2,498 research outputs found

    Revisiting the correlation between stellar activity and planetary surface gravity

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    Aims: We re-evaluate the correlation between planetary surface gravity and stellar host activity as measured by the index log(RHK′R'_{HK}). This correlation, previously identified by Hartman (2010), is now analyzed in light of an extended measurements dataset, roughly 3 times larger than the original one. Methods: We calculated the Spearman's rank correlation coefficient between the two quantities and its associated p-value. The correlation coefficient was calculated for both the full dataset and the star-planet pairs that follow the conditions proposed by Hartman (2010). In order to do so, we considered effective temperatures both as collected from the literature and from the SWEET-Cat catalog, which provides a more homogeneous and accurate effective temperature determination. Results: The analysis delivers significant correlation coefficients, but with a lower value than those obtained by Hartman (2010). Yet, the two datasets are compatible, and we show that a correlation coefficient as large as previously published can arise naturally from a small-number statistics analysis of the current dataset. The correlation is recovered for star-planet pairs selected using the different conditions proposed by Hartman (2010). Remarkably, the usage of SWEET-Cat temperatures leads to larger correlation coefficient values. We highlight and discuss the role of the correlation betwen different parameters such as effective temperature and activity index. Several additional effects on top of those discussed previously were considered, but none fully explains the detected correlation. In light of the complex issue discussed here, we encourage the different follow-up teams to publish their activity index values in the form of log(RHK′R'_{HK}) index so that a comparison across stars and instruments can be pursued.Comment: 11 pages, 3 figures, accepted for publication in A&

    Probing the effect of gravitational microlensing on the measurements of the Rossiter-McLaughlin effect

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    In general, in the studies of transit light-curves and the Rossiter-McLaughlin (RM), the contribution of the planet's gravitational microlensing is neglected. Theoretical studies, have, however shown that the planet's microlensing can affect the transit light-curve and in some extreme cases cause the transit depth to vanish. In this letter, we present the results of our quantitative analysis of microlening on the RM effect. Results indicate that for massive planets in on long period orbits, the planet's microlensing will have considerable contribution to the star's RV measurements. We present the details of our study, and discuss our analysis and results.Comment: 6 pages, 3 figures, accepted for publication in Astronomy & Astrophysic

    Impact of stellar companions on precise radial velocities

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    Context: With the announced arrival of instruments such as ESPRESSO one can expect that several systematic noise sources on the measurement of precise radial velocity will become the limiting factor instead of photon noise. A stellar companion within the fiber is such a possible noise source. Aims: With this work we aim at characterizing the impact of a stellar companion within the fiber to radial velocity measurements made by fiber-fed spectrographs. We consider the contaminant star either to be part of a binary system whose primary star is the target star, or as a background/foreground star. Methods: To carry out our study, we used HARPS spectra, co-added the target with contaminant spectra, and then compared the resulting radial velocity with that obtained from the original target spectrum. We repeated this procedure and used different tunable knobs to reproduce the previously mentioned scenarios. Results: We find that the impact on the radial velocity calculation is a function of the difference between individual radial velocities, of the difference between target and contaminant magnitude, and also of their spectral types. For the worst-case scenario in which both target and contaminant star are well centered on the fiber, the maximum contamination for a G or K star may be higher than 10 cm/s, on average, if the difference between target and contaminant magnitude is Δm\Delta m < 10, and higher than 1 m/s if Δm\Delta m < 8. If the target star is of spectral type M, Δm\Delta m < 8 produces the same contamination of 10 cm/s, and a contamination may be higher than 1 m/sComment: Accepted for publication in A&A on 29/12/2019 - 14 page

    Line-profile variations in radial-velocity measurements: Two alternative indicators for planetary searches

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    Aims. We introduce two methods to identify false-positive planetary signals in the context of radial-velocity exoplanet searches. The first is the bi-Gaussian cross-correlation function fitting, and the second is the measurement of asymmetry in radial-velocity spectral line information content, Vasy. Methods. We make a systematic analysis of the most used common line profile diagnosis, Bisector Inverse Slope and Velocity Span, along with the two proposed ones. We evaluate all these diagnosis methods following a set of well-defined common criteria and using both simulated and real data. We apply them to simulated cross-correlation functions created with the program SOAP and which are affected by the presence of stellar spots, and to real cross-correlation functions, calculated from HARPS spectra, for stars with a signal originating both in activity and created by a planet. Results. We demonstrate that the bi-Gaussian method allows a more precise characterization of the deformation of line profiles than the standard bisector inverse slope. The calculation of the deformation indicator is simpler and its interpretation more straightforward. More importantly, its amplitude can be up to 30% larger than that of the bisector span, allowing the detection of smaller-amplitude correlations with radial-velocity variations. However, a particular parametrization of the bisector inverse slope is shown to be more efficient on high-signal-to-noise data than both the standard bisector and the bi-Gaussian. The results of the Vasy method show that this indicator is more effective than any of the previous ones, being correlated with the radial-velocity with more significance for signals resulting from a line deformation. Moreover, it provides a qualitative advantage over the bisector, showing significant correlations with RV for active stars for which bisector analysis is inconclusive. (abridged)Comment: 12 pages, 7 figures, accepted for publication in Astronomy and Astrophysics, comments welcom

    Can stellar activity make a planet seem misaligned?

