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  1. Seagroves, Scott ; Barnes, Austin ; Metevier, Anne J. ; Porter, Jason ; Hunter, Lisa (Ed.)
    The Institute for Scientist and Engineer Educators (ISEE) Professional Development Program (PDP) has led to the generation of several activities geared toward training in astronomical instru-mentation. These include activities developed for the Center for Adaptive Optics summer school and the AstroTech Instrumentation Summer School. The goal of these activities has been to provide the participants with hands-on experience to convey challenging concepts in instrumentation. The inclusion of practices from PDP led to activities that prioritized inquiry-based approaches over the more traditional formulaic lab-based training and activities. Our panel will review the design of these activities and discuss approaches that increase the likelihood of achieving the learning goals. We will also discuss ways in which these activities can help encourage students with little previous experience in instrumentation to consider additional studies in instrumentation. Finally, we will reflect on the importance of facilitators for these activities and the role PDP plays in training facilitators.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 1, 2023

    We present a high-contrast imaging survey of intermediate-mass (1.75–4.5 M⊙) stars to search the most extreme stellar binaries, i.e. for the lowest mass stellar companions. Using adaptive optics at the Lick and Gemini observatories, we observed 169 stars and detected 24 candidates companions, 16 of which are newly discovered, and all but three are likely or confirmed physical companions. Despite obtaining sensitivity down to the substellar limit for 75 per cent of our sample, we do not detect any companion below 0.3 M⊙, strongly suggesting that the distribution of stellar companions is truncated at a mass ratio of qmin ≳ 0.075. Combining our results with known brown dwarf companions, we identify a low-mass companion desert to intermediate-mass stars in the range 0.02 ≲ q ≲ 0.05, which quantitatively matches the known brown dwarf desert among solar-type stars. We conclude that the formation mechanism for multiple systems operates in a largely scale-invariant manner and precludes the formation of extremely uneven systems, likely because the components of a protobinary accrete most of their mass after the initial cloud fragmentation. Similarly, the mechanism to form ‘planetary’ (q ≲ 0.02) companions likely scales linearly with stellar mass, probably as a result of the correlation between the massesmore »of stars and their protoplanetary discs. Finally, we predict the existence of a sizable population of brown dwarf companions to low-mass stars and of a rising population of planetary-mass objects towards ${\approx}1\,M_\mathrm{Jup}$ around solar-type stars. Improvements on current instrumentation will test these predictions.

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  3. Abstract While the Milky Way nuclear star cluster (MW NSC) has been studied extensively, how it formed is uncertain. Studies have shown it contains a solar and supersolar metallicity population that may have formed in situ, along with a subsolar-metallicity population that may have formed via mergers of globular clusters and dwarf galaxies. Stellar abundance measurements are critical to differentiate between formation scenarios. We present new measurements of [M/H] and α -element abundances [ α /Fe] of two subsolar-metallicity stars in the Galactic center. These observations were taken with the adaptive-optics-assisted high-resolution ( R = 24,000) spectrograph NIRSPEC in the K band (1.8–2.6 micron). These are the first α -element abundance measurements of subsolar-metallicity stars in the MW NSC. We measure [M/H] = − 0.59 ± 0.11, [ α /Fe] = 0.05 ± 0.15 and [M/H] = − 0.81 ± 0.12, [ α /Fe] = 0.15 ± 0.16 for the two stars at the Galactic center; the uncertainties are dominated by systematic uncertainties in the spectral templates. The stars have an [ α /Fe] in between the [ α /Fe] of globular clusters and dwarf galaxies at similar [M/H] values. Their abundances are very different than the bulk of themore »stars in the nuclear star cluster. These results indicate that the subsolar-metallicity population in the MW NSC likely originated from infalling dwarf galaxies or globular clusters and are unlikely to have formed in situ.« less
  4. Abstract The kinematics and dynamics of stellar and substellar populations within young, still-forming clusters provide valuable information for constraining theories of formation mechanisms. Using Keck II NIRSPEC+AO data, we have measured radial velocities for 56 low-mass sources within 4′ of the core of the Orion Nebula Cluster (ONC). We also remeasure radial velocities for 172 sources observed with SDSS/APOGEE. These data are combined with proper motions measured using HST ACS/WFPC2/WFC3IR and Keck II NIRC2, creating a sample of 135 sources with all three velocity components. The velocities measured are consistent with a normal distribution in all three components. We measure intrinsic velocity dispersions of ( σ v α , σ v δ , σ v r ) = (1.64 ± 0.12, 2.03 ± 0.13, 2.56 − 0.17 + 0.16 ) km s −1 . Our computed intrinsic velocity dispersion profiles are consistent with the dynamical equilibrium models from Da Rio et al. (2014) in the tangential direction but not in the line-of-sight direction, possibly indicating that the core of the ONC is not yet virialized, and may require a nonspherical potential to explain the observed velocity dispersion profiles. We also observe a slight elongation along the north–south direction following themore »filament, which has been well studied in previous literature, and an elongation in the line-of-sight to tangential velocity direction. These 3D kinematics will help in the development of realistic models of the formation and early evolution of massive clusters.« less
  5. Abstract We present medium-resolution ( λ /Δ λ  = 2700), near-infrared spectral standards for field L0–L2, L4, and L7–Y0 dwarfs obtained with the Near-Infrared Echellette Spectrometer on the Keck II 10 m telescope. These standards allow for detailed spectral comparative analysis of cold brown dwarfs discovered through ongoing ground-based projects such as Backyard Worlds: Planet 9, and forthcoming space-based spectral surveys such as the James Webb Space Telescope, SPHEREx, Euclid, and the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 27, 2023
  6. Abstract

