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    TOI-1259 consists of a transiting exoplanet orbiting a main-sequence star, with a bound outer white dwarf (WDs) companion. Less than a dozen systems with this architecture are known. We conduct follow-up spectroscopy on the WD TOI-1259B using the Large Binocular Telescope to better characterize it. We observe only strong hydrogen lines, making TOI-1259B a DA WD. We see no evidence of heavy element pollution, which would have been evidence of planetary material around the WD. Such pollution is seen in $\sim 25{-}50{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$ of WDs, but it is unknown if this rate is higher or lower in TOI-1259-like systems that contain a known planet. Our spectroscopy permits an improved WD age measurement of $4.05^{+1.00}_{-0.42}$ Gyr, which matches gyrochronology of the main-sequence star. This is the first of an expanded sample of similar binaries that will allow us to calibrate these dating methods and provide a new perspective on planets in binaries.

  2. Abstract Highly eccentric orbits are one of the major surprises of exoplanets relative to the solar system and indicate rich and tumultuous dynamical histories. One system of particular interest is Kepler-1656, which hosts a sub-Jovian planet with an eccentricity of 0.8. Sufficiently eccentric orbits will shrink in the semimajor axis due to tidal dissipation of orbital energy during periastron passage. Here our goal was to assess whether Kepler-1656b is currently undergoing such high-eccentricity migration, and to further understand the system’s origins and architecture. We confirm a second planet in the system with M c = 0.40 ± 0.09 M jup and P c = 1919 ± 27 days. We simulated the dynamical evolution of planet b in the presence of planet c and find a variety of possible outcomes for the system, such as tidal migration and engulfment. The system is consistent with an in situ dynamical origin of planet b followed by subsequent eccentric Kozai–Lidov perturbations that excite Kepler-1656b’s eccentricity gently, i.e., without initiating tidal migration. Thus, despite its high eccentricity, we find no evidence that planet b is or has migrated through the high-eccentricity channel. Finally, we predict the outer orbit to be mutually inclined in a nearlymore »perpendicular configuration with respect to the inner planet orbit based on the outcomes of our simulations and make observable predictions for the inner planet’s spin–orbit angle. Our methodology can be applied to other eccentric or tidally locked planets to constrain their origins, orbital configurations, and properties of a potential companion.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 22, 2023
  3. Abstract The recent discoveries of WD J091405.30+191412.25 (WD J0914 hereafter), a white dwarf (WD) likely accreting material from an ice-giant planet, and WD 1856+534 b (WD 1856 b hereafter), a Jupiter-sized planet transiting a WD, are the first direct evidence of giant planets orbiting WDs. However, for both systems, the observations indicate that the planets’ current orbital distances would have put them inside the stellar envelope during the red-giant phase, implying that the planets must have migrated to their current orbits after their host stars became WDs. Furthermore, WD J0914 is a very hot WD with a short cooling time that indicates a fast migration mechanism. Here, we demonstrate that the Eccentric Kozai–Lidov Mechanism, combined with stellar evolution and tidal effects, can naturally produce the observed orbital configurations, assuming that the WDs have distant stellar companions. Indeed, WD 1856 is part of a stellar triple system, being a distant companion to a stellar binary. We provide constraints for the orbital and physical characteristics for the potential stellar companion of WD J0914 and determine the initial orbital parameters of the WD 1856 system.