Megan Ansdell

Megan Ansdell
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Megan Ansdell

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Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (13)
Solar and Stellar Astrophysics (12)
Astrophysics of Galaxies (2)

Publications Authored By Megan Ansdell

We report parallaxes and proper motions from the Hawaii Infrared Parallax Program for eight nearby M dwarf stars with transiting exoplanets discovered by Kepler. We combine our directly measured distances with mass-luminosity and radius-luminosity relationships to significantly improve constraints on the host stars' properties. Our astrometry enables the identification of wide stellar companions to the planet hosts. Read More

The $\sigma$ Orionis cluster is important for studying protoplanetary disk evolution, as its intermediate age ($\sim$3-5 Myr) is comparable to the median disk lifetime. We use ALMA to conduct a high-sensitivity survey of dust and gas in 92 protoplanetary disks around $\sigma$ Orionis members with $M_{\ast}\gtrsim0.1 M_{\odot}$. Read More

One of the most well-studied young stellar associations, Taurus-Auriga, will be observed by the extended Kepler mission, K2, in the spring of 2017. K2 Campaign 13 (C13) will be a unique opportunity to study many stars in this young association at high photometric precision and cadence. Using observations from the Kilodegree Extremely Little Telescope (KELT) survey, we identify "dippers", stochastic variables, and periodic variables among K2 C13 target stars. Read More

An era has started in which gas and dust can be observed independently in protoplanetary disks, thanks to the recent surveys with ALMA. The first near-complete high-resolution disk survey in both dust and gas in a single star-forming region has been carried out in Lupus, finding surprisingly low gas/dust ratios. The goal of this work is to fully exploit CO isotopologues observations in Lupus, comparing them with physical-chemical model results, in order to obtain gas masses for a large number of disks. Read More

Open clusters and young stellar associations are attractive sites to search for planets and to test theories of planet formation, migration, and evolution. We present our search for, and characterization of, transiting planets in the ~800 Myr old Praesepe (Beehive, M44) Cluster from K2 light curves. We identify seven planet candidates, six of which we statistically validate to be real planets, the last of which requires more data. Read More

We revisit the nature of large dips in flux from extinction by dusty circumstellar material that is observed by Kepler for many young stars in the Upper Sco and $\rho$ Oph star formation regions. These young, low-mass "dipper" stars are known to have low accretion rates and primarily host moderately evolved dusty circumstellar disks. Young low mass stars often exhibit rotating star spots that cause quasi-periodic photometric variations. Read More

We present the first high-resolution sub-mm survey of both dust and gas for a large population of protoplanetary disks. Characterizing fundamental properties of protoplanetary disks on a statistical level is critical to understanding how disks evolve into the diverse exoplanet population. We use ALMA to survey 89 protoplanetary disks around stars with $M_{\ast}>0. Read More

We confirm a 0.995 d periodic planetary transit-like signal, KOI 6705.01, in the Kepler lightcurve of the star KIC 6423922. Read More

We present results from an 850-$\mu$m survey of the $\sim$ 5 Myr old $\lambda$ Orionis star-forming region. We used the SCUBA-2 camera on the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope to survey a $\sim$0.5-diameter circular region containing 36 (out of 59) cluster members with infrared excesses indicative of circumstellar disks. Read More

Planets orbiting within the close-in habitable zones of M dwarf stars will be exposed to elevated high-energy radiation driven by strong magneto-hydrodynamic dynamos during stellar youth. Near-ultraviolet (NUV) irradiation can erode and alter the chemistry of planetary atmospheres, and a quantitative description of the evolution of NUV emission from M dwarfs is needed when modeling these effects. We investigated the NUV luminosity evolution of early M-type dwarfs by cross-correlating the Lepine & Gaidos (2011) catalog of bright M dwarfs with the GALEX catalog of NUV (1771-2831A) sources. Read More

(3200) Phaethon exhibits both comet- and asteroid-like properties, suggesting it could be a rare transitional object such as a dormant comet or previously volatile-rich asteroid. This justifies detailed study of (3200) Phaethon's physical properties, as a better understanding of asteroid-comet transition objects can provide insight into minor body evolution. We therefore acquired time-series photometry of (3200) Phaethon over 15 nights from 1994 to 2013, primarily using the Tektronix 2048x2048 pixel CCD on the University of Hawaii 2. Read More

Metallicity is a fundamental parameter that contributes to the physical characteristics of a star. However, the low temperatures and complex molecules present in M dwarf atmospheres make it difficult to measure their metallicities using techniques that have been commonly used for Sun-like stars. Although there has been significant progress in developing empirical methods to measure M dwarf metallicities over the last few years, these techniques have been developed primarily for early- to mid-M dwarfs. Read More

We use moderate-resolution spectra of nearby late K and M dwarf stars with parallaxes and interferometrically determined radii to refine their effective temperatures, luminosities, and metallicities. We use these revised values to calibrate spectroscopic techniques to infer the fundamental parameters of more distant late-type dwarf stars. We demonstrate that, after masking out poorly modeled regions, the newest version of the PHOENIX atmosphere models accurately reproduce temperatures derived bolometrically. Read More

We present initial results from observations and numerical analyses aimed at characterizing main-belt comet P/2012 T1 (PANSTARRS). Optical monitoring observations were made between October 2012 and February 2013 using the University of Hawaii 2.2 m telescope, the Keck I telescope, the Baade and Clay Magellan telescopes, Faulkes Telescope South, the Perkins Telescope at Lowell Observatory, and the Southern Astrophysical Research (SOAR) telescope. Read More