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John A. Johnson
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John A. Johnson
United States

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Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (42)
Solar and Stellar Astrophysics (23)
Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics (6)
Mathematics - Combinatorics (2)
Quantitative Biology - Molecular Networks (1)

Publications Authored By John A. Johnson

Doppler-based planet surveys point to an increasing occurrence rate of giant planets with stellar mass. Such surveys rely on evolved stars for a sample of intermediate-mass stars (so-called retired A stars), which are more amenable to Doppler observations than their main-sequence progenitors. However, it has been hypothesised that the masses of subgiant and low-luminosity red-giant stars targeted by these surveys --- typically derived from a combination of spectroscopy and isochrone fitting --- may be systematically overestimated. Read More

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

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

The occurrence rate of hot Jupiters from the Kepler transit survey is roughly half that of radial velocity surveys targeting solar neighborhood stars. One hypothesis to explain this difference is that the two surveys target stars with different stellar metallicity distributions. To test this hypothesis, we measure the metallicity distribution of the Kepler targets using the Hectochelle multi-fiber, high-resolution spectrograph. Read More

We report the detection of two new planets orbiting the K giants HD 86950 and HD 222076, based on precise radial velocities obtained with three instruments: AAT/UCLES, FEROS, and CHIRON. HD 86950b has a period of 1270$\pm$57 days at $a=2.72\pm$0. Read More

The prospects for the habitability of M-dwarf planets have long been debated, due to key differences between the unique stellar and planetary environments around these low-mass stars, as compared to hotter, more luminous Sun-like stars. Over the past decade, significant progress has been made by both space- and ground-based observatories to measure the likelihood of small planets to orbit in the habitable zones of M-dwarf stars. We now know that most M dwarfs are hosts to closely-packed planetary systems characterized by a paucity of Jupiter-mass planets and the presence of multiple rocky planets, with roughly a third of these rocky M-dwarf planets orbiting within the habitable zone, where they have the potential to support liquid water on their surfaces. 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

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

Answering a question posed by Bergelson and Leibman in [7], we establish a nilpotent version of the Polynomial Hales-Jewett Theorem that is a common generalization of both the main theorem in [7] and the Polynomial Hales-Jewett Theorem (PHJ). Important to the formulation and the proof of our main theorem is Shuungula's, Zelenyuk's, and Zelenyuk's [30] notion of a relative syndetic set (relative with respect to two closed non-empty subsets of $\beta G$). Using their language we first reformulate the classical PHJ as a theorem about abelian groups before we proceed to generalize it to nilpotent groups. Read More

Stellar companions can influence the formation and evolution of planetary systems, but there are currently few observational constraints on the properties of planet-hosting binary star systems. We search for stellar companions around 77 transiting hot Jupiter systems to explore the statistical properties of this population of companions as compared to field stars of similar spectral type. After correcting for survey incompleteness, we find that $47\%\pm7\%$ of hot Jupiter systems have stellar companions with semi-major axes between 50-2000 AU. Read More

We present spectroscopic stellar parameters for the complete target list of 164 evolved stars from the Pan-Pacific Planet Search, a five-year radial velocity campaign using the 3.9m Anglo-Australian Telescope. For 87 of these bright giants, our work represents the first determination of their fundamental parameters. Read More

Future generations of precise radial velocity (RV) surveys aim to achieve sensitivity sufficient to detect Earth mass planets orbiting in their stars' habitable zones. A major obstacle to this goal is astrophysical radial velocity noise caused by active areas moving across the stellar limb as a star rotates. In this paper, we quantify how stellar activity impacts exoplanet detection with radial velocities as a function of orbital and stellar rotational periods. Read More

In an effort to measure the masses of planets discovered by the NASA {\it K2} mission, we have conducted precise Doppler observations of five stars with transiting planets. We present the results of a joint analysis of these new data and previously published Doppler data. The first star, an M dwarf known as K2-3 or EPIC~201367065, has three transiting planets ("b", with radius $2. 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

