Earth and Planetary Astrophysics Publications (50)

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Earth and Planetary Astrophysics Publications

The luminous efficiency of meteors is poorly known, but critical for determining the meteoroid mass. We present an uncertainty analysis of the luminous efficiency as determined by the classical ablation equations, and suggest a possible method for determining the luminous efficiency of real meteor events. We find that a two-term exponential fit to simulated lag data is able to reproduce simulated luminous efficiencies reasonably well. Read More


The discovery of Proxima b, a terrestrial temperate planet, presents the opportunity of studying a potentially habitable world in optimal conditions. A key aspect to model its habitability is to understand the radiation environment of the planet in the full spectral domain. We characterize the X-rays to mid-IR radiative properties of Proxima with the goal of providing the top-of-atmosphere fluxes on the planet. Read More


A hard difficulty in Astrobiology is the precise definition of what life is. All living beings have a cellular structure, so it is not possible to have a broader concept of life hence the search for extraterrestrial life is restricted to extraterrestrial cells. Earth is an astronomical rarity because it is difficult for a planet to present liquid water on the surface. Read More


The star EPIC 210894022 has been identified from a light curve acquired through the K2 space mission as possibly orbited by a transiting planet. Our aim is to confirm the planetary nature of the object and derive its fundamental parameters. We combine the K2 photometry with reconnaissance spectroscopy and radial velocity (RV) measurements obtained using three separate telescope and spectrograph combinations. Read More


Characterization of the atmospheres of transiting exoplanets relies on accurate measurements of the extent of the optically thick area of the planet at multiple wavelengths with a precision $\lesssim$100 parts per million (ppm). Next-generation instruments onboard the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) are expected to achieve $\sim$10 ppm precision for several tens of targets. A similar precision can be obtained in modelling only if other astrophysical effects, including the stellar limb-darkening, are accounted for properly. Read More


We study the evolution of circumbinary disks under the gravitational influence of the binary using two-dimensional hydrodynamical simulations to investigate the impact of disk and binary parameters on the dynamical aspects of the disk. To distinguish between physical and numerical effects we apply three hydrodynamical codes. First we analyse in detail numerical issues concerning the conditions at the boundaries and grid resolution. Read More


Context: High-resolution images of circumstellar debris discs reveal off-centred rings that indicate past or ongoing perturbation, possibly caused by secular gravitational interaction with unseen stellar or substellar companions. The purely dynamical aspects of this departure from radial symmetry are well understood. However, the observed dust is subject to additional forces and effects, most notably collisions and drag. Read More


The initial results of a two year simultaneous optical-radar meteor campaign are described. Analysis of 105 double-station optical meteors having plane of sky intersection angles greater than 5 degrees and trail lengths in excess of 2 km also detected by the Middle Atmosphere Alomar Radar System (MAARSY) as head echoes was performed. These events show a median deviation in radiants between radar and optical determinations of 1. Read More


We present a model for lightning shock induced chemistry that can be applied to atmospheres of arbitrary H/C/N/O chemistry, hence for extrasolar planets and brown dwarfs. The model couples hydrodynamics and the STAND2015 kinetic gas-phase chemistry. For an exoplanet analogue to the contemporary Earth, our model predicts NO and NO2 yields in agreement with observation. Read More


We present the highest spatial resolution ALMA observations to date of the Class I protostar WL 17 in the $\rho$ Ophiuchus L1688 molecular cloud complex, which show that it has a 12 AU hole in the center of its disk. We consider whether WL 17 is actually a Class II disk being extincted by foreground material, but find that such models do not provide a good fit to the broadband SED and also require such high extinction that it would presumably arise from dense material close to the source such as a remnant envelope. Self-consistent models of a disk embedded in a rotating collapsing envelope can nicely reproduce both the ALMA 3 mm observations and the broadband SED of WL 17. Read More


A commonly noted feature of the population of multi-planet extrasolar systems is the rarity of planet pairs in low-order mean-motion resonances. We revisit the physics of resonance capture via convergent disk-driven migration. We point out that for planet spacings typical of stable configurations for Kepler systems, the planets can routinely maintain a small but nonzero eccentricity due to gravitational perturbations from their neighbors. Read More


The varied surfaces and atmospheres of planets make them interesting places to live, explore, and study from afar. Unfortunately, the great distance to even the closest exoplanets makes it impossible to resolve their disk with current or near-term technology. It is still possible, however, to deduce spatial inhomogeneities in exoplanets provided that different regions are visible at different times; this can be due to rotation, orbital motion, and occultations by a star, planet, or moon. Read More


