Jason T. Wright - Pennsylvania State University

Jason T. Wright
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Jason T. Wright
Pennsylvania State University
State College
United States

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Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (41)
Solar and Stellar Astrophysics (19)
Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics (4)
Astrophysics of Galaxies (3)
High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena (1)

Publications Authored By Jason T. Wright

We observed two eclipses of the Kepler-13A planetary system, on UT 2014 April 28 and UT 2014 October 13, in the near-infrared using Wide Field Camera 3 on the Hubble Space Telescope. By using the nearby binary stars Kepler-13BC as a reference, we were able to create a differential light curve for Kepler-13A that had little of the systematics typically present in HST/WFC3 spectrophotometry. We measure a broadband (1. Read More

We present here our observations and analysis of the dayside emission spectrum of the hot Jupiter WASP-103b. We observed WASP-103b during secondary eclipse using two visits of the Hubble Space Telescope with the G141 grism on Wide Field Camera 3 in spatial scan mode. We generated secondary eclipse light curves of the planet in both blended white-light and spectrally binned wavechannels from 1. Read More

Good explanations for the unusual light curve of Boyajian's Star have been hard to find. Recent results by Montet & Simon lend strength and plausibility to the conclusion of Schaefer that in addition to short-term dimmings, the star also experiences large, secular decreases in brightness on decadal timescales. This, combined with a lack of long-wavelength excess in the star's spectral energy distribution, strongly constrains scenarios involving circumstellar material, including hypotheses invoking a spherical cloud of artifacts. Read More

We describe a detailed radial velocity error budget for the NASA-NSF Extreme Precision Doppler Spectrometer instrument concept NEID (NN-explore Exoplanet Investigations with Doppler spectroscopy). Such an instrument performance budget is a necessity for both identifying the variety of noise sources currently limiting Doppler measurements, and estimating the achievable performance of next generation exoplanet hunting Doppler spectrometers. For these instruments, no single source of instrumental error is expected to set the overall measurement floor. Read More

Astronomers have access to precious few nearby, middle-aged benchmark star clusters. Within 500 pc, there are only NGC 752 and Ruprecht 147 (R147), at 1.5 and 3 Gyr respectively. Read More

The precise radial velocity survey at Keck Observatory began over 20 years ago. Its survey of thousands of stars now has the time baseline to be sensitive to planets with decade-long orbits, including Jupiter analogs. I present several newly-finished orbital solutions for long-period giant planets. 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

The Second Workshop on Extreme Precision Radial Velocities defined circa 2015 the state of the art Doppler precision and identified the critical path challenges for reaching 10 cm/s measurement precision. The presentations and discussion of key issues for instrumentation and data analysis and the workshop recommendations for achieving this precision are summarized here. Beginning with the HARPS spectrograph, technological advances for precision radial velocity measurements have focused on building extremely stable instruments. Read More

Advancements in our understanding of exoplanetary atmospheres, from massive gas giants down to rocky worlds, depend on the constructive challenges between observations and models. We are now on a clear trajectory for improvements in exoplanet observations that will revolutionize our ability to characterize the atmospheric structure, composition, and circulation of these worlds. These improvements stem from significant investments in new missions and facilities, such as JWST and the several planned ground-based extremely large telescopes. 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

Planets in highly eccentric orbits form a class of objects not seen within our Solar System. The most extreme case known amongst these objects is the planet orbiting HD~20782, with an orbital period of 597~days and an eccentricity of 0.96. Read More

A crucial aspect of understanding planet formation is determining the binarity of the host stars. Results from radial velocity surveys and the follow-up of Kepler exoplanet candidates have demonstrated that stellar binarity certainly does not exclude the presence of planets in stable orbits and the configuration may in fact be relatively common. Here we present new results for the 30 Arietis system which confirms that the B component hosts both planetary and stellar companions. Read More

White dwarfs are the end state of most stars, including the Sun, after they exhaust their nuclear fuel. Between 1/4 and 1/2 of white dwarfs have elements heavier than helium in their atmospheres, even though these elements should rapidly settle into the stellar interiors unless they are occasionally replenished. The abundance ratios of heavy elements in white dwarf atmospheres are similar to rocky bodies in the Solar system. Read More

