Howard Isaacson - University of California, Berkeley

Howard Isaacson
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Name
Howard Isaacson
Affiliation
University of California, Berkeley
City
Berkeley
Country
United States

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Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (45)
 
Solar and Stellar Astrophysics (13)
 
Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics (1)

Publications Authored By Howard Isaacson

The size of a planet is an observable property directly connected to the physics of its formation and evolution. We used precise radius measurements from the California-Kepler Survey (CKS) to study the size distribution of 2025 $\textit{Kepler}$ planets in fine detail. We detect a deficit in that distribution at 1. Read More

Ultra-short-period (USP) planets are a newly recognized class of planets with periods shorter than one day, and radii smaller than about 2 Earth radii. It has been proposed that USP planets are the solid cores of hot Jupiters that lost their gaseous envelopes due to photo-evaporation or Roche lobe overflow. We test this hypothesis by asking whether USP planets are associated with metal-rich stars, as has long been observed for hot Jupiters. Read More

The California-Kepler Survey (CKS) is an observational program to improve our knowledge of the properties of stars found to host transiting planets by NASA's Kepler Mission. The improvement stems from new high-resolution optical spectra obtained using HIRES at the W. M. Read More

We present stellar and planetary properties for 1305 Kepler Objects of Interest (KOIs) hosting 2025 planet candidates observed as part of the California-Kepler Survey. We combine spectroscopic constraints, presented in Paper I, with isochrone modeling to estimate stellar masses, radii, and ages. Stellar radii are constrained to 9%, compared to typically 42% when only photometric constraints are used. Read More

We recently used near-infrared spectroscopy to improve the characterization of 76 low-mass stars around which K2 had detected 79 candidate transiting planets. Thirty of these worlds were new discoveries that have not previously been published. We calculate the false positive probabilities that the transit-like signals are actually caused by non-planetary astrophysical phenomena and reject five new transit-like events and three previously reported events as false positives. Read More

We present results from a Keck/HIRES radial velocity campaign to study four sub-Saturn-sized planets, K2-27b, K2-32b, K2-39b, and K2-108b, with the goal of understanding their masses, orbits, and heavy element enrichment. The planets have similar sizes $(R_P = 4.5-5. Read More

We present the target selection for the Breakthrough Listen search for extraterrestrial intelligence during the first year of observations at the Green Bank Telescope, Parkes Telescope and Automated Planet Finder. On the way to observing 1,000,000 nearby stars in search of technological signals, we present three main sets of objects we plan to observe in addition to a smaller sample of exotica. We choose the 60 nearest stars, all within 5. Read More

The masses, atmospheric makeups, spin-orbit alignments, and system architectures of extrasolar planets can be best studied when the planets orbit bright stars. We report the discovery of three bodies orbiting HD 106315, a bright (V = 8.97 mag) F5 dwarf targeted by our K2 survey for transiting exoplanets. Read More

Surveys have revealed many multi-planet systems containing super-Earths and Neptunes in orbits of a few days to a few months. There is debate whether in situ assembly or inward migration is the dominant mechanism of the formation of such planetary systems. Simulations suggest that migration creates tightly packed systems with planets whose orbital periods may be expressed as ratios of small integers (resonances), often in a many-planet series (chain). Read More

We report precise radial velocity (RV) measurements of WASP-47, a G star that hosts three transiting planets in close proximity (a hot Jupiter, a super-Earth and a Neptune-sized planet) and a non-transiting planet at 1.4 AU. Through a joint analysis of previously published RVs and our own Keck-HIRES RVs, we significantly improve the planet mass and bulk density measurements. Read More

Measuring precise planet masses, densities, and orbital dynamics in individual planetary systems is an important pathway toward understanding planet formation. The WASP-47 system has an unusual architecture that motivates a complex formation theory. The system includes a hot Jupiter ("b") neighbored by interior ("e") and exterior ("d") sub-Neptunes, and a long-period eccentric giant planet ("c"). Read More