We have detected and performed signal measurements on 78 individual bolide events as recorded at 179 infrasound stations between 2006 and 2015. We compared period-yield relations with AFTAC nuclear period-yield data, finding these to be similar with a slight offset. Scatter in period measurements for individual bolide is found to be caused in part by station noise levels and by attenuation effects with range. Read More


Hamiltonian systems such as the gravitational N-body problem have time-reversal symmetry. However, all numerical N-body integration schemes, including symplectic ones, respect this property only approximately. In this paper, we present the new N-body integrator JANUS, for which we achieve exact time-reversal symmetry by combining integer and floating point arithmetic. Read More


The aim of my dissertation is to investigate habitability in extra-Solar Systems. Most of the time, only planets are considered as possible places where extraterrestrial life can emerge and evolve, however, their moons could be inhabited, too. I present a comprehensive study, which considers habitability not only on planets, but on satellites, as well. Read More


The present infrared brightness of a planet originates partly from the accretion energy that the planet gained during its formation and hence provides important constraints to the planet formation process. A planet cools down from a hot initial state to the present state by losing energy through radiative emission from its atmosphere. Thus, the atmospheric properties affect the planetary cooling rate. Read More


Recent results by Martin et al. (2014) showed in 3D SPH simulations that tilted discs in binary systems can be unstable to the development of global, damped Kozai-Lidov (KL) oscillations in which the discs exchange tilt for eccentricity. We investigate the linear stability of KL modes for tilted inviscid discs under the approximations that the disc eccentricity is small and the disc remains flat. Read More


Investigating the overall brightness of planets (and moons) provides insight into their envelopes and energy budgets [1, 2, 3, 4]. Titan phase curves (a representation of overall brightness vs. Sun-object-observer phase angle) have been published over a limited range of phase angles and spectral passbands [5, 6]. Read More


Observations of the Earth's exosphere have unveiled an extended envelope of hydrogen reaching further than 10 Earth radii (R$_E$) composed of atoms orbiting around the Earth. This large envelope increases significantly the opacity of the Earth to Lyman-alpha (Lya) photons coming from the Sun, to the point of making feasible to detect the Earth's transit signature from 1.35 pc with an 8~meter primary mirror space telescope, as we show. Read More


Thanks to the detections of more than 3000 exoplanets these last 20 years, statistical studies have already highlighted some properties in the distribution of the planet parameters. Nevertheless, few studies have yet investigated the planet populations from short to large separations around the same star since this requires the use of different detection techniques that usually target different types of stars. We wish to develop a tool that combines direct and indirect methods so as to correctly investigate the giant planet populations at all separations. Read More


We present observations of WASP-63b by the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) as part of "A Preparatory Program to Identify the Single Best Transiting Exoplanet for JWST Early Release Science". WASP-63b is one of the community targets under consideration for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) Early Release Science (ERS) program. We present a spectrum derived from a single observation by HST Wide Field Camera 3 in the near infrared. Read More


Effects of subgrid-scale gravity waves (GWs) on the diurnal migrating tides are investigated from the mesosphere to the upper thermosphere for September equinox conditions, using a general circulation model coupled with the extended spectral nonlinear GW parameterization of Yi\u{g}it et al (2008). Simulations with GW effects cut-off above the turbopause and included in the entire thermosphere have been conducted. GWs appreciably impact the mean circulation and cool the thermosphere down by up to 12-18%. Read More


Titan, Saturn's largest moon, is the only extraterrestrial body known to support stable liquid on its surface, in the form of seas and lakes that dot the polar regions. Many indications suggest that the liquid should be composed of a mixture of N2, CH4 and C2H6. Recent RADAR observations of Titan's large sea, called ``Ligeia Mare'', have shown unexplained and ephemeral bright features, possibly due to rising bubbles. Read More


The transit method, employed by MOST, Kepler, and various ground-based surveys has enabled the characterization of extrasolar planets to unprecedented precision. These results are precise enough to begin to measure planet atmosphere composition, planetary oblateness, star spots, and other phenomena at the level of a few hundred parts-per-million. However, these results depend on our understanding of stellar limb darkening, that is, the intensity distribution across the stellar disk that is sequentially blocked as the planet transits. Read More


