Earth and Planetary Astrophysics Publications (50)

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Earth and Planetary Astrophysics Publications

I discuss two related nonlinear mechanisms of tidal dissipation that require finite tidal deformations for their operation: the elliptical instability and the precessional instability. Both are likely to be important for the tidal evolution of short-period extrasolar planets. The elliptical instability is a fluid instability of elliptical streamlines, such as in tidally deformed non-synchronously rotating or non-circularly orbiting planets. Read More


Regular satellites of giant planets are formed by accretion of solid bodies in circumplanetary disks. Planetesimals that are moving on heliocentric orbits and are sufficiently large to be decoupled from the flow of the protoplanetary gas disk can be captured by gas drag from the circumplanetary disk. In the present work, we examine the distribution of captured planetesimals in circumplanetary disks using orbital integrations. Read More


Recent years have seen growing interest in the streaming instability as a candidate mechanism to produce planetesimals. However, these investigations have been limited to small-scale simulations. We now present the results of a global protoplanetary disk evolution model that incorporates planetesimal formation by the streaming instability, along with viscous accretion, photoevaporation by EUV, FUV, and X-ray photons, dust evolution, the water ice line, and stratified turbulence. Read More


The two most common techniques for measuring planetary masses - the radial velocity (RV) and the transit timing variations (TTVs) techniques - have been observed to yield systematically different masses for planets of similar radii. Following Steffen (2016), we consider the effects of the observational biases of the two methods as a possible cause for this difference. We find that at short orbital periods ($P<11$ day), the two methods produce statistically similar results, whereas at long periods ($P>11$ day) the RV masses are systematically higher than the TTV ones. Read More


2017Mar
Affiliations: 1Physics, University of South Florida, 2Physics, University of South Florida, 3Florida Space Institute, University of Central Florida

(60558) 174P/Echeclus is an unusual object that belongs to a class of minor planets called Centaurs, which may be intermediate between Kuiper Belt Objects and Jupiter Family comets. It is sporadically active throughout its orbit at distances too far for water ice to sublimate, the source of activity for most comets. Thus, its coma must be triggered by another mechanism. Read More


We report the discovery and the analysis of the planetary microlensing event, OGLE-2013-BLG-1761. There are some degenerate solutions in this event because the planetary anomaly is only sparsely sampled. But the detailed light curve analysis ruled out all stellar binary models and shows that the lens to be a planetary system. Read More


Transit spectroscopy is one of the most commonly used techniques for exoplanet atmosphere characterisation. This technique has been used to detect ionized and neutral species in exoplanet atmospheres by comparing the observed stellar lines in and out of transit. The centre-to-limb variation (CLV) of the stellar lines across the stellar disk is an important effect for transmission spectroscopy, since it results in a change of stellar line depth when the planet transits different parts of the stellar disk. 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


This paper considers a new method for the binary asteroid orbit determination problem. The method is based on the Bayesian approach with a global optimisation algorithm. The orbital parameters to be determined are modelled through a posteriori, including a priori and likelihood terms. Read More


Linear polarization can be used as a probe of the existence of atmospheric condensates in ultracool dwarfs. Models predict that the observed linear polarization increases withthe degree of oblateness, which is inversely proportional to the surface gravity. We aimed to test the existence of optical linear polarization in a sample of bright young brown dwarfs, with spectral types between M6 and L2, observable from the Calar Alto Observatory, and cataloged previously as low gravity objects using spectroscopy. Read More


We present here in full detail the evolution of the angular momentum deficit (AMD) during collisions as it was described in (Laskar, PRL,2000). Since then, the AMD has been revealed to be a key parameter for the understanding of the outcome of planetary formation models. We define here the AMD-stability criterion that can be easily verified on a newly discovered planetary system. Read More


In recent laboratory studies the robustness of a bouncing barrier in planetesimal formation was studied with an ensemble of preformed compact mm-sized aggregates. Here we show that a bouncing barrier indeed evolves self-consistently by hit-and-stick from an ensemble of smaller dust aggregates. In addition, we feed small aggregates to an ensemble of larger bouncing aggregates. Read More


Dormant or near-dormant short-period comets can unexpectedly regain ability to eject dust. In many known cases, the resurrection is short-lived and lasts less than one orbit. However, it is possible that some resurrected comets can remain active in latter perihelion passages. Read More


