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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 detailThe search for disks or planetary objects around directly imaged companions: a candidate around DH Tauri B
Lazzoni, C.; Zurlo, A.; Desidera, S. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2020), 641

Context. In recent decades, thousands of substellar companions have been discovered with both indirect and direct methods of detection. While the majority of the sample is populated by objects discovered ... [more ▼]

Context. In recent decades, thousands of substellar companions have been discovered with both indirect and direct methods of detection. While the majority of the sample is populated by objects discovered using radial velocity and transit techniques, an increasing number have been directly imaged. These planets and brown dwarfs are extraordinary sources of information that help in rounding out our understanding of planetary systems. <BR /> Aims: In this paper, we focus our attention on substellar companions detected with the latter technique, with the primary goal of investigating their close surroundings and looking for additional companions and satellites, as well as disks and rings. Any such discovery would shed light on many unresolved questions, particularly with regard to their possible formation mechanisms. <BR /> Methods: To reveal bound features of directly imaged companions, whether for point-like or extended sources, we need to suppress the contribution from the source itself. Therefore, we developed a method based on the negative fake companion technique that first estimates the position in the field of view (FoV) and the flux of the imaged companion with high precision, then subtracts a rescaled model point spread function (PSF) from the imaged companion, using either an image of the central star or another PSF in the FoV. Next it performs techniques, such as angular differential imaging, to further remove quasi-static patterns of the star (i.e., speckle contaminants) that affect the residuals of close-in companions. <BR /> Results: After testing our tools on simulated companions and disks and on systems that were chosen ad hoc, we applied the method to the sample of substellar objects observed with SPHERE during the SHINE GTO survey. Among the 27 planets and brown dwarfs we analyzed, most objects did not show remarkable features, which was as expected, with the possible exception of a point source close to DH Tau B. This candidate companion was detected in four different SPHERE observations, with an estimated mass of ~1M[SUB]Jup[/SUB], and a mass ratio with respect to the brown dwarf of 1/10. This binary system, if confirmed, would be the first of its kind, opening up interesting questions for the formation mechanism, evolution, and frequency of such pairs. In order to address the latter, the residuals and contrasts reached for 25 companions in the sample of substellar objects observed with SPHERE were derived. If the DH Tau Bb companion is real, the binary fraction obtained is ~7%, which is in good agreement with the results obtained for field brown dwarfs. <BR /> Conclusions: While there may currently be many limitations affecting the exploration of bound features to directly imaged exoplanets and brown dwarfs, next-generation instruments from the ground and space (i.e., JWST, ELT, and LUVOIR) will be able to image fainter objects and, thus, drive the application of this technique in upcoming searches for exo-moons and circumplanetary disks. <P />Based on observations collected at Paranal Observatory, ESO (Chile) Program ID: 095.C-0298, 096.C-0241, 097.C-0865, 198.C-0209, and 0104.C-0327(A) and on observations collected at LBT Observatory. [less ▲]

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See detailK-Stacker: an algorithm to hack the orbital parameters of planets hidden in high-contrast imaging. First applications to VLT/SPHERE multi-epoch observations
Le Coroller, H.; Nowak, M.; Delorme, P. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2020), 639

Context. Recent high-contrast imaging surveys, using the Spectro- Polarimetic High contrast imager for Exoplanets REsearch (SPHERE) or the Gemini Planet Imager in search of planets in young, nearby ... [more ▼]

Context. Recent high-contrast imaging surveys, using the Spectro- Polarimetic High contrast imager for Exoplanets REsearch (SPHERE) or the Gemini Planet Imager in search of planets in young, nearby systems, have shown evidence of a small number of giant planets at relatively large separation beyond 10-30 au, where those surveys are the most sensitive. Access to smaller physical separations between 5 and 30 au is the next step for future planet imagers on 10 m telescopes and the next generation of extremely large telescopes in order to bridge the gap with indirect techniques such as radial velocity, transit, and soon astrometry with Gaia. In addition to new technologies and instruments, the development of innovative observing strategies combined with optimized data processing tools is participating in the improvement of detection capabilities at very close angular separation. In that context, we recently proposed a new algorithm, Keplerian-Stacker, which combines multiple observations acquired at different epochs and takes into account the orbital motion of a potential planet present in the images to boost the ultimate detection limit. We showed that this algorithm is able to find planets in time series of simulated images of the SPHERE InfraRed Dual-band Imager and Spectrograph (IRDIS) even when a planet remains undetected at one epoch. <BR /> Aims: Our goal is to test and validate the K-Stacker algorithm performances on real SPHERE datasets to demonstrate the resilience of this algorithm to instrumental speckles and the gain offered in terms of true detection. This will motivate future dedicated multi-epoch observation campaigns of well- chosen, young, nearby systems and very nearby stars carefully selected to search for planets in emitted and reflected light, respectively, to open a new path concerning the observing strategy used with current and future planet imagers. <BR /> Methods: To test K-Stacker, we injected fake planets and scanned the low signal-to-noise ratio (S/N) regime in a series of raw observations obtained by the SPHERE/IRDIS instrument in the course of the SPHERE High-contrast ImagiNg survey for Exoplanets. We also considered the cases of two specific targets intensively monitored during this campaign: β Pictoris and HD 95086. For each target and epoch, the data were reduced using standard angular differential imaging processing techniques and then recombined with K-Stacker to recover the fake planetary signals. In addition, the known exoplanets β Pictoris b and HD 95086 b previously identified at lower S/N in single epochs have also been recovered by K-Stacker. <BR /> Results: We show that K-Stacker achieves a high success rate of ≈100% when the S/N of the planet in the stacked image reaches ≈9. The improvement of the S/N is given as the square root of the total exposure time contained in the data being combined. At S/N < 6-7, the number of false positives is high near the coronagraphic mask, but a chromatic study or astrophysical criteria can help to disentangle between a bright speckle and a true detection. During the blind test and the redetection of HD 95086 b, and β Pic b, we highlightthe ability of K-Stacker to find orbital solutions consistent with those derived by the current Markov chain Monte Carlo orbital fitting techniques. This confirms that in addition to the detection gain, K-Stacker offers the opportunity to characterize the most probable orbital solutions of the exoplanets recovered at low S/N. <P />Based on observations collected at the European Southern Observatory under programs: 095.C-0298, 096.C-0241, 097.C-0865, 198.C-0209, 099.C-0127. [less ▲]

