Science.gov

Sample records for earth-like extrasolar planet

  1. Searching for and characterising extrasolar Earth-like planets and moons

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schneider, Jean

    2002-10-01

    The physical bases of the detection and characterisation of extrasolar Earth-like planets and moons in the reflected light and thermal emission regimes are reviewed. They both have their advantages and disadvantages, including artefacts, in the determination of planet physical parameters (mass, size, albedo, surface and atmospheric conditions etc.). After a short panorama of detection methods and the first findings, new perspectives for these different aspects are also presented. Finally brief account of the ground based programmes and space-based projects and their potentialities for Earth-like planets is made and discussed.

  2. Cosmic ray impact on extrasolar earth-like planets in close-in habitable zones.

    PubMed

    Griessmeier, J-M; Stadelmann, A; Motschmann, U; Belisheva, N K; Lammer, H; Biernat, H K

    2005-10-01

    Because of their different origins, cosmic rays can be subdivided into galactic cosmic rays and solar/stellar cosmic rays. The flux of cosmic rays to planetary surfaces is mainly determined by two planetary parameters: the atmospheric density and the strength of the internal magnetic moment. If a planet exhibits an extended magnetosphere, its surface will be protected from high-energy cosmic ray particles. We show that close-in extrasolar planets in the habitable zone of M stars are synchronously rotating with their host star because of the tidal interaction. For gravitationally locked planets the rotation period is equal to the orbital period, which is much longer than the rotation period expected for planets not subject to tidal locking. This results in a relatively small magnetic moment. We found that an Earth-like extrasolar planet, tidally locked in an orbit of 0.2 AU around an M star of 0.5 solar masses, has a rotation rate of 2% of that of the Earth. This results in a magnetic moment of less than 15% of the Earth's current magnetic moment. Therefore, close-in extrasolar planets seem not to be protected by extended Earth-like magnetospheres, and cosmic rays can reach almost the whole surface area of the upper atmosphere. Primary cosmic ray particles that interact with the atmosphere generate secondary energetic particles, a so-called cosmic ray shower. Some of the secondary particles can reach the surface of terrestrial planets when the surface pressure of the atmosphere is on the order of 1 bar or less. We propose that, depending on atmospheric pressure, biological systems on the surface of Earth-like extrasolar planets at close-in orbital distances can be strongly influenced by secondary cosmic rays.

  3. A Large Sparse Aperture Densified Pupil Hypertelescope Concept for Ground Based Detection of Extra-Solar Earth-Like Planets

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gezari, D.; Lyon, R.; Woodruff, R.; Labeyrie, A.; Oegerle, William (Technical Monitor)

    2002-01-01

    A concept is presented for a large (10 - 30 meter) sparse aperture hyper telescope to image extrasolar earth-like planets from the ground in the presence of atmospheric seeing. The telescope achieves high dynamic range very close to bright stellar sources with good image quality using pupil densification techniques. Active correction of the perturbed wavefront is simplified by using 36 small flat mirrors arranged in a parabolic steerable array structure, eliminating the need for large delat lines and operating at near-infrared (1 - 3 Micron) wavelengths with flats comparable in size to the seeing cells.

  4. A laboratory demonstration of the capability to image an Earth-like extrasolar planet.

    PubMed

    Trauger, John T; Traub, Wesley A

    2007-04-12

    The detection and characterization of an Earth-like planet orbiting a nearby star requires a telescope with an extraordinarily large contrast at small angular separations. At visible wavelengths, an Earth-like planet would be 1 x 10(-10) times fainter than the star at angular separations of typically 0.1 arcsecond or less. There are several proposed space telescope systems that could, in principle, achieve this. Here we report a laboratory experiment that reaches these limits. We have suppressed the diffracted and scattered light near a star-like source to a level of 6 x 10(-10) times the peak intensity in individual coronagraph images. In a series of such images, together with simple image processing, we have effectively reduced this to a residual noise level of about 0.1 x 10(-10). This demonstrates that a coronagraphic telescope in space could detect and spectroscopically characterize nearby exoplanetary systems, with the sensitivity to image an 'Earth-twin' orbiting a nearby star.

  5. Celestial Exoplanet Survey Occulter: A Concept for Direct Imaging of Extrasolar Earth-like Planets from the Ground

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Janson, M.

    2007-02-01

    We present a new concept for detecting and characterizing extrasolar planets down to Earth size or smaller through direct imaging. The New Worlds Observer (NWO) occulter developed by Cash and coworkers is placed in a particular geometrical setup in which fuel requirements are small and the occulter is used in combination with ground-based telescopes, presumably leading to an extreme cost efficiency compared to other concepts with similar science goals. We investigate the various aspects of the given geometry, such as the dynamics and radiation environment of the occulter, and construct a detailed example target list to ensure that an excellent science case can be maintained despite the limited sky coverage. It is found that more than 200 systems can be observed with two to three visits per system, using only a few tons of fuel. For each system, an Earth-sized planet with an Earth-like albedo can be found in the habitable zone in less than 2 hr.

  6. Extrasolar Planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Deeg, Hans; Belmonte, Juan Antonio; Aparicio, Antonio

    2012-03-01

    Participants; Preface; Acknowledgements; 1. Extrasolar planet detection methods Laurance R. Doyle; 2. Statistical properties of exoplanets Stéphane Udry; 3. Characterizing extrasolar planets Timothy M. Brown; 4. From clouds to planet systems: formation and evolution of stars and planets Günther Wuchterl; 5. Abundances in stars with extrasolar planetary systems Garik Israelian; 6. Brown dwarfs: the bridge between stars and planets Rafael Rebolo; 7. The perspective: a panorama of the Solar System Agustín Sánchez-Lavega; 8. Habitable planets around the Sun and other stars James F. Kasting; 9. Biomarkers of extrasolar planets and their observability Franck Selsis, Jimmy Paillet and France Allard; Index.

  7. Extrasolar planets.

    PubMed

    Lissauer, J J; Marcy, G W; Ida, S

    2000-11-07

    The first known extrasolar planet in orbit around a Sun-like star was discovered in 1995. This object, as well as over two dozen subsequently detected extrasolar planets, were all identified by observing periodic variations of the Doppler shift of light emitted by the stars to which they are bound. All of these extrasolar planets are more massive than Saturn is, and most are more massive than Jupiter. All orbit closer to their stars than do the giant planets in our Solar System, and most of those that do not orbit closer to their star than Mercury is to the Sun travel on highly elliptical paths. Prevailing theories of star and planet formation, which are based on observations of the Solar System and of young stars and their environments, predict that planets should form in orbit about most single stars. However, these models require some modifications to explain the properties of the observed extrasolar planetary systems.

  8. Extrasolar planets

    PubMed Central

    Lissauer, Jack J.; Marcy, Geoffrey W.; Ida, Shigeru

    2000-01-01

    The first known extrasolar planet in orbit around a Sun-like star was discovered in 1995. This object, as well as over two dozen subsequently detected extrasolar planets, were all identified by observing periodic variations of the Doppler shift of light emitted by the stars to which they are bound. All of these extrasolar planets are more massive than Saturn is, and most are more massive than Jupiter. All orbit closer to their stars than do the giant planets in our Solar System, and most of those that do not orbit closer to their star than Mercury is to the Sun travel on highly elliptical paths. Prevailing theories of star and planet formation, which are based on observations of the Solar System and of young stars and their environments, predict that planets should form in orbit about most single stars. However, these models require some modifications to explain the properties of the observed extrasolar planetary systems. PMID:11035782

  9. Evolution of Earth Like Planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Monroy-Rodríguez, M. A.; Vega, K. M.

    2017-07-01

    In order to study and explain the evolution of our own planet we have done a review of works related to the evolution of Earth-like planets. From the stage of proto-planet to the loss of its atmosphere. The planetary formation from the gas and dust of the proto-planetary disk, considering the accretion by the process of migration, implies that the material on the proto-planet is very mixed. The newborn planet is hot and compact, it begins its process of stratification by gravity separation forming a super dense nucleus, an intermediate layer of convective mantle and an upper mantle that is less dense, with material that emerges from zones at very high pressure The surface with low pressure, in this process the planet expands and cools. This process also releases gas to the surface, forming the atmosphere, with the gas gravitationally bounded. The most important thing for the life of the planet is the layer of convective mantle, which produces the magnetic field, when it stops the magnetic field disappears, as well as the rings of van allen and the solar wind evaporates the atmosphere, accelerating the evolution and cooling of the planet. In a natural cycle of cataclysms and mass extinctions, the solar system crosses the galactic disk every 30 million years or so, the increase in the meteorite fall triggers the volcanic activity and the increase in the release of CO2 into the atmosphere reaching critical levels (4000 billion tons) leads us to an extinction by overheating that last 100 000 years, the time it takes CO2 to sediment to the ocean floor. Human activity will lead us to reach critical levels of CO2 in approximately 300 years.

  10. Habitable Planetary Systems (un)like our own: Which of the Known Extra-Solar Systems Could Harbor Earth-like Planets?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Raymond, Sean; Mandell, A.; Sigurdsson, S.

    2006-12-01

    Gas giant planets are far easier than terrestrial planets to detect around other stars, and are thought to form much more quickly than terrestrial planets. Thus, in systems with giant planets, the final stages of terrestrial planet formation are strongly affected by the giant planets' dynamical presence. Observations of giant planet orbits may therefore constrain the systems that can harbor potentially habitable, Earth-like planets. We combine two recent studies (1,2) and establish rough inner and outer limits for the giant planet orbits that allow terrestrial planets of at least 0.3 Earth masses to form in the habitable zone (HZ). For a star like the Sun, potentially habitable planets can form in systems with relatively low-eccentricity giant planets inside 0.5 Astronomical Units (AU) or outside 2.5 AU. More than one third of the currently known giant planet systems could have formed and now harbor a habitable planet. We thank NASA Astrobiology Institute for funding, through the Penn State, NASA Goddard, Virtual Planetary Laboratory, and University of Colorado lead teams. (1. Raymond, S.N., 2006, ApJ, 643, L131.; 2. Raymond, S.N., Mandell, A.M., Sigurdsson, S. 2006, Science, 313, 1413).

  11. Evolution of Earth-like Extrasolar Planetary Atmospheres: Assessing the Atmospheres and Biospheres of Early Earth Analog Planets with a Coupled Atmosphere Biogeochemical Model.

    PubMed

    Gebauer, S; Grenfell, J L; Stock, J W; Lehmann, R; Godolt, M; von Paris, P; Rauer, H

    2017-01-01

    Understanding the evolution of Earth and potentially habitable Earth-like worlds is essential to fathom our origin in the Universe. The search for Earth-like planets in the habitable zone and investigation of their atmospheres with climate and photochemical models is a central focus in exoplanetary science. Taking the evolution of Earth as a reference for Earth-like planets, a central scientific goal is to understand what the interactions were between atmosphere, geology, and biology on early Earth. The Great Oxidation Event in Earth's history was certainly caused by their interplay, but the origin and controlling processes of this occurrence are not well understood, the study of which will require interdisciplinary, coupled models. In this work, we present results from our newly developed Coupled Atmosphere Biogeochemistry model in which atmospheric O 2 concentrations are fixed to values inferred by geological evidence. Applying a unique tool (Pathway Analysis Program), ours is the first quantitative analysis of catalytic cycles that governed O 2 in early Earth's atmosphere near the Great Oxidation Event. Complicated oxidation pathways play a key role in destroying O 2 , whereas in the upper atmosphere, most O 2 is formed abiotically via CO 2 photolysis. The O 2 bistability found by Goldblatt et al. ( 2006 ) is not observed in our calculations likely due to our detailed CH 4 oxidation scheme. We calculate increased CH 4 with increasing O 2 during the Great Oxidation Event. For a given atmospheric surface flux, different atmospheric states are possible; however, the net primary productivity of the biosphere that produces O 2 is unique. Mixing, CH 4 fluxes, ocean solubility, and mantle/crust properties strongly affect net primary productivity and surface O 2 fluxes. Regarding exoplanets, different "states" of O 2 could exist for similar biomass output. Strong geological activity could lead to false negatives for life (since our analysis suggests that reducing gases

  12. Evolution of Earth-like Extrasolar Planetary Atmospheres: Assessing the Atmospheres and Biospheres of Early Earth Analog Planets with a Coupled Atmosphere Biogeochemical Model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gebauer, S.; Grenfell, J. L.; Stock, J. W.; Lehmann, R.; Godolt, M.; von Paris, P.; Rauer, H.

    2017-01-01

    Understanding the evolution of Earth and potentially habitable Earth-like worlds is essential to fathom our origin in the Universe. The search for Earth-like planets in the habitable zone and investigation of their atmospheres with climate and photochemical models is a central focus in exoplanetary science. Taking the evolution of Earth as a reference for Earth-like planets, a central scientific goal is to understand what the interactions were between atmosphere, geology, and biology on early Earth. The Great Oxidation Event in Earth's history was certainly caused by their interplay, but the origin and controlling processes of this occurrence are not well understood, the study of which will require interdisciplinary, coupled models. In this work, we present results from our newly developed Coupled Atmosphere Biogeochemistry model in which atmospheric O2 concentrations are fixed to values inferred by geological evidence. Applying a unique tool (Pathway Analysis Program), ours is the first quantitative analysis of catalytic cycles that governed O2 in early Earth's atmosphere near the Great Oxidation Event. Complicated oxidation pathways play a key role in destroying O2, whereas in the upper atmosphere, most O2 is formed abiotically via CO2 photolysis. The O2 bistability found by Goldblatt et al. (2006) is not observed in our calculations likely due to our detailed CH4 oxidation scheme. We calculate increased CH4 with increasing O2 during the Great Oxidation Event. For a given atmospheric surface flux, different atmospheric states are possible; however, the net primary productivity of the biosphere that produces O2 is unique. Mixing, CH4 fluxes, ocean solubility, and mantle/crust properties strongly affect net primary productivity and surface O2 fluxes. Regarding exoplanets, different "states" of O2 could exist for similar biomass output. Strong geological activity could lead to false negatives for life (since our analysis suggests that reducing gases remove O2 that

  13. Homes for extraterrestrial life: extrasolar planets.

    PubMed

    Latham, D W

    2001-12-01

    Astronomers are now discovering giant planets orbiting other stars like the sun by the dozens. But none of these appears to be a small rocky planet like the earth, and thus these planets are unlikely to be capable of supporting life as we know it. The recent discovery of a system of three planets is especially significant because it supports the speculation that planetary systems, as opposed to single orbiting planets, may be common. Our ability to detect extrasolar planets will continue to improve, and space missions now in development should be able to detect earth-like planets.

  14. Characterizing extrasolar planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brown, Timothy M.

    Transiting extrasolar planets provide the best current opportunities for characterizing the physical properties of extrasolar planets. In this review, I first describe the geometry of planetary transits, and methods for detecting and refining the observations of such transits. I derive the methods by which transit light curves and radial velocity data can be analyzed to yield estimates of the planetary radius, mass, and orbital parameters. I also show how visible-light and infrared spectroscopy can be valuable tools for understanding the composition, temperature, and dynamics of the atmospheres of transiting planets. Finally, I relate the outcome of a participatory lecture-hall exercise relating to one term in the Drake equation, namely the lifetime of technical civilizations.

  15. The Atmospheres of Extrasolar Planets

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Richardson, L. J.; Seager, S.

    2007-01-01

    In this chapter we examine what can be learned about extrasolar planet atmospheres by concentrating on a class of planets that transit their parent stars. As discussed in the previous chapter, one way of detecting an extrasolar planet is by observing the drop in stellar intensity as the planet passes in front of the star. A transit represents a special case in which the geometry of the planetary system is such that the planet s orbit is nearly edge-on as seen from Earth. As we will explore, the transiting planets provide opportunities for detailed follow-up observations that allow physical characterization of extrasolar planets, probing their bulk compositions and atmospheres.

  16. Extrasolar Planets in the Classroom

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    George, Samuel J.

    2011-01-01

    The field of extrasolar planets is still, in comparison with other astrophysical topics, in its infancy. There have been about 300 or so extrasolar planets detected and their detection has been accomplished by various different techniques. Here we present a simple laboratory experiment to show how planets are detected using the transit technique.…

  17. Transit of Extrasolar Planets

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Doyle, Laurance R.

    1998-01-01

    During the past five years we have pursued the detection of extrasolar planets by the photometric transit method, i.e. the detection of a planet by watching for a drop in the brightness of the light as it crosses in front of a star. The planetary orbit must cross the line-of-sight and so most systems will not be lined up for such a transit to ever occur. However, we have looked at eclipsing binary systems which are already edge-on. Such systems must be very small in size as this makes the differential light change due to a transit much greater for a given planet size (the brightness difference will be proportional to the area of the transiting planet to the disc area of the star). Also, the planet forming region should be closer to the star as small stars are generally less luminous (that is, if the same thermal regime for planet formation applies as in the solar system). This led to studies of the habitable zone around other stars, as well. Finally, we discovered that our data could be used to detect giant planets without transits as we had been carefully timing the eclipses of the stars (using a GPS antenna for time) and this will drift by being offset by any giant planets orbiting around the system, as well. The best summary of our work may be to just summarize the 21 refereed papers produced during the time of this grant. This will be done is chronological order and in each section separately.

  18. Taxonomy of the extrasolar planet.

    PubMed

    Plávalová, Eva

    2012-04-01

    When a star is described as a spectral class G2V, we know that the star is similar to our Sun. We know its approximate mass, temperature, age, and size. When working with an extrasolar planet database, it is very useful to have a taxonomy scale (classification) such as, for example, the Harvard classification for stars. The taxonomy has to be easily interpreted and present the most relevant information about extrasolar planets. I propose an extrasolar planet taxonomy scale with four parameters. The first parameter concerns the mass of an extrasolar planet in the form of units of the mass of other known planets, where M represents the mass of Mercury, E that of Earth, N Neptune, and J Jupiter. The second parameter is the planet's distance from its parent star (semimajor axis) described in a logarithm with base 10. The third parameter is the mean Dyson temperature of the extrasolar planet, for which I established four main temperature classes: F represents the Freezing class, W the Water class, G the Gaseous class, and R the Roasters class. I devised one additional class, however: P, the Pulsar class, which concerns extrasolar planets orbiting pulsar stars. The fourth parameter is eccentricity. If the attributes of the surface of the extrasolar planet are known, we are able to establish this additional parameter where t represents a terrestrial planet, g a gaseous planet, and i an ice planet. According to this taxonomy scale, for example, Earth is 1E0W0t, Neptune is 1N1.5F0i, and extrasolar planet 55 Cnc e is 9E-1.8R1.

  19. Earthshine and Extrasolar Planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Traub, W. A.; Kaltenegger, L.; Turnbull, M. C.; Jucks, K. W.

    2006-05-01

    The search for life on extrasolar planets requires first that we find terrestrial-mass planets around nearby stars, and second that we determine habitability and search for signs of life. The Terrestrial Planet Finder missions, a Coronagraph (TPF-C) and an Interferometer (TPF-I in the US, also Darwin in Europe) are designed to carry out these tasks. This talk will focus on how we could determine habitability and search for signs of life with these missions. In the visible and near-infrared, TPF-C could measure O2, H2O, O3, Rayleigh scattering, and the red-edge reflection of land planet leaves; on an early-Earth twin it also could measure CO2 and CH4. In the mid-infrared, TPF-I/Darwin could measure CO2, O3, H2O, and temperature. To validate some of these expectations, we observed Earthshine spectra in the visible and near-infrared, and modeled these spectra with our line-by-line radiative transfer code. We find that the major gas and reflection components are present in the data, and that a simple model of the Earth is adequate to represent the data, within the observational uncertainties. We determined that the Earth appears to be habitable, and also shows signs of life. However to validate the time variable features, including the continent-ocean differences, the presence of weather patterns, the large-scale variability of cloud types and altitude, and the rotation period of the planet, we need to obtain a continuous time-series of observations covering multiple rotations; these observations could be carried out in the coming years, using, for example, a site at the South Pole.

  20. Spectral Fingerprints of Earth-like Planets Around FGK Stars

    PubMed Central

    Kaltenegger, Lisa; Zsom, Andras; Segura, Antígona; Sasselov, Dimitar

    2013-01-01

    Abstract We present model atmospheres for an Earth-like planet orbiting the entire grid of main sequence FGK stars with effective temperatures ranging from Teff=4250 K to Teff=7000 K in 250 K intervals. We have modeled the remotely detectable spectra of Earth-like planets for clear and cloudy atmospheres at the 1 AU equivalent distance from the VIS to IR (0.4 to 20 μm) to compare detectability of features in different wavelength ranges in accordance with the James Webb Space Telescope and future design concepts to characterize exo-Earths. We have also explored the effect of the stellar UV levels as well as spectral energy distribution on a terrestrial atmosphere, concentrating on detectable atmospheric features that indicate habitability on Earth, namely, H2O, O3, CH4, N2O, and CH3Cl. The increase in UV dominates changes of O3, OH, CH4, N2O, and CH3Cl, whereas the increase in stellar temperature dominates changes in H2O. The overall effect as stellar effective temperatures and corresponding UV increase is a lower surface temperature of the planet due to a bigger part of the stellar flux being reflected at short wavelengths, as well as increased photolysis. Earth-like atmosphere models show more O3 and OH but less stratospheric CH4, N2O, CH3Cl, and tropospheric H2O (but more stratospheric H2O) with increasing effective temperature of main sequence stars. The corresponding detectable spectral features, on the other hand, show different detectability depending on the wavelength observed. We concentrate on directly imaged planets here as a framework to interpret future light curves, direct imaging, and secondary eclipse measurements of atmospheres of terrestrial planets in the habitable zone at varying orbital positions. Key Words: Habitability—Planetary atmospheres—Extrasolar terrestrial planets—Spectroscopic biosignatures. Astrobiology 13, 251–269. PMID:23537136

  1. Extrasolar planets: constraints for planet formation models.

    PubMed

    Santos, Nuno C; Benz, Willy; Mayor, Michel

    2005-10-14

    Since 1995, more than 150 extrasolar planets have been discovered, most of them in orbits quite different from those of the giant planets in our own solar system. The number of discovered extrasolar planets demonstrates that planetary systems are common but also that they may possess a large variety of properties. As the number of detections grows, statistical studies of the properties of exoplanets and their host stars can be conducted to unravel some of the key physical and chemical processes leading to the formation of planetary systems.

  2. Chemical kinetics on extrasolar planets.

    PubMed

    Moses, Julianne I

    2014-04-28

    Chemical kinetics plays an important role in controlling the atmospheric composition of all planetary atmospheres, including those of extrasolar planets. For the hottest exoplanets, the composition can closely follow thermochemical-equilibrium predictions, at least in the visible and infrared photosphere at dayside (eclipse) conditions. However, for atmospheric temperatures approximately <2000K, and in the uppermost atmosphere at any temperature, chemical kinetics matters. The two key mechanisms by which kinetic processes drive an exoplanet atmosphere out of equilibrium are photochemistry and transport-induced quenching. I review these disequilibrium processes in detail, discuss observational consequences and examine some of the current evidence for kinetic processes on extrasolar planets.

  3. Observed properties of extrasolar planets.

    PubMed

    Howard, Andrew W

    2013-05-03

    Observational surveys for extrasolar planets probe the diverse outcomes of planet formation and evolution. These surveys measure the frequency of planets with different masses, sizes, orbital characteristics, and host star properties. Small planets between the sizes of Earth and Neptune substantially outnumber Jupiter-sized planets. The survey measurements support the core accretion model, in which planets form by the accumulation of solids and then gas in protoplanetary disks. The diversity of exoplanetary characteristics demonstrates that most of the gross features of the solar system are one outcome in a continuum of possibilities. The most common class of planetary system detectable today consists of one or more planets approximately one to three times Earth's size orbiting within a fraction of the Earth-Sun distance.

  4. Detection of Extrasolar Planets by Transit Photometry

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Borucki, William; Koch, David; Webster, Larry; Dunham, Edward; Witteborn, Fred; Jenkins, Jon; Caldwell, Douglas; Showen, Robert; DeVincenzi, Donald L. (Technical Monitor)

    2000-01-01

    A knowledge of other planetary systems that includes information on the number, size, mass, and spacing of the planets around a variety of star types is needed to deepen our understanding of planetary system formation and processes that give rise to their final configurations. Recent discoveries show that many planetary systems are quite different from the solar system in that they often possess giant planets in short period orbits. The inferred evolution of these planets and their orbital characteristics imply the absence of Earth-like planets near the habitable zone. Information on the properties of the giant-inner planets is now being obtained by both the Doppler velocity and the transit photometry techniques. The combination of the two techniques provides the mass, size, and density of the planets. For the planet orbiting star HD209458, transit photometry provided the first independent confirmation and measurement of the diameter of an extrasolar planet. The observations indicate a planet 1.27 the diameter of Jupiter with 0.63 of its mass (Charbonneau et al. 1999). The results are in excellent agreement with the theory of planetary atmospheres for a planet of the indicated mass and distance from a solar-like star. The observation of the November 23, 1999 transit of that planet made by the Ames Vulcan photometer at Lick Observatory is presented. In the future, the combination of the two techniques will greatly increase the number of discoveries and the richness of the science yield. Small rocky planets at orbital distances from 0.9 to 1.2 AU are more likely to harbor life than the gas giant planets that are now being discovered. However, new technology is needed to find smaller, Earth-like planets, which are about three hundred times less massive than Jupiter-like planets. The Kepler project is a space craft mission designed to discover hundreds of Earth-size planets in and near the habitable zone around a wide variety of stars. To demonstrate that the

  5. Uncovering the Chemistry of Earth-like Planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zeng, Li; Jacobsen, Stein; Sasselov, Dimitar D.

    2015-01-01

    We propose to use evidence from our solar system to understand exoplanets, and in particular, to predict their surface chemistry and thereby the possibility of life. An Earth-like planet, born from the same nebula as its host star, is composed primarily of silicate rocks and an iron-nickel metal core, and depleted in volatile content in a systematic manner. The more volatile (easier to vaporize or dissociate into gas form) an element is in an Earth-like planet, the more depleted the element is compared to its host star. After depletion, an Earth-like planet would go through the process of core formation due to heat from radioactive decay and collisions. Core formation depletes a planet's rocky mantle of siderophile (iron-loving) elements, in addition to the volatile depletion. After that, Earth-like planets likely accrete some volatile-rich materials, called 'late veneer'. The late veneer could be essential to the origins of life on Earth and Earth-like planets, as it also delivers the volatiles such as nitrogen, sulfur, carbon and water to the planet's surface, which are crucial for life to occur. We plan to build an integrative model of Earth-like planets from the bottom up. We would like to infer their chemical compositions from their mass-radius relations and their host stars' elemental abundances, and understand the origins of volatile contents (especially water) on their surfaces, and thereby shed light on the origins of life on them.

  6. Direct Imaging of Warm Extrasolar Planets

    SciT

    Macintosh, B

    2005-04-11

    One of the most exciting scientific discoveries in the last decade of the twentieth century was the first detection of planets orbiting a star other than our own. By now more than 130 extrasolar planets have been discovered indirectly, by observing the gravitational effects of the planet on the radial velocity of its parent star. This technique has fundamental limitations: it is most sensitive to planets close to their star, and it determines only a planet's orbital period and a lower limit on the planet's mass. As a result, all the planetary systems found so far are very different frommore » our own--they have giant Jupiter-sized planets orbiting close to their star, where the terrestrial planets are found in our solar system. Such systems have overturned the conventional paradigm of planet formation, but have no room in them for habitable Earth-like planets. A powerful complement to radial velocity detections of extrasolar planets will be direct imaging--seeing photons from the planet itself. Such a detection would allow photometric measurements to determine the temperature and radius of a planet. Also, direct detection is most sensitive to planets in wide orbits, and hence more capable of seeing solar systems resembling our own, since a giant planet in a wide orbit does not preclude the presence of an Earth-like planet closer to the star. Direct detection, however, is extremely challenging. Jupiter is roughly a billion times fainter than our sun. Two techniques allowed us to overcome this formidable contrast and attempt to see giant planets directly. The first is adaptive optics (AO) which allows giant earth-based telescopes, such as the 10 meter W.M. Keck telescope, to partially overcome the blurring effects of atmospheric turbulence. The second is looking for young planets: by searching in the infrared for companions to young stars, we can see thermal emission from planets that are still warm with the heat of their formation. Together with a UCLA team that

  7. Uncovering the Chemistry of Earth-like Planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zeng, L.; Jacobsen, S. B.; Sasselov, D. D.

    2015-12-01

    We propose to use the evidence from our solar system to understand exoplanets, and in particular, to predict their surface chemistry and thereby the possibility of life. An Earth-like planet, born from the same nebula as its host star, is composed primarily of silicate rocks and an iron-nickel metal core, and depleted in volatile content in a systematic manner. The more volatile (easier to vaporize or dissociate into gas form) an element is in an Earth-like planet, the more depleted the element is compared to its host star. After depletion, an Earth-like planet would go through the process of core formation due to heat from radioactive decay and collisions. Core formation depletes a planet's rocky mantle of siderophile (iron-loving) elements, in addition to the volatile depletion. After that, Earth-like planets likely accrete some volatile-rich materials, called "late veneer". The late veneer could be essential to the origins of life on Earth and Earth-like planets, as it also delivers the volatiles such as nitrogen, sulfur, carbon and water to the planet's surface, which are crucial for life to occur. Here we build an integrative model of Earth-like planets from the bottom up. Thus the chemical compositions of Earth-like planets could be inferred from their mass-radius relations and their host stars' elemental abundances, and the origins of volatile contents (especially water) on their surfaces could be understood, and thereby shed light on the origins of life on them. This elemental abundance model could be applied to other rocky exoplanets in exoplanet systems.