High resolution Hubble Space Telescope (HST) image analysis of the MOA-2008-BLG-310 microlens system indicates that the excess flux at the location of the source found in the discovery paper cannot primarily be due to the lens star because it does not match the lens-source relative proper motion, $\mu_{\rm rel}$, predicted by the microlens models. This excess flux is most likely to be due to an unrelated star that happens to be located in close proximity to the source star. Two epochs of HST observations indicate proper motion for this blend star that is typical of a random bulge star, but is not consistent with a companion to the source or lens stars if the flux is dominated by only one star, aside from the lens. Read More


The gas giant planets in the Solar System have a retinue of icy moons, and we expect giant exoplanets to have similar satellite systems. If a Jupiter-like planet were to migrate toward its parent star the icy moons orbiting it would evaporate, creating atmospheres and possible habitable surface oceans. Here, we examine how long the surface ice and possible oceans would last before being hydrodynamically lost to space. Read More


TRAPPIST-1 is a nearby 0.08 Msun M-star, which has recently been found to harbor a planetary system of at least 7 Earth-mass planets, all within 0.1 au. Read More


We present a new "completed event" microlensing event-finder algorithm and apply it to the 2015 Korea Microlensing Telescope Network (KMTNet) data. The algorithm works by making linear fits to a (t0,teff,u0) grid of point-lens microlensing models. This approach is rendered computationally efficient by restricting u0 to just two values (0 and 1), which we show is quite adequate. Read More


We consider planetary systems evolving under the effect of a Stokes-type dissipative force mimicking the outcome of a type II migration process. As inward migration proceeds and the planets follow the circular family (they start on circular orbits) and even though they are initially almost coplanar, resonance capture can be realized. Then, at the \textit{vertical critical orbits} (VCOs), that the circular family possesses, the inclination excitation can abruptly take place. Read More


We report the first detection of sodium absorption in the atmosphere of the hot Jupiter WASP-52b. We observed one transit of WASP-52b with the low-resolution Optical System for Imaging and low-Intermediate-Resolution Integrated Spectroscopy (OSIRIS) at the 10.4 m Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC). Read More


In this work, we investigate the surface thermophysical properties (thermal emissivity, thermal inertia, roughness fraction and geometric albedo) of asteroid (99942) Apophis, using the currently available thermal infrared observations of CanariCam on Gran Telescopio CANARIAS and far-infrared data by PACS of Herschel, on the basis of the Advanced thermophysical model. We show that the thermal emissivity of Apophis should be wavelength dependent from $8.70~\mu m$ to $160~\mu m$, and the maximum emissivity may arise around $20~\mu m$ similar to that of Vesta. Read More


Milgromian dynamics (MD or MOND) uniquely predicts motion in a galaxy from the distribution of its stars and gas in a remarkable agreement with observations so far. In the solar system, MD predicts the existence of some possibly non-negligible dynamical effects, which can be used to constrain the freedom in MD theories. Known extreme trans-Neptunian objects (ETNOs) have their argument of perihelion, longitude of ascending node, and inclination distributed in highly non-uniform fashion; ETNOs are bodies with perihelion distances greater than the orbit of Neptune and with semimajor axes greater than 150 au and less than $\sim1500$ au. Read More


Context: Thanks to the importance that the star-planet relation has to our understanding of the planet formation process, the precise determination of stellar parameters for the ever increasing number of discovered extrasolar planets is of great relevance. Furthermore, precise stellar parameters are needed to fully characterize the planet properties. It is thus important to continue the efforts to determine, in the most uniform way possible, the parameters for stars with planets as new discoveries are announced. Read More


We present new transit and occultation times for the hot Jupiter WASP-12b. The data are compatible with a constant period derivative: $\dot{P}=-29 \pm 3$ ms yr$^{-1}$ and $P/\dot{P}= 3.2$ Myr. Read More


CoRoT-9b is one of the rare long-period (P=95.3 days) transiting giant planets with a measured mass known to date. We present a new analysis of the CoRoT-9 system based on five years of radial-velocity (RV) monitoring with HARPS and three new space-based transits observed with CoRoT and Spitzer. Read More


Large alluvial fan deposits on Mars record relatively recent habitable surface conditions ($\lesssim$3.5 Ga, Late Hesperian - Amazonian). We find net sedimentation rate <(4-8) {\mu}m/yr in the alluvial-fan deposits, using the frequency of craters that are interbedded with alluvial-fan deposits as a fluvial-process chronometer. Read More


Astrobiology is usually defined as the study of the origin, evolution, distribution, and future of life in the universe. As such it is inherently interdisciplinary and cannot help but engender a worldview infused by cosmic and evolutionary perspectives. Both these attributes of the study of astrobiology are, and will increasingly prove to be, beneficial to society regardless of whether extraterrestrial life is discovered or not. Read More