We find transient, transit-like dimming events within the K2 time series photometry of the young star RIK-210 in the Upper Scorpius OB association. These dimming events are variable in depth, duration, and morphology. High spatial resolution imaging revealed the star is single, and radial velocity monitoring indicated that the dimming events can not be due to an eclipsing stellar or brown dwarf companion. Read More

We target the thermal emission spectrum of the non-transiting gas giant HD 88133 b with high-resolution near-infrared spectroscopy, by treating the planet and its host star as a spectroscopic binary. For sufficiently deep summed flux observations of the star and planet across multiple epochs, it is possible to resolve the signal of the hot gas giant's atmosphere compared to the brighter stellar spectrum, at a level consistent with the aggregate shot noise of the full data set. To do this, we first perform a principal component analysis to remove the contribution of the Earth's atmosphere to the observed spectra. Read More

The determination of exoplanet properties and occurrence rates using Kepler data critically depends on our knowledge of the fundamental properties (such as temperature, radius and mass) of the observed stars. We present revised stellar properties for 197,096 Kepler targets observed between Quarters 1-17 (Q1-17), which were used for the final transiting planet search run by the Kepler Mission (Data Release 25, DR25). Similar to the Q1--16 catalog by Huber et al. Read More

Open clusters have been the focus of several exoplanet surveys but only a few planets have so far been discovered. The \emph{Kepler} spacecraft revealed an abundance of small planets around small, cool stars, therefore, such cluster members are prime targets for exoplanet transit searches. Kepler's new mission, K2, is targeting several open clusters and star-forming regions around the ecliptic to search for transiting planets around their low-mass constituents. Read More

While the vast majority of multiple-planet systems have their orbital angular momentum axes aligned with the spin axis of their host star, Kepler-56 is an exception: its two transiting planets are coplanar yet misaligned by at least 40 degrees with respect to their host star. Additional follow-up observations of Kepler-56 suggest the presence of a massive, non-transiting companion that may help explain this misalignment. We model the transit data along with Keck/HIRES and HARPS-N radial velocity data to update the masses of the two transiting planets and infer the physical properties of the third, non-transiting planet. Read More

Kepler has discovered hundreds of systems with multiple transiting exoplanets which hold tremendous potential both individually and collectively for understanding the formation and evolution of planetary systems. Many of these systems consist of multiple small planets with periods less than ~50 days known as Systems with Tightly-spaced Inner Planets, or STIPs. One especially intriguing STIP, Kepler-80 (KOI-500), contains five transiting planets: f, d, e, b, and c with periods of 1. Read More

We present 197 planet candidates discovered using data from the first year of the NASA K2 mission (Campaigns 0-4), along with the results of an intensive program of photometric analyses, stellar spectroscopy, high-resolution imaging, and statistical validation. We distill these candidates into sets of 104 validated planets (57 in multi-planet systems), 30 false positives, and 63 remaining candidates. Our validated systems span a range of properties, with median values of R_P = 2. Read More

Theories of the formation and early evolution of planetary systems postulate that planets are born in circumstellar disks, and undergo radial migration during and after dissipation of the dust and gas disk from which they formed. The precise ages of meteorites indicate that planetesimals - the building blocks of planets - are produced within the first million years of a star's life. A prominent question is: how early can one find fully formed planets like those frequently detected on short orbital periods around mature stars? Some theories suggest the in situ formation of planets close to their host stars is unlikely and the existence of such planets is evidence for large scale migration. Read More

Strongly irradiated giant planets are observed to have radii larger than thermal evolution models predict. Although these inflated planets have been known for over fifteen years, it is unclear whether their inflation is caused by deposition of energy from the host star, or inhibited cooling of the planet. These processes can be distinguished if the planet becomes highly irradiated only when the host star evolves onto the red giant branch. Read More

