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See detailUnveiling the β Pictoris system, coupling high contrast imaging, interferometric, and radial velocity data
Lagrange, A. M.; Rubini, P.; Nowak, M. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2020), 642

Context. The nearby and young β Pictoris system hosts a well resolved disk, a directly imaged massive giant planet orbiting at ≃9 au, as well as an inner planet orbiting at ≃2.7 au, which was recently ... [more ▼]

Context. The nearby and young β Pictoris system hosts a well resolved disk, a directly imaged massive giant planet orbiting at ≃9 au, as well as an inner planet orbiting at ≃2.7 au, which was recently detected through radial velocity (RV). As such, it offers several unique opportunities for detailed studies of planetary system formation and early evolution. <BR /> Aims: We aim to further constrain the orbital and physical properties of β Pictoris b and c using a combination of high contrast imaging, long base-line interferometry, and RV data. We also predict the closest approaches or the transit times of both planets, and we constrain the presence of additional planets in the system. <BR /> Methods: We obtained six additional epochs of SPHERE data, six additional epochs of GRAVITY data, and five additional epochs of RV data. We combined these various types of data in a single Markov-chain Monte Carlo analysis to constrain the orbital parameters and masses of the two planets simultaneously. The analysis takes into account the gravitational influence of both planets on the star and hence their relative astrometry. Secondly, we used the RV and high contrast imaging data to derive the probabilities of presence of additional planets throughout the disk, and we tested the impact of absolute astrometry. <BR /> Results: The orbital properties of both planets are constrained with a semi-major axis of 9.8 ± 0.4 au and 2.7 ± 0.02 au for b and c, respectively, and eccentricities of 0.09 ± 0.1 and 0.27 ± 0.07, assuming the HIPPARCOS distance. We note that despite these low fitting error bars, the eccentricity of β Pictoris c might still be over-estimated. If no prior is provided on the mass of β Pictoris b, we obtain a very low value that is inconsistent with what is derived from brightness-mass models. When we set an evolutionary model motivated prior to the mass of β Pictoris b, we find a solution in the 10-11 M[SUB]Jup[/SUB] range. Conversely, β Pictoris c's mass is well constrained, at 7.8 ± 0.4 M[SUB]Jup[/SUB], assuming both planets are on coplanar orbits. These values depend on the assumptions on the distance of the β Pictoris system. The absolute astrometry HIPPARCOS-Gaia data are consistent with the solutions presented here at the 2σ level, but these solutions are fully driven by the relative astrometry plus RV data. Finally, we derive unprecedented limits on the presence of additional planets in the disk. We can now exclude the presence of planets that are more massive than about 2.5 M[SUB]Jup[/SUB] closer than 3 au, and more massive than 3.5 M[SUB]Jup[/SUB] between 3 and 7.5 au. Beyond 7.5 au, we exclude the presence of planets that are more massive than 1-2 M[SUB]Jup[/SUB]. <BR /> Conclusions: Combining relative astrometry and RVs allows one to precisely constrain the orbital parameters of both planets and to give lower limits to potential additional planets throughout the disk. The mass of β Pictoris c is also well constrained, while additional RV data with appropriate observing strategies are required to properly constrain the mass of β Pictoris b. [less ▲]

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See detailDirect confirmation of the radial-velocity planet β Pictoris c
Nowak, M.; Lacour, S.; Lagrange, A.-M. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2020), 642

Context. Methods used to detect giant exoplanets can be broadly divided into two categories: indirect and direct. Indirect methods are more sensitive to planets with a small orbital period, whereas direct ... [more ▼]

