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

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2020), 638

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

Context. Proxima Centauri is the closest star to the Sun and it is known to host an Earth-like planet in its habitable zone; very recently a second candidate planet was proposed based on radial velocities. At quadrature, the expected projected separation of this new candidate is larger than 1 arcsec, making it a potentially interesting target for direct imaging. <BR /> Aims: While identification of the optical counterpart of this planet is expected to be very difficult, successful identification would allow for a detailed characterization of the closest planetary system. <BR /> Methods: We searched for a counterpart in SPHERE images acquired over four years through the SHINE survey. In order to account for the expected large orbital motion of the planet, we used a method that assumes the circular orbit obtained from radial velocities and exploits the sequence of observations acquired close to quadrature in the orbit. We checked this with a more general approach that considers Keplerian motion, called K-stacker. <BR /> Results: We did not obtain a clear detection. The best candidate has signal-to-noise ratio (S/N) = 6.1 in the combined image. A statistical test suggests that the probability that this detection is due to random fluctuation of noise is <1%, but this result depends on the assumption that the distribution of noise is uniform over the image, a fact that is likely not true. The position of this candidate and the orientation of its orbital plane fit well with observations in the ALMA 12 m array image. However, the astrometric signal expected from the orbit of the candidate we detected is 3σ away from the astrometric motion of Proxima as measured from early Gaia data. This, together with the unexpectedly high flux associated with our direct imaging detection, means we cannot confirm that our candidate is indeed Proxima c. <BR /> Conclusions: On the other hand, if confirmed, this would be the first observation in imaging of a planet discovered from radial velocities and the second planet (after Fomalhaut b) of reflecting circumplanetary material. Further confirmation observations should be done as soon as possible. <P />The reduced images are only available at the CDS via anonymous ftp to <A href="http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr">http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr</A> (ftp://130.79.128.5) or via <A href="http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/cat/J/A+A/638/A120">http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/cat/J/A+A/638/A120</A> <P />Based on data collected at the European Southern Observatory, Chile (ESO Programs 095.D-0309, 096.C-0241, 096.D-0252, 097.C-0865, 198.C-D0209, 099.D-0098, 099.C-0127. [less ▲]

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See detailPossible evidence of ongoing planet formation in AB Aurigae. A showcase of the SPHERE/ALMA synergy
Boccaletti, A.; Di Folco, E.; Pantin, E. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2020), 637

Context. Planet formation is expected to take place in the first million years of a planetary system through various processes, which remain to be tested through observations. <BR /> Aims: With the recent ... [more ▼]

Context. Planet formation is expected to take place in the first million years of a planetary system through various processes, which remain to be tested through observations. <BR /> Aims: With the recent discovery, using ALMA, of two gaseous spiral arms inside the ∼120 au cavity and connected to dusty spirals, the famous protoplanetary disk around AB Aurigae presents a strong incentive for investigating the mechanisms that lead to giant planet formation. A candidate protoplanet located inside a spiral arm has already been claimed in an earlier study based on the same ALMA data. <BR /> Methods: We used SPHERE at the Very Large Telescope to perform near-infrared high-contrast imaging of AB Aur in polarized and unpolarized light in order to study the morphology of the disk and search for signs of planet formation. <BR /> Results: SPHERE has delivered the deepest images ever obtained for AB Aur in scattered light. Among the many structures that are yet to be understood, we identified not only the inner spiral arms, but we also resolved a feature in the form of a twist in the eastern spiral at a separation of about 30 au. The twist of the spiral is perfectly reproduced with a planet-driven density wave model when projection effects are accounted for. We measured an azimuthal displacement with respect to the counterpart of this feature in the ALMA data, which is consistent with Keplerian motion on a 4 yr baseline. Another point sxce is detected near the edge of the inner ring, which is likely the result of scattering as opposed to the direct emission from a planet photosphere. We tentatively derived mass constraints for these two features. <BR /> Conclusions: The twist and its apparent orbital motion could well be the first direct evidence of a connection between a protoplanet candidate and its manifestation as a spiral imprinted in the gas and dust distributions. <P />Based on data collected at the European Southern Observatory under programs 0104.C-0157, and 2104.C-5036. [less ▲]

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

E-print/Working paper (2020)

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

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

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

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2019), 632

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

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

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

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2019), in press

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

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

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

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2019), 627

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

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

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See 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 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 detailInvestigating the presence of two belts in the HD 15115 system
Engler, N.; Boccaletti, A.; Schmid, H. M. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2019), 622

Context. High-contrast instruments like SPHERE (Spectro- Polarimetric High-contrast Exoplanet REsearch) enable spatial resolution of young planetary systems and allow us to study the connection between ... [more ▼]

Context. High-contrast instruments like SPHERE (Spectro- Polarimetric High-contrast Exoplanet REsearch) enable spatial resolution of young planetary systems and allow us to study the connection between planets and the dust contained in debris discs by the gravitational influence a planet can have on its environment. <BR /> Aims: We present new observations of the edge-on debris disc around HD 15115 (F star at 48.2 pc) obtained in the near-IR. We search for observational evidence for a second inner planetesimal ring in the system. <BR /> Methods: We obtained total intensity and polarimetric data in the broad bands J and H and processed the data with differential imaging techniques achieving an angular resolution of about 40 mas. A grid of models describing the spatial distribution of the grains in the disc is generated to constrain the geometric parameters of the disc and to explore the presence of a second belt. We perform a photometric analysis of the data and compare disc brightness in two bands in scattered and in polarized light. <BR /> Results: We observe an axisymmetric planetesimal belt with a radius of 2'', an inclination of 85.8° ± 0.7° and position angle of 278.9° ± 0.1°. The photometric analysis shows that the west side is 2.5 times brighter in total intensity than the east side in both bands, while for polarized light in the J band this ratio is only 1.25. We also find that the J-H colour of the disc appears to be red for the radial separations r ≲ 2'' and is getting bluer for the larger separations. The maximum polarization fraction is 15-20% at r 2.5''. The polarized intensity image shows some structural features inside the belt which can be interpreted as an additional inner belt. <BR /> Conclusions: The apparent change of disc colour from red to blue with an increasing radial separation from the star could be explained by the decreasing average grain size with distance. The presence of an inner belt slightly inclined with respect to the main planetesimal belt is suspected from the data but the analysis and modelling presented here cannot establish a firm conclusion due to the faintness of the disc and its high inclination. <P />Based on data collected at the European Southern Observatory, Chile under programs 098.C-0686 and 096.C-0640. [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 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 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 detailIn-depth study of moderately young but extremely red, very dusty substellar companion HD 206893B
Delorme, Philippe; Schmidt, Tobias; Bonnefoy, Mickaël et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2017), 608

