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

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2020), 642

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

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

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

E-print/Working paper (2020)

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

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

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See detailVLT/SPHERE exploration of the young multiplanetary system PDS70
Mesa, D.; Keppler, M.; Cantalloube, F. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2019), 632

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

Context. PDS 70 is a young (5.4 Myr), nearby ( 113 pc) star hosting a known transition disk with a large gap. Recent observations with SPHERE and NACO in the near-infrared (NIR) allowed us to detect a planetary mass companion, PDS 70 b, within the disk cavity. Moreover, observations in H[SUB]α[/SUB] with MagAO and MUSE revealed emission associated to PDS 70 b and to another new companion candidate, PDS 70 c, at a larger separation from the star. PDS 70 is the only multiple planetary system at its formation stage detected so far through direct imaging. <BR /> Aims: Our aim is to confirm the discovery of the second planet PDS 70 c using SPHERE at VLT, to further characterize its physical properties, and search for additional point sources in this young planetary system. <BR /> Methods: We re-analyzed archival SPHERE NIR observations and obtained new data in Y, J, H and K spectral bands for a total of four different epochs. The data were reduced using the data reduction and handling pipeline and the SPHERE data center. We then applied custom routines (e.g., ANDROMEDA and PACO) to subtract the starlight. <BR /> Results: We re-detect both PDS 70 b and c and confirm that PDS 70 c is gravitationally bound to the star. We estimate this second planet to be less massive than 5 M[SUB]Jup[/SUB] and with a T[SUB]eff[/SUB] around 900 K. Also, it has a low gravity with logg between 3.0 and 3.5 dex. In addition, a third object has been identified at short separation ( 0.12'') from the star and gravitationally bound to the star. Its spectrum is however very blue, meaning that we are probably seeing stellar light reflected by dust and our analysis seems to demonstrate that it is a feature of the inner disk. We cannot however completely exclude the possibility that it is a planetary mass object enshrouded by a dust envelope. In this latter case, its mass should be of the order of a few tens of M[SUB]⊕[/SUB]. Moreover, we propose a possible structure for the planetary system based on our data, and find that this structure cannot be stable on a long timescale. <P />The reduced images are also available at the CDS via anonymous ftp to <A href="http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr">http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr</A> (ftp://130.79.128.5) or via <A href="http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz- bin/cat/J/A+A/632/A25">http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz- bin/cat/J/A+A/632/A25</A> <P />Based on observation made with European Southern Observatory (ESO) telescopes at Paranal Observatory in Chile, under programs ID 095.C-0298(B), 1100.C-0481(D), 1100.C-0481(L) and 1100.C-0481(M). [less ▲]

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See detailMapping of shadows cast on a protoplanetary disk by a close binary system
D'Orazi, V.; Gratton, R.; Desidera, S. et al

in Nature Astronomy (2019), 3

For a comprehensive understanding of planetary formation and evolution, we need to investigate the environment in which planets form: circumstellar disks. Here we present high-contrast imaging ... [more ▼]

For a comprehensive understanding of planetary formation and evolution, we need to investigate the environment in which planets form: circumstellar disks. Here we present high-contrast imaging observations of V4046 Sagittarii, a 20-Myr-old close binary known to host a circumbinary disk. We have discovered the presence of rotating shadows in the disk, caused by mutual occultations of the central binary. Shadow-like features are often observed in disks[SUP]1,2[/SUP], but those found thus far have not been due to eclipsing phenomena. We have used the phase difference due to light travel time to measure the flaring of the disk and the geometrical distance of the system. We calculate a distance that is in very good agreement with the value obtained from the Gaia mission's Data Release 2 (DR2), and flaring angles of α = (6.2 ± 0.6)° and α = (8.5 ± 1.0)° for the inner and outer disk rings, respectively. Our technique opens up a path to explore other binary systems, providing an independent estimate of distance and the flaring angle, a crucial parameter for disk modelling. [less ▲]

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See detailSpatially resolved spectroscopy of the debris disk HD 32297. Further evidence of small dust grains
Bhowmik, T.; Boccaletti, A.; Thébault, P. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2019), 630

Context. Spectro-photometry of debris disks in total intensity and polarimetry can provide new insight into the properties of the dust grains therein (size distribution and optical properties). <BR ... [more ▼]

