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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2024
  2. Theories of planet formation predict that low-mass stars should rarely host exoplanets with masses exceeding that of Neptune. We used radial velocity observations to detect a Neptune-mass exoplanet orbiting LHS 3154, a star that is nine times less massive than the Sun. The exoplanet’s orbital period is 3.7 days, and its minimum mass is 13.2 Earth masses. We used simulations to show that the high planet-to-star mass ratio (>3.5 × 10−4) is not an expected outcome of either the core accretion or gravitational instability theories of planet formation. In the core-accretion simulations, we show that close-in Neptune-mass planets are only formed if the dust mass of the protoplanetary disk is an order of magnitude greater than typically observed around very low-mass stars.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2024
  3. Abstract

    We confirm the planetary nature of TOI-5344 b as a transiting giant exoplanet around an M0-dwarf star. TOI-5344 b was discovered with the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite photometry and confirmed with ground-based photometry (the Red Buttes Observatory 0.6 m telescope), radial velocity (the Habitable-zone Planet Finder), and speckle imaging (the NN-Explore Exoplanet Stellar Speckle Imager). TOI-5344 b is a Saturn-like giant planet (ρ= 0.800.15+0.17g cm−3) with a planetary radius of 9.7 ± 0.5R(0.87 ± 0.04RJup) and a planetary mass of13518+17M(0.420.06+0.05MJup). It has an orbital period of3.7926220.000010+0.000010days and an orbital eccentricity of0.060.04+0.07. We measure a high metallicity for TOI-5344 of [Fe/H] = 0.48 ± 0.12, where the high metallicity is consistent with expectations from formation through core accretion. We compare the metallicity of the M-dwarf hosts of giant exoplanets to that of M-dwarf hosts of nongiants (≲8R). While the two populations appear to show different metallicity distributions, quantitative tests are prohibited by various sample caveats.

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  4. Abstract The discovery and characterization of extrasolar planets using radial velocity (RV) measurements is limited by noise sources from the surfaces of host stars. Current techniques to suppress stellar magnetic activity rely on decorrelation using an activity indicator (e.g., strength of the Ca ii lines, width of the cross-correlation function, broadband photometry) or measurement of the RVs using only a subset of spectral lines that have been shown to be insensitive to activity. Here, we combine the above techniques by constructing a high-signal-to-noise activity indicator, the depth metric  ( t ) , from the most activity-sensitive spectral lines using the “line-by-line” method of Dumusque (2018). Analogous to photometric decorrelation of RVs or Gaussian progress regression modeling of activity indices, time series modeling of  ( t ) reduces the amplitude of magnetic activity in RV measurements; in an α CenB RV time series from HARPS, the RV rms was reduced from 2.67 to 1.02 m s −1 .  ( t ) modeling enabled us to characterize injected planetary signals as small as 1 m s −1 . In terms of noise reduction and injected signal recovery,  ( t ) modeling outperforms activity mitigation via the selection of activity-insensitive spectral lines. For Sun-like stars with activity signals on the m s −1 level, the depth metric independently tracks rotationally modulated and multiyear stellar activity with a level of quality similar to that of the FWHM of the CCF and log R HK ′ . The depth metric and its elaborations will be a powerful tool in the mitigation of stellar magnetic activity, particularly as a means of connecting stellar activity to physical processes within host stars. 
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  5. Abstract TOI-1899 b is a rare exoplanet, a temperate warm Jupiter orbiting an M dwarf, first discovered by Cañas et al. (2020) from a TESS single-transit event. Using new radial velocities (RVs) from the precision RV spectrographs HPF and NEID, along with additional TESS photometry and ground-based transit follow-up, we are able to derive a much more precise orbital period of P = 29.090312 − 0.000035 + 0.000036 days, along with a radius of R p = 0.99 ± 0.03 R J . We have also improved the constraints on planet mass, M p = 0.67 ± 0.04 M J , and eccentricity, which is consistent with a circular orbit at 2 σ ( e = 0.044 − 0.027 + 0.029 ). TOI-1899 b occupies a unique region of parameter space as the coolest known ( T eq ≈ 380 K) Jovian-sized transiting planet around an M dwarf; we show that it has great potential to provide clues regarding the formation and migration mechanisms of these rare gas giants through transmission spectroscopy with JWST, as well as studies of tidal evolution. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 3, 2024
  6. Abstract We confirm the planetary nature of two gas giants discovered by TESS to transit M dwarfs with stellar companions at wide separations. TOI-3984 A ( J = 11.93) is an M4 dwarf hosting a short-period (4.353326 ± 0.000005 days) gas giant ( M p = 0.14 ± 0.03 M J and R p = 0.71 ± 0.02 R J ) with a wide-separation white dwarf companion. TOI-5293 A ( J = 12.47) is an M3 dwarf hosting a short-period (2.930289 ± 0.000004 days) gas giant ( M p = 0.54 ± 0.07 M J and R p = 1.06 ± 0.04 R J ) with a wide-separation M dwarf companion. We characterize both systems using a combination of ground- and space-based photometry, speckle imaging, and high-precision radial velocities from the Habitable-zone Planet Finder and NEID spectrographs. TOI-3984 A b ( T eq = 563 ± 15 K and TSM = 138 − 27 + 29 ) and TOI-5293 A b ( T eq = 675 − 30 + 42 K and TSM = 92 ± 14) are two of the coolest gas giants among the population of hot Jupiter–sized gas planets orbiting M dwarfs and are favorable targets for atmospheric characterization of temperate gas giants and 3D obliquity measurements to probe system architecture and migration scenarios. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 27, 2024
  7. Evans, Christopher J. ; Bryant, Julia J. ; Motohara, Kentaro (Ed.)
    We present a compact, double-pass cross-dispersed echelle spectrograph that is tailored specifically to cover the 383 nm to 403 nm spectral range and record R∼16,000 spectra of the stellar chromospheric Ca II H and K lines. This `H and K' spectrometer was developed as a subsystem of the Keck Planet Finder (KPF), which is an extremely precise optical (440 - 870 nm) radial velocity spectrograph for Keck I, scheduled for commissioning Fall 2022, with the science objective of measuring precise masses of exoplanets. The H and K spectrometer will observe simultaneously with KPF to independently track the chromospheric activity of the host stars that KPF observes, which is expected to dominate the KPF measurement floor over long timescales. The H and K Spectrometer is fiber fed from the KPF fiber injection unit with total throughput of 4-7% (top of telescope to CCD) over its operating spectral range. Here we detail the optical design trade offs, mechanical design, and first results from alignment and integration testing. 
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  8. 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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  9. Abstract

