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See detailA Changing Wind Collision
Nazé, Yaël ULiege; Koenigsberger, Gloria; Pittard, Julian M. et al

in Astrophysical Journal (2018), 853

We report on the first detection of a global change in the X-ray emitting properties of a wind–wind collision, thanks to XMM-Newton observations of the massive Small Magellenic Cloud (SMC) system HD 5980 ... [more ▼]

We report on the first detection of a global change in the X-ray emitting properties of a wind–wind collision, thanks to XMM-Newton observations of the massive Small Magellenic Cloud (SMC) system HD 5980. While its light curve had remained unchanged between 2000 and 2005, the X-ray flux has now increased by a factor of ∼2.5, and slightly hardened. The new observations also extend the observational coverage over the entire orbit, pinpointing the light-curve shape. It has not varied much despite the large overall brightening, and a tight correlation of fluxes with orbital separation is found without any hysteresis effect. Moreover, the absence of eclipses and of absorption effects related to orientation suggests a large size for the X-ray emitting region. Simple analytical models of the wind–wind collision, considering the varying wind properties of the eruptive component in HD 5980, are able to reproduce the recent hardening and the flux-separation relationship, at least qualitatively, but they predict a hardening at apastron and little change in mean flux, contrary to observations. The brightness change could then possibly be related to a recently theorized phenomenon linked to the varying strength of thin-shell instabilities in shocked wind regions. Based on XMM-Newton and Chandra data. [less ▲]

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See detailStellar parameters for TRAPPIST-1
Van Grootel, Valérie ULiege; Silva Fernandes, Catarina ULiege; Gillon, Michaël ULiege et al

in Astrophysical Journal (2018), 853

TRAPPIST-1 is an ultracool dwarf star transited by seven Earth-sized planets, for which thorough characterization of atmospheric properties, surface conditions encompassing habitability and internal ... [more ▼]

TRAPPIST-1 is an ultracool dwarf star transited by seven Earth-sized planets, for which thorough characterization of atmospheric properties, surface conditions encompassing habitability and internal compositions is possible with current and next generation telescopes. Accurate modeling of the star is essential to achieve this goal. We aim to obtain updated stellar parameters for TRAPPIST- 1 based on new measurements and evolutionary models, compared to those used in discovery studies. We present a new measurement for the parallax of TRAPPIST-1, 82.4 $\pm$ 0.8 mas, based on 188 epochs of observations with the TRAPPIST and Liverpool Telescopes from 2013 to 2016. This revised parallax yields an updated luminosity of $L_*=(5.22\pm0.19)\times 10^{-4} L_{\odot}$, very close to the previous estimate but almost twice more precise. We next present an updated estimate for TRAPPIST-1 stellar mass, based on two approaches: mass from stellar evolution modeling, and empirical mass derived from dynamical masses of equivalently classified ultracool dwarfs in astrometric binaries. We combine them through a Monte-Carlo approach to derive a semi-empirical estimate for the mass of TRAPPIST-1. We also derive estimate for the radius by combining this mass with stellar density inferred from transits, as well as estimate for the effective temperature from our revised luminosity and radius. Our final results are $M_*=0.089 \pm 0.006 M_{\odot}$, $R_* = 0.121 \pm 0.003 R_{\odot}$, and $T_{\rm eff} =$ 2516 $\pm$ 41 K. Considering the degree to which TRAPPIST-1 system will be scrutinized in coming years, these revised and more precise stellar parameters should be considered when assessing the properties of TRAPPIST-1 planets. [less ▲]

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See detailReturn of the King: Time-Series Photometry of FO Aquarii's Initial Recovery from its Unprecedented 2016 Low State
Littlefield, Colin; Garnavich, Peter; Kennedy, Mark et al

in Astrophysical Journal (2016), 883(93), 7

In 2016 May, the intermediate polar FO~Aqr was detected in a low state for the first time in its observational history. We report time-resolved photometry of the system during its initial recovery from ... [more ▼]

