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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 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 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 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 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 detailResolving faint structures in the debris disk around TWA 7. Tentative detections of an outer belt, a spiral arm, and a dusty cloud
Olofsson, J.; van Holstein, R. G.; Boccaletti, A. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2018), 617

Context. Debris disks are the intrinsic by-products of the star and planet formation processes. Most likely due to instrumental limitations and their natural faintness, little is known about debris disks ... [more ▼]

Context. Debris disks are the intrinsic by-products of the star and planet formation processes. Most likely due to instrumental limitations and their natural faintness, little is known about debris disks around low mass stars, especially when it comes to spatially resolved observations. <BR /> Aims: We present new VLT/SPHERE IRDIS dual- polarization imaging (DPI) observations in which we detect the dust ring around the M2 spectral type star TWA 7. Combined with additional angular differential imaging observations we aim at a fine characterization of the debris disk and setting constraints on the presence of low-mass planets. <BR /> Methods: We modeled the SPHERE DPI observations and constrain the location of the small dust grains, as well as the spectral energy distribution of the debris disk, using the results inferred from the observations, and performed simple N-body simulations. <BR /> Results: We find that the dust density distribution peaks at 0.72'' (25 au), with a very shallow outer power-law slope, and that the disk has an inclination of 13° with a position angle of 91° east of north. We also report low signal-to-noise ratio detections of an outer belt at a distance of 1.5'' ( 52 au) from the star, of a spiral arm in the southern side of the star, and of a possible dusty clump at 0.11''. These findings seem to persist over timescales of at least a year. Using the intensity images, we do not detect any planets in the close vicinity of the star, but the sensitivity reaches Jovian planet mass upper limits. We find that the SED is best reproduced with an inner disk at 0.2'' ( 7 au) and another belt at 0.72'' (25 au). <BR /> Conclusions: We report the detections of several unexpected features in the disk around TWA 7. A yet undetected 100M[SUB]⊕[/SUB] planet with a semi-major axis at 20-30 au could possibly explain the outer belt as well as the spiral arm. We conclude that stellar winds are unlikely to be responsible for the spiral arm. <P />Based on observations made with ESO Telescopes at the Paranal Observatory under programs ID 095.C-0298, 097.C-0319, 098.C-0155, and 198.C-0209. [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 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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See detailInvestigation of the inner structures around HD 169142 with VLT/SPHERE
Ligi, R.; Vigan, A.; Gratton, R. et al

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (2018), 473

We present observations of the Herbig Ae star HD 169142 with the VLT/SPHERE instruments InfraRed Dual-band Imager and Spectrograph (IRDIS) (K1K2 and H2H3 bands) and the Integral Field Spectrograph (IFS ... [more ▼]

We present observations of the Herbig Ae star HD 169142 with the VLT/SPHERE instruments InfraRed Dual-band Imager and Spectrograph (IRDIS) (K1K2 and H2H3 bands) and the Integral Field Spectrograph (IFS) (Y, J and H bands). We detect several bright blobs at ̃180 mas separation from the star, and a faint arc-like structure in the IFS data. Our reference differential imaging (RDI) data analysis also finds a bright ring at the same separation. We show, using a simulation based on polarized light data, that these blobs are actually part of the ring at 180 mas. These results demonstrate that the earlier detections of blobs in the H and K[SUB]S[/SUB] bands at these separations in Biller et al. as potential planet/substellar companions are actually tracing a bright ring with a Keplerian motion. Moreover, we detect in the images an additional bright structure at ̃93 mas separation and position angle of 355°, at a location very close to previous detections. It appears point-like in the YJ and K bands but is more extended in the H band. We also marginally detect an inner ring in the RDI data at ̃100 mas. Follow-up observations are necessary to confirm the detection and the nature of this source and structure. [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 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 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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