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See detailOrbital and spectral characterization of the benchmark T-type brown dwarf HD 19467B
Maire, Anne-Lise ULiege; Molaverdikhani, K.; Desidera, S. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2020), 639

Context. Detecting and characterizing substellar companions for which the luminosity, mass, and age can be determined independently is of utter importance to test and calibrate the evolutionary models due ... [more ▼]

Context. Detecting and characterizing substellar companions for which the luminosity, mass, and age can be determined independently is of utter importance to test and calibrate the evolutionary models due to uncertainties in their formation mechanisms. HD 19467 is a bright and nearby star hosting a cool brown dwarf companion detected with radial velocities and imaging, making it a valuable object for such studies. <BR /> Aims: We aim to further characterize the orbital, spectral, and physical properties of the HD 19467 system. <BR /> Methods: We present new high-contrast imaging data with the SPHERE and NaCo instruments. We also analyze archival data from the instruments HARPS, NaCo, HIRES, UVES, and ASAS. Furthermore, we use proper motion data of the star from HIPPARCOS and Gaia. <BR /> Results: We refined the properties of the host star and derived an age of 8.0[SUP]+2.0[/SUP][SUB]-1.0[/SUB] Gyr based on isochrones, gyrochronology, and chemical and kinematic arguments. This age estimate is slightly younger than previous age estimates of ~9-11 Gyr based on isochrones. No orbital curvature is seen in the current imaging, radial velocity, and astrometric data. From a joint fit of the data, we refined the orbital parameters for HD 19467B, including: a period of 398[SUP]+95[/SUP][SUB]-93[/SUB] yr, an inclination of 129.8[SUP]+8.1[/SUP][SUB]-5.1[/SUB] deg, an eccentricity of 0.56 ± 0.09, a longitude of the ascending node of 134.8 ± 4.5 deg, and an argument of the periastron of 64.2[SUP]+5.5[/SUP][SUB]-6.3[/SUB] deg. We assess a dynamical mass of 74[SUP]+12[/SUP][SUB]-9[/SUB] M[SUB]J[/SUB]. The fit with atmospheric models of the spectrophotometric data of the companion indicates an atmosphere without clouds or with very thin clouds, an effective temperature of 1042[SUP]+77[/SUP][SUB]-71[/SUB] K, and a high surface gravity of 5.34[SUP]+0.8[/SUP][SUB]-0.9[/SUB] dex. The comparison to model predictions of the bolometric luminosity and dynamical mass of HD 19467B, assuming our system age estimate, indicates a better agreement with the Burrows et al. (1997, ApJ, 491, 856) models; whereas, the other evolutionary models used tend to underestimate its cooling rate. <P />The reduced images shown in Fig. 3 are only 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/cat/J/A+A/639/A47">http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz- bin/cat/J/A+A/639/A47</A> <P />Based on observations collected at the European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere under ESO programmes 1100.C-0481, 0100.C-0234, 096.C-0602, 072.C-0488, 183.C-0972, 084.D-0965, 188.C-0265, 192.C-0852, and 0100.D-0444. [less ▲]

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See detailSearching for the near-infrared counterpart of Proxima c using multi-epoch high-contrast SPHERE data at VLT★
Gratton, R.; Zurlo, A.; Le Coroller, H. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2020), 638

Context. Proxima Centauri is the closest star to the Sun and it is known to host an Earth-like planet in its habitable zone; very recently a second candidate planet was proposed based on radial velocities ... [more ▼]

Context. Proxima Centauri is the closest star to the Sun and it is known to host an Earth-like planet in its habitable zone; very recently a second candidate planet was proposed based on radial velocities. At quadrature, the expected projected separation of this new candidate is larger than 1 arcsec, making it a potentially interesting target for direct imaging. <BR /> Aims: While identification of the optical counterpart of this planet is expected to be very difficult, successful identification would allow for a detailed characterization of the closest planetary system. <BR /> Methods: We searched for a counterpart in SPHERE images acquired over four years through the SHINE survey. In order to account for the expected large orbital motion of the planet, we used a method that assumes the circular orbit obtained from radial velocities and exploits the sequence of observations acquired close to quadrature in the orbit. We checked this with a more general approach that considers Keplerian motion, called K-stacker. <BR /> Results: We did not obtain a clear detection. The best candidate has signal-to-noise ratio (S/N) = 6.1 in the combined image. A statistical test suggests that the probability that this detection is due to random fluctuation of noise is <1%, but this result depends on the assumption that the distribution of noise is uniform over the image, a fact that is likely not true. The position of this candidate and the orientation of its orbital plane fit well with observations in the ALMA 12 m array image. However, the astrometric signal expected from the orbit of the candidate we detected is 3σ away from the astrometric motion of Proxima as measured from early Gaia data. This, together with the unexpectedly high flux associated with our direct imaging detection, means we cannot confirm that our candidate is indeed Proxima c. <BR /> Conclusions: On the other hand, if confirmed, this would be the first observation in imaging of a planet discovered from radial velocities and the second planet (after Fomalhaut b) of reflecting circumplanetary material. Further confirmation observations should be done as soon as possible. <P />The reduced images are only 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/cat/J/A+A/638/A120">http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/cat/J/A+A/638/A120</A> <P />Based on data collected at the European Southern Observatory, Chile (ESO Programs 095.D-0309, 096.C-0241, 096.D-0252, 097.C-0865, 198.C-D0209, 099.D-0098, 099.C-0127. [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 detailVLT/SPHERE exploration of the young multiplanetary system PDS70
Mesa, D.; Keppler, M.; Cantalloube, F. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2019), 632

