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  1. Abstract

    Thousands of exoplanet detections have been made over the last 25 years using Doppler observations, transit photometry, direct imaging, and astrometry. Each of these methods is sensitive to different ranges of orbital separations and planetary radii (or masses). This makes it difficult to fully characterize exoplanet architectures and to place our solar system in context with the wealth of discoveries that have been made. Here, we use the EXtreme PREcision Spectrograph to reveal planets in previously undetectable regions of the mass–period parameter space for the starρCoronae Borealis. We add two new planets to the previously known system with one hot Jupiter in a 39 day orbit and a warm super-Neptune in a 102 day orbit. The new detections include a temperate Neptune planet (Msini20M) in a 281.4 day orbit and a hot super-Earth (Msini=3.7M) in a 12.95 day orbit. This result shows that details of planetary system architectures have been hiding just below our previous detection limits; this signals an exciting era for the next generation of extreme precision spectrographs.

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  2. Abstract

    Measured spectral shifts due to intrinsic stellar variability (e.g., pulsations, granulation) and activity (e.g., spots, plages) are the largest source of error for extreme-precision radial-velocity (EPRV) exoplanet detection. Several methods are designed to disentangle stellar signals from true center-of-mass shifts due to planets. The Extreme-precision Spectrograph (EXPRES) Stellar Signals Project (ESSP) presents a self-consistent comparison of 22 different methods tested on the same extreme-precision spectroscopic data from EXPRES. Methods derived new activity indicators, constructed models for mapping an indicator to the needed radial-velocity (RV) correction, or separated out shape- and shift-driven RV components. Since no ground truth is known when using real data, relative method performance is assessed using the total and nightly scatter of returned RVs and agreement between the results of different methods. Nearly all submitted methods return a lower RV rms than classic linear decorrelation, but no method is yet consistently reducing the RV rms to sub-meter-per-second levels. There is a concerning lack of agreement between the RVs returned by different methods. These results suggest that continued progress in this field necessitates increased interpretability of methods, high-cadence data to capture stellar signals at all timescales, and continued tests like the ESSP using consistent data sets with more advanced metrics for method performance. Future comparisons should make use of various well-characterized data sets—such as solar data or data with known injected planetary and/or stellar signals—to better understand method performance and whether planetary signals are preserved.

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  3. A planet’s orbital alignment places important constraints on how a planet formed and consequently evolved. The dominant formation pathway of ultra-short-period planets (P < 1 day) is particularly mysterious as such planets most likely formed further out, and it is not well understood what drove their migration inwards to their current positions. Measuring the orbital alignment is difficult for smaller super-Earth/sub-Neptune planets, which give rise to smaller amplitude signals. Here we present radial velocities across two transits of 55 Cancri (Cnc) e, an ultra-short-period super-Earth, observed with the Extreme Precision Spectrograph. Using the classical Rossiter–McLaughlin method, we measure 55 Cnc e’s sky-projected stellar spin–orbit alignment (that is, the projected angle between the The star 55 Cancri (Cnc) A hosts five known exoplanets with minimum mass estimates ranging from approximately 8M⊕ to 3MJup and periods less than one day to nearly 20 years1–4. Of particular interest has been 55 Cnc e, one of the most massive known ultra-short-period planets (USPs) and the only planet around 55 Cnc found to transit5,6. It has an star’s spin axis and the planet’s orbit normal—will shed light on the formation and evolution of USPs, especially in the case of compact, multiplanet systems. It has been shown that USPs form a statistically distinct popula- tion of planets9 that tend to be misaligned with other planetary orbits in their system10. This suggests that USPs experience a unique migra- tion pathway that brings them close in to their host stars. This inward migration is most likely driven by dissipation due to star–planet tidal interactions that result from either non-zero eccentricities11,12 or plan- etary spin-axis tilts13. orbital period of 0.7365474 +1.3 × 10−6 days, a mass of 7.99 ± 0.33M −1.4 × 10−6 ⊕ and a radius of 1.853 +0.026 R⊕ (refs. 7,8). A precise measure of the −0.027 stellar spin–orbit alignment of 55 Cnc e—the angle between the host planet’s orbital axis and its host star’s spin axis) to be λ = 10 +17∘ with an +14∘ −20∘ unprojected angle of ψ = 23 −12∘. The best-fit Rossiter–McLaughlin model to the Extreme Precision Spectrograph data has a radial velocity semi- amplitude of just 0.41 +0.09 m s−1. The spin–orbit alignment of 55 Cnc e −0.10 favours dynamically gentle migration theories for ultra-short-period planets, namely tidal dissipation through low-eccentricity planet–planet interactions and/or planetary obliquity tides. 
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  4. Abstract The distortions of absorption line profiles caused by photospheric brightness variations on the surfaces of cool, main-sequence stars can mimic or overwhelm radial velocity (RV) shifts due to the presence of exoplanets. The latest generation of precision RV spectrographs aims to detect velocity amplitudes ≲ 10 cm s −1 , but requires mitigation of stellar signals. Statistical techniques are being developed to differentiate between Keplerian and activity-related velocity perturbations. Two important challenges, however, are the interpretability of the stellar activity component as RV models become more sophisticated, and ensuring the lowest-amplitude Keplerian signatures are not inadvertently accounted for in flexible models of stellar activity. For the K2V exoplanet host ϵ Eridani, we separately used ground-based photometry to constrain Gaussian processes for modeling RVs and TESS photometry with a light-curve inversion algorithm to reconstruct the stellar surface. From the reconstructions of TESS photometry, we produced an activity model that reduced the rms scatter in RVs obtained with EXPRES from 4.72 to 1.98 m s −1 . We present a pilot study using the CHARA Array and MIRC-X beam combiner to directly image the starspots seen in the TESS photometry. With the limited phase coverage, our spot detections are marginal with current data but a future dedicated observing campaign should allow for imaging, as well as allow the stellar inclination and orientation with respect to the debris disk to be definitively determined. This work shows that stellar surface maps obtained with high-cadence, time-series photometric and interferometric data can provide the constraints needed to accurately reduce RV scatter. 
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  5. null (Ed.)
    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 $T_{\rm eq}=2492\pm38$ 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. 
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