Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Using Ray-tracing to Study Refraction in Exoplanetary Atmospheres

Refraction in planetary atmospheres: improved analytical expressions and comparison with a new ray-tracing algorithm

Authors:

Bétrémieux et al

Abstract:

Atmospheric refraction affects to various degrees exoplanet transit, lunar eclipse, as well as stellar occultation observations. Exoplanet retrieval algorithms often use analytical expressions for the column abundance along a ray traversing the atmosphere as well as for the deflection of that ray, which are first-order approximations valid for low densities in a spherically symmetric homogeneous isothermal atmosphere. We derive new analytical formulae for both of these quantities, which are valid for higher densities, and use them to refine and validate a new ray-tracing algorithm which can be used for arbitrary atmospheric temperature–pressure profiles. We illustrate with simple isothermal atmospheric profiles the consequences of our model for different planets: temperate Earth-like and Jovian-like planets, as well as HD 189733b, and GJ1214b. We find that, for both hot exoplanets, our treatment of refraction does not make much of a difference to pressures as high as 10 atm, but that it is important to consider the variation of gravity with altitude for GJ1214b. However, we find that the temperate atmospheres have an apparent scaleheight significantly smaller than their actual density scaleheight at densities larger than 1 amagat, thus increasing the difficulty of detecting spectral features originating in these regions. These denser atmospheric regions form a refractive boundary layer where column abundances and ray deflection increases dramatically with decreasing impact parameter. This refractive boundary layer mimics a surface, and none of the techniques mentioned above can probe atmospheric regions denser than about 4 amagat on these temperate planets.

Close-in Exoplanets of Less Than Ten Earth Mass may "Boil off" Their Atmospheres

Atmospheres of low-mass planets: the "boil-off"

Authors:

Owen et al

Abstract:

We show that, for a low-mass planet that orbits its host star within several tenths of an AU (like the majority of the Kepler planets), the atmosphere it was able to accumulate while embedded in the proto-planetary disk may not survive unscathed after the disk disperses. This gas envelope, if more massive than a few percent of the core (with a mass below 10M), has a cooling time that is much longer than the time-scale on which the planet exits the disk. As such, it could not have contracted significantly from its original size, of order the Bondi radius. So a newly exposed proto-planet would be losing mass via a Parker wind that is energized by the stellar continuum radiation. The surface mass-loss induces a mass movement within the envelope that advects internal heat outward. As a result, the planet atmosphere rapidly cools down and contracts, until it has reached a radius of order 0.1 Bondi radius, at which time the mass-loss effectively shuts down. Within a million years after the disk disperses, we find a planet retains only about ten percent of its original envelope, and has a Kelvin-Helmholtz time that is much longer than its actual age. We suggest that this "boil-off" process may be responsible for the lack of planets above a radius of 2.5R in the Kepler data.

What is the Smallest Possible Telescope Able to use a Coronagraph to Detect "ExoEarths?"

Lower Limits on Aperture Size for an ExoEarth-Detecting Coronagraphic Mission

Authors:

Stark et al

Abstract:

The yield of Earth-like planets will likely be a primary science metric for future space-based missions that will drive telescope aperture size. Maximizing the exoEarth candidate yield is therefore critical to minimizing the required aperture. Here we describe a method for exoEarth candidate yield maximization that simultaneously optimizes, for the first time, the targets chosen for observation, the number of visits to each target, the delay time between visits, and the exposure time of every observation. This code calculates both the detection time and multi-wavelength spectral characterization time required for planets. We also refine the astrophysical assumptions used as inputs to these calculations, relying on published estimates of planetary occurrence rates as well as theoretical and observational constraints on terrestrial planet sizes and classical habitable zones. Given these astrophysical assumptions, optimistic telescope and instrument assumptions, and our new completeness code that produces the highest yields to date, we suggest lower limits on the aperture size required to detect and characterize a statistically-motivated sample of exoEarths.

Monday, June 29, 2015

A Radio SETI Campaign for microsec-sec Periodic Signals

A Radio SETI Campaign for microsec-sec Periodic Signals

Authors:

Harp et al

Abstract:

We report a novel radio autocorrelation (AC) search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI). For selected frequencies across the terrestrial microwave window (1-10 GHz) observations were conducted at the Allen Telescope Array to identify artificial non-sinusoidal periodic signals with radio bandwidths greater than 1 kHz, which are capable of carrying substantial messages with symbol-rates from 10-10e6 Hz. Out of 243 observations, about half (101) were directed toward sources with known continuum flux greater than 1 Jy (quasars, pulsars, supernova remnants and masers), based on the hypothesis that they might harbor heretofore undiscovered natural or artificial, repetitive, phase or frequency modulation. The rest of the targets were mostly toward exoplanet stars and similarly interesting targets from the standpoint of SETI. This campaign rules out several previously untested hypotheses relating to the number of artificially modulated "natural" sources. Since we are using a phase sensitive detector, these observations break new ground on this topic. We conclude that the maximum probability that future observations like the ones described here will reveal repetitively modulated emissions from a wide variety of sources, including quasars, supernova remnants and bright stars, is no more than 15-30 percent, depending on source type. The paper concludes by describing an approach to expanding this survey to many more targets and much greater sensitivity using archived and real-time data from interferometers all over the world.

Predicted Indirect Signatures of Terrestrial Exoplanet Formation

NUMERICALLY PREDICTED INDIRECT SIGNATURES OF TERRESTRIAL PLANET FORMATION

Authors:

Leinhardt et al

Abstract:

The intermediate phases of planet formation are not directly observable due to lack of emission from planetesimals. Planet formation is, however, a dynamically active process resulting in collisions between the evolving planetesimals and the production of dust. Thus, indirect observation of planet formation may indeed be possible in the near future. In this paper we present synthetic observations based on numerical N-body simulations of the intermediate phase of planet formation including a state-of-the-art collision model, EDACM, which allows multiple collision outcomes, such as accretion, erosion, and bouncing events. We show that the formation of planetary embryos may be indirectly observable by a fully functioning ALMA telescope if the surface area involved in planetesimal evolution is sufficiently large and/or the amount of dust produced in the collisions is sufficiently high in mass.

Can the Solar System's Architecture be Explained by the Snowline?

The great dichotomy of the Solar System: small terrestrial embryos and massive giant planet cores

Authors:

Morbidelli et al

Abstract:

The basic structure of the solar system is set by the presence of low-mass terrestrial planets in its inner part and giant planets in its outer part. This is the result of the formation of a system of multiple embryos with approximately the mass of Mars in the inner disk and of a few multi-Earth-mass cores in the outer disk, within the lifetime of the gaseous component of the protoplanetary disk. What was the origin of this dichotomy in the mass distribution of embryos/cores? We show in this paper that the classic processes of runaway and oligarchic growth from a disk of planetesimals cannot explain this dichotomy, even if the original surface density of solids increased at the snowline. Instead, the accretion of drifting pebbles by embryos and cores can explain the dichotomy, provided that some assumptions hold true. We propose that the mass-flow of pebbles is two-times lower and the characteristic size of the pebbles is approximately ten times smaller within the snowline than beyond the snowline (respectively at heliocentric distance r less than rice and r greater than rice, where rice is the snowline heliocentric distance), due to ice sublimation and the splitting of icy pebbles into a collection of chondrule-size silicate grains. In this case, objects of original sub-lunar mass would grow at drastically different rates in the two regions of the disk. Within the snowline these bodies would reach approximately the mass of Mars while beyond the snowline they would grow to ∼20 Earth masses. The results may change quantitatively with changes to the assumed parameters, but the establishment of a clear dichotomy in the mass distribution of protoplanets appears robust, provided that there is enough turbulence in the disk to prevent the sedimentation of the silicate grains into a very thin layer.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Accumulation and Trapping of Dust Grains at Planet Gaps

The accumulation and trapping of grains at planet gaps: effects of grain growth and fragmentation

Authors:

Gonzalez et al

Abstract:

We model the dust evolution in protoplanetary disks with full 3D, Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics (SPH), two-phase (gas+dust) hydrodynamical simulations. The gas+dust dynamics, where aerodynamic drag leads to the vertical settling and radial migration of grains, is consistently treated. In a previous work, we characterized the spatial distribution of non-growing dust grains of different sizes in a disk containing a gap-opening planet and investigated the gap's detectability with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA). Here we take into account the effects of grain growth and fragmentation and study their impact on the distribution of solids in the disk. We show that rapid grain growth in the two accumulation zones around planet gaps is strongly affected by fragmentation. We discuss the consequences for ALMA observations.

Determing Radial Velocity Detected Exoplanets' Masses may NOT be Possible With EXO & WFIRST

TRUE MASSES OF RADIAL-VELOCITY EXOPLANETS

Author:

Brown

Abstract:

We study the task of estimating the true masses of known radial-velocity (RV) exoplanets by means of direct astrometry on coronagraphic images to measure the apparent separation between exoplanet and host star. Initially, we assume perfect knowledge of the RV orbital parameters and that all errors are due to photon statistics. We construct design reference missions for four missions currently under study at NASA: EXO-S and WFIRST-S, with external star shades for starlight suppression, EXO-C and WFIRST-C, with internal coronagraphs. These DRMs reveal extreme scheduling constraints due to the combination of solar and anti-solar pointing restrictions, photometric and obscurational completeness, image blurring due to orbital motion, and the "nodal effect," which is the independence of apparent separation and inclination when the planet crosses the plane of the sky through the host star. Next, we address the issue of nonzero uncertainties in RV orbital parameters by investigating their impact on the observations of 21 single-planet systems. Except for two—GJ 676 A b and 16 Cyg B b, which are observable only by the star-shade missions—we find that current uncertainties in orbital parameters generally prevent accurate, unbiased estimation of true planetary mass. For the coronagraphs, WFIRST-C and EXO-C, the most likely number of good estimators of true mass is currently zero. For the star shades, EXO-S and WFIRST-S, the most likely numbers of good estimators are three and four, respectively, including GJ 676 A b and 16 Cyg B b. We expect that uncertain orbital elements currently undermine all potential programs of direct imaging and spectroscopy of RV exoplanets.

