger fetuses. Methylation of the HERVWE1 gene promoter region may participate in the regulation of HERVWE1 gene expression in discordant twin pregnancies. PMID:22457770

  18. Smaller Anterior Cruciate Ligament Diameter Is a Predictor of Subjects Prone to Ligament Injuries: An Ultrasound Study

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Parag Suresh Mahajan

    2015-01-01

    Full Text Available Purpose. To test if diameter of normal anterior cruciate ligament (ACL can be measured by ultrasound (US, to see if there is a relationship between smaller ACL diameter and ACL injury, and to assess agreement between radiologists in measuring ACL diameter in cases and matched controls. Materials and Methods. In this ethics committee-approved study, maximum diameter of ACL near tibial insertion site was measured by static and dynamic US study in 25 normal contralateral knees of subjects who suffered noncontact ACL injury and in 25 matched control subjects. Results. ACL was visualized as a thick linear hypoechoic band inserted approximately 11 mm caudal to the tibial plateau and the intercondylar eminence. Maximum diameter of contralateral ACL near tibial insertion site among injured subjects was significantly smaller than in noninjured subjects (0.62 ± 0.07 cm versus 0.81 ± 0.06 cm; P<0.0001. In the regression analysis, the diameter of ACL near tibial insertion site was found significantly proportional to body weight and not significantly associated to height, gender, and age. Conclusion. Diameter of normal ACL near tibial insertion site can be measured by US and the maximum diameter is significantly smaller among subjects with noncontact ACL injury. US is a promising modality that can be used as an excellent screening test to detect subjects especially aspiring athletes prone to ACL injury. Very strong agreement was observed between radiologists in measuring ACL diameter.

  19. Detection of smaller Jc region and damage in YBCO coated conductors by using permanent magnet method

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Hattori, K.; Saito, A.; Takano, Y.; Suzuki, T.; Yamada, H.; Takayama, T.; Kamitani, A.; Ohshima, S.

    2011-01-01

    We developed a non-destructive method for measuring the critical current density (J c ) in YBCO-coated conductors by using a permanent magnet (Sm 2 Co 17 ). J c could be determined from the repulsive force (F r ) generated between a permanent magnet and a coated conductor where shielding current flows. We also examined the influence of damage to the film on the J c distribution. The measured F r when the permanent magnet approached the cut part was smaller than that of the undamaged area. We developed a non-destructive method for measuring the critical current density (J c ) in YBCO-coated conductors by using a permanent magnet (Sm 2 Co 17 ). J c could be determined from the repulsive force (F r ) generated between a permanent magnet and a coated conductor where shielding current flows. We tried to detect a smaller J c region in the coated conductor by using the system. The J c distribution could be determined without influence from the thick copper film on YBCO thin film. We also examined the influence of damage to the film on the J c distribution. The surface of the coated conductors was cut by using a knife. The measured F r when the permanent magnet approached the cut part was smaller than that of the undamaged area. This J c measurement technique will be useful for detecting smaller J c regions and defects in coated conductors.

  20. An Investigation of Higher-Order Thinking Skills in Smaller Learning Community Social Studies Classrooms

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fischer, Christopher; Bol, Linda; Pribesh, Shana

    2011-01-01

    This study investigated the extent to which higher-order thinking skills are promoted in social studies classes in high schools that are implementing smaller learning communities (SLCs). Data collection in this mixed-methods study included classroom observations and in-depth interviews. Findings indicated that higher-order thinking was rarely…

  1. A nerve stimulation method to selectively recruit smaller motor-units in rat skeletal muscle

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    van Bolhuis, A.I.; Holsheimer, J.; Savelsberg, H.H.C.M.

    2001-01-01

    Electrical stimulation of peripheral nerve results in a motor-unit recruitment order opposite to that attained by natural neural control, i.e. from large, fast-fatiguing to progressively smaller, fatigue-resistant motor-units. Yet animal studies involving physiological exercise protocols of low

  2. On the Measurements of Particles Smaller than 20 μM by Global Rainbow Refractometry

    Science.gov (United States)

    Saengkaew, S.; Bonin, D.; Gréh, G.

    2007-06-01

    The measurement of the thermo-chemical characteristics of particles under evaporation or cooling is a challenge. Among others techniques, Global Rainbow Refractometry (GRR) is potentially applicable to a large variety of realistic media. This paper is focused on refractive index measurements of particles smaller than 20 μm which are especially important to extract droplet temperature in spray combustion.

  3. Honors Programs at Smaller Colleges. 3rd Edition. National Collegiate Honors Council Monograph Series

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schuman, Samuel

    2011-01-01

    This monograph focuses upon areas of special concern to those working with honors at smaller colleges and universities: mission, recruitment, facilities, administration, budget, and curriculum. In each area, the author makes some general suggestions about overall operating principles, note specific issues that can lead to difficulties, and suggest…

  4. Kicking velocity and effect on match performance when using a smaller, lighter ball in women's football

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Andersen, Thomas B.; Krustrup, Peter; Bendiksen, Mads

    2016-01-01

    The present study evaluated the effect of a smaller, lighter ball on kicking speed and technical-tactical and physical match performance in high-level adult female footballers. In the laboratory test setting, the peak ball velocity was 6% higher with the new ball (NB) than the standard ball (SB...

  5. Smaller socioeconomic inequalities in health among women: the role of employment status

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Stronks, K.; van de Mheen, H.; van den Bos, J.; Mackenbach, J. P.

    1995-01-01

    Socioeconomic inequalities in health are smaller among women than among men. In this paper, it is hypothesized that this is due to a gender difference in employment status. We used data from the baseline of a Dutch longitudinal study. The socioeconomic indicators were educational level of the

  6. 13 CFR 120.215 - What interest rates apply to smaller loans?

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-01-01

    ... 13 Business Credit and Assistance 1 2010-01-01 2010-01-01 false What interest rates apply to... BUSINESS LOANS Policies Specific to 7(a) Loans Maturities; Interest Rates; Loan and Guarantee Amounts § 120.215 What interest rates apply to smaller loans? For a loan over $25,000 but not exceeding $50,000, the...

  7. Smaller Is More Personal, and the Personal Gets Results. The Editor Reflects.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Erb, Tom

    2001-01-01

    Summarizes growing body of evidence relating small school size at elementary and middle grades to positive student outcomes. Notes that positive outcomes associated with small size relate to teacher commitment and effectiveness as well as student attachment, persistence, and performance. Concludes that smaller, more intimate schools are better…

  8. 75 FR 37779 - Office of Elementary and Secondary Education; Smaller Learning Communities Program; Notice...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-06-30

    ... DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION [CFDA No. 84.215L] Office of Elementary and Secondary Education; Smaller...-Marshall, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., room 3E308, Washington, DC 20202-6200..., in text or Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) on the Internet at the following site: http://www.ed...

  9. The role of interpretation in the internationalization of smaller brazilian firms

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    R.W. Seifert (Ralf); J. Child (John); S.B. Rodrigues (Suzana)

    2012-01-01

    textabstractAbstract This study considers how decision-makers in smaller firms interpret the means and conditions of internationalization, and how different modes of interpretation are likely to inform action choices in this process. Drawing on 58 qualitative interviews with the leaders of

  10. What Research Tells Us about the Impact and Challenges of Smaller Learning Communities

    Science.gov (United States)

    Levine, Thomas H.

    2010-01-01

    In the United States, considerable financial and human resources have been devoted to breaking some large high schools into smaller learning communities (SLCs). This article reviews research that compares SLCs to comprehensive high schools on a variety of measures. Extant research neither supports nor refutes the promise of SLCs to improve…

  11. Smaller hippocampal volume as a vulnerability factor for the persistence of post-traumatic stress disorder

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    van Rooij, S J H; Kennis, M; Sjouwerman, R; van den Heuvel, M P; Kahn, R S; Geuze, E

    2015-01-01

    BACKGROUND: Smaller hippocampal volume has often been observed in patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, there is no consensus whether this is a result of stress/trauma exposure, or constitutes a vulnerability factor for the development of PTSD. Second, it is unclear whether

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stoeckel, Gerhard P.; Doyle, Keith B.

    2017-08-01

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

  13. kepler's dark worlds: A low albedo for an ensemble of Neptunian and Terran exoplanets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jansen, Tiffany; Kipping, David

    2018-05-01

    Photometric phase curves provide an important window onto exoplanetary atmospheres and potentially even their surfaces. With similar amplitudes to occultations but far longer baselines, they have a higher sensitivity to planetary photons at the expense of a more challenging data reduction in terms of long-term stability. In this work, we introduce a novel non-parametric algorithm dubbed phasma to produce clean, robust exoplanet phase curves and apply it to 115 Neptunian and 50 Terran exoplanets observed by kepler. We stack the signals to further improve signal-to-noise, and measure an average Neptunian albedo of Ag greenhouse effect, our work implies that kepler's solid planets are unlikely to resemble cloudy Venusian analogs, but rather dark Mercurian rocks.