Context. PDS 70 is a young (5.4 Myr), nearby ( 113 pc) star hosting a known transition disk with a large gap. Recent observations with SPHERE and NACO in the near-infrared (NIR) allowed us to detect a ... [more ▼]

Context. PDS 70 is a young (5.4 Myr), nearby ( 113 pc) star hosting a known transition disk with a large gap. Recent observations with SPHERE and NACO in the near-infrared (NIR) allowed us to detect a planetary mass companion, PDS 70 b, within the disk cavity. Moreover, observations in H[SUB]α[/SUB] with MagAO and MUSE revealed emission associated to PDS 70 b and to another new companion candidate, PDS 70 c, at a larger separation from the star. PDS 70 is the only multiple planetary system at its formation stage detected so far through direct imaging. <BR /> Aims: Our aim is to confirm the discovery of the second planet PDS 70 c using SPHERE at VLT, to further characterize its physical properties, and search for additional point sources in this young planetary system. <BR /> Methods: We re-analyzed archival SPHERE NIR observations and obtained new data in Y, J, H and K spectral bands for a total of four different epochs. The data were reduced using the data reduction and handling pipeline and the SPHERE data center. We then applied custom routines (e.g., ANDROMEDA and PACO) to subtract the starlight. <BR /> Results: We re-detect both PDS 70 b and c and confirm that PDS 70 c is gravitationally bound to the star. We estimate this second planet to be less massive than 5 M[SUB]Jup[/SUB] and with a T[SUB]eff[/SUB] around 900 K. Also, it has a low gravity with logg between 3.0 and 3.5 dex. In addition, a third object has been identified at short separation ( 0.12'') from the star and gravitationally bound to the star. Its spectrum is however very blue, meaning that we are probably seeing stellar light reflected by dust and our analysis seems to demonstrate that it is a feature of the inner disk. We cannot however completely exclude the possibility that it is a planetary mass object enshrouded by a dust envelope. In this latter case, its mass should be of the order of a few tens of M[SUB]⊕[/SUB]. Moreover, we propose a possible structure for the planetary system based on our data, and find that this structure cannot be stable on a long timescale. <P />The reduced images are also 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/cat/J/A+A/632/A25">http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz- bin/cat/J/A+A/632/A25</A> <P />Based on observation made with European Southern Observatory (ESO) telescopes at Paranal Observatory in Chile, under programs ID 095.C-0298(B), 1100.C-0481(D), 1100.C-0481(L) and 1100.C-0481(M). [less ▲]

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See detailRefPlanets: Search for reflected light from extra-solar planets with SPHERE/ZIMPOL
Hunziker, S.; Schmid, H. M.; Mouillet, D. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2019), in press

RefPlanets is a guaranteed time observation (GTO) programme that uses the Zurich IMaging POLarimeter (ZIMPOL) of SPHERE/VLT for a blind search for exoplanets in wavelengths from 600-900 nm. The goals of ... [more ▼]

RefPlanets is a guaranteed time observation (GTO) programme that uses the Zurich IMaging POLarimeter (ZIMPOL) of SPHERE/VLT for a blind search for exoplanets in wavelengths from 600-900 nm. The goals of this study are the characterization of the unprecedented high polarimetic contrast and polarimetric precision capabilities of ZIMPOL for bright targets, the search for polarized reflected light around some of the closest bright stars to the Sun and potentially the direct detection of an evolved cold exoplanet for the first time. For our observations of Alpha Cen A and B, Sirius A, Altair, Eps Eri and Tau Ceti we used the polarimetric differential imaging (PDI) mode of ZIMPOL which removes the speckle noise down to the photon noise limit for angular separations >0.6". We describe some of the instrumental effects that dominate the noise for smaller separations and explain how to remove these additional noise effects in post-processing. We then combine PDI with angular differential imaging (ADI) as a final layer of post-processing to further improve the contrast limits of our data at these separations. For good observing conditions we achieve polarimetric contrast limits of 15.0-16.3 mag at the effective inner working angle of about 0.13", 16.3-18.3 mag at 0.5" and 18.8-20.4 mag at 1.5". The contrast limits closer in (<0.6") depend significantly on the observing conditions, while in the photon noise dominated regime (>0.6"), the limits mainly depend on the brightness of the star and the total integration time. We compare our results with contrast limits from other surveys and review the exoplanet detection limits obtained with different detection methods. For all our targets we achieve unprecedented contrast limits. Despite the high polarimetric contrasts we are not able to find any additional companions or extended polarized light sources in the data that has been taken so far. [less ▲]

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See detailDetermining mass limits around HD 163296 through SPHERE direct imaging data
Mesa, D.; Langlois, M.; Garufi, Antonio et al

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (2019), 488

HD 163296 is a Herbig Ae/Be star known to host a protoplanetary disc with a ringed structure. To explain the disc features, previous works proposed the presence of planets embedded into the disc. We have ... [more ▼]

HD 163296 is a Herbig Ae/Be star known to host a protoplanetary disc with a ringed structure. To explain the disc features, previous works proposed the presence of planets embedded into the disc. We have observed HD 163296 with the near-infrared (NIR) branch of SPHERE composed by IRDIS (InfraRed Dual-band Imager and Spectrograph) and IFS (integral field spectrograph) with the aim to put tight constraints on the presence of substellar companions around this star. Despite the low rotation of the field of view during our observation we were able to put upper mass limits of few M[SUB]Jup[/SUB] around this object. These limits do not allow to give any definitive conclusion about the planets proposed through the disc characteristics. On the other hand, our results seem to exclude the presence of the only candidate proposed until now using direct imaging in the NIR even if some caution has to be taken considered the different wavelength bands of the two observations. [less ▲]

