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  1. Abstract

    We present high-resolution observations of a flaring event in the M8 dwarf vB 10 using the near-infrared Habitable-zone Planet Finder (HPF) spectrograph on the Hobby-Eberly Telescope. The high stability of HPF enables us to accurately subtract a vB 10 quiescent spectrum from the flare spectrum to isolate the flare contributions and study the changes in the relative energy of the Caiiinfrared triplet, several Paschen lines, the Heλ10830 triplet lines, and to select iron and magnesium lines in HPF's bandpass. Our analysis reveals the presence of a red asymmetry in the Heλ10830 triplet, which is similar to signatures of coronal rain in the Sun. Photometry of the flare derived from an acquisition camera before spectroscopic observations and the ability to extract spectra from up-the-ramp observations with the HPF infrared detector enable us to perform time-series analysis of part of the flare and provide coarse constraints on the energy and frequency of such flares. We compare this flare with historical observations of flares around vB 10 and other ultracool M dwarfs and attempt to place limits on flare-induced atmospheric mass loss for hypothetical planets around vB 10.

  2. Abstract

    We present the validation of two planets orbiting M dwarfs, TOI-1696b and TOI-2136b. Both planets are mini-Neptunes orbiting nearby stars, making them promising prospects for atmospheric characterization with the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). We validated the planetary nature of both candidates using high-contrast imaging, ground-based photometry, and near-infrared radial velocities. Adaptive optics images were taken using the ShARCS camera on the 3 m Shane Telescope. Speckle images were taken using the NN-Explore Exoplanet Stellar Speckle Imager on the WIYN 3.5 m telescope. Radii and orbital ephemerides were refined using a combination of the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, the diffuser-assisted Astrophysical Research Consortium (ARC) Telescope Imaging Camera (ARCTIC) imager on the 3.5 m ARC telescope at Apache Point Observatory, and the 0.6 m telescope at Red Buttes Observatory. We obtained radial velocities using the Habitable-Zone Planet Finder on the 10 m Hobby–Eberly Telescope, which enabled us to place upper limits on the masses of both transiting planets. TOI-1696b (P= 2.5 days;Rp= 3.24R;Mp< 56.6M) falls into a sparsely populated region of parameter space considering its host star’s temperature (Teff= 3168 K, M4.5), as planets of its size are quite rare around mid- to late-M dwarfs. On the other hand, TOI-2136bmore »(P= 7.85 days;Rp= 2.09R;Mp< 15.0M) is an excellent candidate for atmospheric follow-up with the JWST.

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  3. Abstract

    Accurate tracers of the stellar magnetic field and rotation are cornerstones for the study of M dwarfs and for reliable detection and characterization of their exoplanetary companions. Such measurements are particularly challenging for old, slowly rotating, fully convective M dwarfs. To explore the use of new activity and rotation tracers, we examined multiyear near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopic monitoring of two such stars—GJ 699 (Barnard’s Star) and Teegarden’s Star—carried out with the Habitable-zone Planet Finder spectrograph. We detected periodic variations in absorption line widths across the stellar spectrum, with higher amplitudes toward longer wavelengths. We also detected similar variations in the strength and width of the 12435.67 Å neutral potassium (Ki) line, a known tracer of the photospheric magnetic field. Attributing these variations to rotational modulation, we confirm the known 145 ± 15 day rotation period of GJ 699, and measure the rotation period of Teegarden’s Star to be 99.6 ± 1.4 days. Based on simulations of the Kiline and the wavelength dependence of the line-width signal, we argue that the observed signals are consistent with varying photospheric magnetic fields and the associated Zeeman effect. These results highlight the value of detailed line profile measurements in the NIR for diagnosing stellarmore »magnetic field variability. Such measurements may be pivotal for disentangling activity and exoplanet-related signals in spectroscopic monitoring of old, low-mass stars.

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  4. Abstract

    The warm Neptune GJ 3470b transits a nearby (d= 29 pc) bright slowly rotating M1.5-dwarf star. Using spectroscopic observations during two transits with the newly commissioned NEID spectrometer on the WIYN 3.5 m Telescope at Kitt Peak Observatory, we model the classical Rossiter–McLaughlin effect, yielding a sky-projected obliquity ofλ=9812+15and avsini=0.850.33+0.27kms1. Leveraging information about the rotation period and size of the host star, our analysis yields a true obliquity ofψ=958+9, revealing that GJ 3470b is on a polar orbit. Using radial velocities from HIRES, HARPS, and the Habitable-zone Planet Finder, we show that the data are compatible with a long-term radial velocity (RV) slope ofγ̇=0.0022±0.0011ms1day1over a baseline of 12.9 yr. If the RV slope is due to acceleration from another companion in the system, we show that such a companion is capable of explaining the polar and mildly eccentric orbit of GJ 3470b using two different secular excitation models. The existence of an outer companion can be further constrained with additional RV observations, Gaia astrometry, and future high-contrast imaging observations. Lastly, we show that tidal heating frommore »GJ 3470b’s mild eccentricity has most likely inflated the radius of GJ 3470b by a factor of ∼1.5–1.7, which could help account for its evaporating atmosphere.