Detecting Forming Exoplanets Through Chemical Asymmetries in Protoplanetary Disks

Indirect Detection of Forming Protoplanets via Chemical Asymmetries in Disks

Authors:

Ilsedore Cleeves et al

Abstract:

We examine changes in the molecular abundances resulting from increased heating due to a self-luminous planetary companion embedded within a narrow circumstellar disk gap. Using 3D models that include stellar and planetary irradiation, we find that luminous young planets locally heat up the parent circumstellar disk by many tens of Kelvin, resulting in efficient thermal desorption of molecular species that are otherwise locally frozen out. Furthermore, the heating is deposited over large regions of the disk, ±5 AU radially and spanning ≲60∘ azimuthally. From the 3D chemical models, we compute rotational line emission models and full ALMA simulations, and find that the chemical signatures of the young planet are detectable as chemical asymmetries in ∼10h observations. HCN and its isotopologues are particularly clear tracers of planetary heating for the models considered here, and emission from multiple transitions of the same species is detectable, which encodes temperature information in addition to possible velocity information from the spectra itself. We find submillimeter molecular emission will be a useful tool to study gas giant planet formation in situ, especially beyond R≳10 AU.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

MWC 758 Seems to be Forming Planetesimals

Compact dust concentration in the MWC 758 protoplanetary disk

Authors:

Marino et al

Abstract:

The formation of planetesimals requires that primordial dust grains grow from micron- to km-sized bodies. Dust traps caused by gas pressure maxima have been proposed as regions where grains can concentrate and grow fast enough to form planetesimals, before radially migrating onto the star. We report new VLA Ka & Ku observations of the protoplanetary disk around the Herbig Ae/Be star MWC 758. The Ka image shows a compact emission region in the outer disk indicating a strong concentration of big dust grains. Tracing smaller grains, archival ALMA data in band 7 continuum shows extended disk emission with an intensity maximum to the north-west of the central star, which matches the VLA clump position. This segregation of grains sizes is expected in the context of dust trapping, where big grains are trapped more easily than smaller grains in gas pressure maxima. We develop a non-axisymmetric parametric model inspired by a steady state vortex solution which reproduces the observations, including the spectral energy distribution. Finally, we compare the radio continuum with SPHERE scattered light data. The ALMA continuum spatially coincides with a region devoid of scattered polarised emission and the VLA clump is offset to the north of the north-western spiral-like feature, indicating moderate or no flaring in the outer disk.

V409 Tau Mimics AA Tau

V409 Tau As Another AA Tau: Photometric Observations of Stellar Occultations by the Circumstellar Disk

Authors:

Rodriguez et al

Abstract:

AA Tau is a well studied young stellar object that presents many of the photometric characteristics of a Classical T Tauri star (CTTS), including short-timescale stochastic variability attributed to spots and/or accretion as well as long duration dimming events attributed to occultations by vertical features (e.g., warps) in its circumstellar disk. We present new photometric observations of AA Tau from the Kilodegree Extremely Little Telescope North (KELT-North) which reveal a deep, extended dimming event in 2011, which we show supports the interpretation by Bouvier et al. (2013) of an occultation by a high-density feature in the circumstellar disk located greater than 8 AU from the star. We also present KELT-North observations of V409 Tau, a relatively unstudied young stellar object also in Taurus-Auriga, showing short timescale erratic variability, along with two separate long and deep dimming events, one from January 2009 through late October 2010, and the other from March 2012 until at least September 2013. We interpret both dimming events to have lasted more than 600 days, each with a depth of ~1.4 mag. From a spectral energy distribution analysis, we propose that V409 Tau is most likely surrounded by a circumstellar disk viewed nearly edge-on, and using Keplerian timescale arguments we interpret the deep dimmings of V409 Tau as occultations from one or more features within this disk greater than 10 AU from the star. In both AA Tau and V409 Tau, the usual CTTS short-timescale variations associated with accretion processes close to the stars continue during the occultations, further supporting the distant occulting material interpretation. Like AA Tau, V409 Tau serves as a laboratory for studying the detailed structure of the protoplanetary environments of T Tauri disks, specifically disk structures that may be signposts of planet formation at many AU out in the disk.

Tracing Exoplanet-induced Circumstellar Disk Structures

Tracing planet-induced structures in circumstellar disks using molecular lines

Authors:

Ober et al

Abstract:

Circumstellar disks are considered to be the birthplace of planets. Specific structures like spiral arms, gaps, and cavities are characteristic indicators of planet-disk interaction. Investigating these structures can provide insights into the growth of protoplanets and the physical properties of the disk. We investigate the feasibility of using molecular lines to trace planet-induced structures in circumstellar disks. Based on 3D hydrodynamic simulations of planet-disk interactions, we perform self-consistent temperature calculations and produce N-LTE molecular line velocity-channel maps and spectra of these disks using our new N-LTE line radiative transfer code Mol3D. Subsequently, we simulate ALMA observations using the CASA simulator. We consider two nearly face-on inclinations, 5 disk masses, 7 disk radii, and 2 different typical pre-main-sequence host stars (T Tauri, Herbig Ae). We calculate up to 141 individual velocity-channel maps for five molecules/isotopoloques in a total of 32 rotational transitions to investigate the frequency dependence of the structures indicated above. We find that the majority of protoplanetary disks in our parameter space could be detected in the molecular lines considered. However, unlike the continuum case, gap detection is not straightforward in lines. For example, gaps are not seen in symmetric rings but are masked by the pattern caused by the global (Keplerian) velocity field. We identify specific regions in the velocity-channel maps that are characteristic of planet-induced structures. Simulations of high angular resolution molecular line observations demonstrate the potential of ALMA to provide complementary information about the planet-disk interaction as compared to continuum observations. In particular, the detection of planet-induced gaps is possible under certain conditions.(abridged)

Friday, June 26, 2015

Several Kepler Eclipsing Binaries are Really Trinaries, Some With Brown Dwarfs


Ten Kepler Eclipsing Binaries Containing the Third Components

Authors:

Zasche et al

Abstract:

Analyzing the available photometry from the Kepler satellite and other databases, we performed detailed light curve modeling of 10 eclipsing binary systems that were found to exhibit a periodic modulation of their orbital periods. All of the selected systems are detached Algol type, with orbital periods from 0.9 to 2.9 days. In total, 9448 times of minimum for these binaries were analyzed in an attempt to identify the period variations caused by the third bodies in these systems. The well-known method of the light-travel time effect was used for the analysis. The orbital periods of the outer bodies were found to be between 1 and 14 years. This hypothesis makes such systems interesting for future prospective detections of these components, despite their low predicted masses. Considering the dynamical interaction between the orbits, the system KIC 3440230 seems to be the most interesting, in which one would expect the detection of some effects (i.e., changing the inclination) even after a few years or decades of observations.

DE0823−49 is a Pair of Juvenile Binary L Class Brown Dwarf ~67.5 Light Years Away

DE0823−49 is a juvenile binary brown dwarf at 20.7 pc

Authors:

Sahlmann et al

Abstract:

Astrometric monitoring of the nearby early-L dwarf DE0823−49 has revealed a low-mass companion in a 248-day orbit that was announced in an earlier work. Here, we present new astrometric and spectroscopic observations that allow us to characterise the system in detail. The optical spectrum shows LiI-absorption indicative of a young age and/or substellar mass for the primary component. The near-infrared spectrum is best reproduced by a binary system of brown dwarfs with spectral types of L1.5 + L5.5 and effective temperatures of 2150±100 K and 1670±140 K. To conform with the photocentric orbit size measured with astrometry and the current understanding of substellar evolution, the system must have an age in the 80--500 Myr range. Evolutionary models predict component masses in the ranges of M1≃0.028−0.063M⊙ and M2≃0.018−0.045M⊙ with a mass ratio of q≃0.64−0.74. Multi-epoch radial velocity measurements unambiguously establish the three-dimensional orbit of the system and allow us to investigate its kinematic properties. DE0823−49 emerges as a rare example of a nearby brown dwarf binary with orbit, component properties, and age that are characterised well. It is a juvenile resident of the solar neighbourhood, but does not appear to belong to a known young association or moving group.