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See detailConstraining the properties of HD 206893 B. A combination of radial velocity, direct imaging, and astrometry data
Grandjean, A.; Lagrange, A.-M.; Beust, H. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2019), 627

Context. High contrast imaging enables the determination of orbital parameters for substellar companions (planets, brown dwarfs) from the observed relative astrometry and the estimation of model and age ... [more ▼]

Context. High contrast imaging enables the determination of orbital parameters for substellar companions (planets, brown dwarfs) from the observed relative astrometry and the estimation of model and age- dependent masses from their observed magnitudes or spectra. Combining astrometric positions with radial velocity gives direct constraints on the orbit and on the dynamical masses of companions. A brown dwarf was discovered with the VLT/SPHERE instrument at the Very Large Telescope (VLT) in 2017, which orbits at ̃11 au around HD 206893. Its mass was estimated between 12 and 50 M[SUB]J[/SUB] from evolutionary models and its photometry. However, given the significant uncertainty on the age of the system and the peculiar spectrophotometric properties of the companion, this mass is not well constrained. <BR /> Aims: We aim at constraining the orbit and dynamical mass of HD 206893 B. <BR /> Methods: We combined radial velocity data obtained with HARPS spectra and astrometric data obtained with the high contrast imaging VLT/SPHERE and VLT/NaCo instruments, with a time baseline less than three years. We then combined those data with astrometry data obtained by HIPPARCOS and Gaia with a time baseline of 24 yr. We used a Markov chain Monte Carlo approach to estimate the orbital parameters and dynamical mass of the brown dwarf from those data. <BR /> Results: We infer a period between 21 and 33 yr and an inclination in the range 20-41° from pole-on from HD 206893 B relative astrometry. The RV data show a significant RV drift over 1.6 yr. We show that HD 206893 B cannot be the source of this observed RV drift as it would lead to a dynamical mass inconsistent with its photometry and spectra and with HIPPARCOS and Gaia data. An additional inner (semimajor axis in the range 1.4-2.6 au) and massive (̃15 M[SUB]J[/SUB]) companion is needed to explain the RV drift, which is compatible with the available astrometric data of the star, as well as with the VLT/SPHERE and VLT/NaCo nondetection. <P />HARPS run 089.C-0739(A), 192.C-0224(C), 099.C-0205(A), 098.C-0739(A) and 1101.C-0557(A); SPHERE run 096.C-0388, 097.C-0865(D) and 099.C-0708(A); Gaia DR2. [less ▲]

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See detailConstraints on HD 113337 fundamental parameters and planetary system. Combining long-base visible interferometry, disc imaging, and high-contrast imaging
Borgniet, S.; Perraut, K.; Su, K. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2019), 627

Context. HD 113337 is a main-sequence F6V field star more massive than the Sun. This star hosts one confirmed giant planet and possibly a second candidate, detected by radial velocities (RVs). The star ... [more ▼]

Context. HD 113337 is a main-sequence F6V field star more massive than the Sun. This star hosts one confirmed giant planet and possibly a second candidate, detected by radial velocities (RVs). The star also hosts a cold debris disc detected through the presence of an infrared excess, making it an interesting system to explore. <BR /> Aims: We aim to bring new constraints on the star's fundamental parameters, debris disc properties, and planetary companion(s) by combining complementary techniques. <BR /> Methods: We used the VEGA interferometer on the CHARA array to measure the angular diameter of HD 113337. We derived its linear radius using the parallax from the Gaia Second Data Release. We computed the bolometric flux to derive its effective temperature and luminosity, and we estimated its mass and age using evolutionary tracks. Then, we used Herschel images to partially resolve the outer debris disc and estimate its extension and inclination. Next, we acquired high-contrast images of HD 113337 with the LBTI to probe the 10-80 au separation range. Finally, we combined the deduced contrast maps with previous RVs of the star using the MESS2 software to bring upper mass limits on possible companions at all separations up to 80 au. We took advantage of the constraints on the age and inclination brought by fundamental parameter analysis and disc imaging, respectively, for this analysis. <BR /> Results: We derive a limb-darkened angular diameter of 0.386 ± 0.009 mas that converts into a linear radius of 1.50 ± 0.04 R[SUB]⊙[/SUB] for HD 113337. The fundamental parameter analysis leads to an effective temperature of 6774 ± 125 K and to two possible age solutions: one young within 14-21 Myr and one old within 0.8-1.7 Gyr. We partially resolve the known outer debris disc and model its emission. Our best solution corresponds to a radius of 85 ± 20 au, an extension of 30 ± 20 au, and an inclination within 10-30° for the outer disc. The combination of imaging contrast limits, published RV, and age and inclination solutions allows us to derive a first possible estimation of the true masses of the planetary companions: 7[SUB]-2[/SUB][SUP]+4[/SUP] M[SUB]Jup[/SUB] for HD 113337 b (confirmed companion) and 16[SUB]-3[/SUB][SUP]+10[/SUP] M[SUB]Jup[/SUB] for HD 113337 c (candidate companion). We also constrain possible additional companions at larger separations. Partly based on observations made with the VEGA/CHARA spectro-interferometer. [less ▲]

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See detailSpectral and orbital characterisation of the directly imaged giant planet HIP 65426 b
Cheetham, A. C.; Samland, M.; Brems, S. S. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2019), 622

HIP 65426 b is a recently discovered exoplanet imaged during the course of the SPHERE-SHINE survey. Here we present new L' and M' observations of the planet from the NACO instrument at the VLT from the ... [more ▼]

