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  1. Abstract

    As part of a comprehensive effort to characterize the nearest stars, the CHIRON echelle spectrograph on the CTIO/SMARTS 1.5 m telescope is being used to acquire high-resolution (R= 80,000) spectra of K dwarfs within 50 pc. This paper provides spectral details about 35 K dwarfs from five benchmark sets with estimated ages spanning 20 Myr–5.7 Gyr. Four spectral age and activity indicators are tested, three of which aligned with the estimated ages of the benchmark groups—the Naidoublet (5889.95 and 5895.92 Å), the Hαline (6562.8 Å), and the Liiresonance line (6707.8 Å). The benchmark stars are then used to evaluate seven field K dwarfs exhibiting variable radial velocities for which initial CHIRON data did not show obvious companions. Two of these stars are estimated to be younger than 700 Myr, while one exhibits stellar activity unusual for older K-dwarf field stars and is possibly young. The four remaining stars turn out to be spectroscopic binaries, two of which are being reported here for the first time with orbital periods found using CHIRON data. Spectral analysis of the combined sample of 42 benchmark and variable radial velocity stars indicates temperatures ranging from 3900 to 5300 K and metallicities from −0.4 <more »[Fe/H] < +0.2. We also determinelogg=4.54.7for main-sequence K dwarfs. Ultimately, this study will target several thousand of the nearest K dwarfs and provide results that will serve present and future studies of stellar astrophysics and exoplanet habitability.

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    Westerlund 1 (Wd 1) is one of the most relevant star clusters in the Milky Way to study massive star formation, although it is still poorly known. Here, we used photometric and spectroscopic data to model the eclipsing binary W36, showing that its spectral type is O6.5 III  +  O9.5 IV, hotter and more luminous than thought before. Its distance dW36 = 4.03 ± 0.25 kpc agrees, within the errors, with three recent Gaia-EDR3-based distances reported in Paper I, Beasor & Davies, and by Negueruela’s group. However, they follow different approaches to fix the zero-points for red sources such as those in Wd 1, and to select the best approach, we used an accurate modelling of W36. The weighted mean distance of our parallax (Paper I) and binary distances results in dwd1 = 4.05 ± 0.20 kpc, with an unprecedented accuracy of 5 per cent. We adopted isochrones based on the Geneva code with supersolar abundances to infer the age of W36B as 6.4 ± 0.7 Myr. This object seems to be part of the prolific star formation burst represented by OB giants and supergiants that occurred at 7.1 ± 0.5 Myr ago, which coincides with the recently published PMS isochrone with age 7.2 Myr. Other BA-type luminous evolved stars and yellow hypergiants spread in the age range of 8–11 Myr. The four redmore »supergiants discussed in paper I represent the oldest population of the cluster with an age of 10.7 ± 1 Myr. The multiple episodes of star formation in Wd 1 are reminiscent of that reported for the R136/30 Dor LMC cluster.

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    Westerlund 1 (Wd 1) is one of the most massive young star clusters in the Milky Way. Although relevant for star formation and evolution, its fundamental parameters are not yet very well constrained. We aim to derive an accurate distance and provide constraints on the cluster age. We used the photometric and astrometric information available in the Gaia Early Data Release 3 (Gaia-EDR3) to infer its distance of 4.06$^{+0.36}_{-0.34}$ kpc. Modelling of the eclipsing binary system W36, reported in Paper II, led to the distance of 4.03 ± 0.25 kpc, in agreement with the Gaia-EDR3 distance and, therefore, validating the parallax zero-point correction approach appropriate for red objects. The weighted average distance based on these two methods results in dwd1  =  4.05 ± 0.20 kpc (m − M  =  13.04$^{+0.11}_{-0.12}$ mag), which has an unprecedented accuracy of 5 per cent. Using the Binary Population and Spectral Synthesis (BPASS) models for the Red Supergiants with solar abundance, we derived an age of 10.7 ± 1 Myr, in excellent agreement with recent work by Beasor & Davies (10.4$^{+1.3}_{-1.2}$ Myr) based on MIST evolutionary models. In Paper II, W36B was reported to be younger than 7.1 Myr, supporting recent claims of a temporal spread of several Myrs for the star-forming process within Wd 1 instead of a single monolithic starburst episode scenario.

  4. Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2023
  5. Abstract We present the detection of neutral helium at 10833 Å in the atmosphere of WASP-52b and tentative evidence of helium in the atmosphere of the grazing WASP-177b, using high-resolution observations acquired with the NIRSPEC instrument on the Keck II telescope. We detect excess absorption by helium in WASP-52b’s atmosphere of 3.44% ± 0.31% (11 σ ), or equivalently 66 ± 5 atmospheric scale heights. This absorption is centered on the planet’s rest frame (Δ v = 0.00 ± 1.19 km s −1 ). We model the planet’s escape using a 1D Parker wind model and calculate its mass-loss rate to be ∼1.4 × 10 11 g s −1 , or equivalently 0.5% of its mass per gigayear. For WASP-177b, we see evidence for redshifted (Δ v = 6.02 ± 1.88 km s −1 ) helium-like absorption of 1.28% ± 0.29% (equal to 23 ± 5 atmospheric scale heights). However, due to residual systematics in the transmission spectrum of similar amplitude, we do not interpret this as significant evidence for He absorption in the planet’s atmosphere. Using a 1D Parker wind model, we set a 3 σ upper limit on WASP-177b’s escape rate of 7.9 × 10 10 g smore »−1 . Our results, taken together with recent literature detections, suggest the tentative relation between XUV irradiation and He i absorption amplitude may be shallower than previously suggested. Our results highlight how metastable helium can advance our understanding of atmospheric loss and its role in shaping the exoplanet population.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 29, 2023
  6. Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2023
  7. Abstract

    Observations of present-day mass-loss rates for close-in transiting exoplanets provide a crucial check on models of planetary evolution. One common approach is to model the planetary absorption signal during the transit in lines like Hei10830 with an isothermal Parker wind, but this leads to a degeneracy between the assumed outflow temperatureT0and the mass-loss rateṀthat can span orders of magnitude inṀ. In this study, we re-examine the isothermal Parker wind model using an energy-limited framework. We show that in cases where photoionization is the only heat source, there is a physical upper limit to the efficiency parameterεcorresponding to the maximal amount of heating. This allows us to rule out a subset of winds with high temperatures and large mass-loss rates as they do not generate enough heat to remain self-consistent. To demonstrate the utility of this framework, we consider spectrally unresolved metastable helium observations of HAT-P-11b, WASP-69b, and HAT-P-18b. For the former two planets, we find that only relatively weak (Ṁ1011.5g s−1) outflows can match the metastable helium observations while remaining energetically self-consistent, while for HAT-P-18b all of the Parker wind models matching the helium data are self-consistent.more »Our results are in good agreement with more detailed self-consistent simulations and constraints from high-resolution transit spectra.

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