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    2010-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-01-01

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

  16. Smaller hippocampal volume as a vulnerability factor for the persistence of post-traumatic stress disorder.

    Science.gov (United States)

    van Rooij, S J H; Kennis, M; Sjouwerman, R; van den Heuvel, M P; Kahn, R S; Geuze, E

    2015-10-01

    Smaller hippocampal volume has often been observed in patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, there is no consensus whether this is a result of stress/trauma exposure, or constitutes a vulnerability factor for the development of PTSD. Second, it is unclear whether hippocampal volume normalizes with successful treatment of PTSD, or whether a smaller hippocampus is a risk factor for the persistence of PTSD. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans and clinical interviews were collected from 47 war veterans with PTSD, 25 healthy war veterans (combat controls) and 25 healthy non-military controls. All veterans were scanned a second time with a 6- to 8-month interval, during which PTSD patients received trauma-focused therapy. Based on post-treatment PTSD symptoms, patients were divided into a PTSD group who was in remission (n = 22) and a group in whom PTSD symptoms persisted (n = 22). MRI data were analysed with Freesurfer. Smaller left hippocampal volume was observed in PTSD patients compared with both control groups. Hippocampal volume of the combat controls did not differ from healthy controls. Second, pre- and post-treatment analyses of the PTSD patients and combat controls revealed reduced (left) hippocampal volume only in the persistent patients at both time points. Importantly, hippocampal volume did not change with treatment. Our findings suggest that a smaller (left) hippocampus is not the result of stress/trauma exposure. Furthermore, hippocampal volume does not increase with successful treatment. Instead, we demonstrate for the first time that a smaller (left) hippocampus constitutes a risk factor for the persistence of PTSD.

  17. HIV Distal Neuropathic Pain Is Associated with Smaller Ventral Posterior Cingulate Cortex.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Keltner, John R; Connolly, Colm G; Vaida, Florin; Jenkinson, Mark; Fennema-Notestine, Christine; Archibald, Sarah; Akkari, Cherine; Schlein, Alexandra; Lee, Jisu; Wang, Dongzhe; Kim, Sung; Li, Han; Rennels, Austin; Miller, David J; Kesidis, George; Franklin, Donald R; Sanders, Chelsea; Corkran, Stephanie; Grant, Igor; Brown, Gregory G; Atkinson, J Hampton; Ellis, Ronald J

    2017-03-01

    . Despite modern antiretroviral therapy, HIV-associated neuropathy is one of the most prevalent, disabling and treatment-resistant complications of HIV disease. The presence and intensity of distal neuropathic pain is not fully explained by the degree of peripheral nerve damage. A better understanding of brain structure in HIV distal neuropathic pain may help explain why some patients with HIV neuropathy report pain while the majority does not. Previously, we reported that more intense distal neuropathic pain was associated with smaller total cerebral cortical gray matter volumes. The objective of this study was to determine which parts of the cortex are smaller. . HIV positive individuals with and without distal neuropathic pain enrolled in the multisite (N = 233) CNS HIV Antiretroviral Treatment Effects (CHARTER) study underwent structural brain magnetic resonance imaging. Voxel-based morphometry was used to investigate regional brain volumes in these structural brain images. . Left ventral posterior cingulate cortex was smaller for HIV positive individuals with versus without distal neuropathic pain (peak P  = 0.017; peak t = 5.15; MNI coordinates x = -6, y = -54, z = 20). Regional brain volumes within cortical gray matter structures typically associated with pain processing were also smaller for HIV positive individuals having higher intensity ratings of distal neuropathic pain. . The posterior cingulate is thought to be involved in inhibiting the perception of painful stimuli. Mechanistically a smaller posterior cingulate cortex structure may be related to reduced anti-nociception contributing to increased distal neuropathic pain. © 2016 American Academy of Pain Medicine. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. Exoplanet atmospheres: a brand-new and rapidly expanding research field

    Science.gov (United States)

    López-Morales, M.

    2011-11-01

    The field of exoplanets is quickly expanding from just the detectionof new planets and the measurement of their most basic parameters,such as mass, radius and orbital configuration, to the firstmeasurements of their atmospheric characteristics, such astemperature, chemical composition, albedo, dynamics andstructure. Here I will overview some the main findings on exoplanetatmospheres until September 2010, first from space and just in thepast two years also from the ground.

  1. 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.

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

    OpenAIRE

    Alp, Dennis; Demory, Brice-Olivier

    2017-01-01

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

  3. Relative stellar occurrence of exoplanets in habitable zones of the main sequence F, G, K stars

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Pintr, Pavel; Peřinová, V.; Lukš, A.; Pathak, A.

    2014-01-01

    Roč. 99, sept2014 (2014), s. 1-6 ISSN 0032-0633 R&D Projects: GA MŠk(CZ) ED2.1.00/03.0079 Institutional support: RVO:61389021 Keywords : Exoplanets * Methods: statistical * Stars: planetary systems Subject RIV: BN - Astronomy, Celestial Mechanics, Astrophysics Impact factor: 1.875, year: 2014 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S003206331400172X#

  4. Magnetic fields in Earth-like exoplanets and implications for habitability around M-dwarfs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    López-Morales, Mercedes; Gómez-Pérez, Natalia; Ruedas, Thomas

    2011-12-01

    We present estimations of dipolar magnetic moments for terrestrial exoplanets using the Olson & Christiansen (EPS Lett 250:561-571, 2006) scaling law and assuming their interior structure is similar to Earth. We find that the dipolar moment of fast rotating planets (where the Coriolis force dominates convection in the core), may amount up to ~80 times the magnetic moment of Earth, M ⊕, for at least part of the planets' lifetime. For slow rotating planets (where the force of inertia dominates), the dipolar magnetic moment only reaches up to ~1.5 M [symbol in text]. Applying our calculations to confirmed rocky exoplanets, we find that CoRoT-7b, Kepler-10b and 55 Cnc e can sustain dynamos up to ~18, 15 and 13 M [symbol in text], respectively. Our results also indicate that the magnetic moment of rocky exoplanets not only depends on rotation rate, but also on their formation history, thermal state, age, composition, and the geometry of the field. These results apply to all rocky planets, but have important implications for the particular case of planets in the Habitable Zone of M-dwarfs.

  5. Results of the astrometry and direct imaging testbed for exoplanet detection

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bendek, Eduardo A.; Belikov, Ruslan; Pluzhnik, Eugene; Guyon, Olivier; Milster, Thomas; Johnson, Lee; Finan, Emily; Knight, Justin; Rodack, Alexander

    2017-09-01

    Measuring masses of long-period planets around F, G, and K stars is necessary to characterize exoplanets and assess their habitability. Imaging stellar astrometry offers a unique opportunity to solve radial velocity system inclination ambiguity and determine exoplanet masses. The main limiting factor in sparse-field astrometry, besides photon noise, is the non-systematic dynamic distortions that arise from perturbations in the optical train. Even space optics suffer from dynamic distortions in the optical system at the sub-μas level. To overcome this limitation we propose a diffractive pupil that uses an array of dots on the primary mirror creating polychromatic diffraction spikes in the focal plane, which are used to calibrate the distortions in the optical system. By combining this technology with a high-performance coronagraph, measurements of planetary systems orbits and masses can be obtained faster and more accurately than by applying traditional techniques separately. In this paper, we present the results of the combined astrometry and and highcontrast imaging experiments performed at NASA Ames Research Center as part of a Technology Development for Exoplanet Missions program. We demonstrated 2.38x10-5 λ/D astrometric accuracy per axis and 1.72x10-7 raw contrast from 1.6 to 4.5 λ/D. In addition, using a simple average subtraction post-processing we demonstrated no contamination of the coronagraph field down to 4.79x10-9 raw contrast.

  6. Science Parametrics for Missions to Search for Earth-like Exoplanets by Direct Imaging

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brown, Robert A.

    2015-01-01

    We use Nt , the number of exoplanets observed in time t, as a science metric to study direct-search missions like Terrestrial Planet Finder. In our model, N has 27 parameters, divided into three categories: 2 astronomical, 7 instrumental, and 18 science-operational. For various "27-vectors" of those parameters chosen to explore parameter space, we compute design reference missions to estimate Nt . Our treatment includes the recovery of completeness c after a search observation, for revisits, solar and antisolar avoidance, observational overhead, and follow-on spectroscopy. Our baseline 27-vector has aperture D = 16 m, inner working angle IWA = 0.039'', mission time t = 0-5 yr, occurrence probability for Earth-like exoplanets η = 0.2, and typical values for the remaining 23 parameters. For the baseline case, a typical five-year design reference mission has an input catalog of ~4700 stars with nonzero completeness, ~1300 unique stars observed in ~2600 observations, of which ~1300 are revisits, and it produces N 1 ~ 50 exoplanets after one year and N 5 ~ 130 after five years. We explore offsets from the baseline for 10 parameters. We find that N depends strongly on IWA and only weakly on D. It also depends only weakly on zodiacal light for Z end-to-end efficiency for h > 0.2, and scattered starlight for ζ revisits, solar and antisolar avoidance, and follow-on spectroscopy are all important factors in estimating N.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-06-01

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

  8. Verify Occulter Deployment Tolerances as Part of NASA's Technology Development for Exoplanet Missions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kasdin, N. J.; Shaklan, S.; Lisman, D.; Thomson, M.; Webb, D.; Cady, E.; Marks, G. W.; Lo, A.