HIP 65426 b is a recently discovered exoplanet imaged during the course of the SPHERE-SHINE survey. Here we present new L' and M' observations of the planet from the NACO instrument at the VLT from the NACO-ISPY survey, as well as a new Y -H spectrum and K-band photometry from SPHERE-SHINE. Using these data, we confirm the nature of the companion as a warm, dusty planet with a mid-L spectral type. From comparison of its SED with the BT-Settl atmospheric models, we derive a best-fit effective temperature of T[SUB]eff[/SUB] = 1618 ± 7 K, surface gravity log g = 3.78[SUB]-0.03[/SUB][SUP]+0.04[/SUP] and radius R = 1.17 ± 0.04R[SUB]J[/SUB] (statistical uncertainties only). Using the DUSTY and COND isochrones we estimate a mass of 8 ± 1M[SUB]J[/SUB]. Combining the astrometric measurements from our new datasets and from the literature, we show the first indications of orbital motion of the companion (2.6σ significance)and derive preliminary orbital constraints. We find a highly inclined orbit (i = 1.07[SUB]-10[/SUB][SUP]+13[/SUP] deg) with an orbital period of 800[SUB]-400[/SUB][SUP]+1200[/SUP] yr. We also report SPHERE sparse aperture masking observations that investigate the possibility that HIP 65426 b was scattered onto its current orbit by an additional companion at a smaller orbital separation. From this data we rule out the presence of brown dwarf companions with masses greater than 16 M[SUB]J[/SUB] at separations larger than 3 AU, significantly narrowing the parameter space for such a companion. <P />Based on observations collected at the European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere under ESO programmes 199.C-0065 (PI: Launhardt), 198.C-0209 (PI: Beuzit) and 1100.C-0481 (PI: Beuzit). [less ▲]

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See detailPost-conjunction detection of β Pictoris b with VLT/SPHERE
Lagrange, A.-M.; Boccaletti, A.; Langlois, M. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2019), 621

Context. With an orbital distance comparable to that of Saturn in the solar system, β Pictoris b is the closest (semi-major axis ≃9 au) exoplanet that has been imaged to orbit a star. Thus it offers ... [more ▼]

Context. With an orbital distance comparable to that of Saturn in the solar system, β Pictoris b is the closest (semi-major axis ≃9 au) exoplanet that has been imaged to orbit a star. Thus it offers unique opportunities for detailed studies of its orbital, physical, and atmospheric properties, and of disk-planet interactions. With the exception of the discovery observations in 2003 with NaCo at the Very Large Telescope (VLT), all following astrometric measurements relative to β Pictoris have been obtained in the southwestern part of the orbit, which severely limits the determination of the planet's orbital parameters. <BR /> Aims: We aimed at further constraining β Pictoris b orbital properties using more data, and, in particular, data taken in the northeastern part of the orbit. <BR /> Methods: We used SPHERE at the VLT to precisely monitor the orbital motion of beta β Pictoris b since first light of the instrument in 2014. <BR /> Results: We were able to monitor the planet until November 2016, when its angular separation became too small (125 mas, i.e., 1.6 au) and prevented further detection. We redetected β Pictoris b on the northeast side of the disk at a separation of 139 mas and a PA of 30° in September 2018. The planetary orbit is now well constrained. With a semi-major axis (sma) of a = 9.0 ± 0.5 au (1σ), it definitely excludes previously reported possible long orbital periods, and excludes β Pictoris b as the origin of photometric variations that took place in 1981. We also refine the eccentricity and inclination of the planet. From an instrumental point of view, these data demonstrate that it is possible to detect, if they exist, young massive Jupiters that orbit at less than 2 au from a star that is 20 pc away. <P />Based on observations collected at the European Southern Observatory under programmes 198.C-0209, 1100.C-0481. [less ▲]

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See detailThe GJ 504 system revisited. Combining interferometric, radial velocity, and high contrast imaging data
Bonnefoy, M.; Perraut, K.; Lagrange, A.-M. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2018), 618

Context. The G-type star GJ504A is known to host a 3-35 M[SUB]Jup[/SUB] companion whose temperature, mass, and projected separation all contribute to making it a test case for planet formation theories ... [more ▼]

Context. The G-type star GJ504A is known to host a 3-35 M[SUB]Jup[/SUB] companion whose temperature, mass, and projected separation all contribute to making it a test case for planet formation theories and atmospheric models of giant planets and light brown dwarfs. <BR /> Aims: We aim at revisiting the system age, architecture, and companion physical and chemical properties using new complementary interferometric, radial-velocity, and high-contrast imaging data. <BR /> Methods: We used the CHARA interferometer to measure GJ504A's angular diameter and obtained an estimation of its radius in combinationwith the HIPPARCOS parallax. The radius was compared to evolutionary tracks to infer a new independent age range for the system. We collected dual imaging data with IRDIS on VLT/SPHERE to sample the near-infrared (1.02-2.25 μm) spectral energy distribution (SED) of the companion. The SED was compared to five independent grids of atmospheric models (petitCODE,Exo-REM, BT-SETTL, Morley et al., and ATMO) to infer the atmospheric parameters of GJ 504b and evaluate model-to-model systematic errors. In addition, we used a specific model grid exploring the effect of different C/O ratios. Contrast limits from 2011 to 2017 were combined with radial velocity data of the host star through the MESS2 tool to define upper limits on the mass of additional companions in the system from 0.01 to 100 au. We used an MCMC fitting tool to constrain the companion'sorbital parameters based on the measured astrometry, and dedicated formation models to investigate its origin. <BR /> Results: We report a radius of 1.35 ± 0.04 R[SUB]☉[/SUB] for GJ504A. The radius yields isochronal ages of 21 ± 2 Myr or 4.0 ± 1.8 Gyr for the system and line-of-sight stellar rotation axis inclination of 162.4[SUB]-4.3[/SUB][SUP]+3.8[/SUP] degrees or 186.6[SUB]-3.8[/SUB][SUP]+4.3[/SUP] degrees. We re-detect the companion in the Y2, Y3, J3, H2, and K1 dual-band images. The complete 1-4 μm SED shape of GJ504b is best reproduced by T8-T9.5 objects with intermediate ages (≤ 1.5Gyr), and/or unusual dusty atmospheres and/or super-solar metallicities. All atmospheric models yield T[SUB]eff[/SUB] = 550 ± 50 K for GJ504b and point toward a low surface gravity (3.5-4.0 dex). The accuracy on the metallicity value is limited by model-to-model systematics; it is not degenerate with the C/O ratio. We derive log L/L[SUB]☉[/SUB] = -6.15 ± 0.15 dex for the companion from the empirical analysis and spectral synthesis. The luminosity and T[SUB]eff[/SUB] yield masses of M = 1.3[SUB]-0.3[/SUB][SUP]+0.6[/SUP] M[SUB]Jup[/SUB] and M = 23[SUB]-9[/SUB][SUP]+10[/SUP] M[SUB]Jup[/SUB] for the young and old age ranges, respectively. The semi-major axis (sma) is above 27.8 au and the eccentricity is lower than 0.55. The posterior on GJ 504b's orbital inclination suggests a misalignment with the rotation axis of GJ 504A. We exclude additional objects (90% prob.) more massive than 2.5 and 30 M[SUB]Jup[/SUB] with semi-major axes in the range 0.01-80 au for the young and old isochronal ages, respectively. <BR /> Conclusions: The mass and semi-major axis of GJ 504b are marginally compatible with a formation by disk-instability if the system is 4 Gyr old. The companion is in the envelope of the population of planets synthesized with our core-accretion model. Additional deep imaging and spectroscopic data with SPHERE and JWST should help to confirm the possible spin-orbit misalignment and refine the estimates on the companion temperature, luminosity, and atmospheric composition. <P />Based on observations collected at the European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere under ESO programs 093.C-0500, 095.C-0298, 096.C-0241, and 198.C-0209, and on interferometric observations obtained with the VEGA instrument on the CHARA Array. [less ▲]