  8. Uncovering the Chemistry of Earth-like Planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zeng, Li; Sasselov, Dimitar; Jacobsen, Stein

    2015-08-01

    We propose to use the evidence from our solar system to understand exoplanets, and in particular, to predict their surface chemistry and thereby the possibility of life. An Earth-like planet, born from the same nebula as its host star, is composed primarily of silicate rocks and an iron-nickel metal core, and depleted in volatile content in a systematic manner. The more volatile (easier to vaporize or dissociate into gas form) an element is in an Earth-like planet, the more depleted the element is compared to its host star. After depletion, an Earth-like planet would go through the process of core formation due to heat from radioactive decay and collisions. Core formation depletes a planet’s rocky mantle of siderophile (iron-loving) elements, in addition to the volatile depletion. After that, Earth-like planets likely accrete some volatile-rich materials, called “late veneer”. The late veneer could be essential to the origins of life on Earth and Earth-like planets, as it also delivers the volatiles such as nitrogen, sulfur, carbon and water to the planet’s surface, which are crucial for life to occur. Here we build an integrative model of Earth-like planets from the bottom up. Thus the chemical compositions of Earth-like planets could be inferred from their mass-radius relations and their host stars’ elemental abundances, and the origins of volatile contents (especially water) on their surfaces could be understood, and thereby shed light on the origins of life on them. This elemental abundance model could be applied to other rocky exoplanets in exoplanet systems.

  9. Topics in Extrasolar Planet Characterization

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Howe, Alex Ryan

    I present four papers exploring different topics in the area of characterizing the atmospheric and bulk properties of extrasolar planets. In these papers, I present two new codes, in various forms, for modeling these objects. A code to generate theoretical models of transit spectra of exoplanets is featured in the first paper and is refined and expanded into the APOLLO code for spectral modeling and parameter retrieval in the fourth paper. Another code to model the internal structure and evolution of planets is featured in the second and third papers. The first paper presents transit spectra models of GJ 1214b and other super-Earth and mini-Neptune type planets--planets with a "solid", terrestrial composition and relatively small planets with a thick hydrogen-helium atmosphere, respectively--and fit them to observational data to estimate the atmospheric compositions and cloud properties of these planets. The second paper presents structural models of super-Earth and mini-Neptune type planets and estimates their bulk compositions from mass and radius estimates. The third paper refines these models with evolutionary calculations of thermal contraction and ultraviolet-driven mass loss. Here, we estimate the boundaries of the parameter space in which planets lose their initial hydrogen-helium atmospheres completely, and we also present formation and evolution scenarios for the planets in the Kepler-11 system. The fourth paper uses more refined transit spectra models, this time for hot jupiter type planets, to explore the methods to design optimal observing programs for the James Webb Space Telescope to quantitatively measure the atmospheric compositions and other properties of these planets.

  10. Planet formation: constraints from transiting extrasolar planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Guillot, T.; Santos, N.; Pont, F.; Iro, N.; Melo, C.; Ribas, I.

    Ten extrasolar planets with masses between 105 and 430M⊕ are known to transit their star. The knowledge of their mass and radius allows an estimate of their composition, but uncertainties on equations of state, opacities and possible missing energy sources imply that only inaccurate constraints can be derived when considering each planet separately. This is illustrated by HD209458b and XO-1b, two planets that appear to be larger than models would predict. Using a relatively simple evolution model, we show that the radius anomaly, i.e. the difference between the measured and theoretically calculated radii, is anticorrelated with the metallicity of the parent star. This implies that the present size, structure and composition of these planets is largely determined by the initial metallicity of the protoplanetary disk, and not, or to a lesser extent, by other processes such as the differences in the planets' orbital evolutions, tides due to finite eccentricities/inclinations and planet evaporation. Using evolution models including the presence of a core and parametrized missing physics, we show that all nine planets belong to a same ensemble characterized by a mass of heavy elements MZ that is a steep function of the stellar metallicity: from ˜ 10 M⊕ around a solar composition star, to ˜ 100 M⊕ for twice the solar metallicity. Together with the observed lack of giant planets in close orbits around metal-poor stars, these results imply that heavy elements play a key role in the formation of close-in giant planets. The large values of MZ and of the planet enrichments for metal-rich stars shows the need for alternative theories of planet formation including migration and subsequent collection of planetesimals.

  11. Electrodynamics on extrasolar giant planets

    SciT

    Koskinen, T. T.; Yelle, R. V.; Lavvas, P.

    2014-11-20

    Strong ionization on close-in extrasolar giant planets (EGPs) suggests that their atmospheres may be affected by ion drag and resistive heating arising from wind-driven electrodynamics. Recent models of ion drag on these planets, however, are based on thermal ionization only and do not include the upper atmosphere above the 1 mbar level. These models are also based on simplified equations of resistive magnetohydrodynamics that are not always valid in extrasolar planet atmospheres. We show that photoionization dominates over thermal ionization over much of the dayside atmosphere above the 100 mbar level, creating an upper ionosphere dominated by ionization of Hmore » and He and a lower ionosphere dominated by ionization of metals such as Na, K, and Mg. The resulting dayside electron densities on close-in exoplanets are higher than those encountered in any planetary ionosphere of the solar system, and the conductivities are comparable to the chromosphere of the Sun. Based on these results and assumed magnetic fields, we constrain the conductivity regimes on close-in EGPs and use a generalized Ohm's law to study the basic effects of electrodynamics in their atmospheres. We find that ion drag is important above the 10 mbar level where it can also significantly alter the energy balance through resistive heating. Due to frequent collisions of the electrons and ions with the neutral atmosphere, however, ion drag is largely negligible in the lower atmosphere below the 10 mbar level for a reasonable range of planetary magnetic moments. We find that the atmospheric conductivity decreases by several orders of magnitude in the night side of tidally locked planets, leading to a potentially interesting large-scale dichotomy in electrodynamics between the day and night sides. A combined approach that relies on UV observations of the upper atmosphere, phase curve and Doppler measurements of global dynamics, and visual transit observations to probe the alkali metals can

  12. Migration & Extra-solar Terrestrial Planets: Watering the Planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Carter-Bond, Jade C.; O'Brien, David P.; Raymond, Sean N.

    2014-04-01

    A diverse range of terrestrial planet compositions is believed to exist within known extrasolar planetary systems, ranging from those that are relatively Earth-like to those that are highly unusual, dominated by species such as refractory elements (Al and Ca) or C (as pure C, TiC and SiC)(Bond et al. 2010b). However, all prior simulations have ignored the impact that giant planet migration during planetary accretion may have on the final terrestrial planetary composition. Here, we combined chemical equilibrium models of the disk around five known planetary host stars (Solar, HD4203, HD19994, HD213240 and Gl777) with dynamical models of terrestrial planet formation incorporating various degrees of giant planet migration. Giant planet migration is found to drastically impact terrestrial planet composition by 1) increasing the amount of Mg-silicate species present in the final body; and 2) dramatically increasing the efficiency and amount of water delivered to the terrestrial bodies during their formation process.

  13. Extrasolar Planet Inferometric Survey (EPIcS)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Shao, Michael; Baliunas, Sallie; Boden, Andrew; Kulkarni, Shrinivas; Lin, Douglas N. C.; Loredo, Tom; Queloz, Didier; Shaklan, Stuart; Tremaine, Scott; Wolszczan, Alexander

    2004-01-01

    The discovery of the nature of the solar system was a crowning achievement of Renaissance science. The quest to evaluate the properties of extrasolar planetary systems is central to both the intellectual understanding of our origins and the cultural understanding of humanity's place in the Universe; thus it is appropriate that the goals and objectives of NASA's breakthrough Origins program emphasize the study of planetary systems, with a focus on the search for habitable planets. We propose an ambitious research program that will use SIM - the first major mission of the Origins program - to explore planetary systems in our Galactic neighborhood. Our program is a novel two-tiered SIM survey of nearby stars that exploits the capabilities of SIM to achieve two scientific objectives: (i) to identify Earth-like planets in habitable regions around nearby Sunlike stars: and (ii) to explore the nature and evolution of planetary systems in their full variety. The first of these objectives was recently recommended by the Astronomy and Astrophysics Survey Committee (the McKee-Taylor Committee) as a prerequisite for the development of the Terrestrial Planet Finder mission later in the decade. Our program combines this two-part survey with preparatory and contemporaneous research designed to maximize the scientific return from the limited and thus precious observing resources of SIM.

  14. Kepler Mission to Detect Earth-like Planets

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kondo, Yoji

    2003-01-01

    Kepler Mission to detect Earth-like planets in our Milky Way galaxy was approved by NASA in December 2001 for a 4-5 year mission. The launch is planned in about 5 years. The Kepler observatory will be placed in an Earth-trailing orbit. The unique feature of the Kepler Mission is its ability to detect Earth-like planets orbiting around solar-type stars at a distance similar to that of Earth (from our Sun); such an orbit could provide an environment suitable for supporting life as we know it. The Kepler observatory accomplishes this feat by looking for the transits of planetary object in front of their suns; Kepler has a photometric precision of 10E-5 (0.00001) to achieve such detections. Other ongoing planetary detection programs (based mostly on a technique that looks for the shifting of spectral lines of the primary star due to its planetary companions' motions around it) have detected massive planets (with masses in the range of Jupiter); such massive planets are not considered suitable for supporting life. If our current theories for the formation of planetary systems are valid, we expect to detect about 50 Earth-like planets during Kepler's 4-year mission (assuming a random distribution of the planetary orbital inclinations with respect to the line of sight from Kepler). The number of detection will increase about 640 planets if the planets to be detected are Jupiter-sized.

  15. Kepler Mission to Detect Earth-like Planets

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kondo, Yoji

    2002-01-01

    Kepler Mission to detect Earth-like planets in our Milky Way galaxy was approved by NASA in December 2001 for a 4-5 year mission. The launch is planned in about 5 years. The Kepler observatory will be placed in an Earth-trailing orbit. The unique feature of the Kepler Mission is its ability to detect Earth-like planets orbiting around solar-type stars at a distance similar to that of Earth (from our Sun); such an orbit could provide an environment suitable for supporting life as we know it. The Kepler observatory accomplishes this feat by looking for the transits of planetary object in front of their suns; Kepler has a photometric precision of 10E-5 (0.00001) to achieve such detections. Other ongoing planetary detection programs (based mostly on a technique that looks for the shifting of spectral lines of the primary star due to its planetary companions' motions around it) have detected massive planets (with masses in the range of Jupiter); such massive planets are not considered suitable for supporting life. If our current theories for the formation of planetary systems are valid, we expect to detect about 50 Earth-like planets during Kepler's 4-year mission (assuming a random distribution of the planetary orbital inclinations with respect to the line of sight from Kepler). The number of detection will increase about 640 planets if the planets to be detected are Jupiter-sized.

  16. Characterization of extrasolar terrestrial planets from diurnal photometric variability.

    PubMed

    Ford, E B; Seager, S; Turner, E L

    2001-08-30

    The detection of massive planets orbiting nearby stars has become almost routine, but current techniques are as yet unable to detect terrestrial planets with masses comparable to the Earth's. Future space-based observatories to detect Earth-like planets are being planned. Terrestrial planets orbiting in the habitable zones of stars-where planetary surface conditions are compatible with the presence of liquid water-are of enormous interest because they might have global environments similar to Earth's and even harbour life. The light scattered by such a planet will vary in intensity and colour as the planet rotates; the resulting light curve will contain information about the planet's surface and atmospheric properties. Here we report a model that predicts features that should be discernible in the light curve obtained by low-precision photometry. For extrasolar planets similar to Earth, we expect daily flux variations of up to hundreds of per cent, depending sensitively on ice and cloud cover as well as seasonal variations. This suggests that the meteorological variability, composition of the surface (for example, ocean versus land fraction) and rotation period of an Earth-like planet could be derived from photometric observations. Even signatures of Earth-like plant life could be constrained or possibly, with further study, even uniquely determined.

  17. Climate stability of habitable Earth-like planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Menou, Kristen

    2015-11-01

    The carbon-silicate cycle regulates the atmospheric CO2 content of terrestrial planets on geological timescales through a balance between the rates of CO2 volcanic outgassing and planetary intake from rock weathering. It is thought to act as an efficient climatic thermostat on Earth and, by extension, on other habitable planets. If, however, the weathering rate increases with the atmospheric CO2 content, as expected on planets lacking land vascular plants, the carbon-silicate cycle feedback can become severely limited. Here we show that Earth-like planets receiving less sunlight than current Earth may no longer possess a stable warm climate but instead repeatedly cycle between unstable glaciated and deglaciated climatic states. This has implications for the search for life on exoplanets in the habitable zone of nearby stars.

  18. Climate variations on Earth-like circumbinary planets

    PubMed Central

    Popp, Max; Eggl, Siegfried

    2017-01-01

    The discovery of planets orbiting double stars at close distances has sparked increasing scientific interest in determining whether Earth-analogues can remain habitable in such environments and how their atmospheric dynamics is influenced by the rapidly changing insolation. In this work we present results of the first three-dimensional numerical experiments of a water-rich planet orbiting a double star. We find that the periodic forcing of the atmosphere has a noticeable impact on the planet's climate. Signatures of the forcing frequencies related to the planet's as well as to the binary's orbital periods are present in a variety of climate indicators such as temperature and precipitation, making the interpretation of potential observables challenging. However, for Earth-like greenhouse gas concentrations, the variable forcing does not change the range of insolation values allowing for habitable climates substantially. PMID:28382929

  19. Spectral fingerprints of Earth-like planets around FGK stars.

    PubMed

    Rugheimer, Sarah; Kaltenegger, Lisa; Zsom, Andras; Segura, Antígona; Sasselov, Dimitar

    2013-03-01

    We present model atmospheres for an Earth-like planet orbiting the entire grid of main sequence FGK stars with effective temperatures ranging from Teff=4250 K to Teff=7000 K in 250 K intervals. We have modeled the remotely detectable spectra of Earth-like planets for clear and cloudy atmospheres at the 1 AU equivalent distance from the VIS to IR (0.4 to 20 μm) to compare detectability of features in different wavelength ranges in accordance with the James Webb Space Telescope and future design concepts to characterize exo-Earths. We have also explored the effect of the stellar UV levels as well as spectral energy distribution on a terrestrial atmosphere, concentrating on detectable atmospheric features that indicate habitability on Earth, namely, H2O, O3, CH4, N2O, and CH3Cl. The increase in UV dominates changes of O3, OH, CH4, N2O, and CH3Cl, whereas the increase in stellar temperature dominates changes in H2O. The overall effect as stellar effective temperatures and corresponding UV increase is a lower surface temperature of the planet due to a bigger part of the stellar flux being reflected at short wavelengths, as well as increased photolysis. Earth-like atmosphere models show more O3 and OH but less stratospheric CH4, N2O, CH3Cl, and tropospheric H2O (but more stratospheric H2O) with increasing effective temperature of main sequence stars. The corresponding detectable spectral features, on the other hand, show different detectability depending on the wavelength observed. We concentrate on directly imaged planets here as a framework to interpret future light curves, direct imaging, and secondary eclipse measurements of atmospheres of terrestrial planets in the habitable zone at varying orbital positions.

  20. PHOTOMETRIC ORBITS OF EXTRASOLAR PLANETS

    SciT

    Brown, Robert A.

    We define and analyze the photometric orbit (PhO) of an extrasolar planet observed in reflected light. In our definition, the PhO is a Keplerian entity with six parameters: semimajor axis, eccentricity, mean anomaly at some particular time, argument of periastron, inclination angle, and effective radius, which is the square root of the geometric albedo times the planetary radius. Preliminarily, we assume a Lambertian phase function. We study in detail the case of short-period giant planets (SPGPs) and observational parameters relevant to the Kepler mission: 20 ppm photometry with normal errors, 6.5 hr cadence, and three-year duration. We define a relevantmore » 'planetary population of interest' in terms of probability distributions of the PhO parameters. We perform Monte Carlo experiments to estimate the ability to detect planets and to recover PhO parameters from light curves. We calibrate the completeness of a periodogram search technique, and find structure caused by degeneracy. We recover full orbital solutions from synthetic Kepler data sets and estimate the median errors in recovered PhO parameters. We treat in depth a case of a Jupiter body-double. For the stated assumptions, we find that Kepler should obtain orbital solutions for many of the 100-760 SPGP that Jenkins and Doyle estimate Kepler will discover. Because most or all of these discoveries will be followed up by ground-based radial velocity observations, the estimates of inclination angle from the PhO may enable the calculation of true companion masses: Kepler photometry may break the 'msin i' degeneracy. PhO observations may be difficult. There is uncertainty about how low the albedos of SPGPs actually are, about their phase functions, and about a possible noise floor due to systematic errors from instrumental and stellar sources. Nevertheless, simple detection of SPGPs in reflected light should be robust in the regime of Kepler photometry, and estimates of all six orbital parameters may be

  1. Un-Earth-like interiors of the Earth-like planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shim, S. H. D.; Nisr, C.; Pagano, M.; Chen, H.; Ko, B.; Noble, S.; Leinenweber, K. D.; Young, P.; Desch, S. J.

    2015-12-01

    A number of exoplanets have been described as "Earth-like" planets (or even exo-earths) based on the mass-radius relations. Yet, significant variations have been documented in elemental abundances of planet-hosting stars, which will result in very different structures and processes in the interiors of rocky exoplanets. Recent data suggest that the Mg/Si ratio can be as small as less than 1 and as large as more than 2, opening the possibilities for the upper mantles to be dominated by pyroxene and olivine, respectively, and the lower mantles to be dominated by bridgmanite and ferropericlase, respectively. The changes in mineralogy will alter key properties, such as discontinuity structures (and therefore scale of mantle mixing), viscosity, and volatiles storage, of the mantle. Partial melting of such mantles would result in different compositions of the crusts, affecting the tectonics. However, the prediction should be made carefully because oxygen fugacity and contents of volatiles can change the mineralogy even for the same bulk composition. In extremely reducing proto-planetary disks, carbides will form instead of oxides and silicates, and become main constituents of planets in the system. Because carbides have high thermal conductivity and low thermal expansivity, internal heat transport of such planets may be dominated by conduction and mantle mixing would be much more limited than that of the Earth. However, the behaviors and properties of carbides need to be understood better at high pressure and high temperature. Some rocky exoplanets may have very thick layers of water and other icy materials. Interactions between ice (or fluid) and rock at extreme conditions would be the key to understand dynamics and habitability of such exoplanets.

  2. Characterization of Extrasolar Planets Using SOFIA

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Deming, Drake

    2010-01-01

    Topics include: the landscape of extrasolar planets, why focus on transiting planets, some history and Spitzer results, problems in atmospheric structure or hot Jupiters and hot super Earths, what observations are needed to make progress, and what SOFIA can currently do and comments on optimized instruments.

  3. Biosignatures from Earth-like planets around M dwarfs.

    PubMed

    Segura, Antígona; Kasting, James F; Meadows, Victoria; Cohen, Martin; Scalo, John; Crisp, David; Butler, Rebecca A H; Tinetti, Giovanna

    2005-12-01

    Coupled one-dimensional photochemical-climate calculations have been performed for hypothetical Earth-like planets around M dwarfs. Visible/near-infrared and thermal-infrared synthetic spectra of these planets were generated to determine which biosignature gases might be observed by a future, space-based telescope. Our star sample included two observed active M dwarfs-AD Leo and GJ 643-and three quiescent model stars. The spectral distribution of these stars in the ultraviolet generates a different photochemistry on these planets. As a result, the biogenic gases CH4, N2O, and CH3Cl have substantially longer lifetimes and higher mixing ratios than on Earth, making them potentially observable by space-based telescopes. On the active M-star planets, an ozone layer similar to Earth's was developed that resulted in a spectroscopic signature comparable to the terrestrial one. The simultaneous detection of O2 (or O3) and a reduced gas in a planet's atmosphere has been suggested as strong evidence for life. Planets circling M stars may be good locations to search for such evidence.

  4. Atmospheric dynamics of tidally synchronized extrasolar planets.

    PubMed

    Cho, James Y-K

    2008-12-13

    Tidally synchronized planets present a new opportunity for enriching our understanding of atmospheric dynamics on planets. Subject to an unusual forcing arrangement (steady irradiation on the same side of the planet throughout its orbit), the dynamics on these planets may be unlike that on any of the Solar System planets. Characterizing the flow pattern and temperature distribution on the extrasolar planets is necessary for reliable interpretation of data currently being collected, as well as for guiding future observations. In this paper, several fundamental concepts from atmospheric dynamics, likely to be central for characterization, are discussed. Theoretical issues that need to be addressed in the near future are also highlighted.

  5. Birth of an Earth-like Planet (Artist concept)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2007-01-01

    This artist's conception shows a binary-star, or two-star, system, called HD 113766, where astronomers suspect a rocky Earth-like planet is forming around one of the stars. At approximately 10 to 16 million years old, astronomers suspect this star is at just the right age for forming rocky planets. The system is located approximately 424 light-years away from Earth.

    The two yellow spots in the image represent the system's two stars. The brown ring of material circling closest to the central star depicts a huge belt of dusty material, more than 100 times as much as in our asteroid belt, or enough to build a Mars-size planet or larger. The rocky material in the belt represents the early stages of planet formation, when dust grains clump together to form rocks, and rocks collide to form even more massive rocky bodies called planetesimals. The belt is located in the middle of the system's terrestrial habitable zone, or the region around a star where liquid water could exist on any rocky planets that might form. Earth is located in the middle of our sun's terrestrial habitable zone.

    Using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, astronomers learned that the belt material in HD 113866 is more processed than the snowball-like stuff that makes up infant solar systems and comets, which contain pristine ingredients from the early solar system. However, it is not as processed as the stuff found in mature planets and asteroids. This means that the dust belt is made out of just the right mix of materials to be forming an Earth-like planet. It is composed mainly of rocky silicates and metal sulfides (like fool's gold), similar to the material found in lava flows.

    The white outer ring shows a concentration of icy dust also detected in the system. This material is at the equivalent position of the asteroid belt in our solar system, but only contains about one-sixth as much material as the inner ring. Astronomers say it is not clear from the Spitzer observations if

  6. A spectrum of an extrasolar planet.

    PubMed

    Richardson, L Jeremy; Deming, Drake; Horning, Karen; Seager, Sara; Harrington, Joseph

    2007-02-22

    Of the over 200 known extrasolar planets, 14 exhibit transits in front of their parent stars as seen from Earth. Spectroscopic observations of the transiting planets can probe the physical conditions of their atmospheres. One such technique can be used to derive the planetary spectrum by subtracting the stellar spectrum measured during eclipse (planet hidden behind star) from the combined-light spectrum measured outside eclipse (star + planet). Although several attempts have been made from Earth-based observatories, no spectrum has yet been measured for any of the established extrasolar planets. Here we report a measurement of the infrared spectrum (7.5-13.2 microm) of the transiting extrasolar planet HD 209458b. Our observations reveal a hot thermal continuum for the planetary spectrum, with an approximately constant ratio to the stellar flux over this wavelength range. Superposed on this continuum is a broad emission peak centred near 9.65 microm that we attribute to emission by silicate clouds. We also find a narrow, unidentified emission feature at 7.78 microm. Models of these 'hot Jupiter' planets predict a flux peak near 10 microm, where thermal emission from the deep atmosphere emerges relatively unimpeded by water absorption, but models dominated by water fit the observed spectrum poorly.

  7. The Problem of Extraterrestrial Civilizations and Extrasolar Planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mickaelian, A. M.

    2015-07-01

    The problem of extraterrestrial intelligence is the best example of multidisciplinary science. Here philosophy and religion, astronomy, radiophysics, spectrography, space flights and astronautics, geology and planetology, astroecology, chemistry and biology, history and archaeology, psychology, sociology, linguistics, diplomacy, UFOs and peculiar phenomena are involved. Among these many-sided studies, astronomers have probably displayed the most progress by discovering thousands of extrasolar planets. At present, a number of search programs are being accomplished, including those with space telescopes, and planets in so-called "habitable zone" are considered as most important ones, for which various orbital and physical parameters are being calculated. As the discovery of extraterrestrial life is the final goal, a special attention is given to Earth-like planets, for the discovery of which most sensitive technical means are necessary.

  8. Magnetospheric Emission from Extrasolar Planets

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2010-01-01

    their habitability—can only be accomplished from space. The most promising location for a telescope designed to detect AKR from extrasolar...Laboratory A . Lecacheux, Observatoire de Paris W. Majid, Jet Propulsion Laboratory R. Osten, STScI E. Shkolnik, Carnegie Institute of Washington I. Stevens...Respondents should be aware that notwithstanding any other provision of law, no person shall be subject to a penalty for failing to comply with a

  9. [Extrasolar terrestrial planets and possibility of extraterrestrial life].

    PubMed

    Ida, Shigeru

    2003-12-01

    Recent development of research on extrasolar planets are reviewed. About 120 extrasolar Jupiter-mass planets have been discovered through the observation of Doppler shift in the light of their host stars that is caused by acceleration due to planet orbital motions. Although the extrasolar planets so far observed may be limited to gas giant planets and their orbits differ from those of giant planets in our Solar system (Jupiter and Saturn), the theoretically predicted probability of existence of extrasolar terrestrial planets that can have liquid water ocean on their surface is comparable to that of detectable gas giant planets. Based on the number of extrasolar gas giants detected so far, about 100 life-sustainable planets may exist within a range of 200 light years. Indirect observation of extrasolar terrestrial planets would be done with space telescopes within several years and direct one may be done within 20 years. The latter can detect biomarkers on these planets as well.

  10. Factors Affecting the Habitability of Earth-like Planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Meadows, Victoria; NAI-Virtual Planetary Laboratory Team

    2014-03-01

    Habitability is a measure of an environment's potential to support life. For exoplanets, the concept of habitability can be used broadly - to inform our calculations of the possibility and distribution of life elsewhere - or as a practical tool to inform mission designs and to prioritize specific targets in the search for extrasolar life. Although a planet's habitability does depend critically on the effect of stellar type and planetary semi-major axis on climate balance, work in the interdisciplinary field of astrobiology has identified many additional factors that can affect a planet's environment and its potential ability to support life. Life requires material for metabolism and structures, a liquid medium for chemical transport, and an energy source to drive metabolism and other life processes. Whether a planet's surface or sub-surface can provide these requirements is the result of numerous planetary and astrophysical processes that affect the planet's formation and evolution. Many of these factors are interdependent, and fall into three main categories: stellar effects, planetary effects and planetary system effects. Key abiotic processes affecting the resultant planetary environment include photochemistry (e.g. Segura et al., 2003; 2005), stellar effects on climate balance (e.g. Joshii et al., 2012; Shields et al., 2013), atmospheric loss (e.g. Lopez and Fortney, 2013), and gravitational interactions with the star (e.g. Barnes et al., 2013). In many cases, the effect of these processes is strongly dependent on a specific planet's existing environmental properties. Examples include the resultant UV flux at a planetary surface as a product of stellar activity and the strength of a planet's atmospheric UV shield (Segura et al., 2010); and the amount of tidal energy available to a planet to drive plate tectonics and heat the surface (Barnes et al., 2009), which is in turn due to a combination of stellar mass, planetary mass and composition, planetary orbital

  11. Modeling the Surface Temperature of Earth-like Planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vladilo, Giovanni; Silva, Laura; Murante, Giuseppe; Filippi, Luca; Provenzale, Antonello

    2015-05-01

    We introduce a novel Earth-like planet surface temperature model (ESTM) for habitability studies based on the spatial-temporal distribution of planetary surface temperatures. The ESTM adopts a surface energy balance model (EBM) complemented by: radiative-convective atmospheric column calculations, a set of physically based parameterizations of meridional transport, and descriptions of surface and cloud properties more refined than in standard EBMs. The parameterization is valid for rotating terrestrial planets with shallow atmospheres and moderate values of axis obliquity (ɛ ≲ 45{}^\\circ ). Comparison with a 3D model of atmospheric dynamics from the literature shows that the equator-to-pole temperature differences predicted by the two models agree within ≈ 5 K when the rotation rate, insolation, surface pressure and planet radius are varied in the intervals 0.5≲ {Ω }/{{{Ω }}\\oplus }≲ 2, 0.75≲ S/{{S}\\circ }≲ 1.25, 0.3≲ p/(1 bar)≲ 10, and 0.5≲ R/{{R}\\oplus }≲ 2, respectively. The ESTM has an extremely low computational cost and can be used when the planetary parameters are scarcely known (as for most exoplanets) and/or whenever many runs for different parameter configurations are needed. Model simulations of a test-case exoplanet (Kepler-62e) indicate that an uncertainty in surface pressure within the range expected for terrestrial planets may impact the mean temperature by ˜ 60 K. Within the limits of validity of the ESTM, the impact of surface pressure is larger than that predicted by uncertainties in rotation rate, axis obliquity, and ocean fractions. We discuss the possibility of performing a statistical ranking of planetary habitability taking advantage of the flexibility of the ESTM.