In 2016 May, the intermediate polar FO~Aqr was detected in a low state for the first time in its observational history. We report time-resolved photometry of the system during its initial recovery from this faint state. Our data, which includes high-speed photometry with cadences of just 2 sec, shows the existence of very strong periodicities at 22.5 min and 11.26 min, equivalent to the spin-orbit beat frequency and twice its value, respectively. A pulse at the spin frequency is also present but at a much lower amplitude than is normally observed in the bright state. By comparing our power spectra with theoretical models, we infer that a substantial amount of accretion was stream-fed during our observations, in contrast to the disk-fed accretion that dominates the bright state. In addition, we find that FO~Aqr's rate of recovery has been unusually slow in comparison to rates of recovery seen in other magnetic cataclysmic variables, with an e-folding time of 115±7 days. The recovery also shows irregular variations in the median brightness of as much as 0.2~mag over a 10-day span. Finally, we show that the arrival times of the spin pulses are dependent upon the system's overall brightness. [less ▲]

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See detailChandra View of Magnetically Confined Wind in HD191612: Theory Versus Observations
Nazé, Yaël ULiege; ud-Doula, Asif; Zhekov, Svetozar A.

in Astrophysical Journal (2016), 831(#138), 11

High-resolution spectra of the magnetic star HD 191612 were acquired using the Chandra X-ray Observatory at both maximum and minimum emission phases. We confirm the flux and hardness variations previously ... [more ▼]

High-resolution spectra of the magnetic star HD 191612 were acquired using the Chandra X-ray Observatory at both maximum and minimum emission phases. We confirm the flux and hardness variations previously reported with XMM-Newton, demonstrating the high repeatability of the behavior of HD 191612 over a decade. The line profiles appear typical for magnetic massive stars: no significant line shift, relatively narrow lines for high-Z elements, and formation radius at about 2 {R}[SUB]* [/SUB]. Line ratios confirm the softening of the X-ray spectrum at the minimum emission phase. Shift or width variations appear of limited amplitude at most (slightly lower velocity and slightly increased broadening at minimum emission phase, but within 1–2σ of values at maximum). In addition, a fully self-consistent 3D magnetohydrodynamic simulation of the confined wind in HD 191612 was performed. The simulation results were directly fitted to the data, leading to a remarkable agreement overall between them. [less ▲]

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See detailPolarization Measurements of Hot Dust Stars and the Local Interstellar Medium
Marshall, J. P.; Cotton, D. V.; Bott, K. et al

in Astrophysical Journal (2016), 825

Debris discs are typically revealed through the presence of excess emission at infrared wavelengths. Most discs exhibit excess at mid- and far-infrared wavelengths, analogous to the solar system’s ... [more ▼]

Debris discs are typically revealed through the presence of excess emission at infrared wavelengths. Most discs exhibit excess at mid- and far-infrared wavelengths, analogous to the solar system’s Asteroid and Edgeworth-Kuiper belts. Recently, stars with strong (˜1%) excess at near-infrared wavelengths were identified through interferometric measurements. Using the HIgh Precision Polarimetric Instrument, we examined a sub-sample of these hot dust stars (and appropriate controls) at parts-per-million sensitivity in SDSS g‧ (green) and r‧ (red) filters for evidence of scattered light. No detection of strongly polarized emission from the hot dust stars is seen. We, therefore, rule out scattered light from a normal debris disk as the origin of this emission. A wavelength-dependent contribution from multiple dust components for hot dust stars is inferred from the dispersion (the difference in polarization angle in red and green) of southern stars. Contributions of 17 ppm (green) and 30 ppm (red) are calculated, with strict 3-σ upper limits of 76 and 68 ppm, respectively. This suggests weak hot dust excesses consistent with thermal emission, although we cannot rule out contrived scenarios, e.g., dust in a spherical shell or face-on discs. We also report on the nature of the local interstellar medium (ISM), obtained as a byproduct of the control measurements. Highlights include the first measurements of the polarimetric color of the local ISM and the discovery of a southern sky region with a polarization per distance thrice the previous maximum. The data suggest that λ [SUB]max[/SUB], the wavelength of maximum polarization, is bluer than typical. [less ▲]

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See detailNulling Data Reduction and On-sky Performance of the Large Binocular Telescope Interferometer
Defrere, Denis ULiege; Hinz, P. M.; Mennesson, B. et al

in Astrophysical Journal (2016), 824

The Large Binocular Telescope Interferometer (LBTI) is a versatile instrument designed for high angular resolution and high-contrast infrared imaging (1.5-13 μm). In this paper, we focus on the mid ... [more ▼]