First Detection of Thermal Radio Jets of Proto Brown Dwarfs

First detection of thermal radio jets in a sample of proto-brown dwarf candidates

Authors:

Morata et al

Abstract:

We observed with the JVLA at 3.6 and 1.3 cm a sample of 11 proto-brown dwarf candidates in Taurus in a search for thermal radio jets driven by the most embedded brown dwarfs. We detected for the first time four thermal radio jets in proto-brown dwarf candidates. We compiled data from UKIDSS, 2MASS, Spitzer, WISE and Herschel to build the Spectral Energy Distribution (SED) of the objects in our sample, which are similar to typical Class~I SEDs of Young Stellar Objects (YSOs). The four proto-brown dwarf candidates driving thermal radio jets also roughly follow the well-known trend of centimeter luminosity against bolometric luminosity determined for YSOs, assuming they belong to Taurus, although they present some excess of radio emission compared to the known relation for YSOs. Nonetheless, we are able to reproduce the flux densities of the radio jets modeling the centimeter emission of the thermal radio jets using the same type of models applied to YSOs, but with corresponding smaller stellar wind velocities and mass-loss rates, and exploring different possible geometries of the wind or outflow from the star. Moreover, we also find that the modeled mass outflow rates for the bolometric luminosities of our objects agree reasonably well with the trends found between the mass outflow rates and bolometric luminosities of YSOs, which indicates that, despite the "excess" centimeter emission, the intrinsic properties of proto-brown dwarfs are consistent with a continuation of those of very low mass stars to a lower mass range. Overall, our study favors the formation of brown dwarfs as a scaled-down version of low-mass stars.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

SMACK: Modeling Beta Pictoris' Disk

video


link.

HAT-P-56b: An Inflated Hot Jupiter Around an F Dwarf

An inflated massive Hot Jupiter transiting a bright F star followed up with K2.0 observations

Authors:

Huang et al

Abstract:

We report the discovery of HAT-P-56b by the HATNet survey, an inflated hot Jupiter transiting a bright F type star in Field 0 of NASA's K2 mission. We combine ground-based discovery and follow-up light curves with high precision photometry from K2, as well as ground-based radial velocities from TRES on the FLWO~1.5m telescope to determine the physical properties of this system. HAT-P-56b has a mass of Mp≈2.18MJ, radius of Rp≈1.47RJ, and transits its host star on a near-grazing orbit with a period of P≈ 2.7908 d. The radius of HAT-P-56b is among the largest known for a planet with Mp>2MJ. The host star has a V-band magnitude of 10.9, mass of 1.30 M⊙, and radius of 1.43 R⊙. The periodogram of the K2 light curve suggests the star is a γ Dor variable. HAT-P-56b is an example of a ground-based discovery of a transiting planet, where space-based observations greatly improve the confidence in the confirmation of its planetary nature, and also improve the accuracy of the planetary parameters.

HATS-8b: an Inflated Hot Saturn

HATS-8b: A Low-Density Transiting Super-Neptune

Authors:

Bayliss et al

Abstract:

HATS-8b is a low density transiting super-Neptune discovered as part of the HATSouth project. The planet orbits its solar-like G dwarf host (V=14.03 ± 0.10 and Teff =5679 ± 50 K) with a period of 3.5839 d. HATS-8b is the third lowest mass transiting exoplanet to be discovered from a wide-field ground based search, and with a mass of 0.138 ± 0.019 MJ it is approximately half-way between the masses of Neptune and Saturn. However HATS-8b has a radius of 0.873 (+0.123,-0.075) RJ, resulting in a bulk density of just 0.259 ± 0.091 g.cm−3. The metallicity of the host star is super-Solar ([Fe/H]=0.210 ± 0.080), arguing against the idea that low density exoplanets form from metal-poor environments. The low density and large radius of HATS-8b results in an atmospheric scale height of almost 1000 km, and in addition to this there is an excellent reference star of near equal magnitude at just 19 arcsecond separation on the sky. These factors make HATS-8b an exciting target for future atmospheric characterization studies, particularly for long-slit transmission spectroscopy.

KELT-8b: a Highly Inflated hot Jupiter

KELT-8b: A highly inflated transiting hot Jupiter and a new technique for extracting high-precision radial velocities from noisy spectra

Authors:

Fulton et al

Abstract:

We announce the discovery of a highly inflated transiting hot Jupiter discovered by the KELT-North survey. A global analysis including constraints from isochrones indicates that the V = 10.8 host star (HD 343246) is a mildly evolved, G dwarf with Teff=5754+54−55 K, logg=4.078+0.049−0.054, [Fe/H]=0.272±0.038, an inferred mass M∗=1.211+0.078−0.066 M⊙, and radius R∗=1.67+0.14−0.12 R⊙. The planetary companion has mass MP=0.867+0.065−0.061 MJ, radius RP=1.86+0.18−0.16 RJ, surface gravity loggP=2.793+0.072−0.075, and density ρP=0.167+0.047−0.038 g cm−3. The planet is on a roughly circular orbit with semimajor axis a=0.04571+0.00096−0.00084 AU and eccentricity e=0.035+0.050−0.025. The best-fit linear ephemeris is T0=2456883.4803±0.0007 BJDTDB and P=3.24406±0.00016 days. This planet is one of the most inflated of all known transiting exoplanets, making it one of the few members of a class of extremely low density, highly-irradiated gas giants. The low stellar logg and large implied radius are supported by stellar density constraints from follow-up light curves, plus an evolutionary and space motion analysis. We also develop a new technique to extract high precision radial velocities from noisy spectra that reduces the observing time needed to confirm transiting planet candidates. This planet boasts deep transits of a bright star, a large inferred atmospheric scale height, and a high equilibrium temperature of Teq=1675+61−55 K, assuming zero albedo and perfect heat redistribution, making it one of the best targets for future atmospheric characterization studies.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Explaining the Formation of the Galilean Moons and Titan in the Grand Tack Scenario

The formation of the Galilean moons and Titan in the Grand Tack scenario

Authors:

Heller et al

Abstract:

In the "Grand Tack" (GT) scenario for the young solar system, Jupiter formed beyond 3.5 AU from the Sun and migrated as close as 1.5 AU until it encountered an orbital resonance with Saturn. Both planets then supposedly migrated outward for several 105 yr, with Jupiter ending up at ~5 AU. The initial conditions of the GT and the timing between Jupiter's migration and the formation of the Galilean satellites remain unexplored. We study the formation of Ganymede and Callisto, both of which consist of ~50% water and rock, respectively, in the GT scenario. We examine why they lack dense atmospheres, while Titan is surrounded by a thick nitrogen envelope. We model an axially symmetric circumplanetary disk (CPD) in hydrostatic equilibrium around Jupiter. The CPD is warmed by viscous heating, Jupiter's luminosity, accretional heating, and the Sun. The position of the water ice line in the CPD, which is crucial for the formation of massive moons, is computed at various solar distances. We assess the loss of Galilean atmospheres due to high-energy radiation from the young Sun. Ganymede and Callisto cannot have accreted their water during Jupiter's supposed GT, because its CPD (if still active) was too warm to host ices and much smaller than Ganymede's contemporary orbit. From a thermal perspective, the Galilean moons might have had significant atmospheres, but these would probably have been eroded during the GT in < 105 yr by solar XUV radiation. Jupiter and the Galilean moons formed beyond 4.5 (+/-0.5) AU and prior to the proposed GT. Thereafter, Jupiter's CPD would have been dry, and delayed accretion of planetesimals should have created water-rich Io and Europa. While Galilean atmospheres would have been lost during the GT, Titan would have formed after Saturn's own tack, because Saturn still accreted substantially for ~106 yr after its closest solar approach, ending up at about 7 AU.

Hot Neptune Gliese 436b has a Comet-like Tail



A giant comet-like cloud of hydrogen escaping the warm Neptune-mass exoplanet GJ 436b

Authors:

Ehrenreich et al

Abstract:

Exoplanets orbiting close to their parent stars may lose some fraction of their atmospheres because of the extreme irradiation. Atmospheric mass loss primarily affects low-mass exoplanets, leading to the suggestion that hot rocky planets might have begun as Neptune-like, but subsequently lost all of their atmospheres; however, no confident measurements have hitherto been available. The signature of this loss could be observed in the ultraviolet spectrum, when the planet and its escaping atmosphere transit the star, giving rise to deeper and longer transit signatures than in the optical spectrum. Here we report that in the ultraviolet the Neptune-mass exoplanet GJ 436b (also known as Gliese 436b) has transit depths of 56.3 ± 3.5% (1σ), far beyond the 0.69% optical transit depth. The ultraviolet transits repeatedly start about two hours before, and end more than three hours after the approximately one hour optical transit, which is substantially different from one previous claim (based on an inaccurate ephemeris). We infer from this that the planet is surrounded and trailed by a large exospheric cloud composed mainly of hydrogen atoms. We estimate a mass-loss rate in the range of about 108–109 grams per second, which is far too small to deplete the atmosphere of a Neptune-like planet in the lifetime of the parent star, but would have been much greater in the past.

