148 research outputs found

    The Atomic and Molecular Content of Disks Around Very Low-mass Stars and Brown Dwarfs

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    There is growing observational evidence that disk evolution is stellar-mass dependent. Here, we show that these dependencies extend to the atomic and molecular content of disk atmospheres. We analyze a unique dataset of high-resolution Spitzer/IRS spectra from 8 very low-mass star and brown dwarf disks. We report the first detections of Ne+, H2, CO2, and tentative detections of H2O toward these faint and low-mass disks. Two of our [NeII] 12.81 micron emission lines likely trace the hot (>5,000 K) disk surface irradiated by X-ray photons from the central stellar/sub-stellar object. The H2 S(2) and S(1) fluxes are consistent with arising below the fully or partially ionized surface traced by the [NeII] emission, in gas at about 600 K. We confirm the higher C2H2/HCN flux and column density ratio in brown dwarf disks previously noted from low-resolution IRS spectra. Our high-resolution spectra also show that the HCN/H2O fluxes of brown dwarf disks are on average higher than those of T Tauri disks. Our LTE modeling hints that this difference extends to column density ratios if H2O lines trace warm > 600 K disk gas. These trends suggest that the inner regions of brown dwarf disks have a lower O/C ratio than those of T Tauri disks which may result from a more efficient formation of non-migrating icy planetesimals. A O/C=1, as inferred from our analysis, would have profound implications on the bulk composition of rocky planets that can form around very low-mass stars and brown dwarfs.Comment: Accepted to Ap

    The Exoplanet Population Observation Simulator. I - The Inner Edges of Planetary Systems

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    The Kepler survey provides a statistical census of planetary systems out to the habitable zone. Because most planets are non-transiting, orbital architectures are best estimated using simulated observations of ensemble populations. Here, we introduce EPOS, the Exoplanet Population Observation Simulator, to estimate the prevalence and orbital architectures of multi-planet systems based on the latest Kepler data release, DR25. We estimate that at least 42% of sun-like stars have nearly coplanar planetary systems with 7 or more exoplanets. The fraction of stars with at least one planet within 1 au could be as high as 100% depending on assumptions about the distribution of single transiting planets. We estimate an occurrence rate of planets in the habitable zone around sun-like stars of eta_earth=36+-14%. The innermost planets in multi-planet systems are clustered around an orbital period of 10 days (0.1 au), reminiscent of the protoplanetary disk inner edge or could be explained by a planet trap at that location. Only a small fraction of planetary systems have the innermost planet at long orbital periods, with fewer than ~8% and ~3% having no planet interior to the orbit of Mercury and Venus, respectively. These results reinforce the view that the solar system is not a typical planetary system, but an outlier among the distribution of known exoplanetary systems. We predict that at least half of the habitable zone exoplanets are accompanied by (non-transiting) planets at shorter orbital periods, hence knowledge of a close-in exoplanet could be used as a way to optimize the search for Earth-size planets in the Habitable Zone with future direct imaging missions.Comment: Accepted in AAS journals, code available on githu

    CLIcK: a Continuum and Line fItting Kit for circumstellar disks

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    Infrared spectroscopy with medium to high spectral resolution is essential to characterize the gas content of circumstellar disks. Unfortunately, conducting continuum and line radiative transfer of thermochemical disk models is too time-consuming to carry out large parameter studies. Simpler approaches using a slab model to fit continuum-subtracted spectra require the identification of either the global or local continuum. Continuum subtraction, particularly when covering a broad wavelength range, is challenging but critical in rich molecular spectra as hot (several hundreds K) molecular emission lines can also produce a pseudo continuum. In this work, we present CLIcK, a flexible tool to simultaneously fit the continuum and line emission. The DDN01 continuum model (Dullemond et al. 2001) and a plane-parallel slab of gas in local thermodynamic equilibrium are adopted to simulate the continuum and line emission respectively, both of them are fast enough for homogeneous studies of large disk samples. We applied CLIcK to fit the observed water spectrum of the AA Tau disk and obtained water vapor properties that are consistent with literature results. We also demonstrate that CLIcK properly retrieves the input parameters used to simulate the water spectrum of a circumstellar disk. CLIcK will be a versatile tool for the interpretation of future James Webb Space Telescope spectra.Comment: Accepted for publication in A&A, 9 pages, 9 figure

    The Formation of Brown Dwarfs: Observations

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    We review the current state of observational work on the formation of brown dwarfs, focusing on their initial mass function, velocity and spatial distributions at birth, multiplicity, accretion, and circumstellar disks. The available measurements of these various properties are consistent with a common formation mechanism for brown dwarfs and stars. In particular, the existence of widely separated binary brown dwarfs and a probable isolated proto-brown dwarf indicate that some substellar objects are able to form in the same manner as stars through unperturbed cloud fragmentation. Additional mechanisms such as ejection and photoevaporation may play a role in the birth of some brown dwarfs, but there is no observational evidence to date to suggest that they are the key elements that make it possible for substellar bodies to form.Comment: Protostars and Planets V, in pres

