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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 4, 2022
  2. Abstract We present the validation of a transiting low-density exoplanet orbiting the M2.5 dwarf TOI 620 discovered by the NASA Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) mission. We utilize photometric data from both TESS and ground-based follow-up observations to validate the ephemerides of the 5.09 day transiting signal and vet false-positive scenarios. High-contrast imaging data are used to resolve the stellar host and exclude stellar companions at separations ≳0.″2. We obtain follow-up spectroscopy and corresponding precise radial velocities (RVs) with multiple precision radial velocity (PRV) spectrographs to confirm the planetary nature of the transiting exoplanet. We calculate a 5 σ uppermore »limit of M P < 7.1 M ⊕ and ρ P < 0.74 g cm −3 , and we identify a nontransiting 17.7 day candidate. We also find evidence for a substellar (1–20 M J ) companion with a projected separation ≲20 au from a combined analysis of Gaia, adaptive optics imaging, and RVs. With the discovery of this outer companion, we carry out a detailed exploration of the possibilities that TOI 620 b might instead be a circum-secondary planet or a pair of eclipsing binary stars orbiting the host in a hierarchical triple system. We find, under scrutiny, that we can exclude both of these scenarios from the multiwavelength transit photometry, thus validating TOI 620 b as a low-density exoplanet transiting the central star in this system. The low density of TOI 620 b makes it one of the most amenable exoplanets for atmospheric characterization, such as with the James Webb Space Telescope and Ariel, validated or confirmed by the TESS mission to date.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 16, 2023
  3. Abstract We present the occurrence rates for rocky planets in the habitable zones (HZs) of main-sequence dwarf stars based on the Kepler DR25 planet candidate catalog and Gaia-based stellar properties. We provide the first analysis in terms of star-dependent instellation flux, which allows us to track HZ planets. We define η ⊕ as the HZ occurrence of planets with radii between 0.5 and 1.5 R ⊕ orbiting stars with effective temperatures between 4800 and 6300 K. We find that η ⊕ for the conservative HZ is between (errors reflect 68% credible intervals) and planets per star, while the optimistic HZmore »occurrence is between and planets per star. These bounds reflect two extreme assumptions about the extrapolation of completeness beyond orbital periods where DR25 completeness data are available. The large uncertainties are due to the small number of detected small HZ planets. We find similar occurrence rates between using Poisson likelihood Bayesian analysis and using Approximate Bayesian Computation. Our results are corrected for catalog completeness and reliability. Both completeness and the planet occurrence rate are dependent on stellar effective temperature. We also present occurrence rates for various stellar populations and planet size ranges. We estimate with 95% confidence that, on average, the nearest HZ planet around G and K dwarfs is ∼6 pc away and there are ∼4 HZ rocky planets around G and K dwarfs within 10 pc of the Sun.« less