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  1. Abstract

    We have gathered near-infraredzyJ-band high-resolution spectra of nearly 300 field red giant stars with known lithium abundances in order to survey their Heiλ10830 absorption strengths. This transition is an indicator of chromospheric activity and/or mass loss in red giants. The majority of stars in our sample reside in the red clump or red horizontal branch based on theirVJ,MVcolor–magnitude diagram, and GaiaTeffand log(g) values. Most of our target stars are Li-poor in the sense of having normally low Li abundances, defined here as logϵ(Li) < 1.25. Over 90% of these Li-poor stars have weakλ10830 features. However, more than half of the 83 Li-rich stars (logϵ(Li) > 1.25) have strongλ10830 absorptions. These largeλ10830 lines signal excess chromospheric activity in Li-rich stars; there is almost no indication of significant mass loss. The Li-rich giants may also have a higher binary fraction than Li-poor stars, based on their astrometric data. It appears likely that both residence on the horizontal branch and present or past binary interaction play roles in the significant Li–He connection established in this survey.

  2. Precision laser spectroscopy is key to many developments in atomic and molecular physics and the advancement of related technologies such as atomic clocks and sensors. However, in important spectroscopic scenarios, such as astronomy and remote sensing, the light is of thermal origin, and interferometric or diffractive spectrometers typically replace laser spectroscopy. In this work, we employ laser-based heterodyne radiometry to measure incoherent light sources in the near-infrared and introduce techniques for absolute frequency calibration with a laser frequency comb. Measuring the solar continuum, we obtain a signal-to-noise ratio that matches the fundamental quantum-limited prediction given by the thermal photon distribution and our system’s efficiency, bandwidth, and averaging time. With resolving powerR∼<#comment/>106, we determine the center frequency of an iron line in the solar spectrum to sub-MHz absolute frequency uncertainty in under 10 min, a fractional precision 1/4000 the linewidth. Additionally, we propose concepts that take advantage of refractive beam shaping to decrease the effects of pointing instabilities by100×<#comment/>, and of frequency comb multiplexing to increase data acquisition rates and spectral bandwidths by comparable factors. Taken together, our work brings the power of telecommunications photonics and the precision of frequency comb metrology to laser heterodyne radiometry, with implications formore »solar and astronomical spectroscopy, remote sensing, and precise Doppler velocimetry.

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  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 Individual chemical abundances for 14 elements (C, O, Na, Mg, Al, Si, K, Ca, Ti, V, Cr, Mn, Fe, and Ni) are derived for a sample of M dwarfs using high-resolution, near-infrared H -band spectra from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey-IV/Apache Point Observatory Galactic Evolution Experiment (APOGEE) survey. The quantitative analysis included synthetic spectra computed with 1D LTE plane-parallel MARCS models using the APOGEE Data Release 17 line list to determine chemical abundances. The sample consists of 11 M dwarfs in binary systems with warmer FGK dwarf primaries and 10 measured interferometric angular diameters. To minimize atomic diffusion effects, [X/Fe] ratios are used to compare M dwarfs in binary systems and literature results for their warmer primary stars, indicating good agreement (<0.08 dex) for all studied elements. The mean abundance difference in primaries minus this work’s M dwarfs is −0.05 ± 0.03 dex. It indicates that M dwarfs in binary systems are a reliable way to calibrate empirical relationships. A comparison with abundance, effective temperature, and surface gravity results from the APOGEE Stellar Parameter and Chemical Abundances Pipeline (ASPCAP) Data Release 16 finds a systematic offset of [M/H], T eff , log g = +0.21 dex, −50 K, andmore »0.30 dex, respectively, although ASPCAP [X/Fe] ratios are generally consistent with this study. The metallicities of the M dwarfs cover the range of [Fe/H] = −0.9 to +0.4 and are used to investigate Galactic chemical evolution via trends of [X/Fe] as a function of [Fe/H]. The behavior of the various elemental abundances [X/Fe] versus [Fe/H] agrees well with the corresponding trends derived from warmer FGK dwarfs, demonstrating that the APOGEE spectra can be used to examine Galactic chemical evolution using large samples of selected M dwarfs.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 1, 2023
  5. Abstract We confirm the planetary nature of two gas giants discovered by the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite to transit M dwarfs. TOI-3714 ( V = 15.24, J = 11.74) is an M2 dwarf hosting a hot Jupiter ( M p = 0.70 ± 0.03 M J and R p = 1.01 ± 0.03 R J ) on an orbital period of 2.154849 ± 0.000001 days with a resolved white dwarf companion. TOI-3629 ( V = 14.63, J = 11.42) is an M1 dwarf hosting a hot Jupiter ( M p = 0.26 ± 0.02 M J and R p =0.74 ± 0.02 R J ) on an orbital period of 3.936551 − 0.000006 + 0.000005 days. We characterize each transiting companion using a combination of ground-based and space-based photometry, speckle imaging, and high-precision velocimetry from the Habitable-zone Planet Finder and the NEID spectrographs. With the discovery of these two systems, there are now nine M dwarfs known to host transiting hot Jupiters. Among this population, TOI-3714 b ( T eq = 750 ± 20 K and TSM = 98 ± 7) and TOI-3629 b ( T eq = 690 ± 20 K and TSM = 80 ± 9) are warmmore »gas giants amenable to additional characterization with transmission spectroscopy to probe atmospheric chemistry and, for TOI-3714, obliquity measurements to probe formation scenarios.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 14, 2023
  6. Abstract