  12. Detecting tree-like multicellular life on extrasolar planets.

    PubMed

    Doughty, Christopher E; Wolf, Adam

    2010-11-01

    Over the next two decades, NASA and ESA are planning a series of space-based observatories to find Earth-like planets and determine whether life exists on these planets. Previous studies have assessed the likelihood of detecting life through signs of biogenic gases in the atmosphere or a red edge. Biogenic gases and the red edge could be signs of either single-celled or multicellular life. In this study, we propose a technique with which to determine whether tree-like multicellular life exists on extrasolar planets. For multicellular photosynthetic organisms on Earth, competition for light and the need to transport water and nutrients has led to a tree-like body plan characterized by hierarchical branching networks. This design results in a distinct bidirectional reflectance distribution function (BRDF) that causes differing reflectance at different sun/view geometries. BRDF arises from the changing visibility of the shadows cast by objects, and the presence of tree-like structures is clearly distinguishable from flat ground with the same reflectance spectrum. We examined whether the BRDF could detect the existence of tree-like structures on an extrasolar planet by using changes in planetary albedo as a planet orbits its star. We used a semi-empirical BRDF model to simulate vegetation reflectance at different planetary phase angles and both simulated and real cloud cover to calculate disk and rotation-averaged planetary albedo for a vegetated and non-vegetated planet with abundant liquid water. We found that even if the entire planetary albedo were rendered to a single pixel, the rate of increase of albedo as a planet approaches full illumination would be comparatively greater on a vegetated planet than on a non-vegetated planet. Depending on how accurately planetary cloud cover can be resolved and the capabilities of the coronagraph to resolve exoplanets, this technique could theoretically detect tree-like multicellular life on exoplanets in 50 stellar systems.

  13. Planet Formation and the Characteristics of Extrasolar Planets

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lissauer, Jack J.; DeVincenzi, Donald L. (Technical Monitor)

    2000-01-01

    An overview of current theories of planetary growth, emphasizing the formation of extrasolar planets, is presented. Models of planet formation are based upon observations of the Solar System, extrasolar planets, and young stars and their environments. Terrestrial planets are believed to grow via pairwise accretion until the spacing of planetary orbits becomes large enough that the configuration is stable for the age of the system. Giant planets begin their growth like terrestrial planets, but if they become massive enough before the protoplanetary disk dissipates, then they are able to accumulate substantial amounts of gas. These models predict that rocky planets should form in orbit about most single stars. It is uncertain whether or not gas giant planet formation is common, because most protoplanetary disks may dissipate before solid planetary cores can grow large enough to gravitationally trap substantial quantities of gas. A potential hazard to planetary systems is radial decay of planetary orbits resulting from interactions with material within the disk. Planets more massive than Earth have the potential to decay the fastest, and may be able to sweep up smaller planets in their path. The implications of the giant planets found in recent radial velocity searches for the abundances of habitable planets are discussed.

  14. Thermal escape from extrasolar giant planets

    PubMed Central

    Koskinen, Tommi T.; Lavvas, Panayotis; Harris, Matthew J.; Yelle, Roger V.

    2014-01-01

    The detection of hot atomic hydrogen and heavy atoms and ions at high altitudes around close-in extrasolar giant planets (EGPs) such as HD209458b implies that these planets have hot and rapidly escaping atmospheres that extend to several planetary radii. These characteristics, however, cannot be generalized to all close-in EGPs. The thermal escape mechanism and mass loss rate from EGPs depend on a complex interplay between photochemistry and radiative transfer driven by the stellar UV radiation. In this study, we explore how these processes change under different levels of irradiation on giant planets with different characteristics. We confirm that there are two distinct regimes of thermal escape from EGPs, and that the transition between these regimes is relatively sharp. Our results have implications for thermal mass loss rates from different EGPs that we discuss in the context of currently known planets and the detectability of their upper atmospheres. PMID:24664923

  15. Optical Spectra of Extrasolar Giant Planets

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Heap, Sara R.; Hubeny, Ivan; Sudarsky, David; Burrows, Adam

    2004-01-01

    The flux distribution of a planet relative to its host star is a critical quantity for planning space observatories to detect and characterize extrasolar giant planets (EGP's). In this paper, we present optical planet-star contrasts of Jupiter-mass planets as a function of stellar type, orbital distance, and planetary cloud characteristics. As originally shown by Sudarsky et al. (2000, 2003), the phaseaveraged brightness of an EGP does not necessarily decrease monotonically with greater orbital distance because of changes in its albedo and absorption spectrum at lower temperatures. We apply our results to Eclipse, a 1.8-m optical telescope + coronograph to be proposed as a NASA Discovery mission later this year.

  16. Thermal escape from extrasolar giant planets.

    PubMed

    Koskinen, Tommi T; Lavvas, Panayotis; Harris, Matthew J; Yelle, Roger V

    2014-04-28

    The detection of hot atomic hydrogen and heavy atoms and ions at high altitudes around close-in extrasolar giant planets (EGPs) such as HD209458b implies that these planets have hot and rapidly escaping atmospheres that extend to several planetary radii. These characteristics, however, cannot be generalized to all close-in EGPs. The thermal escape mechanism and mass loss rate from EGPs depend on a complex interplay between photochemistry and radiative transfer driven by the stellar UV radiation. In this study, we explore how these processes change under different levels of irradiation on giant planets with different characteristics. We confirm that there are two distinct regimes of thermal escape from EGPs, and that the transition between these regimes is relatively sharp. Our results have implications for thermal mass loss rates from different EGPs that we discuss in the context of currently known planets and the detectability of their upper atmospheres.

  17. Infrared radiation from an extrasolar planet.

    PubMed

    Deming, Drake; Seager, Sara; Richardson, L Jeremy; Harrington, Joseph

    2005-04-07

    A class of extrasolar giant planets--the so-called 'hot Jupiters' (ref. 1)--orbit within 0.05 au of their primary stars (1 au is the Sun-Earth distance). These planets should be hot and so emit detectable infrared radiation. The planet HD 209458b (refs 3, 4) is an ideal candidate for the detection and characterization of this infrared light because it is eclipsed by the star. This planet has an anomalously large radius (1.35 times that of Jupiter), which may be the result of ongoing tidal dissipation, but this explanation requires a non-zero orbital eccentricity (approximately 0.03; refs 6, 7), maintained by interaction with a hypothetical second planet. Here we report detection of infrared (24 microm) radiation from HD 209458b, by observing the decrement in flux during secondary eclipse, when the planet passes behind the star. The planet's 24-microm flux is 55 +/- 10 microJy (1sigma), with a brightness temperature of 1,130 +/- 150 K, confirming the predicted heating by stellar irradiation. The secondary eclipse occurs at the midpoint between transits of the planet in front of the star (to within +/- 7 min, 1sigma), which means that a dynamically significant orbital eccentricity is unlikely.

  18. New Extra-Solar Planet - thermal state and structure

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Valencia, D.; O'Connell, R. J.; Sasselov, D.

    2005-12-01

    For the last decade astronomers have found more than 160 planets orbiting stars other than our sun. All but three of them are gaseous planets. The variety of characteristics of these newly discovered planets opens a new field with questions about planetary formation, structure and evolution, as well as the possibility of existence of life beyond our solar system. Planetary formation models suggested the existence of terrestrial extra-solar planets with masses up to 10 times the mass of the Earth. In June of 2005 the first Super-Earth was discovered orbiting a star 15 light years away with a mass that is about 7.5 times the mass of the Earth and a period of 1.94 days. The composition of this planet is unknown but probably has an Earth-like composition. Astronomers believe the surface temperature ranges between ~500 K and ~700 K. Liquid water can exist at temperatures above T=400K at high pressures (above 10 MPa) allowing for the possibility of a water layer on top of a rocky core. Our work focuses on determining scaling relationships with mass, internal structure parameters and thermal state. We explore the effects of a water/icy layer above a rocky core as well as other types of compositions in determining the internal structure. This water layer may convect causing the planet to have two layer convection. We explore the effects of a layer convection mode versus whole mantle convection for a Super-Earth. Due to the closeness of this planet to its parent star we can expect substantial tidal heating that can affect the thermal state of this planet. We explore the effects of tidal heating in the internal structure of a planet. Differences in composition have much larger effects in the mass-radius relationship than the uncertainties in thermodynamic parameters of the minerals composing the planet.

  19. The Effect of Varying Atmospheric Pressure upon Habitability and Biosignatures of Earth-like Planets.

    PubMed

    Keles, Engin; Grenfell, John Lee; Godolt, Mareike; Stracke, Barbara; Rauer, Heike

    2018-02-01

    Understanding the possible climatic conditions on rocky extrasolar planets, and thereby their potential habitability, is one of the major subjects of exoplanet research. Determining how the climate, as well as potential atmospheric biosignatures, changes under different conditions is a key aspect when studying Earth-like exoplanets. One important property is the atmospheric mass, hence pressure and its influence on the climatic conditions. Therefore, the aim of the present study is to understand the influence of atmospheric mass on climate, hence habitability, and the spectral appearance of planets with Earth-like, that is, N 2 -O 2 dominated, atmospheres orbiting the Sun at 1 AU. This work utilizes a 1D coupled, cloud-free, climate-photochemical atmospheric column model; varies atmospheric surface pressure from 0.5 to 30 bar; and investigates temperature and key species profiles, as well as emission and brightness temperature spectra in a range between 2 and 20 μm. Increasing the surface pressure up to 4 bar leads to an increase in the surface temperature due to increased greenhouse warming. Above this point, Rayleigh scattering dominates, and the surface temperature decreases, reaching surface temperatures below 273 K (approximately at ∼34 bar surface pressure). For ozone, nitrous oxide, water, methane, and carbon dioxide, the spectral response either increases with surface temperature or pressure depending on the species. Masking effects occur, for example, for the bands of the biosignatures ozone and nitrous oxide by carbon dioxide, which could be visible in low carbon dioxide atmospheres. Key Words: Planetary habitability and biosignatures-Atmospheres-Radiative transfer. Astrobiology 18, 116-132.

  20. Detecting Oceans on Extrasolar Planets Using the Glint Effect

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Robinson, Tyler D.; Meadows, Victoria S.; Crisp, David

    2010-09-01

    Glint, the specular reflection of sunlight off Earth's oceans, may reveal the presence of oceans on an extrasolar planet. As an Earth-like planet nears crescent phases, the size of the ocean glint spot increases relative to the fraction of the illuminated disk, while the reflectivity of this spot increases. Both effects change the planet's visible reflectivity as a function of phase. However, strong forward scattering of radiation by clouds can also produce increases in a planet's reflectivity as it approaches crescent phases, and surface glint can be obscured by Rayleigh scattering and atmospheric absorption. Here, we explore the detectability of glint in the presence of an atmosphere and realistic phase-dependent scattering from oceans and clouds. We use the NASA Astrobiology Institute's Virtual Planetary Laboratory three-dimensional line-by-line, multiple-scattering spectral Earth model to simulate Earth's broadband visible brightness and reflectivity over an orbit. Our validated simulations successfully reproduce phase-dependent Earthshine observations. We find that the glinting Earth can be as much as 100% brighter at crescent phases than simulations that do not include glint, and that the effect is dependent on both orbital inclination and wavelength, where the latter dependence is caused by Rayleigh scattering limiting sensitivity to the surface. We show that this phenomenon may be observable using the James Webb Space Telescope paired with an external occulter.

  1. DETECTING OCEANS ON EXTRASOLAR PLANETS USING THE GLINT EFFECT

    SciT

    Robinson, Tyler D.; Meadows, Victoria S.; Crisp, David, E-mail: robinson@astro.washington.ed

    2010-09-20

    Glint, the specular reflection of sunlight off Earth's oceans, may reveal the presence of oceans on an extrasolar planet. As an Earth-like planet nears crescent phases, the size of the ocean glint spot increases relative to the fraction of the illuminated disk, while the reflectivity of this spot increases. Both effects change the planet's visible reflectivity as a function of phase. However, strong forward scattering of radiation by clouds can also produce increases in a planet's reflectivity as it approaches crescent phases, and surface glint can be obscured by Rayleigh scattering and atmospheric absorption. Here, we explore the detectability ofmore » glint in the presence of an atmosphere and realistic phase-dependent scattering from oceans and clouds. We use the NASA Astrobiology Institute's Virtual Planetary Laboratory three-dimensional line-by-line, multiple-scattering spectral Earth model to simulate Earth's broadband visible brightness and reflectivity over an orbit. Our validated simulations successfully reproduce phase-dependent Earthshine observations. We find that the glinting Earth can be as much as 100% brighter at crescent phases than simulations that do not include glint, and that the effect is dependent on both orbital inclination and wavelength, where the latter dependence is caused by Rayleigh scattering limiting sensitivity to the surface. We show that this phenomenon may be observable using the James Webb Space Telescope paired with an external occulter.« less

  2. Division F Commission 53: Extrasolar Planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lecavelier Des Etangs, Alain; Minniti, Dante; Boss, Alan; Mayor, Michel; Bodenheimer, Peter; Collier-Cameron, Andrew; Jayawardhana, Ray; Kokubo, Eiichiro; Mardling, Rosemary; Queloz, Didier; Rauer, Heike; Zhao, Gang

    2016-04-01

    The IAU Working Group on Extrasolar Planets (WGESP) was created by the Executive Council as a Working Group of Division III. This decision took place in June 1999, that is only 7 years after the discovery of planets around the pulsar PSR B1257+12 and 4 years after the discovery of 51 Peg b. This working group was renewed for 3 years at the General Assembly in 2003 in Sydney, Australia. It was chaired by Alan Boss from Carnegie Institution of Washington. The WGESP members were Paul Butler, William Hubbard, Philip Ianna, Martin Kürster, Jack Lissauer, Michel Mayor, Karen Meech, Francois Mignard, Alan Penny, Andreas Quirrenbach, Jill Tarter, and Alfred Vidal-Madjar.

  3. Astronomy: A small star with an Earth-like planet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Deming, Drake

    2015-11-01

    A rocky planet close in size to Earth has been discovered in the cosmic vicinity of our Sun. The small size and proximity of the associated star bode well for studies of the planet's atmosphere. See Letter p.204

  4. Photometric Detection of Extra-Solar Planets

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hatzes, Artie P.; Cochran, William D.

    2004-01-01

    This NASA Origins Program grant supported the TEMPEST Texas McDonald Photometric Extrasolar Search for Transits) program at McDonald Observatory, which searches for transits of extrasolar planets across the disks of their parent stars. The basic approach is to use a wide-field ground-based telescope (in our case the McDonald Observatory 0.76m telescope and it s Prime Focus Corrector) to search for transits of short period (1-15 day orbits) of close-in hot-Jupiter planets in orbit around a large sample of field stars. The next task is to search these data streams for possible transit events. We collected our first set of test data for this program using the 0.76 m PFC in the summer of 1998. From those data, we developed the optimal observing procedures, including tailoring the stellar density, exposure times, and filters to best-suit the instrument and project. In the summer of 1999, we obtained the first partial season of data on a dedicated field in the constellation Cygnus. These data were used to develop and refine the reduction and analysis procedures to produce high-precision photometry and search for transits in the resulting light curves. The TeMPEST project subsequently obtained three full seasons of data on six different fields using the McDonald Observatory 0.76m PFC.

  5. Automatic Telescope Search for Extrasolar Planets

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Henry, Gregory W.

    1998-01-01

    We are using automatic photoelectric telescopes at the Tennessee State University Center for Automated Space Science to search for planets around nearby stars in our galaxy. Over the past several years, wc have developed the capability to make extremely precise measurements of brightness changes in Sun-like stars with automatic telescopes. Extensive quality control and calibration measurements result in a precision of 0.l% for a single nightly observation and 0.0270 for yearly means, far better than previously thought possible with ground-based observations. We are able, for the first time, to trace brightness changes in Sun-like stars that are of similar amplitude to brightness changes in the Sun, whose changes can be observed only with space-based radiometers. Recently exciting discoveries of the first extrasolar planets have been announced, based on the detection of very small radial-velocity variations that imply the existence of planets in orbit around several Sun-like stars. Our precise brightness measurements have been crucial for the confirmation of these discoveries by helping to eliminate alternative explanations for the radial-velocity variations. With our automatic telescopes, we are also searching for transits of these planets across the disks of their stars in order to conclusively verify their existence. The detection of transits would provide the first direct measurements of the sizes, masses, and densities of these planets and, hence, information on their compositions and origins.

  6. Convection and plate tectonics on extrasolar planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sotin, C.; Grasset, O.; Schubert, G.

    2012-04-01

    The number of potential Earth-like exoplanets is still very limited compared to the overall number of detected exoplanets. But the different methods keep improving, giving hope for this number to increase significantly in the coming years. Based on the relationship between mass and radius, two of the easiest parameters that can be known for exoplanets, four categories of planets have been identified: (i) the gas giants including hot Jupiters, (ii) the icy giants that can be like their solar system cousins Uranus and Neptune or that can have lost their H2-He atmosphere and have become the so-called ocean planets, (iii) the Earth-like planets with a fraction of silicates and iron similar to that of the Earth, and (iv) the Mercury like planet that have a much larger fraction of iron. The hunt for exoplanets is very much focused on Earth-like planets because of the desire to find alien forms of life and the science goal to understand how life started and developed on Earth. One science question is whether heat transfer by subsolidus convection can lead to plate tectonics, a process that allows material to be recycled in the interior on timescales of hundreds of millions of years. Earth-like exoplanets may have conditions quite different from Earth. For example, COROT-7b is so close to its star that it is likely locked in synchronous orbit with one very hot hemisphere and one very cold hemisphere. It is also worth noting that among the three Earth-like planets of the solar system (Earth, Venus and Mars), only Earth is subject to plate tectonics at present time. Venus may have experienced plate tectonics before the resurfacing event that erased any clue that such a process existed. This study investigates some of the parameters that can influence the transition from stagnant-lid convection to mobile-lid convection. Numerical simulations of convective heat transfer have been performed in 3D spherical geometry in order to determine the stress field generated by convection

  7. Views from EPOXI: Colors in Our Solar System as an Analog for Extrasolar Planets

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Crow, Carolyn A.; McFadden, L. A.; Robinson, T.; Meadows, V. S.; Livengood, T. A.; Hewagama, T.; Barry, R. K.; Deming, L. D.; Lisse, C. M.; Wellnitz, Dennis

    2011-01-01

    The first visible-light studies of Earth-sized extrasolar planets will employ photometry or low-resolution spectroscopy. This work uses EPOCh medium-hand filter photometry between 150 and 950 nm obtained with the Deep Impact (DI) High Resolution Instrument (HRI) of Earth, the Moon, and Mars in addition to previous full-disk observations of the other six solar system planets and Titan to analyze the limitations of using photometric colors to characterize extrasolar planets. We determined that the HRI 350, 550, and 850 nm filters are optimal for distinguishing Earth from the other planets and separating planets to first order based on their atmospheric and surface properties. Detailed conclusions that can be drawn about exoplanet atmospheres simply from a color-color plot are limited due to potentially competing physical processes in the atmosphere. The presence of a Rayleigh scattering atmosphere can be detected by an increase in the 350-550 nm brightness ratio, but the absence of Rayleigh scattering cannot be confirmed due to the existence of atmospheric and surface absorbing species in the UV. Methane and ammonia are the only species responsible for strong absorption in the 850 nm filter in our solar system. The combination of physical processes present on extrasolar planets may differ from those we see locally. Nevertheless, a generation of telescopes capable of collecting such photometric observations can serve a critical role in first-order characterization and constraining the population of Earth-like extrasolar planets.

  8. A Direct Path to Finding Earth-Like Planets

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Heap, Sara R.; Linder, Don J.

    2009-01-01

    As envisaged by the 2000 astrophysics decadal survey panel: The main goal of Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF) is nothing less than to search for evidence of life on terrestrial planets around nearby stars . Here, we consider how an optical telescope paired with a free-flying occulter blocking light from the star can reach this goal directly, without knowledge of results from prior astrometric, doppler, or transit exoplanet observations. Using design reference missions and other simulations, we explore the potential of TPF-O to find planets in the habitable zone around their central stars, to spectrally characterize the atmospheres of detected planets, and to obtain rudimentary information about their orbits. We emphasize the importance of ozone absorption in the UV spectrum of a planet as a marker of photosynthesis by plants, algae, and cyanobacteria.

  9. Atmospheric circulation of extrasolar giant planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Showman, A. P.

    2012-12-01

    Of the many known extrasolar planets, over 100 have orbital semi-major axes less than 0.1 AU, and a significant fraction of these hot Jupiters and Neptunes are known to transit their stars, allowing them to be characterized with the Spitzer, Hubble, and groundbased telescopes. The stellar flux incident on these planets is expected to drive an atmospheric circulation that shapes the day-night temperature difference, infrared light curves, spectra, albedo, and atmospheric composition, and recent Spitzer infrared light curves show evidence for dynamical meteorology in these planets' atmospheres. Here, I will survey basic dynamical ideas and detailed 3D numerical models that illuminate the atmospheric circulation of these exotic, tidally locked planets. These models suggest that, generally, the circulation will be characterized by broad, fast zonal jets, with day-night temperature contrasts at the photosphere that may vary from small in some cases to large in others. I will discuss the dynamical mechanisms for maintaining the fast zonal jets that develop in these models, as well as the mechanisms for controlling the temperature patterns, including the day-night temperature contrasts. These mechanisms help to explain current observations, and they predict regime transitions for how the wind and temperature patterns should vary with the incident stellar flux, strength of atmospheric drag, and other parameters. These transitions are observable and in some cases are already becoming evident in the data. I will also compare the circulation of the hot Jupiters to that of young, massive giant planets being directly imaged around other stars, which will be the subject of a new observational vanguard over the next decade. To emphasize the similarities as well as differences, I will ground this discussion in our understanding of the more familiar atmospheric dynamical regime of Earth, as well as our "local" giant planets Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune.

  10. Atmospheric circulation of extrasolar giant planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Showman, A. P.

    2011-12-01

    Of the many known extrasolar planets, nearly 200 have orbital semi-major axes less than 0.1 AU, and a significant fraction of these hot Jupiters and Neptunes are known to transit their stars, allowing them to be characterized with the Spitzer, Hubble, and groundbased telescopes. The stellar flux incident on these planets is expected to drive an atmospheric circulation that shapes the day-night temperature difference, infrared light curves, spectra, albedo, and atmospheric composition, and recent Spitzer infrared light curves show evidence for dynamical meteorology in these planets' atmospheres. Here, I will survey basic dynamical ideas and detailed 3D numerical models that illuminate the atmospheric circulation of these exotic, tidally locked planets. These models suggest that, generally, the circulation will be characterized by broad, fast zonal jets, with day-night temperature contrasts at the photosphere that may vary from small in some cases to large in others. I will discuss the dynamical mechanisms for maintaining the fast zonal jets that develop in these models, as well as the mechanisms for controlling the temperature patterns, including the day-night temperature contrasts. These mechanisms help to explain current observations, and they predict regime transitions for how the wind and temperature patterns should vary with the incident stellar flux, strength of atmospheric drag, and other parameters. These transitions are observable and in some cases are already becoming evident in the data. I will also compare the circulation of the hot Jupiters to that of young, massive giant planets being directly imaged around other stars, which will be the subject of a new observational vanguard over the next decade. To emphasize the similarities as well as differences, I will ground this discussion in our understanding of the more familiar atmospheric dynamical regime of Earth, as well as our "local" giant planets Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune.

  11. The upper atmospheres of extrasolar planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lellouch, E.

    2003-04-01

    Over 100 extrasolar planets have been already detected, the vast majority of which by radial velocity measurements. While numerous models have been developed to describe their thermal structure, composition, spectrum, dynamics and evolution, the physical characterization of these objects remains remarkably poor, since in most cases only an estimate of the object's mass is available. Most observational efforts have so far been focused on close, short-period exoplanets ("hot Jupiters"), in particular on HD 209458B which appears to transit across its parent star and was confirmed to be as a genuine hydrogen-rich exoplanet . A highlight of these observations was the detection of sodium in its atmosphere (Charbonneau et al. 2002). Observational results and prospects will be briefly reviewed.

  12. Microlensing for extrasolar planets : improving the photometry

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bajek, David J.

    2013-08-01

    Gravitational Microlensing, as a technique for detecting Extrasolar Planets, is recognised for its potential in discovering small-mass planets similar to Earth, at a distance of a few Astronomical Units from their host stars. However, analysing the data from microlensing events (which statistically rarely reveal planets) is complex and requires continued and intensive use of various networks of telescopes working together in order to observe the phenomenon. As such the techniques are constantly being developed and refined; this project outlines some steps of the careful analysis required to model an event and ensure the best quality data is used in the fitting. A quantitative investigation into increasing the quality of the original photometric data available from any microlensing event demonstrates that 'lucky imaging' can lead to a marked improvement in the signal to noise ratio of images over standard imaging techniques, which could result in more accurate models and thus the calculation of more accurate planetary parameters. In addition, a simulation illustrating the effects of atmospheric turbulence on exposures was created, and expanded upon to give an approximation of the lucky imaging technique. This further demonstrated the advantages of lucky images which are shown to potentially approach the quality of those expected from diffraction limited photometry. The simulation may be further developed for potential future use as a 'theoretical lucky imager' in our research group, capable of producing and analysing synthetic exposures through customisable conditions.

  13. From Extrasolar Planets to Exo-Earths

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fischer, Debra

    2018-06-01

    The ancient Greeks debated whether the Earth was unique, or innumerable worlds existed around other Suns. Twenty five years ago, technology and human ingenuity enabled the discovery of the first extrasolar planet candidates. The architectures of these first systems, with gas giant planets in star-skirting orbits, were unexpected and again raised an echo of that ancient question: is the Earth typical or unique? We are interested in this seemingly anthropocentric question because with all of our searching and discoveries, Earth is the only place where life has been found. It is the question of whether life exists elsewhere that energizes the search for exoplanets. The trajectory of this field has been stunning. After a steady stream of detections with the radial velocity method, a burst of discovery was made possible with the NASA Kepler mission. While thousands of smaller planets have now been found, true Earth analogs have eluded robust detection. However, we are sharpening the knives of our technology and without a doubt we now stand at the threshold of detecting hundreds of Earth analogs. Using Gaia, TESS, WFIRST, JWST and new ground-based spectrographs, we will learn the names and addresses of the worlds that orbit nearby stars and we will be ready to probe their atmospheres. We will finally resolve the ancient question of whether life is unique or common.

  14. Selections from 2017: Atmosphere Around an Earth-Like Planet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kohler, Susanna

    2017-12-01

    Editors note:In these last two weeks of 2017, well be looking at a few selections that we havent yet discussed on AAS Nova from among the most-downloaded paperspublished in AAS journals this year. The usual posting schedule will resume in January.Detection of the Atmosphere of the 1.6 M Exoplanet GJ 1132 bPublished March2017Main takeaway:An atmosphere was detected around the roughly Earth-size exoplanet GJ 1132 b using a telescope at the European Southern Observatory in Chile. A team of scientists led byJohn Southworth (Keele University) found features indicating the presence of an atmosphere in theobservationsof this 1.6-Earth-mass planet as it transits an M-dwarf host star. This is the lowest-mass planet with a detected atmosphere thus far.Why its interesting:M dwarfs are among the most common stars in our galaxy, and weve found manyEarth-sizeexoplanets in or near the habitable zones around M-dwarf hosts. But M dwarfs are also more magnetically active than stars like our Sun, suggesting that the planets in M-dwarfhabitable zones may not be able to support life due to stellar activity eroding their atmospheres. The detection of an atmosphere around GJ 1132 b suggests that some planets orbiting M dwarfsare able to retain their atmospheres which meansthat these planetsmay be an interesting place to search for life after all.How the atmosphere was detected:The measured planetary radius for GJ 1132 b as a function of the wavelength used to observe it. [Southworth et al. 2017]When measuring the radius of GJ 1132 b based on its transits, the authors noticed that the planet appeared to be largerwhen observed in some wavelengths than in others. This can beexplained if the planet has asurface radius of 1.4 Earth radii, overlaid by an atmosphere that extends out another few tenths of an Earth radius. The atmosphere, which may consist of water vapor or methane, is transparent to some wavelengths and absorbs others which is why the apparent size of the planet changes

  15. Habitable moons around extrasolar giant planets

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Williams, D. M.; Kasting, J. F.; Wade, R. A.

    1997-01-01

    Possible planetary objects have now been discovered orbiting nine different main-sequence stars. These companion objects (some of which might actually be brown dwarfs) all have a mass at least half that of Jupiter, and are therefore unlikely to be hospitable to Earth-like life: jovian planets and brown dwarfs support neither a solid nor a liquid surface near which organisms might dwell. Here we argue that rocky moons orbiting these companions could be habitable if the planet-moon system orbits the parent star within the so-called 'habitable zone', where life-supporting liquid water could be present. The companions to the stars 16 Cygni B and 47 Ursae Majoris might satisfy this criterion. Such a moon would, however, need to be large enough (>0.12 Earth masses) to retain a substantial and long-lived atmosphere, and would also need to possess a strong magnetic field in order to prevent its atmosphere from being sputtered away by the constant bombardment of energetic ions from the planet's magnetosphere.