The Sign Posts for Detecting Gas Giants Forming in Protoplanetary Disks

Planet formation signposts: observability of circumplanetary disks via gas kinematics

Authors:

Perez et al

Abstract:

The identification of on-going planet formation requires the finest angular resolutions and deepest sensitivities in observations inspired by state-of-the-art numerical simulations. Hydrodynamic simulations of planet-disk interactions predict the formation of circumplanetary disks (CPDs) around accreting planetary cores. These CPDs have eluded unequivocal detection -their identification requires predictions in CPD tracers. In this work, we aim to assess the observability of embedded CPDs with ALMA as features imprinted in the gas kinematics. We use 3D Smooth Particle Hydrodynamic (SPH) simulations of CPDs around 1 and 5 M_Jup planets at large stellocentric radii, in locally isothermal and adiabatic disks. The simulations are then connected with 3D radiative transfer for predictions in CO isotopologues. Observability is assessed by corrupting with realistic long baseline phase noise extracted from the recent HL Tau ALMA data. We find that the presence of a CPD produces distinct signposts: 1) compact emission separated in velocity from the overall circumstellar disk's Keplerian pattern, 2) a strong impact on the velocity pattern when the Doppler shifted line emission sweeps across the CPD location, and 3) a local increase in the velocity dispersion. We test our predictions with a simulation tailored for HD 100546 -which has a reported protoplanet candidate. We find that the CPDs are detectable in all 3 signposts with ALMA Cycle 3 capabilities for both 1 and 5 M_Jup protoplanets, when embedded in an isothermal disk.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Temperature Distributions of CircumPlanetary Moon Forming Disks

Stimulated Radiative Molecular Association in the Early Solar System: Orbital Radii of Satellites of Uranus, Jupiter, Neptune, and Saturn

Author:

Lombardi

Abstract:

The present investigation relates the orbital radii of regular satellites of Uranus, Jupiter, Neptune, and Saturn to photon energies in the spectra of atomic and molecular hydrogen. To explain these observations a model is developed involving stimulated radiative molecular association (SRMA) reactions among the photons and atoms in the protosatellite disks of the planets. In this model thermal energy is extracted from each disk due to a resonance at radii where there is a match between the temperature in the disk and a photon energy. Matter accumulates at these radii, and satellites and rings are ultimately formed. Orbital radii of satellites of Uranus, Jupiter, and Neptune are related to photon energies (EPM values) in the spectrum of molecular hydrogen. Orbital radii of satellites of Saturn are related to photon energies (EPA values) in the spectrum of atomic hydrogen. The first hint that such relationships exist is found in the linearity of the graphs of orbital radii of uranian satellites vs. orbital radii of jovian satellites, as well as in the graphs of orbital radii of uranian satellites vs. orbital radii of neptunian satellites. An expression is determined which gives the temperature in protosatellite disks where the evolution of each satellite begins. This expression is used to find temperature distributions in the disks, which are found to be similar to distributions calculated by other investigators.

Can WFIRST With an Optical Coronagraph Directly Image Jupiter Analogs?

The Direct Detectability of Giant Exoplanets in the Optical

Authors:

Greco et al

Abstract:

Motivated by the possibility that an optical coronagraph will be put on WFIRST/AFTA, we present an exploration of the general character of the direct detectability of extrasolar giant planets (EGPs) in the optical. We quantify a planet's direct detectability by the fraction of its orbit for which it is in an observable configuration--defined to be its observability fraction (fobs). Using a suite of Monte Carlo experiments, we study the dependence of fobs upon various technological and astrophysical parameters, including the inner working angle (IWA) and minimum achievable contrast (Cmin) of the direct-imaging observatory; the planet's scattering phase function, geometric albedo, single-scattering albedo, radius, and distance from Earth; and the semi-major axis distribution of EGPs. We assume cloud-free, homogeneous atmospheres and calculate phase functions for a given geometric or single-scattering albedo, assuming various scattering mechanisms. We find that the often-assumed Lambertian phase function can predict significantly larger fobs values with respect to the more physically motivated Rayleigh phase function. For observations made with WFIRST/AFTA's baseline coronagraphic capabilities (Cmin∼10−9, IWA∼0.2″), Jupiter-like planets orbiting stars within 10, 30, and 50 pc from Earth have volume-averaged (assuming a uniform distribution of stars) observability fractions of ∼12%, 3%, and 0.5%, respectively. Using a plausible estimate for the occurrence rate of EGPs, we find that, in all but the most optimistic configurations, the probability a blind search will lead to a detection is low (less than 5%). However, with orbital parameter constraints from long-term radial-velocity campaigns and Gaia astrometry, the tools we develop in this work can be used to determine both the most promising systems to target and when to observe them.

Water, Hydrogen and the Internal Structure of Gas Giants


Authors:

Soubiran et al

Abstract:

We present results from ab initio simulations of liquid water-hydrogen mixtures in the range from 2 to 70 GPa and from 1000 to 6000 K, covering conditions in the interiors of ice giant planets and parts of the outer envelope of gas giant planets. In addition to computing the pressure and the internal energy, we derive the Gibbs free energy by performing a thermodynamic integration. For all conditions under consideration, our simulations predict hydrogen and water to mix in all proportions. The thermodynamic behavior of the mixture can be well described with an ideal mixing approximation. We suggest a substantial fraction of water and hydrogen in giant planets may occur in homogeneously mixed form rather than in separate layers. The extend of mixing depends on the planet's interior dynamics and its conditions of formation, in particular on how much hydrogen was present when icy planetesimals were delivered. Based on our results, we do not predict water-hydrogen mixtures to phase separate during any stage of the evolution of giant planets. We also show that the hydrogen content of an exoplanet is much higher if the mixed interior is assumed.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Watching for the City Lights During the Nights of Exoplanets

Modeling Indications of Technology in Planetary Transit Light Curves -- Dark-side illumination

Authors:

Korpela et al

Abstract:

We analyze potential effects of an extraterrestrial civilization's use of orbiting mirrors to illuminate the dark side of a synchronously rotating planet on planetary transit light curves. Previous efforts to detect civilizations based on side effects of planetary-scale engineering have focused on structures affecting the host star output (e.g. Dyson spheres). However, younger civilizations are likely to be less advanced in their engineering efforts, yet still capable of sending small spacecraft into orbit. Since M dwarfs are the most common type of star in the solar neighborhood, it seems plausible that many of the nearest habitable planets orbit dim, low-mass M stars, and will be in synchronous rotation. Logically, a civilization evolving on such a planet may be inspired to illuminate their planet's dark side by placing a single large mirror at the L2 Lagrangian point, or launching a fleet of small thin mirrors into planetary orbit. We briefly examine the requirements and engineering challenges of such a collection of orbiting mirrors, then explore their impact on transit light curves. We incorporate stellar limb darkening and model a simplistic mirror fleet's effects for transits of Earth-like (R = 0.5 to 2 R_Earth) planets which would be synchronously rotating for orbits within the habitable zone of their host star. Although such an installation is undetectable in Kepler data, JWST will provide the sensitivity necessary to detect a fleet of mirrors orbiting Earth-like habitable planets around nearby stars.

Sol's Activity and its Potential Impact for Detecting Earth by Radial Velocity

Using the Sun to estimate Earth-like planets detection capabilities. V. Parameterizing the impact of solar activity components on radial velocities

Authors:

Borgniet et al

Abstract:

Stellar activity induced by active structures (eg, spots, faculae) is known to strongly impact the radial velocity time series. It then limits the detection of small planetary RV signals (eg, an Earth-mass planet in the habitable zone of a solar-like star). In previous papers, we studied the detectability of such planets around the Sun seen as an edge-on star. For that purpose, we computed the RV and photometric variations induced by solar magnetic activity, using all active structures observed over one entire cycle. Our goal is to perform similar studies on stars with different physical and geometrical properties. As a first step, we focus on Sun-like stars seen with various inclinations, and on estimating detection capabilities with forthcoming instruments. To do so, we first parameterize the solar active structures with the most realistic pattern so as to obtain results consistent with the observed ones. We simulate the growth, evolution and decay of solar spots, faculae and network, using parameters and empiric laws derived from solar observations and literature. We generate the corresponding structure lists over a full solar cycle. We then build the resulting spectra and deduce the RV and photometric variations for a `Sun' seen with various inclinations. The produced RV signal takes into account the photometric contribution of structures as well as the attenuation of the convective blueshift. The comparison between our simulated activity pattern and the observed one validates our model. We show that the inclination of the stellar rotation axis has a significant impact on the time series. RV long-term amplitudes as well as short-term jitters are significantly reduced when going from edge-on to pole-on configurations. Assuming spin-orbit alignment, the optimal configuration for planet detection is an inclined star (i~45{\deg}).

Water Transport From Beyond to Snowline to Potentially Habitable Worlds in Binary Star Systems

Impact flux of asteroids and water transport to the habitable zone in binary star systems

Authors:

Bancelin et al

Abstract:

By now, observations of exoplanets have found more than 50 binary star systems hosting 71 planets. We expect these numbers to increase as more than 70% of the main sequence stars in the solar neighborhood are members of binary or multiple systems. The planetary motion in such systems depends strongly on both the parameters of the stellar system (stellar separation and eccentricity) and the architecture of the planetary system (number of planets and their orbital behaviour). In case a terrestrial planet moves in the so-called habitable zone (HZ) of its host star, the habitability of this planet depends on many parameters. A crucial factor is certainly the amount of water. We investigate in this work the transport of water from beyond the snow-line to the HZ in a binary star system and compare it to a single star system.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

The Super Metalitcity of Exoplanet Host Star HD 77338

Abundances in the atmosphere of the metal-rich planet-host star HD 77338

Authors:

Kushniruk et al

Abstract:

Abundances of Fe, Si, Ni, Ti, Na, Mg, Cu, Zn, Mn, Cr and Ca in the atmosphere of the K-dwarf HD 77338 are determined and discussed. HD 77338 hosts a hot Uranus-like planet and is currently the most metal-rich single star to host any planet. Determination of abundances was carried out in the framework of a self-consistent approach developed by Pavlenko et al. (2012). Abundances were computed iteratively by the program ABEL8, and the process converged after 4 iterations. We find that most elements follow the iron abundance, however some of the iron peak elements are found to be over-abundant in this star.

How are Exoplanets Detected?

