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    We report precise radial velocity (RV) observations of HD 212657 (= K2-167), a star shown by K2 to host a transiting sub-Neptune-sized planet in a 10 d orbit. Using Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) photometry, we refined the planet parameters, especially the orbital period. We collected 74 precise RVs with the HARPS-N spectrograph between August 2015 and October 2016. Although this planet was first found to transit in 2015 and validated in 2018, excess RV scatter originally limited mass measurements. Here, we measure a mass by taking advantage of reductions in scatter from updates to the HARPS-N Data Reduction System (2.3.5) and our new activity mitigation method called CCF Activity Linear Model (CALM), which uses activity-induced line shape changes in the spectra without requiring timing information. Using the CALM framework, we performed a joint fit with RVs and transits using exofastv2 and find Mp = $6.3_{-1.4}^{+1.4}$  $\, M_{\hbox{$\oplus $}}$ and Rp = $2.33^{+0.17}_{-0.15}$  $\, R_{\hbox{$\oplus $}}$, which places K2-167 b at the upper edge of the radius valley. We also find hints of a secondary companion at a ∼22 d period, but confirmation requires additional RVs. Although characterizing lower mass planets like K2-167 b is often impeded by stellar variability, these systems especially help probe the formation physics (i.e. photoevaporation, core-powered mass-loss) of the radius valley. In the future, CALM or similar techniques could be widely applied to FGK-type stars, help characterize a population of exoplanets surrounding the radius valley, and further our understanding of their formation.

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  2. Abstract

    Stellar active regions, including spots and faculae, can create radial velocity (RV) signals that interfere with the detection and mass measurements of low-mass exoplanets. In doing so, these active regions affect each spectral line differently, but the origin of these differences is not fully understood. Here we explore how spectral line variability correlated with S-index (Ca H and K emission) is related to the atomic properties of each spectral line. Next, we develop a simple analytic stellar atmosphere model that can account for the largest sources of line variability with S-index. Then, we apply this model to HARPS spectra ofαCen B to explain Feiline depth changes in terms of a disk-averaged temperature difference between active and quiet regions on the visible hemisphere of the star. This work helps establish a physical basis for understanding how stellar activity manifests differently in each spectral line and may help future work mitigating the impact of stellar activity on exoplanet RV surveys.

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  3. Abstract

    We present an analysis of Sun-as-a-star observations from four different high-resolution, stabilized spectrographs—HARPS, HARPS-N, EXPRES, and NEID. With simultaneous observations of the Sun from four different instruments, we are able to gain insight into the radial velocity precision and accuracy delivered by each of these instruments and isolate instrumental systematics that differ from true astrophysical signals. With solar observations, we can completely characterize the expected Doppler shift contributed by orbiting Solar System bodies and remove them. This results in a data set with measured velocity variations that purely trace flows on the solar surface. Direct comparisons of the radial velocities measured by each instrument show remarkable agreement with residual intraday scatter of only 15–30 cm s−1. This shows that current ultra-stabilized instruments have broken through to a new level of measurement precision that reveals stellar variability with high fidelity and detail. We end by discussing how radial velocities from different instruments can be combined to provide powerful leverage for testing techniques to mitigate stellar signals.

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  4. Abstract

    Radial velocity (RV) measurements of transiting multiplanet systems allow us to understand the densities and compositions of planets unlike those in the solar system. Kepler-102, which consists of five tightly packed transiting planets, is a particularly interesting system since it includes a super-Earth (Kepler-102d) and a sub-Neptune-sized planet (Kepler-102e) for which masses can be measured using RVs. Previous work found a high density for Kepler-102d, suggesting a composition similar to that of Mercury, while Kepler-102e was found to have a density typical of sub-Neptune size planets; however, Kepler-102 is an active star, which can interfere with RV mass measurements. To better measure the mass of these two planets, we obtained 111 new RVs using Keck/HIRES and Telescopio Nazionale Galileo/HARPS-N and modeled Kepler-102's activity using quasiperiodic Gaussian process regression. For Kepler-102d, we report a mass upper limitMd< 5.3M(95% confidence), a best-fit massMd= 2.5 ± 1.4M, and a densityρd= 5.6 ± 3.2 g cm−3, which is consistent with a rocky composition similar in density to the Earth. For Kepler-102e we report a massMe= 4.7 ± 1.7Mand a densityρe= 1.8 ± 0.7 g cm−3. These measurements suggest that Kepler-102e has a rocky core with a thick gaseous envelope comprising 2%–4% of the planet mass and 16%–50% of its radius. Our study is yet another demonstration that accounting for stellar activity in stars with clear rotation signals can yield more accurate planet masses, enabling a more realistic interpretation of planet interiors.

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  5. Abstract

    We present high-precision radial velocities (RVs) from the HARPS-N spectrograph for HD 79210 and HD 79211, two M0V members of a gravitationally bound binary system. We detect a planet candidate with a period of24.4210.017+0.016days around HD 79211 in these HARPS-N RVs, validating the planet candidate originally identified in CARMENES RV data alone. Using HARPS-N, CARMENES, and RVs spanning a total of 25 yr, we further refine the planet candidate parameters toP= 24.422 ± 0.014 days,K= 3.19 ± 0.27 m s−1,Msini= 10.6 ± 1.2M, anda= 0.142 ± 0.005 au. We do not find any additional planet candidate signals in the data of HD 79211, nor do we find any planet candidate signals in HD 79210. This system adds to the number of exoplanets detected in binaries with M-dwarf members and serves as a case study for planet formation in stellar binaries.

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  6. Abstract

    Measured spectral shifts due to intrinsic stellar variability (e.g., pulsations, granulation) and activity (e.g., spots, plages) are the largest source of error for extreme-precision radial-velocity (EPRV) exoplanet detection. Several methods are designed to disentangle stellar signals from true center-of-mass shifts due to planets. The Extreme-precision Spectrograph (EXPRES) Stellar Signals Project (ESSP) presents a self-consistent comparison of 22 different methods tested on the same extreme-precision spectroscopic data from EXPRES. Methods derived new activity indicators, constructed models for mapping an indicator to the needed radial-velocity (RV) correction, or separated out shape- and shift-driven RV components. Since no ground truth is known when using real data, relative method performance is assessed using the total and nightly scatter of returned RVs and agreement between the results of different methods. Nearly all submitted methods return a lower RV rms than classic linear decorrelation, but no method is yet consistently reducing the RV rms to sub-meter-per-second levels. There is a concerning lack of agreement between the RVs returned by different methods. These results suggest that continued progress in this field necessitates increased interpretability of methods, high-cadence data to capture stellar signals at all timescales, and continued tests like the ESSP using consistent data sets with more advanced metrics for method performance. Future comparisons should make use of various well-characterized data sets—such as solar data or data with known injected planetary and/or stellar signals—to better understand method performance and whether planetary signals are preserved.

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