A Dearth of Close-in Stellar Companions to M-dwarf TESS Objects of Interest
Abstract

TESS has proven to be a powerful resource for finding planets, including those that orbit the most prevalent stars in our galaxy: M dwarfs. Identification of stellar companions (both bound and unbound) has become a standard component of the transiting planet confirmation process in order to assess the level of light-curve dilution and the possibility of the target being a false positive. Studies of stellar companions have also enabled investigations into stellar multiplicity in planet-hosting systems, which has wide-ranging implications for both exoplanet detection and characterization, as well as for the formation and evolution of planetary systems. Speckle and AO imaging are some of the most efficient and effective tools for revealing close-in stellar companions; we therefore present observations of 58 M-dwarf TOIs obtained using a suite of speckle imagers at the 3.5 m WIYN telescope, the 4.3 m Lowell Discovery Telescope, and the 8.1 m Gemini North and South telescopes. These observations, as well as near-infrared adaptive optics images obtained for a subset (14) of these TOIs, revealed only two close-in stellar companions. Upon surveying the literature, and cross-matching our sample with Gaia, SUPERWIDE, and the catalog from El-Badry et al., we reveal an additional 15 widely separated more »

Authors:
; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10366443
Journal Name:
The Astronomical Journal
Volume:
163
Issue:
5
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
Article No. 232
ISSN:
0004-6256
Publisher:
DOI PREFIX: 10.3847
National Science Foundation
##### More Like this
1. Abstract

M dwarfs are favorable targets for exoplanet detection with current instrumentation, but stellar companions can induce false positives and inhibit planet characterization. Knowledge of stellar companions is also critical to our understanding of how binary stars form and evolve. We have therefore conducted a survey of stellar companions around nearby M dwarfs, and here we present our new discoveries. Using the Differential Speckle Survey Instrument at the 4.3 m Lowell Discovery Telescope, and the similar NN-EXPLORE Exoplanet Stellar Speckle Imager at the 3.5 m WIYN telescope, we carried out a volume-limited survey of M-dwarf multiplicity to 15 parsecs, with a special emphasis on including the later M dwarfs that were overlooked in previous surveys. Additional brighter targets at larger distances were included for a total sample size of 1070 M dwarfs. Observations of these 1070 targets revealed 26 new companions; 22 of these systems were previously thought to be single. If all new discoveries are confirmed, then the number of known multiples in the sample will increase by 7.6%. Using our observed properties, as well as the parallaxes and 2MASSKmagnitudes for these objects, we calculate the projected separation, and estimate the mass ratio and component spectral types, for thesemore »

2. Abstract We present the complete sample of protoplanetary disks from the Gemini- Large Imaging with the Gemini Planet Imager Herbig/T Tauri Survey, which observed bright Herbig Ae/Be stars and T Tauri stars in near-infrared polarized light to search for signatures of disk evolution and ongoing planet formation. The 44 targets were chosen based on their near- and mid-infrared colors, with roughly equal numbers of transitional, pre-transitional, and full disks. Our approach explicitly did not favor well-known, “famous” disks or those observed by the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, resulting in a less-biased sample suitable to probe the major stages of disk evolution during planet formation. Our optimized data reduction allowed polarized flux as low as 0.002% of the stellar light to be detected, and we report polarized scattered light around 80% of our targets. We detected point-like companions for 47% of the targets, including three brown dwarfs (two confirmed, one new), and a new super-Jupiter-mass candidate around V1295 Aql. We searched for correlations between the polarized flux and system parameters, finding a few clear trends: the presence of a companion drastically reduces the polarized flux levels, far-IR excess correlates with polarized flux for nonbinary systems, and systems hosting disks with ringmore »
3. Abstract

We present the first results of a multiyear program to map the orbits of M-dwarf multiples within 25 pc. The observations were conducted primarily during 2019–2020 using speckle interferometry at the Southern Astrophysical Research Telescope in Chile, using the High-Resolution Camera mounted on the adaptive optics module (HRCam+SAM). The sample of nearby M dwarfs is drawn from three sources: multiples from the RECONS long-term astrometric monitoring program at the SMARTS 0.9 m; known multiples, for which these new observations will enable or improve orbit fits; and candidate multiples flagged by their astrometric fits in Gaia Data Release 2 (DR2). We surveyed 333 of our 338 M dwarfs via 830 speckle observations, detecting companions for 63% of the stars. Most notably, this includes new companions for 76% of the subset selected from Gaia DR2. In all, we report the first direct detections of 97 new stellar companions to the observed M dwarfs. Here we present the properties of those detections, the limits of each nondetection, and five orbits with periods 0.67–29 yr already observed as part of this program. Companions detected have projected separations of 0.″024–2.″0 (0.25–66 au) from their primaries and have ΔI≲ 5.0 mag. This multiyear campaign willmore »

4. Abstract

We present the validation of two planets orbiting M dwarfs, TOI-1696b and TOI-2136b. Both planets are mini-Neptunes orbiting nearby stars, making them promising prospects for atmospheric characterization with the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). We validated the planetary nature of both candidates using high-contrast imaging, ground-based photometry, and near-infrared radial velocities. Adaptive optics images were taken using the ShARCS camera on the 3 m Shane Telescope. Speckle images were taken using the NN-Explore Exoplanet Stellar Speckle Imager on the WIYN 3.5 m telescope. Radii and orbital ephemerides were refined using a combination of the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, the diffuser-assisted Astrophysical Research Consortium (ARC) Telescope Imaging Camera (ARCTIC) imager on the 3.5 m ARC telescope at Apache Point Observatory, and the 0.6 m telescope at Red Buttes Observatory. We obtained radial velocities using the Habitable-Zone Planet Finder on the 10 m Hobby–Eberly Telescope, which enabled us to place upper limits on the masses of both transiting planets. TOI-1696b (P= 2.5 days;Rp= 3.24R;Mp< 56.6M) falls into a sparsely populated region of parameter space considering its host star’s temperature (Teff= 3168 K, M4.5), as planets of its size are quite rare around mid- to late-M dwarfs. On the other hand, TOI-2136bmore »

5. Abstract

The orientation between a star’s spin axis and a planet’s orbital plane provides valuable information about the system’s formation and dynamical history. For non-transiting planets at wide separations, true stellar obliquities are challenging to measure, but lower limits on spin–orbit orientations can be determined from the difference between the inclination of the star’s rotational axis and the companion’s orbital plane (Δi). We present results of a uniform analysis of rotation periods, stellar inclinations, and obliquities of cool stars (SpT ≳ F5) hosting directly imaged planets and brown dwarf companions. As part of this effort, we have acquired new$vsini*$values for 22 host stars with the high-resolution Tull spectrograph at the Harlan J. Smith telescope. Altogether our sample contains 62 host stars with rotation periods, most of which are newly measured using light curves from the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite. Among these, 53 stars have inclinations determined from projected rotational and equatorial velocities, and 21 stars predominantly hosting brown dwarfs have constraints on Δi. Eleven of these (52$−11+10$% of the sample) are likely misaligned, while the remaining 10 host stars are consistent with spin–orbit alignment. As an ensemble, the minimum obliquity distribution between 10 andmore »