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Creators/Authors contains: "Tofflemire, Benjamin M."

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  1. Abstract

    Close binary systems present challenges to planet formation. As binary separations decrease, so do the occurrence rates of protoplanetary disks in young systems and planets in mature systems. For systems that do retain disks, their disk masses and sizes are altered by the presence of the binary companion. Through the study of protoplanetary disks in binary systems with known orbital parameters, we seek to determine the properties that promote disk retention and therefore planet formation. In this work, we characterize the young binary−disk system FO Tau. We determine the first full orbital solution for the system, finding masses of0.350.05+0.06Mand 0.34 ± 0.05Mfor the stellar components, a semimajor axis of22(1+2)au, and an eccentricity of0.21(0.03+0.04). With long-baseline Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array interferometry, we detect 1.3 mm continuum and12CO (J= 2–1) line emission toward each of the binary components; no circumbinary emission is detected. The protoplanetary disks are compact, consistent with being truncated by the binary orbit. The dust disks are unresolved in the image plane, and the more extended gas disks are only marginally resolved. Fitting the continuum and CO visibilities, we determine the inclination of each disk, finding evidence for alignment of the disk and binary orbital planes. This study is the first of its kind linking the properties of circumstellar protoplanetary disks to a precisely known binary orbit. In the case of FO Tau, we find a dynamically placid environment (coplanar, low eccentricity), which may foster its potential for planet formation.

     
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  2. Abstract

    The dispersed remnants of stellar nurseries, stellar associations, provide unparalleled samples of coeval stars critical for studies of stellar and planetary formation and evolution. The Carina Stellar Association is one of the closest stellar associations to Earth, and yet measurements of its age have varied from 13 to 45 Myr. We aim to update the age of Carina using the lithium depletion boundary (LDB) method. We obtain new measurements of the Li 6708 Å absorption feature in likely members using optical spectra from the Goodman High Throughput Spectrograph on SOAR and NRES on LCO. We detect the depletion boundary atMK≃ 6.8 (M5). This age is consistent within uncertainties across six different models, including those that account for magnetic fields and spots. We also estimate the age through analysis of the group’s overall variability, and by comparing the association members’ color–magnitude diagram to stellar evolutionary models using a Gaussian Mixture Model, recovering ages consistent with the LDB. Combining these age measures we obtain an age for the Carina association of415+3Myr. The resulting age agrees with the older end of previous age measurements and is consistent with the lithium depletion age for the neighboring Tucana-Horologium moving group.

     
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  3. Abstract

    Young terrestrial worlds are critical test beds to constrain prevailing theories of planetary formation and evolution. We present the discovery of HD 63433 d—a nearby (22 pc), Earth-sized planet transiting a young Sun-like star (TOI-1726, HD 63433). HD 63433 d is the third planet detected in this multiplanet system. The kinematic, rotational, and abundance properties of the host star indicate that it belongs to the young (414 ± 23 Myr) Ursa Major moving group, whose membership we update using new data from the third data release of the Gaia mission and TESS. Our transit analysis of the TESS light curves indicates that HD 63433 d has a radius of 1.1Rand closely orbits its host star with a period of 4.2 days. To date, HD 63433 d is the smallest confirmed exoplanet with an age less than 500 Myr, and the nearest young Earth-sized planet. Furthermore, the apparent brightness of the stellar host (V≃ 6.9 mag) makes this transiting multiplanet system favorable to further investigations, including spectroscopic follow-up to probe the atmospheric loss in a young Earth-sized world.

     
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 10, 2025
  4. Long-baseline monitoring of the HAT-P-32Ab system reveals helium escaping through tidal tails 50 times the size of the planet. 
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  5. Abstract

    We present a multi-epoch spectroscopic study of LkCa 4, a heavily spotted non-accreting T Tauri star. Using SpeX at NASA’s Infrared Telescope Facility (IRTF), 12 spectra were collected over five consecutive nights, spanning ≈1.5 stellar rotations. Using the IRTF SpeX Spectral Library, we constructed empirical composite models of spotted stars by combining a warmer (photosphere) standard star spectrum with a cooler (spot) standard weighted by the spot filling factor,fspot. The best-fit models spanned two photospheric component temperatures,Tphot= 4100 K (K7V) and 4400 K (K5V), and one spot component temperature,Tspot= 3060 K (M5V) with anAVof 0.3. We find values offspotto vary between 0.77 and 0.94 with an average uncertainty of ∼0.04. The variability offspotis periodic and correlates with its 3.374 day rotational period. Using a mean value forfmeanspotto represent the total spot coverage, we calculated spot corrected values forTeffandL. Placing these values alongside evolutionary models developed for heavily spotted young stars, we infer mass and age ranges of 0.45–0.6Mand 0.50–1.25 Myr, respectively. These inferred values represent a twofold increase in the mass and a twofold decrease in the age as compared to standard evolutionary models. Such a result highlights the need for constraining the contributions of cool and warm regions of young stellar atmospheres when estimatingTeffandLto infer masses and ages as well as the necessity for models to account for the effects of these regions on the early evolution of low-mass stars.

     
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  6. Abstract

    Stellar radius measurements from eclipsing binaries are typically ∼5% larger than standard stellar models predict. This disagreement means we are unable to derive reliable model-dependent radii, which impact stellar and exoplanet characterization. Using light curves from the TESS satellite and high-resolution, near-infrared spectra from IGRINS, we determine the masses and radii of a main sequence eclipsing binary, V1177 Cen (TIC 3099339). We detrend the light curve using a Gaussian process and derive radial velocities using spectral-line broadening functions, fitting both jointly in an MCMC framework. We find that both stars are near 1Mwith radii 6%–9% larger than the Sun. Based on the absence of Lithium in optical spectra, the inflation is potentially the effect of early post-main sequence evolution, or magnetic fields. We compare our measurement to model isochrones, finding the most consistent agreement with models that include magnetic fields, and correspond to an age of ∼4 Gyr.

