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  1. Abstract With the launch of the JWST, we will obtain more precise data for exoplanets than ever before. However, these data can only inform and revolutionize our understanding of exoplanets when placed in the larger context of planet–star formation. Therefore, gaining a deeper understanding of their host stars is equally important and synergistic with the upcoming JWST data. We present detailed chemical abundance profiles of 17 FGK stars that will be observed in exoplanet-focused Cycle 1 JWST observer programs. The elements analyzed (C, N, O, Na, Mg, Si, S, K, and Fe) were specifically chosen as being informative to the composition and formation of planets. Using archival high-resolution spectra from a variety of sources, we perform an LTE equivalent width analysis to derive these abundances. We look to literature sources to correct the abundances for non-LTE effects, especially for O, S, and K, where the corrections are large (often >0.2 dex). With these abundances and the ratios thereof, we will begin to paint clearer pictures of the planetary systems analyzed by this work. With our analysis, we can gain insight into the composition and extent of migration of Hot Jupiters, as well as the possibility of carbon-rich terrestrial worlds.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 9, 2023
  2. Abstract Extremely large telescopes (ELTs) provide an opportunity to observe surface inhomogeneities for ultracool objects including M dwarfs, brown dwarfs (BDs), and gas giant planets via Doppler imaging and spectrophotometry techniques. These inhomogeneities can be caused by star spots, clouds, and vortices. Star spots and associated stellar flares play a significant role in habitability, either stifling life or catalyzing abiogenesis depending on the emission frequency, magnitude, and orientation. Clouds and vortices may be the source of spectral and photometric variability observed at the L/T transition of BDs and are expected in gas giant exoplanets. We develop a versatile analytical framework to model and infer surface inhomogeneities that can be applied to both spectroscopic and photometric data. This model is validated against a slew of numerical simulations. Using archival spectroscopic and photometric data, we infer starspot parameters (location, size, and contrast) and generate global surface maps for Luhman 16B (an early T dwarf and one of our solar system’s nearest neighbors at a distance of ≈2 pc). We confirm previous findings that Luhman 16B’s atmosphere is inhomogeneous with time-varying features. In addition, we provide tentative evidence of longer timescale atmospheric structures such as dark equatorial and bright midlatitude to polar spots.more »These findings are discussed in the context of atmospheric circulation and dynamics for ultracool dwarfs. Our analytical model will be valuable in assessing the feasibility of using ELTs to study surface inhomogeneities of gas giant exoplanets and other ultracool objects.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2023
  3. Abstract The formation and evolution pathway for the directly imaged multiplanetary system HR 8799 remains mysterious. Accurate constraints on the chemical composition of the planetary atmosphere(s) are key to solving the mystery. We perform a detailed atmospheric retrieval on HR 8799 c to infer the chemical abundances and abundance ratios using a combination of photometric data along with low- and high-resolution spectroscopic data ( R ∼ 20–35,000). We specifically retrieve [C/H], [O/H], and C/O and find them to be 0.55 − 0.39 + 0.36 , 0.47 − 0.32 + 0.31 , and 0.67 − 0.15 + 0.12 at 68% confidence. The superstellar C and O abundances, yet a stellar C/O ratio, reveal a potential formation pathway for HR 8799 c. Planet c, and likely the other gas giant planets in the system, formed early on (likely within ∼1 Myr), followed by further atmospheric enrichment in C and O through the accretion of solids beyond the CO ice line. The enrichment either preceded or took place during the early phase of the inward migration to the current planet locations.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 6, 2023
  4. Abstract

    The detection of satellites around extrasolar planets, so called exomoons, remains a largely unexplored territory. In this work, we study the potential of detecting these elusive objects from radial velocity monitoring of self-luminous, directly imaged planets. This technique is now possible thanks to the development of dedicated instruments combining the power of high-resolution spectroscopy and high-contrast imaging. First, we demonstrate a sensitivity to satellites with a mass ratio of 1%–4% at separations similar to the Galilean moons from observations of a brown-dwarf companion (HR 7672 B;Kmag= 13; 0.″7 separation) with the Keck Planet Imager and Characterizer (R∼ 35,000 in theKband) at the W. M. Keck Observatory. Current instrumentation is therefore already sensitive to large unresolved satellites that could be forming from gravitational instability akin to binary star formation. Using end-to-end simulations, we then estimate that future instruments such as the Multi-Object Diffraction-limited High-resolution Infrared Spectrograph, planned for the Thirty Meter Telescope, should be sensitive to satellites with mass ratios of ∼10−4. Such small moons would likely form in a circumplanetary disk similar to the Jovian satellites in the solar system. Looking for the Rossiter–McLaughlin effect could also be an interesting pathway to detecting the smallest moons on short orbitalmore »periods. Future exomoon discoveries will allow precise mass measurements of the substellar companions that they orbit and provide key insight into the formation of exoplanets. They would also help constrain the population of habitable Earth-sized moons orbiting gas giants in the habitable zone of their stars.