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    Several studies have shown that the occultation of stellar active regions by the transiting planet can generate anomalies in the high-precision transit light curves, and these anomalies may lead to an inaccurate estimate of the planetary parameters (e.g., the planet radius). Since the physics and geometry behind the transit light curve and the Rossiter- McLaughlin effect (spectroscopic transit) are the same, the Rossiter-McLaughlin observations are expected to be affected by the occultation of stellar active regions in a similar way. In this paper we perform a fundamental test on the spin-orbit angles as derived by Rossiter-McLaughlin measurements, and we examine the impact of the occultation of stellar active regions by the transiting planet on the spin-orbit angle estimations. Our results show that the inaccurate estimation on the spin-orbit angle due to stellar activity can be quite significant (up to 30 degrees), particularly for the edge-on, aligned, and small transiting planets. Therefore, our results suggest that the aligned transiting planets are the ones that can be easily misinterpreted as misaligned owing to the stellar activity. In other words, the biases introduced by ignoring stellar activity are unlikely to be the culprit for the highly misaligned systems.Comment: 8 pages, 8 figures, accepted for publication in Astronomy & Astrophysic

    Evaluating the stability of atmospheric lines with HARPS

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    Context: In the search for extrasolar systems by radial velocity technique, a precise wavelength calibration is necessary for high-precision measurements. The choice of the calibrator is a particularly important question in the infra-red domain, where the precision and exploits still fall behind the achievements of the optical. Aims: We investigate the long-term stability of atmospheric lines as a precise wavelength reference and analyze their sensitivity to different atmospheric and observing conditions. Methods: We use HARPS archive data on three bright stars, Tau Ceti, Mu Arae and Epsilon Eri, spanning 6 years and containing high-cadence measurements over several nights. We cross-correlate this data with an O2 mask and evaluate both radial velocity and bisector variations down to a photon noise of 1 m/s. Results: We find that the telluric lines in the three data-sets are stable down to 10 m/s (r.m.s.) over the 6 years. We also show that the radial velocity variations can be accounted for by simple atmospheric models, yielding a final precision of 1-2 m/s. Conclusions: The long-term stability of atmospheric lines was measured as being of 10 m/s over six years, in spite of atmospheric phenomena. Atmospheric lines can be used as a wavelength reference for short-time-scales programs, yielding a precision of 5 m/s "out-of-the box". A higher precision, down to 2 m/s can be reached if the atmospheric phenomena are corrected for by the simple atmospheric model described, making it a very competitive method even on long time-scales.Comment: 7 pages, accepted for publication in A&

    Controlling high-harmonic generation and above-threshold ionization with an attosecond-pulse train

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    We perform a detailed analysis of how high-order harmonic generation (HHG) and above-threshold ionization (ATI) can be controlled by a time-delayed attosecond-pulse train superposed to a strong, near-infrared laser field. In particular we show that the high-harmonic and photoelectron intensities, the high-harmonic plateau structure and cutoff energies, and the ATI angular distributions can be manipulated by changing this delay. This is a direct consequence of the fact that the attosecond pulse train can be employed as a tool for constraining the instant an electronic wave packet is ejected in the continuum. A change in such initial conditions strongly affects its subsequent motion in the laser field, and thus HHG and ATI. In our studies, we employ the Strong-Field Approximation and explain the features observed in terms of interference effects between various electron quantum orbits. Our results are in agreement with recent experimental findings and theoretical studies employing purely numerical methods.Comment: 10 pages revtex and 6 figures (eps files

    Telluric correction in the near-infrared: Standard star or synthetic transmission?

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    Context. The atmospheric absorption of the Earth is an important limiting factor for ground-based spectroscopic observations and the near-infrared and infrared regions are the most affected. Several software packages that produce a synthetic atmospheric transmission spectrum have been developed to correct for the telluric absorption; these are Molecfit, TelFit, and TAPAS. Aims. Our goal is to compare the correction achieved using these three telluric correction packages and the division by a telluric standard star. We want to evaluate the best method to correct near-infrared high-resolution spectra as well as the limitations of each software package and methodology. Methods. We applied the telluric correction methods to CRIRES archival data taken in the J and K bands. We explored how the achieved correction level varies depending on the atmospheric T-P profile used in the modelling, the depth of the atmospheric lines, and the molecules creating the absorption. Results. We found that the Molecfit and TelFit corrections lead to smaller residuals for the water lines. The standard star method corrects best the oxygen lines. The Molecfit package and the standard star method corrections result in global offsets always below 0.5% for all lines; the offset is similar with TelFit and TAPAS for the H2O lines and around 1% for the O2 lines. All methods and software packages result in a scatter between 3% and 7% inside the telluric lines. The use of a tailored atmospheric profile for the observatory leads to a scatter two times smaller, and the correction level improves with lower values of precipitable water vapour. Conclusions. The synthetic transmission methods lead to an improved correction compared to the standard star method for the water lines in the J band with no loss of telescope time, but the oxygen lines were better corrected by the standard star method.Comment: 18 pages, 13 figures, Accepted to A&

    Existence criteria for stabilization from the scaling behaviour of ionization probabilities

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    We provide a systematic derivation of the scaling behaviour of various quantities and establish in particular the scale invariance of the ionization probability. We discuss the gauge invariance of the scaling properties and the manner in which they can be exploited as consistency check in explicit analytical expressions, in perturbation theory, in the Kramers-Henneberger and Floquet approximation, in upper and lower bound estimates and fully numerical solutions of the time dependent Schroedinger equation. The scaling invariance leads to a differential equation which has to be satisfied by the ionization probability and which yields an alternative criterium for the existence of atomic bound state stabilization.Comment: 12 pages of Latex, one figur
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