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Creators/Authors contains: "Clark, Catherine A."

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  1. Abstract

    I present the discovery of a new stellar companion to GJ 1292 detected with the NN-EXPLORE Exoplanet and Stellar Speckle Imager at the 3.5 m WIYN Telescope. The companion was detected at an angular separation of 0.″1244, a position angle of 44°, and a delta magnitude of 0.97 at 832 nm. I also estimate a projected separation of 2.09 au, a mass ratio of 0.69, and component spectral types of M2.5 and M3.

  2. 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 »systems. We report the discovery of a new M-dwarf companion to the white dwarf Wolf 672 A, which hosts a known M-dwarf companion as well, making the system trinary. We also examine the possibility that the new companion to 2MASS J13092185-2330350 is a brown dwarf. Finally, we discuss initial insights from the POKEMON survey.

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  3. 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 separatedmore »common proper motion companions. We also evaluate the potential for undetected close-in companions. Taking into consideration the sensitivity of the observations, our findings suggest that the orbital period distribution of stellar companions to planet-hosting M dwarfs is shifted to longer periods compared to the expected distribution for field M dwarfs.

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  4. Abstract The distortions of absorption line profiles caused by photospheric brightness variations on the surfaces of cool, main-sequence stars can mimic or overwhelm radial velocity (RV) shifts due to the presence of exoplanets. The latest generation of precision RV spectrographs aims to detect velocity amplitudes ≲ 10 cm s −1 , but requires mitigation of stellar signals. Statistical techniques are being developed to differentiate between Keplerian and activity-related velocity perturbations. Two important challenges, however, are the interpretability of the stellar activity component as RV models become more sophisticated, and ensuring the lowest-amplitude Keplerian signatures are not inadvertently accounted for in flexible models of stellar activity. For the K2V exoplanet host ϵ Eridani, we separately used ground-based photometry to constrain Gaussian processes for modeling RVs and TESS photometry with a light-curve inversion algorithm to reconstruct the stellar surface. From the reconstructions of TESS photometry, we produced an activity model that reduced the rms scatter in RVs obtained with EXPRES from 4.72 to 1.98 m s −1 . We present a pilot study using the CHARA Array and MIRC-X beam combiner to directly image the starspots seen in the TESS photometry. With the limited phase coverage, our spot detections are marginal withmore »current data but a future dedicated observing campaign should allow for imaging, as well as allow the stellar inclination and orientation with respect to the debris disk to be definitively determined. This work shows that stellar surface maps obtained with high-cadence, time-series photometric and interferometric data can provide the constraints needed to accurately reduce RV scatter.« less