We present multiwavelength, multi-telescope, ground-based follow-up photometry of the white dwarf WD 1145+017, that has recently been suggested to be orbited by up to six or more, short-period, low-mass, disintegrating planetesimals. We detect 9 significant dips in flux of between 10% and 30% of the stellar flux from our ground-based photometry. We observe transits deeper than 10% on average every ~3. Read More

Arnold (2005), Forgan (2013), and Korpela et al. (2015) noted that planet-sized artificial structures could be discovered with Kepler as they transit their host star. We present a general discussion of transiting megastructures, and enumerate ten potential ways their anomalous silhouettes, orbits, and transmission properties would distinguish them from exoplanets. 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

An on-going effort in the characterization of exoplanetary systems is the accurate determination of host star properties. This effort extends to the relatively bright host stars of planets discovered with the radial velocity method. The Transit Ephemeris Refinement and Monitoring Survey (TERMS) is aiding in these efforts as part of its observational campaign for exoplanet host stars. Read More

Nearby Type III (galaxy-spanning) Kardashev supercivilizations would have high mid-infrared (MIR) luminosities. We have used the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) to survey ~$1 \times 10^5$ galaxies for extreme MIR emission, $10^3$ times more galaxies than the only previous such search. We have calibrated the WISE All-sky Catalog pipeline products to improve its photometry for extended sources. Read More

Exoplanetary systems closest to the Sun, with the brightest host stars, provide the most favorable opportunities for characterization studies of the host star and their planet(s). The Transit Ephemeris Refinement and Monitoring Survey uses both new radial velocity measurements and photometry in order to greatly improve planetary orbit uncertainties and the fundamental properties of the star, in this case HD 130322. The only companion, HD 130322b, orbits in a relatively circular orbit, e = 0. 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

The MINiature Exoplanet Radial Velocity Array (MINERVA) is a US-based observational facility dedicated to the discovery and characterization of exoplanets around a nearby sample of bright stars. MINERVA employs a robotic array of four 0.7 m telescopes outfitted for both high-resolution spectroscopy and photometry, and is designed for completely autonomous operation. Read More

We investigate whether magnetic interaction between close-in giant planets and their host stars produce observable statistical enhancements in stellar coronal or chromospheric activity. New Chandra observations of 12 nearby (d<60 pc) planet-hosting solar analogs are combined with archival Chandra, XMM-Newton, and ROSAT coverage of 11 similar stars to construct a sample inoculated against inherent stellar class and planet-detection biases. Survival analysis and Bayesian regression methods (incorporating both measurements errors and X-ray upper limits; 13/23 stars have secure detections) are used to test whether "hot Jupiter" hosts are systematically more X-ray luminous than comparable stars with more distant or smaller planets. Read More

Affiliations: 1Pennsylvania State University, 2California Institute of Technology, 3Pennsylvania State University, 4California Institute of Technology, 5Princeton University, 6University of California, Santa Cruz, 7California Institute of Technology, 8University of Hawaii at Manoa, 9University of Hawaii at Manoa, 10California Institute of Technology, 11University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 12Boston University, 13California Institute of Technology, 14The University of Arizona, 15Pennsylvania State University, 16Jet Propulsion Laboratory

We report secondary eclipse photometry of the hot Jupiter HAT-P-32Ab, taken with Hale/WIRC in H and Ks bands and with Spitzer/IRAC at 3.6 and 4.5 micron. Read More

The Exoplanet Orbit Database (EOD) compiles orbital, transit, host star, and other parameters of robustly detected exoplanets reported in the peer-reviewed literature. The EOD can be navigated through the Exoplanet Data Explorer (EDE) Plotter and Table, available on the World Wide Web at exoplanets.org. Read More

We report the discovery of a low-mass planet orbiting Gl 15 A based on radial velocities from the Eta-Earth Survey using HIRES at Keck Observatory. Gl 15 Ab is a planet with minimum mass Msini = 5.35 $\pm$ 0. Read More

