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See detailOngoing flyby in the young multiple system UX Tauri
Ménard, F.; Cuello, N.; Ginski, C. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2020), 639

We present observations of the young multiple system UX Tauri to look for circumstellar disks and for signs of dynamical interactions. We obtained SPHERE/IRDIS deep differential polarization images in the ... [more ▼]

We present observations of the young multiple system UX Tauri to look for circumstellar disks and for signs of dynamical interactions. We obtained SPHERE/IRDIS deep differential polarization images in the J and H bands. We also used ALMA archival CO data. Large extended spirals are well detected in scattered light coming out of the disk of UX Tau A. The southern spiral forms a bridge between UX Tau A and C. These spirals, including the bridge connecting the two stars, all have a CO (3-2) counterpart seen by ALMA. The disk of UX Tau C is detected in scattered light. It is much smaller than the disk of UX Tau A and has a major axis along a different position angle, suggesting a misalignment. We performed PHANTOM SPH hydrodynamical models to interpret the data. The scattered light spirals, CO emission spirals and velocity patterns of the rotating disks, and the compactness of the disk of UX Tau C all point to a scenario in which UX Tau A has been perturbed very recently (∼1000 years) by the close passage of UX Tau C. <P />Movies associated to Fig. 3 are available at <A href="https://www.aanda.org/10.1051/0004-6 361/202038356/olm">http://https://www.aanda.org</A> [less ▲]

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See detailGap, shadows, spirals, and streamers: SPHERE observations of binary-disk interactions in GG Tauri A
Keppler, M.; Penzlin, A.; Benisty, M. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2020), 639

Context. A large portion of stars is found to be part of binary or higher-order multiple systems. The ubiquity of planets found around single stars raises the question of whether and how planets in binary ... [more ▼]

Context. A large portion of stars is found to be part of binary or higher-order multiple systems. The ubiquity of planets found around single stars raises the question of whether and how planets in binary systems form. Protoplanetary disks are the birthplaces of planets, and characterizing them is crucial in order to understand the planet formation process. <BR /> Aims: Our goal is to characterize the morphology of the GG Tau A disk, one of the largest and most massive circumbinary disks. We also aim to trace evidence for binary-disk interactions. <BR /> Methods: We obtained observations in polarized scattered light of GG Tau A using the SPHERE/IRDIS instrument in the H-band filter. We analyzed the observed disk morphology and substructures. We ran 2D hydrodynamical models to simulate the evolution of the circumbinary ring over the lifetime of the disk. <BR /> Results: The disk and also the cavity and the inner region are highly structured, with several shadowed regions, spiral structures, and streamer-like filaments. Some of these are detected here for the first time. The streamer-like filaments appear to connect the outer ring with the northern arc. Their azimuthal spacing suggests that they may be generated through periodic perturbations by the binary, which tear off material from the inner edge of the outer disk once during each orbit. By comparing observations to hydrodynamical simulations, we find that the main features, in particular, the gap size, but also the spiral and streamer filaments, can be qualitatively explained by the gravitational interactions of a binary with a semimajor axis of ~35 au on an orbit coplanar with the circumbinary ring. <P />Based on observations performed with VLT/SPHERE under program ID 198.C-0209(N). [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 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 detailA search for accreting young companions embedded in circumstellar disks. High-contrast Hα imaging with VLT/SPHERE
Cugno, G.; Quanz, S. P.; Hunziker, S. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2019), 622

Context. In recent years, our understanding of giant planet formation progressed substantially. There have even been detections of a few young protoplanet candidates still embedded in the circumstellar ... [more ▼]