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  5. Abstract Direct imaging studies have mainly used low-resolution spectroscopy ( R ∼ 20–100) to study the atmospheres of giant exoplanets and brown dwarf companions, but the presence of clouds has often led to degeneracies in the retrieved atmospheric abundances (e.g., carbon-to-oxygen ratio, metallicity). This precludes clear insights into the formation mechanisms of these companions. The Keck Planet Imager and Characterizer (KPIC) uses adaptive optics and single-mode fibers to transport light into NIRSPEC ( R ∼ 35,000 in the K band), and aims to address these challenges with high-resolution spectroscopy. Using an atmospheric retrieval framework based on petitRADTRANS , we analyze the KPIC high-resolution spectrum (2.29–2.49 μ m) and the archival low-resolution spectrum (1–2.2 μ m) of the benchmark brown dwarf HD 4747 B ( m = 67.2 ± 1.8 M Jup , a = 10.0 ± 0.2 au, T eff ≈ 1400 K). We find that our measured C/O and metallicity for the companion from the KPIC high-resolution spectrum agree with those of its host star within 1 σ –2 σ . The retrieved parameters from the K -band high-resolution spectrum are also independent of our choice of cloud model. In contrast, the retrieved parameters from the low-resolution spectrum aremore »highly sensitive to our chosen cloud model. Finally, we detect CO, H 2 O, and CH 4 (volume-mixing ratio of log(CH 4 ) = −4.82 ± 0.23) in this L/T transition companion with the KPIC data. The relative molecular abundances allow us to constrain the degree of chemical disequilibrium in the atmosphere of HD 4747 B, and infer a vertical diffusion coefficient that is at the upper limit predicted from mixing length theory.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 27, 2023
  6. Cell fragments devoid of the nucleus play an essential role in intercellular communication. Mostly studied on flat 2D substrates, their origins and behavior in native fibrous environments remain unknown. Here, cytoplasmic fragments’ spontaneous formation and behavior in suspended extracellular matrices mimicking fiber architectures (parallel, crosshatch, and hexagonal) are described. After cleaving from the parent cell body, the fragments of diverse shapes on fibers migrate faster compared to 2D. Furthermore, while fragments in 2D are mostly circular, a higher number of rectangular and blob‐like shapes are formed on fibers, and, interestingly, each shape is capable of forming protrusive structures. Absent in 2D, fibers’ fragments display oscillatory migratory behavior with dramatic shape changes, sometimes remarkably sustained over long durations (>20 h). Immunostaining reveals paxillin distribution along fragment body‐fiber length, while Forster Resonance Energy Transfer imaging of vinculin reveals mechanical loading of fragment adhesions comparable to whole cell adhesions. Using nanonet force microscopy, the forces exerted by fragments are estimated, and peculiarly small area fragments can exert forces similar to larger fragments in a Rho‐associated kinase dependent manner. Overall, fragment dynamics on 2D substrates are insufficient to describe the mechanosensitivity of fragments to fibers, and the architecture of fiber networks can generate entirelymore »new behaviors.« less