    2013-01-01

    In support of NASA's Exoplanet Exploration Program and the Technology Development for Exoplanet Missions (TDEM), we recently completed a 2 year study of the manufacturability and metrology of starshade petals. An external occult is a satellite employing a large screen, or starshade, that flies in formation with a spaceborne telescope to provide the starlight suppression needed for detecting and characterizing exoplanets. Among the advantages of using an occulter are the broadband allowed for characterization and the removal of light before entering the observatory, greatly relaxing the requirements on the telescope and instrument. This poster presents the results of our successful first TDEM that demonstrated an occulter petal could be built and measured to an accuracy consistent with close to 10^-10 contrast. We also present the progress in our second TDEM to demonstrate the next critical technology milestone: precision deployment of the central truss and petals to the necessary accuracy. We have completed manufacture of four sub-scale petals and a central hub to fit with an existing deployable truss. We show the plans for repeated stow and deploy tests of the assembly and the metrology to confirm that each deploy repeatably meets the absolute positioning requirements of the petals (better than 1.0 mm).

  9. Verifying occulter deployment tolerances as part of NASA's technology development for exoplanet missions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kasdin, N. J.; Lisman, D.; Shaklan, S.; Thomson, M.; Webb, D.; Cady, E.; Marks, G. W.; Lo, A.

    2013-09-01

    An external occulter is a satellite employing a large screen, or starshade, that flies in formation with a spaceborne telescope to provide the starlight suppression needed for detecting and characterizing exoplanets. Among the advantages of using an occulter are the broadband allowed for characterization and the removal of light before entering the observatory, greatly relaxing the requirements on the telescope and instrument. In support of NASA's Exoplanet Exploration Program and the Technology Development for Exoplanet Missions (TDEM), we recently completed a 2 year study of the manufacturability and metrology of starshade petals. In this paper we review the results of that successful first TDEM which demonstrated an occulter petal could be built and measured to an accuracy consistent with close to 10-10 contrast. We then present the results of our second TDEM to demonstrate the next critical technology milestone: precision deployment of the central truss and petals to the necessary accuracy. We show the deployment of an existing deployable truss outfitted with four sub-scale petals and a custom designed central hub.

  10. The Palaeoclimate and Terrestrial Exoplanet Radiative Transfer Model Intercomparison Project (PALAEOTRIP: experimental design and protocols

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    C. Goldblatt

    2017-11-01

    Full Text Available Accurate radiative transfer calculation is fundamental to all climate modelling. For deep palaeoclimate, and increasingly terrestrial exoplanet climate science, this brings both the joy and the challenge of exotic atmospheric compositions. The challenge here is that most standard radiation codes for climate modelling have been developed for modern atmospheric conditions and may perform poorly away from these. The palaeoclimate or exoclimate modeller must either rely on these or use bespoke radiation codes, and in both cases rely on either blind faith or ad hoc testing of the code. In this paper, we describe the protocols for the Palaeoclimate and Terrestrial Exoplanet Radiative Transfer Model Intercomparison Project (PALAEOTRIP to systematically address this. This will compare as many radiation codes used for palaeoclimate or exoplanets as possible, with the aim of identifying the ranges of far-from-modern atmospheric compositions in which the codes perform well. This paper describes the experimental protocol and invites community participation in the project through 2017–2018.

  11. THE INFLUENCE OF MAGNETIC FIELD GEOMETRY ON THE FORMATION OF CLOSE-IN EXOPLANETS

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Simon, Jacob B., E-mail: jbsimon.astro@gmail.com [Department of Space Studies, Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, CO 80302 (United States)

    2016-08-20

    Approximately half of Sun-like stars harbor exoplanets packed within a radius of ∼0.3 au, but the formation of these planets and why they form in only half of known systems are still not well understood. We employ a one-dimensional steady-state model to gain physical insight into the origin of these close-in exoplanets. We use Shakura and Sunyaev α values extracted from recent numerical simulations of protoplanetary disk accretion processes in which the magnitude of α , and thus the steady-state gas surface density, depend on the orientation of large-scale magnetic fields with respect to the disk’s rotation axis. Solving for the metallicity as a function of radius, we find that for fields anti-aligned with the rotation axis, the inner regions of our model disk often fall within a region of parameter space that is not suitable for planetesimal formation, whereas in the aligned case, the inner disk regions are likely to produce planetesimals through some combination of streaming instability and gravitational collapse, though the degree to which this is true depends on the assumed parameters of our model. More robustly, the aligned field case always produces higher concentrations of solids at small radii compared to the anti-aligned case. In the in situ formation model, this bimodal distribution of solid enhancement leads directly to the observed dichotomy in exoplanet orbital distances.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-04-01

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

  13. Desirable airfoil features for smaller-capacity straight-bladed VAWT

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Islam, Mazharul; Ting, D.S.-K.; Fartaj, Amir

    2007-05-15

    In the small scale wind turbine market, the simple straight-bladed Darrieus type vertical axis wind turbine (SB-VAWT) is very attractive for its simple blade design. A detailed aerodynamic performance analysis was conducted on a smaller capacity fixed-pitch SB-VAWT. Brief analyses of the main aerodynamic challenges of this type of wind turbine were first discussed and subsequently the authors conducted further literature survey and computational analysis to shortlist aerodynamic characteristics of a desirable airfoil for a self-starting and better performing SB-VAWT. The required geometric features of the desirable airfoil to achieve the short listed characteristics were also discussed. It has been found out that conventionally used NACA symmetric airfoils are not suitable for smaller capacity SB-VAWT. Rather, it is advantageous to utilize a high-lift and low-drag asymmetric thick airfoil suitable for low speed operation typically encountered by SB-VAWT. (author)

  14. How food marketers can sell smaller portions: Consumer insights and product innovation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Riis, J; Fisher, J O; Rowe, S

    2016-08-01

    Food portion size has been shown to be an important driver of energy intake. Despite the well acknowledged role of portion control in weight management, large portion sizes remain ubiquitous in the marketplace. Moving consumers towards consumption of smaller portion sizes will require changes in consumer behavior as well as changes in products available to consumers in a variety of settings. This special supplement presents cutting edge research aimed at understanding consumer behavior around portion size and innovations in product design that may promote the selection and consumption of smaller portion sizes. We identify further research that will be needed to translate basic behavioral findings into real world settings and to viable product development. Copyright © 2016. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

  15. Effects of a lighter, smaller football on Acute match injuries in adolescent female football

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Zebis, Mette K.; Thorborg, Kristian; Andersen, Lars L.

    2018-01-01

    BACKGROUND: The high injury incidence during match-play in female adolescent football is a major concern. In football, males and females play matches with the same football size. No studies have investigated the effect of football size on injury incidence in female adolescent football. Thus......, the aim of the present study was to investigate the effects of introducing a lighter, smaller football on the injury pattern in female adolescent football. METHODS We conducted a pilot cluster randomized controlled trial including 26 football teams representing 346 adolescent female football players (age...... 15-18 years). The teams were randomized to a new lighter, smaller football (INT, N.=12 teams) or a traditional FIFA size 5 football (CON, N.=14 teams) during a full match-season. Acute time-loss injuries and football-exposure during match-play were reported weekly by text-message questions...

  16. 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

  17. Occultations of Astrophysical Radio Sources as Probes of Planetary Environments: A Case Study of Jupiter and Possible Applications to Exoplanets

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Withers, Paul [Astronomy Department, Boston University, 725 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215 (United States); Vogt, Marissa F. [Center for Space Physics, Boston University, 725 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215 (United States)

    2017-02-10

    Properties of planetary atmospheres, ionospheres, and magnetospheres are difficult to measure from Earth. Radio occultations are a common method for measuring these properties, but they traditionally rely on radio transmissions from a spacecraft near the planet. Here, we explore whether occultations of radio emissions from a distant astrophysical radio source can be used to measure magnetic field strength, plasma density, and neutral density around planets. In a theoretical case study of Jupiter, we find that significant changes in polarization angle due to Faraday rotation occur for radio signals that pass within 10 Jupiter radii of the planet and that significant changes in frequency and power occur from radio signals that pass through the neutral atmosphere. There are sufficient candidate radio sources, such as pulsars, active galactic nuclei, and masers, that occultations are likely to occur at least once per year. For pulsars, time delays in the arrival of their emitted pulses can be used to measure plasma density. Exoplanets, whose physical properties are very challenging to observe, may also occult distant astrophysical radio sources, such as their parent stars.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-01-01

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

  19. Media bias under direct and indirect government control: when is the bias smaller?

    OpenAIRE

    Abhra Roy

    2015-01-01

    We present an analytical framework to compare media bias under direct and indirect government control. In this context, we show that direct control can lead to a smaller bias and higher welfare than indirect control. We further show that the size of the advertising market affects media bias only under direct control. Media bias, under indirect control, is not affected by the size of the advertising market.

  20. Plant Proteins Are Smaller Because They Are Encoded by Fewer Exons than Animal Proteins.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ramírez-Sánchez, Obed; Pérez-Rodríguez, Paulino; Delaye, Luis; Tiessen, Axel

    2016-12-01

    Protein size is an important biochemical feature since longer proteins can harbor more domains and therefore can display more biological functionalities than shorter proteins. We found remarkable differences in protein length, exon structure, and domain count among different phylogenetic lineages. While eukaryotic proteins have an average size of 472 amino acid residues (aa), average protein sizes in plant genomes are smaller than those of animals and fungi. Proteins unique to plants are ∼81aa shorter than plant proteins conserved among other eukaryotic lineages. The smaller average size of plant proteins could neither be explained by endosymbiosis nor subcellular compartmentation nor exon size, but rather due to exon number. Metazoan proteins are encoded on average by ∼10 exons of small size [∼176 nucleotides (nt)]. Streptophyta have on average only ∼5.7 exons of medium size (∼230nt). Multicellular species code for large proteins by increasing the exon number, while most unicellular organisms employ rather larger exons (>400nt). Among subcellular compartments, membrane proteins are the largest (∼520aa), whereas the smallest proteins correspond to the gene ontology group of ribosome (∼240aa). Plant genes are encoded by half the number of exons and also contain fewer domains than animal proteins on average. Interestingly, endosymbiotic proteins that migrated to the plant nucleus became larger than their cyanobacterial orthologs. We thus conclude that plants have proteins larger than bacteria but smaller than animals or fungi. Compared to the average of eukaryotic species, plants have ∼34% more but ∼20% smaller proteins. This suggests that photosynthetic organisms are unique and deserve therefore special attention with regard to the evolutionary forces acting on their genomes and proteomes. Copyright © 2016 The Authors. Production and hosting by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.