Context. In recent years, our understanding of giant planet formation progressed substantially. There have even been detections of a few young protoplanet candidates still embedded in the circumstellar disks of their host stars. The exact physics that describes the accretion of material from the circumstellar disk onto the suspected circumplanetary disk and eventually onto the young, forming planet is still an open question. <BR /> Aims: We seek to detect and quantify observables related to accretion processes occurring locally in circumstellar disks, which could be attributed to young forming planets. We focus on objects known to host protoplanet candidates and/or disk structures thought to be the result of interactions with planets. <BR /> Methods: We analyzed observations of six young stars (age 3.5-10 Myr) and their surrounding environments with the SPHERE/ZIMPOL instrument on the Very Large Telescope (VLT) in the Hα filter (656 nm) and a nearby continuum filter (644.9 nm). We applied several point spread function (PSF) subtraction techniques to reach the highest possible contrast near the primary star, specifically investigating regions where forming companions were claimed or have been suggested based on observed disk morphology. <BR /> Results: We redetect the known accreting M-star companion HD142527 B with the highest published signal to noise to date in both Hα and the continuum. We derive new astrometry (r=62.8[SUB]-2.7[/SUB][SUP]+2.1[/SUP] mas and PA=(98.7±1.8)°) and photometry (∆N_Ha = 6.3[SUB]-0.3[/SUB][SUP]+0.2[/SUP] mag, ∆B_Ha = 6.7 ± 0.2 mag and ∆Cnt_Ha = 7.3[SUB]-0.2[/SUB][SUP]+0.3[/SUP] mag) for the companion in agreement with previous studies, and estimate its mass accretion rate (Ṁ ≈ 1-2 × 10[SUP]-10[/SUP] M[SUB]☉[/SUB]yr[SUP]-1[/SUP]). A faint point-like source around HD135344 B (SAO206462) is also investigated, but a second deeper observation is required to reveal its nature. No other companions are detected. In the framework of our assumptions we estimate detection limits at the locations of companion candidates around HD100546, HD169142, and MWC 758 and calculate that processes involving Hα fluxes larger than 8 × 10[SUP]-14[/SUP]-10[SUP]-15[/SUP] erg s[SUP]-1[/SUP] cm[SUP]-2[/SUP] (Ṁ > 10[SUP]-10[/SUP]-10[SUP]-12[/SUP] M[SUB]☉[/SUB]yr[SUP]-1[/SUP]) can be excluded. Furthermore, flux upper limits of 10[SUP]-14[/SUP]-10[SUP]-15[/SUP] erg s[SUP]-1[/SUP] cm[SUP]-2[/SUP] (Ṁ < 10[SUP]-11[/SUP]-10[SUP]-12[/SUP] M[SUB]☉[/SUB]yr[SUP]-1[/SUP]) are estimated within the gaps identified in the disks surrounding HD135344 B and TW Hya. The derived luminosity limits exclude Hα signatures at levels similar to those previously detected for the accreting planet candidate LkCa15 b. <P />Based on observations collected at the Paranal Observatory, ESO (Chile). Program ID: 096.C-0248(B), 096.C-0267(A),096.C-0267(B), 095.C-0273(A), 095.C-0298(A).The reduced images (FITS files) 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/qcat?J/A+A/622/A156">http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz- bin/qcat?J/A+A/622/A156</A> [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 detailHigh-contrast study of the candidate planets and protoplanetary disk around HD 100546
Sissa, E.; Gratton, R.; Garufi, Antonio et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2018), 619

The nearby Herbig Be star HD 100546 is known to be a laboratory for the study of protoplanets and their relation with the circumstellar disk, which is carved by at least two gaps. We observed the HD ... [more ▼]

The nearby Herbig Be star HD 100546 is known to be a laboratory for the study of protoplanets and their relation with the circumstellar disk, which is carved by at least two gaps. We observed the HD 100546 environment with high-contrast imaging exploiting several different observing modes of SPHERE, including data sets with and without coronagraphs, dual band imaging, integral field spectroscopy and polarimetry. The picture emerging from these different data sets is complex. Flux-conservative algorithm images clearly show the disk up to 200 au. More aggressive algorithms reveal several rings and warped arms that are seen overlapping the main disk. Some of these structures are found to lie at considerable height over the disk mid-plane at about 30 au. Our images demonstrate that the brightest wings close to the star in the near side of the disk are a unique structure, corresponding to the outer edge of the intermediate disk at 40 au. Modeling of the scattered light from the disk with a geometrical algorithm reveals that a moderately thin structure (H/r = 0.18 at 40 au) can well reproduce the light distribution in the flux-conservative images. We suggest that the gap between 44 and 113 au spans between the 1:2 and 3:2 resonance orbits of a massive body located at 70 au, which mightcoincide with the candidate planet HD 100546b detected with previous thermal infrared (IR) observations. In this picture, the two wings can be the near side of a ring formed by disk material brought out of the disk at the 1:2 resonance with the same massive object. While we find no clear evidence confirming detection of the planet candidate HD 100546c in our data, we find a diffuse emission close to the expected position of HD 100546b. This source can be described as an extremely reddened substellar object surrounded by a dust cloud or its circumplanetary disk. Its astrometry is broadly consistent with a circular orbital motion on the disk plane, a result that could be confirmed with new observations. Further observations at various wavelengths are required to fully understand the complex phenomenology of HD 100546. <P />Based on data collected at the European Southern Observatory, Chile (ESO Programs 095.C-0298, 096.C-0241, 096.C-0248, 097.C-0523, 097.C-0865, and 098.C-0209). [less ▲]

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See detailDiscovery of a planetary-mass companion within the gap of the transition disk around PDS 70
Keppler, M.; Benisty, M.; Müller, A. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2018), 617

