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  1. We present an empirical measurement of the dark count rate seen in a large-format MKID array identical to those currently in use at observatories such as Subaru on Maunakea. This work provides compelling evidence for their utility in future experiments that require low-count rate, quiet environments such as dark matter direct detection. Across the bandpass from 0.946-1.534 eV (1310-808 nm) an average count rate of (1.847 ± 0.003) × 10−3photons/pixel/s is measured. Breaking this bandpass into 5 equal-energy bins based on the resolving power of the detectors we find the average dark count rate seen in an MKID is (6.26 ± 0.04) × 10−4photons/pixel/s from 0.946-1.063 eV and (2.73 ± 0.02) × 10−4photons/pixel/s at 1.416-1.534eV. Using lower-noise readout electronics to read out a single MKID pixel we demonstrate that the events measured while the detector is not illuminated largely appear to be a combination of real photons, possible fluorescence caused by cosmic rays, and phonon events in the array substrate. We also find that using lower-noise readout electronics on a single MKID pixel we measure a dark count rate of (9.3 ± 0.9) × 10−4photons/pixel/s over the same bandpass (0.946-1.534 eV) With the single-pixel readout we also characterize the events when the detectors are not illuminated and show that these responses in the MKID are distinct from photons from known light sources such as a laser, likely coming from cosmic ray excitations.

     
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  2. ABSTRACT

    Brown dwarfs with well-measured masses, ages, and luminosities provide direct benchmark tests of substellar formation and evolutionary models. We report the first results from a direct imaging survey aiming to find and characterize substellar companions to nearby accelerating stars with the assistance of the Hipparcos–Gaia Catalog of Accelerations (HGCA). In this paper, we present a joint high-contrast imaging and astrometric discovery of a substellar companion to HD 176535 A, a K3.5V main-sequence star aged approximately $3.59_{-1.15}^{+0.87}$ Gyr at a distance of 36.99 ± 0.03 pc. In advance of our high-contrast imaging observations, we combined precision High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS) Radial Velocities (RVs) and HGCA astrometry to predict the potential companion’s location and mass. We thereafter acquired two nights of KeckAO/NIRC2 direct imaging observations in the L′ band, which revealed a companion with a contrast of $\Delta L^{\prime }_p = 9.20\pm 0.06$ mag at a projected separation of ≈0.35 arcsec (≈13 au) from the host star. We revise our orbital fit by incorporating our dual-epoch relative astrometry using the open-source Markov chain Monte Carlo orbit fitting code orvara. We obtain a dynamical mass of $65.9_{-1.7}^{+2.0} M_{\rm Jup}$ that places HD 176535 B firmly in the brown dwarf regime. HD 176535 B is a new benchmark dwarf useful for constraining the evolutionary and atmospheric models of high-mass brown dwarfs. We found a luminosity of $\rm log(\mathit{ L}_{bol}/L_{\odot }) = -5.26\pm 0.07$ and a model-dependent effective temperature of 980 ± 35 K for HD 176535 B. We infer HD 176535 B to be a T dwarf from its mass, age, and luminosity. Our dynamical mass suggests that some substellar evolutionary models may be underestimating luminosity for high-mass T dwarfs. Given its angular separation and luminosity, HD 176535 B would make a promising candidate for Aperture Masking Interferometry with JWST and GRAVITY/Keck Planet Imager and Characterizer, and further spectroscopic characterization with instruments like the CHARIS/SCExAO/Subaru integral field spectrograph.

     
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  3. Abstract We present orbits for 24 binaries in the field of open cluster NGC 2516 (∼150 Myr) and 13 binaries in the field of open cluster NGC 2422 (∼130 Myr) using results from a multiyear radial-velocity (RV) survey of the cluster cores. Six of these systems are double-lined spectroscopic binaries. We fit these RV variable systems with orvara , a MCMC-based fitting program that models Keplerian orbits. We use precise stellar parallaxes and proper motions from Gaia EDR3 to determine cluster membership. We impose a barycentric RV prior on all cluster members; this significantly improves our orbital constraints. Two of our systems have periods between five and 15 days, the critical window in which tides efficiently damp orbital eccentricity. These binaries should be included in future analyses of circularization across similarly-aged clusters. We also find a relatively flat distribution of binary mass ratios, consistent with previous work. With the inclusion of TESS light curves for all available targets, we identity target 378–036252 as a new eclipsing binary. We also identify a field star whose secondary has a mass in the brown dwarf range, as well as two cluster members whose RVs suggest the presence of an additional companion. Our orbital fits will help constrain the binary fraction and binary properties across stellar age and across stellar environment. 
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  5. Abstract

    We present the direct imaging discovery of a low-mass companion to the nearby accelerating F star, HIP 5319, using SCExAO coupled with the CHARIS, VAMPIRES, and MEC instruments in addition to Keck/NIRC2 imaging. CHARISJHK(1.1–2.4μm) spectroscopic data combined with VAMPIRES 750 nm, MECY, and NIRC2Lpphotometry is best matched by an M3–M7 object with an effective temperature ofT= 3200 K and surface gravity log(g) = 5.5. Using the relative astrometry for HIP 5319 B from CHARIS and NIRC2, and absolute astrometry for the primary from Gaia and Hipparcos, and adopting a log-normal prior assumption for the companion mass, we measure a dynamical mass for HIP 5319 B of3111+35MJ, a semimajor axis of18.64.1+10au, an inclination of69.415+5.6degrees, and an eccentricity of0.420.29+0.39. However, using an alternate prior for our dynamical model yields a much higher mass of12888+127MJ. Using data taken with the LCOGT NRES instrument we also show that the primary HIP 5319 A is a single star in contrast to previous characterizations of the system as a spectroscopic binary. This work underscores the importance of assumed priors in dynamical models for companions detected with imaging and astrometry, and the need to have an updated inventory of system measurements.

     
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  7. 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 nearly 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. 
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