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  1. Abstract We present near-infrared Large Binocular Telescope LMIRCam imagery of the disk around the Herbig Ae/Be star AB Aurigae. A comparison of the surface brightness at K s (2.16 μ m), H 2 O narrowband (3.08 μ m), and L ′ (3.7 μ m) allows us to probe the presence of icy grains in this (pre)transitional disk environment. By applying reference differential imaging point-spread function subtraction, we detect the disk at high signal-to-noise ratios in all three bands. We find strong morphological differences between the bands, including asymmetries consistent with the observed spiral arms within 100 au in L ′ . An apparent deficit of scattered light at 3.08 μ m relative to the bracketing wavelengths ( K s and L ′ ) is evocative of ice absorption at the disk surface layer. However, the Δ( K s − H 2 O) color is consistent with grains with little to no ice (0%–5% by mass). The Δ ( H 2 O − L ′ ) color, conversely, suggests grains with a much higher ice mass fraction (∼0.68), and the two colors cannot be reconciled under a single grain population model. Additionally, we find that the extremely red Δ ( Kmore »s − L ′ ) disk color cannot be reproduced under conventional scattered light modeling with any combination of grain parameters or reasonable local extinction values. We hypothesize that the scattering surfaces at the three wavelengths are not colocated, and that the optical depth effects in each wavelength result from probing the grain population at different disk surface depths. The morphological similarity between K s and H 2 O suggests that their scattering surfaces are near one another, lending credence to the Δ( K s − H 2 O) disk color constraint of <5% ice mass fraction for the outermost scattering disk layer.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 2, 2023
  2. Context. Young giant planets and brown dwarf companions emit near-infrared radiation that can be linearly polarized up to several percent. This polarization can reveal the presence of an (unresolved) circumsubstellar accretion disk, rotation-induced oblateness of the atmosphere, or an inhomogeneous distribution of atmospheric dust clouds. Aims. We aim to measure the near-infrared linear polarization of 20 known directly imaged exoplanets and brown dwarf companions. Methods. We observed the companions with the high-contrast imaging polarimeter SPHERE-IRDIS at the Very Large Telescope. We reduced the data using the IRDAP pipeline to correct for the instrumental polarization and crosstalk of the optical system with an absolute polarimetric accuracy <0.1% in the degree of polarization. We employed aperture photometry, angular differential imaging, and point-spread-function fitting to retrieve the polarization of the companions. Results. We report the first detection of polarization originating from substellar companions, with a polarization of several tenths of a percent for DH Tau B and GSC 6214-210 B in H -band. By comparing the measured polarization with that of nearby stars, we find that the polarization is unlikely to be caused by interstellar dust. Because the companions have previously measured hydrogen emission lines and red colors, the polarization most likely originatesmore »from circumsubstellar disks. Through radiative transfer modeling, we constrain the position angles of the disks and find that the disks must have high inclinations. For the 18 other companions, we do not detect significant polarization and place subpercent upper limits on their degree of polarization. We also present images of the circumstellar disks of DH Tau, GQ Lup, PDS 70, β Pic, and HD 106906. We detect a highly asymmetric disk around GQ Lup and find evidence for multiple scattering in the disk of PDS 70. Both disks show spiral-like features that are potentially induced by GQ Lup B and PDS 70 b, respectively. Conclusions. The presence of the disks around DH Tau B and GSC 6214-210 B as well as the misalignment of the disk of DH Tau B with the disk around its primary star suggest in situ formation of the companions. The non-detections of polarization for the other companions may indicate the absence of circumsubstellar disks, a slow rotation rate of young companions, the upper atmospheres containing primarily submicron-sized dust grains, and/or limited cloud inhomogeneity.« less
  3. Context. HD 113337 is a main-sequence F6V field star more massive than the Sun. This star hosts one confirmed giant planet and possibly a second candidate, detected by radial velocities (RVs). The star also hosts a cold debris disc detected through the presence of an infrared excess, making it an interesting system to explore. Aims. We aim to bring new constraints on the star’s fundamental parameters, debris disc properties, and planetary companion(s) by combining complementary techniques. Methods. We used the VEGA interferometer on the CHARA array to measure the angular diameter of HD 113337. We derived its linear radius using the parallax from the Gaia Second Data Release. We computed the bolometric flux to derive its effective temperature and luminosity, and we estimated its mass and age using evolutionary tracks. Then, we used Herschel images to partially resolve the outer debris disc and estimate its extension and inclination. Next, we acquired high-contrast images of HD 113337 with the LBTI to probe the ~10–80 au separation range. Finally, we combined the deduced contrast maps with previous RVs of the star using the MESS2 software to bring upper mass limits on possible companions at all separations up to 80 au. We tookmore »advantage of the constraints on the age and inclination brought by fundamental parameter analysis and disc imaging, respectively, for this analysis. Results. We derive a limb-darkened angular diameter of 0.386 ± 0.009 mas that converts into a linear radius of 1.50 ± 0.04 R ⊙ for HD 113337. The fundamental parameter analysis leads to an effective temperature of 6774 ± 125 K and to two possible age solutions: one young within 14–21 Myr and one old within 0.8–1.7 Gyr. We partially resolve the known outer debris disc and model its emission. Our best solution corresponds to a radius of 85 ± 20 au, an extension of 30 ± 20 au, and an inclination within 10–30° for the outer disc. The combination of imaging contrast limits, published RV, and age and inclination solutions allows us to derive a first possible estimation of the true masses of the planetary companions: ~7 −2 +4 M Jup for HD 113337 b (confirmed companion) and ~16 −3 +10 M Jup for HD 113337 c (candidate companion). We also constrain possible additional companions at larger separations.« less
  4. ABSTRACT

    In recent years, some extremely red brown dwarfs have been discovered. They were believed to have a low surface gravity, but many of their spectral characteristics are similar to those of high-surface-gravity brown dwarfs, showing that the spectral characteristics of young brown dwarfs are poorly understood. We aim to test surface-gravity indicators in late-M and early-L brown dwarf spectra using data obtained with the X-shooter spectrograph at the Very Large Telescope. We select a benchmark sample of brown dwarf members of Chamaeleon I (∼2 Myr), Upper Scorpius (5−10 Myr), the Pleiades (132 ± 27 Myr) and Praesepe (590−790 Myr) with well-constrained ages and similar metallicities. We provide a consistent spectral classification of the sample in the optical and in the near-infrared. We measure the equivalent widths of their alkali lines, finding that they have a moderate correlation with age, especially for objects with spectral types M8 and later. We use spectral indices defined in the literature to estimate surface gravity, finding that their gravity assignment is accurate for 75 per cent of our sample. We investigate the correlation between red colour and age, finding that after ∼10 Myr, the colour does not change significantly for our sample with spectral types M6.0–L3.0. In this case, the red colours might bemore »associated with circumstellar discs, ring structures, extinction, or viewing angle. Finally, we calculate the bolometric luminosity, and J and K bolometric corrections for our sample. We find that six objects are overluminous compared with other members of the same association. These objects are flagged as binary candidates by the Gaia survey.

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