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  1. Abstract

    We present the first isotopic abundances of both13CO and C18O in solar twin stars and test the results against several galactic chemical evolution (GCE) models with different nucleosynthesis prescriptions. First, we compareM-band spectra from IRTF/iSHELL to synthetic spectra generated from custom solar atmosphere models using the PHOENIX atmosphere code. Next, we compare our calculated abundances to GCE models that consider isotopic yields from massive stars, asymptotic giant branch stars, and fast-rotating stars. The12C/13C ratios determined for this sample of solar twins are consistent with predictions from the selected GCE models; however, the16O/18O ratios tentatively contradict these predictions. This project constitutes the first in a stellar chemical abundance series seeking to (1) support the James Webb Space Telescope as it characterizes exoplanet atmospheres, interiors, and biosignatures by providing host star abundances; (2) identify how unexplored stellar abundances reveal the process of galactic chemical evolution and correlate with star formation, interior, age, metallicity, and activity; and (3) provide improved stellar ages using stellar abundance measurements. By measuring elemental and isotopic abundances in a variety of stars, we not only supply refined host star parameters, but also provide the necessary foundations for complementary exoplanet characterization studies—and ultimately contribute to the exploration of galactic, stellar, and planetary origins and evolution.

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  2. Abstract

    With JWST’s successful deployment and unexpectedly high fuel reserves, measuring the masses of sub-Neptunes transiting bright, nearby stars will soon become the bottleneck for characterizing the atmospheres of small exoplanets via transmission spectroscopy. Using a carefully curated target list and observations from more than 2 yr of APF-Levy and Keck-HIRES Doppler monitoring, the TESS-Keck Survey is working toward alleviating this pressure. Here we present mass measurements for 11 transiting planets in eight systems that are particularly suited to atmospheric follow-up with JWST. We also report the discovery and confirmation of a temperate super-Jovian-mass planet on a moderately eccentric orbit. The sample of eight host stars, which includes one subgiant, spans early-K to late-F spectral types (Teff= 5200–6200 K). We homogeneously derive planet parameters using a joint photometry and radial velocity modeling framework, discuss the planets’ possible bulk compositions, and comment on their prospects for atmospheric characterization.

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    We report on the discovery and characterization of three planets orbiting the F8 star HD 28109, which sits comfortably in ${TESS}$’s continuous viewing zone. The two outer planets have periods of $\rm 56.0067 \pm 0.0003~d$ and $\rm 84.2597_{-0.0008}^{+0.0010}~d$, which implies a period ratio very close to that of the first-order 3:2 mean motion resonance, exciting transit timing variations (TTVs) of up to $\rm 60\, min$. These two planets were first identified by ${TESS}$, and we identified a third planet in the ${TESS}$photometry with a period of $\rm 22.8911 \pm 0.0004~d$. We confirm the planetary nature of all three planetary candidates using ground-based photometry from Hazelwood, ${ASTEP}$, and LCO, including a full detection of the $\rm \sim 9\, h$ transit of HD 28109 c from Antarctica. The radii of the three planets are ${\it R}_b=2.199_{-0.10}^{+0.098} ~{\rm R}_{\oplus }$, ${\it R}_c=4.23\pm 0.11~ {\rm R}_{\oplus }$, and ${\it R}_d=3.25\pm 0.11 ~{\rm R}_{\oplus }$; we characterize their masses using TTVs and precise radial velocities from ESPRESSO and HARPS, and find them to be ${\it M}_b=18.5_{-7.6}^{+9.1}~M_{\oplus }$, ${\it M}_c=7.9_{-3.0}^{+4.2}~{\rm M}_{\oplus }$, and ${\it M}_d=5.7_{-2.1}^{+2.7}~{\rm M}_{\oplus }$, making planet b a dense, massive planet while c and d are both underdense. We also demonstrate that the two outer planets are ripe for atmospheric characterization using transmission spectroscopy, especially given their position in the CVZ of James Webb Space Telescope. The data obtained to date are consistent with resonant (librating) and non-resonant (circulating) solutions; additional observations will show whether the pair is actually locked in resonance or just near-resonant.