One of the primary open questions of astrobiology is whether there is extant or extinct life elsewhere the Solar System. Implicit in much of this work is that we are looking for microbial or, at best, unintelligent life, even though technological artifacts might be much easier to find. SETI work on searches for alien artifacts in the Solar System typically presumes that such artifacts would be of extrasolar origin, even though life is known to have existed in the Solar System, on Earth, for eons. Read More


Recent photometric studies have revealed that surface spots that produce flux variations are present on virtually all L and T dwarfs. Their likely magnetic or dusty nature has been a much-debated problem, the resolution to which has been hindered by paucity of diagnostic multi-wavelength observations. To test for a correlation between magnetic activity and photometric variability, we searched for H$\alpha$ emission among eight L3$-$T2 ultra-cool dwarfs with extensive previous photometric monitoring, some of which are known to be variable at 3. Read More


Using a shallow water model with time-dependent forcing we show that the peak of an exoplanet thermal phase curve is, in general, offset from secondary eclipse when the planet is rotating. That is, the planetary hot-spot is offset from the point of maximal heating (the substellar point) and may lead or lag the forcing; the extent and sign of the offset is a function of both the rotation rate and orbital period of the planet. We also find that the system reaches a steady-state in the reference frame of the moving forcing. Read More


Hydrodynamic, non-magnetic instabilities can provide turbulent stress in the regions of protoplanetary discs, where the MRI can not develop. The induced motions influence the grain growth, from which formation of planetesimals begins. Thermal relaxation of the gas constrains origins of the identified hydrodynamic sources of turbulence in discs. Read More


If properly interpreted, the impact record of the Moon, Earth's nearest neighbour, can be used to gain insights into how the Earth has been influenced by impacting events since its formation ~4.5 billion years (Ga) ago. However, the nature and timing of the lunar impactors - and indeed the lunar impact record itself - are not well understood. Read More


Taurids are an extensive stream of particles produced by comet 2P/Encke, which can be observed mainly in October and November as a series of meteor showers rich in bright fireballs. Several near-Earth asteroids have also been linked with the meteoroid complex, and recently the orbits of two carbonaceous meteorites were proposed to be related to the stream, raising interesting questions about the origin of the complex and the composition of 2P/Encke. Our aim is to investigate the nature and diversity of Taurid meteoroids by studying their spectral, orbital, and physical properties determined from video meteor observations. Read More


We present an analytical and numerical study of the orbital migration and resonance capture of fictitious two-planet systems with masses in the super-Earth range undergoing Type-I migration. We find that, depending on the flare index and proximity to the central star, the average value of the period ratio, $P_2/P_1$, between both planets may show a significant deviation with respect to the nominal value. For planets trapped in the 2:1 commensurability, offsets may reach values on the order of $0. Read More


The machine learning techniques are widely applied in many modern optical sky surveys, i.e. Pan-STARRS1, PTF/iPTF and Subaru/Hyper Suprime-Cam survey, to reduce the human intervention for data verification. Read More


We investigate the origin of the period distribution of giant planets. We try to fit the bias-corrected distribution of giant planets inside 300 days found by Santerne et al. (2016) using a planet formation model based on pebble accretion. Read More


Using the NASA/IRTF SpeX & BASS spectrometers we have obtained novel 0.7 - 13 um observations of the newly imaged HD36546 debris disk system. The SpeX spectrum is most consistent with the photospheric emission expected from an Lstar ~ 20 Lsun, solar abundance A1. Read More


We present H band spectroscopic and Halpha photometric observations of HD 100546 obtained with GPI and MagAO. We detect H band emission at the location of the protoplanet HD 100546b, but show that choice of data processing parameters strongly affects the morphology of this source. It appears point-like in some aggressive reductions, but rejoins an extended disk structure in the majority of the others. Read More


We present three-dimensional simulations of a protoplanetary disk subject to the effect of a nearby (0.3pc distant) supernova, using a time-dependent flow from a one dimensional numerical model of the supernova remnant (SNR), in addition to constant peak ram pressure simulations. Simulations are performed for a variety of disk masses and inclination angles. Read More


Observations of infrared and optical light curves of hot Jupiters have demonstrated that the peak brightness is generally offset eastward from the substellar point [1,2]. This observation is consistent with hydrodynamic numerical simulations that produce fast, eastward directed winds which advect the hottest point in the atmosphere eastward of the substellar point [3,4]. However, recent continuous Kepler measurements of HAT-P-7 b show that its peak brightness offset varies significantly in time, with excursions such that the brightest point is sometimes westward of the substellar point [5]. Read More