Exoplanet Detection Techniques

Authors:

Fischer et al

Abstract:

We are still in the early days of exoplanet discovery. Astronomers are beginning to model the atmospheres and interiors of exoplanets and have developed a deeper understanding of processes of planet formation and evolution. However, we have yet to map out the full complexity of multi-planet architectures or to detect Earth analogues around nearby stars. Reaching these ambitious goals will require further improvements in instrumentation and new analysis tools. In this chapter, we provide an overview of five observational techniques that are currently employed in the detection of exoplanets: optical and IR Doppler measurements, transit photometry, direct imaging, microlensing, and astrometry. We provide a basic description of how each of these techniques works and discuss forefront developments that will result in new discoveries. We also highlight the observational limitations and synergies of each method and their connections to future space missions.

Empirically Determinating Stellar Radial Velocity and Projected Rotation Velocity Precision

The Gaia-ESO Survey: Empirical determination of the precision of stellar radial velocities and projected rotation velocities

Authors:

Jackson et al

Abstract:

The Gaia-ESO Survey (GES) is a large public spectroscopic survey at the European Southern Observatory Very Large Telescope. A key aim is to provide precise radial velocities (RVs) and projected equatorial velocities (v sin i) for representative samples of Galactic stars, that will complement information obtained by the Gaia astrometry satellite. We present an analysis to empirically quantify the size and distribution of uncertainties in RV and v sin i using spectra from repeated exposures of the same stars. We show that the uncertainties vary as simple scaling functions of signal-to-noise ratio (S/N) and v sin i, that the uncertainties become larger with increasing photospheric temperature, but that the dependence on stellar gravity, metallicity and age is weak. The underlying uncertainty distributions have extended tails that are better represented by Student's t-distributions than by normal distributions. Parametrised results are provided, that enable estimates of the RV precision for almost all GES measurements, and estimates of the v sin i precision for stars in young clusters, as a function of S/N, v sin i and stellar temperature. The precision of individual high S/N GES RV measurements is 0.22-0.26 km/s, dependent on instrumental configuration.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Simulating Collisions of Planetesimals and the Formation of Exoplanets

Collisions of planetesimals and formation of planets

Authors:

Dvorak et al

Abstract:

We present preliminary results of terrestrial planet formation using on the one hand classical numerical integration of hundreds of small bodies on CPUs and on the other hand -- for comparison reasons -- the results of our GPU code with thousands of small bodies which then merge to larger ones. To be able to determine the outcome of collision events we use our smooth particle hydrodynamics (SPH) code which tracks how water is lost during such events.

SVS13's Protoplanetary Disk has Silicates, Quartz and Sililcon carbide

Mid-infrared spectroscopy of SVS13: Silicates, quartz and SiC in a protoplanetary disc

Authors:

Fujiyoshi et al

Abstract:

We present N-band (8−13 μm) spectroscopic observations of the low-mass, embedded pre-main-sequence close binary system SVS13. Absorption features are clearly detected which are attributable to amorphous silicates, crystalline forsterite, crystalline enstatite and annealed SiO2. Most intriguingly, a major component of the dust in the envelope or disc around SVS13 appears to be SiC, required to model adequately both the total intensity and polarisation spectra. Silicon carbide is a species previously detected only in the spectra of C-rich evolved star atmospheres, wherein it is a dust condensate. It has not been unambiguously identified in the interstellar medium, and never before in a molecular cloud, let alone in close proximity to a forming star. Yet pre-Solar grains of SiC have been identified in meteorites, possibly suggesting an interesting parallel between SVS13 and our own Solar-System evolution. The uniqueness of the spectrum suggests that we are either catching SVS13 in a short-lived evolutionary phase and/or that there is something special about SVS13 itself that makes it rare amongst young stars. We speculate on the physical origin of the respective dust species and why they are all simultaneously present toward SVS13. Two scenarios are presented: a disc-instability-induced fragmentation, with subsequent localised heating and orbital evolution firstly annealing initially amorphous silicates and then dispersing their crystalline products throughout a circumstellar disc; and a newly discovered shock-heating mechanism at the interface between the circumstellar and circumbinary discs providing the crystallisation process. One or both of these mechanisms acting on carbon-rich grain material can also feasibly produce the SiC signature.

The Effect of Electron Heating on Protoplanetary Disk Magnetorotational Turbulence

The Effect of Electron Heating on Magnetorotational Turbulence in Protoplanetary Disks: Self-regulation and Reduced Turbulence Strength

Authors:

Mori et al

Abstract:

The magnetorotational instability (MRI) drives vigorous turbulence in a region of protoplanetary disks where the ionization fraction is sufficiently high. It has recently been shown that the electric field induced by the MRI can heat up electrons and thereby affect the ionization balance in the gas. In particular, in a disk where abundant dust grains are present, the electron heating causes a reduction of the electron abundance, thereby preventing further growth of the MRI. By using the nonlinear Ohm's law that takes into account electron heating, we investigate where in protoplanetary disks this negative feedback between the MRI and ionization chemistry becomes important. We find that the "e-heating zone," the region where the electron heating limits the saturation of the MRI, extends out to 80 AU in the minimum-mass solar nebula with abundant submicron-sized grains. This region is considerably larger than the conventional dead zone whose radial extent is ∼20 AU in the same disk model. Our simple estimate based on the scaling between the Maxwell stress and current density shows that that the MRI turbulence in the e-heating zone should have a significantly low saturation level, with the viscosity parameter α being from 10−5 to 10−3 at the midplane. This implies that the MRI should be "virtually dead" deep inside the e-heating zone. We also find that (sub)micron-sized grains in the e-heating zone are so negatively charged that their collisional growth is unlikely to occur.

Friday, June 19, 2015

The dynamical evolution of low-mass hydrogen-burning stars, brown dwarfs and planetary-mass objects formed through disc fragmentation

THE DYNAMICAL EVOLUTION OF LOW-MASS HYDROGEN-BURNING STARS, BROWN DWARFS, AND PLANETARY-MASS OBJECTS FORMED THROUGH DISK FRAGMENTATION

Authors:

Li et al

Abstract:

Theory and simulations suggest that it is possible to form low-mass hydrogen-burning stars, brown dwarfs (BDs), and planetary-mass objects (PMOs) via disk fragmentation. As disk fragmentation results in the formation of several bodies at comparable distances to the host star, their orbits are generally unstable. Here, we study the dynamical evolution of these objects. We set up the initial conditions based on the outcomes of the smoothed-particle hydrodynamics simulations of Stamatellos & Whitworth, and for comparison we also study the evolution of systems resulting from lower-mass fragmenting disks. We refer to these two sets of simulations as set 1 and set 2, respectively. At 10 Myr, approximately half of the host stars have one companion left, and approximately 22% (set 1) to 9.8% (set 2) of the host stars are single. Systems with multiple secondaries in relatively stable configurations are common (about 30% and 44%, respectively). The majority of the companions are ejected within 1 Myr with velocities mostly below 5 km s−1, with some runaway escapers with velocities over 30 km s−1. Roughly 6% (set 1) and 2% (set 2) of the companions pair up into very low-mass binary systems, resulting in respective binary fractions of 3.2% and 1.2%. The majority of these pairs escape as very low-mass binaries, while others remain bound to the host star in hierarchical configurations (often with retrograde inner orbits). Physical collisions with the host star (0.43 and 0.18 events per host star for set 1 and set 2, respectively) and between companions (0.08 and 0.04 events per host star for set 1 and set 2, respectively) are relatively common and their frequency increases with increasing disk mass. Our study predicts observable properties of very low-mass binaries, low-mass hierarchical systems, the BD desert, and free-floating BDs and PMOs in and near young stellar groupings, which can be used to distinguish between different formation scenarios of very low-mass stars, BDs, and PMOs.

Hunting for Lithium in Metal-poor L Class Brown Dwarfs

A search for lithium in metal-poor L dwarfs

Authors:

Lodieu et al

Abstract:

The aim of the project is to search for lithium in absorption at 6707.8 Angstroms to constrain the nature and the mass of the brightest low-metallicity L-type dwarfs (refered to as L subdwarfs) identified in large-scale surveys.

We obtained low- to intermediate-resolution (R~2500-9000) optical (~560-770 nm) spectra of two mid-L subdwarfs, SDSSJ125637.13-022452.4 (SDSS1256; sdL3.5) and 2MASSJ162620.14+392519.5 (2MASS1626; sdL4) with spectrographs on the European Southern Observatory Very Large Telescope and the Gran Telescopio de Canarias.

We report the presence of a feature at the nominal position of the lithium absorption doublet at 6707.8 Angstroms in the spectrum of SDSS1256, with an equivalent width of 66+/-27 Angstroms at 2.4 sigma, which we identify as arising from a CaH molecular transition based on atmosphere models. We do not see any feature at the position of the lithium feature in the spectrum of 2MASS1626. The existence of overlapping molecular absorption sets a confusion detection limit of [Li/H]=-3 for equivalently-typed L subdwarfs. We provided improved radial velocity measurements of -126+/-10 km/s and -239+/-12 km/s for SDSS1256 and 2MASS1626, respectively, as well as revised Galactic orbits. We implemented adjusting factors for the CaH molecule in combination with the NextGen atmosphere models to fit the optical spectrum of SDSS1256 in the 6200-7300 Angstroms range. We also estimate the expected Li abundance from interstellar accretion ([Li/H]=-5), place limits on circumstellar accretion (10^9 g/yr), and discuss the prospects of Li searches in cooler L and T subdwarfs.