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See detailDynamical masses of M-dwarf binaries in young moving groups. I. The case of TWA 22 and GJ 2060
Rodet, L.; Bonnefoy, M.; Durkan, S. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2018), 618

Context. Evolutionary models are widely used to infer the mass of stars, brown dwarfs, and giant planets. Their predictions are thought to be less reliable at young ages (< 200 Myr) and in the low-mass ... [more ▼]

Context. Evolutionary models are widely used to infer the mass of stars, brown dwarfs, and giant planets. Their predictions are thought to be less reliable at young ages (< 200 Myr) and in the low-mass regime (< 1 M[SUB]☉[/SUB]). GJ 2060 AB and TWA 22 AB are two rare astrometric M-dwarf binaries, respectively members of the AB Doradus (AB Dor) and Beta Pictoris (β Pic) moving groups. As their dynamical mass can be measured to within a few years, they can be used to calibrate the evolutionary tracks and set new constraints on the age of young moving groups. <BR /> Aims: We provide the first dynamical mass measurement of GJ 2060 and a refined measurement of the total mass of TWA 22. We also characterize the atmospheric properties of the individual components of GJ 2060 that can be used as inputs to the evolutionary models. <BR /> Methods: We used NaCo and SPHERE observations at VLT and archival Keck/NIRC2 data to complement the astrometric monitoring of the binaries. We combined the astrometry with new HARPS radial velocities (RVs) and FEROS RVs of GJ 2060. We used a Markov chain Monte-Carlo (MCMC) module to estimate posteriors on the orbital parameters and dynamical masses of GJ 2060 AB and TWA 22 AB from the astrometry and RVs. Complementary data obtained with the integral field spectrograph VLT/SINFONI were gathered to extract the individual near-infrared (1.1-2.5 μm) medium-resolution (R ̃ 1500 - 2000) spectra of GJ 2060 A and B. We compared the spectra to those of known objects and to grids of BT-SETTL model spectra to infer the spectral type, bolometric luminosities, and temperatures of those objects. <BR /> Results: We find a total mass of 0.18 ± 0.02 M[SUB]☉[/SUB] for TWA 22, which is in good agreement with model predictions at the age of the β Pic moving group. We obtain a total mass of 1.09 ± 0.10 M[SUB]☉[/SUB] for GJ 2060. We estimate a spectral type of M1 ± 0.5, L/L[SUB]☉[/SUB] = -1.20 ± 0.05 dex, and T[SUB]eff[/SUB] = 3700 ± 100 K for GJ 2060 A. The B component is a M3 ± 0.5 dwarf with L/L[SUB]☉[/SUB] = -1.63 ± 0.05 dex and T[SUB]eff[/SUB] = 3400 ± 100 K. The dynamical mass of GJ 2060 AB is inconsistent with the most recent models predictions (BCAH15, PARSEC) for an AB Dor age in the range 50-150 Myr. It is 10%-20% (1-2σ, depending on the assumed age) above the model's predictions, corresponding to an underestimation of 0.10-0.20 M[SUB]☉[/SUB]. Coevality suggests a young age for the system (̃50 Myr) according to most evolutionary models. <BR /> Conclusions: TWA 22 validates the predictions of recent evolutionary tracks at ̃20 Myr. On the other hand, we evidence a 1-2σ mismatch between the predicted and observed mass of GJ 2060 AB. This slight departure may indicate that one of the stars hosts a tight companion. Alternatively, this would confirm the model's tendency to underestimate the mass of young low-mass stars. [less ▲]

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See detailInvestigating the young solar system analog HD 95086. A combined HARPS and SPHERE exploration
Chauvin, G.; Gratton, R.; Bonnefoy, M. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2018), 617

Context. HD 95086 (A8V, 17 Myr) hosts a rare planetary system for which a multi-belt debris disk and a giant planet of 4-5 M[SUB]Jup[/SUB] have been directly imaged. <BR /> Aims: Our study aims to ... [more ▼]