    We detail the follow-up and characterization of a transiting exo-Venus identified by TESS, GJ 3929b (TOI-2013b), and its nontransiting companion planet, GJ 3929c (TOI-2013c). GJ 3929b is an Earth-sized exoplanet in its star’s Venus zone (Pb= 2.616272 ± 0.000005 days; Sb=17.30.7+0.8S) orbiting a nearby M dwarf. GJ 3929c is most likely a nontransiting sub-Neptune. Using the new, ultraprecise NEID spectrometer on the WIYN 3.5 m Telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory, we are able to modify the mass constraints of planet b reported in previous works and consequently improve the significance of the mass measurement to almost 4σconfidence (Mb= 1.75 ± 0.45M). We further adjust the orbital period of planet c from its alias at 14.30 ± 0.03 days to the likely true period of 15.04 ± 0.03 days, and we adjust its minimum mass tomsini= 5.71 ± 0.92M. Using the diffuser-assisted ARCTIC imager on the ARC 3.5 m telescope at Apache Point Observatory, in addition to publicly available TESS and LCOGT photometry, we are able to constrain the radius of planet b toRp= 1.09 ± 0.04R. GJ 3929b is a top candidate for transmission spectroscopy in its size regime (TSM = 14more »± 4), and future atmospheric studies of GJ 3929b stand to shed light on the nature of small planets orbiting M dwarfs.

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  7. 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.
  8. Abstract

    We present the validation of two planets orbiting M dwarfs, TOI-1696b and TOI-2136b. Both planets are mini-Neptunes orbiting nearby stars, making them promising prospects for atmospheric characterization with the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). We validated the planetary nature of both candidates using high-contrast imaging, ground-based photometry, and near-infrared radial velocities. Adaptive optics images were taken using the ShARCS camera on the 3 m Shane Telescope. Speckle images were taken using the NN-Explore Exoplanet Stellar Speckle Imager on the WIYN 3.5 m telescope. Radii and orbital ephemerides were refined using a combination of the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, the diffuser-assisted Astrophysical Research Consortium (ARC) Telescope Imaging Camera (ARCTIC) imager on the 3.5 m ARC telescope at Apache Point Observatory, and the 0.6 m telescope at Red Buttes Observatory. We obtained radial velocities using the Habitable-Zone Planet Finder on the 10 m Hobby–Eberly Telescope, which enabled us to place upper limits on the masses of both transiting planets. TOI-1696b (P= 2.5 days;Rp= 3.24R;Mp< 56.6M) falls into a sparsely populated region of parameter space considering its host star’s temperature (Teff= 3168 K, M4.5), as planets of its size are quite rare around mid- to late-M dwarfs. On the other hand, TOI-2136bmore »(P= 7.85 days;Rp= 2.09R;Mp< 15.0M) is an excellent candidate for atmospheric follow-up with the JWST.

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