There are no field brown dwarf analogs with measured masses, radii, and luminosities, precluding our ability to connect the population of transiting brown dwarfs with measurable masses and radii and field brown dwarfs with measurable luminosities and atmospheric properties. LHS 6343 C, a weakly-irradiated brown dwarf transiting one member of an M+M binary in the Kepler field, provides the first opportunity to probe the atmosphere of a non-inflated brown dwarf with a measured mass and radius. Here, we analyze four Spitzer observations of secondary eclipses of LHS 6343 C behind LHS 6343 A. Read More

Given that low-mass stars have intrinsically low luminosities at optical wavelengths and a propensity for stellar activity, it is advantageous for radial velocity (RV) surveys of these objects to use near-infrared (NIR) wavelengths. In this work we describe and test a novel RV extraction pipeline dedicated to retrieving RVs from low mass stars using NIR spectra taken by the CSHELL spectrograph at the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility, where a methane isotopologue gas cell is used for wavelength calibration. The pipeline minimizes the residuals between the observations and a spectral model composed of templates for the target star, the gas cell, and atmospheric telluric absorption; models of the line spread function, continuum curvature, and sinusoidal fringing; and a parameterization of the wavelength solution. Read More

We present the results of a precise near-infrared (NIR) radial velocity (RV) survey of 32 low-mass stars with spectral types K2-M4 using CSHELL at the NASA IRTF in the $K$-band with an isotopologue methane gas cell to achieve wavelength calibration and a novel iterative RV extraction method. We surveyed 14 members of young ($\approx$ 25-150 Myr) moving groups, the young field star $\varepsilon$ Eridani as well as 18 nearby ($<$ 25 pc) low-mass stars and achieved typical single-measurement precisions of 8-15 m s$^{-1}$ with a long-term stability of 15-50 m s$^{-1}$. We obtain the best NIR RV constraints to date on 27 targets in our sample, 19 of which were never followed by high-precision RV surveys. Read More

We present the results of two 2.3 micron near-infrared radial velocity surveys to detect exoplanets around 36 nearby and young M dwarfs. We use the CSHELL spectrograph (R ~46,000) at the NASA InfraRed Telescope Facility, combined with an isotopic methane absorption gas cell for common optical path relative wavelength calibration. 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

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

We report the discovery of two giant planets orbiting the K giant HD 33844 based on radial velocity data from three independent campaigns. The planets move on nearly circular orbits with semimajor axes $a_b=1.60\pm$0. Read More

The Kepler Space Telescope is currently searching for planets transiting stars along the ecliptic plane as part of its extended K2 mission. We processed the publicly released data from the first year of K2 observations (Campaigns 0, 1, 2, and 3) and searched for periodic eclipse signals consistent with planetary transits. Out of 59,174 targets we searched, we detect 234 planetary candidates around 208 stars. 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

We explore the radial velocity performance benefits of coupling starlight to a fast-scanning interferometer and a fast-readout spectrometer with zero readout noise. By rapidly scanning an interferometer we can decouple wavelength calibration errors from precise radial velocity measurements, exploiting the advantages of lock-in amplification. In a Bayesian framework, we investigate the correlation between wavelength calibration errors and resulting radial velocity errors. Read More

We report a new giant planet orbiting the K giant HD 155233, as well as four stellar-mass companions from the Pan-Pacific Planet Search, a southern hemisphere radial velocity survey for planets orbiting nearby giants and subgiants. We also present updated velocities and a refined orbit for HD 47205b (7 CMa b), the first planet discovered by this survey. HD 155233b has a period of 885$\pm$63 days, eccentricity e=0. Read More

We present precise Doppler observations of WASP-47, a transiting planetary system featuring a hot Jupiter with both inner and outer planetary companions. This system has an unusual architecture and also provides a rare opportunity to measure planet masses in two different ways: the Doppler method, and the analysis of transit-timing variations (TTV). Based on the new Doppler data, obtained with the Planet Finder Spectrograph on the Magellan/Clay 6. Read More

We measure the binarity of detached M-dwarfs in the Kepler field with orbital periods in the range of 1-90 days. Kepler's photometric precision and nearly continuous monitoring of stellar targets over time baselines ranging from 3 months to 4 years make its detection efficiency for eclipsing binaries nearly complete over this period range and for all radius ratios. Our investigation employs a statistical framework akin to that used for inferring planetary occurrence rates from planetary transits. Read More

