114 research outputs found

    Observations of circumstellar disks with infrared interferometry

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    The structure and composition of circumstellar disks around young stars is one of the areas in which infrared interferometry has had a major impact. I will review the observational progress in this field starting from the earliest observations of T Tauri, Herbig Ae/Be and FU Ori objects with smaller interferometers. Highlights of recent work include measurements of the inner disk size across 5 orders of magnitude in stellar luminosity, characterization of the dust composition as a function of radius in Herbig disks, high spectral resolution observations of gas emission and closure phase measurements of structure in disks. These observations have challenged models of disk structure and as the only direct probe on AU scales will continue to provide essential input in our understanding of the formation of stars and planets

    Protoplanetary Disk Mass Distribution in Young Binaries

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    We present millimeter-wave continuum images of four wide (separations 210-800 AU) young stellar binary systems in the Taurus-Auriga star-forming region. For all four sources, the resolution of our observations is sufficient to determine the mm emission from each of the components. In all four systems, the primary star's disk has stronger millimeter emission than the secondary and in three of the four, the secondary is undetected; this is consistent with predictions of recent models of binary formation by fragmentation. The primaries' circumstellar disk masses inferred from these observations are comparable to those found for young single stars, confirming that the presence of a wide binary companion does not prevent the formation of a protoplanetary disk. Some of the secondaries show signatures of accretion (H-alpha emission and K - L excesses), yet their mm fluxes suggest that very little disk mass is present.Comment: Accepted by ApJ, to appear Feb. 2003; 9 pages, 5 postscript figures, uses aastex, emulateapj5, and apjfonts style files. Also available at http://astro.swarthmore.edu/~jensen/publications.htm

    Science and technical progress at the Palomar Testbed Interferometer

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    The Palomar Testbed Interferometer (PTI) is a long-baseline, near-infrared interferometer located on Palomar Mountain. PTI has been in operation since 1997 and is used for extensive science observing as well as technical development. I will review the recent progress at PTI covering both science and instrumentation work. The science topics include fundamental stellar properties, novae, and an evaluation of all calibrator observations. The technical work includes the narrow-angle phase scanning mode and installation of the integrated optics combiner IONIC

    Pulsed Accretion in the T Tauri Binary TWA 3A

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    TWA 3A is the most recent addition to a small group of young binary systems that both actively accrete from a circumbinary disk and have spectroscopic orbital solutions. As such, it provides a unique opportunity to test binary accretion theory in a well-constrained setting. To examine TWA 3A's time-variable accretion behavior, we have conducted a two-year, optical photometric monitoring campaign, obtaining dense orbital phase coverage (~20 observations per orbit) for ~15 orbital periods. From U-band measurements we derive the time-dependent binary mass accretion rate, finding bursts of accretion near each periastron passage. On average, these enhanced accretion events evolve over orbital phases 0.85 to 1.05, reaching their peak at periastron. The specific accretion rate increases above the quiescent value by a factor of ~4 on average but the peak can be as high as an order of magnitude in a given orbit. The phase dependence and amplitude of TWA 3A accretion is in good agreement with numerical simulations of binary accretion with similar orbital parameters. In these simulations, periastron accretion bursts are fueled by periodic streams of material from the circumbinary disk that are driven by the binary orbit. We find that TWA 3A's average accretion behavior is remarkably similar to DQ Tau, another T Tauri binary with similar orbital parameters, but with significantly less variability from orbit to orbit. This is only the second clear case of orbital-phase-dependent accretion in a T Tauri binary.Comment: 6 pages, 4 figure

    Planetary Candidates Observed by Kepler. VI. Planet Sample from Q1--Q16 (47 Months)

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    We present the sixth catalog of Kepler candidate planets based on nearly four years of high precision photometry. This catalog builds on the legacy of previous catalogs released by the Kepler project and includes 1493 new Kepler Objects of Interest (KOIs) of which 554 are planet candidates, and 131 of these candidates have best-fit radii > 1.5 R_⊕. This brings the total number of KOIs and planet candidates to 7348 and 4175 respectively. We suspect that many of these new candidates at the low signal-to-noise ratio limit may be false alarms created by instrumental noise, and discuss our efforts to identify such objects. We re-evaluate all previously published KOIs with orbital periods of > 50 days to provide a consistently vetted sample that can be used to improve planet occurrence rate calculations. We discuss the performance of our planet detection algorithms, and the consistency of our vetting products. The full catalog is publicly available at the NASA Exoplanet Archive