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  5. Abstract We present the discovery of a new Jovian-sized planet, TOI-3757 b, the lowest-density transiting planet known to orbit an M dwarf (M0V). This planet was discovered around a solar-metallicity M dwarf, using Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite photometry and confirmed with precise radial velocities from the Habitable-zone Planet Finder (HPF) and NEID. With a planetary radius of 12.0 − 0.5 + 0.4 R ⊕ and mass of 85.3 − 8.7 + 8.8 M ⊕ , not only does this object add to the small sample of gas giants (∼10) around M dwarfs, but also its low density ( ρ = 0.27 − 0.04 + 0.05 g cm −3 ) provides an opportunity to test theories of planet formation. We present two hypotheses to explain its low density; first, we posit that the low metallicity of its stellar host (∼0.3 dex lower than the median metallicity of M dwarfs hosting gas giants) could have played a role in the delayed formation of a solid core massive enough to initiate runaway accretion. Second, using the eccentricity estimate of 0.14 ± 0.06, we determine it is also plausible for tidal heating to at least partially be responsible for inflating the radius of TOI-3757bmore »b. The low density and large scale height of TOI-3757 b makes it an excellent target for transmission spectroscopy studies of atmospheric escape and composition (transmission spectroscopy measurement of ∼ 190). We use HPF to perform transmission spectroscopy of TOI-3757 b using the helium 10830 Å line. Doing this, we place an upper limit of 6.9% (with 90% confidence) on the maximum depth of the absorption from the metastable transition of He at ∼10830 Å, which can help constraint the atmospheric mass-loss rate in this energy-limited regime.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 5, 2023
  6. Abstract We confirm the planetary nature of two gas giants discovered by the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite to transit M dwarfs. TOI-3714 ( V = 15.24, J = 11.74) is an M2 dwarf hosting a hot Jupiter ( M p = 0.70 ± 0.03 M J and R p = 1.01 ± 0.03 R J ) on an orbital period of 2.154849 ± 0.000001 days with a resolved white dwarf companion. TOI-3629 ( V = 14.63, J = 11.42) is an M1 dwarf hosting a hot Jupiter ( M p = 0.26 ± 0.02 M J and R p =0.74 ± 0.02 R J ) on an orbital period of 3.936551 − 0.000006 + 0.000005 days. We characterize each transiting companion using a combination of ground-based and space-based photometry, speckle imaging, and high-precision velocimetry from the Habitable-zone Planet Finder and the NEID spectrographs. With the discovery of these two systems, there are now nine M dwarfs known to host transiting hot Jupiters. Among this population, TOI-3714 b ( T eq = 750 ± 20 K and TSM = 98 ± 7) and TOI-3629 b ( T eq = 690 ± 20 K and TSM = 80 ± 9) are warmmore »gas giants amenable to additional characterization with transmission spectroscopy to probe atmospheric chemistry and, for TOI-3714, obliquity measurements to probe formation scenarios.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 14, 2023
  7. Abstract The Gaia Alert System issued an alert on 2020 August 28, on Gaia 20eae when its light curve showed a ∼4.25 magnitude outburst. We present multiwavelength photometric and spectroscopic follow-up observations of this source since 2020 August and identify it as the newest member of the FUor/EXor family of sources. We find that the present brightening of Gaia 20eae is not due to the dust-clearing event but due to an intrinsic change in the spectral energy distribution. The light curve of Gaia 20eae shows a transition stage during which most of its brightness (∼3.4 mag) has occurred on a short timescale of 34 days with a rise rate of 3 mag/month. Gaia 20eae has now started to decay at a rate of 0.3 mag/month. We have detected a strong P Cygni profile in H α , which indicates the presence of winds originating from regions close to the accretion. We find signatures of very strong and turbulent outflow and accretion in Gaia 20eae during this outburst phase. We have also detected a redshifted absorption component in all of the Ca ii IR triplet lines consistent with a signature of hot infalling gas in the magnetospheric accretion funnel. This enablesmore »us to constrain the viewing angle with respect to the accretion funnel. Our investigation of Gaia 20eae points toward magnetospheric accretion being the phenomenon for the current outburst.« less
  8. Abstract We report the discovery of an M = 67 ± 2 M J brown dwarf transiting the early M dwarf TOI-2119 on an eccentric orbit ( e = 0.3362 ± 0.0005) at an orbital period of 7.200861 ± 0.000005 days. We confirm the brown dwarf nature of the transiting companion using a combination of ground-based and space-based photometry and high-precision velocimetry from the Habitable-zone Planet Finder. Detection of the secondary eclipse with TESS photometry enables a precise determination of the eccentricity and reveals the brown dwarf has a brightness temperature of 2100 ± 80 K, a value which is consistent with an early L dwarf. TOI-2119 is one of the most eccentric known brown dwarfs with P < 10 days, possibly due to the long circularization timescales for an object orbiting an M dwarf. We assess the prospects for determining the obliquity of the host star to probe formation scenarios and the possibility of additional companions in the system using Gaia EDR3 and our radial velocities.
  9. Abstract We validate the planetary nature of an ultra-short-period planet orbiting the M dwarf KOI-4777. We use a combination of space-based photometry from Kepler, high-precision, near-infrared Doppler spectroscopy from the Habitable-zone Planet Finder, and adaptive optics imaging to characterize this system. KOI-4777.01 is a Mars-sized exoplanet ( R p = 0.51 ± 0.03 R ⊕ ) orbiting the host star every 0.412 days (∼9.9 hr). This is the smallest validated ultra-short period planet known and we see no evidence for additional massive companions using our HPF RVs. We constrain the upper 3 σ mass to M p < 0.34 M ⊕ by assuming the planet is less dense than iron. Obtaining a mass measurement for KOI-4777.01 is beyond current instrumental capabilities.