Characterizing the physical properties of exoplanets, and understanding their formation and orbital evolution requires precise and accurate knowledge of their host stars. Accurately measuring stellar masses is particularly important because they likely influence planet occurrence and the architectures of planetary systems. Single main-sequence stars typically have masses estimated from evolutionary tracks, which generally provide accurate results due to their extensive empirical calibration. Read More

Light curves of microlensing events involving stellar binaries and planetary systems can provide information about the orbital elements of the system due to orbital modulations of the caustic structure. Accurately measuring the orbit in either the stellar or planetary case requires detailed modeling of subtle deviations in the light curve. At the same time, the natural, Cartesian parameterization of a microlensing binary is partially degenerate with the microlens parallax. Read More

From pulsating stars to transiting exoplanets, the search for periodic signals in K2 data, Kepler's 2-wheeled extension, is relevant to a long list of scientific goals. Systematics affecting K2 light curves due to the decreased spacecraft pointing precision inhibit the easy extraction of periodic signals from the data. We here develop a method for producing periodograms of K2 light curves that are insensitive to pointing-induced systematics; the Systematics-Insensitive Periodogram (SIP). Read More

We present optical and near-infrared adaptive optics (AO) imaging and spectroscopy of 13 ultracool (>M6) companions to late-type stars (K7-M4.5), most of which have recently been identified as candidate members of nearby young moving groups (YMGs; 8-120 Myr) in the literature. The inferred masses of the companions (~10-100 Mjup) are highly sensitive to the ages of the primary stars so we critically examine the kinematic and spectroscopic properties of each system to distinguish bona fide YMG members from old field interlopers. Read More

The extended Kepler mission, K2, is now providing photometry of new fields every three months in a search for transiting planets. In a recent study, Foreman-Mackey and collaborators presented a list of 36 planet candidates orbiting 31 stars in K2 Campaign 1. In this contribution, we present stellar and planetary properties for all systems. Read More

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

We present a technique to extract radial velocity measurements from echelle spectrograph observations of rapidly rotating stars ($V\sin{i} \gtrsim 50$ km s$^{-1}$). This type of measurement is difficult because the line widths of such stars are often comparable to the width of a single echelle order. To compensate for the scarcity of lines and Doppler information content, we have developed a process that forward-models the observations, fitting the radial velocity shift of the star for all echelle orders simultaneously with the echelle blaze function. Read More

The coolest dwarf stars targeted by the Kepler Mission constitute a relatively small but scientifically valuable subset of the Kepler target stars, and provide a high-fidelity and nearby sample of transiting planetary systems. Using archival Kepler data spanning the entire primary mission we perform a uniform analysis to extract, confirm and characterize the transit signals discovered by the Kepler pipeline toward M-type dwarf stars. We recover all but two of the signals reported in a recent listing from the Exoplanet Archive resulting in 165 planet candidates associated with a sample of 106 low-mass stars. Read More

In the 1970s Deuber introduced the notion of $(m,p,c)$-sets in $\mathbb{N}$ and showed that these sets are partition regular and contain all linear partition regular configurations in $\mathbb{N}$. In this paper we obtain enhancements and extensions of classical results on $(m,p,c)$-sets in two directions. First, we show, with the help of ultrafilter techniques, that Deuber's results extend to polynomial configurations in abelian groups. Read More

Multi-star systems are common, yet little is known about a stellar companion's influence on the formation and evolution of planetary systems. For instance, stellar companions may have facilitated the inward migration of hot Jupiters towards to their present day positions. Many observed short period gas giant planets also have orbits that are misaligned with respect to their star's spin axis, which has also been attributed to the presence of a massive outer companion on a non-coplanar orbit. Read More

Precise radial velocities from the Anglo-Australian Telescope confirm the presence of a rare short-period planet around the K0 giant HD 121056. An independent two-planet solution using the AAT data shows that the inner planet has P=89.1+/-0. Read More