The Large Binocular Telescope Interferometer (LBTI) is a versatile instrument designed for high angular resolution and high-contrast infrared imaging (1.5-13 μm). In this paper, we focus on the mid-infrared (8-13 μm) nulling mode and present its theory of operation, data reduction, and on-sky performance as of the end of the commissioning phase in 2015 March. With an interferometric baseline of 14.4 m, the LBTI nuller is specifically tuned to resolve the habitable zone of nearby main-sequence stars, where warm exozodiacal dust emission peaks. Measuring the exozodi luminosity function of nearby main-sequence stars is a key milestone to prepare for future exo-Earth direct imaging instruments. Thanks to recent progress in wavefront control and phase stabilization, as well as in data reduction techniques, the LBTI demonstrated in 2015 February a calibrated null accuracy of 0.05% over a 3 hr long observing sequence on the bright nearby A3V star β Leo. This is equivalent to an exozodiacal disk density of 15-30 zodi for a Sun-like star located at 10 pc, depending on the adopted disk model. This result sets a new record for high-contrast mid-infrared interferometric imaging and opens a new window on the study of planetary systems. [less ▲]

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See detailTwo Small Temperate Planets Transiting Nearby M Dwarfs in K2 Campaigns 0 and 1
Schlieder, Joshua E.; Crossfield, Ian J. M.; Petigura, Erik A. et al

in Astrophysical Journal (2016), 818

The prime Kepler mission revealed that small planets (<4 {R}[SUB]\oplus [/SUB]) are common, especially around low-mass M dwarfs. K2, the repurposed Kepler mission, continues this exploration of small ... [more ▼]

The prime Kepler mission revealed that small planets (<4 {R}[SUB]\oplus [/SUB]) are common, especially around low-mass M dwarfs. K2, the repurposed Kepler mission, continues this exploration of small planets around small stars. Here we combine K2 photometry with spectroscopy, adaptive optics imaging, and archival survey images to analyze two small planets orbiting the nearby field-age M dwarfs, K2-26 (EPIC 202083828) and K2-9. K2-26 is an {{M}}1.0+/- 0.5 dwarf at 93 ± 7 pc from K2 Campaign 0. We validate its planet with a day period of 14.5665 and estimate a radius of {2.67}[SUB]-0.42[/SUB][SUP]+0.46[/SUP] {R}[SUB]\oplus [/SUB]. K2-9 is an {{M}}2.5+/- 0.5 dwarf at 110 ± 12 pc from K2 Campaign 1. K2-9b was first identified by Montet et al.; here we present spectra and adaptive optics imaging of the host star and independently validate and characterize the planet. Our analyses indicate K2-9b is a {2.25}[SUB]-0.96[/SUB][SUP]+0.53[/SUP] {R}[SUB]\oplus [/SUB] planet with a 18.4498 day period. K2-26b exhibits a transit duration that is too long to be consistent with a circular orbit given its measured stellar radius. Thus, the long transits are likely due to the photoeccentric effect and our transit fits hint at an eccentric orbit. Both planets receive low incident flux from their host stars and have estimated equilibrium temperatures <500 K. K2-9b may receive approximately Earth-like insolation. However, its host star exhibits strong GALEX UV emission which could affect any atmosphere it harbors. K2-26b and K2-9b are representatives of a poorly studied class of small planets with cool temperatures that have radii intermediate to Earth and Neptune. Future study of these systems can provide key insight into trends in bulk composition and atmospheric properties at the transition from silicate dominated to volatile rich bodies. Based on observations collected at the European Organization for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere, La Silla Observatory, Chile during program ID 194.C-0443. [less ▲]

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See detailThe Inner Debris Structure in the Fomalhaut Planetary System
Su, Kate Y. L.; Rieke, George H.; Defrere, Denis ULiege et al

in Astrophysical Journal (2016), 818

Fomalhaut plays an important role in the study of debris disks and small bodies in other planetary systems. The proximity and luminosity of the star make key features of its debris, like the water ice ... [more ▼]