     
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  7. Abstract

    Our understanding of the impact of magnetic activity on stellar evolution continues to unfold. This impact is seen in sub-subgiant stars, defined to be stars that sit below the subgiant branch and red of the main sequence in a cluster color–magnitude diagram. Here we focus on S1063, a prototypical sub-subgiant in open cluster M67. We use a novel technique combining a two-temperature spectral decomposition and light-curve analysis to constrain starspot properties over a multiyear time frame. Using a high-resolution near-infrared IGRINS spectrum and photometric data from K2 and ASAS-SN, we find a projected spot filling factor of 32% ± 7% with a spot temperature of 4000 ± 200 K. This value anchors the variability seen in the light curve, indicating the spot filling factor of S1063 ranged from 20% to 45% over a four-year time period with an average spot filling factor of 30%. These values are generally lower than those determined from photometric model comparisons but still indicate that S1063, and likely other sub-subgiants, are magnetically active spotted stars. We find observational and theoretical comparisons of spotted stars are nuanced due to the projected spot coverage impacting estimates of the surface-averaged effective temperature. The starspot properties found here are similar to those found in RS CVn systems, supporting classifying sub-subgiants as another type of active giant star binary system. This technique opens the possibility of characterizing the surface conditions of many more spotted stars than previous methods, allowing for larger future studies to test theoretical models of magnetically active stars.

     
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  8. Abstract

    Sub-subgiant stars (SSGs) fall below the subgiant branch and/or red of the giant branch in open and globular clusters, an area of the color–magnitude diagram (CMD) not populated by standard stellar evolution tracks. One hypothesis is that SSGs result from rapid rotation in subgiants or giants due to tidal synchronization in a close binary. The strong magnetic fields generated inhibit convection, which in turn produces large starspots, radius inflation, and lower-than-expected average surface temperatures and luminosities. Here we cross-reference a catalog of active giant binaries (RS CVns) in the field with Gaia EDR3. Using the Gaia photometry and parallaxes, we precisely position the RS CVns in a CMD. We identify stars that fall below a 14 Gyr, metal-rich isochrone as candidate field SSGs. Out of a sample of 1723 RS CVn, we find 448 SSG candidates, a dramatic expansion from the 65 SSGs previously known. Most SSGs have rotation periods of 2–20 days, with the highest SSG fraction found among RS CVn with the shortest periods. The ubiquity of SSGs among this population indicates that SSGs are a normal phase in evolution for RS CVn-type systems, not rare by-products of dynamical encounters found only in dense star clusters as some have suggested. We present our catalog of 1723 active giants, including Gaia photometry and astrometry, and rotation periods from the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite and International Variable Star Index (VSX). This catalog can serve as an important sample to study the impacts of magnetic fields in evolved stars.

     
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  9. Abstract We present measurements of the H- and K -band veiling for 141 young stellar objects (YSOs) in the Taurus-Auriga star-forming region using high-resolution spectra from the Immersion Grating Near-Infrared Spectrometer. In addition to providing measurements of r H and r K , we produce low-resolution spectra of the excess emission across the H and K bands. We fit temperatures to the excess spectra of 46 members of our sample and measure near-infrared excess temperatures ranging from 1200–2200 K, with an average of 1575 ± 225 K. We compare the luminosity of the excess continuum emission in Class II and Class III YSOs and find that a number of Class III sources display a significant amount of excess flux in the near-infrared. We conclude that the mid-infrared SED slope, and therefore young stellar object classification, is a poor predictor of the amount of near-infrared veiling. If the veiling arises in thermal emission from dust, its presence implies a significant amount of remaining inner-disk (<1 au) material in these Class III sources. We also discuss the possibility that the veiling effects could result from massive photospheric spots, unresolved binary companions, or accretion emission. Six low-mass members of our sample contain a prominent feature in their H -band excess spectra that is consistent with veiling from cool photospheric spots. 
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  10. Abstract

    Young planets provide a window into the early stages and evolution of planetary systems. Ideal planets for such research are in coeval associations, where the parent population can precisely determine their ages. We describe a young association (MELANGE-3) in the Kepler field, which harbors two transiting planetary systems (KOI-3876 and Kepler-970). We identify MELANGE-3 by searching for kinematic and spatial overdensities around Kepler planet hosts with high levels of lithium. To determine the age and membership of MELANGE-3, we combine new high-resolution spectra with archival light curves, velocities, and astrometry of stars near KOI-3876 spatially and kinematically. We use the resulting rotation sequence, lithium levels, and color–magnitude diagram of candidate members to confirm the presence of a coeval 105 ± 10 Myr population. MELANGE-3 may be part of the recently identified Theia 316 stream. For the two exoplanet systems, we revise the stellar and planetary parameters, taking into account the newly determined age. Fitting the 4.5 yr Kepler light curves, we find that KOI-3876b is a 2.0 ± 0.1Rplanet on a 19.58 day orbit, while Kepler-970 b is a 2.8 ± 0.2Rplanet on a 16.73 day orbit. KOI-3876 was previously flagged as an eclipsing binary, which we rule out using radial velocities from APOGEE and statistically validate the signal as planetary in origin. Given its overlap with the Kepler field, MELANGE-3 is valuable for studies of spot evolution on year timescales, and both planets contribute to the growing work on transiting planets in young stellar associations.

     
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