    Earths in Other Solar Systems N-body simulations: the Role of Orbital Damping in Reproducing the Kepler Planetary Systems

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    The population of exoplanetary systems detected by Kepler provides opportunities to refine our understanding of planet formation. Unraveling the conditions needed to produce the observed exoplanets will sallow us to make informed predictions as to where habitable worlds exist within the galaxy. In this paper, we examine using N-body simulations how the properties of planetary systems are determined during the final stages of assembly. While accretion is a chaotic process, trends in the ensemble properties of planetary systems provide a memory of the initial distribution of solid mass around a star prior to accretion. We also use EPOS, the Exoplanet Population Observation Simulator, to account for detection biases and show that different accretion scenarios can be distinguished from observations of the Kepler systems. We show that the period of the innermost planet, the ratio of orbital periods of adjacent planets, and masses of the planets are determined by the total mass and radial distribution of embryos and planetesimals at the beginning of accretion. In general, some amount of orbital damping, either via planetesimals or gas, during accretion is needed to match the whole population of exoplanets. Surprisingly, all simulated planetary systems have planets that are similar in size, showing that the "peas in a pod" pattern can be consistent with both a giant impact scenario and a planet migration scenario. The inclusion of material at distances larger than what Kepler observes has a profound impact on the observed planetary architectures, and thus on the formation and delivery of volatiles to possible habitable worlds.Comment: Resubmitted to ApJ. Planet formation models available online at http://eos-nexus.org/genesis-database

    High-resolution Spectroscopy of [Ne II] Emission from TW Hya

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    We present high-resolution echelle spectra of [Ne II] 12.81 micron emission from the classical T Tauri star (CTTS) TW Hya obtained with MICHELLE on Gemini North. The line is centered at the stellar radial velocity and has an intrinsic FWHM of 21\pm 4 km/s. The line width is broader than other narrow emission lines typically associated with the disk around TW Hya. If formed in a disk, the line broadening could result from turbulence in a warm disk atmosphere, Keplerian rotation at an average distance of 0.1 AU from the star, or a photoevaporative flow from the optically-thin region of the disk. We place upper limits on the [Ne II] emission flux from the CTTSs DP Tau and BP Tau.Comment: Accepted by ApJ. 18 pages, including 2 figures and 2 table

    The Exoplanet Population Observation Simulator. II -- Population Synthesis in the Era of Kepler

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    The collection of planetary system properties derived from large surveys such as Kepler provides critical constraints on planet formation and evolution. These constraints can only be applied to planet formation models, however, if the observational biases and selection effects are properly accounted for. Here we show how epos, the Exoplanet Population Observation Simulator, can be used to constrain planet formation models by comparing the Bern planet population synthesis models to the Kepler exoplanetary systems. We compile a series of diagnostics, based on occurrence rates of different classes of planets and the architectures of multi-planet systems, that can be used as benchmarks for future and current modeling efforts. Overall, we find that a model with 100 seed planetary cores per protoplanetary disk provides a reasonable match to most diagnostics. Based on these diagnostics we identify physical properties and processes that would result in the Bern model more closely matching the known planetary systems. These are: moving the planet trap at the inner disk edge outward; increasing the formation efficiency of mini-Neptunes; and reducing the fraction of stars that form observable planets. We conclude with an outlook on the composition of planets in the habitable zone, and highlight that the majority of simulated planets smaller than 1.7 Earth radii have substantial hydrogen atmospheres. The software used in this paper is available online for public scrutiny at https://github.com/GijsMulders/eposComment: Accepted in Ap

    Measuring Organic Molecular Emission in Disks with Low Resolution Spitzer Spectroscopy

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    We explore the extent to which Spitzer IRS spectra taken at low spectral resolution can be used in quantitative studies of organic molecular emission from disks surrounding low mass young stars. We use Spitzer IRS spectra taken in both the high and low resolution modules for the same sources to investigate whether it is possible to define line indices that can measure trends in the strength of the molecular features in low resolution data. We find that trends in HCN emission strength seen in the high resolution data can be recovered in low resolution data. In examining the factors that influence the HCN emission strength, we find that the low resolution HCN flux is modestly correlated with stellar accretion rate and X-ray luminosity. Correlations of this kind are perhaps expected based on recent observational and theoretical studies of inner disk atmospheres. Our results demonstrate the potential of using the large number of low resolution disk spectra that reside in the Spitzer archive to study the factors that influence the strength of molecular emission from disks. Such studies would complement results for the much smaller number of circumstellar disks that have been observed at high resolution with IRS
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