  1. Knowledge acquisition for the internationalization of the smaller firm:Content and sources

    OpenAIRE

    Harris, Simon; Fletcher, Margaret

    2012-01-01

    Internationalization process research emphasizes accumulated experience and networks as sources of knowledge for internationalization. Our understanding, however, as to what this knowledge is in practice for smaller firms, the challenges they face in acquiring it, and how they address those challenges is limited. Integrating organizational learning concepts with our theoretical understanding of the small firm internationalization process, we develop a new framework for understanding knowledge...

  2. Plant Proteins Are Smaller Because They Are Encoded by Fewer Exons than Animal Proteins

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Obed Ramírez-Sánchez

    2016-12-01

    Full Text Available Protein size is an important biochemical feature since longer proteins can harbor more domains and therefore can display more biological functionalities than shorter proteins. We found remarkable differences in protein length, exon structure, and domain count among different phylogenetic lineages. While eukaryotic proteins have an average size of 472 amino acid residues (aa, average protein sizes in plant genomes are smaller than those of animals and fungi. Proteins unique to plants are ∼81 aa shorter than plant proteins conserved among other eukaryotic lineages. The smaller average size of plant proteins could neither be explained by endosymbiosis nor subcellular compartmentation nor exon size, but rather due to exon number. Metazoan proteins are encoded on average by ∼10 exons of small size [∼176 nucleotides (nt]. Streptophyta have on average only ∼5.7 exons of medium size (∼230 nt. Multicellular species code for large proteins by increasing the exon number, while most unicellular organisms employ rather larger exons (>400 nt. Among subcellular compartments, membrane proteins are the largest (∼520 aa, whereas the smallest proteins correspond to the gene ontology group of ribosome (∼240 aa. Plant genes are encoded by half the number of exons and also contain fewer domains than animal proteins on average. Interestingly, endosymbiotic proteins that migrated to the plant nucleus became larger than their cyanobacterial orthologs. We thus conclude that plants have proteins larger than bacteria but smaller than animals or fungi. Compared to the average of eukaryotic species, plants have ∼34% more but ∼20% smaller proteins. This suggests that photosynthetic organisms are unique and deserve therefore special attention with regard to the evolutionary forces acting on their genomes and proteomes.

  3. Trends and patterns in contemporary management in smaller companies: The Danish perspective

    OpenAIRE

    Ulhøi, John Parm; Madsen, Henning

    2001-01-01

    This paper reports empirical findings from a recent survey of Danish managers with a special focus on managers from smaller companies. The survey has been initiated in Denmark and it is called the 'Danish Management Barometer'. The project is a joint research program between the Aarhus School of Business and the Danish Association of Managers and Executives. It is based on a structured, pre-tested questionnaire send out to 1500 pre-notified managers in Denmark aiming at establishing a...

  4. Organizational resilience: Sustained institutional effectiveness among smaller, private, non-profit US higher education institutions experiencing organizational decline.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moran, Kenneth A

    2016-06-04

    analysis was used to examine the direct and interaction effects between organizational decline, organizational rigidity response, organizational resilience response, and institutional effectiveness, controlling for age of institution and level of endowment. The study validated previous threat-rigidity response findings that organizational decline alone does not adversely impact institutional effectiveness. The direct effect of Goal-Directed Solution Seeking and Role Dependency organizational resilience factors had a positive, significant correlation with the Student Personal Development institutional effectiveness factor. The interactive effect of Goal-Directed Solution Seeking organizational resilience factor during organizational decline had a positive, significant correlation with the Professional Development and Quality of Faculty institutional effectiveness factor. The interactive effect of Avoidance during organizational decline had a positive, significant correlation with the Faculty and Administrator Employment Satisfaction institutional effectiveness factor. The interactive effect of Diminished Innovation, Morale, and Leader Credibility rigidity response factor and Avoidance organizational resilience factor during organizational decline had a positive, significant correlation with the Professional Development and Quality of Faculty institutional effectiveness factor. Lastly, the interactive effect of Increased Scapegoating of Leaders, Interest group Activities, and Conflict rigidity response factor and Avoidance organizational resilience factor during organizational decline had a positive, significant correlation with the Faculty and Administrator Employment Satisfaction institutional effectiveness factor. Factors of organizational resilience were found to have a positive effect among smaller, private non-profit higher educational institutions associated with this study toward sustaining institutional effectiveness during organizational decline. Specifically, the

  5. Exoplanet recycling in massive white-dwarf debris discs

    Science.gov (United States)

    van Lieshout, R.; Kral, Q.; Charnoz, S.; Wyatt, M. C.; Shannon, A.

    2018-05-01

    Several tens of white dwarfs are known to host circumstellar discs of dusty debris, thought to arise from the tidal disruption of rocky bodies originating in the star's remnant planetary system. This paper investigates the evolution of such discs if they are very massive, as may be the case if their progenitor was a terrestrial planet, moon, or dwarf planet. Assuming the discs are physically thin and flat, like Saturn's rings, their evolution is governed by Poynting-Robertson drag or viscous spreading, where the disc's effective viscosity is due to self-gravity wakes. For discs with masses ≳ 1026 g, located in the outer parts of the tidal disruption zone, viscous spreading dominates the evolution, and mass is transported both in- and outwards. When outwards-spreading material flows beyond the Roche limit, it coagulates into new (minor) planets in a process analogous to the ongoing formation of moonlets at the outer edge of Saturn's rings. The newly formed bodies migrate outwards by exchanging angular momentum with the disc and coalesce into larger objects through mutual collisions. Eventually, the disc's Roche-limit overflow recycles tens of percent of the original disc mass; most ends up in a single large body near 2:1 mean-motion resonance with the disc's outer edge. Hence, the recycling of a tidally disrupted super-Earth, for example, could yield an Earth-mass planet on a ˜10-h orbit, located in the habitable zone for 2-to-10-Gyr-old white dwarfs. The recycling process also creates a population of smaller bodies just outside the Roche limit, which may explain the minor planets recently postulated to orbit WD 1145+017.

  6. Recovering the colour-dependent albedo of exoplanets with high-resolution spectroscopy: from ESPRESSO to the ELT.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Martins, J. H. C.; Figueira, P.; Santos, N. C.; Melo, C.; Garcia Muñoz, A.; Faria, J.; Pepe, F.; Lovis, C.

    2018-05-01

    The characterization of planetary atmospheres is a daunting task, pushing current observing facilities to their limits. The next generation of high-resolution spectrographs mounted on large telescopes - such as ESPRESSO@VLT and HIRES@ELT - will allow us to probe and characterize exoplanetary atmospheres in greater detail than possible to this point. We present a method that permits the recovery of the colour-dependent reflectivity of exoplanets from high-resolution spectroscopic observations. Determining the wavelength-dependent albedo will provide insight into the chemical properties and weather of the exoplanet atmospheres. For this work, we simulated ESPRESSO@VLT and HIRES@ELT high-resolution observations of known planetary systems with several albedo configurations. We demonstrate how the cross correlation technique applied to theses simulated observations can be used to successfully recover the geometric albedo of exoplanets over a range of wavelengths. In all cases, we were able to recover the wavelength dependent albedo of the simulated exoplanets and distinguish between several atmospheric models representing different atmospheric configurations. In brief, we demonstrate that the cross correlation technique allows for the recovery of exoplanetary albedo functions from optical observations with the next generation of high-resolution spectrographs that will be mounted on large telescopes with reasonable exposure times. Its recovery will permit the characterization of exoplanetary atmospheres in terms of composition and dynamics and consolidates the cross correlation technique as a powerful tool for exoplanet characterization.

  7. THE MEASUREMENT, TREATMENT, AND IMPACT OF SPECTRAL COVARIANCE AND BAYESIAN PRIORS IN INTEGRAL -FIELD SPECTROSCOPY OF EXOPLANETS

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Greco, Johnny P. [Department of Astrophysical Sciences, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ (United States); Brandt, Timothy D. [Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, NJ (United States)

    2016-12-20

    The recovery of an exoplanet’s atmospheric parameters from its spectrum requires accurate knowledge of the spectral errors and covariances. Unfortunately, the complex image processing used in high-contrast integral-field spectrograph (IFS) observations generally produces spectral covariances that are poorly understood and often ignored. In this work, we show how to measure the spectral errors and covariances and include them self-consistently in parameter retrievals. By combining model exoplanet spectra with a realistic noise model generated from the Gemini Planet Imager (GPI) early science data, we show that ignoring spectral covariance in high-contrast IFS data can both bias inferred parameters and lead to unreliable confidence regions on those parameters. This problem is made worse by the common practice of scaling the χ {sup 2} per degree of freedom to unity; the input parameters then fall outside the 95% confidence regions in as many as ∼80% of noise realizations. The biases we observe can approach the typical levels of precision achieved in high-contrast spectroscopy. Accounting for realistic priors in fully Bayesian retrievals can also have a significant impact on the inferred parameters. Plausible priors on effective temperature and surface gravity can vary by an order of magnitude across the confidence regions appropriate for objects with weak age constraints; priors for objects with good age constraints are dominated by modeling uncertainties. Our methods are directly applicable to existing high-contrast IFSs including GPI and SPHERE, as well as upcoming instruments like CHARIS and, ultimately, WFIRST-AFTA.