Fomalhaut plays an important role in the study of debris disks and small bodies in other planetary systems. The proximity and luminosity of the star make key features of its debris, like the water ice line, accessible. Here we present ALMA cycle 1, 870 μm (345 GHz) observations targeted at the inner part of the Fomalhaut system with a synthesized beam of 0.″45 × 0.″37 (˜3 AU linear resolution at the distance of Fomalhaut) and an rms of 26 μJy beam[SUP]-1[/SUP]. The high angular resolution and sensitivity of the ALMA data enable us to place strong constraints on the nature of the warm excess revealed by Spitzer and Herschel observations. We detect a point source at the star position with a total flux consistent with thermal emission from the stellar photosphere. No structures that are brighter than 3σ are detected in the central 15 AU × 15 AU region. Modeling the spectral energy distribution using parameters expected for a dust-producing planetesimal belt indicates a radial location in the range of ˜8-15 AU. This is consistent with the location where ice sublimates in Fomalhaut, i.e., an asteroid-belt analog. The 3σ upper limit for such a belt is <1.3 mJy at 870 μm. We also interpret the 2 and 8-13 μm interferometric measurements to reveal the structure in the inner 10 AU region as dust naturally connected to this proposed asteroid belt by Poynting-Robertson drag, dust sublimation, and magnetically trapped nanograins. Fomalhaut is a triple system; here we refer to the Fomalhaut planetary system as the one around the primary star Fomalhaut A. [less ▲]

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See detailModels of the η Corvi Debris Disk from the Keck Interferometer, Spitzer, and Herschel
Lebreton, J.; Beichman, C.; Bryden, G. et al

in Astrophysical Journal (2016), 817

Debris disks are signposts of analogs to small-body populations of the solar system, often, however, with much higher masses and dust production rates. The disk associated with the nearby star η Crv is ... [more ▼]

Debris disks are signposts of analogs to small-body populations of the solar system, often, however, with much higher masses and dust production rates. The disk associated with the nearby star η Crv is especially striking, as it shows strong mid- and far-infrared excesses despite an age of ∼1.4 Gyr. We undertake constructing a consistent model of the system that can explain a diverse collection of spatial and spectral data. We analyze Keck Interferometer Nuller measurements and revisit Spitzer and additional spectrophotometric data, as well as resolved Herschel images, to determine the dust spatial distribution in the inner exozodi and in the outer belt. We model in detail the two-component disk and the dust properties from the sub-AU scale to the outermost regions by fitting simultaneously all measurements against a large parameter space. The properties of the cold belt are consistent with a collisional cascade in a reservoir of ice-free planetesimals at 133 AU. It shows marginal evidence for asymmetries along the major axis. KIN enables us to establish that the warm dust consists of a ring that peaks between 0.2 and 0.8 AU. To reconcile this location with the ∼400 K dust temperature, very high albedo dust must be invoked, and a distribution of forsterite grains starting from micron sizes satisfies this criterion, while providing an excellent fit to the spectrum. We discuss additional constraints from the LBTI and near-infrared spectra, and we present predictions of what James Webb Space Telescope can unveil about this unusual object and whether it can detect unseen planets. [less ▲]

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See detailThe LEECH Exoplanet Imaging Survey: Characterization of the Coldest Directly Imaged Exoplanet, GJ 504 b, and Evidence for Superstellar Metallicity
Skemer, Andrew J.; Morley, Caroline V.; Zimmerman, Neil T. et al

in Astrophysical Journal (2016), 817

As gas giant planets and brown dwarfs radiate away the residual heat from their formation, they cool through a spectral type transition from L to T, which encompasses the dissipation of cloud opacity and ... [more ▼]