    Keck Interferometer status and plans

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    Keck Interferometer is a NASA-funded project to combine the two 10 m Keck telescopes for high sensitivity near-infrared fringe visibility measurements, nulling interferometry at 10 μm to measure the quantity of exozodiacal emission around nearby stars, and differential-phase measurements to detect "hot-Jupiters" by their direct emission. It is being developed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the W. M. Keck Observatory, and the Michelson Science Center. Recent activity has included formal visibility mode commissioning, as well as science observations, and we briefly review some of the significant technical aspects and updates to the system. We have also completed laboratory development of the nuller. The nuller uses two modified Mach-Zehnder input nullers, a Michelson cross combiner, and a 10 μm array camera to produce background-limited null measurements. To provide required temporal stability for the nuller, the system incorporates end-to-end laser metrology with phase referencing from two 2.2 μm fringe trackers. The nuller recently completed its pre-ship review and is being installed on the summit. After nuller integration and test, the differential phase mode will be deployed, which will use a 2-5 μm fringe detector in combination with a precision path length modulator and a vacuum delay line for dispersion control

    Differential phase technique with the Keck Interferometer

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    We present the motivation and development of the novel `differential phase' technique being developed for the Keck Interferometer with the goal of detecting faint companions near a bright source. The differential phase technique uses simultaneous phase measurements at several infrared wavelengths to detect the astrophysical signature produced by a chromatic, asymmetric brightness distribution. We discuss the origin of the differential phase signature and present results of test observations taken at the Palomar Testbed Interferometer. One important test result is the larger than expected effect of water vapor turbulence on these multi-wavelength observations due to the infrared dispersion of water. In order to reach the design goal of 0.1 milliradians, the phase noise caused by both temperature and water vapor fluctuations in the atmosphere must be corrected, and we discuss several ways to achieve this

    Planetary Candidates Observed by Kepler. VII. The First Fully Uniform Catalog Based on the Entire 48-month Data Set (Q1–Q17 DR24)

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    We present the seventh Kepler planet candidate (PC) catalog, which is the first catalog to be based on the entire, uniformly processed 48-month Kepler data set. This is the first fully automated catalog, employing robotic vetting procedures to uniformly evaluate every periodic signal detected by the Q1–Q17 Data Release 24 (DR24) Kepler pipeline. While we prioritize uniform vetting over the absolute correctness of individual objects, we find that our robotic vetting is overall comparable to, and in most cases superior to, the human vetting procedures employed by past catalogs. This catalog is the first to utilize artificial transit injection to evaluate the performance of our vetting procedures and to quantify potential biases, which are essential for accurate computation of planetary occurrence rates. With respect to the cumulative Kepler Object of Interest (KOI) catalog, we designate 1478 new KOIs, of which 402 are dispositioned as PCs. Also, 237 KOIs dispositioned as false positives (FPs) in previous Kepler catalogs have their disposition changed to PC and 118 PCs have their disposition changed to FPs. This brings the total number of known KOIs to 8826 and PCs to 4696. We compare the Q1–Q17 DR24 KOI catalog to previous KOI catalogs, as well as ancillary Kepler catalogs, finding good agreement between them. We highlight new PCs that are both potentially rocky and potentially in the habitable zone of their host stars, many of which orbit solar-type stars. This work represents significant progress in accurately determining the fraction of Earth-size planets in the habitable zone of Sun-like stars. The full catalog is publicly available at the NASA Exoplanet Archive

    Misaligned protoplanetary disks in a young binary star system

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    Many extrasolar planets follow orbits that differ from the nearly coplanar and circular orbits found in our Solar System; their orbits may be eccentric or inclined with respect to the host star’s equator, and the population of giant planets orbiting close to their host stars suggests appreciable orbital migration. There is at present no consensus on what produces such orbits. Theoretical explanations often invoke interactions with a binary companion star in an orbit that is inclined relative to the planet’s orbital plane. Such mechanisms require significant mutual inclinations between the planetary and binary star orbital planes. The protoplanetary disks in a few young binaries are misaligned, but often the measurements of these misalignments are sensitive only to a small portion of the inner disk, and the three-dimensional misalignment of the bulk of the planet-forming disk mass has hitherto not been determined. Here we report that the protoplanetary disks in the young binary system HK Tauri are misaligned by 60 to 68 degrees, such that one or both of the disks are significantly inclined to the binary orbital plane. Our results demonstrate that the necessary conditions exist for misalignment-driven mechanisms to modify planetary orbits, and that these conditions are present at the time of planet formation, apparently because of the binary formation process
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