Context. Methods used to detect giant exoplanets can be broadly divided into two categories: indirect and direct. Indirect methods are more sensitive to planets with a small orbital period, whereas direct detection is more sensitive to planets orbiting at a large distance from their host star. This dichotomy makes it difficult to combine the two techniques on a single target at once. <BR /> Aims: Simultaneous measurements made by direct and indirect techniques offer the possibility of determining the mass and luminosity of planets and a method of testing formation models. Here, we aim to show how long-baseline interferometric observations guided by radial-velocity can be used in such a way. <BR /> Methods: We observed the recently-discovered giant planet β Pictoris c with GRAVITY, mounted on the Very Large Telescope Interferometer. <BR /> Results: This study constitutes the first direct confirmation of a planet discovered through radial velocity. We find that the planet has a temperature of T = 1250 ± 50 K and a dynamical mass of M = 8.2 ± 0.8 M[SUB]Jup[/SUB]. At 18.5 ± 2.5 Myr, this puts β Pic c close to a `hot start' track, which is usually associated with formation via disk instability. Conversely, the planet orbits at a distance of 2.7 au, which is too close for disk instability to occur. The low apparent magnitude (M[SUB]K[/SUB] = 14.3 ± 0.1) favours a core accretion scenario. <BR /> Conclusions: We suggest that this apparent contradiction is a sign of hot core accretion, for example, due to the mass of the planetary core or the existence of a high-temperature accretion shock during formation. [less ▲]

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See detailSPHERE+: Imaging young Jupiters down to the snowline
Boccaletti, A.; Chauvin, G.; Mouillet, D. et al

E-print/Working paper (2020)

SPHERE (Beuzit et al,. 2019) has now been in operation at the VLT for more than 5 years, demonstrating a high level of performance. SPHERE has produced outstanding results using a variety of operating ... [more ▼]

SPHERE (Beuzit et al,. 2019) has now been in operation at the VLT for more than 5 years, demonstrating a high level of performance. SPHERE has produced outstanding results using a variety of operating modes, primarily in the field of direct imaging of exoplanetary systems, focusing on exoplanets as point sources and circumstellar disks as extended objects. The achievements obtained thus far with SPHERE (~200 refereed publications) in different areas (exoplanets, disks, solar system, stellar physics...) have motivated a large consortium to propose an even more ambitious set of science cases, and its corresponding technical implementation in the form of an upgrade. The SPHERE+ project capitalizes on the expertise and lessons learned from SPHERE to push high contrast imaging performance to its limits on the VLT 8m-telescope. The scientific program of SPHERE+ described in this document will open a new and compelling scientific window for the upcoming decade in strong synergy with ground-based facilities (VLT/I, ELT, ALMA, and SKA) and space missions (Gaia, JWST, PLATO and WFIRST). While SPHERE has sampled the outer parts of planetary systems beyond a few tens of AU, SPHERE+ will dig into the inner regions around stars to reveal and characterize by mean of spectroscopy the giant planet population down to the snow line. Building on SPHERE's scientific heritage and resounding success, SPHERE+ will be a dedicated survey instrument which will strengthen the leadership of ESO and the European community in the very competitive field of direct imaging of exoplanetary systems. With enhanced capabilities, it will enable an even broader diversity of science cases including the study of the solar system, the birth and death of stars and the exploration of the inner regions of active galactic nuclei. [less ▲]

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See detailPeering into the formation history of beta Pictoris b with VLTI/GRAVITY long baseline interferometry
Nowak, M.; Lacour, S.; Mollière, P. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2019), 633

Our objective is to estimate the C/O ratio in the atmosphere of beta Pictoris b and obtain an estimate of the dynamical mass of the planet, as well as to refine its orbital parameters using high-precision ... [more ▼]

Our objective is to estimate the C/O ratio in the atmosphere of beta Pictoris b and obtain an estimate of the dynamical mass of the planet, as well as to refine its orbital parameters using high-precision astrometry. We used the GRAVITY instrument with the four 8.2 m telescopes of the Very Large Telescope Interferometer to obtain K-band spectro-interferometric data on $\beta$ Pic b. We extracted a medium resolution (R=500) K-band spectrum of the planet and a high-precision astrometric position. We estimated the planetary C/O ratio using two different approaches (forward modeling and free retrieval) from two different codes (ExoREM and petitRADTRANS, respectively). Finally, we used a simplified model of two formation scenarios (gravitational collapse and core-accretion) to determine which can best explain the measured C/O ratio. Our new astrometry disfavors a circular orbit for $\beta$ Pic b ($e=0.15^{+0.05}_{-0.04}$). Combined with previous results and with Hipparcos/GAIA measurements, this astrometry points to a planet mass of $M = 12.7\pm{}2.2\,M_\mathrm{Jup}$. This value is compatible with the mass derived with the free-retrieval code petitRADTRANS using spectral data only. The forward modeling and free-retrieval approches yield very similar results regarding the atmosphere of beta Pic b. In particular, the C/O ratios derived with the two codes are identical ($0.43\pm{}0.05$ vs $0.43^{+0.04}_{-0.03}$). We argue that if the stellar C/O in $\beta$ Pic is Solar, then this combination of a very high mass and a low C/O ratio for the planet suggests a formation through core-accretion, with strong planetesimal enrichment. [less ▲]