As gas giant planets and brown dwarfs radiate away the residual heat from their formation, they cool through a spectral type transition from L to T, which encompasses the dissipation of cloud opacity and the appearance of strong methane absorption. While there are hundreds of known T-type brown dwarfs, the first generation of directly imaged exoplanets were all L type. Recently, Kuzuhara et al. announced the discovery of GJ 504 b, the first T dwarf exoplanet. GJ 504 b provides a unique opportunity to study the atmosphere of a new type of exoplanet with a ˜500 K temperature that bridges the gap between the first directly imaged planets (˜1000 K) and our own solar system's Jupiter (˜130 K). We observed GJ 504 b in three narrow L-band filters (3.71, 3.88, and 4.00 μm), spanning the red end of the broad methane fundamental absorption feature (3.3 μm) as part of the LBTI Exozodi Exoplanet Common Hunt (LEECH) exoplanet imaging survey. By comparing our new photometry and literature photometry with a grid of custom model atmospheres, we were able to fit GJ 504 b's unusual spectral energy distribution for the first time. We find that GJ 504 b is well fit by models with the following parameters: T[SUB]eff[/SUB] = 544 ± 10 K, g < 600 m s[SUP]-2[/SUP], [M/H] = 0.60 ± 0.12, cloud opacity parameter of f[SUB]sed[/SUB] = 2-5, R = 0.96 ± 0.07 R[SUB]Jup[/SUB], and log(L) = -6.13 ± 0.03 L[SUB]⊙[/SUB], implying a hot start mass of 3-30 M[SUB]jup[/SUB] for a conservative age range of 0.1-6.5 Gyr. Of particular interest, our model fits suggest that GJ 504 b has a superstellar metallicity. Since planet formation can create objects with nonstellar metallicities, while binary star formation cannot, this result suggests that GJ 504 b formed like a planet, not like a binary companion. The LBT is an international collaboration among institutions in the United States, Italy, and Germany. LBT Corporation partners are the University of Arizona on behalf of the Arizona university system; Istituto Nazionale di Astrophisica, Italy; LBT Beteiligungsgesellschaft, Germany, representing the Max-Planck Society, the Astrophysical Institute Potsdam, and Heidelberg University; The Ohio State University, and the Research Corporation, on behalf of the University of Notre Dame, University of Minnesota, and University of Virginia. [less ▲]

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See detailThe LEECH Exoplanet Imaging Survey: Orbit and Component Masses of the Intermediate-age, Late-type Binary NO UMa
Schlieder, Joshua E.; Skemer, Andrew J.; Maire, Anne-Lise et al

in Astrophysical Journal (2016), 818

We present high-resolution Large Binocular Telescope LBTI/LMIRcam images of the spectroscopic and astrometric binary NO UMa obtained as part of the LBT Interferometer Exozodi Exoplanet Common Hunt ... [more ▼]

We present high-resolution Large Binocular Telescope LBTI/LMIRcam images of the spectroscopic and astrometric binary NO UMa obtained as part of the LBT Interferometer Exozodi Exoplanet Common Hunt exoplanet imaging survey. Our H-, K[SUB]s[/SUB]-, and L‧-band observations resolve the system at angular separations <0.″09. The components exhibit significant orbital motion over a span of ∼7 months. We combine our imaging data with archival images, published speckle interferometry measurements, and existing spectroscopic velocity data to solve the full orbital solution and estimate component masses. The masses of the K2.0 ± 0.5 primary and K6.5 ± 0.5 secondary are 0.83 ± 0.02 M[SUB]⊙[/SUB] and 0.64 ± 0.02 M[SUB]⊙[/SUB], respectively. We also derive a system distance of d = 25.87 ± 0.02 pc and revise the Galactic kinematics of NO UMa. Our revised Galactic kinematics confirm NO UMa as a nuclear member of the ∼500 Myr old Ursa Major moving group, and it is thus a mass and age benchmark. We compare the masses of the NO UMa binary components to those predicted by five sets of stellar evolution models at the age of the Ursa Major group. We find excellent agreement between our measured masses and model predictions with little systematic scatter between the models. NO UMa joins the short list of nearby, bright, late-type binaries having known ages and fully characterized orbits. Based on data obtained with the STELLA robotic telescope in Tenerife, an AIP facility jointly operated by AIP and IAC. [less ▲]

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See detailOGLE-2015-BLG-0479LA,B: BINARY GRAVITATIONAL MICROLENS CHARACTERIZED by SIMULTANEOUS GROUND-BASED and SPACE-BASED OBSERVATIONS
Han, C.; Udalski, A.; Gould, A. et al

in Astrophysical Journal (2016), 828(1),

We present a combined analysis of the observations of the gravitational microlensing event OGLE-2015-BLG-0479 taken both from the ground and by the Spitzer Space Telescope. The light curves seen from the ... [more ▼]