Heartbeat stars (HB stars) are a class of eccentric binary stars with close periastron passages. The characteristic photometric HB signal evident in their light curves is produced by a combination of tidal distortion, heating, and Doppler boosting near orbital periastron. Many HB stars continue to oscillate after periastron and along the entire orbit, indicative of the tidal excitation of oscillation modes within one or both stars. Read More

The mass and age of substellar objects are degenerate parameters leaving the evolutionary state of brown dwarfs ambiguous without additional information. Theoretical models are normally used to help distinguish between old, massive brown dwarfs and young, low mass brown dwarfs but these models have yet to be properly calibrated. We have carried out an infrared high-contrast imaging program with the goal of detecting substellar objects as companions to nearby stars to help break degeneracies in inferred physical properties such as mass, age, and composition. Read More

A historical problem for indirect exoplanet detection has been contending with the intrinsic variability of the host star. If the variability is periodic, it can easily mimic various exoplanet signatures, such as radial velocity variations that originate with the stellar surface rather than the presence of a planet. Here we present an update for the HD~99492 planetary system, using new radial velocity and photometric measurements from the Transit Ephemeris Refinement and Monitoring Survey (TERMS). Read More

Decadal-long radial velocity surveys have recently started to discover analogs to the most influential planet of our solar system, Jupiter. Detecting and characterizing these worlds is expected to shape our understanding of our uniqueness in the cosmos. Despite the great successes of recent transit surveys, Jupiter analogs represent a terra incognita, owing to the strong intrinsic bias of this method against long orbital periods. Read More

We present the discovery in Kepler's $K2$ mission observations and our follow-up radial velocity observations from Keck/HIRES for four eclipsing binary (EB) star systems in the young benchmark Pleiades cluster. Based on our modeling results, we announce two new low mass ($M_{tot} < 0.6 M_\odot$) EBs among Pleiades members (HCG 76 and MHO 9) and we report on two previously known Pleiades binaries that are also found to be EB systems (HII 2407 and HD 23642). Read More

We conducted a Doppler survey at Keck combined with NIRC2 K-band AO imaging to search for massive, long-period companions to 123 known exoplanet systems with one or two planets detected using the radial velocity (RV) method. Our survey is sensitive to Jupiter mass planets out to 20 AU for a majority of stars in our sample, and we report the discovery of eight new long-period planets, in addition to 20 systems with statistically significant RV trends indicating the presence of an outer companion beyond 5 AU. We combine our RV observations with AO imaging to determine the range of allowed masses and orbital separations for these companions, and account for variations in our sensitivity to companions among stars in our sample. Read More

Determining which small exoplanets have stony-iron compositions is necessary for quantifying the occurrence of such planets and for understanding the physics of planet formation. Kepler-10 hosts the stony-iron world Kepler-10b (K10b), and also contains what has been reported to be the largest solid silicate-ice planet, Kepler-10c (K10c). Using 220 radial velocities (RVs), including 72 precise RVs from Keck-HIRES of which 20 are new from 2014-2015, and 17 quarters of Kepler photometry, we obtain the most complete picture of the Kepler-10 system to date. Read More

The prime Kepler mission revealed that small planets (<4 R_earth) are common, especially around low-mass M dwarfs. K2, the re-purposed 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. Read More

We present the first results from our Keck program investigating the orbital architectures of planet-hosting multiple star systems. Kepler-444 is a metal-poor triple star system that hosts five sub-Earth-sized planets orbiting the primary star (Kepler-444A), as well as a spatially unresolved pair of M dwarfs (Kepler-444BC) at a projected distance of 1.8" (66 AU). Read More

We report the discovery of a new Kepler transiting circumbinary planet (CBP). This latest addition to the still-small family of CBPs defies the current trend of known short-period planets orbiting near the stability limit of binary stars. Unlike the previous discoveries, the planet revolving around the eclipsing binary system Kepler-1647 has a very long orbital period (~1100 days) and was at conjunction only twice during the Kepler mission lifetime. Read More