Context. Young circumstellar disks are the birthplaces of planets. Their study is of prime interest to understand the physical and chemical conditions under which planet formation takes place. Only very ... [more ▼]

Context. Young circumstellar disks are the birthplaces of planets. Their study is of prime interest to understand the physical and chemical conditions under which planet formation takes place. Only very few detections of planet candidates within these disks exist, and most of them are currently suspected to be disk features. <BR /> Aims: In this context, the transition disk around the young star PDS 70 is of particular interest, due to its large gap identified in previous observations, indicative of ongoing planet formation. We aim to search for the presence of an embedded young planet and search for disk structures that may be the result of disk-planet interactions and other evolutionary processes. <BR /> Methods: We analyse new and archival near-infrared images of the transition disk PDS 70 obtained with the VLT/SPHERE, VLT/NaCo, and Gemini/NICI instruments in polarimetric differential imaging and angular differential imaging modes. <BR /> Results: We detect a point source within the gap of the disk at about 195 mas ( 22 au) projected separation. The detection is confirmed at five different epochs, in three filter bands and using different instruments. The astrometry results in an object of bound nature, with high significance. The comparison of the measured magnitudes and colours to evolutionary tracks suggests that the detection is a companion of planetary mass. The luminosity of the detected object is consistent with that of an L-type dwarf, but its IR colours are redder, possibly indicating the presence of warm surrounding material. Further, we confirm the detection of a large gap of 54 au in size within the disk in our scattered light images, and detect a signal from an inner disk component. We find that its spatial extent is very likely smaller than 17 au in radius, and its position angle is consistent with that of the outer disk. The images of the outer disk show evidence of a complex azimuthal brightness distribution which is different at different wavelengths and may in part be explained by Rayleigh scattering from very small grains. <BR /> Conclusions: The detection of a young protoplanet within the gap of the transition disk around PDS 70 opens the door to a so far observationally unexplored parameter space of planetary formation and evolution. Future observations of this system at different wavelengths and continuing astrometry will allow us to test theoretical predictions regarding planet-disk interactions, planetary atmospheres, and evolutionary models. <P />Based on observations performed with ESO Telescopes at the Paranal Observatory under programmes 095.C-0298, 095.C-0404, 096.C-0333, 097.C-0206, 097.C-1001, and 099.C-0891.The reduced images and datacubes 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/qcat?J/A+A/617/A44">http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz- bin/qcat?J/A+A/617/A44</A> [less ▲]

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See detailDiscovery of a brown dwarf companion to the star HIP 64892
Cheetham, A.; Bonnefoy, M.; Desidera, S. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2018), 615

We report the discovery of a bright, brown dwarf companion to the star HIP 64892, imaged with VLT/SPHERE during the SHINE exoplanet survey. The host is a B9.5V member of the Lower-Centaurus-Crux subgroup ... [more ▼]

We report the discovery of a bright, brown dwarf companion to the star HIP 64892, imaged with VLT/SPHERE during the SHINE exoplanet survey. The host is a B9.5V member of the Lower-Centaurus-Crux subgroup of the Scorpius Centaurus OB association. The measured angular separation of the companion (1.2705 ± 0.0023") corresponds to a projected distance of 159 ± 12 AU. We observed the target with the dual-band imaging and long- slit spectroscopy modes of the IRDIS imager to obtain its spectral energy distribution (SED) and astrometry. In addition, we reprocessed archival NACO L-band data, from which we also recover the companion. Its SED is consistent with a young (<30 Myr), low surface gravity object with a spectral type of M9[SUB]γ[/SUB] ± 1. From comparison with the BT- Settl atmospheric models we estimate an effective temperature of T[SUB]eff[/SUB] = 2600 ± 100 K, and comparison of the companion photometry to the COND evolutionary models yields a mass of 29-37 M[SUB]J[/SUB] at the estimated age of 16[SUB]-7[/SUB][SUP]+15[/SUP] Myr for the system. The star HIP 64892 is a rare example of an extreme-mass ratio system (q 0.01) and will be useful for testing models relating to the formation and evolution of such low-mass objects. <P />Based on observations collected at the European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere under ESO programmes 096.C-0241 and 198.C-0209 (PI: J.-L. Beuzit), 098.A-9007(A) (PI: P. Sarkis), and 087.C-0790(A) (PI: M. Ireland). [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 detailFirst scattered light detection of a nearly edge-on transition disk around the T Tauri star RY Lupi
Langlois, M.; Pohl, A.; Lagrange, A.-M. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2018), 614

