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  1. Abstract

    Based on photometric observations by TESS, we present the discovery of a potential Venus analog transiting LHS 475, an M3 dwarf located 12.5 pc from the Sun. The mass of the star is 0.274 ± 0.015M. The planet, originally reported as TOI 910.01, has an orbital period of 2.0291010 ± 0.0000017 days and an estimated radius of 0.975 ± 0.058R. We confirm the validity and source of the transit signal with MEarth and Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope ground-based follow-up photometry. We present radial velocity data from CHIRON that rule out massive companions. In accordance with the observed mass–radius distribution of exoplanets as well as planet formation theory, we expect this planetary companion to be terrestrial, with an estimated radial velocity semiamplitude of 1.1 m s−1. LHS 475 b is likely too hot to be habitable but is a suitable candidate for emission and transmission spectroscopy.

     
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  2. Abstract

    We present a study of the relationship between Galactic kinematics, flare rates, chromospheric activity, and rotation periods for a volume-complete, nearly all-sky sample of 219 single stars within 15 pc and with masses between 0.1 and 0.3Mobserved during the primary mission of TESS. We find all stars consistent with a common value ofα= 1.984 ± 0.019 for the exponent of the flare frequency distribution. Using our measured stellar radial velocities and Gaia astrometry, we determine GalacticUVWspace motions. We find 78% of stars are members of the Galactic thin disk, 7% belong to the thick disk, and for the remaining 15% we cannot confidently assign membership to either component. If we assume star formation has been constant in the thin disk for the past 8 Gyr, then based on the fraction that we observe to be active, we estimate the average age at which these stars transition from the saturated to the unsaturated flaring regime to be 2.4 ± 0.3 Gyr. This is consistent with the ages that we assign from Galactic kinematics: we find that stars with rotation periodProt< 10 days have an age of 2.0 ± 1.2 Gyr, stars with 10 days <Prot≤ 90 days have an age of 5.6 ± 2.7 Gyr, and stars withProt> 90 days have an age of 12.9 ± 3.5 Gyr. We find that the average age of stars withProt< 10 days increases with decreasing stellar mass from 0.6 ± 0.3 Gyr (0.2–0.3M) to 2.3 ± 1.3 Gyr (0.1–0.2M).

     
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  3. Abstract

    In the canonical theory of stellar magnetic dynamo, the tachocline in partially convective stars serves to arrange small-scale fields, generated by stochastic movement of plasma into a coherent large-scale field. Mid-to-late-type M dwarfs, which are fully convective, show more magnetic activity than classical magnetic dynamo theory predicts. However, mid-to-late-type M dwarfs show tight correlations between rotation and magnetic activity, consistent with elements of classical dynamo theory. We use data from the Magellan Inamori Kyocera Echelle Spectrograph to detail the relation between CaiiH and K flux and rotation period for these low-mass stars. We measureRHKvalues for 53 spectroscopically identified M dwarfs selected from the MEarth survey; these stars span spectral classes from M5.0 to M3.5 and have rotation periods ranging from hours to months. We present the rotation–activity relationship as traced through these data. We find power-law and saturated regimes consistent to within 1σof previously published results and observe a mass dependence inRHK.

     
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  4. Abstract

    We present a study of the variation timescales of the chromospheric activity indicator Hαon a sample of 13 fully convective, active mid-to-late M stars with masses between 0.1 and 0.3 solar masses. Our goal was to determine the dominant variability timescale and, by inference, a possible mechanism responsible for the variation. We gathered 10 or more high-resolution spectra each of 10 stars using the TRES spectrograph at times chosen to span all phases of stellar rotation, as determined from photometric data from the MEarth Observatories. All stars varied in their Hαemission. For nine of these stars, we found no correlation between Hαand rotational phase, indicating that constant emission from fixed magnetic structures, such as star spots and plage, are unlikely to be the dominant source of Hαemission variability. In contrast, one star, G 7–34, shows a clear relationship between Hαand stellar rotational phase. Intriguingly, we found that this star is a member of the AB Doradus moving group and hence has the young age of 149 Myr. High-cadence spectroscopic observations of three additional stars revealed that they are variable on timescales ranging from 20 to 45 minutes, which we posit may be due to flaring behavior. For one star, GJ 1111, simultaneous TESS photometry and spectroscopic monitoring show an increase in Hαemission with increased photometric brightness. We conclude that low-energy flares are able to produce variation in Hαon the timescales we observe and thus may be the dominant source of Hαvariability on active fully convective M dwarfs.