Earth-like, potentially habitable exoplanets are prime targets in the search for extraterrestrial life. Information about their atmosphere and surface can be derived by analyzing light of the parent star reflected by the planet. We investigate the influence of the surface albedo $A_{\rm s}$, the optical thickness $b_{\rm cloud}$ and altitude of water clouds, and the mixing ratio $\eta$ of biosignature O$_2$ on the strength of the O$_2$ A-band (around 760 nm) in flux and polarization spectra of starlight reflected by Earth-like exoplanets. Read More


We report the discovery of a new asteroid family among the dark asteroids residing in the Phocaea region the Tamara family. We make use of available physical data to separate asteroids in the region according to their surface reflectance properties, and establish the membership of the family. We determine the slope of the cumulative magnitude distribution of the family, and find it to be significantly steeper than the corresponding slope of all the asteroids in the Phocaea region. Read More


2017Apr
Affiliations: 1University of Vienna, Department of Astrophysics, Austria, 2Institut für Astronomie und Astrophysik, Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, Germany

We investigate the outcome of collisions in very different mass regimes, but an otherwise identical parameter setup, comprising the impact velocity ($v/v_\mathrm{esc}$), impact angle, mass ratio, and initial composition, w.r.t. Read More


We present a visible multi-band photometry of trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs) observed by the Subaru Telescope in the framework of Hyper Suprime-Cam Subaru Strategic Program (HSC-SSP) from March in 2014 to September in 2016. We measured the five broad-band (g, r, i, z, and Y) colors over the wavelength range from 0.4 um to 1. Read More


We review the recurrence intervals as a function of ground motion amplitude at several terrestrial locations, and make the first interplanetary comparison with measurements on the Moon, Mars, Venus and Titan. This empirical approach gives an intuitive guide to the relative seismicity of these locations, without invoking interior models and specific sources: for example a Venera-14 observation of possible ground motion indicates a microseismic environment mid-way between noisy and quiet terrestrial locations; quiet terrestrial regions see a peak velocity amplitude in mm/s roughly equal to 0.4*N(-0. Read More


We present optical and near-infrared high contrast images of the transitional disk HD 100546 taken with the Magellan Adaptive Optics system (MagAO) and the Gemini Planet Imager (GPI). GPI data include both polarized intensity and total intensity imagery, and MagAO data are taken in Simultaneous Differential Imaging mode at H{\alpha}. The new GPI H -band total intensity data represent a significant enhancement in sensitivity and field rotation compared to previous data sets and enable a detailed exploration of substructure in the disk. Read More


Aims. Numerous trans-Neptunian objects are known to be in mean-motion resonance with Neptune. We aim to describe their long-term orbital evolution (both past and future) by means of a one-degree-of-freedom secular model. Read More


H$_2$O is a key molecule in characterizing atmospheres of temperate terrestrial planets, and observations of transmission spectra are expected to play a primary role in detecting its signatures in the near future. Detectability of H$_2$O absorption features in transmission spectra depends on the abundance of water vapor in the upper part of the atmosphere. While the stratospheric water vapor mixing ratio of the Earth is less than $10^{-5}$ due to the cold trap, the efficiency of the cold trap depends on atmospheric properties. Read More


We report observations of the high (R$\sim$18000) and medium (R$\sim$5900) resolution, near-infrared spectra of Jupiter's polar regions with the GNIRS instrument at the Gemini North telescope. The observations correspond to the area of main auroral oval in the South and the main spot of the Io footprint in the North. We detected and assigned 18 emission lines of the H$_{3}^{+}$, 2$\nu_{2}\rightarrow 0$ overtone band in the region from 4800 to 4980 cm$^{-1}$ and 5 additional lines in the extended low-resolution spectrum. Read More


Understanding the composition of raw materials that formed the Earth is a crucial step towards understanding the formation of terrestrial planets and their bulk composition. Calcium is the fifth most abundant element in terrestrial planets and, therefore, is a key element with which to trace planetary composition. However, in order to use Ca isotopes as a tracer of Earth's accretion history, it is first necessary to understand the isotopic behavior of Ca during the earliest stages of planetary formation. Read More


The atmospheric pressure fluctuations on Mars induce an elastic response in the ground that creates a ground tilt, detectable as a seismic signal on the InSight seismometer SEIS. The seismic pressure noise is modeled using Large Eddy Simulations of the wind and surface pressure at the InSight landing site and a Green's function ground deformation approach that is subsequently validated via a detailed comparison with two other methods based on Sorrells' theory (Sorrels 1971; Sorrels et al. 1971). Read More