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  1. Abstract Understanding magnetic activity on the surface of stars other than the Sun is important for exoplanet analyses to properly characterize an exoplanet’s atmosphere and to further characterize stellar activity on a wide range of stars. Modeling stellar surface features of a variety of spectral types and rotation rates is key to understanding the magnetic activity of these stars. Using data from Kepler, we use the starspot modeling program STarSPot ( STSP ) to measure the position and size of spots for KOI-340, which is an eclipsing binary consisting of a subgiant star ( T eff = 5593 ± 27 K, R ⋆ = 1.98 ± 0.05 R ⊙ ) with an M-dwarf companion ( M ⋆ = 0.214 ± 0.006 M ⊙ ). STSP uses a novel technique to measure the spot positions and radii by using the transiting secondary to study and model individual active regions on the stellar surface using high-precision photometry. We find that the average size of spot features on KOI-340's primary is ∼10% the radius of the star, i.e., two times larger than the mean size of solar-maximum sunspots. The spots on KOI-340 are present at every longitude and show possible signs of differentialmore »rotation. The minimum fractional spotted area of KOI-340's primary is 2 − 2 + 12 % , while the spotted area of the Sun is at most 0.2%. One transit of KOI-340 shows a signal in the transit consistent with a plage; this plage occurs right before a dark spot, indicating that the plage and spot might be colocated on the surface of the star.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 17, 2023
  2. Abstract

    The purpose of this work is to extend a sample of accurately modeled, benchmark-grade eclipsing binaries (EBs) with accurately determined masses and radii. We select four “well-behaved” Kepler binaries, KIC 2306740, KIC 4076952, KIC 5193386 and KIC 5288543, each with at least eight double-lined spectra from the Apache Point Observatory Galactic Evolution Experiment instrument that is part of the Sloan Digital Sky Surveys III and IV, and from the Hobby–Eberly High Resolution Spectrograph. We obtain masses and radii with uncertainties of 2.5% or less for all four systems. Three of these systems have orbital periods longer than 9 days, and thus populate an undersampled region of the parameter space for extremely well-characterized detached EBs. We compare the derived masses and radii againstmesa mistisochrones to determine the ages of the systems. All systems were found to be coeval, showing that the results are consistent acrossmesa mistandphoebe.

  3. Precision laser spectroscopy is key to many developments in atomic and molecular physics and the advancement of related technologies such as atomic clocks and sensors. However, in important spectroscopic scenarios, such as astronomy and remote sensing, the light is of thermal origin, and interferometric or diffractive spectrometers typically replace laser spectroscopy. In this work, we employ laser-based heterodyne radiometry to measure incoherent light sources in the near-infrared and introduce techniques for absolute frequency calibration with a laser frequency comb. Measuring the solar continuum, we obtain a signal-to-noise ratio that matches the fundamental quantum-limited prediction given by the thermal photon distribution and our system’s efficiency, bandwidth, and averaging time. With resolving powerR∼<#comment/>106, we determine the center frequency of an iron line in the solar spectrum to sub-MHz absolute frequency uncertainty in under 10 min, a fractional precision 1/4000 the linewidth. Additionally, we propose concepts that take advantage of refractive beam shaping to decrease the effects of pointing instabilities by100×<#comment/>, and of frequency comb multiplexing to increase data acquisition rates and spectral bandwidths by comparable factors. Taken together, our work brings the power of telecommunications photonics and the precision of frequency comb metrology to laser heterodyne radiometry, with implications formore »solar and astronomical spectroscopy, remote sensing, and precise Doppler velocimetry.

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  4. Abstract

    We have gathered near-infraredzyJ-band high-resolution spectra of nearly 300 field red giant stars with known lithium abundances in order to survey their Heiλ10830 absorption strengths. This transition is an indicator of chromospheric activity and/or mass loss in red giants. The majority of stars in our sample reside in the red clump or red horizontal branch based on theirVJ,MVcolor–magnitude diagram, and GaiaTeffand log(g) values. Most of our target stars are Li-poor in the sense of having normally low Li abundances, defined here as logϵ(Li) < 1.25. Over 90% of these Li-poor stars have weakλ10830 features. However, more than half of the 83 Li-rich stars (logϵ(Li) > 1.25) have strongλ10830 absorptions. These largeλ10830 lines signal excess chromospheric activity in Li-rich stars; there is almost no indication of significant mass loss. The Li-rich giants may also have a higher binary fraction than Li-poor stars, based on their astrometric data. It appears likely that both residence on the horizontal branch and present or past binary interaction play roles in the significant Li–He connection established in this survey.