  16. Habitable moons around extrasolar giant planets.

    PubMed

    Williams, D M; Kasting, J F; Wade, R A

    1997-01-16

    Possible planetary objects have now been discovered orbiting nine different main-sequence stars. These companion objects (some of which might actually be brown dwarfs) all have a mass at least half that of Jupiter, and are therefore unlikely to be hospitable to Earth-like life: jovian planets and brown dwarfs support neither a solid nor a liquid surface near which organisms might dwell. Here we argue that rocky moons orbiting these companions could be habitable if the planet-moon system orbits the parent star within the so-called 'habitable zone', where life-supporting liquid water could be present. The companions to the stars 16 Cygni B and 47 Ursae Majoris might satisfy this criterion. Such a moon would, however, need to be large enough (>0.12 Earth masses) to retain a substantial and long-lived atmosphere, and would also need to possess a strong magnetic field in order to prevent its atmosphere from being sputtered away by the constant bombardment of energetic ions from the planet's magnetosphere.

  17. Possibilities for the detection of microbial life on extrasolar planets.

    PubMed

    Knacke, Roger F

    2003-01-01

    We consider possibilities for the remote detection of microbial life on extrasolar planets. The Darwin/Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF) telescope concepts for observations of terrestrial planets focus on indirect searches for life through the detection of atmospheric gases related to life processes. Direct detection of extraterrestrial life may also be possible through well-designed searches for microbial life forms. Satellites in Earth orbit routinely monitor colonies of terrestrial algae in oceans and lakes by analysis of reflected ocean light in the visible region of the spectrum. These remote sensing techniques suggest strategies for extrasolar searches for signatures of chlorophylls and related photosynthetic compounds associated with life. However, identification of such life-related compounds on extrasolar planets would require observations through strong, interfering absorptions and scattering radiances from the remote atmospheres and landmasses. Techniques for removal of interfering radiances have been extensively developed for remote sensing from Earth orbit. Comparable techniques would have to be developed for extrasolar planet observations also, but doing so would be challenging for a remote planet. Darwin/TPF coronagraph concepts operating in the visible seem to be best suited for searches for extrasolar microbial life forms with instruments that can be projected for the 2010-2020 decades, although resolution and signal-to-noise ratio constraints severely limit detection possibilities on terrestrial-type planets. The generation of telescopes with large apertures and extremely high spatial resolutions that will follow Darwin/TPF could offer striking possibilities for the direct detection of extrasolar microbial life.

  18. The NGCSU Extrasolar Planet Transit Project

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jones, J. H.

    2000-12-01

    Since the first published reports of the detection of the extra-solar planet transit of HD 209458 (Henry, et al. 2000, ApJ, 529, L41; Charbonneau, et al. 2000, ApJ, 529, L45), we have been attempting to detect and measure the transits with high enough accuracy for useful data analysis of the light curves. Our goal is to improve our observational and data analysis techniques, and hopefully upgrade our equipment, until we are able to reliably acquire milli-magnitude multiband photometry of HD 209458 both on and off transit. We believe our observatory can fill a useful niche in the long term monitoring of HD 209458 and other such planet-transit stars that will surely be discovered in the future. There is also an important astronomy education component to our project as well. The chance for our undergraduate Physics majors to participate in important publishable research can be a great motivating factor for them to continue their academic careers into graduate school. Furthermore, the fact that they have participated in such a project makes our graduates more "marketable" to the graduate schools. We also have a high school teacher and student currently participating in our project. This shows the project is useful in providing astronomy outreach beyond our local institution. We report here on our first detection of the planet-transit during the night of August 15-16, 2000 and also present our data from a series of transits during the month of October, 2000. Finally, we will present the project's current status at the time of the meeting.

  19. Plate Tectonics on Earth-like Planets: Implications for Habitability

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Noack, L.; Breuer, D.

    2011-12-01

    Plate tectonics has been suggested to be essential for life (see e.g. [1]) due to the replenishment of nutrients and its role in the stabilization of the atmosphere temperature through the carbon-silicate cycle. Whether plate tectonics can prevail on a planet should depend on several factors, e.g. planetary mass, age of the planet, water content (at the surface and in the interior), surface temperature, mantle rheology, density variations in the mantle due to partial melting, and life itself by promoting erosion processes and perhaps even the production of continental rock [2]. In the present study, we have investigated how planetary mass, internal heating, surface temperature and water content in the mantle would factor for the probability of plate tectonics to occur on a planet. We allow the viscosity to be a function of pressure [3], an effect mostly neglected in previous discussions of plate tectonics on exoplanets [4, 5]. With the pressure-dependence of viscosity allowed for, the lower mantle may become too viscous in massive planets for convection to occur. When varying the planetary mass between 0.1 and 10 Earth masses, we find a maximum for the likelihood of plate tectonics to occur for planetary masses around a few Earth masses. For these masses the convective stresses acting at the base of the lithosphere are strongest and may become larger than the lithosphere yield strength. The optimum planetary mass varies slightly depending on the parameter values used (e.g. wet or dry rheology; initial mantle temperature). However, the peak in likelihood of plate tectonics remains roughly in the range of one to five Earth masses for reasonable parameter choices. Internal heating has a similar effect on the occurrence of plate tectonics as the planetary mass, i.e. there is a peak in the probability of plate tectonics depending on the internal heating rate. This result suggests that a planet may evolve as a consequence of radioactive decay into and out of the plate

  20. Discovering Extrasolar Planets with Microlensing Surveys

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wambsganss, J.

    2016-06-01

    An astronomical survey is commonly understood as a mapping of a large region of the sky, either photometrically (possibly in various filters/wavelength ranges) or spectroscopically. Often, catalogs of objects are produced/provided as the main product or a by-product. However, with the advent of large CCD cameras and dedicated telescopes with wide-field imaging capabilities, it became possible in the early 1990s, to map the same region of the sky over and over again. In principle, such data sets could be combined to get very deep stacked images of the regions of interest. However, I will report on a completely different use of such repeated maps: Exploring the time domain for particular kinds of stellar variability, namely microlens-induced magnifications in search of exoplanets. Such a time-domain microlensing survey was originally proposed by Bohdan Paczynski in 1986 in order to search for dark matter objects in the Galactic halo. Only a few years later three teams started this endeavour. I will report on the history and current state of gravitational microlensing surveys. By now, routinely 100 million stars in the Galactic Bulge are monitored a few times per week by so-called survey teams. All stars with constant apparent brightness and those following known variability patterns are filtered out in order to detect the roughly 2000 microlensing events per year which are produced by stellar lenses. These microlensing events are identified "online" while still in their early phases and then monitored with much higher cadence by so-called follow-up teams. The most interesting of such events are those produced by a star-plus-planet lens. By now of order 30 exoplanets have been discovered by these combined microlensing surveys. Microlensing searches for extrasolar planets are complementary to other exoplanet search techniques. There are two particular advantages: The microlensing method is sensitive down to Earth-mass planets even with ground-based telecopes, and it

  1. The Discovery of Extrasolar Planets via Transits

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dunham, Edward W.; Borucki, W. J.; Jenkins, J. M.; Batalha, N. M.; Caldwell, D. A.; Mandushev, G.

    2014-01-01

    The goal of detecting extrasolar planets has been part of human thought for many centuries and several plausible approaches for detecting them have been discussed for many decades. At this point in history the two most successful approaches have been the reflex radial velocity and transit approaches. These each have the additional merit of corroborating a discovery by the other approach, at least in some cases, thereby producing very convincing detections of objects that can't be seen. In the transit detection realm the key enabling technical factors were development of: - high quality large area electronic detectors - practical fast optics with wide fields of view - automated telescope systems - analysis algorithms to correct for inadequacies in the instrumentation - computing capability sufficient to cope with all of this This part of the equation is relatively straightforward. The more important part is subliminal, namely what went on in the minds of the proponents and detractors of the transit approach as events unfolded. Three major paradigm shifts had to happen. First, we had to come to understand that not all solar systems look like ours. The motivating effect of the hot Jupiter class of planet was profound. Second, the fact that CCD detectors can be much more stable than anybody imagined had to be understood. Finally, the ability of analysis methods to correct the data sufficiently well for the differential photometry task at hand had to be understood by proponents and detractors alike. The problem of capturing this changing mind-set in a collection of artifacts is a difficult one but is essential for a proper presentation of this bit of history.

  2. Global warming as a detectable thermodynamic marker of Earth-like extrasolar civilizations: the case for a telescope like Colossus

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kuhn, Jeff R.; Berdyugina, Svetlana V.

    2015-07-01

    Earth-like civilizations generate heat from the energy that they utilize. The thermal radiation from this heat can be a thermodynamic marker for civilizations. Here we model such planetary radiation on Earth-like planets and propose a strategy for detecting such an alien unintentional thermodynamic electromagnetic biomarker. We show that astronomical infrared (IR) civilization biomarkers may be detected within an interestingly large cosmic volume using a 70 m-class or larger telescope. In particular, the Colossus telescope with achievable coronagraphic and adaptive optics performance may reveal Earth-like civilizations from visible and IR photometry timeseries' taken during an exoplanetary orbit period. The detection of an alien heat signature will have far-ranging implications, but even a null result, given 70 m aperture sensitivity, could also have broad social implications.

  3. Global warming as a detectable thermodynamic marker of Earth-like extrasolar civilizations: the case for a telescope like Colossus.

    PubMed

    Kuhn, Jeff R; Berdyugina, Svetlana V

    2015-07-01

    Earth-like civilizations generate heat from the energy that they utilize. The thermal radiation from this heat can be a thermodynamic marker for civilizations. Here we model such planetary radiation on Earth-like planets and propose a strategy for detecting such an alien unintentional thermodynamic electromagnetic biomarker. We show that astronomical infrared (IR) civilization biomarkers may be detected within an interestingly large cosmic volume using a 70 m-class or larger telescope. In particular, the Colossus telescope with achievable coronagraphic and adaptive optics performance may reveal Earth-like civilizations from visible and IR photometry timeseries' taken during an exoplanetary orbit period. The detection of an alien heat signature will have far-ranging implications, but even a null result, given 70 m aperture sensitivity, could also have broad social implications.

  4. First Light from Extrasolar Planets and Implications for Astrobiology

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Richardson, L. Jeremy; Seager, Sara; Harrington, Joseph; Deming, Drake

    2005-01-01

    The first light from an extrasolar planet was recently detected. These results, obtained for two transiting extrasolar planets at different infrared wavelengths, open a new era in the field of extrasolar planet detection and characterization because for the first time we can now detect planets beyond the solar system directly. Using the Spitzer Space Telescope at 24 microns, we observed the modulation of combined light (star plus planet) from the HD 209458 system as the planet disappeared behind the star during secondary eclipse and later re-emerged, thereby isolating the light from the planet. We obtained a planet-to-star ratio of 0.26% at 24 microns, corresponding to a brightness temperature of 1130 + / - 150 K. We will describe this result in detail, explain what it can tell us about the atmosphere of HD 209458 b, and discuss implications for the field of astrobiology. These results represent a significant step on the path to detecting terrestrial planets around other stars and in understanding their atmospheres in terms of composition and temperature.

  5. Two drastically different climate states on an Earth-like land planet with overland water recycling

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kalidindi, S.; Reick, C. H.; Raddatz, T.; Claussen, M.

    2017-12-01

    Prior studies have demonstrated that habitable areas on low-obliquity land planets are confined to the edges of frozen ice caps. Whether such dry planets can maintain long-lived liquid water is unclear. Leconte et al. 2013 argue that on such planets mechanisms like gravity driven ice flows and geothermal flux can maintain liquid water at the edges of thick ice caps and this water may flow back to the lower latitudes through rivers. However, there exists no modelling study which investigates the climate of an Earth-like land planet with an overland recycling mechanism bringing fresh water back from higher to lower latitudes. In our study, by using a comprehensive climate model ICON, we find that an Earth-like land planet with an overland recycling mechanism can exist in two drastically different climate states for the same set of boundary conditions and parameter values: A Cold and Wet (CW) state with dominant low-latitude precipitation and, a Hot and Dry (HD) state with only high-latitude precipitation. For perpetual equinox conditions, both climate states are stable below a certain threshold value of background soil albedo (α) while above that only the CW state is stable. Starting from the HD state and increasing α above the threshold causes an abrupt shift from the HD state to the CW state resulting in a sudden cooling of about 35°C globally which is of the order of the temperature difference between the present-day and the Snowball Earth state. In contrast to the Snowball Earth instability, we find that the sudden cooling in our study is driven by the cloud albedo feedback rather than the snow-albedo feedback. Also, when α in the CW state is reduced back to zero the land planet does not display a closed hysteresis. Our study also has implications for the habitability of Earth-like land planets. At the inner edge of the habitable zone, the higher cloud cover in the CW state cools the planet and may prevent the onset of a runaway greenhouse state. At the outer

  6. Reading the Signatures of Extrasolar Planets in Debris Disks

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kuchner, Marc J.

    2009-01-01

    An extrasolar planet sculpts the famous debris dish around Fomalhaut; probably ma ny other debris disks contain planets that we could locate if only we could better recognize their signatures in the dust that surrounds them. But the interaction between planets and debris disks involves both orbital resonances and collisions among grains and rocks in the disks --- difficult processes to model simultanemus]y. I will describe new 3-D models of debris disk dynamics that incorporate both collisions and resonant trapping of dust for the first time, allowing us to decode debris disk images and read the signatures of the planets they contain.

  7. Extrasolar Planets & The Power of the Dark Side

    SciT

    Charbonneau, David

    It is only in the last decade that we have direct evidence for planets orbiting nearby Sun-like stars. If such planets happen to pass in front of their stars, we are presented with a golden opportunity to learn about the nature of these objects. Measurements of the dimming of starlight and gravitational wobble allow us to derive the planetary radius and mass, and, by inference, its composition. Recently, we used the Hubble Telescope to detect and study the atmosphere of an extrasolar planet for the first time. I will describe what we have learned about these planets 

  8. Detection of the Magnetospheric Emissions from Extrasolar Planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lazio, J.

    2014-12-01

    Planetary-scale magnetic fields are a window to a planet's interior and provide shielding of the planet's atmosphere. The Earth, Mercury, Ganymede, and the giant planets of the solar system all contain internal dynamo currents that generate planetary-scale magnetic fields. These internal dynamo currents arise from differential rotation, convection, compositional dynamics, or a combination of these. If coupled to an energy source, such as the incident kinetic or magnetic energy from the solar wind, a planet's magnetic field can produce electron cyclotron masers in its magnetic polar regions. The most well known example of this process is the Jovian decametric emission, but all of the giant planets and the Earth contain similar electron cyclotron masers within their magnetospheres. Extrapolated to extrasolar planets, the remote detection of the magnetic field of an extrasolar planet would provide a means of obtaining constraints on the thermal state, composition, and dynamics of its interior as well as improved understanding of the basic planetary dynamo process. The magnetospheric emissions from solar system planets and the discovery of extrasolar planets have motivated both theoretical and observational work on magnetospheric emissions from extrasolar planets. Stimulated by these advances, the W.M. Keck Institute for Space Studies hosted a workshop entitled "Planetary Magnetic Fields: Planetary Interiors and Habitability." I summarize the current observational status of searches for magnetospheric emissions from extrasolar planets, based on observations from a number of ground-based radio telescopes, and future prospects for ground-based studies. Using the solar system planetary magnetic fields as a guide, future space-based missions will be required to study planets with magnetic field strengths lower than that of Jupiter. I summarize mission concepts identified in the KISS workshop, with a focus on the detection of planetary electron cyclotron maser emission. The

  9. Effect of UV Radiation on the Spectral Fingerprints of Earth-like Planets Orbiting M Stars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rugheimer, S.; Kaltenegger, L.; Segura, A.; Linsky, J.; Mohanty, S.

    2015-08-01

    We model the atmospheres and spectra of Earth-like planets orbiting the entire grid of M dwarfs for active and inactive stellar models with Teff = 2300 K to Teff = 3800 K and for six observed MUSCLES M dwarfs with UV radiation data. We set the Earth-like planets at the 1 AU equivalent distance and show spectra from the visible to IR (0.4-20 μm) to compare detectability of features in different wavelength ranges with the James Webb Space Telescope and other future ground- and spaced-based missions to characterize exo-Earths. We focus on the effect of UV activity levels on detectable atmospheric features that indicate habitability on Earth, namely, H2O, O3, CH4, N2O, and CH3Cl. To observe signatures of life—O2/O3 in combination with reducing species like CH4—we find that early and active M dwarfs are the best targets of the M star grid for future telescopes. The O2 spectral feature at 0.76 μm is increasingly difficult to detect in reflected light of later M dwarfs owing to low stellar flux in that wavelength region. N2O, another biosignature detectable in the IR, builds up to observable concentrations in our planetary models around M dwarfs with low UV flux. CH3Cl could become detectable, depending on the depth of the overlapping N2O feature. We present a spectral database of Earth-like planets around cool stars for directly imaged planets as a framework for interpreting future light curves, direct imaging, and secondary eclipse measurements of the atmospheres of terrestrial planets in the habitable zone to design and assess future telescope capabilities.

  10. Two drastically different climate states on an Earth-like terra-planet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kalidindi, Sirisha; Reick, Christian H.; Raddatz, Thomas; Claussen, Martin

    2018-06-01

    We study an Earth-like terra-planet (water-limited terrestrial planet) with an overland recycling mechanism bringing fresh water back from the high latitudes to the low latitudes. By performing model simulations for such a planet we find two drastically different climate states for the same set of boundary conditions and parameter values: a cold and wet (CW) state with dominant low-latitude precipitation and a hot and dry (HD) state with only high-latitude precipitation. We notice that for perpetual equinox conditions, both climate states are stable below a certain threshold value of background soil albedo while above the threshold only the CW state is stable. Starting from the HD state and increasing background soil albedo above the threshold causes an abrupt shift from the HD state to the CW state resulting in a sudden cooling of about 35 °C globally, which is of the order of the temperature difference between present day and the Snowball Earth state. When albedo starting from the CW state is reduced down to zero the terra-planet does not shift back to the HD state (no closed hysteresis). This is due to the high cloud cover in the CW state hiding the surface from solar irradiation so that surface albedo has only a minor effect on the top of the atmosphere radiation balance. Additional simulations with present-day Earth's obliquity all lead to the CW state, suggesting a similar abrupt transition from the HD state to the CW state when increasing obliquity from zero. Our study also has implications for the habitability of Earth-like terra-planets. At the inner edge of the habitable zone, the higher cloud cover in the CW state cools the planet and may prevent the onset of a runaway greenhouse state. At the outer edge, the resupply of water at low latitudes stabilizes the greenhouse effect and keeps the planet in the HD state and may prevent water from getting trapped at high latitudes in frozen form. Overall, the existence of bistability in the presence of an

  11. The radial velocity search for extrasolar planets

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mcmillan, Robert S.

    1991-01-01

    Radial velocity measurements are being made to search for planets orbiting stars other than the Sun. The reflex acceleration induced on stars by planets can be sensed by measuring the small, slow changes in the line-of-site velocities of stars. To detect these planetary perturbations, the data series must be made on a uniform instrumental scale for as long as it takes a planet to orbit its star. A spectrometer of extreme stability and unprecedented sensitivity to changes in stellar radial velocities was operated.

  12. Chandra Pilot Survey of Extrasolar Planet Candidates

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tsuboi, Yohko

    2012-09-01

    We propose to detect planetary-mass companion around young nearby stars by X-ray direct imaging observations with Chandra. Our goals are to determine I. if the X-ray band can be a new probe to the exo-planet search, and II. if a planet emit detectable X-rays with a magnetic origin at a young age. This should be a challenging observation but a brand-new discovery space unique to Chandra. The abundant population of YSOs in the same field of view will enable us to obtain complete X-ray catalogues of YSOs with all categories of masses. We will also execute simultaneous deep NIR observations with IRSF/SIRIUS and Nishiharima 2m telescope to search for the other X-ray-emitting very low-mass objects near our aiming planet candidates.

  13. Extrusive and Intrusive Magmatism Greatly Influence the Tectonic Mode of Earth-Like Planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lourenco, D.; Tackley, P. J.; Rozel, A.; Ballmer, M.

    2017-09-01

    Plate tectonics on Earth-like planets is typically modelling using a strongly temperature-dependent visco-plastic rheology. Previous analyses have generally focussed on purely thermal convection. However, we have shown that the influence of compositional heterogeneity in the form of continental or oceanic crust can greatly influence plate tectonics by making it easier (i.e. it occurs at a lower yield stress or friction coefficient). Here we present detailed results on this topic, in particular focussing on the influence of intrusive vs. extrusive magmatism on the tectonic mode.

  14. Magnetic Fields of Extrasolar Planets: Planetary Interiors and Habitability

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lazio, T. Joseph

    2018-06-01

    Ground-based observations showed that Jupiter's radio emission is linked to its planetary-scale magnetic field, and subsequent spacecraft observations have shown that most planets, and some moons, have or had a global magnetic field. Generated by internal dynamos, magnetic fields are one of the few remote sensing means of constraining the properties of planetary interiors. For the Earth, its magnetic field has been speculated to be partially responsible for its habitability, and knowledge of an extrasolar planet's magnetic field may be necessary to assess its habitability. The radio emission from Jupiter and other solar system planets is produced by an electron cyclotron maser, and detections of extrasolar planetary electron cyclotron masers will enable measurements of extrasolar planetary magnetic fields. Based on experience from the solar system, such observations will almost certainly require space-based observations, but they will also be guided by on-going and near-future ground-based observations.This work has benefited from the discussion and participants of the W. M. Keck Institute of Space Studies "Planetary Magnetic Fields: Planetary Interiors and Habitability" and content within a white paper submitted to the National Academy of Science Committee on Exoplanet Science Strategy. Part of this research was carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

  15. Portraits of distant worlds: Characterizing the atmospheres of extrasolar planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Knutson, Heather Ann

    2009-06-01

    This thesis presents observational studies of the atmospheres of extrasolar planets, including the first longitudinal temperature profile of an extrasolar planet and the first detection of a temperature inversion in the atmosphere of an extrasolar planet. Our observations target four eclipsing gas-giant planets known as "hot Jupiters"; as a result of their short orbital periods we expect these planets to be tidally locked, with day-night circulation patterns and atmospheric chemistries that differ significantly from those of Jupiter. The first two chapters of this thesis describe infrared observations of the secondary eclipses of HD 209458b and TrES-4 with the Spitzer Space Telescope . By measuring the decrease in flux as the planet passes behind its parent star, we can characterize the infrared emission spectra of these planets and from that learn something about their dayside pressure-temperature profiles. Our observations reveal that these two planets have spectra with water bands in emission, requiring the presence of an atmospheric temperature inversion between 0.1 - 0.01 bars. The third chapter describes a ground-based search for thermal emission from TrES-1 using L -band grism spectroscopy with the NIRI instrument on Gemini North. Unlike Spitzer photometry, which is limited to broad bandpasses at these wavelengths, grism spectroscopy offers the opportunity to resolve specific features in the planetary emission spectrum. We find that our precision is limited by our ability to correct for time-varying slit losses from pointing drift and seeing changes, and place an upper limit on the depth of the planet's secondary eclipse in this band. The fourth and fifth chapters describe observations of the infrared phase variations of the hot Jupiter HD 189733b in the 8 and 24 mm Spitzer bands. By monitoring the changes in the brightness of this planet as it rotates around its parent star we can determine how much energy is circulated from the perpetually-illuminated day

  16. CO2 condensation is a serious limit to the deglaciation of Earth-like planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Turbet, Martin; Forget, Francois; Leconte, Jeremy; Charnay, Benjamin; Tobie, Gabriel

    2017-10-01

    It is widely believed that the carbonate-silicate cycle is the main agent, through volcanism, to trigger deglaciations by CO2 greenhouse warming on Earth and on Earth-like planets when they get in a frozen state. Here we use a 3D Global Climate Model to simulate the ability of planets initially completely frozen to escape from glaciation episodes by accumulating enough gaseous CO2. The model includes CO2 condensation and sublimation processes and the water cycle. We find that planets with Earth-like characteristics (size, mass, obliquity, rotation rate, etc.) orbiting a Sun-like star may never be able to escape from a glaciation era, if their orbital distance is greater than ∼1.27 Astronomical Units (Flux < 847 Wm-2 or 62% of the Solar constant), because CO2 would condense at the poles - here the cold traps - forming permanent CO2 ice caps. This limits the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere and thus its greenhouse effect. Furthermore, our results indicate that for (1) high rotation rates (Prot < 24 h), (2) low obliquity (obliquity <23.5°), (3) low background gas partial pressures (<1 bar), and (4) high water ice albedo (H2O albedo > 0.6), this critical limit could occur at a significantly lower equivalent distance (or higher insolation). For each possible configuration, we show that the amount of CO2 that can be trapped in the polar caps depends on the efficiency of CO2 ice to flow laterally as well as its gravitational stability relative to subsurface water ice. We find that a frozen Earth-like planet located at 1.30 AU of a Sun-like star could store as much as 1.5, 4.5 and 15 bars of dry ice at the poles, for internal heat fluxes of 100, 30 and 10 mW m-2, respectively. But these amounts are in fact lower limits. For planets with a significant water ice cover, we show that CO2 ice deposits should be gravitationally unstable. They get buried beneath the water ice cover in geologically short timescales of ∼104 yrs, mainly controlled by the viscosity of water ice

  17. Views from EPOXI. Colors in Our Solar System as an Analog for Extrasolar Planets

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Crow, Carolyn A.; McFadden, L. A.; Robinson, T.; Livengood, T. A.; Hewagama, T.; Barry, R. K.; Deming, L. D.; Meadows, V.; Lisse, C. M.

    2010-01-01

    With extrasolar planet detection becoming more common place, the frontiers of extrasolar planet science have moved beyond detection to the observations required to determine planetary properties. Once the existing observational challenges have been overcome, the first visible-light studies of extrasolar Earth-sized planets will likely employ filter photometry or low-resolution. spectroscopy to observe disk-integrated radiation from the unresolved planet. While spectroscopy of these targets is highly desirable, and provides the most robust form of characterization. S/N considerations presently limit spectroscopic measurements of extrasolar worlds. Broadband filter photometry will thus serve as a first line of characterization. In this paper we use Extrasolar Observation and Characterization (EPOCh) filter photometry of the Earth. Moon and Mars model spectra. and previous photometric and spectroscopic observations of a range the solar system planets. Titan, and Moon to explore the limitations of using color as a baseline for understanding extrasolar planets

  18. Understanding Divergent Evolution Among Earth-like Planets, the Case for Venus Exploration

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Crisp, D.

    2001-11-01

    Venus was once considered to be Earth's twin because of its similar size, mass, and solar distance. Prevailing theories early in the 20th century alternately characterized it as a hot, lifeless desert or a cool, habitable swamp. Venus was therefore the target of intense scrutiny during the first three decades of the space age. Those studies found that although Venus and Earth apparently formed in similar parts of the solar nebula, sharing common inventories of refractory and volatile constituents, these two planets followed dramatically different evolutionary paths. While the Earth evolved into the only known oasis for life, Venus developed an almost unimaginably inhospitable environment for such an Earth-like planet. Some features of Venus can be understood as products of its location in the solar system, but other properties and processes governing the evolution and present state of its interior, surface, and climate remain mysterious or even contradictory. A more comprehensive understanding of these factors is clearly essential as NASA embarks on efforts to detect and then characterize Earth-like planets in other solar systems. As part of the National Research Council's effort to identify themes and priorities for solar system exploration over the next decade, an open community panel was formed to provide input on future Venus exploration. A comprehensive investigation of the processes driving the divergent evolution of Venus is emerging as the primary focus. In other words, why is Venus a failed Earth? From this theme, we will define specific measurement objectives, instrument requirements, and mission requirements. Priorities will then be based on a number of factors including the needs for simultaneous or correlative measurements, technology readiness, and available opportunities.

  19. Ozone concentrations and ultraviolet fluxes on Earth-like planets around other stars.

    PubMed

    Segura, Antígona; Krelove, Kara; Kasting, James F; Sommerlatt, Darrell; Meadows, Victoria; Crisp, David; Cohen, Martin; Mlawer, Eli

    2003-01-01

    Coupled radiative-convective/photochemical modeling was performed for Earth-like planets orbiting different types of stars (the Sun as a G2V, an F2V, and a K2V star). O(2) concentrations between 1 and 10(-5) times the present atmospheric level (PAL) were simulated. The results were used to calculate visible/near-IR and thermal-IR spectra, along with surface UV fluxes and relative dose rates for erythema and DNA damage. For the spectral resolution and sensitivity currently planned for the first generation of terrestrial planet detection and characterization missions, we find that O(2) should be observable remotely in the visible for atmospheres containing at least 10(-2) PAL of O(2). O(3) should be visible in the thermal-IR for atmospheres containing at least 10(-3) PAL of O(2). CH(4) is not expected to be observable in 1 PAL O(2) atmospheres like that of modern Earth, but it might be observable at thermal-IR wavelengths in "mid-Proterozoic-type" atmospheres containing approximately 10(-1) PAL of O(2). Thus, the simultaneous detection of both O(3) and CH(4) - considered to be a reliable indication of life - is within the realm of possibility. High-O(2) planets orbiting K2V and F2V stars are both better protected from surface UV radiation than is modern Earth. For the F2V case the high intrinsic UV luminosity of the star is more than offset by the much thicker ozone layer. At O(2) levels below approximately 10(-2) PAL, planets around all three types of stars are subject to high surface UV fluxes, with the F2V planet exhibiting the most biologically dangerous radiation environment. Thus, while advanced life is theoretically possible on high-O(2) planets around F stars, it is not obvious that it would evolve as it did on Earth.

