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  1. Abstract We present the discovery of a new Jovian-sized planet, TOI-3757 b, the lowest-density transiting planet known to orbit an M dwarf (M0V). This planet was discovered around a solar-metallicity M dwarf, using Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite photometry and confirmed with precise radial velocities from the Habitable-zone Planet Finder (HPF) and NEID. With a planetary radius of 12.0 − 0.5 + 0.4 R ⊕ and mass of 85.3 − 8.7 + 8.8 M ⊕ , not only does this object add to the small sample of gas giants (∼10) around M dwarfs, but also its low density ( ρ = 0.27 − 0.04 + 0.05 g cm −3 ) provides an opportunity to test theories of planet formation. We present two hypotheses to explain its low density; first, we posit that the low metallicity of its stellar host (∼0.3 dex lower than the median metallicity of M dwarfs hosting gas giants) could have played a role in the delayed formation of a solid core massive enough to initiate runaway accretion. Second, using the eccentricity estimate of 0.14 ± 0.06, we determine it is also plausible for tidal heating to at least partially be responsible for inflating the radius of TOI-3757bmore »b. The low density and large scale height of TOI-3757 b makes it an excellent target for transmission spectroscopy studies of atmospheric escape and composition (transmission spectroscopy measurement of ∼ 190). We use HPF to perform transmission spectroscopy of TOI-3757 b using the helium 10830 Å line. Doing this, we place an upper limit of 6.9% (with 90% confidence) on the maximum depth of the absorption from the metastable transition of He at ∼10830 Å, which can help constraint the atmospheric mass-loss rate in this energy-limited regime.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 5, 2023
  2. Abstract We validate the planetary nature of an ultra-short-period planet orbiting the M dwarf KOI-4777. We use a combination of space-based photometry from Kepler, high-precision, near-infrared Doppler spectroscopy from the Habitable-zone Planet Finder, and adaptive optics imaging to characterize this system. KOI-4777.01 is a Mars-sized exoplanet ( R p = 0.51 ± 0.03 R ⊕ ) orbiting the host star every 0.412 days (∼9.9 hr). This is the smallest validated ultra-short period planet known and we see no evidence for additional massive companions using our HPF RVs. We constrain the upper 3 σ mass to M p < 0.34 M ⊕ by assuming the planet is less dense than iron. Obtaining a mass measurement for KOI-4777.01 is beyond current instrumental capabilities.
  3. Abstract Barnard’s star is among the most studied stars given its proximity to the Sun. It is often considered the radial velocity (RV) standard for fully convective stars due to its RV stability and equatorial decl. Recently, an M sin i = 3.3 M ⊕ super-Earth planet candidate with a 233 day orbital period was announced by Ribas et al. New observations from the near-infrared Habitable-zone Planet Finder (HPF) Doppler spectrometer do not show this planetary signal. We ran a suite of experiments on both the original data and a combined original + HPF data set. These experiments include model comparisons, periodogram analyses, and sampling sensitivity, all of which show the signal at the proposed period of 233 days is transitory in nature. The power in the signal is largely contained within 211 RVs that were taken within a 1000 day span of observing. Our preferred model of the system is one that features stellar activity without a planet. We propose that the candidate planetary signal is an alias of the 145 day rotation period. This result highlights the challenge of analyzing long-term, quasi-periodic activity signals over multiyear and multi-instrument observing campaigns.
  4. Abstract

    We detail the follow-up and characterization of a transiting exo-Venus identified by TESS, GJ 3929b (TOI-2013b), and its nontransiting companion planet, GJ 3929c (TOI-2013c). GJ 3929b is an Earth-sized exoplanet in its star’s Venus zone (Pb= 2.616272 ± 0.000005 days; Sb=17.30.7+0.8S) orbiting a nearby M dwarf. GJ 3929c is most likely a nontransiting sub-Neptune. Using the new, ultraprecise NEID spectrometer on the WIYN 3.5 m Telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory, we are able to modify the mass constraints of planet b reported in previous works and consequently improve the significance of the mass measurement to almost 4σconfidence (Mb= 1.75 ± 0.45M). We further adjust the orbital period of planet c from its alias at 14.30 ± 0.03 days to the likely true period of 15.04 ± 0.03 days, and we adjust its minimum mass tomsini= 5.71 ± 0.92M. Using the diffuser-assisted ARCTIC imager on the ARC 3.5 m telescope at Apache Point Observatory, in addition to publicly available TESS and LCOGT photometry, we are able to constrain the radius of planet b toRp= 1.09 ± 0.04R. GJ 3929b is a top candidate for transmission spectroscopy in its size regime (TSM = 14more »± 4), and future atmospheric studies of GJ 3929b stand to shed light on the nature of small planets orbiting M dwarfs.