  8. Less Daily Computer Use is Related to Smaller Hippocampal Volumes in Cognitively Intact Elderly.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Silbert, Lisa C; Dodge, Hiroko H; Lahna, David; Promjunyakul, Nutta-On; Austin, Daniel; Mattek, Nora; Erten-Lyons, Deniz; Kaye, Jeffrey A

    2016-01-01

    Computer use is becoming a common activity in the daily life of older individuals and declines over time in those with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). The relationship between daily computer use (DCU) and imaging markers of neurodegeneration is unknown. The objective of this study was to examine the relationship between average DCU and volumetric markers of neurodegeneration on brain MRI. Cognitively intact volunteers enrolled in the Intelligent Systems for Assessing Aging Change study underwent MRI. Total in-home computer use per day was calculated using mouse movement detection and averaged over a one-month period surrounding the MRI. Spearman's rank order correlation (univariate analysis) and linear regression models (multivariate analysis) examined hippocampal, gray matter (GM), white matter hyperintensity (WMH), and ventricular cerebral spinal fluid (vCSF) volumes in relation to DCU. A voxel-based morphometry analysis identified relationships between regional GM density and DCU. Twenty-seven cognitively intact participants used their computer for 51.3 minutes per day on average. Less DCU was associated with smaller hippocampal volumes (r = 0.48, p = 0.01), but not total GM, WMH, or vCSF volumes. After adjusting for age, education, and gender, less DCU remained associated with smaller hippocampal volume (p = 0.01). Voxel-wise analysis demonstrated that less daily computer use was associated with decreased GM density in the bilateral hippocampi and temporal lobes. Less daily computer use is associated with smaller brain volume in regions that are integral to memory function and known to be involved early with Alzheimer's pathology and conversion to dementia. Continuous monitoring of daily computer use may detect signs of preclinical neurodegeneration in older individuals at risk for dementia.

  9. Polymersomes, smaller than you think: ferrocene as a TEM probe to determine core structure

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Johnston, A. H.; Dalton, P. D.; Newman, T. A.

    2010-01-01

    By incorporating ferrocene into the hydrophobic membrane of PEG-b-PCL polymersome nanoparticles it is possible to selectively visualize their core using Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM). Two different sizes of ferrocene-loaded polymersomes with mean hydrodynamic diameters of approximately 40 and 90 nm were prepared. Image analysis of TEM pictures of these polymersomes found that the mean diameter of the core was 4-5 times smaller than the mean hydrodynamic diameter. The values obtained also allow the surface diameter and internal volume of the core to be calculated.

  10. Trends and patterns in contemporary management in smaller companies: The Danish perspective

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Ulhøi, John Parm; Madsen, Henning

    2001-01-01

    This paper reports empirical findings from a recent survey of Danish managers with a special focus on managers from smaller companies. The survey has been initiated in Denmark and it is called the 'Danish Management Barometer'. The project is a joint research program between the Aarhus School...... of Business and the Danish Association of Managers and Executives. It is based on a structured, pre-tested questionnaire send out to 1500 pre-notified managers in Denmark aiming at establishing a data base to further monitor and identify interesting changes and patterns within a broad range of managerial...

  11. Sexually selected nest-building--Pomatoschistus minutus males build smaller nest-openings in the presence of sneaker males.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Svensson, O; Kvarnemo, C

    2003-09-01

    Both natural selection and sexual selection may act on nest-building. We tested experimentally how different regimes of egg-predation and male-male competition influence nest-building before mating, using the marine fish sand goby, Pomatoschistus minutus. Males with sneaker males present built the smallest nest-openings, smaller than males held alone or with Pomatoschistus microps males (which may predate eggs and compete over nest-sites but not compete over fertilizations). Males with visual access to other nest-building males tended also to build smaller openings than males held alone or with P. microps. Males with egg-predators present built nests with openings not differing significantly from any other treatment. Our results indicate that the small nest-openings found in the sneaker male treatment are sexually selected through protection against sneaking or by female choice. Across treatments, time span before a male started to build his nest also explained variation in nest-opening width; males starting late built larger nest-openings.

  12. Weekday AOD smaller than weekend AOD in eastern China on the basis of the MODIS AOD product

    Science.gov (United States)

    Song, Jingjing; Xia, Xiangao; Zhang, Xiaoling; Che, Huizheng; Li, Xiaojing

    2018-05-01

    A weekly cycle of surface particulate matter (PM) characterized by smaller values during weekends and larger values during weekdays was reported in eastern China. Whether column-integrated aerosol optical depth (AOD) showed similar weekly cycling as that of PM was debated. The weekly variation of AOD in eastern China was further studied by using the latest MODIS aerosol product (collection 6) with a fine spatial resolution (0.1°) from 2002 to 2015. We used three statistical methods to determine whether the weekly cycle of AOD was significant. AOD during weekdays (Wednesday to Friday) was lower than that during weekends. The maximum and minimum AOD was generally observed on Monday and Wednesday, respectively. This weekly pattern of AOD was in good agreement with previous results based on satellite aerosol products with a coarse spatial resolution, but it was in contrast to that of PM. Further analysis of the AOD weekly variability in 19 provincial cities suggested that AOD during weekdays was smaller than that during weekends in urban regions. Potential causes for the different weekly cycle of PM and AOD in eastern China were discussed.

  13. Smaller brain size likely in young adults (<40 years old) with depressive symptoms compared to healthy controls. A retrospective study

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Adachi, Michito; Sato, Takamichi; Kawaguchi, Etsuko; Shibata, Akiko

    2011-01-01

    The aim of this study was to determine whether the brain size of young patients with depressive symptoms is smaller than that of healthy controls using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). We retrospectively evaluated brain size by calculating the ratio of the brain area to that of the skull (the brain-to-skull ratio) on routine MRI scans including the splenium of the corpus callosum obtained from 19 patients <40 years old with depressive symptoms in 2009. The controls were 12 healthy individuals <40 years old who underwent MRI for medical examinations. The mean brain-to-skull ratio of the control group was 0.850±0.022 (range 0.822-0.889), and that of the patient group was 0.819±0.041 (range 0.756-0.878). An unpaired t-test showed a significant difference in the brain-to-skull ratios between these groups (P=0.011). In particular, in 7 of the 19 patients with longer duration of illness and more severe symptoms, the brain-to-skull ratio was 89%-92% of the mean ratio of the control group. The brain size of young patients with depressive symptoms appears to be smaller than that of healthy controls. (author)

  14. The Moving Group Targets of the SEEDS High-contrast Imaging Survey of Exoplanets and Disks: Results and Observations from the First Three Years

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Brandt, T.D.; et al., [Unknown; Thalmann, C.

    2014-01-01

    We present results from the first three years of observations of moving group (MG) targets in the Strategic Exploration of Exoplanets and Disks with Subaru (SEEDS) high-contrast imaging survey of exoplanets and disks using the Subaru telescope. We achieve typical contrasts of ~105 at 1'' and ~106

  15. Simultaneous compared with sequential blood pressure measurement results in smaller inter-arm blood pressure differences.

    Science.gov (United States)

    van der Hoeven, Niels V; Lodestijn, Sophie; Nanninga, Stephanie; van Montfrans, Gert A; van den Born, Bert-Jan H

    2013-11-01

    There are currently few recommendations on how to assess inter-arm blood pressure (BP) differences. The authors compared simultaneous with sequential measurement on mean BP, inter-arm BP differences, and within-visit reproducibility in 240 patients stratified according to age (simultaneous and three sequential BP measurements were taken in each patient. Starting measurement type and starting arm for sequential measurements were randomized. Mean BP and inter-arm BP differences of the first pair and reproducibility of inter-arm BP differences of the first and second pair were compared between both methods. Mean systolic BP was 1.3±7.5 mm Hg lower during sequential compared with simultaneous measurement (Psequential measurement was on average higher than the second, suggesting an order effect. Absolute systolic inter-arm BP differences were smaller on simultaneous (6.2±6.7/3.3±3.5 mm Hg) compared with sequential BP measurement (7.8±7.3/4.6±5.6 mm Hg, PSimultaneous measurement of BP at both arms reduces order effects and results in smaller inter-arm BP differences, thereby potentially reducing unnecessary referral and diagnostic procedures. ©2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  16. Fluid cognitive ability is associated with greater exposure and smaller reactions to daily stressors.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stawski, Robert S; Almeida, David M; Lachman, Margie E; Tun, Patricia A; Rosnick, Christopher B

    2010-06-01

    The authors of this study investigated whether fluid cognitive ability predicts exposure and emotional reactivity to daily stressors. A national sample of adults from the Midlife in the United States study and the National Study of Daily Experiences (N = 1,202) who had a mean age of 57 years (SD = 12; 56% women, 44% men) completed positive and negative mood reports as well as a stressor diary on 8 consecutive evenings via telephone. Participants also completed a telephone-based battery of tests measuring fluid cognitive ability. Higher levels of fluid cognitive ability were associated with greater exposure to work- and home-related overload stressors. Possessing higher levels of fluid cognitive ability was associated with smaller stressor-related increases in negative mood, primarily for interpersonal tensions and network stressors, and smaller stressor-related decreases in positive mood for interpersonal tensions. Furthermore, fluid cognitive ability was unrelated to subjective severity ratings of the stressors reported. Discussion focuses on the role of fluid cognitive ability in daily stress processes. (c) 2010 APA, all rights reserved).