  20. Rapid heating of the atmosphere of an extrasolar planet.

    PubMed

    Laughlin, Gregory; Deming, Drake; Langton, Jonathan; Kasen, Daniel; Vogt, Steve; Butler, Paul; Rivera, Eugenio; Meschiari, Stefano

    2009-01-29

    Near-infrared observations of more than a dozen 'hot-Jupiter' extrasolar planets have now been reported. These planets display a wide diversity of properties, yet all are believed to have had their spin periods tidally spin-synchronized with their orbital periods, resulting in permanent star-facing hemispheres and surface flow patterns that are most likely in equilibrium. Planets in significantly eccentric orbits can enable direct measurements of global heating that are largely independent of the details of the hydrodynamic flow. Here we report 8-microm photometric observations of the planet HD 80606b during a 30-hour interval bracketing the periastron passage of its extremely eccentric 111.4-day orbit. As the planet received its strongest irradiation (828 times larger than the flux received at apastron) its maximum 8-microm brightness temperature increased from approximately 800 K to approximately 1,500 K over a six-hour period. We also detected a secondary eclipse for the planet, which implies an orbital inclination of i approximately 90 degrees , fixes the planetary mass at four times the mass of Jupiter, and constrains the planet's tidal luminosity. Our measurement of the global heating rate indicates that the radiative time constant at the planet's 8-microm photosphere is approximately 4.5 h, in comparison with 3-5 days in Earth's stratosphere.

  1. An adaptive optics search for young extrasolar planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Macintosh, B.; Zuckerman, B.; Becklin, E. E.; Kaisler, D.; Lowrance, P.; Max, C. E.; Olivier, S.

    2000-10-01

    In the past five years, many extrasolar planets have been detected indirectly, through radial velocity variations induced in their parent stars. Advances in technology now open up the possibility of directly detecting extrasolar planets through the photons they emit. Direct detection would allow determination of the temperature, radius, and composition of a planet, particularly one in a wide orbit - an important complement to radial velocity techniques. Seeing a planet against the halo of scattered light from its parent star is extremely challenging, but adaptive optics (AO) on 8-10 m telescopes can make this possible. The first such large-telescope AO system is now operational on the 10-m W.M. Keck II telescope. Its current performance is sufficient to detect objects at contrast ratios of 105 at separations of 1" and 106 at 2". This is insufficient to detect the reflected light from a mature Jupiter-like planet, but we can easily detect the near-infrared thermal emission from young (<10-50 MYr) planets, or older brown dwarfs. We are carrying out a search for such planetary companions to young nearby stars, including the TW Hydrae association. We present preliminary results from this survey, including sensitivity limits and follow-up of candidate companions originally detected by NICMOS. We have also imaged the Epsilon Eridani system, and present upper limits on the brightness of the planet detected via radial velocity variations by Cochran et al. This research was performed under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Energy by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory under Contract W-7405-ENG-48, and also supported in part by the Center for Adaptive Optics under the STC Program of the National Science Foundation under Agreement No. AST-9876783

  2. EXTRASOLAR BINARY PLANETS. II. DETECTABILITY BY TRANSIT OBSERVATIONS

    SciT

    Lewis, K. M.; Ida, S.; Ochiai, H.

    2015-05-20

    We discuss the detectability of gravitationally bound pairs of gas-giant planets (which we call “binary planets”) in extrasolar planetary systems that are formed through orbital instability followed by planet–planet dynamical tides during their close encounters, based on the results of N-body simulations by Ochiai et al. (Paper I). Paper I showed that the formation probability of a binary is as much as ∼10% for three giant planet systems that undergo orbital instability, and after post-capture long-term tidal evolution, the typical binary separation is three to five times the sum of the physical radii of the planets. The binary planets aremore » stable during the main-sequence lifetime of solar-type stars, if the stellarcentric semimajor axis of the binary is larger than 0.3 AU. We show that detecting modulations of transit light curves is the most promising observational method to detect binary planets. Since the likely binary separations are comparable to the stellar diameter, the shape of the transit light curve is different from transit to transit, depending on the phase of the binary’s orbit. The transit durations and depth for binary planet transits are generally longer and deeper than those for the single planet case. We point out that binary planets could exist among the known inflated gas-giant planets or objects classified as false positive detections at orbital radii ≳0.3 AU, propose a binary planet explanation for the CoRoT candidate SRc01 E2 1066, and show that binary planets are likely to be present in, and could be detected using, Kepler-quality data.« less

  3. Predicting the Atmospheric Composition of Extrasolar Giant Planets

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sharp, A. G.; Moses, J. I.; Friedson, A. J.; Fegley, B., Jr.; Marley, M. S.; Lodders, K.

    2004-01-01

    To date, approximately 120 planet-sized objects have been discovered around other stars, mostly through the radial-velocity technique. This technique can provide information about a planet s minimum mass and its orbital period and distance; however, few other planetary data can be obtained at this point in time unless we are fortunate enough to find an extrasolar giant planet that transits its parent star (i.e., the orbit is edge-on as seen from Earth). In that situation, many physical properties of the planet and its parent star can be determined, including some compositional information. Our prospects of directly obtaining spectra from extrasolar planets may improve in the near future, through missions like NASA's Terrestrial Planet Finder. Most of the extrasolar giant planets (EGPs) discovered so far have masses equal to or greater than Jupiter's mass, and roughly 16% have orbital radii less than 0.1 AU - extremely close to the parent star by our own Solar-System standards (note that Mercury is located at a mean distance of 0.39 AU and Jupiter at 5.2 AU from the Sun). Although all EGPs are expected to have hydrogen-dominated atmospheres similar to Jupiter, the orbital distance can strongly affect the planet's temperature, physical, chemical, and spectral properties, and the abundance of minor, detectable atmospheric constituents. Thermochemical equilibrium models can provide good zero-order predictions for the atmospheric composition of EGPs. However, both the composition and spectral properties will depend in large part on disequilibrium processes like photochemistry, chemical kinetics, atmospheric transport, and haze formation. We have developed a photochemical kinetics, radiative transfer, and 1-D vertical transport model to study the atmospheric composition of EGPs. The chemical reaction list contains H-, C-, O-, and N-bearing species and is designed to be valid for atmospheric temperatures ranging from 100-3000 K and pressures up to 50 bar. Here we examine

  4. Ground-based Spectroscopy Of Extrasolar Planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Waldmann, Ingo

    2011-09-01

    In recent years, spectroscopy of exoplanetary atmospheres has proven to be very successful. When in the past discoveries were made using space-born observatories such as Hubble and Spitzer, the observational focus continues to shift to ground-based facilities. This is especially true since the end of the Spitzer cold-phase, depleting us of a space-borne eye in the infrared. With projects like E-ELT and TMT on the horizon, this trend will only intensify. So far several observational strategies have been employed for ground-based spectroscopy. All of which are trying to solve the problems incurred by high systematic and telluric noise and are distinct in their advantages and dis-advantages. Using time-resolved spectroscopy, we obtain an individual lightcurve per spectral channel of the instrument. The benefits of such an approach are multifold since it allows us to utilize a broad spectrum of statistical methods. Using new IRTF data, in the K and L-bands, we will illustrate the intricacies of two spectral retrieval approaches: 1) the self-filtering and signal amplification achieved by consecutive convolutions in the frequency domain, 2) the blind de-convolution of signal from noise using non-parametric machine learning algorithms. These novel techniques allow us to present new results on the hot-Jupiter HD189733b, showing strong methane emissions in both, K and L-bands at spectral resolutions of R 170. Using data from the IRTF/SpeX instrument, we will discuss the implications and possible theoretical models of strong methane emissions on this planet.

  5. Transits of extrasolar moons around luminous giant planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Heller, R.

    2016-04-01

    Beyond Earth-like planets, moons can be habitable, too. No exomoons have been securely detected, but they could be extremely abundant. Young Jovian planets can be as hot as late M stars, with effective temperatures of up to 2000 K. Transits of their moons might be detectable in their infrared photometric light curves if the planets are sufficiently separated (≳10 AU) from the stars to be directly imaged. The moons will be heated by radiation from their young planets and potentially by tidal friction. Although stellar illumination will be weak beyond 5 AU, these alternative energy sources could liquify surface water on exomoons for hundreds of Myr. A Mars-mass H2O-rich moon around β Pic b would have a transit depth of 1.5 × 10-3, in reach of near-future technology.

  6. Spectra of Earth-like Planets through Geological Evolution around FGKM Stars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rugheimer, S.; Kaltenegger, L.

    2018-02-01

    Future observations of terrestrial exoplanet atmospheres will occur for planets at different stages of geological evolution. We expect to observe a wide variety of atmospheres and planets with alternative evolutionary paths, with some planets resembling Earth at different epochs. For an Earth-like atmospheric time trajectory, we simulate planets from the prebiotic to the current atmosphere based on geological data. We use a stellar grid F0V to M8V ({T}{eff}=7000–2400 K) to model four geological epochs of Earth's history corresponding to a prebiotic world (3.9 Ga), the rise of oxygen at 2.0 Ga and at 0.8 Ga, and the modern Earth. We show the VIS–IR spectral features, with a focus on biosignatures through geological time for this grid of Sun-like host stars and the effect of clouds on their spectra. We find that the observability of biosignature gases reduces with increasing cloud cover and increases with planetary age. The observability of the visible O2 feature for lower concentrations will partly depend on clouds, which, while slightly reducing the feature, increase the overall reflectivity, and thus the detectable flux of a planet. The depth of the IR ozone feature contributes substantially to the opacity at lower oxygen concentrations, especially for the high near-UV stellar environments around F stars. Our results are a grid of model spectra for atmospheres representative of Earth's geological history to inform future observations and instrument design and are available online at http://carlsaganinstitute.org/data/.

  7. The Stability of Hydrogen-Rich Atmospheres of Earth-Like Planets

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zahnle, Kevin

    2016-01-01

    Understanding hydrogen escape is essential to understanding the limits to habitability, both for liquid water where the Sun is bright, but also to assess the true potential of H2 as a greenhouse gas where the Sun is faint. Hydrogen-rich primary atmospheres of Earth-like planets can result either from gravitational capture of solar nebular gases (with helium), or from impact shock processing of a wide variety of volatile-rich planetesimals (typically accompanied by H2O, CO2, and under the right circumstances, CH4). Most studies of hydrogen escape from planets focus on determining how fast the hydrogen escapes. In general this requires solving hydro- dynamic equations that take into account the acceleration of hydrogen through a critical transonic point and an energy budget that should include radiative heating and cooling, thermal conduction, the work done in lifting the hydrogen against gravity, and the residual heat carried by the hydrogen as it leaves. But for planets from which hydrogen escape is modest or insignificant, the atmosphere can be approximated as hydrostatic, which is much simpler, and for which a relatively full-featured treatment of radiative cooling by embedded molecules, atoms, and ions such as CO2 and H3+ is straightforward. Previous work has overlooked the fact that the H2 molecule is extremely efficient at exciting non-LTE CO2 15 micron emission, and thus that radiative cooling can be markedly more efficient when H2 is abundant. We map out the region of phase space in which terrestrial planets keep hydrogen-rich atmospheres, which is what we actually want to know for habitability. We will use this framework to reassess Tian et al's hypothesis that H2-rich atmospheres may have been rather long-lived on Earth itself. Finally, we will address the empirical observation that rocky planets with thin or negligible atmospheres are rarely or never bigger than 1.6 Earth radii.

  8. CALIBRATION OF EQUILIBRIUM TIDE THEORY FOR EXTRASOLAR PLANET SYSTEMS. II

    SciT

    Hansen, Brad M. S., E-mail: hansen@astro.ucla.edu

    2012-09-20

    We present a new empirical calibration of equilibrium tidal theory for extrasolar planet systems, extending a prior study by incorporating detailed physical models for the internal structure of planets and host stars. The resulting strength of the stellar tide produces a coupling that is strong enough to reorient the spins of some host stars without causing catastrophic orbital evolution, thereby potentially explaining the observed trend in alignment between stellar spin and planetary orbital angular momentum. By isolating the sample whose spins should not have been altered in this model, we also show evidence for two different processes that contribute tomore » the population of planets with short orbital periods. We apply our results to estimate the remaining lifetimes for short-period planets, examine the survival of planets around evolving stars, and determine the limits for circularization of planets with highly eccentric orbits. Our analysis suggests that the survival of circularized planets is strongly affected by the amount of heat dissipated, which is often large enough to lead to runaway orbital inflation and Roche lobe overflow.« less

  9. The Discovery of Extrasolar Planets by Backyard Astronomers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Castellano, Tim; Laughlin, Greg; DeVincenzi, D. (Technical Monitor)

    2002-01-01

    The discovery since 1995 of more than 80 planets around nearby solar-like stars and the photometric measurement of a transit of the jovian mass planet orbiting the solar-like star HD 209458 (producing a more than 1% drop in brightness that lasts 3 hours) has heralded a new era in astronomy. It has now been demonstrated that small telescopes equipped with sensitive and stable electronic detectors can produce fundamental scientific discoveries regarding the frequency and nature of planets outside the solar system. The modest equipment requirements for the discovery of extrasolar planetary transits of jovian mass planets in short period orbits around solar-like stars are fulfilled by commercial small aperture telescopes and CCD (charge coupled device) imagers common among amateur astronomers. With equipment already in hand and armed with target lists, observing techniques and software procedures developed by scientists at NASA's Ames Research Center and the University of California at Santa Cruz, non-professional astronomers can contribute significantly to the discovery and study of planets around others stars. In this way, we may resume (after a two century interruption!) the tradition of planet discoveries by amateur astronomers begun with William Herschel's 1787 discovery of the 'solar' planet Uranus.

  10. Properties of an Earth-like planet orbiting a Sun-like star: Earth observed by the EPOXI mission.

    PubMed

    Livengood, Timothy A; Deming, L Drake; A'hearn, Michael F; Charbonneau, David; Hewagama, Tilak; Lisse, Carey M; McFadden, Lucy A; Meadows, Victoria S; Robinson, Tyler D; Seager, Sara; Wellnitz, Dennis D

    2011-11-01

    NASA's EPOXI mission observed the disc-integrated Earth and Moon to test techniques for reconnoitering extrasolar terrestrial planets, using the Deep Impact flyby spacecraft to observe Earth at the beginning and end of Northern Hemisphere spring, 2008, from a range of ∼1/6 to 1/3 AU. These observations furnish high-precision and high-cadence empirical photometry and spectroscopy of Earth, suitable as "ground truth" for numerically simulating realistic observational scenarios for an Earth-like exoplanet with finite signal-to-noise ratio. Earth was observed at near-equatorial sub-spacecraft latitude on 18-19 March, 28-29 May, and 4-5 June (UT), in the range of 372-4540 nm wavelength with low visible resolving power (λ/Δλ=5-13) and moderate IR resolving power (λ/Δλ=215-730). Spectrophotometry in seven filters yields light curves at ∼372-948 nm filter-averaged wavelength, modulated by Earth's rotation with peak-to-peak amplitude of ≤20%. The spatially resolved Sun glint is a minor contributor to disc-integrated reflectance. Spectroscopy at 1100-4540 nm reveals gaseous water and carbon dioxide, with minor features of molecular oxygen, methane, and nitrous oxide. One-day changes in global cloud cover resulted in differences between the light curve beginning and end of ≤5%. The light curve of a lunar transit of Earth on 29 May is color-dependent due to the Moon's red spectrum partially occulting Earth's relatively blue spectrum. The "vegetation red edge" spectral contrast observed between two long-wavelength visible/near-IR bands is ambiguous, not clearly distinguishing between the verdant Earth diluted by cloud cover versus the desolate mineral regolith of the Moon. Spectrophotometry in at least one other comparison band at short wavelength is required to distinguish between Earth-like and Moon-like surfaces in reconnaissance observations. However, measurements at 850 nm alone, the high-reflectance side of the red edge, could be sufficient to

  11. CALIBRATION OF EQUILIBRIUM TIDE THEORY FOR EXTRASOLAR PLANET SYSTEMS

    SciT

    Hansen, Brad M. S., E-mail: hansen@astro.ucla.ed

    2010-11-01

    We provide an 'effective theory' of tidal dissipation in extrasolar planet systems by empirically calibrating a model for the equilibrium tide. The model is valid to high order in eccentricity and parameterized by two constants of bulk dissipation-one for dissipation in the planet and one for dissipation in the host star. We are able to consistently describe the distribution of extrasolar planetary systems in terms of period, eccentricity, and mass (with a lower limit of a Saturn mass) with this simple model. Our model is consistent with the survival of short-period exoplanet systems, but not with the circularization period ofmore » equal mass stellar binaries, suggesting that the latter systems experience a higher level of dissipation than exoplanet host stars. Our model is also not consistent with the explanation of inflated planetary radii as resulting from tidal dissipation. The paucity of short-period planets around evolved A stars is explained as the result of enhanced tidal inspiral resulting from the increase in stellar radius with evolution.« less

  12. Intercomparison of General Circulation Models for Hot Extrasolar Planet Atmospheres

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cho, James

    2013-11-01

    In this collaborative work with I. Polichtchouk, C. Watkins, H. Th. Thrastarson, O. M. Umurhan, and M. de la Torre-Juárez, we compare five general circulation models (GCMs) which have been recently used to study hot extrasolar planet atmospheres (BOB, CAM, IGCM, MITgcm, and PEQMOD), under three test cases useful for assessing model convergence and accuracy. Such a broad, detailed intercomparison has not been performed thus far for extrasolar planets study. The models considered all solve the traditional primitive equations, but employ different numerical algorithms or grids (e.g., pseudospectral and finite volume, with the latter separately in longitude-latitude and ``cubed-sphere'' grids). The test cases are chosen to cleanly address specific aspects of the behaviors typically reported in hot extrasolar planet simulations: 1) steady-state, 2) nonlinearly evolving baroclinic wave, and 3) response to fast timescale thermal relaxation. When initialized with a steady jet, all models maintain the steadiness, as they should--except MITgcm in cubed-sphere grid. A very good agreement is obtained for a baroclinic wave evolving from an initial instability in spectral models (only). However, exact numerical convergence is still not achieved across the spectral models: amplitudes and phases are observably different. When subject to a typical ``hot-Jupiter''-like forcing, all five models show quantitatively different behavior--although qualitatively similar, time-variable, quadrupole-dominated flows are produced. Hence, as have been advocated in several past studies, specific quantitative predictions (such as the location of large vortices and hot regions) by GCMs should be viewed with caution. Overall, in the tests considered here, spectral models in pressure coordinate (PEBOB and PEQMOD) perform the best and MITgcm in cubed-sphere grid performs the worst. This work has been supported by the Science and Technology Facilities Council, Westfield Small Grant, NASA Postdoctoral

  13. Intercomparison of general circulation models for hot extrasolar planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Polichtchouk, I.; Cho, J. Y.-K.; Watkins, C.; Thrastarson, H. Th.; Umurhan, O. M.; de la Torre Juárez, M.

    2014-02-01

    We compare five general circulation models (GCMs) which have been recently used to study hot extrasolar planet atmospheres (BOB, CAM, IGCM, MITgcm, and PEQMOD), under three test cases useful for assessing model convergence and accuracy. Such a broad, detailed intercomparison has not been performed thus far for extrasolar planets study. The models considered all solve the traditional primitive equations, but employ different numerical algorithms or grids (e.g., pseudospectral and finite volume, with the latter separately in longitude-latitude and ‘cubed-sphere’ grids). The test cases are chosen to cleanly address specific aspects of the behaviors typically reported in hot extrasolar planet simulations: (1) steady-state, (2) nonlinearly evolving baroclinic wave, and (3) response to fast timescale thermal relaxation. When initialized with a steady jet, all models maintain the steadiness, as they should-except MITgcm in cubed-sphere grid. A very good agreement is obtained for a baroclinic wave evolving from an initial instability in pseudospectral models (only). However, exact numerical convergence is still not achieved across the pseudospectral models: amplitudes and phases are observably different. When subject to a typical ‘hot-Jupiter’-like forcing, all five models show quantitatively different behavior-although qualitatively similar, time-variable, quadrupole-dominated flows are produced. Hence, as have been advocated in several past studies, specific quantitative predictions (such as the location of large vortices and hot regions) by GCMs should be viewed with caution. Overall, in the tests considered here, pseudospectral models in pressure coordinate (PEBOB and PEQMOD) perform the best and MITgcm in cubed-sphere grid performs the worst.

  14. UV SURFACE ENVIRONMENT OF EARTH-LIKE PLANETS ORBITING FGKM STARS THROUGH GEOLOGICAL EVOLUTION

    SciT

    Rugheimer, S.; Sasselov, D.; Segura, A.

    2015-06-10

    The UV environment of a host star affects the photochemistry in the atmosphere, and ultimately the surface UV environment for terrestrial planets and therefore the conditions for the origin and evolution of life. We model the surface UV radiation environment for Earth-sized planets orbiting FGKM stars in the circumstellar Habitable Zone for Earth through its geological evolution. We explore four different types of atmospheres corresponding to an early-Earth atmosphere at 3.9 Gyr ago and three atmospheres covering the rise of oxygen to present-day levels at 2.0 Gyr ago, 0.8 Gyr ago, and modern Earth. In addition to calculating the UVmore » flux on the surface of the planet, we model the biologically effective irradiance, using DNA damage as a proxy for biological damage. We find that a pre-biotic Earth (3.9 Gyr ago) orbiting an F0V star receives 6 times the biologically effective radiation as around the early Sun and 3520 times the modern Earth–Sun levels. A pre-biotic Earth orbiting GJ 581 (M3.5 V) receives 300 times less biologically effective radiation, about 2 times modern Earth–Sun levels. The UV fluxes calculated here provide a grid of model UV environments during the evolution of an Earth-like planet orbiting a range of stars. These models can be used as inputs into photo-biological experiments and for pre-biotic chemistry and early life evolution experiments.« less

  15. An extrasolar planetary system with three Neptune-mass planets.

    PubMed

    Lovis, Christophe; Mayor, Michel; Pepe, Francesco; Alibert, Yann; Benz, Willy; Bouchy, François; Correia, Alexandre C M; Laskar, Jacques; Mordasini, Christoph; Queloz, Didier; Santos, Nuno C; Udry, Stéphane; Bertaux, Jean-Loup; Sivan, Jean-Pierre

    2006-05-18

    Over the past two years, the search for low-mass extrasolar planets has led to the detection of seven so-called 'hot Neptunes' or 'super-Earths' around Sun-like stars. These planets have masses 5-20 times larger than the Earth and are mainly found on close-in orbits with periods of 2-15 days. Here we report a system of three Neptune-mass planets with periods of 8.67, 31.6 and 197 days, orbiting the nearby star HD 69830. This star was already known to show an infrared excess possibly caused by an asteroid belt within 1 au (the Sun-Earth distance). Simulations show that the system is in a dynamically stable configuration. Theoretical calculations favour a mainly rocky composition for both inner planets, while the outer planet probably has a significant gaseous envelope surrounding its rocky/icy core; the outer planet orbits within the habitable zone of this star.

  16. Modeling the Entry of Micrometeoroids into the Atmospheres of Earth-like Planets

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Pevyhouse, A. R.; Kress, M. E.

    2011-01-01

    The temperature profiles of micrometeors entering the atmospheres of Earth-like planets are calculated to determine the altitude at which exogenous organic compounds may be released. Previous experiments have shown that flash-heated micrometeorite analogs release organic compounds at temperatures from roughly 500 to 1000 K [1]. The altitude of release is of great importance because it determines the fate of the compound. Organic compounds that are released deeper in the atmosphere are more likely to rapidly mix to lower altitudes where they can accumulate to higher abundances or form more complex molecules and/or aerosols. Variables that are explored here are particle size, entry angle, atmospheric density profiles, spectral type of the parent star, and planet mass. The problem reduces to these questions: (1) How much atmosphere does the particle pass through by the time it is heated to 500 K? (2) Is the atmosphere above sufficient to attenuate stellar UV such that the mixing timescale is shorter than the photochemical timescale for a particular compound? We present preliminary results that the effect of the planetary and particle parameters have on the altitude of organic release.

  17. The Survival of Water Within Extrasolar Minor Planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jura, M.; Xu, S.

    2010-11-01

    We compute that extrasolar minor planets can retain much of their internal H2O during their host star's red giant evolution. The eventual accretion of a water-rich body or bodies onto a helium white dwarf might supply an observable amount of atmospheric hydrogen, as seems likely for GD 362. More generally, if hydrogen pollution in helium white dwarfs typically results from accretion of large parent bodies rather than interstellar gas as previously supposed, then H2O probably constitutes at least 10% of the aggregate mass of extrasolar minor planets. One observational test of this possibility is to examine the atmospheres of externally polluted white dwarfs for oxygen in excess of that likely contributed by oxides such as SiO2. The relatively high oxygen abundance previously reported in GD 378 can be explained plausibly but not uniquely by accretion of an H2O-rich parent body or bodies. Future ultraviolet observations of white dwarf pollutions can serve to investigate the hypothesis that environments with liquid water that are suitable habitats for extremophiles are widespread in the Milky Way.

  18. Melting-induced crustal production helps plate tectonics on Earth-like planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lourenço, Diogo L.; Rozel, Antoine; Tackley, Paul J.

    2016-04-01

    Within our Solar System, Earth is the only planet to be in a mobile-lid regime. It is generally accepted that the other terrestrial planets are currently in a stagnant-lid regime, with the possible exception of Venus that may be in an episodic-lid regime (Armann and Tackley, JGR 2012). Using plastic yielding to self-consistently generate plate tectonics on an Earth-like planet with strongly temperature-dependent viscosity is now well-established, but such models typically focus on purely thermal convection, whereas compositional variations in the lithosphere can alter the stress state and greatly influence the likelihood of plate tectonics. For example, Rolf and Tackley (GRL, 2011) showed that the addition of a continent can reduce the critical yield stress for mobile-lid behaviour by a factor of around two. Moreover, it has been shown that the final tectonic state of the system can depend on the initial condition (Tackley, G3 2000 - part 2). Weller and Lenardic (GRL, 2012) found that the parameter range in which two solutions are obtained increases with viscosity contrast. We can also say that partial melting has a major role in the long-term evolution of rocky planets: (1) partial melting causes differentiation in both major elements and trace elements, which are generally incompatible (Hofmann, Nature 1997). Trace elements may contain heat-producing isotopes, which contribute to the heat loss from the interior; (2) melting and volcanism are an important heat loss mechanism at early times that act as a strong thermostat, buffering mantle temperatures and preventing it from getting too hot (Xie and Tackley, JGR 2004b); (3) mantle melting dehydrates and hardens the shallow part of the mantle (Hirth and Kohlstedt, EPSL 1996) and introduces viscosity and compositional stratifications in the shallow mantle due to viscosity variations with the loss of hydrogen upon melting (Faul and Jackson, JGR 2007; Korenaga and Karato, JGR 2008). We present a set of 2D spherical

  19. Planet Hunters, Undergraduate Research, and Detection of Extrasolar Planet Kepler-818 b

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Baker, David; Crannell, Graham; Duncan, James; Hays, Aryn; Hendrix, Landon

    2017-01-01

    Detection of extrasolar planets provides an excellent research opportunity for undergraduate students. In Spring 2012, we searched for transiting extrasolar planets using Kepler spacecraft data in our Research Experience in Physics course at Austin College. Offered during the regular academic year, these Research Experience courses engage students in the scientific process, including proposal writing, paper submission, peer review, and oral presentations. Since 2004, over 190 undergraduate students have conducted authentic scientific research through Research Experience courses at Austin College.Zooniverse’s citizen science Planet Hunters web site offered an efficient method for rapid analysis of Kepler data. Light curves from over 5000 stars were analyzed, of which 2.3% showed planetary candidates already tagged by the Kepler team. Another 1.5% of the light curves suggested eclipsing binary stars, and 1.6% of the light curves had simulated planets for training purposes.One of the stars with possible planetary transits had not yet been listed as a planetary candidate. We reported possible transits for Kepler ID 4282872, which later was promoted to planetary candidate KOI-1325 in 2012 and confirmed to host extrasolar planet Kepler-818 b in 2016 (Morton et al. 2016). Kepler-818 b is a “hot Neptune” with period 10.04 days, flux decrease during transit ~0.4%, planetary radius 4.69 Earth radii, and semi-major axis 0.089 au.