MOA-2007-BLG-197Lb: The First Brown Dwarf Companion to a Sun-like Star

MOA-2007-BLG-197: Exploring the brown dwarf desert

Authors:

Ranc et al

Abstract:

We present the analysis of MOA-2007-BLG-197Lb, the first brown dwarf companion to a Sun-like star detected through gravitational microlensing. The event was alerted and followed-up photometrically by a network of telescopes from the PLANET, MOA, and uFUN collaborations, and observed at high angular resolution using the NaCo instrument at the VLT. From the modelling of the microlensing light curve, we derived the binary lens separation in Einstein radius units (s~1.13) and a mass ratio of (4.732+/-0.020)x10^{-2}. Annual parallax, lens orbital motion and finite source effects were included in the models. To recover the lens system's physical parameters, we combined the resulting light curve best-fit parameters with (J,H,Ks) magnitudes obtained with VLT NaCo and calibrated using IRSF and 2MASS data. We derived a lens total mass of 0.86+/-0.04 Msun and a lens distance of 4.2+/-0.3 kpc. We find that the companion of MOA-2007-BLG-197L is a brown dwarf of 41+/-2 Mjup observed at a projected separation of 4.3+/-0.1 AU, and orbits a 0.82+/-0.04 Msun G-K dwarf star. We study the statistical properties of this population of brown dwarfs detected by microlensing, transit, radial velocity, and direct imaging (most of these objects orbit solar-type stars), and we performed a two-dimensional, non-parametric probability density distribution fit to the data, which draws a structured brown dwarf landscape. We confirm the existence of a region that is strongly depleted in objects at short periods and intermediate masses (P less than 30 d, M~30-60 Mjup), but also find an accumulation of objects around P~500 d and M~20 Mjup, as well as another depletion region at long orbital periods (P greater than 500 d) and high masses (M greater than 50 Mjup). While these data provide important clues on mechanisms of brown dwarfs formation, more data are needed to establish their relative importance, in particular as a function of host star mass.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Influence of Stellar Multiplicity On Gas Giant ExoPlanet Formation

Influence of Stellar Multiplicity On Planet Formation. III. Adaptive Optics Imaging of Kepler Stars With Gas Giant Planets

Authors:

Wang et al

Abstract:

As hundreds of gas giant planets have been discovered, we study how these planets form and evolve in different stellar environments, specifically in multiple stellar systems. In such systems, stellar companions may have a profound influence on gas giant planet formation and evolution via several dynamical effects such as truncation and perturbation. We select 84 Kepler Objects of Interest (KOIs) with gas giant planet candidates. We obtain high-angular resolution images using telescopes with adaptive optics (AO) systems. Together with the AO data, we use archival radial velocity data and dynamical analysis to constrain the presence of stellar companions. We detect 59 stellar companions around 40 KOIs for which we develop methods of testing their physical association. These methods are based on color information and galactic stellar population statistics. We find evidence of suppressive planet formation within 20 AU by comparing stellar multiplicity. The stellar multiplicity rate for planet host stars is 0+5−0\% within 20 AU. In comparison, the stellar multiplicity rate is 18\%±2\% for the control sample, i.e., field stars in the solar neighborhood. The stellar multiplicity rate for planet host stars is 34\%±8\% for separations between 20 and 200 AU, which is higher than the control sample at 12\%±2\%. Beyond 200 AU, stellar multiplicity rates are comparable between planet host stars and the control sample. We discuss the implications of the results to gas giant planet formation and evolution.

Kepler Compact Binary Stellar Systems With Exoplanets may be False Positives, Really Trinary Systems

No circumbinary planets transiting the tightest Kepler binaries - a fingerprint of a third star

Authors:

Martin et al

Abstract:

The Kepler mission has yielded the discovery of eight eclipsing binaries, within period range of 7 - 40 d, hosting circumbinary planets. This is longer than the typical eclipsing binary period found by Kepler, and hence there is a dearth of planets around the closest binaries. In this paper we demonstrate how this dearth may be explained by the presence of a distant stellar tertiary companion, which shrunk the inner binary orbit by the process of Kozai cycles and tidal friction, a mechanism that has been implicated for producing most binaries with periods below 7 d. We show that the geometry and orbital dynamics of these evolving triple-star systems are highly restrictive for a circumbinary planet, which is subject itself to Kozai modulation, on one hand, and can shield the two inner stars from their Kozai cycle and subsequent shrinking, on the other hand. Only small planets on wide and inclined orbits may form, survive and allow for the inner binary shrinkage. Those are difficult to detect.

Circumbinary Exoplanets Around Compact Stellar Binaries Could Survive

Survival of Planets Around Shrinking Stellar Binaries

Authors:

Muñoz et al

Abstract:

The discovery of transiting circumbinary planets by the Kepler mission suggests that planets can form efficiently around binary stars. None of the stellar binaries currently known to host planets has a period shorter than 7 days, despite the large number of eclipsing binaries found in the Kepler target list with periods shorter than a few days. These compact binaries are believed to have evolved from wider orbits into their current configurations via the so-called Lidov-Kozai migration mechanism, in which gravitational perturbations from a distant tertiary companion induce large-amplitude eccentricity oscillations in the binary, followed by orbital decay and circularization due to tidal dissipation in the stars. Here we explore the orbital evolution of planets around binaries undergoing orbital decay by this mechanism. We show that planets may survive and become misaligned from their host binary, or may develop erratic behavior in eccentricity, resulting in their consumption by the stars or ejection from the system as the binary decays. Our results suggest that circumbinary planets around compact binaries could still exist, and we offer predictions as to what their orbital configurations should be like.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

SETI Institute Google Plus Hangout Discussing Kepler-138b, c & d.


Kepler-138 System: a Mars-sized Terrestrial World (b), a Earth-sized Terrestrial World (c) and a Earth-sized Mini Neptune (d)




The mass of the Mars-sized exoplanet Kepler-138 b from transit timing

Authors:

Jontof-Hutter et al

Abstract:

Extrasolar planets that pass in front of their host star (transit) cause a temporary decrease in the apparent brightness of the star, providing a direct measure of the planet’s size and orbital period. In some systems with multiple transiting planets, the times of the transits are measurably affected by the gravitational interactions between neighbouring planets1, 2. In favourable cases, the departures from Keplerian orbits (that is, unaffected by gravitational effects) implied by the observed transit times permit the planetary masses to be measured, which is key to determining their bulk densities3. Characterizing rocky planets is particularly difficult, because they are generally smaller and less massive than gaseous planets. Therefore, few exoplanets near the size of Earth have had their masses measured. Here we report the sizes and masses of three planets orbiting Kepler-138, a star much fainter and cooler than the Sun. We determine that the mass of the Mars-sized inner planet, Kepler-138 b, is .066 Earth masses. Its density is grams per cubic centimetre. The middle and outer planets are both slightly larger than Earth. The middle planet’s density ( grams per cubic centimetre) is similar to that of Earth, and the outer planet is less than half as dense at grams per cubic centimetre, implying that it contains a greater portion of low-density components such as water and hydrogen.

Evolved Exoplanet Host Stars eat Their Close-in Planets

Giant planets around two intermediate-mass evolved stars and confirmation of the planetary nature of HIP67851 c

Authors:

Jones et al

Abstract:

Precision radial velocities are required to discover and characterize planets orbiting nearby stars. Optical and near infrared spectra that exhibit many hundreds of absorption lines can allow the m/s precision levels required for such work. However, this means that studies have generally focused on solar-type dwarf stars. After the main-sequence, intermediate-mass stars (former A-F stars) expand and rotate slower than their progenitors, thus thousands of narrow absorption lines appear in the optical region, permitting the search for planetary Doppler signals in the data for these types of stars. We present the discovery of two giant planets around the intermediate-mass evolved star HIP 65891 and HIP 107773. The best Keplerian fit to the HIP 65891 and HIP 107773 radial velocities leads to the following orbital parameters: P=1084.5 d; mbsini = 6.0 Mjup; e=0.13 and P=144.3 d; mbsini = 2.0 Mjup; e=0.09, respectively. In addition, we confirm the planetary nature of the outer object orbiting the giant star HIP67851. The orbital parameters of HIP 67851c are: P=2131.8 d, mcsini = 6.0 Mjup and e=0.17. With masses of 2.5 M⊙ and 2.4 M⊙ HIP 65891 and HIP 107773 are two of the most massive stars known to host planets. Additionally, HIP67851 is one of five giant stars that are known to host a planetary system having a close-in planet (less than 0.7 AU). Based on the evolutionary states of those five stars, we conclude that close-in planets do exist in multiple systems around subgiants and slightly evolved giants stars, but probably they are subsequently destroyed by the stellar envelope during the ascent of the red giant branch phase. As a consequence, planetary systems with close-in objects are not found around horizontal branch stars.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Perhaps a bit Premature: Modeling Exoplanet Habitability in Other Universes

Planets in Other Universes: Habitability constraints on density fluctuations and galactic structure

Authors:

Adams et al

Abstract:

Motivated by the possibility that different versions of the laws of physics could be realized within other universes, this paper delineates the galactic parameters that allow for habitable planets and revisits constraints on the amplitude Q of the primordial density fluctuations. Previous work indicates that large values of Q lead to galaxies so dense that planetary orbits cannot survive long enough for life to develop. Small values of Q lead to delayed star formation, loosely bound galaxies, and compromised heavy element retention. This work generalizes previous treatments: [A] We consider models for the internal structure of galaxies and find the fraction of galactic real estate that allows stable, long-lived planetary orbits. [B] We perform a large ensemble of numerical simulations to estimate cross sections for the disruption of planetary orbits due to interactions with passing stars. [C] We consider disruption due to the background radiation fields produced by the galaxies. [D] One consequence of intense galactic background radiation fields is that some portion of the galaxy, denoted as the Galactic Habitable Zone, will provide the right flux levels to support habitable planets for essentially any planetary orbit. As Q increases, the fraction of stars in a galaxy that allow for habitable planets decreases due to both orbital disruption and the intense background radiation. However, the outer parts of the galaxy always allow for habitable planets, so that the value of Q does not have a well-defined upper limit. Moreover, some Galactic Habitable Zones are large enough to support more potentially habitable planets than the galaxies found in our universe. These results suggest that the possibilities for habitability in other universes are somewhat more favorable and far more diverse than previously imagined.