Context. Transition disks are considered sites of ongoing planet formation, and their dust and gas distributions could be signposts of embedded planets. The transition disk around the T Tauri star RY Lup ... [more ▼]

Context. Transition disks are considered sites of ongoing planet formation, and their dust and gas distributions could be signposts of embedded planets. The transition disk around the T Tauri star RY Lup has an inner dust cavity and displays a strong silicate emission feature. <BR /> Aims: Using high-resolution imaging we study the disk geometry, including non-axisymmetric features, and its surface dust grain, to gain a better understanding of the disk evolutionary process. Moreover, we search for companion candidates, possibly connected to the disk. <BR /> Methods: We obtained high-contrast and high angular resolution data in the near-infrared with the VLT/SPHERE extreme adaptive optics instrument whose goal is to study the planet formation by detecting and characterizing these planets and their formation environments through direct imaging. We performed polarimetric imaging of the RY Lup disk with IRDIS (at 1.6 μm), and obtained intensity images with the IRDIS dual-band imaging camera simultaneously with the IFS spectro-imager (0.9-1.3 μm). <BR /> Results: We resolved for the first time the scattered light from the nearly edge-on circumstellar disk around RY Lup, at projected separations in the 100 au range. The shape of the disk and its sharp features are clearly detectable at wavelengths ranging from 0.9 to 1.6 μm. We show that the observed morphology can be interpreted as spiral arms in the disk. This interpretation is supported by in-depth numerical simulations. We also demonstrate that these features can be produced by one planet interacting with the disk. We also detect several point sources which are classified as probable background objects. [less ▲]

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See detailThe Circumstellar Disk HD 169142: Gas, Dust, and Planets Acting in Concert?
Pohl, A.; Benisty, M.; Pinilla, P. et al

in Astrophysical Journal (2017), 850

HD 169142 is an excellent target for investigating signs of planet-disk interaction due to previous evidence of gap structures. We perform J-band (̃1.2 μm) polarized intensity imaging of HD 169142 with ... [more ▼]

HD 169142 is an excellent target for investigating signs of planet-disk interaction due to previous evidence of gap structures. We perform J-band (̃1.2 μm) polarized intensity imaging of HD 169142 with VLT/SPHERE. We observe polarized scattered light down to 0.″16 (̃19 au) and find an inner gap with a significantly reduced scattered-light flux. We confirm the previously detected double-ring structure peaking at 0.″18 (̃21 au) and 0.″56 (̃66 au) and marginally detect a faint third gap at 0.″70-0.″73 (̃82-85 au). We explore dust evolution models in a disk perturbed by two giant planets, as well as models with a parameterized dust size distribution. The dust evolution model is able to reproduce the ring locations and gap widths in polarized intensity but fails to reproduce their depths. However, it gives a good match with the ALMA dust continuum image at 1.3 mm. Models with a parameterized dust size distribution better reproduce the gap depth in scattered light, suggesting that dust filtration at the outer edges of the gaps is less effective. The pileup of millimeter grains in a dust trap and the continuous distribution of small grains throughout the gap likely require more efficient dust fragmentation and dust diffusion in the dust trap. Alternatively, turbulence or charging effects might lead to a reservoir of small grains at the surface layer that is not affected by the dust growth and fragmentation cycle dominating the dense disk midplane. The exploration of models shows that extracting planet properties such as mass from observed gap profiles is highly degenerate. <P />Based on observations collected at the European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere under ESO program 095.C-0273. [less ▲]

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See detailDiscovery of a warm, dusty giant planet around HIP 65426
Chauvin, G.; Desidera, S.; Lagrange, A.-M. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2017), 605

<BR /> Aims: The SHINE program is a high-contrast near-infrared survey of 600 young, nearby stars aimed at searching for and characterizing new planetary systems using VLT/SPHERE's unprecedented high ... [more ▼]