  20. Planet-Planet Scattering in Planetesimal Disks. II. Predictions for Outer Extrasolar Planetary Systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Raymond, Sean N.; Armitage, Philip J.; Gorelick, Noel

    2010-03-01

    We develop an idealized dynamical model to predict the typical properties of outer extrasolar planetary systems, at radii comparable to the Jupiter-to-Neptune region of the solar system. The model is based upon the hypothesis that dynamical evolution in outer planetary systems is controlled by a combination of planet-planet scattering and planetary interactions with an exterior disk of small bodies ("planetesimals"). Our results are based on 5000 long duration N-body simulations that follow the evolution of three planets from a few to 10 AU, together with a planetesimal disk containing 50 M ⊕ from 10 to 20 AU. For large planet masses (M >~ M Sat), the model recovers the observed eccentricity distribution of extrasolar planets. For lower-mass planets, the range of outcomes in models with disks is far greater than that which is seen in isolated planet-planet scattering. Common outcomes include strong scattering among massive planets, sudden jumps in eccentricity due to resonance crossings driven by divergent migration, and re-circularization of scattered low-mass planets in the outer disk. We present the distributions of the eccentricity and inclination that result, and discuss how they vary with planet mass and initial system architecture. In agreement with other studies, we find that the currently observed eccentricity distribution (derived primarily from planets at a <~ 3 AU) is consistent with isolated planet-planet scattering. We explain the observed mass dependence—which is in the opposite sense from that predicted by the simplest scattering models—as a consequence of strong correlations between planet masses in the same system. At somewhat larger radii, initial planetary mass correlations and disk effects can yield similar modest changes to the eccentricity distribution. Nonetheless, strong damping of eccentricity for low-mass planets at large radii appears to be a secure signature of the dynamical influence of disks. Radial velocity measurements capable

  1. Glimpses of far away places: Intensive atmosphere characterization of extrasolar planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kreidberg, Laura

    Exoplanet atmosphere characterization has the potential to reveal the origins, nature, and even habitability of distant worlds. This thesis represents a step towards realizing that potential for a diverse group of four extrasolar planets. Here, I present the results of intensive observational campaigns with the Hubble and Spitzer Space Telescopes to study the atmospheres of the super-Earth GJ 1214b and the hot Jupiters WASP-43b, WASP-12b, and WASP-103b. I measured an unprecedentedly precise near-infrared transmission spectrum for GJ 1214b that definitively reveals the presence of clouds in the planet's atmosphere. For WASP-43b and WASP-12b, I also measured very precise spectra that exhibit water features at high confidence (>7 sigma). The retrieved water abundance for WASP-43b extends the well-known Solar System trend of decreasing atmospheric metallicity with increasing planet mass. The detection of water for WASP-12b marks the first spectroscopic identification of a molecule in the planet's atmosphere and implies that it has solar composition, ruling out carbon-to-oxygen ratios greater than unity. For WASP-103b, I present preliminary results from the new technique of phase-resolved spectroscopy to determine the planet's temperature structure, dynamics, and energy budget. In addition to these observations, I also describe the BATMAN code, an open-source Python package for fast and flexible modeling of transit light curves. Taken together, these results provide a foundation for comparative planetology beyond the Solar System and the investigation of Earth-like, potentially habitable planets with future observing facilities.

  2. Direct Imaging Search for Extrasolar Planets in the Pleiades

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Yamamoto, Kodai; Matsuo, Taro; Shibai, Hiroshi; Itoh, Yoichi; Konishi, Mihokko; Sudo, Jun; Tanii, Ryoko; Fukagawa, Misato; Sumi, Takahiro; Kudo, Tomoyuki; hide

    2013-01-01

    We carried out an imaging survey for extrasolar planets around stars in the Pleiades (125 Myr, 135 pc) in the H and K(sub S) bands using HiCIAO combined with adaptive optics, AO188, on the Subaru telescope. We found 13 companion candidates fainter than 14.5 mag in the H band around 9 stars. Five of these 13 were confirmed to be background stars by measurement of their proper motion. One was not found in the second epoch observation, and thus was not a background or companion object. One had multi-epoch images, but the precision of its proper motion was not sufficient to conclude whether it was a background object. Four other candidates are waiting for second-epoch observations to determine their proper motion. Finally, the remaining two were confirmed to be 60 M(sub J) brown dwarf companions orbiting around HD 23514 (G0) and HII 1348 (K5), respectively, as had been reported in previous studies. In our observations, the average detection limit for a point source was 20.3 mag in the H band beyond 1.'' 5 from the central star. On the basis of this detection limit, we calculated the detection efficiency to be 90% for a planet with 6 to 12 Jovian masses and a semi-major axis of 50–1000 AU. For this reason we extrapolated the distribution of the planet mass and the semi-major axis derived from radial velocity observations, and adopted the planet evolution model Baraffe et al. (2003, A&A, 402, 701). Since there was no detection of a planet, we estimated the frequency of such planets to be less than 17.9% (2 sigma) around one star of the Pleiades cluster.

  3. Understanding divergent evolution of Earth-like planets: The case for a Venus exploration program

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Crisp, D.

    The planet Venus is our most Earth-like neighbor in size, mass, and solar distance. In spite of these similarities, the Venus surface and atmosphere are characterized by some of the most enigmatic features seen anywhere in the solar system. Here, we propose a Venus exploration program designed to explain the origin and divergent evolution of the interiors, surfaces, and atmospheres of the terrestrial planets in our solar system, and provide greater insight into the conditions that may affect the habitability of terrestrial planets in other solar systems. This program includes: - The Noble Gas and Trace Gas Explorer is the highest priority mission because itsdata are vital to our understanding of the origin of Venus. This Discovery classmission requires a single entry probe that will carry the state-of-the-art instrumentsneeded to complete the noble gas and trace gas inventories between the cloud topsand the surface. - The Global Geological Process Mapping Orbiter is a Discovery class mission. Itwill carry a C- and/or X-band radar designed for stereo or interferometric imaging,to provide global maps of the surface at horizontal resolutions of 25 to 50 metersto identify and characterize the geologic processes that have shaped the Venussurface. - The Atmospheric Composition Orbiter is a Discovery class mission that will carryremote sensing instruments for characterizing clouds and trace gas variationsthroughout the atmosphere. This mission will collect the data needed tocharacterize the radiative, chemical, and dynamical processes that are maintainingthe thermal structure and composition of the present atmosphere. - The Atmospheric Dynamics Explorer is a New Frontiers class mission that willdeploy 12 to 24 long-lived balloons over a range of latitudes and altitudes toidentify the mechanisms responsible for maintaining the atmosphericsuperrotation. - The Surface and Interior Explorer is a New Frontiers class mission that will deploythree or more long-lived landers on

  4. Extrasolar planets as a probe of modified gravity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vargas dos Santos, Marcelo; Mota, David F.

    2017-06-01

    We propose a new method to test modified gravity theories, taking advantage of the available data on extrasolar planets. We computed the deviations from the Kepler third law and use that to constrain gravity theories beyond General Relativity. We investigate gravity models which incorporate three screening mechanisms: the Chameleon, the Symmetron and the Vainshtein. We find that data from exoplanets orbits are very sensitive to the screening mechanisms putting strong constraints in the parameter space for the Chameleon models and the Symmetron, complementary and competitive to other methods, like interferometers and solar system. With the constraints on Vainshtein we are able to work beyond the hypothesis that the crossover scale is of the same order of magnitude than the Hubble radius rc ∼ H0-1, which makes the screening work automatically, testing how strong this hypothesis is and the viability of other scales.

  5. The Potential Feasibility of Chlorinic Photosynthesis on Extrasolar Planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Haas, Johnson

    2009-09-01

    It is highly likely that the first convincing evidence of extrasolar life will arrive in the form of atmospheric absorption spectra. The modern search for life-bearing extrasolar planets emphasizes the potential detection of O2 and O3 absorption spectra in exoplanetary atmospheres as archetypal signatures of biology. However, oxygenic photosynthesis apparently failed to evolve independently more than once on Earth, and is thus unlikely to be reliably ubiquitous throughout the universe. Alternative evolutionary paths may yield planetary atmospheres tinted with the waste products of other dominant metabolisms, including potentially exotic biochemistries. This study examines the potential feasibility of one such exotic metabolism: chlorinic photosynthesis (CPS), defined as biologically-mediated halogenation of aqueous chloride to HClO, Cl2 or partially-oxidized intermediates (e.g. haloalkanes, haloacids, haloaromatics), coupled with photosynthetic CO2 fixation. This metabolic couple is feasible thermodynamically and appears to be geochemically plausible under approximately terrestrial conditions. This study hypothesizes that planetary biospheres dominated by CPS would develop atmospheres enriched with dihalogens and other halogenated compounds, evolve a highly oxidizing surface geochemical environment, and foster biological selection pressures favoring halogen resistance and eventual metazoan heterotrophy based on dihalogen and halocarbon respiration. Planets favoring the evolution of CPS would probably receive equivalent or greater surface UV flux than Earth did in the Paleoarchean (promoting abiotic photo-oxidation of aqueous halides, and establishing a strong biological selective pressure toward their accommodation), and would orbit stars having equivalent or greater bulk metallicities (promoting greater planetary halide abundances) relative to the Sun. Directed searches for such worlds should probably focus on A, F and G0 spectral class stars having bulk

  6. EXOFIT: orbital parameters of extrasolar planets from radial velocities

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Balan, Sreekumar T.; Lahav, Ofer

    2009-04-01

    Retrieval of orbital parameters of extrasolar planets poses considerable statistical challenges. Due to sparse sampling, measurement errors, parameters degeneracy and modelling limitations, there are no unique values of basic parameters, such as period and eccentricity. Here, we estimate the orbital parameters from radial velocity data in a Bayesian framework by utilizing Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) simulations with the Metropolis-Hastings algorithm. We follow a methodology recently proposed by Gregory and Ford. Our implementation of MCMC is based on the object-oriented approach outlined by Graves. We make our resulting code, EXOFIT, publicly available with this paper. It can search for either one or two planets as illustrated on mock data. As an example we re-analysed the orbital solution of companions to HD 187085 and HD 159868 from the published radial velocity data. We confirm the degeneracy reported for orbital parameters of the companion to HD 187085, and show that a low-eccentricity orbit is more probable for this planet. For HD 159868, we obtained slightly different orbital solution and a relatively high `noise' factor indicating the presence of an unaccounted signal in the radial velocity data. EXOFIT is designed in such a way that it can be extended for a variety of probability models, including different Bayesian priors.

  7. The Potential for Volcanism and Tectonics on Extrasolar Terrestrial Planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Quick, Lynnae C.; Roberge, Aki

    2018-01-01

    JWST and other next-generation space telescopes (e.g., LUVOIR, HabEx, & OST) will usher in a new era of exoplanet characterization that may lead to the identification of habitable, Earth-like worlds. Like the planets and moons in our solar system, the surfaces and interiors of terrestrial exoplanets may be shaped by volcanism and tectonics (Fu et al., 2010; van Summeren et al., 2011; Henning and Hurford, 2014). The magnitude and rate of occurrence of these dynamic processes can either facilitate or preclude the existence of habitable environments. Likewise, it has been suggested that detections of cryovolcanism on icy exoplanets, in the form of geyser-like plumes, could indicate the presence of subsurface oceans (Quick et al., 2017).The presence of volcanic and tectonic activity on solid exoplanets will be intimately linked to planet size and heat output in the form of radiogenic and/or tidal heating. In order to place bounds on the potential for such activity, we estimated the heat output of a variety of exoplanets observed by Kepler. We considered planets whose masses and radii range from 0.067 ME (super-Ganymede) to 8 ME (super-Earth), and 0.5 to 1.8 RE, respectively. These heat output estimates were then compared to those of planets, moons, and dwarf planets in our solar system for which we have direct evidence for the presence/absence of volcanic and tectonic activity. After exoplanet heating rates were estimated, depths to putative molten layers in their interiors were also calculated. For planets such as TRAPPIST-1h, whose densities, orbital parameters, and effective temperatures are consistent with the presence of significant amounts of H2O (Luger et al., 2017), these calculations reveal the depths to internal oceans which may serve as habitable niches beneath surface ice layers.

  8. DETECTABILITY OF EARTH-LIKE PLANETS IN CIRCUMSTELLAR HABITABLE ZONES OF BINARY STAR SYSTEMS WITH SUN-LIKE COMPONENTS

    SciT

    Eggl, Siegfried; Pilat-Lohinger, Elke; Haghighipour, Nader, E-mail: siegfried.eggl@univie.ac.at

    2013-02-20

    Given the considerable percentage of stars that are members of binaries or stellar multiples in the solar neighborhood, it is expected that many of these binaries host planets, possibly even habitable ones. The discovery of a terrestrial planet in the {alpha} Centauri system supports this notion. Due to the potentially strong gravitational interaction that an Earth-like planet may experience in such systems, classical approaches to determining habitable zones (HZ), especially in close S-type binary systems, can be rather inaccurate. Recent progress in this field, however, allows us to identify regions around the star permitting permanent habitability. While the discovery ofmore » {alpha} Cen Bb has shown that terrestrial planets can be detected in solar-type binary stars using current observational facilities, it remains to be shown whether this is also the case for Earth analogs in HZs. We provide analytical expressions for the maximum and rms values of radial velocity and astrometric signals, as well as transit probabilities of terrestrial planets in such systems, showing that the dynamical interaction of the second star with the planet may indeed facilitate the planets' detection. As an example, we discuss the detectability of additional Earth-like planets in the averaged, extended, and permanent HZs around both stars of the {alpha} Centauri system.« less

  9. Detecting Extrasolar Planets With Millimeter-Wave Observatories

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    1996-01-01

    Do nearby stars have planetary systems like our own? How do such systems evolve? How common are such systems? Proposed radio observatories operating at millimeter wavelengths could start answering these questions within the next 6-10 years, according to scientists at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO). Bryan Butler, Robert Brown, Richard Simon, Al Wootten and Darrel Emerson, all of NRAO, presented their findings today to the American Astronomical Society meeting in San Antonio, TX. Detecting planets circling other stars is a particularly difficult task, and only a few such planets have been discovered so far. In order to answer fundamental questions about planetary systems and their origin, scientists need to find and study many more extrasolar planets. According to the NRAO scientists, millimeter-wavelength observatories could provide valuable information about extrasolar planetary systems at all stages of their evolution. "With instruments planned by 2005, we could detect planets the size of Jupiter around a solar-type star out to a distance of 100 light-years," said Robert Brown, Associate Director of NRAO. "That means," he added, "that we could survey approximately 2,000 stars of different types to learn if they have planets this size." Millimeter waves occupy the portion of the electromagnetic spectrum between radio microwaves and infrared waves. Telescopes for observing at millimeter wavelengths utilize advanced electronic equipment similar to that used in radio telescopes observing at longer wavelengths. Millimeter-wave observatories offer a number of advantages in the search for extrasolar planets. Planned multi-antenna millimeter-wave telescopes can provide much higher resolving power, or ability to see fine detail, than current optical or infrared telescopes. Millimeter-wave observations would not be degraded by interference from the "zodiacal light" reflected by interplanetary dust, either in the extrasolar system or our own solar system

  10. Increased insolation threshold for runaway greenhouse processes on Earth-like planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Leconte, Jérémy; Forget, Francois; Charnay, Benjamin; Wordsworth, Robin; Pottier, Alizée

    2013-12-01

    The increase in solar luminosity over geological timescales should warm the Earth's climate, increasing water evaporation, which will in turn enhance the atmospheric greenhouse effect. Above a certain critical insolation, this destabilizing greenhouse feedback can `run away' until the oceans have completely evaporated. Through increases in stratospheric humidity, warming may also cause evaporative loss of the oceans to space before the runaway greenhouse state occurs. The critical insolation thresholds for these processes, however, remain uncertain because they have so far been evaluated using one-dimensional models that cannot account for the dynamical and cloud feedback effects that are key stabilizing features of the Earth's climate. Here we use a three-dimensional global climate model to show that the insolation threshold for the runaway greenhouse state to occur is about 375 W m-2, which is significantly higher than previously thought. Our model is specifically developed to quantify the climate response of Earth-like planets to increased insolation in hot and extremely moist atmospheres. In contrast with previous studies, we find that clouds have a destabilizing feedback effect on the long-term warming. However, subsident, unsaturated regions created by the Hadley circulation have a stabilizing effect that is strong enough to shift the runaway greenhouse limit to higher values of insolation than are inferred from one-dimensional models. Furthermore, because of wavelength-dependent radiative effects, the stratosphere remains sufficiently cold and dry to hamper the escape of atmospheric water, even at large fluxes. This has strong implications for the possibility of liquid water existing on Venus early in its history, and extends the size of the habitable zone around other stars.

  11. Increased insolation threshold for runaway greenhouse processes on Earth-like planets.

    PubMed

    Leconte, Jérémy; Forget, Francois; Charnay, Benjamin; Wordsworth, Robin; Pottier, Alizée

    2013-12-12

    The increase in solar luminosity over geological timescales should warm the Earth's climate, increasing water evaporation, which will in turn enhance the atmospheric greenhouse effect. Above a certain critical insolation, this destabilizing greenhouse feedback can 'run away' until the oceans have completely evaporated. Through increases in stratospheric humidity, warming may also cause evaporative loss of the oceans to space before the runaway greenhouse state occurs. The critical insolation thresholds for these processes, however, remain uncertain because they have so far been evaluated using one-dimensional models that cannot account for the dynamical and cloud feedback effects that are key stabilizing features of the Earth's climate. Here we use a three-dimensional global climate model to show that the insolation threshold for the runaway greenhouse state to occur is about 375 W m(-2), which is significantly higher than previously thought. Our model is specifically developed to quantify the climate response of Earth-like planets to increased insolation in hot and extremely moist atmospheres. In contrast with previous studies, we find that clouds have a destabilizing feedback effect on the long-term warming. However, subsident, unsaturated regions created by the Hadley circulation have a stabilizing effect that is strong enough to shift the runaway greenhouse limit to higher values of insolation than are inferred from one-dimensional models. Furthermore, because of wavelength-dependent radiative effects, the stratosphere remains sufficiently cold and dry to hamper the escape of atmospheric water, even at large fluxes. This has strong implications for the possibility of liquid water existing on Venus early in its history, and extends the size of the habitable zone around other stars.

  12. Climate of Earth-Like Planets With and Without Ocean Heat Transport Orbiting a Range of M and K Stars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kiang, N. Y.; Jablonski, Emma R.; Way, Michael J.; Del Genio, Anthony; Roberge, Aki

    2015-01-01

    The mean surface temperature of a planet is now acknowledged as insufficient to surmise its full potential habitability. Advancing our understanding requires exploration with 3D general circulation models (GCMs), which can take into account how gradients and fluxes across a planet's surface influence the distribution of heat, clouds, and the potential for heterogeneous distribution of liquid water. Here we present 3D GCM simulations of the effects of alternative stellar spectra, instellation, model resolution, and ocean heat transport, on the simulated distribution of heat and moisture of an Earth-like planet (ELP).

  13. Fixed Delay Interferometry for Doppler Extrasolar Planet Detection

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ge, Jian

    2002-06-01

    We present a new technique based on fixed delay interferometry for high-throughput, high-precision, and multiobject Doppler radial velocity (RV) surveys for extrasolar planets. The Doppler measurements are conducted by monitoring the stellar fringe phase shifts of the interferometer instead of absorption-line centroid shifts as in state-of-the-art echelle spectroscopy. High Doppler sensitivity is achieved through optimizing the optical delay in the interferometer and reducing photon noise by measuring multiple fringes over a broad band. This broadband operation is performed by coupling the interferometer with a low- to medium-resolution postdisperser. The resulting fringing spectra over the bandpass are recorded on a two-dimensional detector, with fringes sampled in the slit spatial direction and the spectrum sampled in the dispersion direction. The resulting total Doppler sensitivity is, in theory, independent of the dispersing power of the postdisperser, which allows for the development of new-generation RV machines with much reduced size, high stability, and low cost compared to echelles. This technique has the potential to improve RV survey efficiency by 2-3 orders of magnitude over the cross-dispersed echelle spectroscopy approach, which would allow a full-sky RV survey of hundreds of thousands of stars for planets, brown dwarfs, and stellar companions once the instrument is operated as a multiobject instrument and is optimized for high throughput. The simple interferometer response potentially allows this technique to be operated at other wavelengths independent of popular iodine reference sources, being actively used in most of the current echelles for Doppler planet searches, to search for planets around early-type stars, white dwarfs, and M, L, and T dwarfs for the first time. The high throughput of this instrument could also allow investigation of extragalactic objects for RV variations at high precision.

  14. An Externally Dispersed Interferometer for Sensitive Doppler Extrasolar Planet Searches

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ge, Jian; Erskine, David J.; Rushford, Mike

    2002-09-01

    A new kind of instrument for sensitive Doppler extrasolar planet searches, called an externally dispersed interferometer, is described in this paper. It is a combination of an optical Michelson-type interferometer and an intermediate-resolution grating spectrometer. The interferometer measures Doppler radial velocity (RV) variations of starlight through the phase shifts of moiré fringes, created by multiplication of the interferometer fringes with stellar absorption lines. The intermediate-resolution spectrograph disperses the moiré fringes into thousands of parallel-wavelength channels. This increases the instrument bandwidth and fringe visibility by preventing fringe cross-talk between neighboring spectral lines. This results in a net increase in the signal-to-noise ratio over an interferometer used alone with broadband light. Compared to current echelle spectrometers for extrasolar planet searches, this instrument offers two unique instrument properties: a simple, stable, well-defined sinusoidal instrument response function (point-spread function) and magnification of Doppler motion through moiré fringe techniques. Since instrument noise is chiefly limited by the ability to characterize the instrument response, this new technique provides unprecedented low instrumental noise in an economical compact apparatus, enabling higher precision for Doppler RV measurements. In practice, the moiré magnification can be 5-10 times depending on the interferometer comb angle. This instrument has better sensitivity for smaller Doppler shifts than echelle spectrometers. The instrument can be designed with much lower spectral resolving power without losing Doppler sensitivity and optimized for higher throughput than echelle spectrometers to allow a potential survey for planets around fainter stars than current magnitude limits. Lab-based experiments with a prototype instrument with a spectral resolution of R~20,000 demonstrated ~0.7 m s-1 precision for short-term RV

  15. Toward a Model for Detecting Life on Extrasolar Planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rye, R.; Storrie-Lombardi, M.

    2001-12-01

    The search for life extraterrestrial life has rapidly expanded during the past several years. In addition to missions to Mars and Europa, NASA now envisions launching an orbiting telescope, Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF), capable of resolving Earth-sized planets around stars as far away as 50 parsecs within the next 10-15 years. By that time we need to develop our understanding of the effects of life on such planets in order to confidently distinguish inhabited planets from barren ones. Our group is in the process of developing a fully coupled generalized 1-D radiative transfer-atmospheric chemistry model. Around this core we are building the Virtual Planetary Laboratory (VPL) to generate synthetic spectra of hypothetical extrasolar terrestrial planets. Computational modules mimicking the influence of life on atmospheric chemistry/climate are of central importance for analyzing data from TPF and related missions. Here we describe our rationale and initial efforts to parameterize the effects of life using a Virtual Microbial Community (VMC). At first glance, the task of modeling hypothetical inhabited planets appears intractable. However, we may assume that most planets settle into a fairly small number of stable climate/chemistry regimes during their history. These regimes are maintained by negative feedback loops. Transitions from one stable solution to another are singularities, times during which the system is unregulated and may vary wildly. In this context, life is one of several processes modifying the chemical composition of a planetary atmosphere, potentially modifying climate. We seek to elucidate those processes and signatures unique to life and visible from space. The VMC is a first attempt at quantifying the possible range of effects of life on the atmosphere of a planet. We start from the presumption that kinetics and thermodynamics are the same throughout the universe. Given the remarkable metabolic diversity of life on Earth, we assume that all

  16. A Moire Fringing Spectrometer for Extra-Solar Planet Searches

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    van Eyken, J. C.; Ge, J.; Mahadevan, S.; De Witt, C.; Ramsey, L. W.; Berger, D.; Shaklan, S.; Pan, X.

    2001-12-01

    We have developed a prototype moire fringing spectrometer for high precision radial velocity measurements for the detection of extra-solar planets. This combination of Michelson interferometer and spectrograph overlays an interferometer comb on a medium resolution stellar spectrum, producing Moire patterns. Small changes in the doppler shift of the spectrum lead to corresponding large shifts in the Moire pattern (Moire magnification). The sinusoidal shape of the Moire fringes enables much simpler measurement of these shifts than in standard echelle spectrograph techniques, facilitating high precision measurements with a low cost instrument. Current data analysis software we have developed has produced short-term repeatability (over a few hours) to 5-10m/s, and future planned improvements based on previous experiments should reduce this significantly. We plan eventually to carry out large scale surveys for low mass companions around other stars. This poster will present new results obtained in the lab and at the HET and Palomar 5m telescopes, the theory of the instrument, and data analysis techniques.

  17. Line Bisector Variations in Stars with Extrasolar Planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Povich, M. S.; Giampapa, M. S.; Valenti, J. A.; Tilleman, T.

    1999-12-01

    We present the results from a high-resolution, synoptic spectroscopic program of observation of ten F- and G-type stars, seven of which exhibit periodic radial velocity variations attributed to the presence of one or more substellar companions. The observations were obtained from 1998 March to 1999 February using the 1.52-m NSO McMath-Pierce Solar Telescope Facility on Kitt Peak in conjunction with the solar-stellar spectrograph. The spectra were acquired with a resolving power of approximately 1.2 x 105. The line bisector was then derived from unblended photospheric features. In particular, we define the velocity displacement of the spectral line bisector and determine the bisector amplitude for the Fe I absorption line at 625.26 nm in order to search for variations in the line asymmetry over time. Such variations could mimic Doppler shifts in observations with lower spectral resolution. Examination of the bisector velocity displacement over the time span of our observations reveals no substantial difference between stars with planetary companions and those without reported companions. We find no correlation between the bisector variations and the orbital phase of a substellar companion in any of our target stars. Simulations of a periodic signal with noise levels based on our measurement errors suggest that we can exclude bisector variations with amplitudes greater than about 20 m s-1. These results support the conclusion that extrasolar planets best explain the observed periodic variations in radial velocity. This work was supported by a NASA grant to the NOAO under the auspices of the Origins of Solar Systems Program. MP gratefully acknowledges support from the NSF-sponsored Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program at the NOAO. The NOAO is operated by AURA, Inc., under a cooperative agreement with the NSF.

  18. Extrasolar Planet Transits Observed at Kitt Peak National Observatory

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sada, Pedro V.; Jennings, Donald E.; Deming, Drake; Jennings, Donald E.; Jackson, Brian; Hamilton, Catrina M.; Fraine, Jonathan; Peterson, Steven W.; Haase, Flynn; Bays, Kevin; hide

    2012-01-01

    We obtained J-, H-, and JH-band photometry of known extrasolar planet transiting systems at the 2.1 m Kitt Peak National Observatory Telescope using the FLAMINGOS infrared camera between 2008 October and 2011 October. From the derived light curves we have extracted the midtransit times, transit depths and transit durations for these events. The precise midtransit times obtained help improve the orbital periods and also constrain transit-time variations of the systems. For most cases the published system parameters successfully accounted for our observed light curves, but in some instances we derive improved planetary radii and orbital periods. We complemented our 2.1 m infrared observations using CCD z0-band and B-band photometry (plus two H(alpha) filter observations) obtained with the Kitt Peak Visitor Center Telescope, and with four H-band transits observed in 2007 October with the NSO's 1.6 m McMath-Pierce Solar Telescope. The principal highlights of our results are (1) Our ensemble of J-band planetary radii agree with optical radii, with the best-fit relation being RpRJ0:0017 0:979RpRvis. (2) We observe starspot crossings during the transit of WASP-11HAT-P-10. (3) We detect starspot crossings by HAT-P-11b (Kepler-3b), thus confirming that the magnetic evolution of the stellar active regions can be monitored even after the Kepler mission has ended. (4) We confirm a grazing transit for HAT-P-27WASP-40. In total, we present 57 individual transits of 32 known exoplanet systems.

  19. Limits on Line Bisector Variability for Stars with Extrasolar Planets

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Povich, M. S.; Giampapa, M. S.; Valenti, J. A.; Tilleman, T.; Barden, S.; Deming, D.; Livingston, W. C.; Pilachowski, C.

    2000-01-01

    We present an analysis of high-resolution synoptic spectra of ten F- and G-type stars, seven of which exhibit periodic radial velocity variations due to the presence of one or more substellar companions. We searched for subtle periodic variations in photospheric line asymmetry, as characterized by line bisectors. In principle, periodic variations in line asymmetry observed at lower spectral resolution could mimic the radial velocity signature of a companion, but we find no significant evidence of such behavior in our data. Observations were obtained from 1998 March to 1999 February using the National Solar Observatory (NSO) 1.52-m McMath-Pierce Solar Telescope Facility on Kitt Peak in conjunction with the solar-stellar spectrograph, achieving a resolving power of 1.2x10(exp5). To characterize line asymmetry, we first measured line bisectors for the unblended Fe I photospheric line at 625.26 nm. To improve sensitivity to small fluctuations, we then combined points in each bisector to form a velocity displacement with respect to the line core. We searched for periodic variations in this displacement, finding no substantial difference between stars with substellar companions and those without reported companions. We find no correlation between bisector velocity displacement and the known orbital phase of substellar companions around our target stars. Simulations of a periodic signal with noise levels that mimic our measurement errors suggest that we can exclude bisector variations with amplitudes greater than about 20 m/s. These results support the conclusion that extrasolar planets best explain the observed periodic variations in radial velocity.