Context. The substellar companion HD 206893b has recently been discovered by direct imaging of its disc-bearing host star with the Spectro-Polarimetric High-contrast Exoplanet REsearch (SPHERE) instrument ... [more ▼]

Context. The substellar companion HD 206893b has recently been discovered by direct imaging of its disc-bearing host star with the Spectro-Polarimetric High-contrast Exoplanet REsearch (SPHERE) instrument. <BR /> Aims: We investigate the atypical properties of the companion, which has the reddest near-infrared colours among all known substellar objects, either orbiting a star or isolated, and we provide a comprehensive characterisation of the host star-disc-companion system. <BR /> Methods: We conducted a follow-up of the companion with adaptive optics imaging and spectro-imaging with SPHERE, and a multi-instrument follow-up of its host star. We obtain a R = 30 spectrum from 0.95 to 1.64 μm of the companion and additional photometry at 2.11 and 2.25 μm. We carried out extensive atmosphere model fitting for the companions and the host star in order to derive their age, mass, and metallicity. <BR /> Results: We found no additional companion in the system in spite of exquisite observing conditions resulting in sensitivity to 6 M[SUB]Jup[/SUB] (2 M[SUB]Jup[/SUB]) at 0.5'' for an age of 300 Myr (50 Myr). We detect orbital motion over more than one year and characterise the possible Keplerian orbits. We constrain the age of the system to a minimum of 50 Myr and a maximum of 700 Myr, and determine that the host-star metallicity is nearly solar. The comparison of the companion spectrum and photometry to model atmospheres indicates that the companion is an extremely dusty late L dwarf, with an intermediate gravity (log g 4.5-5.0) which is compatible with the independent age estimate of the system. <BR /> Conclusions: Though our best fit corresponds to a brown dwarf of 15-30 M[SUB]Jup[/SUB] aged 100-300 Myr, our analysis is also compatible with a range of masses and ages going from a 50 Myr 12 M[SUB]Jup[/SUB] planetary-mass object to a 50 M[SUB]Jup[/SUB] Hyades-age brown dwarf. Even though this companion is extremely red, we note that it is more probable that it has an intermediate gravity rather than the very low gravity that is often associated with very red L dwarfs. We also find that the detected companion cannot shape the observed outer debris disc, hinting that one or several additional planetary mass objects in the system might be necessary to explain the position of the disc inner edge. Based on observations made with ESO Telescopes at the Paranal Observatory under Programs ID 097.C-0865(D) (SPHERE GTO, SHINE Program) and Program ID: 082.A-9007(A) (FEROS) 098.C-0739(A), 192.C-0224(C) (HARPS). This work has made use of the SPHERE Data Centre. [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 detailSPHERE/SHINE reveals concentric rings in the debris disk of HIP 73145
Feldt, M.; Olofsson, J.; Boccaletti, A. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2017), 601

Context. Debris disks correspond to the final evolutionary stage of circumstellar disks around young stars. Gas-deprived structures seen in debris disks are normally, but not always, attributed to ... [more ▼]

Context. Debris disks correspond to the final evolutionary stage of circumstellar disks around young stars. Gas-deprived structures seen in debris disks are normally, but not always, attributed to dynamical interactions in young planetary systems. <BR /> Aims: The debris disk of HIP 73145 has been detected in scattered light in the near-IR, and at far-IR wavelengths before, but no substructure has been seen so far. Detection of such substructures in combination with detailed modeling can hint at the presence of perturbing planetary bodies, or reveal other mechanisms acting to replenish gas and dust reservoirs and forming structures such as spirals or rings. <BR /> Methods: We obtained multiwavelength images with SPHERE in the near-IR in the H2 and H3 bands with the IRDIS camera and a 0.95-1.35 μm spectral cube with the IFS. Data were acquired in pupil-tracking mode, thus allowing for angular differential imaging. The SPHERE standard suite of angular differential imaging algorithms was applied. ALMA Band 6 observations complement the SPHERE data. <BR /> Results: We detect a bright ring of scattered light plus some secondary structures inside, at least one of them forming a secondary, concentric ring with the first. This is the first detection of this disk in total-intensity scattered light. A second object is detected in the field at high contrast but concluded to be a background star. Forward modeling yields information on the primary parameters of the disk and confirms that the detected substructures are not due to the data analysis approach, which sometimes leads to spurious structures. <BR /> Conclusions: We detect a series of concentric rings in the disk around HIP 73145. This is one of the rare cases where multiple components are necessary to fit the SED and are also detected in scattered light. The presence of such ring structures somewhat questions the nature of the object as a pure debris disk, but the gas and dust content would presumably offer sufficient explanations for such structures to form. <P /> [less ▲]

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

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2017), 599

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

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

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