We revisit the null result of the Hubble Space Telescope search for transiting planets in the globular cluster 47 Tucanae, in the light of improved knowledge of planet occurrence from the Kepler mission. Gilliland and co-workers expected to find 17 planets, assuming the 47 Tuc stars have close-in giant planets with the same characteristics and occurrence rate as those of the nearby stars that had been surveyed up until 1999. We update this result by assuming that 47 Tuc and Kepler stars have identical planet populations. Read More


Previous attempts to study the correlation between the transit depth and the stellar metallicity of Kepler gas giant planets has led to different results. A weakly significant negative correlation was reported from the Kepler's (Q1-Q12) gas giant candidates with estimated radii of 5-20R$_\odot$ and [Fe/H] values taken from the Kepler Input Catalog (KIC). With the release of the last Kepler catalog (Q1-Q17), we now have the largest homogeneous sample of exoplanets. Read More


We analyze the single microlensing event OGLE-2015-BLG-1482 simultaneously observed from two ground-based surveys and from \textit{Spitzer}. The \textit{Spitzer} data exhibit finite-source effects due to the passage of the lens close to or directly over the surface of the source star as seen from \textit{Spitzer}. Such finite-source effects generally yield measurements of the angular Einstein radius, which when combined with the microlens parallax derived from a comparison between the ground-based and the \textit{Spitzer} light curves, yields the lens mass and lens-source relative parallax. Read More


In a realistic scenario, the evolution of the rotational dynamics of a celestial or artificial body is subject to dissipative effects. Time-varying non-conservative forces can be due to, for example, a variation of the moments of inertia or to tidal interactions. In this work, we consider a simplified model describing the rotational dynamics, known as the spin-orbit problem, where we assume that the orbital motion is provided by a fixed Keplerian ellipse. Read More


The TRAPPIST-1 system provides an extraordinary opportunity to study multiple terrestrial extrasolar planets and their atmospheres. Here we use the National Center for Atmospheric Research Community Atmosphere Model version 4 to study the possible climate and habitability of the planets in the TRAPPIST-1 system. We assume ocean-covered worlds, with atmospheres comprised of N2, CO2, and H2O, and with orbital and geophysical properties defined from observation. Read More


We present the full results of our decade-long astrometric monitoring programs targeting 31 ultracool binaries with component spectral types M7-T5. Joint analysis of resolved imaging from Keck and HST and unresolved astrometry from CFHT/WIRCam yields parallactic distances for all systems, robust orbit determinations for 23 systems, and photocenter orbits for 19 systems. As a result, we measure 38 precise individual masses spanning 30-115 $M_{\rm Jup}$. Read More


We recommend that the search for exoplanets around binary stars be extended to include X-ray binaries in which the accretor is a white dwarf, neutron star, or black hole. We present a novel idea for detecting planets bound to such mass transfer binaries: we propose that the X-ray light curves of these binaries be inspected for signatures of transiting planets. X-ray transits may be the only way to detect planets around some systems, while providing a complementary approach to optical and/or radio observations in others. Read More


Context. Low mass stars are currently the best targets for searches for rocky planets in the habitable zone of their host star. Over the last 13 years, precise radial velocities measured with the HARPS spectrograph have identified over a dozen super-Earths and Earth-mass planets (msin i<10Mearth ) around M dwarfs, with a well understood selection function. Read More


The young star Elias 2-27 has recently been observed to posses a massive circumstellar disc with two prominent large-scale spiral arms. In this Letter we perform three-dimensional Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics simulations, radiative transfer modelling, synthetic ALMA imaging and an unsharped masking technique to explore three possibilities for the origin of the observed structures -- an undetected companion either internal or external to the spirals, and a self-gravitating disc. We find that a gravitationally unstable disc and a disc with an external companion can produce morphology that is consistent with the observations. Read More


Understanding the formation and evolution of giant planets ($\ge$1 $M_{Jup}$) at wide orbital separation ($\ge$5 AU) is one of the goals of direct imaging. Over the past 15 years, many surveys have placed strong constraints on the occurrence rate of wide-orbit giants, mostly based on non-detections, but very few have tried to make a direct link with planet formation theories. In the present work, we combine the results of our previously published VLT/NaCo large program with the results of 12 past imaging surveys to constitute a statistical sample of 199 FGK stars within 100 pc, including 3 stars with sub-stellar companions. Read More