High resolution imaging is an important tool for follow-up study of exoplanet candidates found via transit detection with the Kepler Mission. We discuss here HST imaging with the WFC3 of 23 stars that host particularly interesting Kepler planet candidates based on their small size and cool equilibrium temperature estimates. Results include detections, exclusion of background stars that could be a source of false positives for the transits, and detection of physically-associated companions in a number of cases providing dilution measures necessary for planet parameter refinement. Read More

We present the results of our Hubble Space Telescope program and describe how our analysis methods were used to re-evaluate the habitability of some of the most interesting Kepler planet candidates. Our program observed 22 Kepler Object of Interest (KOI) host stars, several of which were found to be multiple star systems unresolved by Kepler. We use our high-resolution imaging to spatially resolve the stellar multiplicity of Kepler-296, KOI-2626, and KOI-3049, and develop a conversion to the Kepler photometry (Kp) from the F555W and F775W filters on WFC3/UVIS. Read More

The lunar farside highlands problem refers to the curious and unexplained fact that the farside lunar crust is thicker, on average, than the nearside crust. Here we recognize the crucial influence of Earthshine, and propose that it naturally explains this hemispheric dichotomy. Since the accreting Moon rapidly achieved synchronous rotation, a surface and atmospheric thermal gradient was imposed by the proximity of the hot, post-Giant-Impact Earth. Read More

We present an updated study of the planets known to orbit 55 Cancri A using 1,418 high-precision radial velocity observations from four observatories (Lick, Keck, Hobby-Eberly Telescope, Harlan J. Smith Telescope) and transit time/durations for the inner-most planet, 55 Cancri "e" (Winn et al. 2011). Read More

Though there are now many hundreds of confirmed exoplanets known, the binarity of exoplanet host stars is not well understood. This is particularly true of host stars which harbor a giant planet in a highly eccentric orbit since these are more likely to have had a dramatic dynamical history which transferred angular momentum to the planet. Here we present observations of four exoplanet host stars which utilize the excellent resolving power of the Differential Speckle Survey Instrument (DSSI) on the Gemini North telescope. Read More

We compare stellar photometric variability, as measured from Kepler light curves by Basri et al. (2011), with measurements of radial velocity (RV) root-mean-square (RMS) variations of all California Planet Search overlap stars. We newly derive rotation periods from the Kepler light curves for all of the stars in our study sample. Read More

We provide an informal response to James P. Lloyd's recent arXiv preprint (arXiv:1306.6627v1) "The Mass Distribution of Subgiant Planet Hosts", accepted for publication by Astrophysical Journal Letters. Read More

We present an updated analysis of radial velocity data of the HD 82943 planetary system based on 10 years of measurements obtained with the Keck telescope. Previous studies have shown that the HD 82943 system has two planets that are likely in 2:1 mean-motion resonance (MMR), with the orbital periods about 220 and 440 days (Lee et al. 2006). Read More

The nearby Sun-like star HD 114174 exhibits a strong and persistent Doppler acceleration indicating the presence of an unseen distant companion. We have acquired high-contrast imaging observations of this star using NIRC2 at Keck and report the direct detection of the body responsible for causing the "trend". HD 114174 B has a projected separation of 692+/-9 mas (18. Read More

We have analyzed new and previously published radial velocity observations of MARVELS-1, known to have an ostensibly substellar companion in a ~6- day orbit. We find significant (~100 m/s) residuals to the best-fit model for the companion, and these residuals are naively consistent with an interior giant planet with a P = 1.965d in a nearly perfect 3:1 period commensuribility (|Pb/Pc - 3| < 10^{-4}). Read More

The transit signature of exoplanets provides an avenue through which characterization of exoplanetary properties may be undertaken, such as studies of mean density, structure, and atmospheric composition. The Transit Ephemeris Refinement and Monitoring Survey (TERMS) is a program to expand the catalog of transiting planets around bright host stars by refining the orbits of known planets discovered with the radial velocity technique. Here we present results for the HD 38529 system. Read More

We present the direct imaging detection of a faint tertiary companion to the single-lined spectroscopic binary HD 8375 AB. Initially noticed as an 53 m/s/yr Doppler acceleration by Bowler et al. 2010, we have obtained high-contrast adaptive optics observations at Keck using NIRC2 that spatially resolve HD 8375 C from its host(s). Read More