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  5. Abstract Early in their lives, planets endure extreme amounts of ionizing radiation from their host stars. For planets with primordial hydrogen and helium-rich envelopes, this can lead to substantial mass loss. Direct observations of atmospheric escape in young planetary systems can help elucidate this critical stage of planetary evolution. In this work, we search for metastable helium absorption—a tracer of tenuous gas in escaping atmospheres—during transits of three planets orbiting the young solar analog V1298 Tau. We characterize the stellar helium line using HET/HPF, and find that it evolves substantially on timescales of days to months. The line is stable on hour-long timescales except for one set of spectra taken during the decay phase of a stellar flare, where absoprtion increased with time. Utilizing a beam-shaping diffuser and a narrowband filter centered on the helium feature, we observe four transits with Palomar/WIRC: two partial transits of planet d ( P = 12.4 days), one partial transit of planet b ( P = 24.1 days), and one full transit of planet c ( P = 8.2 days). We do not detect the transit of planet c, and we find no evidence of excess absorption for planet b, with Δ R bmore »/ R ⋆ < 0.019 in our bandpass. We find a tentative absorption signal for planet d with Δ R d / R ⋆ = 0.0205 ± 0.054, but the best-fit model requires a substantial (−100 ± 14 minutes) transit-timing offset on a two-month timescale. Nevertheless, our data suggest that V1298 Tau d may have a high present-day mass-loss rate, making it a priority target for follow-up observations.« less
  6. Abstract

    We present the validation of two planets orbiting M dwarfs, TOI-1696b and TOI-2136b. Both planets are mini-Neptunes orbiting nearby stars, making them promising prospects for atmospheric characterization with the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). We validated the planetary nature of both candidates using high-contrast imaging, ground-based photometry, and near-infrared radial velocities. Adaptive optics images were taken using the ShARCS camera on the 3 m Shane Telescope. Speckle images were taken using the NN-Explore Exoplanet Stellar Speckle Imager on the WIYN 3.5 m telescope. Radii and orbital ephemerides were refined using a combination of the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, the diffuser-assisted Astrophysical Research Consortium (ARC) Telescope Imaging Camera (ARCTIC) imager on the 3.5 m ARC telescope at Apache Point Observatory, and the 0.6 m telescope at Red Buttes Observatory. We obtained radial velocities using the Habitable-Zone Planet Finder on the 10 m Hobby–Eberly Telescope, which enabled us to place upper limits on the masses of both transiting planets. TOI-1696b (P= 2.5 days;Rp= 3.24R;Mp< 56.6M) falls into a sparsely populated region of parameter space considering its host star’s temperature (Teff= 3168 K, M4.5), as planets of its size are quite rare around mid- to late-M dwarfs. On the other hand, TOI-2136bmore »(P= 7.85 days;Rp= 2.09R;Mp< 15.0M) is an excellent candidate for atmospheric follow-up with the JWST.

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  7. Abstract

    We present high-resolution observations of a flaring event in the M8 dwarf vB 10 using the near-infrared Habitable-zone Planet Finder (HPF) spectrograph on the Hobby-Eberly Telescope. The high stability of HPF enables us to accurately subtract a vB 10 quiescent spectrum from the flare spectrum to isolate the flare contributions and study the changes in the relative energy of the Caiiinfrared triplet, several Paschen lines, the Heλ10830 triplet lines, and to select iron and magnesium lines in HPF's bandpass. Our analysis reveals the presence of a red asymmetry in the Heλ10830 triplet, which is similar to signatures of coronal rain in the Sun. Photometry of the flare derived from an acquisition camera before spectroscopic observations and the ability to extract spectra from up-the-ramp observations with the HPF infrared detector enable us to perform time-series analysis of part of the flare and provide coarse constraints on the energy and frequency of such flares. We compare this flare with historical observations of flares around vB 10 and other ultracool M dwarfs and attempt to place limits on flare-induced atmospheric mass loss for hypothetical planets around vB 10.

  8. Abstract We present spectroscopic measurements of the Rossiter–McLaughlin effect for WASP-148b, the only known hot Jupiter with a nearby warm-Jupiter companion, from the WIYN/NEID and Keck/HIRES instruments. This is one of the first scientific results reported from the newly commissioned NEID spectrograph, as well as the second obliquity constraint for a hot Jupiter system with a close-in companion, after WASP-47. WASP-148b is consistent with being in alignment with the sky-projected spin axis of the host star, with λ = − 8 .° 2 − 9 .° 7 + 8 .° 7 . The low obliquity observed in the WASP-148 system is consistent with the orderly-alignment configuration of most compact multi-planet systems around cool stars with obliquity constraints, including our solar system, and may point to an early history for these well-organized systems in which migration and accretion occurred in isolation, with relatively little disturbance. By contrast, previous results have indicated that high-mass and hot stars appear to more commonly host a wide range of misaligned planets: not only single hot Jupiters, but also compact systems with multiple super-Earths. We suggest that, to account for the high rate of spin–orbit misalignments in both compact multi-planet and isolated-hot-Jupiter systems orbiting high-mass andmore »hot stars, spin–orbit misalignments may be caused by distant giant planet perturbers, which are most common around these stellar types.« less