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  1. Abstract

    The eccentricity of a substellar companion is an important tracer of its formation history. Directly imaged companions often present poorly constrained eccentricities. A recently developed prior framework for orbit fitting called “observable-based priors” has the advantage of improving biases in derived orbit parameters for objects with minimal phase coverage, which is the case for the majority of directly imaged companions. We use observable-based priors to fit the orbits of 21 exoplanets and brown dwarfs in an effort to obtain the eccentricity distributions with minimized biases. We present the objects’ individual posteriors compared to their previously derived distributions, showing in many cases a shift toward lower eccentricities. We analyze the companions’ eccentricity distribution at a population level, and compare this to the distributions obtained with the traditional uniform priors. We fit a Beta distribution to our posteriors using observable-based priors, obtaining shape parametersα=1.090.22+0.30andβ=1.420.25+0.33. This represents an approximately flat distribution of eccentricities. The derivedαandβparameters are consistent with the values obtained using uniform priors, though uniform priors lead to a tail at high eccentricities. We find that separating the population into high- and low-mass companions yields different distributions depending on the classification of intermediate-mass objects. We also determine via simulation that the minimal orbit coverage needed to give meaningful posteriors under the assumptions made for directly imaged planets is ≈15% of the inferred period of the orbit.

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  2. Abstract The formation and evolution pathway for the directly imaged multiplanetary system HR 8799 remains mysterious. Accurate constraints on the chemical composition of the planetary atmosphere(s) are key to solving the mystery. We perform a detailed atmospheric retrieval on HR 8799 c to infer the chemical abundances and abundance ratios using a combination of photometric data along with low- and high-resolution spectroscopic data ( R ∼ 20–35,000). We specifically retrieve [C/H], [O/H], and C/O and find them to be 0.55 − 0.39 + 0.36 , 0.47 − 0.32 + 0.31 , and 0.67 − 0.15 + 0.12 at 68% confidence. The superstellar C and O abundances, yet a stellar C/O ratio, reveal a potential formation pathway for HR 8799 c. Planet c, and likely the other gas giant planets in the system, formed early on (likely within ∼1 Myr), followed by further atmospheric enrichment in C and O through the accretion of solids beyond the CO ice line. The enrichment either preceded or took place during the early phase of the inward migration to the current planet locations. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 6, 2023
  3. Schmidt, Dirk ; Schreiber, Laura ; Vernet, Elise (Ed.)
    We present the status and plans for the Keck All sky Precision Adaptive optics (KAPA) program. KAPA includes (1) an upgrade to the Keck I laser guide star adaptive optics (AO) facility to improve image quality and sky coverage, (2) the inclusion of AO telemetry-based point spread function estimates with all science exposures, (3) four key science programs, and (4) an educational component focused on broadening the participation of women and underrepresented groups in instrumentation. For this conference we focus on the KAPA upgrades since the 2020 SPIE proceedings1 including implementation of a laser asterism generator, wavefront sensor, real-time controller, asterism and turbulence simulators, the laser tomography system itself along with new operations software and science tools, and modifications to an existing near-infrared tip-tilt sensor to support multiple natural guide star and focus measurements. We will also report on the results of daytime and on-sky calibrations and testing. 
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  4. Abstract Direct imaging studies have mainly used low-resolution spectroscopy ( R ∼ 20–100) to study the atmospheres of giant exoplanets and brown dwarf companions, but the presence of clouds has often led to degeneracies in the retrieved atmospheric abundances (e.g., carbon-to-oxygen ratio, metallicity). This precludes clear insights into the formation mechanisms of these companions. The Keck Planet Imager and Characterizer (KPIC) uses adaptive optics and single-mode fibers to transport light into NIRSPEC ( R ∼ 35,000 in the K band), and aims to address these challenges with high-resolution spectroscopy. Using an atmospheric retrieval framework based on petitRADTRANS , we analyze the KPIC high-resolution spectrum (2.29–2.49 μ m) and the archival low-resolution spectrum (1–2.2 μ m) of the benchmark brown dwarf HD 4747 B ( m = 67.2 ± 1.8 M Jup , a = 10.0 ± 0.2 au, T eff ≈ 1400 K). We find that our measured C/O and metallicity for the companion from the KPIC high-resolution spectrum agree with those of its host star within 1 σ –2 σ . The retrieved parameters from the K -band high-resolution spectrum are also independent of our choice of cloud model. In contrast, the retrieved parameters from the low-resolution spectrum are highly sensitive to our chosen cloud model. Finally, we detect CO, H 2 O, and CH 4 (volume-mixing ratio of log(CH 4 ) = −4.82 ± 0.23) in this L/T transition companion with the KPIC data. The relative molecular abundances allow us to constrain the degree of chemical disequilibrium in the atmosphere of HD 4747 B, and infer a vertical diffusion coefficient that is at the upper limit predicted from mixing length theory. 
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  5. Abstract