     
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  5. Abstract

    Although all-sky surveys have led to the discovery of dozens of young planets, little is known about their atmospheres. Here, we present multiwavelength transit data for the super-Neptune sized exoplanet, K2-33b—the youngest (∼10 Myr) transiting exoplanet to date. We combined photometric observations of K2-33 covering a total of 33 transits spanning >2 yr, taken from K2, MEarth, the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), and Spitzer. The transit photometry spanned from the optical to the near-infrared (0.6–4.5μm), enabling us to construct a transmission spectrum of the planet. We find that the optical transit depths are nearly a factor of 2 deeper than those from the near-infrared. This difference holds across multiple data sets taken over years, ruling out issues of data analysis and unconstrained systematics. Surface inhomogeneities on the young star can reproduce some of the difference, but required spot coverage fractions (>60%) are ruled out by the observed stellar spectrum (<20%). We find a better fit to the transmission spectrum using photochemical hazes, which were predicted to be strong in young, moderate-temperature, and large-radius planets like K2-33b. A tholin haze with CO as the dominant gaseous carbon carrier in the atmosphere can reasonably reproduce the data with small or no stellar surface inhomogeneities, consistent with the stellar spectrum. The HST data quality is insufficient for the detection of any molecular features. More observations would be required to fully characterize the hazes and spot properties and confirm the presence of CO suggested by current data.

     
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  6. Abstract

    Orbiting an M dwarf 12 pc away, the transiting exoplanet GJ 1132b is a prime target for transmission spectroscopy. With a mass of 1.7Mand radius of 1.1R, GJ 1132b’s bulk density indicates that this planet is rocky. Yet with an equilibrium temperature of 580 K, GJ 1132b may still retain some semblance of an atmosphere. Understanding whether this atmosphere exists and its composition will be vital for understanding how the atmospheres of terrestrial planets orbiting M dwarfs evolve. We observe five transits of GJ 1132b with the Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) on the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). We find a featureless transmission spectrum from 1.1 to 1.7μm, ruling out cloud-free atmospheres with metallicities <300× solar with >4.8σconfidence. We combine our WFC3 results with transit depths from TESS and archival broadband and spectroscopic observations to find a featureless spectrum across 0.7 to 4.5μm. GJ 1132b therefore has a high mean molecular weight atmosphere, possesses a high-altitude aerosol layer, or has effectively no atmosphere. Higher-precision observations are required in order to differentiate between these possibilities. We explore the impact of hot and cold starspots on the observed transmission spectrum GJ 1132b, quantifying the amplitude of spot-induced transit depth features. Using a simple Poisson model, we estimate spot temperature contrasts, spot covering fractions, and spot sizes for GJ 1132. These limits, as well as the modeling framework, may be useful for future observations of GJ 1132b or other planets transiting similarly inactive M dwarfs.

     
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  7. Abstract

    Populating the exoplanet mass–radius diagram in order to identify the underlying relationship that governs planet composition is driving an interdisciplinary effort within the exoplanet community. The discovery of hot super-Earths—a high-temperature, short-period subset of the super-Earth planet population—has presented many unresolved questions concerning the formation, evolution, and composition of rocky planets. We report the discovery of a transiting, ultra-short-period hot super-Earth orbitingTOI-1075(TIC351601843), a nearby (d= 61.4 pc) late-K/early-M-dwarf star, using data from the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite. The newly discovered planet has a radius of 1.7910.081+0.116Rand an orbital period of 0.605 day (14.5 hr). We precisely measure the planet mass to be 9.951.30+1.36Musing radial velocity measurements obtained with the Planet Finder Spectrograph mounted on the Magellan II telescope. Our radial velocity data also show a long-term trend, suggesting an additional planet in the system. While TOI-1075 b is expected to have a substantial H/He atmosphere given its size relative to the radius gap, its high density (9.321.85+2.05g cm−3) is likely inconsistent with this possibility. We explore TOI-1075 b’s location relative to the M-dwarf radius valley, evaluate the planet’s prospects for atmospheric characterization, and discuss potential planet formation mechanisms. Studying the TOI-1075 system in the broader context of ultra-short-period planetary systems is necessary for testing planet formation and evolution theories and density-enhancing mechanisms and for future atmospheric and surface characterization studies via emission spectroscopy with the JWST.

     
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  8. ABSTRACT

    We report the discovery of TOI-2119b, a transiting brown dwarf (BD) that orbits and is completely eclipsed by an active M-dwarf star. Using light-curve data from the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite mission and follow-up high-resolution Doppler spectroscopic observations, we find the BD has a radius of Rb = 1.08 ± 0.03RJ, a mass of Mb = 64.4 ± 2.3MJ, an orbital period of P = 7.200865 ± 0.00002 d, and an eccentricity of e = 0.337 ± 0.002. The host star has a mass of M⋆ = 0.53 ± 0.02M⊙, a radius of R⋆ = 0.50 ± 0.01R⊙, an effective temperature of Teff = 3621 ± 48K, and a metallicity of $\rm [Fe/H]=+0.06\pm 0.08$. TOI-2119b joins an emerging population of transiting BDs around M-dwarf host stars, with TOI-2119 being the ninth such system. These M-dwarf–brown dwarf systems typically occupy mass ratios near q = Mb/M⋆ ≈ 0.1−0.2, which separates them from the typical mass ratios for systems with transiting substellar objects and giant exoplanets that orbit more massive stars. The nature of the secondary eclipse of the BD by the star enables us to estimate the effective temperature of the substellar object to be 2030 ± 84K, which is consistent with predictions by substellar evolutionary models.

     
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  9. null (Ed.)
  10. 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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