We present a catalog of 11 multi-planet systems from Campaigns 1 and 2 of the K2 mission. We report the sizes and orbits of 26 planets split between seven 2-planet systems and four 3-planet systems. These planets stem from a systematic search of the K2 photometry for all dwarf stars observed by K2 in these fields. Read More

We present newly derived stellar parameters and the detailed abundances of 19 elements of seven stars with small planets discovered by NASA's Kepler Mission. Each star save one has at least one planet with a radius <= 1.6 R_Earth, suggesting a primarily rocky composition. Read More

The star HII 2407 is a member of the relatively young Pleiades star cluster and was previously discovered to be a single-lined spectroscopic binary. It is newly identified here within $Kepler$/$K2$ photometric time series data as an eclipsing binary system. Mutual fitting of the radial velocity and photometric data leads to an orbital solution and constraints on fundamental stellar parameters. Read More

We have detected the Rossiter-Mclaughlin effect during a transit of WASP-47b, the only known hot Jupiter with close planetary companions. By combining our spectroscopic observations with Kepler photometry, we show that the projected stellar obliquity is $\lambda = 0^\circ \pm 24^\circ$. We can firmly exclude a retrograde orbit for WASP-47b, and rule out strongly misaligned prograde orbits. Read 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. Read More

Discoveries from the prime Kepler mission demonstrated that small planets (< 3 Earth-radii) are common outcomes of planet formation. While Kepler detected many such planets, all but a handful orbit faint, distant stars and are not amenable to precise follow up measurements. Here, we report the discovery of two small planets transiting K2-21, a bright (K = 9. Read More

We report constraints on the three-dimensional orbital architecture for all four planets known to orbit the nearby M dwarf Gliese 876 based solely on Doppler measurements and demanding long-term orbital stability. Our dataset incorporates publicly available radial velocities taken with the ELODIE and CORALIE spectrographs, HARPS, and Keck HIRES as well as previously unpublished HIRES velocities. We first quantitatively assess the validity of the planets thought to orbit GJ 876 by computing the Bayes factors for a variety of different coplanar models using an importance sampling algorithm. Read More

We report the discovery of two super-Earth mass planets orbiting the nearby K0.5 dwarf HD 7924 which was previously known to host one small planet. The new companions have masses of 7. Read More

2015Mar
Affiliations: 1Princeton, 2Princeton, 3Princeton, 4CfA, 5Konkoly, 6CfA, 7Princeton, 8Princeton, 9Princeton, 10CfA, 11CfA, 12IfA, 13UC Berkeley, 14CfA, 15UC Berkeley, 16Tokyo Inst. of Tech., 17Aix Marseille Université, 18CfA, 19NOAO, 20Hungarian Astronomical Association, 21IfA, 22JPL, 23Konkoly, 24Landessternwarte, 25Google, 26CfA, 27Hungarian Astronomical Association, 28Hungarian Astronomical Association, 29Hungarian Astronomical Association

We report the discovery and characterization of four transiting exoplanets by the HATNet survey. The planet HAT-P-50b has a mass of 1.35 M_J and a radius of 1. Read More

Small, cool planets represent the typical end-products of planetary formation. Studying the archi- tectures of these systems, measuring planet masses and radii, and observing these planets' atmospheres during transit directly informs theories of planet assembly, migration, and evolution. Here we report the discovery of three small planets orbiting a bright (Ks = 8. Read More

We present an investigation of twelve candidate transiting planets from Kepler with orbital periods ranging from 34 to 207 days, selected from initial indications that they are small and potentially in the habitable zone (HZ) of their parent stars. Few of these objects are known. The expected Doppler signals are too small to confirm them by demonstrating that their masses are in the planetary regime. Read More

We present an update to seven stars with long-period planets or planetary candidates using new and archival radial velocities from Keck-HIRES and literature velocities from other telescopes. Our updated analysis better constrains orbital parameters for these planets, four of which are known multi-planet systems. HD 24040 b and HD 183263 c are super-Jupiters with circular orbits and periods longer than 8 yr. Read More