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    Improving direct detection capability close to the star through improved star subtraction and post-processing techniques is vital for discovering new low-mass companions and characterizing known ones at longer wavelengths. We present results of 17 binary star systems observed with the Magellan adaptive optics system (MagAO) and the Clio infrared camera on the Magellan Clay Telescope using binary differential imaging (BDI). BDI is an application of reference differential imaging (RDI) and angular differential imaging (ADI) applied to wide binary star systems (2 arcsec <Δρ < 10 arcsec) within the isoplanatic patch in the infrared. Each star serves as the point spread function (PSF) reference for the other, and we performed PSF estimation and subtraction using principal component analysis. We report contrast and mass limits for the 35 stars in our initial survey using BDI with MagAO/Clio in L′ and 3.95 µm bands. Our achieved contrasts varied between systems, and spanned a range of contrasts from 3.0 to 7.5 magnitudes and a range of separations from 0.2 to 2 arcsec. Stars in our survey span a range of masses, and our achieved contrasts correspond to late-type M-dwarf masses down to ∼10 MJup. We also report detection of a candidate companion signal at 0.2 arcsecmore »(18 au) around HIP 67506 A (SpT G5V, mass ∼1.2 M⊙), which we estimate to be $\sim 60-90 \, \rm{M_{Jup}}$. We found that the effectiveness of BDI is highest for approximately equal brightness binaries in high-Strehl conditions.

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  2. Abstract

    Companions embedded in the cavities of transitional circumstellar disks have been observed to exhibit excess luminosity at Hα, an indication that they are actively accreting. We report 5 yr (2013–2018) of monitoring of the position and Hαexcess luminosity of the embedded, accreting low-mass stellar companion HD 142527 B from the MagAO/VisAO instrument. We usepyklip, a Python implementation of the Karhunen–Loeve Image Processing algorithm, to detect the companion. Usingpyklipforward modeling, we constrain the relative astrometry to 1–2 mas precision and achieve sufficient photometric precision (±0.2 mag, 3% error) to detect changes in the Hαcontrast of the companion over time. In order to accurately determine the relative astrometry of the companion, we conduct an astrometric calibration of the MagAO/VisAO camera against 20 yr of Keck/NIRC2 images of the Trapezium cluster. We demonstrate agreement of our VisAO astrometry with other published positions for HD 142527 B, and useorbitize!to generate a posterior distribution of orbits fit to the relative astrometry of HD 142527 B. Our data suggest that the companion is close to periastron passage, on an orbit significantly misaligned with respect to both the wide circumbinary disk and the recently observed inner disk encircling HD 142527 A. We translate observed Hαcontrasts formore »HD 142527 B into mass accretion rate estimates on the order of 4–9 × 10−10Myr−1. Photometric variation in the Hαexcess of the companion suggests that the accretion rate onto the companion is variable. This work represents a significant step toward observing accretion-driven variability onto protoplanets, such as PDS 70 b&c.

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  3. One of the top priorities in observational astronomy is the direct imaging and characterization of extrasolar planets (exoplanets) and planetary systems. Direct images of rocky exoplanets are of particular interest in the search for life beyond the Earth, but they tend to be rather challenging targets since they are orders-of-magnitude dimmer than their host stars and are separated by small angular distances that are comparable to the classicalλ<#comment/>/Ddiffraction limit, even for the coming generation of 30 m class telescopes. Current and planned efforts for ground-based direct imaging of exoplanets combine high-order adaptive optics (AO) with a stellar coronagraph observing at wavelengths ranging from the visible to the mid-IR. The primary barrier to achieving high contrast with current direct imaging methods is quasi-static speckles, caused largely by non-common path aberrations (NCPAs) in the coronagraph optical train. Recent work has demonstrated that millisecond imaging, which effectively “freezes” the atmosphere’s turbulent phase screens, should allow the wavefront sensor (WFS) telemetry to be used as a probe of the optical system to measure NCPAs. Starting with a realistic model of a telescope with an AO system and a stellar coronagraph, this paper provides simulations of several closely related regression models that take advantagemore »of millisecond telemetry from the WFS and coronagraph’s science camera. The simplest regression model, called the naïve estimator, does not treat the noise and other sources of information loss in the WFS. Despite its flaws, in one of the simulations presented herein, the naïve estimator provides a useful estimate of an NCPA of∼<#comment/>0.5radian RMS (≈<#comment/>λ<#comment/>/13), with an accuracy of∼<#comment/>0.06radian RMS in 1 min of simulated sky time on a magnitude 8 star. Thebias-corrected estimatorgeneralizes the regression model to account for the noise and information loss in the WFS. A simulation of the bias-corrected estimator with 4 min of sky time included an NCPA of∼<#comment/>0.05radian RMS (≈<#comment/>λ<#comment/>/130) and an extended exoplanet scene. The joint regression of the bias-corrected estimator simultaneously achieved an NCPA estimate with an accuracy of∼<#comment/>5×<#comment/>10−<#comment/>3radian RMS and an estimate of the exoplanet scene that was free of the self-subtraction artifacts typically associated with differential imaging. The5σ<#comment/>contrast achieved by imaging of the exoplanet scene was∼<#comment/>1.7×<#comment/>10−<#comment/>4at a distance of3λ<#comment/>/Dfrom the star and∼<#comment/>2.1×<#comment/>10−<#comment/>5at10λ<#comment/>/D. These contrast values are comparable to the very best on-sky results obtained from multi-wavelength observations that employ both angular differential imaging (ADI) and spectral differential imaging (SDI). This comparable performance is despite the fact that our simulations are quasi-monochromatic, which makes SDI impossible, nor do they have diurnal field rotation, which makes ADI impossible. The error covariance matrix of the joint regression shows substantial correlations in the exoplanet and NCPA estimation errors, indicating that exoplanet intensity and NCPA need to be estimated self-consistently to achieve high contrast.

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  4. The success of ground-based, high contrast imaging for the detection of exoplanets in part depends on the ability to differentiate between quasi-static speckles caused by aberrations not corrected by adaptive optics (AO) systems, known as non-common path aberrations (NCPAs), and the planet intensity signal. Frazin (ApJ, 2013) introduced a post-processing algorithm demonstrating that simultaneous millisecond exposures in the science camera and wavefront sensor (WFS) can be used with a statistical inference procedure to determine both the series expanded NCPA coefficients and the planetary signal. We demonstrate, via simulation, that using this algorithm in a closed-loop AO system, real-time estimation and correction of the quasi-static NCPA is possible without separate deformable mirror (DM) probes. Thus the use of this technique allows for the removal of the quasi-static speckles that can be mistaken for planetary signals without the need for new optical hardware, improving the efficiency of ground-based exoplanet detection. In our simulations, we explore the behavior of the Frazin Algorithm (FA) and the dependence of its convergence to an accurate estimate on factors such as Strehl ratio, NCPA strength, and number of algorithm search basis functions. We then apply this knowledge to simulate running the algorithm in real-time in a nearlymore »ideal setting. We then discuss adaptations that can be made to the algorithm to improve its real-time performance, and show their efficacy in simulation. A final simulation tests the technique’s resilience against imperfect knowledge of the AO residual phase, motivating an analysis of the feasibility of using this technique in a real closed-loop Extreme AO system such as SCExAO or MagAO-X, in terms of computational complexity and the accuracy of the estimated quasi-static NCPA correction.« less