  17. Order of Magnitude Smaller Limit on the Electron's Electron Dipole Moment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gabrielse, Gerald

    2014-05-01

    Proposed extensions to the Standard Model of particle physics typically predict that the electron would naturally have a small but potentially measurable electric dipole moment (EDM). The Standard Model, known to be incomplete, instead predicts that the electron EDM is much too small to measure. The ACME collaboration used the enormous electric field that electrons experience within a ThO molecule, the unique structure of this molecule, and a cryogenic buffer gas beam of molecules to search for an electron EDM. The new search was sensitive enough to detect an EDM that is ten times smaller than the previously measured upper limit - well within the range of predictions from various proposed extensions to the Standard Model. We did not detect such an EDM, however. Instead, we set a new upper limit on the electron EDM at a 90% confidence limit, | de | < 8 . 7 × 10-29 , making use of the effective electric field calculated for ThO. The new limit stringently constrains the parameters of proposed extensions to the Standard Model to values that predict an electron EDM smaller than the new limit. The TeV energy scale being probed is comparable to that being investigated at CERN's Large Hadron Collider (LHC). Supported by the AMO program of the NSF.

  18. Use of precracked Charpy and smaller specimens to establish the master curve

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Sokolov, M.A.; McCabe, D.E.; Nanstad, R.K.; Davidov, Y.A.

    1997-01-01

    The current provisions used in the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations for the determination of the fracture toughness of reactor pressure vessel steels employs an assumption that there is a direct correlation between K Ic lower-bound toughness and the Charpy V-notch transition curve. Such correlations are subject to scatter from both approaches which weakens the reliability of fracture mechanics-based analyses. In this study, precracked Charpy and smaller size specimens are used in three-point static bend testing to develop fracture mechanics based K k values. The testing is performed under carefully controlled conditions such that the values can be used to predict the fracture toughness performance of large specimens. The concept of a universal transition curve (master curve) is applied. Data scatter that is characteristic of commercial grade steels and their weldments is handled by Weibull statistical modeling. The master curve is developed to describe the median K Jc fracture toughness for 1T size compact specimens. Size effects are modeled using weakest-link theory and are studied for different specimen geometries. It is shown that precracked Charpy specimens when tested within their confined validity limits follow the weakest-link size-adjustment trend and predict the fracture toughness of larger specimens. Specimens of smaller than Charpy sizes (5 mm thick) exhibit some disparities in results relative to weakest-link size adjustment prediction suggesting that application of such adjustment to very small specimens may have some limitations

  19. Smaller self-inflating bags produce greater guideline consistent ventilation in simulated cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nehme, Ziad; Boyle, Malcolm J

    2009-02-20

    Suboptimal bag ventilation in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) has demonstrated detrimental physiological outcomes for cardiac arrest patients. In light of recent guideline changes for resuscitation, there is a need to identify the efficacy of bag ventilation by prehospital care providers. The objective of this study was to evaluate bag ventilation in relation to operator ability to achieve guideline consistent ventilation rate, tidal volume and minute volume when using two different capacity self-inflating bags in an undergraduate paramedic cohort. An experimental study using a mechanical lung model and a simulated adult cardiac arrest to assess the ventilation ability of third year Monash University undergraduate paramedic students. Participants were instructed to ventilate using 1600 ml and 1000 ml bags for a length of two minutes at the correct rate and tidal volume for a patient undergoing CPR with an advanced airway. Ventilation rate and tidal volume were recorded using an analogue scale with mean values calculated. Ethics approval was granted. Suboptimal ventilation with the use of conventional 1600 ml bag was common, with 77% and 97% of participants unable to achieve guideline consistent ventilation rates and tidal volumes respectively. Reduced levels of suboptimal ventilation arouse from the use of the smaller bag with a 27% reduction in suboptimal tidal volumes (p = 0.015) and 23% reduction in suboptimal minute volumes (p = 0.045). Smaller self-inflating bags reduce the incidence of suboptimal tidal volumes and minute volumes and produce greater guideline consistent results for cardiac arrest patients.

  20. A nerve stimulation method to selectively recruit smaller motor-units in rat skeletal muscle.

    Science.gov (United States)

    van Bolhuis, A I; Holsheimer, J; Savelberg, H H

    2001-05-30

    Electrical stimulation of peripheral nerve results in a motor-unit recruitment order opposite to that attained by natural neural control, i.e. from large, fast-fatiguing to progressively smaller, fatigue-resistant motor-units. Yet animal studies involving physiological exercise protocols of low intensity and long duration require minimal fatigue. The present study sought to apply a nerve stimulation method to selectively recruit smaller motor-units in rat skeletal muscle. Two pulse generators were used, independently supplying short supramaximal cathodal stimulating pulses (0.5 ms) and long subthreshold cathodal inactivating pulses (1.5 s) to the sciatic nerve. Propagation of action potentials was selectively blocked in nerve fibres of different diameter by adjusting the strength of the inactivating current. A tensile-testing machine was used to gauge isometric muscle force of the plantaris and both heads of the gastrocnemius muscle. The order of motor-unit recruitment was estimated from twitch characteristics, i.e. peak force and relaxation time. The results showed prolonged relaxation at lower twitch peak forces as the intensity of the inactivating current increased, indicating a reduction of the number of large motor-units to force production. It is shown that the nerve stimulation method described is effective in mimicking physiological muscle control.

  1. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-06-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-04-14

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

  4. 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.

  5. VLT FORS2 comparative transmission spectral survey of clear and cloudy exoplanet atmospheres

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nikolov, Nikolay; Sing, David; Gibson, Neale; Evans, Thomas; Barstow, Joanna Katy; Kataria, Tiffany; Wilson, Paul A.

    2016-10-01

    Transmission spectroscopy is a key to unlocking the secrets of close-in exoplanet atmospheres. Observations have started to unveil a vast diversity of irradiated giant planet atmospheres with clouds and hazes playing a definitive role across the entire mass and temperature regime. We have initiated a ground-based, multi-object transmission spectroscopy of a hand full of hot Jupiters, covering the wavelength range 360-850nm using the recently upgraded FOcal Reducer and Spectrograph (FORS2) mounted on the Very Large Telescope (VLT) at the European Southern Observatory (ESO). These targets were selected for comparative follow-up as their transmission spectra showed evidence for alkali metal absorption, based on the results of Hubble Space Telescope (HST) observations. This talk will discuss the first results from the programme, demonstrating excellent agreement between the transmission spectra measured from VLT and HST and further reinforce the findings of clear, cloudy and hazy atmospheres. More details will be discussed on the narrow alkali features obtained with FORS2 at higher resolution, revealing its high potential in securing optical transmission spectra. These FORS2 observations are the first ground-based detections of clear, cloudy and hazy hot-Jupiter atmosphere with a simultaneous detections of Na, K, and H2 Rayleigh scattering. Our program demonstrates the large potential of the instrument for optical transmission spectroscopy, capable of obtaining HST-quality light curves from the ground. Compared to HST, the larger aperture of VLT will allow for fainter targets to be observed and higher spectral resolution, which can greatly aid comparative exoplanet studies. This is important for further exploring the diversity of exoplanet atmospheres and is particularly complementary to the near- and mid-IR regime, to be covered by the upcoming James-Webb Space Telescope (JWST) and is readily applicable to less massive planets down to super-Earths.

  6. SCIENCE PARAMETRICS FOR MISSIONS TO SEARCH FOR EARTH-LIKE EXOPLANETS BY DIRECT IMAGING

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Brown, Robert A.