  5. 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
  6. Abstract Individual chemical abundances for 14 elements (C, O, Na, Mg, Al, Si, K, Ca, Ti, V, Cr, Mn, Fe, and Ni) are derived for a sample of M dwarfs using high-resolution, near-infrared H -band spectra from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey-IV/Apache Point Observatory Galactic Evolution Experiment (APOGEE) survey. The quantitative analysis included synthetic spectra computed with 1D LTE plane-parallel MARCS models using the APOGEE Data Release 17 line list to determine chemical abundances. The sample consists of 11 M dwarfs in binary systems with warmer FGK dwarf primaries and 10 measured interferometric angular diameters. To minimize atomic diffusion effects, [X/Fe] ratios are used to compare M dwarfs in binary systems and literature results for their warmer primary stars, indicating good agreement (<0.08 dex) for all studied elements. The mean abundance difference in primaries minus this work’s M dwarfs is −0.05 ± 0.03 dex. It indicates that M dwarfs in binary systems are a reliable way to calibrate empirical relationships. A comparison with abundance, effective temperature, and surface gravity results from the APOGEE Stellar Parameter and Chemical Abundances Pipeline (ASPCAP) Data Release 16 finds a systematic offset of [M/H], T eff , log g = +0.21 dex, −50 K, andmore »0.30 dex, respectively, although ASPCAP [X/Fe] ratios are generally consistent with this study. The metallicities of the M dwarfs cover the range of [Fe/H] = −0.9 to +0.4 and are used to investigate Galactic chemical evolution via trends of [X/Fe] as a function of [Fe/H]. The behavior of the various elemental abundances [X/Fe] versus [Fe/H] agrees well with the corresponding trends derived from warmer FGK dwarfs, demonstrating that the APOGEE spectra can be used to examine Galactic chemical evolution using large samples of selected M dwarfs.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 1, 2023
  7. Abstract We report the discovery of an M = 67 ± 2 M J brown dwarf transiting the early M dwarf TOI-2119 on an eccentric orbit ( e = 0.3362 ± 0.0005) at an orbital period of 7.200861 ± 0.000005 days. We confirm the brown dwarf nature of the transiting companion using a combination of ground-based and space-based photometry and high-precision velocimetry from the Habitable-zone Planet Finder. Detection of the secondary eclipse with TESS photometry enables a precise determination of the eccentricity and reveals the brown dwarf has a brightness temperature of 2100 ± 80 K, a value which is consistent with an early L dwarf. TOI-2119 is one of the most eccentric known brown dwarfs with P < 10 days, possibly due to the long circularization timescales for an object orbiting an M dwarf. We assess the prospects for determining the obliquity of the host star to probe formation scenarios and the possibility of additional companions in the system using Gaia EDR3 and our radial velocities.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 25, 2023
  8. Abstract The Gaia Alert System issued an alert on 2020 August 28, on Gaia 20eae when its light curve showed a ∼4.25 magnitude outburst. We present multiwavelength photometric and spectroscopic follow-up observations of this source since 2020 August and identify it as the newest member of the FUor/EXor family of sources. We find that the present brightening of Gaia 20eae is not due to the dust-clearing event but due to an intrinsic change in the spectral energy distribution. The light curve of Gaia 20eae shows a transition stage during which most of its brightness (∼3.4 mag) has occurred on a short timescale of 34 days with a rise rate of 3 mag/month. Gaia 20eae has now started to decay at a rate of 0.3 mag/month. We have detected a strong P Cygni profile in H α , which indicates the presence of winds originating from regions close to the accretion. We find signatures of very strong and turbulent outflow and accretion in Gaia 20eae during this outburst phase. We have also detected a redshifted absorption component in all of the Ca ii IR triplet lines consistent with a signature of hot infalling gas in the magnetospheric accretion funnel. This enablesmore »us to constrain the viewing angle with respect to the accretion funnel. Our investigation of Gaia 20eae points toward magnetospheric accretion being the phenomenon for the current outburst.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 1, 2023
  9. Abstract We confirm the planetary nature of two gas giants discovered by the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite to transit M dwarfs. TOI-3714 ( V = 15.24, J = 11.74) is an M2 dwarf hosting a hot Jupiter ( M p = 0.70 ± 0.03 M J and R p = 1.01 ± 0.03 R J ) on an orbital period of 2.154849 ± 0.000001 days with a resolved white dwarf companion. TOI-3629 ( V = 14.63, J = 11.42) is an M1 dwarf hosting a hot Jupiter ( M p = 0.26 ± 0.02 M J and R p =0.74 ± 0.02 R J ) on an orbital period of 3.936551 − 0.000006 + 0.000005 days. We characterize each transiting companion using a combination of ground-based and space-based photometry, speckle imaging, and high-precision velocimetry from the Habitable-zone Planet Finder and the NEID spectrographs. With the discovery of these two systems, there are now nine M dwarfs known to host transiting hot Jupiters. Among this population, TOI-3714 b ( T eq = 750 ± 20 K and TSM = 98 ± 7) and TOI-3629 b ( T eq = 690 ± 20 K and TSM = 80 ± 9) are warmmore »gas giants amenable to additional characterization with transmission spectroscopy to probe atmospheric chemistry and, for TOI-3714, obliquity measurements to probe formation scenarios.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 14, 2023
  10. 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.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 9, 2022