Context. Spectro-photometry of debris disks in total intensity and polarimetry can provide new insight into the properties of the dust grains therein (size distribution and optical properties). <BR /> Aims: We aim to constrain the morphology of the highly inclined debris disk HD 32297. We also intend to obtain spectroscopic and polarimetric measurements to retrieve information on the particle size distribution within the disk for certain grain compositions. <BR /> Methods: We observed HD 32297 with SPHERE in Y, J, and H bands in total intensity and in J band in polarimetry. The observations are compared to synthetic models of debris disks and we developed methods to extract the photometry in total intensity overcoming the data-reduction artifacts, namely the self-subtraction. The spectro-photometric measurements averaged along the disk mid-plane are then compared to model spectra of various grain compositions. <BR /> Results: These new images reveal the very inner part of the system as close as 0.15″. The disk image is mostly dominated by the forward scattering making one side (half- ellipse) of the disk more visible, but observations in total intensity are deep enough to also detect the back side for the very first time. The images as well as the surface brightness profiles of the disk rule out the presence of a gap as previously proposed. We do not detect any significant asymmetry between the northeast and southwest sides of the disk. The spectral reflectance features a "gray to blue" color which is interpreted as the presence of grains far below the blowout size. <BR /> Conclusions: The presence of sub-micron grains in the disk is suspected to be the result of gas drag and/or "avalanche mechanisms". The blue color of the disk could be further investigated with additional total intensity and polarimetric observations in K and H bands respectively to confirm the spectral slope and the fraction of polarization. <P />Reduced images are also available at the CDS via anonymous ftp to <A href="http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr">http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr</A> (ftp://130.79.128.5) or via <A href="http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz- bin/cat/J/A+A/630/A85">http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz- bin/cat/J/A+A/630/A85</A>Based on data collected at the European Southern Observatory, Chile under the programs 098.C-0686(A) and 098.C-0686(B). [less ▲]

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See detailThe Potential of Exozodiacal Disks Observations with the WFIRST Coronagraph Instrument
Mennesson, B.; Bailey, V.; Kasdin, J. et al

E-print/Working paper (2019)

The Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) Coronagraph Instrument (CGI) will be the first high-performance stellar coronagraph using active wavefront control for deep starlight suppression in space ... [more ▼]

The Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) Coronagraph Instrument (CGI) will be the first high-performance stellar coronagraph using active wavefront control for deep starlight suppression in space, providing unprecedented levels of contrast, spatial resolution, and sensitivity for astronomical observations in the optical. One science case enabled by the CGI will be taking images and(R~50)spectra of faint interplanetary dust structures present in the habitable zone of nearby sunlike stars (~10 pc) and within the snow-line of more distant ones(~20pc), down to dust density levels commensurate with that of the solar system zodiacal cloud. Reaching contrast levels below~10-7 for the first time, CGI will cross an important threshold in debris disks physics, accessing disks with low enough optical depths that their structure is dominated by transport phenomena than collisions. Hence, CGI results will be crucial for determining how exozodiacal dust grains are produced and transported in low-density disks around mature stars. Additionally, CGI will be able to measure the brightness level and constrain the degree of asymmetry of exozodiacal clouds around individual nearby sunlike stars in the optical, at the ~10x solar zodiacal emission level. This information will be extremely valuable for optimizing the observational strategy of possible future exo-Earth direct imaging missions, especially those planning to operate at optical wavelengths, such as Habitable Exoplanet Observatory (HabEx) and the Large Ultraviolet/Optical/Infrared Surveyor (LUVOIR). <P /> [less ▲]

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See detailTwo cold belts in the debris disk around the G-type star NZ Lupi
Boccaletti, A.; Thébault, P.; Pawellek, N. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2019), 625

Context. Planetary systems hold the imprint of the formation and of the evolution of planets especially at young ages, and in particular at the stage when the gas has dissipated leaving mostly secondary ... [more ▼]