  20. An Earth-sized planet with an Earth-like density.

    PubMed

    Pepe, Francesco; Cameron, Andrew Collier; Latham, David W; Molinari, Emilio; Udry, Stéphane; Bonomo, Aldo S; Buchhave, Lars A; Charbonneau, David; Cosentino, Rosario; Dressing, Courtney D; Dumusque, Xavier; Figueira, Pedro; Fiorenzano, Aldo F M; Gettel, Sara; Harutyunyan, Avet; Haywood, Raphaëlle D; Horne, Keith; Lopez-Morales, Mercedes; Lovis, Christophe; Malavolta, Luca; Mayor, Michel; Micela, Giusi; Motalebi, Fatemeh; Nascimbeni, Valerio; Phillips, David; Piotto, Giampaolo; Pollacco, Don; Queloz, Didier; Rice, Ken; Sasselov, Dimitar; Ségransan, Damien; Sozzetti, Alessandro; Szentgyorgyi, Andrew; Watson, Christopher A

    2013-11-21

    Recent analyses of data from the NASA Kepler spacecraft have established that planets with radii within 25 per cent of the Earth's (R Earth symbol) are commonplace throughout the Galaxy, orbiting at least 16.5 per cent of Sun-like stars. Because these studies were sensitive to the sizes of the planets but not their masses, the question remains whether these Earth-sized planets are indeed similar to the Earth in bulk composition. The smallest planets for which masses have been accurately determined are Kepler-10b (1.42 R Earth symbol) and Kepler-36b (1.49 R Earth symbol), which are both significantly larger than the Earth. Recently, the planet Kepler-78b was discovered and found to have a radius of only 1.16 R Earth symbol. Here we report that the mass of this planet is 1.86 Earth masses. The resulting mean density of the planet is 5.57 g cm(-3), which is similar to that of the Earth and implies a composition of iron and rock.

  1. Migrating Jupiter up to the habitable zone: Earth-like planet formation and water delivery

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Darriba, L. A.; de Elía, G. C.; Guilera, O. M.; Brunini, A.

    2017-11-01

    Context. Several observational works have shown the existence of Jupiter-mass planets covering a wide range of semi-major axes around Sun-like stars. Aims: We aim to analyse the planetary formation processes around Sun-like stars that host a Jupiter-mass planet at intermediate distances ranging from 1 au to 2 au. Our study focusses on the formation and evolution of terrestrial-like planets and water delivery in the habitable zone (HZ) of the system. Our goal is also to analyse the long-term dynamical stability of the resulting systems. Methods: A semi-analytic model was used to define the properties of a protoplanetary disk that produces a Jupiter-mass planet around the snow line, which is located at 2.7 au for a solar-mass star. Then, it was used to describe the evolution of embryos and planetesimals during the gaseous phase up to the formation of the Jupiter-mass planet, and we used the results as the initial conditions to carry out N-body simulations of planetary accretion. We developed sixty N-body simulations to describe the dynamical processes involved during and after the migration of the gas giant. Results: Our simulations produce three different classes of planets in the HZ: "water worlds", with masses between 2.75 M⊕ and 3.57 M⊕ and water contents of 58% and 75% by mass, terrestrial-like planets, with masses ranging from 0.58 M⊕ to 3.8 M⊕ and water contents less than 1.2% by mass, and "dry worlds", simulations of which show no water. A relevant result suggests the efficient coexistence in the HZ of a Jupiter-mass planet and a terrestrial-like planet with a percentage of water by mass comparable to the Earth. Moreover, our study indicates that these planetary systems are dynamically stable for at least 1 Gyr. Conclusions: Systems with a Jupiter-mass planet located at 1.5-2 au around solar-type stars are of astrobiological interest. These systems are likely to harbour terrestrial-like planets in the HZ with a wide diversity of water contents.

  2. Extrasolar binary planets. I. Formation by tidal capture during planet-planet scattering

    SciT

    Ochiai, H.; Nagasawa, M.; Ida, S., E-mail: nagasawa.m.ad@m.titech.ac.jp

    2014-08-01

    We have investigated (1) the formation of gravitationally bounded pairs of gas-giant planets (which we call 'binary planets') from capturing each other through planet-planet dynamical tide during their close encounters and (2) the subsequent long-term orbital evolution due to planet-planet and planet-star quasi-static tides. For the initial evolution in phase 1, we carried out N-body simulations of the systems consisting of three Jupiter-mass planets taking into account the dynamical tide. The formation rate of the binary planets is as much as 10% of the systems that undergo orbital crossing, and this fraction is almost independent of the initial stellarcentric semimajormore » axes of the planets, while ejection and merging rates sensitively depend on the semimajor axes. As a result of circularization by the planet-planet dynamical tide, typical binary separations are a few times the sum of the physical radii of the planets. After the orbital circularization, the evolution of the binary system is governed by long-term quasi-static tide. We analytically calculated the quasi-static tidal evolution in phase 2. The binary planets first enter the spin-orbit synchronous state by the planet-planet tide. The planet-star tide removes angular momentum of the binary motion, eventually resulting in a collision between the planets. However, we found that the binary planets survive the tidal decay for the main-sequence lifetime of solar-type stars (∼10 Gyr), if the binary planets are beyond ∼0.3 AU from the central stars. These results suggest that the binary planets can be detected by transit observations at ≳ 0.3 AU.« less

  3. The Leonard Award Address: On the Difficulties of Making Earth-Like Planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Taylor, Stuart Ross

    1999-05-01

    Here I discuss the series of events that led to the formation and evolution of our planet to examine why the Earth is unique in the solar system. A multitude of factors are involved. These begin with the initial size and angular momentum of the fragment that separated from a molecular cloud. These are crucial in determining whether a planetary system or a double star develops from the resulting nebula. Another requirement is that there must be an adequate concentration of heavy elements to provide the two percent 'rock' and 'ice' components of the original nebula. An essential step in forming rocky planets in the inner nebula is loss of gas and depletion of volatile elements due to early solar activity, that is linked to the mass of the central star. The lifetime of the gaseous nebula controls the formation of gas giants. In our system, fine timing was needed to form the gas giant, Jupiter before the gas in the nebula was depleted. Although Uranus and Neptune eventually formed cores large enough to capture gas, they missed out and ended as ice giants The early formation of Jupiter is responsible for the existence of the asteroid belt (and our supply of meteorites) and the small size of Mars while the gas giant now acts as a gravitational shield for the terrestrial planets. The Earth and the other inner planets accreted long after the giant planets in a gas-free inner nebula from volatile-depleted planetesimals that were probably already differentiated into metallic cores and silicate mantles. The accumulation of the Earth from such planetesimals was essentially a stochastic process, accounting for the differences among the four rocky inner planets including the startling contrast between those two apparent twins, Earth and Venus. Impact history and accretion of a few more or less planetesimals were apparently crucial. The origin of the Moon by a single massive impact with a body larger than Mars accounts for the obliquity (and its stability) and spin of the Earth

  4. Star Masses and Star-Planet Distances for Earth-like Habitability.

    PubMed

    Waltham, David

    2017-01-01

    This paper presents statistical estimates for the location and duration of habitable zones (HZs) around stars of different mass. The approach is based upon the assumption that Earth's location, and the Sun's mass, should not be highly atypical of inhabited planets. The results support climate-model-based estimates for the location of the Sun's HZ except models giving a present-day outer-edge beyond 1.64 AU. The statistical approach also demonstrates that there is a habitability issue for stars smaller than 0.65 solar masses since, otherwise, Earth would be an extremely atypical inhabited world. It is difficult to remove this anomaly using the assumption that poor habitability of planets orbiting low-mass stars results from unfavorable radiation regimes either before, or after, their stars enter the main sequence. However, the anomaly is well explained if poor habitability results from tidal locking of planets in the HZs of small stars. The expected host-star mass for planets with intelligent life then has a 95% confidence range of 0.78 M ⊙ < M < 1.04 M ⊙ , and the range for planets with at least simple life is 0.57 M ⊙  < M < 1.64 M ⊙ . Key Words: Habitability-Habitable zone-Anthropic-Red dwarfs-Initial mass function. Astrobiology 17, 61-77.

  5. Star Masses and Star-Planet Distances for Earth-like Habitability

    PubMed Central

    2017-01-01

    Abstract This paper presents statistical estimates for the location and duration of habitable zones (HZs) around stars of different mass. The approach is based upon the assumption that Earth's location, and the Sun's mass, should not be highly atypical of inhabited planets. The results support climate-model-based estimates for the location of the Sun's HZ except models giving a present-day outer-edge beyond 1.64 AU. The statistical approach also demonstrates that there is a habitability issue for stars smaller than 0.65 solar masses since, otherwise, Earth would be an extremely atypical inhabited world. It is difficult to remove this anomaly using the assumption that poor habitability of planets orbiting low-mass stars results from unfavorable radiation regimes either before, or after, their stars enter the main sequence. However, the anomaly is well explained if poor habitability results from tidal locking of planets in the HZs of small stars. The expected host-star mass for planets with intelligent life then has a 95% confidence range of 0.78 M⊙ < M < 1.04 M⊙, and the range for planets with at least simple life is 0.57 M⊙ < M < 1.64 M⊙. Key Words: Habitability—Habitable zone—Anthropic—Red dwarfs—Initial mass function. Astrobiology 17, 61–77. PMID:28103107

  6. Habitability in the Solar System and on Extrasolar Planets and Moons

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    McKay, Christopher P.

    2015-01-01

    The criteria for a habitable world initially was based on Earth and centered around liquid water on the surface, warmed by a Sun-like star. The moons of the outer Solar System, principally Europa and Enceladus, have demonstrated that liquid water can exist below the surface warmed by tidal forces from a giant planet. Titan demonstrates that surface liquids other than water - liquid methane/ethane - may be common on other worlds. Considering the numerous extrasolar planets so far discovered and the prospect of discovering extrasolar moons it is timely to reconsider the possibilities for habitability in the Solar System and on extrasolar planets and moons and enumerate the attributes and search methods for detecting habitable worlds and evidence of life.

  7. Habitability in The Solar System and on Extrasolar Planets and Moons

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McKay, C. P.

    2015-12-01

    The criteria for a habitable world initially was based on Earth and centered around liquid water on the surface, warmed by a Sun-like star. The moons of the outer Solar System, principally Europa and Enceladus, have demonstrated that liquid water can exist below the surface warmed by tidal forces from a giant planet. Titan demonstrates that surface liquids other than water - liquid methane/ethane - may be common on other worlds. Considering the numerous extrasolar planets so far discovered and the prospect of discovering extrasolar moons it is timely to reconsider the possibilities for habitable environments in the Solar System and on extrasolar planets and moons and enumerate the attributes and search methods for detecting habitable worlds and evidence of life.

  8. Project Orion: A Design Study of a System for Detecting Extrasolar Planets

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Black, D. C. (Editor)

    1980-01-01

    A design concept for a ground based astrometric telescope that could significantly increase the potential accuracy of astrometric observations is considered. The state of current techniques and instrumentation is examined in the context of detecting extrasolar planets. Emphasis is placed on the direct detection of extrasolar planets at either visual or infrared wavelengths. The design concept of the imaging stellar interferometer (ISI), developed under Project Orion, is described. The Orion ISI employs the state-of-the-art technology and is theoretically capable of attaining 0.00010 arc sec/yr accuracy in relative astrometric observations.

  9. The Blue Dot Workshop: Spectroscopic Search for Life on Extrasolar Planets

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Des Marais, David J. (Editor)

    1997-01-01

    This workshop explored the key questions and challenges associated with detecting life on an extrasolar planet. The final product will be a NASA Conference Publication which includes the abstracts from 21 talks, summaries of key findings, and recommendations for future research. The workshop included sessions on three related topics: the biogeochemistry of biogenic gases in the atmosphere, the chemistry and spectroscopy of planetary atmospheres, and the remote sensing of planetary atmospheres and surfaces. With the observation that planetary formation is probably a common phenomenon, together with the advent of the technical capability to locate and describe extrasolar planets, this research area indeed has an exciting future.

  10. A space telescope for infrared spectroscopy of earth-like planets

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Angel, J. R. P.; Cheng, A. Y. S.; Woolf, N. J.

    1986-01-01

    It is shown here that a space telescope of 16 m diameter, apodized in a new way, could image and measure oxygen n in the thermal infrared spectral of earthlike planets up to 4 pc away. The problems of visible light imaging for this case are discussed, and it is argued that imaging the thermal emission, with greatly reduced requirements for gain and hence surface accuracy, is preferable. The requirements for such imaging are discussed, including the apodization solution.

  11. The Carbonate-Silicate Cycle on Earth-like Planets Near The End Of Their Habitable Lifetimes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rushby, A. J.; Mills, B.; Johnson, M.; Claire, M.

    2016-12-01

    The terrestrial cycle of silicate weathering and metamorphic outgassing buffers atmospheric CO2 and global climate over geological time on Earth. To first order, the operation of this cycle is assumed to occur on Earth-like planets in the orbit of other main-sequence stars in the galaxy that exhibit similar continent/ocean configurations. This has important implications for studies of planetary habitability, atmospheric and climatic evolution, and our understanding of the potential distribution of life in the Universe. We present results from a simple biogeochemical carbon cycle model developed to investigate the operation of the carbonate-silicate cycle under conditions of differing planet mass and position within the radiative habitable zone. An active carbonate-silicate cycle does extend the length of a planet's habitable period through the regulation of the CO2 greenhouse. However, the breakdown of the negative feedback between temperature, pCO2, and weathering rates towards the end of a planet's habitable lifespan results in a transitory regime of `carbon starvation' that would inhibit the ability of oxygenic photoautotrophs to metabolize, and result in the collapse of any putative biosphere supported by these organisms, suggesting an earlier limit for the initiation of inhabitable conditions than when considering temperature alone. This conclusion stresses the importance of considering the full suite of planetary properties when determining potential habitability. A small sample of exoplanets was tested using this model, and the length of their habitable periods were found to be significantly longer than that of the Earth, primarily as a function of the differential rates of stellar evolution expected from their host stars. Furthermore, we carried out statistical analysis of a series of model input parameters, determining that both the mass of the planet and the sensitivity of seafloor weathering processes to dissolved CO2 exhibit significant controls on the

  12. Survival of extrasolar giant planet moons in planet-planet scattering

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    CIAN HONG, YU; Lunine, Jonathan; Nicholson, Phillip; Raymond, Sean

    2015-12-01

    Planet-planet scattering is the best candidate mechanism for explaining the eccentricity distribution of exoplanets. Here we study the survival and dynamics of exomoons under strong perturbations during giant planet scattering. During close encounters, planets and moons exchange orbital angular momentum and energy. The most common outcomes are the destruction of moons by ejection from the system, collision with the planets and the star, and scattering of moons onto perturbed but still planet-bound orbits. A small percentage of interesting moons can remain bound to ejected (free-floating) planets or be captured by a different planet. Moons' survival rate is correlated with planet observables such as mass, semi-major axis, eccentricity and inclination, as well as the close encounter distance and the number of close encounters. In addition, moons' survival rate and dynamical outcomes are predetermined by the moons' initial semi-major axes. The survival rate drops quickly as moons' distances increase, but simulations predict a good chance of survival for the Galilean moons. Moons with different dynamical outcomes occupy different regions of orbital parameter space, which may enable the study of moons' past evolution. Potential effects of planet obliquity evolution caused by close encounters on the satellites’ stability and dynamics will be reported, as well as detailed and systematic studies of individual close encounter events.

  13. Polarimetry Of Planetary Atmospheres: From The Solar System Gas Giants To Extrasolar Planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Buenzli, Esther; Bazzon, A.; Schmid, H. M.

    2011-09-01

    The polarization of light reflected from a planet provides unique information on the atmosphere structure and scattering properties of particles in the upper atmosphere. The solar system planets show a large variety of atmospheric polarization properties, from the thick, highly polarizing haze on Titan and the poles of Jupiter, Rayleigh scattering by molecules on Uranus and Neptune, to clouds in the equatorial region of Jupiter or on Venus. Polarimetry is also a promising differential technique to search for and characterize extra-solar planets, e.g. with the future VLT planet finder instrument SPHERE. For the preparation of the SPHERE planet search program we have made a suite of polarimetric observations and models for the solar system gas giants. The phase angles for the outer planets are small for Earth bound observations and the integrated polarization is essentially zero due to the symmetric backscattering situation. However, a second order scattering effect produces a measurable limb polarization for resolved planetary disks. We have made a detailed model for the spectropolarimetric signal of the limb polarization of Uranus between 520 and 935 nm to derive scattering properties of haze and cloud particles and to predict the polarization signal from an extra-solar point of view. We are also investigating imaging polarimetry of the thick haze layers on Titan and the poles of Jupiter. Additionally, we have calculated a large grid of intensity and polarization phase curves for simpler atmosphere models of extrasolar planets.

  14. Characterising the three-dimensional ozone distribution of a tidally locked Earth-like planet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Proedrou, Elisavet; Hocke, Klemens

    2016-06-01

    We simulate the 3D ozone distribution of a tidally locked Earth-like exoplanet using the high-resolution, 3D chemistry-climate model CESM1(WACCM) and study how the ozone layer of a tidally locked Earth (TLE) (Ω _{TLE}= 1/365 days) differs from that of our present-day Earth (PDE) (Ω _{PDE}= 1/1 day). The middle atmosphere reaches a steady state asymptotically within the first 80 days of the simulation. An upwelling, centred on the subsolar point, is present on the day side while a downwelling, centred on the antisolar point, is present on the night side. In the mesosphere, we find similar global ozone distributions for the TLE and the PDE, with decreased ozone on the day side and enhanced ozone on the night side. In the lower mesosphere, a jet stream transitions into a large-scale vortex around a low-pressure system, located at low latitudes of the TLE night side. In the middle stratosphere, the concentration of odd oxygen is approximately equal to that of the ozone [({O}x) ≈ ({O}3)]. At these altitudes, the lifetime of odd oxygen is ˜16 h and the transport processes significantly contribute to the global distribution of stratospheric ozone. Compared to the PDE, where the strong Coriolis force acts as a mixing barrier between low and high latitudes, the transport processes of the TLE are governed by jet streams variable in the zonal and meridional directions. In the middle stratosphere of the TLE, we find high ozone values on the day side, due to the increased production of atomic oxygen on the day side, where it immediately recombines with molecular oxygen to form ozone. In contrast, the ozone is depleted on the night side, due to changes in the solar radiation distribution and the presence of a downwelling. As a result of the reduced Coriolis force, the tropical and extratropical air masses are well mixed and the global temperature distribution of the TLE stratosphere has smaller horizontal gradients than the PDE. Compared to the PDE, the total ozone column

  15. Abiotic production of nitrous oxide by lightning. Implications for a false positive identification of life on Earth-Like Planets around quiescent M Dwarfs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Navarro, Karina F.; Navarro-Gonzalez, Rafael; McKay, Christopher P.

    Nitrous oxide (N _{2}O) is uniformly mixed in the troposphere with a concentration of about 310 ppb but disappears in the stratosphere (Prinn et al., 1990); N _{2}O is mostly emitted at a rate of 1x10 (13) g yr (-1) as a byproduct of microbial activity in soils and in the ocean by two processes: a) denitrification (reduction of nitrate and nitrite), and b) nitrification (oxidation of ammonia) (Maag and Vinther, 1996). The abiotic emission of N _{2}O in the contemporaneous Earth is small, mostly arising from lightning activity (2x10 (9) g yr (-1) , Hill et al., 1984) and by reduction of nitrite by Fe(II)-minerals in soils in Antarctica (Samarkin et al., 2010). Since N _{2}O has absorption bands in the mid-IR (7.8, 8.5, and 17 mumm) that makes it detectable by remote sensing (Topfer et al., 1997; Des Marais et al., 2002), it has been suggested as a potential biosignature in the search for life in extrasolar planets (Churchill and Kasting, 2000). However, the minimum required concentration for positive identification is 10,000 ppb with missions like Terrestrial Planet Finder and Darwin (Churchill and Kasting, 2000). Therefore, it is not a suitable biomarker for extrasolar Earth-like planets orbiting stars similar to the Sun. Because N _{2}O is protected in the troposphere from UV photolysis by the stratospheric ozone layer, its concentration would decrease with decreasing oxygen (O _{2}) concentrations, if the biological source strength remains constant (Kasting and Donahue, 1980). For a primitive Earth-like (Hadean) atmosphere dominated by CO _{2}, and no free O _{2}, the expected N _{2}O concentration would be about 3 ppb with the current microbial N _{2}O flux (Churchill and Kasting, 2000). The resulting N _{2}O spectral signature of this atmosphere would be undetectable unless the N _{2}O microbial flux would be 10 (4) greater than its present value (Churchill and Kasting, 2000). Since this flux is unlikely, it is impossible to use it as a biomarker in anoxic CO

  16. Planetary Formation: From The Earth And Moon To Extrasolar Planets

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lissauer, Jack J.; DeVincenzi, Donald (Technical Monitor)

    1999-01-01

    An overview of current theories of planetary growth, emphasizing the formation of habitable planets, is presented. These models are based upon observations of the Solar System and of young stars and their environments. They predict that rocky planets should form around most single stars, although it is possible that in some cases such planets are lost - to orbital decay within the protoplanetary disk. Terrestrial planets are believed to grow via pairwise accretion until the spacing of planetary orbits becomes large enough that the configuration is stable for the age of the system. Giant planets begin their growth like terrestrial planets, but if they become massive enough before the protoplanetary disk dissipates, then they are able to accumulate substantial amounts of gas. Specific issues to be discussed include: (1) how do giant planets influence the formation and habitability of terrestrial planets? (2) could a giant impact leading to lunar formation have occurred - 100 million years after the condensation of the oldest meteorites?

  17. Darwin--a mission to detect and search for life on extrasolar planets.

    PubMed

    Cockell, C S; Léger, A; Fridlund, M; Herbst, T M; Kaltenegger, L; Absil, O; Beichman, C; Benz, W; Blanc, M; Brack, A; Chelli, A; Colangeli, L; Cottin, H; Coudé du Foresto, F; Danchi, W C; Defrère, D; den Herder, J-W; Eiroa, C; Greaves, J; Henning, T; Johnston, K J; Jones, H; Labadie, L; Lammer, H; Launhardt, R; Lawson, P; Lay, O P; LeDuigou, J-M; Liseau, R; Malbet, F; Martin, S R; Mawet, D; Mourard, D; Moutou, C; Mugnier, L M; Ollivier, M; Paresce, F; Quirrenbach, A; Rabbia, Y D; Raven, J A; Rottgering, H J A; Rouan, D; Santos, N C; Selsis, F; Serabyn, E; Shibai, H; Tamura, M; Thiébaut, E; Westall, F; White, G J

    2009-01-01

    The discovery of extrasolar planets is one of the greatest achievements of modern astronomy. The detection of planets that vary widely in mass demonstrates that extrasolar planets of low mass exist. In this paper, we describe a mission, called Darwin, whose primary goal is the search for, and characterization of, terrestrial extrasolar planets and the search for life. Accomplishing the mission objectives will require collaborative science across disciplines, including astrophysics, planetary sciences, chemistry, and microbiology. Darwin is designed to detect rocky planets similar to Earth and perform spectroscopic analysis at mid-infrared wavelengths (6-20 mum), where an advantageous contrast ratio between star and planet occurs. The baseline mission is projected to last 5 years and consists of approximately 200 individual target stars. Among these, 25-50 planetary systems can be studied spectroscopically, which will include the search for gases such as CO(2), H(2)O, CH(4), and O(3). Many of the key technologies required for the construction of Darwin have already been demonstrated, and the remainder are estimated to be mature in the near future. Darwin is a mission that will ignite intense interest in both the research community and the wider public.

  18. The elemental abundances (with uncertainties) of the most Earth-like planet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, Haiyang S.; Lineweaver, Charles H.; Ireland, Trevor R.

    2018-01-01

    To first order, the Earth as well as other rocky planets in the Solar System and rocky exoplanets orbiting other stars, are refractory pieces of the stellar nebula out of which they formed. To estimate the chemical composition of rocky exoplanets based on their stellar hosts' elemental abundances, we need a better understanding of the devolatilization that produced the Earth. To quantify the chemical relationships between the Earth, the Sun and other bodies in the Solar System, the elemental abundances of the bulk Earth are required. The key to comparing Earth's composition with those of other objects is to have a determination of the bulk composition with an appropriate estimate of uncertainties. Here we present concordance estimates (with uncertainties) of the elemental abundances of the bulk Earth, which can be used in such studies. First we compile, combine and renormalize a large set of heterogeneous literature values of the primitive mantle (PM) and of the core. We then integrate standard radial density profiles of the Earth and renormalize them to the current best estimate for the mass of the Earth. Using estimates of the uncertainties in i) the density profiles, ii) the core-mantle boundary and iii) the inner core boundary, we employ standard error propagation to obtain a core mass fraction of 32.5 ± 0.3 wt%. Our bulk Earth abundances are the weighted sum of our concordance core abundances and concordance PM abundances. Unlike previous efforts, the uncertainty on the core mass fraction is propagated to the uncertainties on the bulk Earth elemental abundances. Our concordance estimates for the abundances of Mg, Sn, Br, B, Cd and Be are significantly lower than previous estimates of the bulk Earth. Our concordance estimates for the abundances of Na, K, Cl, Zn, Sr, F, Ga, Rb, Nb, Gd, Ta, He, Ar, and Kr are significantly higher. The uncertainties on our elemental abundances usefully calibrate the unresolved discrepancies between standard Earth models under

  19. Extrasolar Planets: Towards Comparative Planetology beyond the Solar System

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Khan, A. H.

    2012-09-01

    Today Scenario planet logy is a very important concept because now days the scientific research finding new and new planets and our work's range becoming too long. In the previous study shows about 10-12 years the research of planet logy now has changed . Few years ago we was talking about Sun planet, Earth planet , Moon ,Mars Jupiter & Venus etc. included but now the time has totally changed the recent studies showed that mono lakes California find the arsenic food use by micro organism that show that our study is very tiny as compare to planet long areas .We have very well known that arsenic is the toxic agent's and the toxic agent's present in the lakes and micro organism developing and life going on it's a unbelievable point for us but nature always play a magical games. In few years ago Aliens was the story no one believe the Aliens origin but now the aliens showed catch by our space craft and shuttle and every one believe that Aliens origin but at the moment's I would like to mention one point's that we have too more work required because our planet logy has a vast field. Most of the time our scientific mission shows that this planet found liquid oxygen ,this planet found hydrogen .I would like to clear that point's that all planet logy depend in to the chemical and these chemical gave the indication of the life but we are not abele to developed the adaptation according to the micro organism . Planet logy compare before study shows that Sun it's a combination of the various gases combination surrounded in a round form and now the central Sun Planets ,moons ,comets and asteroids In other word we can say that Or Sun has a wide range of the physical and Chemical properties in the after the development we can say that all chemical and physical property engaged with a certain environment and form a various contains like asteroids, moon, Comets etc. Few studies shows that other planet life affected to the out living planet .We can assure with the example the life

  20. WFIRST: Retrieval Studies of Directly Imaged Extrasolar Giant Planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Marley, Mark; Lupu, Roxana; Lewis, Nikole K.; WFIRST Coronagraph SITs

    2018-01-01

    The typical direct imaging and spectroscopy target for the WFIRST Coronagraph will be a mature Jupiter-mass giant planet at a few AU from an FGK star. The spectra of such planets is expected to be shaped primarily by scattering from H2O clouds and absorption by gaseous NH3 and CH4. We have computed forward model spectra of such typical planets and applied noise models to understand the quality of photometry and spectra we can expect. Using such simulated datasets we have conducted Markov Chain Monte Carlo and MultiNest retrievals to derive atmospheric abundance of CH4, cloud scattering properties, gravity, and other parameters for various planets and observing modes. Our focus has primarily been to understand which combinations of photometry and spectroscopy at what SNR allow retrievals of atmospheric methane mixing ratios to within a factor of ten of the true value. This is a challenging task for directly imaged planets as the planet mass and radius--and thus surface gravity--are not as well constrained as in the case of transiting planets. We find that for plausible planets and datasets of the quality expected to be obtained by WFIRST it should be possible to place such constraints, at least for some planets. We present some examples of our retrieval results and explain how they have been utilized to help set design requirements on the coronagraph camera and integrated field spectrometer.

  1. On the feasibility of detecting extrasolar planets by reflected starlight using the Hubble Space Telescope

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Brown, Robert A.; Burrows, Christopher J.

    1990-01-01

    The best metrology data extant are presently used to estimate the center and wing point-spread function of the HST, in order to ascertain the implications of an observational criterion according to which a faint source's discovery can occur only when the signal recorded near its image's location is sufficiently larger than would be expected in its absence. After defining the maximum star-planet flux ratio, a figure of merit Q, defined as the contrast ratio between a 'best case' planet and the scattered starlight background, is introduced and shown in the HST's case to be unfavorable for extrasolar planet detection.