<BR /> Aims: The SHINE program is a high-contrast near-infrared survey of 600 young, nearby stars aimed at searching for and characterizing new planetary systems using VLT/SPHERE's unprecedented high-contrast and high-angular-resolution imaging capabilities. It is also intended to place statistical constraints on the rate, mass and orbital distributions of the giant planet population at large orbits as a function of the stellar host mass and age to test planet-formation theories. <BR /> Methods: We used the IRDIS dual-band imager and the IFS integral field spectrograph of SPHERE to acquire high-contrast coronagraphic differential near-infrared images and spectra of the young A2 star HIP 65426. It is a member of the 17 Myr old Lower Centaurus-Crux association. <BR /> Results: At a separation of 830 mas (92 au projected) from the star, we detect a faint red companion. Multi-epoch observations confirm that it shares common proper motion with HIP 65426. Spectro-photometric measurements extracted with IFS and IRDIS between 0.95 and 2.2 μm indicate a warm, dusty atmosphere characteristic of young low-surface-gravity L5-L7 dwarfs. Hot-start evolutionary models predict a luminosity consistent with a 6-12 M[SUB]Jup[/SUB], T[SUB]eff[/SUB] = 1300-1600 K and R = 1.5 ± 0.1 R[SUB]Jup[/SUB] giant planet. Finally, the comparison with Exo-REM and PHOENIX BT-Settl synthetic atmosphere models gives consistent effective temperatures but with slightly higher surface gravity solutions of log (g) = 4.0-5.0 with smaller radii (1.0-1.3 R[SUB]Jup[/SUB]). <BR /> Conclusions: Given its physical and spectral properties, HIP 65426 b occupies a rather unique placement in terms of age, mass, and spectral-type among the currently known imaged planets. It represents a particularly interesting case to study the presence of clouds as a function of particle size, composition, and location in the atmosphere, to search for signatures of non-equilibrium chemistry, and finally to test the theory of planet formation and evolution. <P />Based on observations collected at La Silla and Paranal Observatory, ESO (Chile) Program ID: 097.C-0865 and 098.C-0209 (SPHERE).The planet spectrum is only available at the CDS via anonymous ftp to <A href="http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr">http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr</A> (<A href="http://130.79.128.5">http://130.79.128.5</A>) or via <A href="http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz- bin/qcat?J/A+A/605/L9">http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz- bin/qcat?J/A+A/605/L9</A> [less ▲]

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See detailNew constraints on the disk characteristics and companion candidates around T Chamaeleontis with VLT/SPHERE
Pohl, A.; Sissa, E.; Langlois, M. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2017), 605

Context. The transition disk around the T Tauri star T Cha possesses a large gap, making it a prime target for high-resolution imaging in the context of planet formation. <BR /> Aims: We aim to find signs ... [more ▼]

Context. The transition disk around the T Tauri star T Cha possesses a large gap, making it a prime target for high-resolution imaging in the context of planet formation. <BR /> Aims: We aim to find signs of disk evolutionary processes by studying the disk geometry and the dust grain properties at its surface, and to search for companion candidates. <BR /> Methods: We analyze a set of VLT/SPHERE data at near-infrared and optical wavelengths. We performed polarimetric imaging of T Cha with IRDIS (1.6 μm) and ZIMPOL (0.5-0.9 μm), and obtained intensity images from IRDIS dual-band imaging with simultaneous spectro-imaging with IFS (0.9-1.3 μm). <BR /> Results: The disk around T Cha is detected in all observing modes and its outer disk is resolved in scattered light with unprecedented angular resolution and signal-to-noise. The images reveal a highly inclined disk with a noticeable east-west brightness asymmetry. The significant amount of non-azimuthal polarization signal in the U[SUB]φ[/SUB] images, with a U[SUB]φ[/SUB]/Q[SUB]φ[/SUB] peak-to-peak value of 14%, is in accordance with theoretical studies on multiple scattering in an inclined disk. Our optimal axisymmetric radiative transfer model considers two coplanar inner and outer disks, separated by a gap of 0.̋28 ( 30 au) in size, which is larger than previously thought. We derive a disk inclination of 69 deg and PA of 114 deg. In order to self-consistently reproduce the intensity and polarimetric images, the dust grains, responsible for the scattered light, need to be dominated by sizes of around ten microns. A point source is detected at an angular distance of 3.5'' from the central star. It is, however, found not to be co-moving. <BR /> Conclusions: We confirm that the dominant source of emission is forward scattered light from the near edge of the outer disk. Our point source analysis rules out the presence of a companion with mass larger than 8.5 M[SUB]jup[/SUB] between 0.̋1 and 0.̋3. The detection limit decreases to 2 M[SUB]jup[/SUB] for 0.̋3 to 4.0''. <P />Based on observations made with European Southern Observatory (ESO) telescopes at the Paranal Observatory in Chile, under program IDs 095.C-0298(B), 096.C-0248(B) and 096.C-0248(C). [less ▲]

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See detailTesting giant planet formation in the transitional disk of SAO 206462 using deep VLT/SPHERE imaging
Maire, Anne-Lise ULiege; Stolker, T.; Messina, S. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2017), 601

Context. The SAO 206462 (HD 135344B) disk is one of the few known transitional disks showing asymmetric features in scattered light and thermal emission. Near-infrared scattered-light images revealed two ... [more ▼]