    2015-01-01

    We use N t , the number of exoplanets observed in time t, as a science metric to study direct-search missions like Terrestrial Planet Finder. In our model, N has 27 parameters, divided into three categories: 2 astronomical, 7 instrumental, and 18 science-operational. For various ''27-vectors'' of those parameters chosen to explore parameter space, we compute design reference missions to estimate N t . Our treatment includes the recovery of completeness c after a search observation, for revisits, solar and antisolar avoidance, observational overhead, and follow-on spectroscopy. Our baseline 27-vector has aperture D = 16 m, inner working angle IWA = 0.039'', mission time t = 0-5 yr, occurrence probability for Earth-like exoplanets η = 0.2, and typical values for the remaining 23 parameters. For the baseline case, a typical five-year design reference mission has an input catalog of ∼4700 stars with nonzero completeness, ∼1300 unique stars observed in ∼2600 observations, of which ∼1300 are revisits, and it produces N 1 ∼ 50 exoplanets after one year and N 5 ∼ 130 after five years. We explore offsets from the baseline for 10 parameters. We find that N depends strongly on IWA and only weakly on D. It also depends only weakly on zodiacal light for Z < 50 zodis, end-to-end efficiency for h > 0.2, and scattered starlight for ζ < 10 –10 . We find that observational overheads, completeness recovery and revisits, solar and antisolar avoidance, and follow-on spectroscopy are all important factors in estimating N

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Ruffio, Jean-Baptiste; Macintosh, Bruce; Nielsen, Eric L.; Czekala, Ian; Bailey, Vanessa P.; Follette, Katherine B. [Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, 94305 (United States); Wang, Jason J.; Rosa, Robert J. De; Duchêne, Gaspard [Astronomy Department, University of California, Berkeley CA, 94720 (United States); Pueyo, Laurent [Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, MD, 21218 (United States); Marley, Mark S. [NASA Ames Research Center, Mountain View, CA, 94035 (United States); Arriaga, Pauline; Fitzgerald, Michael P. [Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, 90095 (United States); Barman, Travis [Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona, Tucson AZ, 85721 (United States); Bulger, Joanna [Subaru Telescope, NAOJ, 650 North A’ohoku Place, Hilo, HI 96720 (United States); Chilcote, Jeffrey [Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, M5S 3H4 (Canada); Cotten, Tara [Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, 30602 (United States); Doyon, Rene [Institut de Recherche sur les Exoplanètes, Départment de Physique, Université de Montréal, Montréal QC, H3C 3J7 (Canada); Gerard, Benjamin L. [University of Victoria, 3800 Finnerty Road, Victoria, BC, V8P 5C2 (Canada); Goodsell, Stephen J., E-mail: jruffio@stanford.edu [Gemini Observatory, 670 N. A’ohoku Place, Hilo, HI, 96720 (United States); and others

    2017-06-10

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2009-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Linsky, Jeffrey L.

    2018-01-01

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

  10. 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 O2, N2, and liquid water; and (iii) the Archean had a biogenic disequilibrium caused by the coexistence of N2, CH4, CO2, 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 CH4 and CO2 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. PMID:29387792

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

    OpenAIRE

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

    2008-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-12-01

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

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

    OpenAIRE

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

    2009-01-01

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

  14. Direct Imaging Confirmation and Characterization of a Dust-Enshrouded Candidate Exoplanet Orbiting Fomalhaut

    OpenAIRE

    Currie, Thayne; Debes, John; Rodigas, Timothy J.; Burrows, Adam; Itoh, Yoichi; Fukagawa, Misato; Kenyon, Scott; Kuchner, Marc; Matsumura, Soko

    2012-01-01

    We present Subaru/IRCS J band data for Fomalhaut and a (re)reduction of archival 2004--2006 HST/ACS data first presented by Kalas et al. (2008). We confirm the existence of a candidate exoplanet, Fomalhaut b, in both the 2004 and 2006 F606W data sets at a high signal-to-noise. Additionally, we confirm the detection at F814W and present a new detection in F435W. Fomalhaut b's space motion may be consistent with it being in an apsidally-aligned, non debris ring-crossing orbit, although new astr...

  15. PHOTOCHEMISTRY IN TERRESTRIAL EXOPLANET ATMOSPHERES. I. PHOTOCHEMISTRY MODEL AND BENCHMARK CASES

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Hu Renyu; Seager, Sara; Bains, William, E-mail: hury@mit.edu [Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139 (United States)

    2012-12-20

    We present a comprehensive photochemistry model for exploration of the chemical composition of terrestrial exoplanet atmospheres. The photochemistry model is designed from the ground up to have the capacity to treat all types of terrestrial planet atmospheres, ranging from oxidizing through reducing, which makes the code suitable for applications for the wide range of anticipated terrestrial exoplanet compositions. The one-dimensional chemical transport model treats up to 800 chemical reactions, photochemical processes, dry and wet deposition, surface emission, and thermal escape of O, H, C, N, and S bearing species, as well as formation and deposition of elemental sulfur and sulfuric acid aerosols. We validate the model by computing the atmospheric composition of current Earth and Mars and find agreement with observations of major trace gases in Earth's and Mars' atmospheres. We simulate several plausible atmospheric scenarios of terrestrial exoplanets and choose three benchmark cases for atmospheres from reducing to oxidizing. The most interesting finding is that atomic hydrogen is always a more abundant reactive radical than the hydroxyl radical in anoxic atmospheres. Whether atomic hydrogen is the most important removal path for a molecule of interest also depends on the relevant reaction rates. We also find that volcanic carbon compounds (i.e., CH{sub 4} and CO{sub 2}) are chemically long-lived and tend to be well mixed in both reducing and oxidizing atmospheres, and their dry deposition velocities to the surface control the atmospheric oxidation states. Furthermore, we revisit whether photochemically produced oxygen can cause false positives for detecting oxygenic photosynthesis, and find that in 1 bar CO{sub 2}-rich atmospheres oxygen and ozone may build up to levels that have conventionally been accepted as signatures of life, if there is no surface emission of reducing gases. The atmospheric scenarios presented in this paper can serve as the

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dichmann, Donald

    2016-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kjurkchieva Diana P.

    2017-01-01

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

  18. Larger Subcortical Gray Matter Structures and Smaller Corpora Callosa at Age 5 Years in HIV Infected Children on Early ART

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Steven R. Randall

    2017-11-01

    Full Text Available Sub-Saharan Africa is home to 90% of HIV infected (HIV+ children. Since the advent of antiretroviral therapy (ART, HIV/AIDS has transitioned to a chronic condition where central nervous system (CNS damage may be ongoing. Although, most guidelines recommend early ART to reduce CNS viral reservoirs, the brain may be more vulnerable to potential neurotoxic effects of ART during the rapid development phase in the first years of life. Here we investigate differences in subcortical volumes between 5-year-old HIV+ children who received early ART (before age 18 months and uninfected children using manual tracing of Magnetic Resonance Images. Participants included 61 Xhosa children (43 HIV+/18 uninfected, mean age = 5.4 ± 0.3 years, 25 male from the children with HIV early antiretroviral (CHER trial; 27 children initiated ART before 12 weeks of age (ART-Before12Wks and 16 after 12 weeks (ART-After12Wks. Structural images were acquired on a 3T Allegra MRI in Cape Town and manually traced using MultiTracer. Volumetric group differences (HIV+ vs. uninfected; ART-Before12Wks vs. ART-After12Wks were examined for the caudate, nucleus accumbens (NA, putamen (Pu, globus pallidus (GP, and corpus callosum (CC, as well as associations within infected children of structure volumes with age at ART initiation and CD4/CD8 as a proxy for immune health. HIV+ children had significantly larger NA and Pu volumes bilaterally and left GP volumes than controls, whilst CC was smaller. Bilateral Pu was larger in both treatment groups compared to controls, while left GP and bilateral NA were enlarged only in ART-After12Wks children. CC was smaller in both treatment groups compared to controls, and smaller in ART-After12Wks compared to ART-Before12Wks. Within infected children, delayed ART initiation was associated with larger Pu volumes, effects that remained significant when controlling for sex and duration of treatment interruption (left β = 0.447, p = 0.005; right β = 0

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2015-01-01

    -mass main-sequence hosts, as well as for the cohort of “full-frame image” stars (observed at a 30-min cadence). The latter cohort offers the exciting prospect of conducting asteroseismology on a significant number of evolved hosts. Also, the brightest solar-type hosts with asteroseismology will become some...

  20. On the habitability of exoplanets orbiting Proxima Centauri

    OpenAIRE

    Lopez, Madeleine; Cardenas, Rolando; Rodriguez, Lien

    2014-01-01

    We apply a mathematical model for photosynthesis to quantitatively assess the habitability of a hypothetical planet orbiting Proxima Centauri, inside the so called habitability zone. Results suggest significant viability for primary biological productivity, provided living organisms have evolved to reach the ability of using infrared light for photosynthesis.

  1. Comparison of flexible ureterorenoscopy and mini-percutaneous nephrolithotomy in treatment of lower calyceal stones smaller than 2 cm.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Akbulut, Fatih; Kucuktopcu, Onur; Kandemir, Emre; Sonmezay, Erkan; Simsek, Abdulmuttalip; Ozgor, Faruk; Binbay, Murat; Muslumanoglu, Ahmet Yaser; Gurbuz, Gokhan

    2016-01-01

    To compare the outcomes of flexible ureterorenoscopy (F-URS) and mini-percutaneous nephrolithotomy (mini-PNL) in the treatment of lower calyceal stones smaller than 2 cm. Patients who underwent F-URS and mini-PNL for the treatment of lower calyceal stones smaller than 2 cm between March 2009 and December 2014 were retrospectively evaluated. Ninety-four patients were divided into two groups by treatment modality: F-URS (Group 1: 63 patients) and mini-PNL (Group 2: 31 patients). All patients were preoperatively diagnosed with intravenous pyelography or computed tomography. Success rates for F-URS and mini-PNL at postoperative first month were 85.7% and 90.3%, respectively. Operation time, fluoroscopy time, and hospitalization time for F-URS and mini-PNL patients were 44.40 min, 2.9 min, 22.4 h, and 91.9 min, 6.4 min, and 63.8 h, respectively. All three parameters were significantly shorter among the F-URS group (p PNL group (0.39 mg/dL vs. 1.15 mg/dL, p = 0.001). A comparison of complications according to the Clavien classification demonstrated significant differences between the groups (p = 0.001). More patients in the F-URS groups require antibiotics due to urinary tract infection, and more patients in the mini-PNL group required ureteral double J catheter insertion under general anesthesia. Although both F-URS and mini-PNL have similar success rates for the treatment of lower calyceal stones, F-URS appears to be more favorable due to shorter fluoroscopy and hospitalization times; and lower hemoglobin drops. Multicenter and studies using higher patient volumes are needed to confirm these findings.