Hunting for Potential Habitable Terrestrial Worlds in Close Binary Stellar Systems With Already Known Gas Giants

Can there be additional rocky planets in the Habitable Zone of tight binary stars with a known gas giant?

Authors:

Funk et al

Abstract:

Locating planets in HabitableZones (HZs) around other stars is a growing field in contemporary astronomy. Since a large percentage of all G-M stars in the solar neighbourhood are expected to be part of binary or multiple stellar systems, investigations of whether habitable planets are likely to be discovered in such environments are of prime interest to the scientific community. As current exoplanet statistics predicts that the chances are higher to find new worlds in systems that are already known to have planets, we examine four known extrasolar planetary systems in tight binaries in order to determine their capacity to host additional habitable terrestrial planets. Those systems are Gliese 86, gamma Cephei, HD 41004 and HD 196885. In the case of gamma Cephei, our results suggest that only the M dwarf companion could host additional potentially habitable worlds. Neither could we identify stable, potentially habitable regions around HD 196885 A. HD 196885 B can be considered a slightly more promising target in the search for Earth-twins. Gliese 86 A turned out to be a very good candidate, assuming that the systems history has not been excessively violent. For HD 41004, we have identified admissible stable orbits for habitable planets, but those strongly depend on the parameters of the system. A more detailed investigation shows that for some initial conditions stable planetary motion is possible in the HZ of HD 41004 A. In spite of the massive companion HD 41004 Bb, we found that HD 41004 B, too, could host additional habitable worlds.

Habitable Worlds may Need all Their Sister Exoplanets to be Coplanar

The role of dynamics on the habitability of an Earth-like planet

Authors:

Pilat-Lohinger et al

Abstract:

From the numerous detected planets outside the Solar system, no terrestrial planet comparable to our Earth has been discovered so far. The search for an Exo-Earth is certainly a big challenge which may require the detections of planetary systems resembling our Solar system in order to find life like on Earth. However, even if we find Solar system analogues, it is not certain that a planet in Earth position will have similar circumstances as those of Earth. Small changes in the architecture of the giant planets can lead to orbital perturbations which may change the conditions of habitability for a terrestrial planet in the habitable zone (HZ). We present a numerical investigation where we first study the motion of test-planets in a particular Jupiter-Saturn configuration for which we can expect strong gravitational perturbations on the motion at Earth position according to a previous work. In this study, we show that these strong perturbations can be reduced significantly by the neighboring planets of Earth. In the second part of our study we investigate the motion of test-planets in inclined Jupiter-Saturn systems where we analyze changes in the dynamical behavior of the inner planetary system. Moderate values of inclination seem to counteract the perturbations in the HZ while high inclinations induce more chaos in this region. Finally, we carry out a stability study of the actual orbits of Venus, Earth and Mars moving in the inclined Jupiter-Saturn systems for which we used the Solar system parameters. This study shows that the three terrestrial planets will only move in low-eccentric orbits if Saturn's inclination is less than or equal to 10 degrees. Therefore, it seems that it is advantageous for the habitability of Earth when all planets move nearly in the same plane.

Monday, June 15, 2015

What was the Composition of the Asteroid Impacting White Dwarf Ton 345

The Composition Of A Disrupted Extrasolar Planetesimal At SDSS J0845+2257 (Ton 345)

Authors:

Wilson et al

Abstract:

We present a detailed study of the metal-polluted DB white dwarf SDSS J0845+2257 (Ton 345). Using high-resolution HST/COS and VLT spectroscopy, we have detected hydrogen and eleven metals in the atmosphere of the white dwarf. The origin of these metals is almost certainly the circumstellar disc of dusty and gaseous debris from a tidally-disrupted planetesimal, accreting at a rate of 1.6E10 gs^-1. Studying the chemical abundances of the accreted material demonstrates that the planetesimal had a composition similar to the Earth, dominated by rocky silicates and metallic iron, with a low water content. The mass of metals within the convection zone of the white dwarf corresponds to an asteroid of at least ~130-170 km in diameter, although the presence of ongoing accretion from the debris disc implies that the planetesimal was probably larger than this. While a previous abundance study of the accreted material has shown an anomalously high mass fraction of carbon (15 percent) compared to the bulk Earth, our independent analysis results in a carbon abundance of just 2.5 percent. Enhanced abundances of core material (Fe, Ni) suggest that the accreted object may have lost a portion of its mantle, possibly due to stellar wind stripping in the asymptotic giant branch. Time-series spectroscopy reveals variable emission from the orbiting gaseous disc, demonstrating that the evolved planetary system at SDSS J0845+2257 is dynamically active.

Hot Neptune GJ 436b's Methane:Carbon monoxide Ratio Explained Through Micrometeoroid Impacts

TOWARD THE FORMATION OF CARBONACEOUS REFRACTORY MATTER IN HIGH TEMPERATURE HYDROCARBON-RICH ATMOSPHERES OF EXOPLANETS UPON MICROMETEOROID IMPACT

Authors:

Dangi et al

Abstract:

We report on laboratory simulation experiments mimicking the chemical processing of model atmospheres of exoplanets containing C3 and C4 hydrocarbons at moderate temperatures of 400 K upon interaction of catalytic surfaces of micrometeoroids. By utilizing an ultrasonic levitator device and heating singly levitated particles under simulated microgravity conditions, Raman spectroscopy is utilized as a non-invasive tool to probe on line and in situ the conversion of C3 and C4 hydrocarbons to refractory carbonaceous matter on the surfaces of levitated particles. Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry and electron microscopic imaging were also conducted to gain further insight into the elementary composition and structures of the refractories formed. Our results provide compelling evidence that in the presence of a catalytic surface, which can be supplied in the form of micrometeoroids and atmospheric dust particles, hydrocarbon gases present in the atmospheres of exoplanets can be converted to refractory, carbon-rich carbonaceous matter of mainly graphitic structure with a carbon content of at least 90% at elevated temperatures. This finding might explain the low methane to carbon monoxide (CH4–CO) ratio in the hot Neptune GJ 436b, where the abundant methane photochemically converts to higher order hydrocarbons and ultimately to refractory graphite-like carbon in the presence of a silicon surface.

SuperEarth rho 55 Cancri e may Have had a VERY Dramatic History (not counting the volcanoes)

On the potentially dramatic history of the super-Earth rho 55 Cancri e

Authors:

Hansen et al

Abstract:

We demonstrate that tidal evolution of the inner planet (`e') of the system orbiting the star rho 55 Cancri could have led to passage through two secular resonances with other planets in the system. The consequence of this evolution is excitation of both the planetary eccentricity and inclination relative to the original orbital plane. The large mass ratio between the innermost planet and the others means that these excitations can be of substantial amplitude and can have dramatic consequences for the system organisation. Such evolution can potentially explain the large observed mutual inclination between the innermost and outermost planets in the system, and implies that tidal heating could have substantially modified the structure of planet e, and possibly reduced its mass by Roche lobe overflow. Similar inner secular resonances may be found in many multiple planet systems and suggest that many of the innermost planets in these systems could have suffered similar evolutions.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Target Selection forMulti-object APO Radial Velocity Exoplanets Large-area Survey (MARVELS)

TARGET SELECTION FOR THE SDSS-III MARVELS SURVEY

Authors:

Paegert et al

Abstract:

We present the target selection process for the Multi-object APO Radial Velocity Exoplanets Large-area Survey (MARVELS), which is part of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) III. MARVELS is a medium-resolution (R ~ 11,000) multi-fiber spectrograph capable of obtaining radial velocities for 60 objects at a time in order to find brown dwarfs and giant planets. The survey was configured to target dwarf stars with effective temperatures approximately between 4500 and $6250\;{\rm K}$. For the first 2 years MARVELS relied on low-resolution spectroscopic pre-observations to estimate the effective temperature and ${\rm log} (g)$ for candidate stars and then selected suitable dwarf stars from this pool. Ultimately, the pre-observation spectra proved ineffective at filtering out giant stars; many giants were incorrectly classified as dwarfs, resulting in a giant contamination rate of ~30% for the first phase of the MARVELS survey. Thereafter, the survey instead applied a reduced proper motion cut to eliminate giants and used the Infrared Flux Method to estimate effective temperatures, using only extant photmetric and proper-motion catalog information. The target selection method introduced here may be useful for other surveys that need to rely on extant catalog data for selection of specific stellar populations.

A Simple Analytical Model for Gaps in Protoplanetary Disks

A Simple Analytical Model for Gaps in Protoplanetary Disks

Author:

Duffell

Abstract:

An analytical model is presented for calculating the surface density as a function of radius Σ(r) in protoplanetary disks in which a planet has opened a gap. This model is also applicable to circumbinary disks with extreme binary mass ratios. The gap profile can be solved for algebraically, without performing any numerical integrals. In contrast with previous one-dimensional gap models, this model correctly predicts that low-mass (sub-Jupiter) planets can open gaps in sufficiently low-viscosity disks, and it correctly recovers the power-law dependence of gap depth on planet-to-star mass ratio q, disk aspect ratio h/r, and dimensionless viscosity α found in previous numerical studies. Analytical gap profiles are compared with numerical calculations over a range of parameter space in q, h/r, and α, demonstrating accurate reproduction of the "partial gap" regime, and general agreement over a wide range of parameter space.