Context. The SAO 206462 (HD 135344B) disk is one of the few known transitional disks showing asymmetric features in scattered light and thermal emission. Near-infrared scattered-light images revealed two bright outer spiral arms and an inner cavity depleted in dust. Giant protoplanets have been proposed to account for the disk morphology. <BR /> Aims: We aim to search for giant planets responsible for the disk features and, in the case of non-detection, to constrain recent planet predictions using the data detection limits. <BR /> Methods: We obtained new high-contrast and high-resolution total intensity images of the target spanning the Y to the K bands (0.95-2.3 μm) using the VLT/SPHERE near-infrared camera and integral field spectrometer. <BR /> Results: The spiral arms and the outer cavity edge are revealed at high resolutions and sensitivities without the need for aggressive image post-processing techniques, which introduce photometric biases. We do not detect any close-in companions. For the derivation of the detection limits on putative giant planets embedded in the disk, we show that the knowledge of the disk aspect ratio and viscosity is critical for the estimation of the attenuation of a planet signal by the protoplanetary dust because of the gaps that these putative planets may open. Given assumptions on these parameters, the mass limits can vary from 2-5 to 4-7 Jupiter masses at separations beyond the disk spiral arms. The SPHERE detection limits are more stringent than those derived from archival NaCo/L' data and provide new constraints on a few recent predictions of massive planets (4-15 M[SUB]J[/SUB]) based on the spiral density wave theory. The SPHERE and ALMA data do not favor the hypotheses on massive giant planets in the outer disk (beyond 0.6''). There could still be low-mass planets in the outer disk and/or planets inside the cavity. <P />Based on observations collected at the European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere under ESO programmes 095.C-0298 and 090.C-0443. <P /> [less ▲]

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See detailNear-infrared scattered light properties of the HR 4796 A dust ring. A measured scattering phase function from 13.6° to 166.6°
Milli, J.; Vigan, A.; Mouillet, D. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2017), 599

Context. HR 4796 A is surrounded by a debris disc, observed in scattered light as an inclined ring with a high surface brightness. Past observations have raised several questions. First, a strong ... [more ▼]

Context. HR 4796 A is surrounded by a debris disc, observed in scattered light as an inclined ring with a high surface brightness. Past observations have raised several questions. First, a strong brightness asymmetry detected in polarised reflected light has recently challenged our understanding of scattering by the dust particles in this system. Secondly, the morphology of the ring strongly suggests the presence of planets, although no planets have been detected to date. <BR /> Aims: We aim here at measuring with high accuracy the morphology and photometry of the ring in scattered light, in order to derive the phase function of the dust and constrain its near-infrared spectral properties. We also want to constrain the presence of planets and set improved constraints on the origin of the observed ring morphology. <BR /> Methods: We obtained high-angular resolution coronagraphic images of the circumstellar environment around HR 4796 A with VLT/SPHERE during the commissioning of the instrument in May 2014 and during guaranteed-time observations in February 2015. The observations reveal for the first time the entire ring of dust, including the semi-minor axis that was previously hidden either behind the coronagraphic spot or in the speckle noise. <BR /> Results: We determine empirically the scattering phase function of the dust in the H band from 13.6° to 166.6°. It shows a prominent peak of forward scattering, never detected before, for scattering angles below 30°. We analyse the reflectance spectra of the disc from the 0.95 μm to 1.6 μm, confirming the red colour of the dust, and derive detection limits on the presence of planetary mass objects. <BR /> Conclusions: We confirm which side of the disc is inclined towards the Earth. The analysis of the phase function, especially below 45°, suggests that the dust population is dominated by particles much larger than the observation wavelength, of about 20 μm. Compact Mie grains of this size are incompatible with the spectral energy distribution of the disc, however the observed rise in scattering efficiency beyond 50° points towards aggregates which could reconcile both observables. We do not detect companions orbiting the star, but our high-contrast observations provide the most stringent constraints yet on the presence of planets responsible for the morphology of the dust. [less ▲]

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See detailDirect detection of scattered light gaps in the transitional disk around HD 97048 with VLT/SPHERE
Ginski, C.; Stolker, T.; Pinilla, P. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2016), 595

<BR /> Aims: We studied the well-known circumstellar disk around the Herbig Ae/Be star HD 97048 with high angular resolution to reveal undetected structures in the disk which may be indicative of disk ... [more ▼]