  2. Opportunities and barriers for smaller portions in food service: lessons from marketing and behavioral economics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Riis, J

    2014-07-01

    This paper uses the frameworks and evidence from marketing and behavioral economics to highlight the opportunities and barriers for portion control in food service environments. Applying Kahneman's 'thinking fast and slow' concepts, it describes 10 strategies that can be effective in 'tricking' the consumer's fast cognitive system to make better decisions and in triggering the slow cognitive system to help prevent the fast system from making bad decisions. These strategies include shrinking defaults, elongating packages, increasing the visibility of small portions, offering more mixed virtue options, adding more small sizes, offering 'right-sized' standard portions, using meaningful size labels, adopting linear pricing, using temporal landmarks to push smaller portions and facilitating pre-commitment. For each of these strategies, I discuss the specific cost and revenue barriers that a food service operator would face if the strategy were adopted.

  3. Benefits of research activities incorporation into the core business of smaller TSOs

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Rovny, J.

    2007-01-01

    Much has been done to develop the nuclear safety technology to the current level. Nevertheless, incremental development of this knowledge based on demand-pull innovation only seems not to satisfy the future needs of nuclear industry. In order to cope with technical challenges faced by TSOs in the context of nuclear renaissance, the technology-push innovation has to be done in certain amount as well to ensure that brand-new ideas, technologies and attitudes will be implemented in order to enhance nuclear safety. For the reasons described, the technology-push innovation is accessible mainly for larger organizations. In order to cross the entrance barrier for smaller organizations, a cooperation among several TSOs is needed. Uncertainties related to investments in research can be optimalized by creating a research project portfolio. According to the traditional innovation management theory, technological innovation is a driver of competition and profitability and, therefore, the motivation is supported by economical benefits. (author)

  4. Opportunities and barriers for smaller portions in food service: lessons from marketing and behavioral economics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Riis, J

    2014-01-01

    This paper uses the frameworks and evidence from marketing and behavioral economics to highlight the opportunities and barriers for portion control in food service environments. Applying Kahneman's ‘thinking fast and slow' concepts, it describes 10 strategies that can be effective in ‘tricking' the consumer's fast cognitive system to make better decisions and in triggering the slow cognitive system to help prevent the fast system from making bad decisions. These strategies include shrinking defaults, elongating packages, increasing the visibility of small portions, offering more mixed virtue options, adding more small sizes, offering ‘right-sized' standard portions, using meaningful size labels, adopting linear pricing, using temporal landmarks to push smaller portions and facilitating pre-commitment. For each of these strategies, I discuss the specific cost and revenue barriers that a food service operator would face if the strategy were adopted. PMID:25033960

  5. Economic potential of smaller-sized nuclear plants in today's economy

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Behrens, C.E.

    1984-01-01

    In this study, the cost of producing power was modelled for a utility with specified financial and production parameters. Two reference cases were considered: in one, it was assumed that the utility would build 400-megawatt nuclear units as necessary to meet its growth in load; in the second, that it would meet its load growth by building 1200-MW units. The smaller plants were assumed to cost 12 percent more per kilowatt than the larger units. The object was to see if the lower financing costs of the 400-megawatt units were enough to overcome the larger plants' economies of scale. In addition to the reference cases, the sensitivity of the cost measurement to changes in various parameters was modelled. The parameters tested included interest rates, fuel mix, cost differential between the 400-megawatt and 1200-megawatt plants, and the rate of growth in load. The results of these cases indicate strongly that small nuclear power plants could have a market

  6. An atlas of the smaller maps in orientable and nonorientable surfaces

    CERN Document Server

    Jackson, David

    2000-01-01

    Maps are beguilingly simple structures with deep and ubiquitous properties. They arise in an essential way in many areas of mathematics and mathematical physics, but require considerable time and computational effort to generate. Few collected drawings are available for reference, and little has been written, in book form, about their enumerative aspects. An Atlas of the Smaller Maps in Orientable and Nonorientable Surfaces is the first book to provide complete collections of maps along with their vertex and face partitions, number of rootings, and an index number for cross referencing. It provides an explanation of axiomatization and encoding, and serves as an introduction to maps as a combinatorial structure. The Atlas lists the maps first by genus and number of edges, and gives the embeddings of all graphs with at most five edges in orientable surfaces, thus presenting the genus distribution for each graph. Exemplifying the use of the Atlas, the authors explore two substantial conjectures with origins in ...

  7. The Problem with Big Data: Operating on Smaller Datasets to Bridge the Implementation Gap.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mann, Richard P; Mushtaq, Faisal; White, Alan D; Mata-Cervantes, Gabriel; Pike, Tom; Coker, Dalton; Murdoch, Stuart; Hiles, Tim; Smith, Clare; Berridge, David; Hinchliffe, Suzanne; Hall, Geoff; Smye, Stephen; Wilkie, Richard M; Lodge, J Peter A; Mon-Williams, Mark

    2016-01-01

    Big datasets have the potential to revolutionize public health. However, there is a mismatch between the political and scientific optimism surrounding big data and the public's perception of its benefit. We suggest a systematic and concerted emphasis on developing models derived from smaller datasets to illustrate to the public how big data can produce tangible benefits in the long term. In order to highlight the immediate value of a small data approach, we produced a proof-of-concept model predicting hospital length of stay. The results demonstrate that existing small datasets can be used to create models that generate a reasonable prediction, facilitating health-care delivery. We propose that greater attention (and funding) needs to be directed toward the utilization of existing information resources in parallel with current efforts to create and exploit "big data."

  8. New algorithm for detecting smaller retinal blood vessels in fundus images

    Science.gov (United States)

    LeAnder, Robert; Bidari, Praveen I.; Mohammed, Tauseef A.; Das, Moumita; Umbaugh, Scott E.

    2010-03-01

    About 4.1 million Americans suffer from diabetic retinopathy. To help automatically diagnose various stages of the disease, a new blood-vessel-segmentation algorithm based on spatial high-pass filtering was developed to automatically segment blood vessels, including the smaller ones, with low noise. Methods: Image database: Forty, 584 x 565-pixel images were collected from the DRIVE image database. Preprocessing: Green-band extraction was used to obtain better contrast, which facilitated better visualization of retinal blood vessels. A spatial highpass filter of mask-size 11 was applied. A histogram stretch was performed to enhance contrast. A median filter was applied to mitigate noise. At this point, the gray-scale image was converted to a binary image using a binary thresholding operation. Then, a NOT operation was performed by gray-level value inversion between 0 and 255. Postprocessing: The resulting image was AND-ed with its corresponding ring mask to remove the outer-ring (lens-edge) artifact. At this point, the above algorithm steps had extracted most of the major and minor vessels, with some intersections and bifurcations missing. Vessel segments were reintegrated using the Hough transform. Results: After applying the Hough transform, both the average peak SNR and the RMS error improved by 10%. Pratt's Figure of Merit (PFM) was decreased by 6%. Those averages were better than [1] by 10-30%. Conclusions: The new algorithm successfully preserved the details of smaller blood vessels and should prove successful as a segmentation step for automatically identifying diseases that affect retinal blood vessels.

  9. Smaller self-inflating bags produce greater guideline consistent ventilation in simulated cardiopulmonary resuscitation

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Boyle Malcolm J

    2009-02-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Suboptimal bag ventilation in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR has demonstrated detrimental physiological outcomes for cardiac arrest patients. In light of recent guideline changes for resuscitation, there is a need to identify the efficacy of bag ventilation by prehospital care providers. The objective of this study was to evaluate bag ventilation in relation to operator ability to achieve guideline consistent ventilation rate, tidal volume and minute volume when using two different capacity self-inflating bags in an undergraduate paramedic cohort. Methods An experimental study using a mechanical lung model and a simulated adult cardiac arrest to assess the ventilation ability of third year Monash University undergraduate paramedic students. Participants were instructed to ventilate using 1600 ml and 1000 ml bags for a length of two minutes at the correct rate and tidal volume for a patient undergoing CPR with an advanced airway. Ventilation rate and tidal volume were recorded using an analogue scale with mean values calculated. Ethics approval was granted. Results Suboptimal ventilation with the use of conventional 1600 ml bag was common, with 77% and 97% of participants unable to achieve guideline consistent ventilation rates and tidal volumes respectively. Reduced levels of suboptimal ventilation arouse from the use of the smaller bag with a 27% reduction in suboptimal tidal volumes (p = 0.015 and 23% reduction in suboptimal minute volumes (p = 0.045. Conclusion Smaller self-inflating bags reduce the incidence of suboptimal tidal volumes and minute volumes and produce greater guideline consistent results for cardiac arrest patients.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-12-01

    Terrestrial exoplanets in the canonical habitable zone may have a variety of initial water fractions due to their volatile delivery rate via planetesimals. If the total planetary water complement is high, the entire surface may be covered in water, forming a "waterworld". The habitable zone for waterworlds is likely smaller than that for planets with partial land coverage because waterworlds lack the stabilizing silicate-weathering feedback. On a planet with active tectonics, competing mechanisms act to regulate the abundance of water on the surface by determining the partitioning of water between interior