What Asteroseismology can do for Exoplanetary Science

What asteroseismology can do for exoplanets

Authors:

Van Eylen et al

Abstract:

We describe three useful applications of asteroseismology in the context of exoplanet science: (1) the detailed characterisation of exoplanet host stars; (2) the measurement of stellar inclinations; and (3) the determination of orbital eccentricity from transit duration making use of asteroseismic stellar densities. We do so using the example system Kepler-410 (Van Eylen et al. 2014). This is one of the brightest (V = 9.4) Kepler exoplanet host stars, containing a small (2.8 Rearth) transiting planet in a long orbit (17.8 days), and one or more additional non-transiting planets as indicated by transit timing variations. The validation of Kepler-410 (KOI-42) was complicated due to the presence of a companion star, and the planetary nature of the system was confirmed after analyzing a Spitzer transit observation as well as ground-based follow-up observations.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Dust Dynamics in Protoplanetary Disk Winds

Dust Dynamics in Protoplanetary Disk Winds Driven by Magneto-Rotational Turbulence: A Mechanism for Floating Dust Grains with Characteristic Size

Authors:

Miyake et al

Abstract:

We investigate the dynamics of dust grains with various sizes in protoplanetary disk winds driven by magnetorotational turbulence, by simulating the time evolution of the dust grain distribution in the vertical direction. Small dust grains, which are well coupled to the gas, are dragged upward with the upflowing gas, while large grains remain near the midplane of a disk. Intermediate--size grains float at several scale heights from the midplane in time-averated force balance between the downward gravity and the upward gas drag. For the minimum mass solar nebula at 1 AU, dust grains with size of 20 -- 40 μm float at 5-10 scale heights from the midplane. Considering the dependence on the distance from the central star, smaller-size grains remain only in an outer region of the disk, while larger-size grains are distributed in a broader region. This implies that the dust depletion is expected to take place in small-to-large and inside-out manners. We also discuss the implication of our result to the observation of dusty material around young stellar objects.

How big is HR 8799's Warm Debris Disk we can not see?

Towards a dynamics-based estimate of the extent of HR 8799's unresolved warm debris belt

Authors:

Contro et al

Abstract:

In many ways, the HR8799 system resembles our Solar system more closely than any other discovered to date - albeit on a larger, younger, and more dramatic scale - featuring four giant planets and two debris belts. The first belt lies beyond the orbit of the outer planet, and mirrors our Solar system's Edgeworth-Kuiper belt. The second belt lies interior to the orbit of the inner planet, HR8799e, and is analogous to our Asteroid Belt. With such a similar architecture, the system is a valuable laboratory for examining exoplanet dynamics, and the interaction between debris disks and planets.

In recent years, HR8799's outer disk has been relatively well characterised, primarily using the Herschel Space Observatory. In contrast, the inner disk, too close to HR8799 to be spatially resolved by Herschel, remains poorly understood. This leaves significant questions over both the location of the planetesimals responsible for producing the observed dust, and the physical properties of those grains.

We have performed extensive simulations of HR8799's inner, unresolved debris belt, using UNSW Australia's supercomputing facility, Katana. Here, we present the results of integrations following the evolution of a belt of dynamically hot debris interior to the orbit of HR8799e, for a period of 60 Myr, using an initial population of 500,000 massless test particles. These simulations have enable the characterisation of the extent and structure of the inner belt, revealing that its outer edge must lie interior to the 3:1 mean-motion resonance with HR8799, at approximately 7.5au, and highlighting the presence of fine structure analogous to the Solar system's Kirkwood gaps. In the future, out results will allow us to calculate a first estimate of the small-body impact rate and water delivery prospects for any potential terrestrial planet(s) that might lurk, undetected, in the inner system.

Cosmic Rays can Produce Radionuclides in Protoplanetary Disks

SOLAR COSMIC-RAY INTERACTION WITH PROTOPLANETARY DISKS: PRODUCTION OF SHORT-LIVED RADIONUCLIDES AND AMORPHIZATION OF CRYSTALLINE MATERIAL

Authors:

Trappitsch et al

Abstract:

Solar cosmic-ray (SCR) interactions with a protoplanetary disk have been invoked to explain several observations of primitive planetary materials. In our own Solar System, the presence of short-lived radionuclides (SLRs) in the oldest materials has been attributed to spallation reactions induced in phases that were irradiated by energetic particles in the solar nebula. Furthermore, observations of other protoplanetary disks show a mixture of crystalline and amorphous grains, though no correlation between grain crystallinity and disk or stellar properties have been identified. As most models for the origin of crystalline grains would predict such correlations, it was suggested that amorphization by stellar cosmic-rays may be masking or erasing such correlations. Here we quantitatively investigate these possibilities by modeling the interaction of energetic particles emitted by a young star with the surrounding protoplanetary disk. We do this by tracing the energy evolution of SCRs emitted from the young star through the disk and model the amount of time that dust grains would spend in regions where they would be exposed to these particles. We find that this irradiation scenario cannot explain the total SLR content of the solar nebula; however, this scenario could play a role in the amorphization of crystalline material at different locations or epochs of the disk over the course of its evolution.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Seven Stellar Companions Span 'Brown Dwarf Desert'

Discovery of Seven Companions to Intermediate Mass Stars with Extreme Mass Ratios in the Scorpius-Centaurus Association

Authors:

Hinkley et al

Abstract:

We report the detection of seven low mass companions to intermediate-mass stars (SpT B/A/F; M≈1.5-4.5 solar masses) in the Scorpius-Centaurus Association using nonredundant aperture masking interferometry. Our newly detected objects have contrasts ΔL′≈4-6, corresponding to masses as low as ∼20 Jupiter masses and mass ratios of q≈0.01-0.08, depending on the assumed age of the target stars. With projected separations ρ≈10-30 AU, our aperture masking detections sample an orbital region previously unprobed by conventional adaptive optics imaging of intermediate mass Scorpius-Centaurus stars covering much larger orbital radii (≈30-3000 AU). At such orbital separations, these objects resemble higher mass versions of the directly imaged planetary mass companions to the 10-30 Myr, intermediate-mass stars HR 8799, β Pictoris, and HD95086. These newly discovered companions span the brown dwarf desert, and their masses and orbital radii provide a new constraint on models of the formation of low-mass stellar and substellar companions to intermediate-mass stars.

Brown Dwarf and low Mass Stellar Formation in ρ-Ophiucus Stellar Cluster

X-Shooter study of accretion in ρ-Ophiucus: very low-mass stars and brown dwarfs

Authors:

Manara et al

Abstract:

We present new VLT/X-Shooter optical and NIR spectra of a sample of 17 candidate young low-mass stars and BDs in the rho-Ophiucus cluster. We derived SpT and Av for all the targets, and then we determined their physical parameters. All the objects but one have M* less than 0.6 Msun, and 8 have mass below or close to the hydrogen-burning limit. Using the intensity of various emission lines present in their spectra, we determined the Lacc and Macc for all the objects. When compared with previous works targeting the same sample, we find that, in general, these objects are not as strongly accreting as previously reported, and we suggest that the reason is our more accurate estimate of the photospheric parameters. We also compare our findings with recent works in other slightly older star-forming regions to investigate possible differences in the accretion properties, but we find that the accretion properties for our targets have the same dependence on the stellar and substellar parameters as in the other regions. This leads us to conclude that we do not find evidence for a different dependence of Macc with M* when comparing low-mass stars and BDs. Moreover, we find a similar small (1 dex) scatter in the Macc-M* relation as in some of our recent works in other star-forming regions, and no significant differences in Macc due to different ages or properties of the regions. The latter result suffers, however, from low statistics and sample selection biases in the current studies. The small scatter in the Macc-M* correlation confirms that Macc in the literature based on uncertain photospheric parameters and single accretion indicators, such as the Ha width, can lead to a scatter that is unphysically large. Our studies show that only broadband spectroscopic surveys coupled with a detailed analysis of the photospheric and accretion properties allows us to properly study the evolution of disk accretion rates.

Tidal Tails From SU Aur's Protoplanetary Disk Caused by Unseen Brown Dwarf?

Near-IR High-Resolution Imaging Polarimetry of the SU Aur Disk: Clues for Tidal Tails?

Authors:

de Leon et al

Abstract:

We present new high-resolution (∼0\farcs09) H-band imaging observations of the circumstellar disk around the T Tauri star SU Aur. Our observations with Subaru-HiCIAO have revealed the presence of scattered light as close as 0\farcs15 (∼20 AU) to the star. Within our image, we identify bright emission associated with a disk with a minimum radius of ∼90 AU, an inclination of ∼35$\degr$ from the plane of the sky, and an approximate P.A. of 15$\degr$ for the major axis. We find a brightness asymmetry between the northern and southern sides of the disk due to a non-axisymmetric disk structure. We also identify a pair of asymmetric tail structures extending east and west from the disk. The western tail extends at least 2\farcs5 (350 AU) from the star, and is probably associated with a reflection nebula previously observed at optical and near-IR wavelengths. The eastern tail extends at least 1\arcsec (140 AU) at the present signal-to-noise. These tails are likely due to an encounter with an unseen brown dwarf, but our results do not exclude the explanation that these tails are outflow cavities or jets.