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  4. Abstract

    Photochemistry is a fundamental process of planetary atmospheres that regulates the atmospheric composition and stability1. However, no unambiguous photochemical products have been detected in exoplanet atmospheres so far. Recent observations from the JWST Transiting Exoplanet Community Early Release Science Program2,3found a spectral absorption feature at 4.05 μm arising from sulfur dioxide (SO2) in the atmosphere of WASP-39b. WASP-39b is a 1.27-Jupiter-radii, Saturn-mass (0.28 MJ) gas giant exoplanet orbiting a Sun-like star with an equilibrium temperature of around 1,100 K (ref. 4). The most plausible way of generating SO2in such an atmosphere is through photochemical processes5,6. Here we show that the SO2distribution computed by a suite of photochemical models robustly explains the 4.05-μm spectral feature identified by JWST transmission observations7with NIRSpec PRISM (2.7σ)8and G395H (4.5σ)9. SO2is produced by successive oxidation of sulfur radicals freed when hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is destroyed. The sensitivity of the SO2feature to the enrichment of the atmosphere by heavy elements (metallicity) suggests that it can be used as a tracer of atmospheric properties, with WASP-39b exhibiting an inferred metallicity of about 10× solar. We further point out that SO2also shows observable features at ultraviolet and thermal infrared wavelengths not available from the existing observations.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 18, 2024
  5. Abstract

    We present the Distant Giants Survey, a three-year radial velocity campaign to measure P(DG∣CS), the conditional occurrence of distant giant planets (DG;Mp∼ 0.3–13MJ,P> 1 yr) in systems hosting a close-in small planet (CS;Rp< 10R). For the past two years, we have monitored 47 Sun-like stars hosting small transiting planets detected by TESS. We present the selection criteria used to assemble our sample and report the discovery of two distant giant planets, TOI-1669 b and TOI-1694 c. For TOI-1669 b we find thatMsini=0.573±0.074MJ,P= 502 ± 16 days, ande< 0.27, while for TOI-1694 c,Msini=1.05±0.05MJ,P= 389.2 ± 3.9 days, ande= 0.18 ± 0.05. We also confirmed the 3.8 days transiting planet TOI-1694 b by measuring a true mass ofM= 26.1 ± 2.2M. At the end of the Distant Giants Survey, we will incorporate TOI-1669 b and TOI-1694 c into our calculation of P(DG∣CS), a crucial statistic for understanding the relationship between outer giants and small inner companions.

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  6. Abstract We present the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) discovery of the LHS 1678 (TOI-696) exoplanet system, comprised of two approximately Earth-sized transiting planets and a likely astrometric brown dwarf orbiting a bright ( V J = 12.5, K s = 8.3) M2 dwarf at 19.9 pc. The two TESS-detected planets are of radius 0.70 ± 0.04 R ⊕ and 0.98 ± 0.06 R ⊕ in 0.86 day and 3.69 day orbits, respectively. Both planets are validated and characterized via ground-based follow-up observations. High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Searcher RV monitoring yields 97.7 percentile mass upper limits of 0.35 M ⊕ and 1.4 M ⊕ for planets b and c, respectively. The astrometric companion detected by the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory/Small and Moderate Aperture Telescope System 0.9 m has an orbital period on the order of decades and is undetected by other means. Additional ground-based observations constrain the companion to being a high-mass brown dwarf or smaller. Each planet is of unique interest; the inner planet has an ultra-short period, and the outer planet is in the Venus zone. Both are promising targets for atmospheric characterization with the James Webb Space Telescope and mass measurements via extreme-precision radial velocity. A third planet candidate of radius 0.9 ± 0.1 R ⊕ in a 4.97 day orbit is also identified in multicycle TESS data for validation in future work. The host star is associated with an observed gap in the lower main sequence of the Hertzsprung–Russell diagram. This gap is tied to the transition from partially to fully convective interiors in M dwarfs, and the effect of the associated stellar astrophysics on exoplanet evolution is currently unknown. The culmination of these system properties makes LHS 1678 a unique, compelling playground for comparative exoplanet science and understanding the formation and evolution of small, short-period exoplanets orbiting low-mass stars. 
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