    The detection of satellites around extrasolar planets, so called exomoons, remains a largely unexplored territory. In this work, we study the potential of detecting these elusive objects from radial velocity monitoring of self-luminous, directly imaged planets. This technique is now possible thanks to the development of dedicated instruments combining the power of high-resolution spectroscopy and high-contrast imaging. First, we demonstrate a sensitivity to satellites with a mass ratio of 1%–4% at separations similar to the Galilean moons from observations of a brown-dwarf companion (HR 7672 B;Kmag= 13; 0.″7 separation) with the Keck Planet Imager and Characterizer (R∼ 35,000 in theKband) at the W. M. Keck Observatory. Current instrumentation is therefore already sensitive to large unresolved satellites that could be forming from gravitational instability akin to binary star formation. Using end-to-end simulations, we then estimate that future instruments such as the Multi-Object Diffraction-limited High-resolution Infrared Spectrograph, planned for the Thirty Meter Telescope, should be sensitive to satellites with mass ratios of ∼10−4. Such small moons would likely form in a circumplanetary disk similar to the Jovian satellites in the solar system. Looking for the Rossiter–McLaughlin effect could also be an interesting pathway to detecting the smallest moons on short orbitalmore »periods. Future exomoon discoveries will allow precise mass measurements of the substellar companions that they orbit and provide key insight into the formation of exoplanets. They would also help constrain the population of habitable Earth-sized moons orbiting gas giants in the habitable zone of their stars.

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  7. Abstract

    The HR 2562 system is a rare case where a brown dwarf companion resides in a cleared inner hole of a debris disk, offering invaluable opportunities to study the dynamical interaction between a substellar companion and a dusty disk. We present the first ALMA observation of the system as well as the continued Gemini Planet Imager monitoring of the companion’s orbit with six new epochs from 2016 to 2018. We update the orbital fit, and in combination with absolute astrometry from GAIA, place a 3σupper limit of 18.5MJon the companion’s mass. To interpret the ALMA observations, we used radiative transfer modeling to determine the disk properties. We find that the disk is well resolved and nearly edge-on. While the misalignment angle between the disk and the orbit is weakly constrained, due to the short orbital arc available, the data strongly support a (near) coplanar geometry for the system. Furthermore, we find that the models that describe the ALMA data best have inner radii that are close to the companion’s semimajor axis. Including a posteriori knowledge of the system’s SED further narrows the constraints on the disk’s inner radius and places it at a location that is in reasonable agreement withmore »(possibly interior to) predictions from existing dynamical models of disk truncation by an interior substellar companion. HR 2562 has the potential over the next few years to become a new test bed for dynamical interaction between a debris disk and a substellar companion.

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  8. Evans, Christopher J. ; Bryant, Julia J. ; Motohara, Kentaro (Ed.)
    Since the start of science operations in 1993, the twin 10-meter W. M. Keck Observatory (WMKO) telescopes have continued to maximize their scientific impact and to produce transformative discoveries that keep the observing community on the frontiers of astronomical research. Upgraded capabilities and new instrumentation are provided though collaborative partnerships with Caltech, the University of California, and the University of Hawaii instrument development teams, as well as industry and other organizations. This paper summarizes the performance of recently commissioned infrastructure projects, technology upgrades, and new additions to the suite of observatory instrumentation. We also provide a status of projects currently in design or development phases and, since we keep our eye on the future, summarize projects in exploratory phases that originate from our 2022 strategic plan developed in collaboration with our science community to adapt and respond to evolving science needs.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 29, 2023