We present a combined analysis of the observations of the gravitational microlensing event OGLE-2015-BLG-0479 taken both from the ground and by the Spitzer Space Telescope. The light curves seen from the ground and from space exhibit a time offset of ∼13 days between the caustic spikes, indicating that the relative lens-source positions seen from the two places are displaced by parallax effects. From modeling the light curves, we measure the space-based microlens parallax. Combined with the angular Einstein radius measured by analyzing the caustic crossings, we determine the mass and distance of the lens. We find that the lens is a binary composed of two G-type stars with masses of ∼1.0 M⊙ and ∼0.9 M⊙ located at a distance of ∼3 kpc. In addition, we are able to constrain the complete orbital parameters of the lens thanks to the precise measurement of the microlens parallax derived from the joint analysis. In contrast to the binary event OGLE-2014-BLG-1050, which was also observed by Spitzer, we find that the interpretation of OGLE-2015-BLG-0479 does not suffer from the degeneracy between (±, ±) and (±, ∓) solutions, confirming that the four-fold parallax degeneracy in single-lens events collapses into the two-fold degeneracy for the general case of binary-lens events. The location of the blend in the color-magnitude diagram is consistent with the lens properties, suggesting that the blend is the lens itself. The blend is bright enough for spectroscopy and thus this possibility can be checked from future follow-up observations. © 2016. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved. [less ▲]

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See detailSPITZER PARALLAX of OGLE-2015-BLG-0966: A COLD NEPTUNE in the GALACTIC DISK
Street, R. A.; Udalski, A.; Novati, S. C. et al

in Astrophysical Journal (2016), 819(2),

We report the detection of a cold Neptune mplanet = 21 ± 2 M⊕ orbiting a 0.38 Mo M dwarf lying 2.5-3.3 kpc toward the Galactic center as part of a campaign combining ground-based and Spitzer observations ... [more ▼]

We report the detection of a cold Neptune mplanet = 21 ± 2 M⊕ orbiting a 0.38 Mo M dwarf lying 2.5-3.3 kpc toward the Galactic center as part of a campaign combining ground-based and Spitzer observations to measure the Galactic distribution of planets. This is the first time that the complex real-time protocols described by Yee et al., which aim to maximize planet sensitivity while maintaining sample integrity, have been carried out in practice. Multiple survey and follow up teams successfully combined their efforts within the framework of these protocols to detect this planet. This is the second planet in the Spitzer Galactic distribution sample. Both are in the near to mid-disk and are clearly not in the Galactic bulge. © 2016. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved. [less ▲]

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See detailTHE SPITZER MICROLENSING PROGRAM AS A PROBE for GLOBULAR CLUSTER PLANETS: ANALYSIS of OGLE-2015-BLG-0448
Poleski, R.; Zhu, W.; Christie, G. W. et al

in Astrophysical Journal (2016), 823(1),

The microlensing event OGLE-2015-BLG-0448 was observed by Spitzer and lay within the tidal radius of the globular cluster NGC 6558. The event had moderate magnification and was intensively observed, hence ... [more ▼]

The microlensing event OGLE-2015-BLG-0448 was observed by Spitzer and lay within the tidal radius of the globular cluster NGC 6558. The event had moderate magnification and was intensively observed, hence it had the potential to probe the distribution of planets in globular clusters. We measure the proper motion of NGC 6558 ((μcl (N, E) = +0.36 ± 0.10, +1.42 ± 0.10 mas yr-1) as well as the source and show that the lens is not a cluster member. Even though this particular event does not probe the distribution of planets in globular clusters, other potential cluster lens events can be verified using our methodology. Additionally, we find that microlens parallax measured using Optical Gravitational Lens Experiment (OGLE) photometry is consistent with the value found based on the light curve displacement between the Earth and Spitzer. © 2016. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved. [less ▲]

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See detailMASS MEASUREMENTS of ISOLATED OBJECTS from SPACE-BASED MICROLENSING
Zhu, W.; Calchi Novati, S.; Gould, A. et al

in Astrophysical Journal (2016), 825(1),

We report on the mass and distance measurements of two single-lens events from the 2015 Spitzer microlensing campaign. With both finite-source effect and microlens parallax measurements, we find that the ... [more ▼]

We report on the mass and distance measurements of two single-lens events from the 2015 Spitzer microlensing campaign. With both finite-source effect and microlens parallax measurements, we find that the lens of OGLE-2015-BLG-1268 is very likely a brown dwarf (BD). Assuming that the source star lies behind the same amount of dust as the Bulge red clump, we find the lens is a 45 ±7 BD at 5.9 ±1.0 kpc. The lens of of the second event, OGLE-2015-BLG-0763, is a 0.50 ±0.04 star at 6.9 ±1.0 kpc. We show that the probability to definitively measure the mass of isolated microlenses is dramatically increased once simultaneous ground- and space-based observations are conducted. © 2016. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved. [less ▲]