We report the radial-velocity discovery of a second planetary mass companion to the K0 V star HD 37605, which was already known to host an eccentric, P~55 days Jovian planet, HD 37605b. This second planet, HD 37605c, has a period of ~7.5 years with a low eccentricity and an Msini of ~3. Read More

We present initial results from a new high-contrast imaging program dedicated to stars that exhibit long-term Doppler radial velocity accelerations (or "trends"). The goal of the TRENDS (TaRgetting bENchmark-objects with Doppler Spectroscopy and) imaging survey is to directly detect and study the companions responsible for accelerating their host star. In this first paper of the series, we report the discovery of low-mass stellar companions orbiting HD 53665, HD 68017, and HD 71881 using NIRC2 adaptive optics (AO) observations at Keck. Read More

This chapter reviews various methods of detecting planetary companions to stars from an observational perspective, focusing on radial velocities, astrometry, direct imaging, transits, and gravitational microlensing. For each method, this chapter first derives or summarizes the basic observable phenomena that are used to infer the ex- istence of planetary companions, as well as the physical properties of the planets and host stars that can be derived from the measurement of these signals. This chapter then outlines the general experimental requirements to robustly detect the signals us- ing each method, by comparing their magnitude to the typical sources of measurement uncertainty. Read More

We present the scientific motivation and conceptual design for the recently funded Habitable-zone Planet Finder (HPF), a stabilized fiber-fed near-infrared (NIR) spectrograph for the 10 meter class Hobby-Eberly Telescope (HET) that will be capable of discovering low mass planets around M dwarfs. The HPF will cover the NIR Y & J bands to enable precise radial velocities to be obtained on mid M dwarfs, and enable the detection of low mass planets around these stars. The conceptual design is comprised of a cryostat cooled to 200K, a dual fiber-feed with a science and calibration fiber, a gold coated mosaic echelle grating, and a Teledyne Hawaii-2RG (H2RG) NIR detector with a 1. Read More

Doppler surveys have shown that the occurrence rate of Jupiter-mass planets appears to increase as a function of stellar mass. However, this result depends on the ability to accurately measure the masses of evolved stars. Recently, Lloyd (2011) called into question the masses of subgiant stars targeted by Doppler surveys. Read More

We present 248 precise Doppler measurements of Barnard's Star (Gl 699), the second nearest star system to Earth, obtained from Lick and Keck Observatories during 25 years between 1987 and 2012. The early precision was 20 \ms{} but was 2 \ms{} during the last 8 years, constituting the most extensive and sensitive search for Doppler signatures of planets around this stellar neighbor. We carefully analyze the 136 Keck radial velocities spanning 8 years by first applying a periodogram analysis to search for nearly circular orbits. Read More

Ruprecht 147 is a hitherto unappreciated open cluster that holds great promise as a standard in fundamental stellar astrophysics. We have conducted a radial velocity survey of astrometric candidates with Lick, Palomar, and MMT observatories and have identified over 100 members, including 5 blue stragglers, 11 red giants, and 5 double-lined spectroscopic binaries (SB2s). We estimate the cluster metallicity from spectroscopic analysis, using Spectroscopy Made Easy (SME), and find it to be [M/H] = +0. Read More

As part of the Transit Ephemeris Refinement and Monitoring Survey (TERMS), we present new radial velocities and photometry of the HD 192263 system. Our analysis of the already available Keck-HIRES and CORALIE radial velocity measurements together with the five new Keck measurements we report in this paper results in improved orbital parameters for the system. We derive constraints on the size and phase location of the transit window for HD 192263b, a Jupiter-mass planet with a period of 24. Read More

Magnetic (or tidal) interactions between "hot Jupiters" and their host stars can potentially enhance chromospheric and coronal activity. An ideal testbed for investigating this effect is provided by the extreme WASP-18 system, which features a massive (~10 times Jupiter) close-in (~1 day period) transiting planet orbiting a young F6 star. Optical and X-ray observations of WASP-18 were conducted in November 2011. Read More