Context. HD 95086 (A8V, 17 Myr) hosts a rare planetary system for which a multi-belt debris disk and a giant planet of 4-5 M[SUB]Jup[/SUB] have been directly imaged. <BR /> Aims: Our study aims to characterize the global architecture of this young system using the combination of radial velocity and direct imaging observations. We want to characterize the physical and orbital properties of HD 95086 b, search for additional planets at short and wide orbits and image the cold outer debris belt in scattered light. <BR /> Methods: We used HARPS at the ESO 3.6 m telescope to monitor the radial velocity of HD 95086 over two years and investigate the existence of giant planets at less than 3 au orbital distance. With the IRDIS dual-band imager and the IFS integral field spectrograph of SPHERE at VLT, we imaged the faint circumstellar environment beyond 10 au at six epochs between 2015 and 2017. <BR /> Results: We do not detect additional giant planets around HD 95086. We identify the nature (bound companion or background contaminant) of all point-like sources detected in the IRDIS field of view. None of them correspond to the ones recently discovered near the edge of the cold outer belt by ALMA. HD 95086 b is resolved for the first time in J-band with IFS. Its near-infrared spectral energy distribution is well fitted by a few dusty and/or young L7-L9 dwarf spectral templates. The extremely red 1-4 μm spectral distribution is typical of low-gravity objects at the L/T spectral type transition. The planet's orbital motion is resolved between January 2015 and May 2017. Together with past NaCo measurements properly re-calibrated, our orbital fitting solutions favor a retrograde low to moderate-eccentricity orbit e = 0.2[SUP]+0.3[/SUP][SUB]-0.2[/SUB], with a semi-major axis 52 au corresponding to orbital periods of 288 yr and an inclination that peaks at i = 141°, which is compatible with a planet-disk coplanar configuration. Finally, we report the detection in polarimetric differential imaging of the cold outer debris belt between 100 and 300 au, consistent in radial extent with recent ALMA 1.3 mm resolved observations. <P />Based on observations collected at the European Southern Observatory, Chile (ESO SPHERE Guaranteed Time Observation Program 095.C-0273, 095.C-0298, 096.C-0241, 097.C-0865, 198.C-0209) and ESO HARPS Open Time Observation Program 099.C-0205, 192. C-0224. [less ▲]

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See detailAstrometric and photometric accuracies in high contrast imaging: The SPHERE speckle calibration tool (SpeCal)
Galicher, R.; Boccaletti, A.; Mesa, D. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2018), 615

Context. The consortium of the Spectro-Polarimetric High-contrast Exoplanet REsearch installed at the Very Large Telescope (SPHERE/VLT) has been operating its guaranteed observation time (260 nights over ... [more ▼]

Context. The consortium of the Spectro-Polarimetric High-contrast Exoplanet REsearch installed at the Very Large Telescope (SPHERE/VLT) has been operating its guaranteed observation time (260 nights over five years) since February 2015. The main part of this time (200 nights) is dedicated to the detection and characterization of young and giant exoplanets on wide orbits. <BR /> Aims: The large amount of data must be uniformly processed so that accurate and homogeneous measurements of photometry and astrometry can be obtained for any source in the field. <BR /> Methods: To complement the European Southern Observatory pipeline, the SPHERE consortium developed a dedicated piece of software to process the data. First, the software corrects for instrumental artifacts. Then, it uses the speckle calibration tool (SpeCal) to minimize the stellar light halo that prevents us from detecting faint sources like exoplanets or circumstellar disks. SpeCal is meant to extract the astrometry and photometry of detected point-like sources (exoplanets, brown dwarfs, or background sources). SpeCal was intensively tested to ensure the consistency of all reduced images (cADI, Loci, TLoci, PCA, and others) for any SPHERE observing strategy (ADI, SDI, ASDI as well as the accuracy of the astrometry and photometry of detected point-like sources. <BR /> Results: SpeCal is robust, user friendly, and efficient at detecting and characterizing point-like sources in high contrast images. It is used to process all SPHERE data systematically, and its outputs have been used for most of the SPHERE consortium papers to date. SpeCal is also a useful framework to compare different algorithms using various sets of data (different observing modes and conditions). Finally, our tests show that the extracted astrometry and photometry are accurate and not biased. <P />Based on observations collected at the European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere under ESO programme 097.C-0865. [less ▲]

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See detailObservations of fast-moving features in the debris disk of AU Mic on a three-year timescale: Confirmation and new discoveries
Boccaletti, A.; Sezestre, E.; Lagrange, A.-M. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2018), 614

Context. The nearby and young M star AU Mic is surrounded by a debris disk in which we previously identified a series of large-scale arch-like structures that have never been seen before in any other ... [more ▼]

Context. The nearby and young M star AU Mic is surrounded by a debris disk in which we previously identified a series of large-scale arch-like structures that have never been seen before in any other debris disk and that move outward at high velocities. <BR /> Aims: We initiated a monitoring program with the following objectives: (1) track the location of the structures and better constrain their projected speeds, (2) search for new features emerging closer in, and ultimately (3) understand the mechanism responsible for the motion and production of the disk features. <BR /> Methods: AU Mic was observed at 11 different epochs between August 2014 and October 2017 with the IR camera and spectrograph of SPHERE. These high-contrast imaging data were processed with a variety of angular, spectral, and polarimetric differential imaging techniques to reveal the faintest structures in the disk. We measured the projected separations of the features in a systematic way for all epochs. We also applied the very same measurements to older observations from the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) with the visible cameras STIS and ACS. <BR /> Results: The main outcomes of this work are (1) the recovery of the five southeastern broad arch-like structures we identified in our first study, and confirmation of their fast motion (projected speed in the range 4-12 km s[SUP]-1[/SUP]); (2) the confirmation that the very first structures observed in 2004 with ACS are indeed connected to those observed later with STIS and now SPHERE; (3) the discovery of two new very compact structures at the northwest side of the disk (at 0.40'' and 0.55'' in May 2015) that move to the southeast at low speed; and (4) the identification of a new arch-like structure that might be emerging at the southeast side at about 0.4'' from the star (as of May 2016). <BR /> Conclusions: Although the exquisite sensitivity of SPHERE allows one to follow the evolution not only of the projected separation, but also of the specific morphology of each individual feature, it remains difficult to distinguish between possible dynamical scenarios that may explain the observations. Understanding the exact origin of these features, the way they are generated, and their evolution over time is certainly a significant challenge in the context of planetary system formation around M stars. <P />Based on data collected at the European Southern Observatory, Chile under programs 060.A-9249, 095.C-0298, 096.C-0625, 097.C-0865, 097.C-0813, 598.C-0359.A movie associated to Fig. 6 is available at <A h ref="https://www.aanda.org/10.1051/0004-6361/201732462/olm">http://https ://www.aanda.org</A> [less ▲]

