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  1. 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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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 9, 2024
  2. ABSTRACT

    This work combines spectroscopic and photometric data of the polluted white dwarf WD 0141−675, which has a now retracted astrometric super-Jupiter candidate, and investigates the most promising ways to confirm Gaia astrometric planetary candidates and obtain follow-up data. Obtaining precise radial velocity measurements for white dwarfs is challenging due to their intrinsic faint magnitudes, lack of spectral absorption lines, and broad spectral features. However, dedicated radial velocity campaigns are capable of confirming close-in giant exoplanets (a few MJup) around polluted white dwarfs, where additional metal lines aid radial velocity measurements. Infrared emission from these giant exoplanets is shown to be detectable with JWST Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) and will provide constraints on the formation of the planet. Using the initial Gaia astrometric solution for WD 0141−675 as a case study, if there were a planet with a 33.65 d period or less with a nearly edge-on orbit, (1) ground-based radial velocity monitoring limits the mass to <15.4 MJup, and (2) space-based infrared photometry shows a lack of infrared excess and in a cloud-free planetary cooling scenario, a substellar companion would have to be <16 MJup and be older than 3.7 Gyr. These results demonstrate how radial velocities and infrared photometry can probe the mass of the objects producing some of the astrometric signals, and rule out parts of the brown dwarf and planet mass parameter space. Therefore, combining astrometric data with spectroscopic and photometric data is crucial to both confirm and characterize astrometric planet candidates around white dwarfs.

     
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  3. ABSTRACT We demonstrate that the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) can detect infrared (IR) excess from the blended light spectral energy distribution of spatially unresolved terrestrial exoplanets orbiting nearby white dwarfs. We find that JWST is capable of detecting warm (habitable-zone; Teq = 287 K) Earths or super-Earths and hot (400–1000 K) Mercury analogues in the blended light spectrum around the nearest 15 isolated white dwarfs with 10 h of integration per target using MIRI’s medium-resolution spectrograph (MRS). Further, these observations constrain the presence of a CO2-dominated atmosphere on these planets. The technique is nearly insensitive to system inclination, and thus observation of even a small sample of white dwarfs could place strong limits on the occurrence rates of warm terrestrial exoplanets around white dwarfs in the solar neighbourhood. We find that JWST can also detect exceptionally cold (100–150 K) Jupiter-sized exoplanets via MIRI broad-band imaging at $\lambda = 21\, \mathrm{\mu m}$ for the 34 nearest (<13 pc) solitary white dwarfs with 2 h of integration time per target. Using IR excess to detect thermal variations with orbital phase or spectral absorption features within the atmosphere, both of which are possible with long-baseline MRS observations, would confirm candidates as actual exoplanets. Assuming an Earth-like atmospheric composition, we find that the detection of the biosignature pair O3+CH4 is possible for all habitable-zone Earths (within 6.5 pc; six white dwarf systems) or super-Earths (within 10 pc; 17 systems) orbiting white dwarfs with only 5–36 h of integration using MIRI’s low-resolution spectrometer. 
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  4. Abstract We present design considerations for the Transiting Exosatellites, Moons, and Planets in Orion (TEMPO) Survey with the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope. This proposed 30 days survey is designed to detect a population of transiting extrasolar satellites, moons, and planets in the Orion Nebula Cluster (ONC). The young (1–3 Myr), densely populated ONC harbors about a thousand bright brown dwarfs (BDs) and free-floating planetary-mass objects (FFPs). TEMPO offers sufficient photometric precision to monitor FFPs with M >1 M J for transiting satellites. The survey is also capable of detecting FFPs down to sub-Saturn masses via direct imaging, although follow-up confirmation will be challenging. TEMPO yield estimates include 14 (3–22) exomoons/satellites transiting FFPs and 54 (8–100) satellites transiting BDs. Of this population, approximately 50% of companions would be “super-Titans” (Titan to Earth mass). Yield estimates also include approximately 150 exoplanets transiting young Orion stars, of which >50% will orbit mid-to-late M dwarfs. TEMPO would provide the first census demographics of small exosatellites orbiting FFPs and BDs, while simultaneously offering insights into exoplanet evolution at the earliest stages. This detected exosatellite population is likely to be markedly different from the current census of exoplanets with similar masses (e.g., Earth-mass exosatellites that still possess H/He envelopes). Although our yield estimates are highly uncertain, as there are no known exoplanets or exomoons analogous to these satellites, the TEMPO survey would test the prevailing theories of exosatellite formation and evolution, which limit the certainty surrounding detection yields. 
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  5. Abstract

    Although all-sky surveys have led to the discovery of dozens of young planets, little is known about their atmospheres. Here, we present multiwavelength transit data for the super-Neptune sized exoplanet, K2-33b—the youngest (∼10 Myr) transiting exoplanet to date. We combined photometric observations of K2-33 covering a total of 33 transits spanning >2 yr, taken from K2, MEarth, the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), and Spitzer. The transit photometry spanned from the optical to the near-infrared (0.6–4.5μm), enabling us to construct a transmission spectrum of the planet. We find that the optical transit depths are nearly a factor of 2 deeper than those from the near-infrared. This difference holds across multiple data sets taken over years, ruling out issues of data analysis and unconstrained systematics. Surface inhomogeneities on the young star can reproduce some of the difference, but required spot coverage fractions (>60%) are ruled out by the observed stellar spectrum (<20%). We find a better fit to the transmission spectrum using photochemical hazes, which were predicted to be strong in young, moderate-temperature, and large-radius planets like K2-33b. A tholin haze with CO as the dominant gaseous carbon carrier in the atmosphere can reasonably reproduce the data with small or no stellar surface inhomogeneities, consistent with the stellar spectrum. The HST data quality is insufficient for the detection of any molecular features. More observations would be required to fully characterize the hazes and spot properties and confirm the presence of CO suggested by current data.

     
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  6. 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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  9. Abstract

    We report the discovery and characterization of a nearby (∼85 pc), older (27 ± 3 Myr), distributed stellar population near Lower Centaurus Crux (LCC), initially identified by searching for stars comoving with a candidate transiting planet from TESS (HD 109833; TOI 1097). We determine the association membership using Gaia kinematics, color–magnitude information, and rotation periods of candidate members. We measure its age using isochrones, gyrochronology, and Li depletion. While the association is near known populations of LCC, we find that it is older than any previously found LCC subgroup (10–16 Myr), and distinct in both position and velocity. In addition to the candidate planets around HD 109833, the association contains four directly imaged planetary-mass companions around three stars, YSES-1, YSES-2, and HD 95086, all of which were previously assigned membership in the younger LCC. Using the Notch pipeline, we identify a second candidate transiting planet around HD 109833. We use a suite of ground-based follow-up observations to validate the two transit signals as planetary in nature. HD 109833 b and c join the small but growing population of <100 Myr transiting planets from TESS. HD 109833 has a rotation period and Li abundance indicative of a young age (≲100 Myr), but a position and velocity on the outskirts of the new population, lower Li levels than similar members, and a color–magnitude diagram position below model predictions for 27 Myr. So, we cannot reject the possibility that HD 109833 is a young field star coincidentally nearby the population.

     
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