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See detailSPITZER OBSERVATIONS of OGLE-2015-BLG-1212 REVEAL A NEW PATH TOWARD BREAKING STRONG MICROLENS DEGENERACIES
Bozza, V.; Shvartzvald, Y.; Udalski, A. et al

in Astrophysical Journal (2016), 820(1),

Spitzer microlensing parallax observations of OGLE-2015-BLG-1212 decisively break a degeneracy between planetary and binary solutions that is somewhat ambiguous when only ground-based data are considered ... [more ▼]

Spitzer microlensing parallax observations of OGLE-2015-BLG-1212 decisively break a degeneracy between planetary and binary solutions that is somewhat ambiguous when only ground-based data are considered. Only eight viable models survive out of an initial set of 32 local minima in the parameter space. These models clearly indicate that the lens is a stellar binary system possibly located within the bulge of our Galaxy, ruling out the planetary alternative. We argue that several types of discrete degeneracies can be broken via such space-based parallax observations. © 2016. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.. [less ▲]

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See detailA Compact Concentration of Large Grains in the HD 142527 Protoplanetary Dust Trap
Casassus, Simon; Wright, Chris; Marino, Sebastian et al

in Astrophysical Journal (2015)

A pathway to the formation of planetesimals, and eventually giant planets, may occur in concentrations of dust grains trapped in pressure maxima. Dramatic crescent-shaped dust concentrations have been ... [more ▼]

A pathway to the formation of planetesimals, and eventually giant planets, may occur in concentrations of dust grains trapped in pressure maxima. Dramatic crescent-shaped dust concentrations have been seen in recent radio images at submillimeter wavelengths. These disk asymmetries could represent the initial phases of planet formation in the dust trap scenario, provided that grain sizes are spatially segregated. A testable prediction of azimuthal dust trapping is that progressively larger grains should be more sharply confined and should follow a distribution that is markedly different from the gas. However, gas tracers such as 12CO and the infrared emission from small grains are both very optically thick where the submillimeter continuum originates, so previous observations have been unable to test the trapping predictions or to identify compact concentrations of larger grains required for planet formation by core accretion. Here we report multifrequency observations of HD 142527, from 34 to 700 GHz, that reveal a compact concentration of grains approaching centimeter sizes, with a few Earth masses, embedded in a large-scale crescent of smaller, submillimeter-sized particles. The emission peaks at wavelengths shorter than ∼1 mm are optically thick and trace the temperature structure resulting from shadows cast by the inner regions. Given this temperature structure, we infer that the largest dust grains are concentrated in the 34 GHz clump. We conclude that dust trapping is efficient enough for grains observable at centimeter wavelengths to lead to compact concentrations. [less ▲]

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See detailTests of the Planetary Hypothesis for PTFO 8-8695b
Yu, Liang; Winn, Joshua N.; Gillon, Michaël ULiege et al

in Astrophysical Journal (2015), 812

The T Tauri star PTFO 8-8695 exhibits periodic fading events that have been interpreted as the transits of a giant planet on a precessing orbit. Here we present three tests of the planet hypothesis. First ... [more ▼]

The T Tauri star PTFO 8-8695 exhibits periodic fading events that have been interpreted as the transits of a giant planet on a precessing orbit. Here we present three tests of the planet hypothesis. First, we sought evidence for the secular changes in light-curve morphology that are predicted to be a consequence of orbital precession. We observed 28 fading events spread over several years and did not see the expected changes. Instead, we found that the fading events are not strictly periodic. Second, we attempted to detect the planet's radiation, based on infrared observations spanning the predicted times of occultations. We ruled out a signal of the expected amplitude. Third, we attempted to detect the Rossiter-McLaughlin effect by performing high-resolution spectroscopy throughout a fading event. No effect was seen at the expected level, ruling out most (but not all) possible orientations for the hypothetical planetary orbit. Our spectroscopy also revealed strong, time-variable, high-velocity Hα and Ca H & K emission features. All these observations cast doubt on the planetary hypothesis, and suggest instead that the fading events represent starspots, eclipses by circumstellar dust, or occultations of an accretion hotspot. [less ▲]