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See detailNew spectro-photometric characterization of the substellar object HR 2562 B using SPHERE
Mesa, D.; Baudino, J.-L.; Charnay, B. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2018), 612

<BR /> Aims: HR 2562 is an F5V star located at 33 pc from the Sun hosting a substellar companion that was discovered using the Gemini planet imager (GPI) instrument. The main objective of the present ... [more ▼]

<BR /> Aims: HR 2562 is an F5V star located at 33 pc from the Sun hosting a substellar companion that was discovered using the Gemini planet imager (GPI) instrument. The main objective of the present paper is to provide an extensive characterization of the substellar companion, by deriving its fundamental properties. <BR /> Methods: We observed HR 2562 with the near-infrared branch composed by the integral field spectrograph (IFS) and the infrared dual band spectrograph (IRDIS) of the spectro-polarimetric high-contrast exoplanet research (SPHERE) instrument at the very large telescope (VLT). During our observations IFS was operating in the Y J band, while IRDIS was observing with the H broadband filter. The data were reduced with the dedicated SPHERE GTO pipeline, which is custom designed for this instrument. On the reduced images, we then applied the post-processing procedures that are specifically prepared to subtract the speckle noise. <BR /> Results: The companion is clearly detected in both IRDIS and IFS datasets. We obtained photometry in three different spectral bands. The comparison with template spectra allowed us to derive a spectral type of T2-T3 for the companion. Using both evolutionary and atmospheric models we inferred the main physical parameters of the companion obtaining a mass of 32 ± 14 M[SUB]Jup[/SUB], T[SUB]eff[/SUB] = 1100 ± 200 K, and log g = 4.75 ± 0.41. <P />Based on observations made with European Southern Observatory (ESO) telescopes at Paranal Observatory in Chile, under program ID 198.C-0209(D). [less ▲]

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See detailDynamical models to explain observations with SPHERE in planetary systems with double debris belts
Lazzoni, C.; Desidera, S.; Marzari, F. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2018), 611

Context. A large number of systems harboring a debris disk show evidence for a double belt architecture. One hypothesis for explaining the gap between the debris belts in these disks is the presence of ... [more ▼]

Context. A large number of systems harboring a debris disk show evidence for a double belt architecture. One hypothesis for explaining the gap between the debris belts in these disks is the presence of one or more planets dynamically carving it. For this reason these disks represent prime targets for searching planets using direct imaging instruments, like the Spectro-Polarimetric High-constrast Exoplanet Research (SPHERE) at the Very Large Telescope. Aim. The goal of this work is to investigate this scenario in systems harboring debris disks divided into two components, placed, respectively, in the inner and outer parts of the system. All the targets in the sample were observed with the SPHERE instrument, which performs high-contrast direct imaging, during the SHINE guaranteed time observations. Positions of the inner and outer belts were estimated by spectral energy distribution fitting of the infrared excesses or, when available, from resolved images of the disk. Very few planets have been observed so far in debris disks gaps and we intended to test if such non-detections depend on the observational limits of the present instruments. This aim is achieved by deriving theoretical predictions of masses, eccentricities, and semi-major axes of planets able to open the observed gaps and comparing such parameters with detection limits obtained with SPHERE. <BR /> Methods: The relation between the gap and the planet is due to the chaotic zone neighboring the orbit of the planet. The radial extent of this zone depends on the mass ratio between the planet and the star, on the semi-major axis, and on the eccentricity of the planet, and it can be estimated analytically. We first tested the different analytical predictions using a numerical tool for the detection of chaotic behavior and then selected the best formula for estimating a planet's physical and dynamical properties required to open the observed gap. We then apply the formalism to the case of one single planet on a circular or eccentric orbit. We then consider multi-planetary systems: two and three equal-mass planets on circular orbits and two equal-mass planets on eccentric orbits in a packed configuration. As a final step, we compare each couple of values (M[SUB]p[/SUB], a[SUB]p[/SUB]), derived from the dynamical analysis of single and multiple planetary models, with the detection limits obtained with SPHERE. <BR /> Results: For one single planet on a circular orbit we obtain conclusive results that allow us to exclude such a hypothesis since in most cases this configuration requires massive planets which should have been detected by our observations. Unsatisfactory is also the case of one single planet on an eccentric orbit for which we obtained high masses and/or eccentricities which are still at odds with observations. Introducing multi planetary architectures is encouraging because for the case of three packed equal-mass planets on circular orbits we obtain quite low masses for the perturbing planets which would remain undetected by our SPHERE observations. The case of two equal-mass planets on eccentric orbits is also of interest since it suggests the possible presence of planets with masses lower than the detection limits and with moderate eccentricity. Our results show that the apparent lack of planets in gaps between double belts could be explained by the presence of a system of two or more planets possibly of low mass and on eccentric orbits whose sizes are below the present detection limits. <P />Based on observations collected at Paranal Observatory, ESO (Chile) Program ID: 095.C-0298, 096.C-0241, 097.C-0865, and 198.C-0209. [less ▲]

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