    We perform an in-depth analysis of the recently validated TOI-3884 system, an M4-dwarf star with a transiting super-Neptune. Using high-precision light curves obtained with the 3.5 m Apache Point Observatory and radial velocity observations with the Habitable-zone Planet Finder, we derive a planetary mass of32.67.4+7.3Mand radius of 6.4 ± 0.2R. We detect a distinct starspot crossing event occurring just after ingress and spanning half the transit for every transit. We determine this spot feature to be wavelength dependent with the amplitude and duration evolving slightly over time. Best-fit starspot models show that TOI-3884b possesses a misaligned (λ= 75° ± 10°) orbit that crosses a giant pole spot. This system presents a rare opportunity for studies into the nature of both a misaligned super-Neptune and spot evolution on an active mid-M dwarf.

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  10. Abstract

    TOI-2076 b is a sub-Neptune-sized planet (R= 2.39 ± 0.10R) that transits a young (204 ± 50 MYr) bright (V= 9.2) K-dwarf hosting a system of three transiting planets. Using spectroscopic observations obtained with the NEID spectrograph on the WIYN 3.5 m Telescope, we model the Rossiter–McLaughlin effect of TOI-2076 b, and derive a sky-projected obliquity ofλ=315+16°. Using the size of the star (R= 0.775 ± 0.015R), and the stellar rotation period (Prot= 7.27 ± 0.23 days), we estimate an obliquity ofψ=189+10°(ψ< 34° at 95% confidence), demonstrating that TOI-2076 b is in a well-aligned orbit. Simultaneous diffuser-assisted photometry from the 3.5 m telescope at Apache Point Observatory rules out flares during the transit. TOI-2076 b joins a small but growing sample of young planets in compact multi-planet systems with well-aligned orbits, and is the fourth planet with an age ≲300 Myr in a multi-transiting system with an obliquity measurement. The low obliquity of TOI-2076 b and the presence of transit timing variations in the system suggest the TOI-2076 system likely formed via convergent disk migration in an initially well-aligned disk.

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