Scientific illustrations, thanks to the vision of great artists fascinated by astronomical research and astronautics, have provided us with an accurate depiction of the possible views which mankind will one day observed from locations other than our planet. In this talk I will pay homage to some of these geniuses who serve science, and underline the scientific, artistic, political, and social implications deriving from a wise use of space-art. Read More


We carry out a comparative analysis of the performance of three algorithms widely used to identify significant periodicities in radial-velocity (RV) datasets: the Generalised Lomb-Scargle Periodogram (GLS), its modified version based on Bayesian statistics (BGLS), and the multi-frequency periodogram scheme called FREquency DEComposer (FREDEC). We apply the algorithms to a suite of numerical simulations of (single and multiple) low-amplitude Keplerian RV signals induced by low-mass companions around M-dwarf primaries. The global performance of the three period search approaches is quite similar in the limit of an idealized, best-case scenario (single planets, circular orbits, white noise). Read More


Context. Among the main effects that the Milky Way exerts in binary systems, the Galactic tide is the only one that is not probabilistic and can be deduced from a potential. Therefore, it is possible to perform an analysis of the global structure of the phase space of binary systems in the solar neighbourhood using the Galactic potential. Read More


It is widely believed that the carbonate-silicate cycle is the main agent to trigger deglaciations by CO$_2$ greenhouse warming on Earth and on Earth-like planets when they get in frozen state. Here we use a 3D Global Climate Model to simulate the ability of frozen planets to escape from glaciation by accumulating enough gaseous CO$_2$. We find that Earth-like planets orbiting a Sun-like star may never be able to escape from glaciation if their orbital distance is greater than $\sim$ 1. Read More


Martian meteorites can provide valuable information about past environmental conditions on Mars. Allan Hills 84001 formed more than 4 Gyr ago, and owing to its age and long exposure to the Martian environment, this meteorite has features that may record early processes. These features include a highly fractured texture, gases trapped during one or more impact events or during formation of the rock, and spherical Fe-Mg-Ca carbonates. Read More


Thermochemical models have been used in the past to constrain the deep oxygen abundance in the gas and ice giant planets from tropospheric CO spectroscopic measurements. Knowing the oxygen abundance of these planets is a key to better understand their formation. These models have widely used dry and/or moist adiabats to extrapolate temperatures from the measured values in the upper troposphere down to the level where the thermochemical equilibrium between H$_2$O and CO is established. Read More


We present the results of a seven-year-long radial velocity survey of a sample of 88 main-sequence and evolved stars to reveal signatures of Jupiter-mass planets in the solar-age and solar-metallicity open cluster M67. We aim at studying the frequency of giant planets in this cluster with respect to the field stars. In addition, our sample is also ideal to perform a long-term study to compare the chemical composition of stars with and without giant planets in detail. Read More


Because of the high fraction of refractory material present in comets, the heat produced by the radiogenic decay of elements such as aluminium and iron can be high enough to induce the loss of ultravolatile species such as nitrogen, argon or carbon monoxide during their accretion phase in the protosolar nebula. Here, we investigate how heat generated by the radioactive decay of 26Al and 60Fe influences the formation of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, as a function of its accretion time and size of parent body. We use an existing thermal evolution model that includes various phase transitions, heat transfer in the ice-dust matrix, and gas diffusion throughout the porous material, based on thermodynamic parameters derived from Rosetta observations. Read More


We investigate the formation of hot and massive circumplanetary disks (CPDs) and the orbital evolution of satellites formed in these disks. Because of the comparatively small size-scale of the sub-disk, quick magnetic diffusion prevents the magnetorotational instability (MRI) from being well-developed at ionization levels that would allow MRI in the parent protoplanetary disk. In the absence of significant angular momentum transport, continuous mass supply from the parental protoplanetary disk leads to the formation of a massive CPD. Read More


"Hot super-Earths" (or "Mini-Neptunes") between 1 and 4 times Earth's size with period shorter than 100 days orbit 30-50\% of Sun-like type stars. Their orbital configuration -- measured as the period ratio distribution of adjacent planets in multi-planet systems -- is a strong constraint for formation models. Here we use N-body simulations with synthetic forces from an underlying evolving gaseous disk to model the formation and long-term dynamical evolution of super-Earth systems. Read More


Magnetised exoplanets are expected to emit at radio frequencies analogously to the radio auroral emission of Earth and Jupiter. We predict the radio emission from V830 Tau b, the youngest (2 Myr) detected exoplanet to date. We model the host star wind using 3DMHD simulations that take into account its surface magnetism. Read More