Context. Planetary systems hold the imprint of the formation and of the evolution of planets especially at young ages, and in particular at the stage when the gas has dissipated leaving mostly secondary dust grains. The dynamical perturbation of planets in the dust distribution can be revealed with high-contrast imaging in a variety of structures. <BR /> Aims: SPHERE, the high-contrast imaging device installed at the VLT, was designed to search for young giant planets in long period, but is also able to resolve fine details of planetary systems at the scale of astronomical units in the scattered-light regime. As a young and nearby star, NZ Lup was observed in the course of the SPHERE survey. A debris disk had been formerly identified with HST/NICMOS. <BR /> Methods: We observed this system in the near-infrared with the camera in narrow and broad band filters and with the integral field spectrograph. High contrasts are achieved by the mean of pupil tracking combined with angular differential imaging algorithms. <BR /> Results: The high angular resolution provided by SPHERE allows us to reveal a new feature in the disk which is interpreted as a superimposition of two belts of planetesimals located at stellocentric distances of 85 and 115 au, and with a mutual inclination of about 5°. Despite the very high inclination of the disk with respect to the line of sight, we conclude that the presence of a gap, that is, a void in the dust distribution between the belts, is likely. <BR /> Conclusions: We discuss the implication of the existence of two belts and their relative inclination with respect to the presence of planets. <P />Reduced images of Fig. 1 are only available at the CDS via anonymous ftp to <A href="http://cdsarc.u-stras bg.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/625/A21">http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz- bin/qcat?J/A+A/625/A21</A>Based on data collected at the European Southern Observatory, Chile under programs 097.C-0523, 097.C-0865, 198.C-0209. [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 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 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 detailPlanet formation imager: Project update
Monnier, J. D.; Ireland, M.; Kraus, S. et al

in Proceedings of SPIE: The International Society for Optical Engineering (2018, July 01), 10701

The Planet Formation Imager (PFI) is a near- and mid-infrared interferometer project with the driving science goal of imaging directly the key stages of planet formation, including the young proto-planets ... [more ▼]

The Planet Formation Imager (PFI) is a near- and mid-infrared interferometer project with the driving science goal of imaging directly the key stages of planet formation, including the young proto-planets themselves. Here, we will present an update on the work of the Science Working Group (SWG), including new simulations of dust structures during the assembly phase of planet formation and quantitative detection efficiencies for accreting and non-accreting young exoplanets as a function of mass and age. We use these results to motivate two reference PFI designs consisting of a) twelve 3m telescopes with a maximum baseline of 1.2km focused on young exoplanet imaging and b) twelve 8m telescopes optimized for a wider range of young exoplanets and protoplanetary disk imaging out to the 150K H2O ice line. Armed with 4 x 8m telescopes, the ESO/VLTI can already detect young exoplanets in principle and projects such as MATISSE, Hi-5 and Heimdallr are important PFI pathfinders to make this possible. We also discuss the state of technology development needed to make PFI more affordable, including progress towards new designs for inexpensive, small field-of-view, large aperture telescopes and prospects for Cubesat-based space interferometry. © 2018 SPIE. [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 detailNew disk discovered with VLT/SPHERE around the M star GSC 07396-00759
Sissa, E.; Olofsson, J.; Vigan, A. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2018), 613

Debris disks are usually detected through the infrared excess over the photospheric level of their host star. The most favorable stars for disk detection are those with spectral types between A and K ... [more ▼]

Debris disks are usually detected through the infrared excess over the photospheric level of their host star. The most favorable stars for disk detection are those with spectral types between A and K, while the statistics for debris disks detected around low-mass M-type stars is very low, either because they are rare or because they are more difficult to detect. Terrestrial planets, on the other hand, may be common around M-type stars. Here, we report on the discovery of an extended (likely) debris disk around the M-dwarf GSC 07396-00759. The star is a wide companion of the close accreting binary V4046 Sgr. The system probably is a member of the β Pictoris Moving Group. We resolve the disk in scattered light, exploiting high-contrast, high-resolution imagery with the two near-infrared subsystems of the VLT/SPHERE instrument, operating in the Y J bands and the H2H3 doublet. The disk is clearly detected up to 1.5[SUP]''[/SUP] ( 110 au) from the star and appears as a ring, with an inclination i 83°, and a peak density position at 70 au. The spatial extension of the disk suggests that the dust dynamics is affected by a strong stellar wind, showing similarities with the AU Mic system that has also been resolved with SPHERE. The images show faint asymmetric structures at the widest separation in the northwest side. We also set an upper limit for the presence of giant planets to 2 M[SUB]J[/SUB]. Finally, we note that the 2 resolved disks around M-type stars of 30 such stars observed with SPHERE are viewed close to edge-on, suggesting that a significant population of debris disks around M dwarfs could remain undetected because of an unfavorable orientation. <P />Based on data collected at the European Southern Observatory, Chile (ESO Program 198.C-0298). [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 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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