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  1. Abstract We present the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) discovery of the LHS 1678 (TOI-696) exoplanet system, comprised of two approximately Earth-sized transiting planets and a likely astrometric brown dwarf orbiting a bright ( V J = 12.5, K s = 8.3) M2 dwarf at 19.9 pc. The two TESS-detected planets are of radius 0.70 ± 0.04 R ⊕ and 0.98 ± 0.06 R ⊕ in 0.86 day and 3.69 day orbits, respectively. Both planets are validated and characterized via ground-based follow-up observations. High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Searcher RV monitoring yields 97.7 percentile mass upper limits of 0.35 M ⊕ and 1.4 M ⊕ for planets b and c, respectively. The astrometric companion detected by the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory/Small and Moderate Aperture Telescope System 0.9 m has an orbital period on the order of decades and is undetected by other means. Additional ground-based observations constrain the companion to being a high-mass brown dwarf or smaller. Each planet is of unique interest; the inner planet has an ultra-short period, and the outer planet is in the Venus zone. Both are promising targets for atmospheric characterization with the James Webb Space Telescope and mass measurements via extreme-precision radial velocity. Amore »third planet candidate of radius 0.9 ± 0.1 R ⊕ in a 4.97 day orbit is also identified in multicycle TESS data for validation in future work. The host star is associated with an observed gap in the lower main sequence of the Hertzsprung–Russell diagram. This gap is tied to the transition from partially to fully convective interiors in M dwarfs, and the effect of the associated stellar astrophysics on exoplanet evolution is currently unknown. The culmination of these system properties makes LHS 1678 a unique, compelling playground for comparative exoplanet science and understanding the formation and evolution of small, short-period exoplanets orbiting low-mass stars.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 7, 2023
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 27, 2022
  3. We present the discovery of TOI-1518b -- an ultra-hot Jupiter orbiting a bright star $V = 8.95$. The transiting planet is confirmed using high-resolution optical transmission spectra from EXPRES. It is inflated, with $R_p = 1.875\pm0.053\,R_{\rm J}$, and exhibits several interesting properties, including a misaligned orbit (${240.34^{+0.93}_{-0.98}}$ degrees) and nearly grazing transit ($b =0.9036^{+0.0061}_{-0.0053}$). The planet orbits a fast-rotating F0 host star ($T_{\mathrm{eff}} \simeq 7300$ K) in 1.9 days and experiences intense irradiation. Notably, the TESS data show a clear secondary eclipse with a depth of $364\pm28$ ppm and a significant phase curve signal, from which we obtain a relative day-night planetary flux difference of roughly 320 ppm and a 5.2$\sigma$ detection of ellipsoidal distortion on the host star. Prompted by recent detections of atomic and ionized species in ultra-hot Jupiter atmospheres, we conduct an atmospheric cross-correlation analysis. We detect neutral iron (${5.2\sigma}$), at $K_p = 157^{+68}_{-44}$ km s$^{-1}$ and $V_{\rm sys} = -16^{+2}_{-4}$ km s$^{-1}$, adding another object to the small sample of highly irradiated gas-giant planets with Fe detections in transmission. Detections so far favor particularly inflated gas giants with radii $rsim 1.78\,R_{\rm J}$; although this may be due to observational bias. With an equilibrium temperature of $T_{\rmmore »eq}=2492\pm38$ K and a measured dayside brightness temperature of $3237\pm59$ K (assuming zero geometric albedo), TOI-1518b is a promising candidate for future emission spectroscopy to probe for a thermal inversion.« less
  4. Abstract We present the occurrence rates for rocky planets in the habitable zones (HZs) of main-sequence dwarf stars based on the Kepler DR25 planet candidate catalog and Gaia-based stellar properties. We provide the first analysis in terms of star-dependent instellation flux, which allows us to track HZ planets. We define η ⊕ as the HZ occurrence of planets with radii between 0.5 and 1.5 R ⊕ orbiting stars with effective temperatures between 4800 and 6300 K. We find that η ⊕ for the conservative HZ is between (errors reflect 68% credible intervals) and planets per star, while the optimistic HZ occurrence is between and planets per star. These bounds reflect two extreme assumptions about the extrapolation of completeness beyond orbital periods where DR25 completeness data are available. The large uncertainties are due to the small number of detected small HZ planets. We find similar occurrence rates between using Poisson likelihood Bayesian analysis and using Approximate Bayesian Computation. Our results are corrected for catalog completeness and reliability. Both completeness and the planet occurrence rate are dependent on stellar effective temperature. We also present occurrence rates for various stellar populations and planet size ranges. We estimate with 95% confidence that, on average,more »the nearest HZ planet around G and K dwarfs is ∼6 pc away and there are ∼4 HZ rocky planets around G and K dwarfs within 10 pc of the Sun.« less