<BR /> Aims: We studied the well-known circumstellar disk around the Herbig Ae/Be star HD 97048 with high angular resolution to reveal undetected structures in the disk which may be indicative of disk evolutionary processes such as planet formation. <BR /> Methods: We used the IRDIS near-IR subsystem of the extreme adaptive optics imager SPHERE at the ESO/VLT to study the scattered light from the circumstellar disk via high resolution polarimetry and angular differential imaging. <BR /> Results: We imaged the disk in unprecedented detail and revealed four ring-like brightness enhancements and corresponding gaps in the scattered light from the disk surface with radii between 39 au and 341 au. We derived the inclination and position angle as well as the height of the scattering surface of the disk from our observational data. We found that the surface height profile can be described by a single power law up to a separation 270 au. Using the surface height profile we measured the scattering phase function of the disk and found that it is consistent with theoretical models of compact dust aggregates. We discuss the origin of the detected features and find that low mass (≤1 M[SUB]Jup[/SUB]) nascent planets are a possible explanation. <P />Based on data collected at the European Southern Observatory, Chile (ESO Programs 096.C-0248, 096.C-0241, 077.C-0106). [less ▲]

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See detailShadows cast on the transition disk of HD 135344B. Multiwavelength VLT/SPHERE polarimetric differential imaging
Stolker, T.; Dominik, C.; Avenhaus, H. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2016), 595

Context. The protoplanetary disk around the F-type star HD 135344B (SAO 206462) is in a transition stage and shows many intriguing structures both in scattered light and thermal (sub-)millimeter emission ... [more ▼]

Context. The protoplanetary disk around the F-type star HD 135344B (SAO 206462) is in a transition stage and shows many intriguing structures both in scattered light and thermal (sub-)millimeter emission which are possibly related to planet formation processes. <BR /> Aims: We aim to study the morphology and surface brightness of the disk in scattered light to gain insight into the innermost disk regions, the formation of protoplanets, planet-disk interactions traced in the surface and midplane layers, and the dust grain properties of the disk surface. <BR /> Methods: We have carried out high-contrast polarimetric differential imaging (PDI) observations with VLT/SPHERE and obtained polarized scattered light images with ZIMPOL in the R and I-bands and with IRDIS in the Y and J-bands. The scattered light images and surface brightness profiles are used to study in detail structures in the disk surface and brightness variations. We have constructed a 3D radiative transfer model to support the interpretation of several detected shadow features. <BR /> Results: The scattered light images reveal with unprecedented angular resolution and sensitivity the spiral arms as well as the 25 au cavity of the disk. Multiple shadow features are discovered on the outer disk with one shadow only being present during the second observation epoch. A positive surface brightness gradient is observed in the stellar irradiation corrected (r[SUP]2[/SUP]-scaled) images in southwest direction possibly due to an azimuthally asymmetric perturbation of the temperature and/or surface density by the passing spiral arms. The disk integrated polarized flux, normalized to the stellar flux, shows a positive trend towards longer wavelengths which we attribute to large (2πa ≳ λ) aggregate dust grains in the disk surface. Part of the non- azimuthal polarization signal in the U[SUB]φ[/SUB] image of the J-band observation can be attributed to multiple scattering in the disk. <BR /> Conclusions: The detected shadow features and their possible variability have the potential to provide insight into the structure of and processes occurring in the innermost disk regions. Possible explanations for the presence of the shadows include a 22° misaligned inner disk, a warped disk region that connects the inner disk with the outer disk, and variable or transient phenomena such as a perturbation of the inner disk or an asymmetric accretion flow. The spiral arms are best explained by one or multiple protoplanets in the exterior of the disk although no gap is detected beyond the spiral arms up to 1.''0. <P />Based on observations collected at the European Southern Observatory, Chile, ESO No. 095.C-0273(A) and 095.C-0273(D). [less ▲]

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See detailMultiple rings in the transition disk and companion candidates around RX J1615.3-3255. High contrast imaging with VLT/SPHERE
de Boer, J.; Salter, G.; Benisty, M. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2016), 595

Context. The effects of a planet sculpting the disk from which it formed are most likely to be found in disks that are in transition between being classical protoplanetary and debris disks. Recent direct ... [more ▼]