    The detection of satellites around extrasolar planets, so called exomoons, remains a largely unexplored territory. In this work, we study the potential of detecting these elusive objects from radial velocity monitoring of self-luminous, directly imaged planets. This technique is now possible thanks to the development of dedicated instruments combining the power of high-resolution spectroscopy and high-contrast imaging. First, we demonstrate a sensitivity to satellites with a mass ratio of 1%–4% at separations similar to the Galilean moons from observations of a brown-dwarf companion (HR 7672 B;Kmag= 13; 0.″7 separation) with the Keck Planet Imager and Characterizer (R∼ 35,000 in theKband) at the W. M. Keck Observatory. Current instrumentation is therefore already sensitive to large unresolved satellites that could be forming from gravitational instability akin to binary star formation. Using end-to-end simulations, we then estimate that future instruments such as the Multi-Object Diffraction-limited High-resolution Infrared Spectrograph, planned for the Thirty Meter Telescope, should be sensitive to satellites with mass ratios of ∼10−4. Such small moons would likely form in a circumplanetary disk similar to the Jovian satellites in the solar system. Looking for the Rossiter–McLaughlin effect could also be an interesting pathway to detecting the smallest moons on short orbital periods. Future exomoon discoveries will allow precise mass measurements of the substellar companions that they orbit and provide key insight into the formation of exoplanets. They would also help constrain the population of habitable Earth-sized moons orbiting gas giants in the habitable zone of their stars.

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  6. Abstract A benchmark brown dwarf (BD) is a BD whose properties (e.g., mass and chemical composition) are precisely and independently measured. Benchmark BDs are valuable in testing theoretical evolutionary tracks, spectral synthesis, and atmospheric retrievals for substellar objects. Here, we report results of atmospheric retrieval on a synthetic spectrum and a benchmark BD, HR 7672 B, with petitRADTRANS . First, we test the retrieval framework on a synthetic PHOENIX BT-Settl spectrum with a solar composition. We show that the retrieved C and O abundances are consistent with solar values, but the retrieved C/O is overestimated by 0.13–0.18, which is about four times higher than the formal error bar. Second, we perform retrieval on HR 7672 B using high spectral-resolution data ( R = 35,000) from the Keck Planet Imager and Characterizer and near-infrared photometry. We retrieve [C/H], [O/H], and C/O to be −0.24 ± 0.05, −0.19 ± 0.04, and 0.52 ± 0.02. These values are consistent with those of HR 7672 A within 1.5 σ . As such, HR 7672 B is among only a few benchmark BDs (along with Gl 570 D and HD 3651 B) that have been demonstrated to have consistent elemental abundances with their primary stars. Our work provides a practical procedure of testing and performing atmospheric retrieval, and sheds light on potential systematics of future retrievals using high- and low-resolution data. 
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  7. Abstract

    The HR 2562 system is a rare case where a brown dwarf companion resides in a cleared inner hole of a debris disk, offering invaluable opportunities to study the dynamical interaction between a substellar companion and a dusty disk. We present the first ALMA observation of the system as well as the continued Gemini Planet Imager monitoring of the companion’s orbit with six new epochs from 2016 to 2018. We update the orbital fit, and in combination with absolute astrometry from GAIA, place a 3σupper limit of 18.5MJon the companion’s mass. To interpret the ALMA observations, we used radiative transfer modeling to determine the disk properties. We find that the disk is well resolved and nearly edge-on. While the misalignment angle between the disk and the orbit is weakly constrained, due to the short orbital arc available, the data strongly support a (near) coplanar geometry for the system. Furthermore, we find that the models that describe the ALMA data best have inner radii that are close to the companion’s semimajor axis. Including a posteriori knowledge of the system’s SED further narrows the constraints on the disk’s inner radius and places it at a location that is in reasonable agreement with (possibly interior to) predictions from existing dynamical models of disk truncation by an interior substellar companion. HR 2562 has the potential over the next few years to become a new test bed for dynamical interaction between a debris disk and a substellar companion.

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  8. Schmidt, Dirk ; Schreiber, Laura ; Vernet, Elise (Ed.)
  9. null (Ed.)