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See detailSpatially Resolving the Quasar Broad Emission Line Region
Gravity Collaboration; Abuter, R.; Accardo, M. et al

in Messenger (2019), 178

The angular resolution of the Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) and the excellent sensitivity of GRAVITY have led to the first detection of spatially resolved kinematics of high velocity atomic ... [more ▼]

The angular resolution of the Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) and the excellent sensitivity of GRAVITY have led to the first detection of spatially resolved kinematics of high velocity atomic gas near an accreting super- massive black hole, revealing rotation on sub-parsec scales in the quasar 3C 273 at a distance of 550 Mpc. The observations can be explained as the result of circular orbits in a thick disc configuration around a 300 million solar mass black hole. Within an ongoing Large Programme, this capability will be used to study the kinematics of atomic gas and its relation to hot dust in a sample of quasars and Seyfert galaxies. We will measure a new radius-luminosity relation from spatially resolved data and test the current methods used to measure black hole mass in large surveys. [less ▲]

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See detailFirst direct detection of an exoplanet by optical interferometry. Astrometry and K-band spectroscopy of HR 8799 e
Gravity Collaboration; Lacour, S.; Nowak, M. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2019), 623

<BR /> Aims: To date, infrared interferometry at best achieved contrast ratios of a few times 10[SUP]-4[/SUP] on bright targets. GRAVITY, with its dual-field mode, is now capable of high contrast ... [more ▼]

<BR /> Aims: To date, infrared interferometry at best achieved contrast ratios of a few times 10[SUP]-4[/SUP] on bright targets. GRAVITY, with its dual-field mode, is now capable of high contrast observations, enabling the direct observation of exoplanets. We demonstrate the technique on HR 8799, a young planetary system composed of four known giant exoplanets. <BR /> Methods: We used the GRAVITY fringe tracker to lock the fringes on the central star, and integrated off-axis on the HR 8799 e planet situated at 390 mas from the star. Data reduction included post-processing to remove the flux leaking from the central star and to extract the coherent flux of the planet. The inferred K band spectrum of the planet has a spectral resolution of 500. We also derive the astrometric position of the planet relative to the star with a precision on the order of 100 μas. <BR /> Results: The GRAVITY astrometric measurement disfavors perfectly coplanar stable orbital solutions. A small adjustment of a few degrees to the orbital inclination of HR 8799 e can resolve the tension, implying that the orbits are close to, but not strictly coplanar. The spectrum, with a signal-to-noise ratio of ≈5 per spectral channel, is compatible with a late-type L brown dwarf. Using Exo-REM synthetic spectra, we derive a temperature of 1150 ± 50 K and a surface gravity of 10[SUP]4.3 ± 0.3[/SUP] cm s[SUP]2[/SUP]. This corresponds to a radius of 1.17[SUB]-0.11[/SUB][SUP]+0.13[/SUP] R[SUB]Jup[/SUB] and a mass of 10[SUB]-4[/SUB][SUP]+7[/SUP] M[SUB]Jup[/SUB], which is an independent confirmation of mass estimates from evolutionary models. Our results demonstrate the power of interferometry for the direct detection and spectroscopic study of exoplanets at close angular separations from their stars. <P />The reduced spectrum is available at the CDS via anonymous ftp to <A href="http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/">http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr</A> (ftp://130.79.128.5) or via <A href="http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz- bin/qcat?J/A+A/623/L11">http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz- bin/qcat?J/A+A/623/L11</A>.Based on observations collected at the European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere, ID 60.A-9102(G). [less ▲]

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