Context. The effects of a planet sculpting the disk from which it formed are most likely to be found in disks that are in transition between being classical protoplanetary and debris disks. Recent direct imaging of transition disks has revealed structures such as dust rings, gaps, and spiral arms, but an unambiguous link between these structures and sculpting planets is yet to be found. <BR /> Aims: We aim to find signs of ongoing planet-disk interaction and study the distribution of small grains at the surface of the transition disk around RX J1615.3-3255 (RX J1615). <BR /> Methods: We observed RX J1615 with VLT/SPHERE. From these observations, we obtained polarimetric imaging with ZIMPOL (R'-band) and IRDIS (J), and IRDIS (H2H3) dual-band imaging with simultaneous spatially resolved spectra with the IFS (YJ). <BR /> Results: We image the disk for the first time in scattered light and detect two arcs, two rings, a gap and an inner disk with marginal evidence for an inner cavity. The shapes of the arcs suggest that they are probably segments of full rings. Ellipse fitting for the two rings and inner disk yield a disk inclination I = 47 ± 2° and find semi-major axes of 1.50 ± 0.01'' (278 au), 1.06 ± 0.01'' (196 au) and 0.30 ± 0.01'' (56 au), respectively. We determine the scattering surface height above the midplane, based on the projected ring center offsets. Nine point sources are detected between 2.1'' and 8.0'' separation and considered as companion candidates. With NACO data we recover four of the nine point sources, which we determine to be not co-moving, and therefore unbound to the system. <BR /> Conclusions: We present the first detection of the transition disk of RX J1615 in scattered light. The height of the rings indicate limited flaring of the disk surface, which enables partial self-shadowing in the disk. The outermost arc either traces the bottom of the disk or it is another ring with semi-major axis ≳ 2.35'' (435 au). We explore both scenarios, extrapolating the complete shape of the feature, which will allow us to distinguish between the two in future observations. The most attractive scenario, where the arc traces the bottom of the outer ring, requires the disk to be truncated at r ≈ 360 au. If the closest companion candidate is indeed orbiting the disk at 540 au, then it would be the most likely cause for such truncation. This companion candidate, as well as the remaining four, all require follow up observations to determine if they are bound to the system. <P />Based on observations made with ESO Telescopes at the La Silla Paranal Observatory under programme IDs 095.C-0298(A), 095.C-0298(B), and 095.C-0693(A) during guaranteed and open time observations of the SPHERE consortium, and on NACO observations: program IDs: 085.C-0012(A), 087.C-0111(A), and 089.C-0133(A). The reduced images as FITS files are only available at the CDS via anonymous ftp to <A href="http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr">http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr</A> (<A href="http://130.79.128.5">http://130.79.128.5</A>) or via <A href="http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz- bin/qcat?J/A+A/595/A114">http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz- bin/qcat?J/A+A/595/A114</A> [less ▲]

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See detailAzimuthal asymmetries in the debris disk around HD 61005. A massive collision of planetesimals?
Olofsson, J.; Samland, M.; Avenhaus, H. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2016), 591

Context. Debris disks offer valuable insights into the latest stages of circumstellar disk evolution, and can possibly help us to trace the outcomes of planetary formation processes. In the age range 10 ... [more ▼]

Context. Debris disks offer valuable insights into the latest stages of circumstellar disk evolution, and can possibly help us to trace the outcomes of planetary formation processes. In the age range 10 to 100 Myr, most of the gas is expected to have been removed from the system, giant planets (if any) must have already been formed, and the formation of terrestrial planets may be on-going. Pluto-sized planetesimals, and their debris released in a collisional cascade, are under their mutual gravitational influence, which may result into non-axisymmetric structures in the debris disk. <BR /> Aims: High angular resolution observations are required to investigate these effects and constrain the dynamical evolution of debris disks. Furthermore, multi-wavelength observations can provide information about the dust dynamics by probing different grain sizes. <BR /> Methods: Here we present new VLT/SPHERE and ALMA observations of the debris disk around the 40 Myr-old solar- type star HD 61005. We resolve the disk at unprecedented resolution both in the near-infrared (in scattered and polarized light) and at millimeter wavelengths. We perform a detailed modeling of these observations, including the spectral energy distribution. <BR /> Results: Thanks to the new observations, we propose a solution for both the radial and azimuthal distribution of the dust grains in the debris disk. We find that the disk has a moderate eccentricity (e ~ 0.1) and that the dust density is two times larger at the pericenter compared to the apocenter. <BR /> Conclusions: With no giant planets detected in our observations, we investigate alternative explanations besides planet- disk interactions to interpret the inferred disk morphology. We postulate that the morphology of the disk could be the consequence of a massive collision between ~1000 km-sized bodies at ~61 au. If this interpretation holds, it would put stringent constraints on the formation of massive planetesimals at large distances from the star. <P />Based on observations made with ESO Telescopes at the Paranal Observatory under programs ID 095.C-0298 and 095.C-0273. Based on Herschel observations, OBSIDs: 1342270977, 1342270978, 1342270979, 1342270989, and 1342255147. Herschel is an ESA space observatory with science instruments provided by European-led Principal Investigator consortia and with important participation from NASA.The reduced images as FITS files, and data of Fig. 1 are only available at the CDS via anonymous ftp to <A href="http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr">http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr</A> (<A href="http://130.79.128.5">http://130.79.128.5</A>) or via <A href="http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz- bin/qcat?J/A+A/591/A108">http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz- bin/qcat?J/A+A/591/A108</A> [less ▲]

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