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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

    We present the discovery of TOI-5205b, a transiting Jovian planet orbiting a solar metallicity M4V star, which was discovered using Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite photometry and then confirmed using a combination of precise radial velocities, ground-based photometry, spectra, and speckle imaging. TOI-5205b has one of the highest mass ratios for M-dwarf planets, with a mass ratio of almost 0.3%, as it orbits a host star that is just 0.392 ± 0.015M. Its planetary radius is 1.03 ± 0.03RJ, while the mass is 1.08 ± 0.06MJ. Additionally, the large size of the planet orbiting a small star results in a transit depth of ∼7%, making it one of the deepest transits of a confirmed exoplanet orbiting a main-sequence star. The large transit depth makes TOI-5205b a compelling target to probe its atmospheric properties, as a means of tracing the potential formation pathways. While there have been radial-velocity-only discoveries of giant planets around mid-M dwarfs, this is the first transiting Jupiter with a mass measurement discovered around such a low-mass host star. The high mass of TOI-5205b stretches conventional theories of planet formation and disk scaling relations that cannot easily recreate the conditions required to form such planets.

  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. Abstract Barnard’s star is among the most studied stars given its proximity to the Sun. It is often considered the radial velocity (RV) standard for fully convective stars due to its RV stability and equatorial decl. Recently, an M sin i = 3.3 M ⊕ super-Earth planet candidate with a 233 day orbital period was announced by Ribas et al. New observations from the near-infrared Habitable-zone Planet Finder (HPF) Doppler spectrometer do not show this planetary signal. We ran a suite of experiments on both the original data and a combined original + HPF data set. These experiments include model comparisons, periodogram analyses, and sampling sensitivity, all of which show the signal at the proposed period of 233 days is transitory in nature. The power in the signal is largely contained within 211 RVs that were taken within a 1000 day span of observing. Our preferred model of the system is one that features stellar activity without a planet. We propose that the candidate planetary signal is an alias of the 145 day rotation period. This result highlights the challenge of analyzing long-term, quasi-periodic activity signals over multiyear and multi-instrument observing campaigns.
  6. Abstract

    We present high-resolution observations of a flaring event in the M8 dwarf vB 10 using the near-infrared Habitable-zone Planet Finder (HPF) spectrograph on the Hobby-Eberly Telescope. The high stability of HPF enables us to accurately subtract a vB 10 quiescent spectrum from the flare spectrum to isolate the flare contributions and study the changes in the relative energy of the Caiiinfrared triplet, several Paschen lines, the Heλ10830 triplet lines, and to select iron and magnesium lines in HPF's bandpass. Our analysis reveals the presence of a red asymmetry in the Heλ10830 triplet, which is similar to signatures of coronal rain in the Sun. Photometry of the flare derived from an acquisition camera before spectroscopic observations and the ability to extract spectra from up-the-ramp observations with the HPF infrared detector enable us to perform time-series analysis of part of the flare and provide coarse constraints on the energy and frequency of such flares. We compare this flare with historical observations of flares around vB 10 and other ultracool M dwarfs and attempt to place limits on flare-induced atmospheric mass loss for hypothetical planets around vB 10.