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See detailCharacterization of the K2-19 Multiple-Transiting Planetary System via High-Dispersion Spectroscopy, AO Imaging, and Transit Timing Variations
Narita, Norio; Hirano, Teruyuki; Fukui, Akihiko et al

in Astrophysical Journal (2015), 815

K2-19 (EPIC201505350) is an interesting planetary system in which two transiting planets with radii ~ 7 $R_{Earth}$ (inner planet b) and ~ 4 $R_{Earth}$ (outer planet c) have orbits that are nearly in a 3 ... [more ▼]

K2-19 (EPIC201505350) is an interesting planetary system in which two transiting planets with radii ~ 7 $R_{Earth}$ (inner planet b) and ~ 4 $R_{Earth}$ (outer planet c) have orbits that are nearly in a 3:2 mean-motion resonance. Here, we present results of ground-based follow-up observations for the K2-19 planetary system. We have performed high-dispersion spectroscopy and high-contrast adaptive-optics imaging of the host star with the HDS and HiCIAO on the Subaru 8.2m telescope. We find that the host star is relatively old (>8 Gyr) late G-type star ($T_{eff}$ ~ 5350 K, $M_s$ ~ 0.9 $M_{Sun}$, and $R_{s}$ ~ 0.9 $R_{Sun}$). We do not find any contaminating faint objects near the host star which could be responsible for (or dilute) the transit signals. We have also conducted transit follow-up photometry for the inner planet with KeplerCam on the FLWO 1.2m telescope, TRAPPISTCAM on the TRAPPIST 0.6m telescope, and MuSCAT on the OAO 1.88m telescope. We confirm the presence of transit-timing variations, as previously reported by Armstrong and coworkers. We model the observed transit-timing variations of the inner planet using the synodic chopping formulae given by Deck & Agol (2015). We find two statistically indistinguishable solutions for which the period ratios ($P_{c}/P_{b}$) are located slightly above and below the exact 3:2 commensurability. Despite the degeneracy, we derive the orbital period of the inner planet $P_b$ ~ 7.921 days and the mass of the outer planet $M_c$ ~ 20 $M_{Earth}$. Additional transit photometry (especially for the outer planet) as well as precise radial-velocity measurements would be helpful to break the degeneracy and to determine the mass of the inner planet. [less ▲]

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See detailThe K2-ESPRINT Project I: Discovery of the Disintegrating Rocky Planet K2-22b with a Cometary Head and Leading Tail
Sanchis-Ojeda, R.; Rappaport, S.; Pallé, E. et al

in Astrophysical Journal (2015), 812(2), 112

We present the discovery of a transiting exoplanet candidate in the K2 Field-1 with an orbital period of 9.1457 hr: K2-22b. The highly variable transit depths, ranging from ∼0% to 1.3%, are suggestive of ... [more ▼]

We present the discovery of a transiting exoplanet candidate in the K2 Field-1 with an orbital period of 9.1457 hr: K2-22b. The highly variable transit depths, ranging from ∼0% to 1.3%, are suggestive of a planet that is disintegrating via the emission of dusty effluents. We characterize the host star as an M-dwarf with Teff ≃ 3800 K. We have obtained ground-based transit measurements with several 1-m class telescopes and with the GTC. These observations (1) improve the transit ephemeris; (2) confirm the variable nature of the transit depths; (3) indicate variations in the transit shapes; and (4) demonstrate clearly that at least on one occasion the transit depths were significantly wavelength dependent. The latter three effects tend to indicate extinction of starlight by dust rather than by any combination of solid bodies. The K2 observations yield a folded light curve with lower time resolution but with substantially better statistical precision compared with the ground-based observations. We detect a significant “bump” just after the transit egress, and a less significant bump just prior to transit ingress. We interpret these bumps in the context of a planet that is not only likely streaming a dust tail behind it, but also has a more prominent leading dust trail that precedes it. This effect is modeled in terms of dust grains that can escape to beyond the planet's Hill sphere and effectively undergo “Roche lobe overflow,” even though the planet's surface is likely underfilling its Roche lobe by a factor of 2. [less ▲]

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