  2. Conditions for oceans on Earth-like planets orbiting within the habitable zone: importance of volcanic CO{sub 2} degassing

    SciT

    Kadoya, S.; Tajika, E., E-mail: kadoya@astrobio.k.u-tokyo.ac.jp, E-mail: tajika@astrobio.k.u-tokyo.ac.jp

    2014-08-01

    Earth-like planets in the habitable zone (HZ) have been considered to have warm climates and liquid water on their surfaces if the carbonate-silicate geochemical cycle is working as on Earth. However, it is known that even the present Earth may be globally ice-covered when the rate of CO{sub 2} degassing via volcanism becomes low. Here we discuss the climates of Earth-like planets in which the carbonate-silicate geochemical cycle is working, with focusing particularly on insolation and the CO{sub 2} degassing rate. The climate of Earth-like planets within the HZ can be classified into three climate modes (hot, warm, and snowballmore » climate modes). We found that the conditions for the existence of liquid water should be largely restricted even when the planet is orbiting within the HZ and the carbonate-silicate geochemical cycle is working. We show that these conditions should depend strongly on the rate of CO{sub 2} degassing via volcanism. It is, therefore, suggested that thermal evolution of the planetary interiors will be a controlling factor for Earth-like planets to have liquid water on their surface.« less

  3. Kepler Mission Discovers Trove of Extrasolar Planet Candidates

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Showstack, Randy

    2011-02-01

    NASA's Kepler discovery mission is collecting more than just pennies from heaven. Results from the first 4 months of science operations of the Kepler space telescope, announced on 2 February, include the discovery of 1235 candidate planets orbiting 997 stars in a small portion of the Milky Way galaxy examined by the telescope. Follow-up observations likely could confirm about 80% of the candidates as actual planets rather than false positives, according to researchers. This new trove of possible exoplanets could greatly expand the number of known planets outside of our solar system.

  4. All in the Family: What Brown Dwarfs Teach Us About Extrasolar Giant Planets

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Marley, M.

    2003-01-01

    As we await the first direct image of an extrasolar giant planet, we can turn to theory and the experience gained in the campaign to detect and understand brown dwarfs for guidance on what to expect. As with any new arrival to a family, there should be a strong family resemblance (one hopes) along with notable unique features and interesting peculiarities. The 300 or so known L and T dwarfs, combined with our own giant planets, already span much of the effective temperature range within which extrasolar planets will be found. Only objects with thick, easily detectable, water clouds have yet to be seen. Thus we already know much of the family. I will describe what we have learned from studying these objects, focusing on the important roles clouds and atmospheric chemistry play in affecting their atmospheres and emergent spectra. Relying on these findings and theoretical models, I'll sketch out what we can expect from extrasolar giant planets, focusing on easily detectable features. Some wild cards, of course, are to be expected. Photochemical hazes, in particular, may obscure the family traits on the faces of Jupiter's distant cousins and may make one wonder, at least momentarily, about the milkman.

  5. Delivery of Volatiles to Habitable Planets in Extrasolar Planetary Systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Chambers, John E.; Kress, Monika E.; Bell, K. Robbins; Cash, Michele; DeVincenzi, Donald L. (Technical Monitor)

    2000-01-01

    The Earth can support life because: (1) its orbit lies in the Sun's habitable zone', and (2) it contains enough volatile material (e.g. water and organics) for life to flourish. However, it seems likely that the Earth was drier when it formed because it accreted in a part of the Sun's protoplanetary nebula that was too hot for volatiles to condense. If this is correct, water and organics must have been delivered to the habitable zone, after dissipation of the solar nebula, from a 'wet zone' in the asteroid belt or the outer solar system, where the nebula was cool enough for volatiles to condense. Material from the wet zone would have been delivered to the Earth by Jupiter and Saturn. Gravitational perturbations from these giant planets made much of the wet zone unstable, scattering volatile-rich planetesimals and protoplanets across the Solar System. Some of these objects ultimately collided with the inner Planets which themselves lie in a stable part of the Solar System. Giant planets are now being discovered orbiting other sunlike stars. To date, these planets have orbits and masses very different from Jupiter and Saturn, such that few if any of these systems is likely to have terrestrial planets in the star's habitable zone. However, new discoveries are anticipated due to improved detector sensitivity and the increase in the timespan of observations. Here we present numerical experiments examining the range of giant-planet characteristics that: (1) allow stable terrestrial Planets to exist in a star's habitable zone, and (2) make a large part of the star's wet zone weakly unstable, thus delivering volatiles to the terrestrial planets over an extended period of time after the dissipation of the solar nebula.

  6. Detection of extrasolar planets by the large deployable reflector

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hollenbach, D. J.; Takahashi, T.

    1984-01-01

    The best wavelength for observing Jupiter-size planetary companions to stars other than the Sun is one at which a planet's thermal emission is strongest; typically this would occur in the far-infrared region. It is assumed that the orbiting infrared telescope used is diffraction-limited so that the resolution of the planet from the central star is accomplished in the wings of the star's Airy pattern. Proxima Centauri, Barnard's Star, Wolf 359, and Epsilon Eridani are just a few of the many nearest main-sequence stars that could be studied with the large deployable relfector (LDR). The detectability of a planet improves for warmer planets and less luminous stars; therefore, planets around white dwarfs and those young planets which have sufficient internal gravitational energy release so as to cause a significant increase in their temperatures are considered. If white dwarfs are as old as they are usually assumed to be (5-10 billion yr), then only the nearest white dwarf (Sirius B) is within the range of LDR. The Ursa Major cluster and Perseu cluster are within LDR's detection range mainly because of their proximity and young age, respectively.

  7. Measuring the Infrared Spectrum of the Transiting Extrasolar Planet HD 209458b

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Richardson, L. Jeremy; Cho, James; Deming, Drake; Hansen, Brad; Harrington, Joseph; Menou, Kristen; Seager, Sara

    2005-06-01

    Researchers from two independent groups recently detected the first infrared signal from an extrasolar planet. Deming et. al. (2005a) detected the 24-micron flux density of HD 209458b using MIPS at secondary eclipse, and Charbonneau et. al. (2005) detected the infrared signal of TrES-1 using IRAC at 4.5 and 8 microns. These results have dramatically demonstrated the ability of Spitzer to characterize extrasolar planets. We propose to build on these observations with IRS spectroscopy of HD 209458b from 7.4 to 14.5 microns. By observing the system both during and outside of secondary eclipse, we will derive the planetary spectrum from the change in the shape of the continuum spectrum in combined light. These observations will lead directly to a measurement of the temperature gradient in the planetary atmosphere and the column density of water above the clouds, and we will search for variability due to atmospheric dynamics.

  8. Evidence for water in the rocky debris of a disrupted extrasolar minor planet.

    PubMed

    Farihi, J; Gänsicke, B T; Koester, D

    2013-10-11

    The existence of water in extrasolar planetary systems is of great interest because it constrains the potential for habitable planets and life. We have identified a circumstellar disk that resulted from the destruction of a water-rich and rocky extrasolar minor planet. The parent body formed and evolved around a star somewhat more massive than the Sun, and the debris now closely orbits the white dwarf remnant of the star. The stellar atmosphere is polluted with metals accreted from the disk, including oxygen in excess of that expected for oxide minerals, indicating that the parent body was originally composed of 26% water by mass. This finding demonstrates that water-bearing planetesimals exist around A- and F-type stars that end their lives as white dwarfs.

  9. Model Atmospheres and Spectra for Extrasolar Giant Planets

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Freedman, Richard S.; Beebe, Reta (Technical Monitor)

    2000-01-01

    In the past few years much new observational data has become available for brown dwarfs and extra solar planets. Not only are new objects being discovered but the availability of higher resolution spectra is improving. This allows a better comparison between the models and the available data, and places new constraints on the models which now have to be made more physically realistic in order to better interpret the observations. Under this grant, an array of new opacities were calculated and successfully applied to a variety of physical situations that were used as input to model available observations of brown dwarfs and extra solar giant planets.

  10. The changing phases of extrasolar planet CoRoT-1b.

    PubMed

    Snellen, Ignas A G; de Mooij, Ernst J W; Albrecht, Simon

    2009-05-28

    Hot Jupiters are a class of extrasolar planet that orbit their parent stars at very short distances. They are expected to be tidally locked, which can lead to a large temperature difference between their daysides and nightsides. Infrared observations of eclipsing systems have yielded dayside temperatures for a number of transiting planets. The day-night contrast of the transiting extrasolar planet HD 189733b was 'mapped' using infrared observations. It is expected that the contrast between the daysides and nightsides of hot Jupiters is much higher at visual wavelengths, shorter than that of the peak emission, and could be further enhanced by reflected stellar light. Here we report the analysis of optical photometric data obtained over 36 planetary orbits of the transiting hot Jupiter CoRoT-1b. The data are consistent with the nightside hemisphere of the planet being entirely black, with the dayside flux dominating the optical phase curve. This means that at optical wavelengths the planet's phase variation is just as we see it for the interior planets in the Solar System. The data allow for only a small fraction of reflected light, corresponding to a geometric albedo of <0.20.

  11. Characterizing extrasolar terrestrial planets with reflected, emitted and transmitted spectra.

    PubMed

    Tinetti, Giovanna

    2006-12-01

    NASA and ESA are planning missions to directly detect and characterize terrestrial planets outside our solar system (nominally NASA-Terrestrial Planet Finder and ESA-DARWIN missions). These missions will provide our first opportunity to spectroscopically study the global characteristics of those planets, and search for signs of habitability and life. We have used spatially and spectrally-resolved models to explore the observational sensitivity to changes in atmospheric and surface properties, and the detectability of surface biosignatures, in the globally averaged spectra and light-curves of the Earth. Atmospheric signatures of Earth-size exoplanets might be detected, in a near future, by stellar occultation as well. Detectability depends on planet's size, atmospheric composition, cloud cover and stellar type. According to our simulations, Earth's land vegetation signature (red-edge) is potentially visible in the disk-averaged spectra, even with cloud cover, and when the signal is averaged over the daily time scale. Marine vegetation is far more difficult to detect. We explored also the detectability of an exo-vegetation responsible for producing a signature that is red-shifted with respect to the Earth vegetation's one.

  12. Homogeneous studies of transiting extrasolar planets - III. Additional planets and stellar models

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Southworth, John

    2010-11-01

    I derive the physical properties of 30 transiting extrasolar planetary systems using a homogeneous analysis of published data. The light curves are modelled with the JKTEBOP code, with special attention paid to the treatment of limb darkening, orbital eccentricity and error analysis. The light from some systems is contaminated by faint nearby stars, which if ignored will systematically bias the results. I show that it is not realistically possible to account for this using only transit light curves: light-curve solutions must be constrained by measurements of the amount of contaminating light. A contamination of 5 per cent is enough to make the measurement of a planetary radius 2 per cent too low. The physical properties of the 30 transiting systems are obtained by interpolating in tabulated predictions from theoretical stellar models to find the best match to the light-curve parameters and the measured stellar velocity amplitude, temperature and metal abundance. Statistical errors are propagated by a perturbation analysis which constructs complete error budgets for each output parameter. These error budgets are used to compile a list of systems which would benefit from additional photometric or spectroscopic measurements. The systematic errors arising from the inclusion of stellar models are assessed by using five independent sets of theoretical predictions for low-mass stars. This model dependence sets a lower limit on the accuracy of measurements of the physical properties of the systems, ranging from 1 per cent for the stellar mass to 0.6 per cent for the mass of the planet and 0.3 per cent for other quantities. The stellar density and the planetary surface gravity and equilibrium temperature are not affected by this model dependence. An external test on these systematic errors is performed by comparing the two discovery papers of the WASP-11/HAT-P-10 system: these two studies differ in their assessment of the ratio of the radii of the components and the

  13. Searching for Extrasolar Trojan Planets: A Status Report

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Caton, D. B.; Davis, S. A.; Kluttz, K. A.; Stamilio, R. J.; Wohlman, K. D.

    2001-05-01

    We are exploring the light curves of eclipsing binaries for the photometric signature of planets that may exist at the L4 and L5 Lagrange points of the stellar system. While no binaries are known to exist that strictly satisfy the stellar mass ratio constraint for the restricted three-body problem, the general solution would allow a planet formed at the L-point to remain there if there are no major perturbing bodies such as an additional planet. We have coined such objects "Trojan planets." The advantage of this approach is that the phases of the planetary eclipses are known. We picked systems with deep primary eclipses, to maximize the amount of system light eclipsed by the planet when in front of the hotter star. We also scanned the Finding List for Observers of Interactive Binary Stars, for G dwarf systems, but found only a few that were high inclination and detached. The target list includes QY Aql, YZ Aql, V442 Cas, SS Cet, S Cnc, VW Cyg, WW Cyg, RR Dra, RX Gem, RY Gem, VW Hya, Y Leo, TV Mon, BN Sct, UW Vir, AC UMa, and GSC 1657. We have concentrated on V442 Cas and YZ Aql, based on initial results that show anomalies in the light curves near the phases where a Trojan planet eclipse is expected. New work is being done on brighter systems by using a "spot filter," similar to that developed by Castellano (PASP 112, 821-6),2000), to allow longer exposures that provide brighter comparison stars. We will report on the observations made to date on several systems. We gratefully acknowledge the support of the National Science Foundation, through grants AST-9731062 and AST-0089248. We also appreciate the support of the Fund for Astrophysical Research. Gregory Shelton and Brenda Corbin, at the U.S. naval Observatory Library, have been indispensable in providing references for these binary systems. This research has made use of the Simbad database, operated at CDS, Strasbourg, France

  14. Habitability of extrasolar planets and tidal spin evolution.

    PubMed

    Heller, René; Barnes, Rory; Leconte, Jérémy

    2011-12-01

    Stellar radiation has conservatively been used as the key constraint to planetary habitability. We review here the effects of tides, exerted by the host star on the planet, on the evolution of the planetary spin. Tides initially drive the rotation period and the orientation of the rotation axis into an equilibrium state but do not necessarily lead to synchronous rotation. As tides also circularize the orbit, eventually the rotation period does equal the orbital period and one hemisphere will be permanently irradiated by the star. Furthermore, the rotational axis will become perpendicular to the orbit, i.e. the planetary surface will not experience seasonal variations of the insolation. We illustrate here how tides alter the spins of planets in the traditional habitable zone. As an example, we show that, neglecting perturbations due to other companions, the Super-Earth Gl581d performs two rotations per orbit and that any primordial obliquity has been eroded.

  15. Flare Activity and UV Habitability in Extrasolar Planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Abrevaya, Ximena; Cortón, E.; Mauas, P. J. D.

    2012-05-01

    Usually, dwarf M stars are targets in the search for extraterrestrial life outside of our solar system. They are choose among other stars because they are the most abundant in the galaxy, the liquid- water habitable zone (LW-HZ) is closer to these colder stars and it would be therefore easier to detect a terrestrial planet inside it. However, it is believed that planets in the LW-HZ should be tidally locked, which implies that this planetary body would have a hot face and a cold one, but recent atmospheric modeling provided evidences that the heat in the hot face could be transferred to the cold face. Furthermore there is another factor to analyze if planets around these stars in the LW-HZ could be suitable for life due flare activity in many of these stars (dMe stars), could have a strong impact over potential life beings. In particular in this work we analyze the capability of UV-resistant microorganisms such as halophilic archaea, to survive the strong UV radiation characteristic of flare activity in dMe stars. Our results showed that the microorganisms can survive at the tested doses, showing that this kind of life could thrive in these extreme environments from the UV point of view.

  16. Identification of Absorption Features in an Extrasolar Planet Atmosphere

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Barman, T.

    2007-06-01

    Water absorption is identified in the atmosphere of HD 209458b by comparing models for the planet's transmitted spectrum to recent, multiwavelength, eclipse-depth measurements (from 0.3 to 1 μm) published by Knutson et al. A cloud-free model that includes solar abundances, rainout of condensates, and photoionization of sodium and potassium is in good agreement with the entire set of eclipse-depth measurements from the ultraviolet to near-infrared. Constraints are placed on condensate removal by gravitational settling, the bulk metallicity, and the redistribution of absorbed stellar flux. Comparisons are also made to the Charbonneau et al. sodium measurements.

  17. Extrasolar Planets Observed with JWST and the ELTs

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Deming, L. Drake

    2010-01-01

    The advent of cryogenic space-borne infrared observatories such as the Spitzer Space Telescope has lead to a revolution in the study of planets and planetary systems orbiting sun-like stars. Already Spitzer has characterized the emergent infrared spectra of close-in giant exoplanets using transit and eclipse techniques. The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) will be able to extend these studies to superEarth exoplanets orbiting in the habitable zones of M-dwarf stars in the near solar neighborhood. The forthcoming ground-based Extremely Large Telescopes (ELTs) will playa key role in these studies, being especially valuable for spectroscopy at higher spectral resolving powers where large photon fluxes are needed. The culmination of this work within the next two decades will be the detection and spectral characterization of the major molecular constituents in the atmosphere of a habitable superEarth orbiting a nearby lower main sequence star.

  18. The Formation of Life-sustaining Planets in Extrasolar Systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Chambers, J. E.

    2003-01-01

    The spatial exploration is providing us a large quantity of information about the composition of the planets and satellites crusts. However, most of the experiences that are proposed in the guides of activities in Planetary Geology are based exclusively on the images utilization: photographs, maps, models or artistic reconstructions [1,2]. That things help us to recognize shapes and to deduce geological processes, but they says us little about the materials that they are implicated. In order to avoid this dicotomy between shapes and materials, we have designed an experience in the one which, employing of rocks and landscapes of our geological environment more next, the pupils be able to do an exercise of compared planetology analyzing shapes, processes and material of several planetary bodies of the Solar System.

  19. Remote sensing of planetary properties and biosignatures on extrasolar terrestrial planets

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Des Marais, David J.; Harwit, Martin O.; Jucks, Kenneth W.; Kasting, James F.; Lin, Douglas N C.; Lunine, Jonathan I.; Schneider, Jean; Seager, Sara; Traub, Wesley A.; Woolf, Neville J.

    2002-01-01

    The major goals of NASA's Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF) and the European Space Agency's Darwin missions are to detect terrestrial-sized extrasolar planets directly and to seek spectroscopic evidence of habitable conditions and life. Here we recommend wavelength ranges and spectral features for these missions. We assess known spectroscopic molecular band features of Earth, Venus, and Mars in the context of putative extrasolar analogs. The preferred wavelength ranges are 7-25 microns in the mid-IR and 0.5 to approximately 1.1 microns in the visible to near-IR. Detection of O2 or its photolytic product O3 merits highest priority. Liquid H2O is not a bioindicator, but it is considered essential to life. Substantial CO2 indicates an atmosphere and oxidation state typical of a terrestrial planet. Abundant CH4 might require a biological source, yet abundant CH4 also can arise from a crust and upper mantle more reduced than that of Earth. The range of characteristics of extrasolar rocky planets might far exceed that of the Solar System. Planetary size and mass are very important indicators of habitability and can be estimated in the mid-IR and potentially also in the visible to near-IR. Additional spectroscopic features merit study, for example, features created by other biosignature compounds in the atmosphere or on the surface and features due to Rayleigh scattering. In summary, we find that both the mid-IR and the visible to near-IR wavelength ranges offer valuable information regarding biosignatures and planetary properties; therefore both merit serious scientific consideration for TPF and Darwin.

  20. Remote sensing of planetary properties and biosignatures on extrasolar terrestrial planets.

    PubMed

    Des Marais, David J; Harwit, Martin O; Jucks, Kenneth W; Kasting, James F; Lin, Douglas N C; Lunine, Jonathan I; Schneider, Jean; Seager, Sara; Traub, Wesley A; Woolf, Neville J

    2002-01-01

    The major goals of NASA's Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF) and the European Space Agency's Darwin missions are to detect terrestrial-sized extrasolar planets directly and to seek spectroscopic evidence of habitable conditions and life. Here we recommend wavelength ranges and spectral features for these missions. We assess known spectroscopic molecular band features of Earth, Venus, and Mars in the context of putative extrasolar analogs. The preferred wavelength ranges are 7-25 microns in the mid-IR and 0.5 to approximately 1.1 microns in the visible to near-IR. Detection of O2 or its photolytic product O3 merits highest priority. Liquid H2O is not a bioindicator, but it is considered essential to life. Substantial CO2 indicates an atmosphere and oxidation state typical of a terrestrial planet. Abundant CH4 might require a biological source, yet abundant CH4 also can arise from a crust and upper mantle more reduced than that of Earth. The range of characteristics of extrasolar rocky planets might far exceed that of the Solar System. Planetary size and mass are very important indicators of habitability and can be estimated in the mid-IR and potentially also in the visible to near-IR. Additional spectroscopic features merit study, for example, features created by other biosignature compounds in the atmosphere or on the surface and features due to Rayleigh scattering. In summary, we find that both the mid-IR and the visible to near-IR wavelength ranges offer valuable information regarding biosignatures and planetary properties; therefore both merit serious scientific consideration for TPF and Darwin.

  1. Three regimes of extrasolar planet radius inferred from host star metallicities.

    PubMed

    Buchhave, Lars A; Bizzarro, Martin; Latham, David W; Sasselov, Dimitar; Cochran, William D; Endl, Michael; Isaacson, Howard; Juncher, Diana; Marcy, Geoffrey W

    2014-05-29

    Approximately half of the extrasolar planets (exoplanets) with radii less than four Earth radii are in orbits with short periods. Despite their sheer abundance, the compositions of such planets are largely unknown. The available evidence suggests that they range in composition from small, high-density rocky planets to low-density planets consisting of rocky cores surrounded by thick hydrogen and helium gas envelopes. Here we report the metallicities (that is, the abundances of elements heavier than hydrogen and helium) of more than 400 stars hosting 600 exoplanet candidates, and find that the exoplanets can be categorized into three populations defined by statistically distinct (∼4.5σ) metallicity regions. We interpret these regions as reflecting the formation regimes of terrestrial-like planets (radii less than 1.7 Earth radii), gas dwarf planets with rocky cores and hydrogen-helium envelopes (radii between 1.7 and 3.9 Earth radii) and ice or gas giant planets (radii greater than 3.9 Earth radii). These transitions correspond well with those inferred from dynamical mass estimates, implying that host star metallicity, which is a proxy for the initial solids inventory of the protoplanetary disk, is a key ingredient regulating the structure of planetary systems.

  2. Three regimes of extrasolar planet radius inferred from host star metallicities

    PubMed Central

    Buchhave, Lars A.; Bizzarro, Martin; Latham, David W.; Sasselov, Dimitar; Cochran, William D.; Endl, Michael; Isaacson, Howard; Juncher, Diana; Marcy, Geoffrey W.

    2014-01-01

    Approximately half of the extrasolar planets (exoplanets) with radii less than four Earth radii are in orbits with short periods1. Despite their sheer abundance, the compositions of such planets are largely unknown. The available evidence suggests that they range in composition from small, high-density rocky planets to low-density planets consisting of rocky cores surrounded by thick hydrogen and helium gas envelopes. Here we report the metallicities (that is, the abundances of elements heavier than hydrogen and helium) of more than 400 stars hosting 600 exoplanet candidates, and find that the exoplanets can be categorized into three populations defined by statistically distinct (~4.5σ) metallicity regions. We interpret these regions as reflecting the formation regimes of terrestrial-like planets (radii less than 1.7 Earth radii), gas dwarf planets with rocky cores and hydrogen-helium envelopes (radii between 1.7 and 3.9 Earth radii) and ice or gas giant planets (radii greater than 3.9 Earth radii). These transitions correspond well with those inferred from dynamical mass estimates2,3, implying that host star metallicity, which is a proxy for the initial solids inventory of the protoplanetary disk, is a key ingredient regulating the structure of planetary systems. PMID:24870544

  3. A Spitzer Infrared Radius for the Transiting Extrasolar Planet HD 209458 b

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Richardson, L. Jeremy; Harrington, Joseph; Seager, Sara; Deming, Drake

    2007-01-01

    We have measured the infrared transit of the extrasolar planet HD 209458 b using the Spitzer Space Telescope. We observed two primary eclipse events (one partial and one complete transit) using the 24 micrometer array of the Multiband Imaging Photometer for Spitzer (MIPS). We analyzed a total of 2392 individual images (10-second integrations) of the planetary system, recorded before, during, and after transit. We perform optimal photometry on the images and use the local zodiacal light as a short-term flux reference. At this long wavelength, the transit curve has a simple box-like shape, allowing robust solutions for the stellar and planetary radii independent of stellar limb darkening, which is negligible at 24 micrometers. We derive a stellar radius of R(sub *) = 1.06 plus or minus 0.07 solar radius, a planetary radius of R(sub p) = 1.26 plus or minus 0.08 R(sub J), and a stellar mass of 1.17 solar mass. Within the errors, our results agree with the measurements at visible wavelengths. The 24 micrometer radius of the planet therefore does not differ significantly compared to the visible result. We point out the potential for deriving extrasolar transiting planet radii to high accuracy using transit photometry at slightly shorter IR wavelengths where greater photometric precision is possible.

  4. A Model of the Temporal Variability of Optical Light from Extrasolar Terrestrial Planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ford, E. B.; Seager, S.; Turner, E. L.

    2001-05-01

    New observatories such as TPF (NASA) and Darwin (ESA) are being designed to detect light directly from terrestrial-mass planets. Such observations will provide new data to constrain theories of planet formation and may identify the possible presence of liquid water and even spectroscopic signatures suggestive of life. We model the light scattered by Earth-like planets focusing on temporal variability due to planetary rotation and weather. Since a majority of the scattered light comes from only a small fraction of the planet's surface, significant variations in brightness are possible. The variations can be as large as a factor of two for a cloud-free planet which has a range of albedos similar to those of the different surfaces found on Earth. If a significant fraction of the observed light is scattered by the planet's atmosphere, including clouds, then the amplitude of variations due to surface features will be diluted. Atmospheric variability (e.g. clouds) itself is extremely interesting because it provides evidence for weather. The planet's rotation period, fractional ice and cloud cover, gross distribution of land and water on the surface, large scale weather patterns, large regions of unusual reflectivity or color (such as major desserts or vegetation's "red edge") as well as the geometry of its spin, orbit, and illumination relative to the observer all have substantial effects on the planet's rotational light curve.

  5. Metal Hydride and Alkali Halide Opacities in Extrasolar Giant Planets and Cool Stellar Atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Weck, Philippe F.; Stancil, Phillip C.; Kirby, Kate; Schweitzer, Andreas; Hauschildt, Peter H.

    2006-01-01

    The lack of accurate and complete molecular line and continuum opacity data has been a serious limitation to developing atmospheric models of cool stars and Extrasolar Giant Planets (EGPs). We report our recent calculations of molecular opacities resulting from the presence of metal hydrides and alkali halides. The resulting data have been included in the PHOENIX stellar atmosphere code (Hauschildt & Baron 1999). The new models, calculated using spherical geometry for all gravities considered, also incorporate our latest database of nearly 670 million molecular lines, and updated equations of state.

  6. Molecular Line and Continuum Opacities for Modeling of Extrasolar Giant Planet and Cool Stellar Atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Weck, P. F.; Schweitzer, A.; Stancil, P. C.; Hauschildt, P. H.; Kirby, K.; Yamaguchi, Y.; Allen, W. D.

    2002-01-01

    The molecular line and continuum opacities are investigated in the atmospheres of cool stars and Extrasolar Giant Planets (EGPs). Using a combination of ab inito and experimentally derived potential curves and dipole transition moments, accurate data have been calculated for rovibrationally-resolved oscillator strengths and photodissociation cross sections in the B' (sup 2)Sigma+ (left arrow) X (sup 2)Sigma+ and A (sup 2)Pi (left arrow) X (sup 2)Sigma+ band systems in MgH. We also report our progress on the study of the electronic structure of LiCl and FeH.

  7. Assessing the Chemistry of Tidally Locked Earth-like Planets around M-type Stars Using a 3D Coupled Chemistry-Climate Model (CESM/WACCM)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lanzano, Alexander

    2016-10-01

    Given recent discoveries there is a very real potential for tidally-locked Earth-like planets to exist orbiting M stars. To determine whether these planets may be habitable it is necessary to understand the nature of their atmospheres. In our investigation we simulate the evolution of present-day Earth while placed in tidally-locked orbit (meaning the same side of the planet always faces the star) around an M dwarf star. We are particularly interested in the evolution of the planet's ozone layer and whether it will shield the planet, and therefore life, from harmful radiation.To accomplish the above objectives we use a state-of-the-art 3-D terrestrial model, the Whole Atmosphere Community Climate Model (WACCM), which fully couples chemistry and climate, and therefore allows self-consistent simulations of atmospheric constituents and their effects on a planet's climate, surface radiation and thus habitability. Preliminary results show that this model is stable and that a tidally-locked Earth is protected from harmful UV radiation produced by G stars. The next step shall be to adapt this model for an M star by including its UV and visible spectrum.This investigation will both provide an insight into the potential for habitable exoplanets and further define the nature of the habitable zones for M class stars. We will also be able to narrow the definition of the habitable zones around distant stars, which will help us identify these planets in the future. Furthermore, this project will allow for a more thorough analysis of data from past and future exoplanet observing missions by defining the atmospheric composition of Earth-like planets around a variety of types of stars.

  8. Fast spin of the young extrasolar planet β Pictoris b.

    PubMed

    Snellen, Ignas A G; Brandl, Bernhard R; de Kok, Remco J; Brogi, Matteo; Birkby, Jayne; Schwarz, Henriette

    2014-05-01

    The spin of a planet arises from the accretion of angular momentum during its formation, but the details of this process are still unclear. In the Solar System, the equatorial rotation velocities and, consequently, spin angular momenta of most of the planets increase with planetary mass; the exceptions to this trend are Mercury and Venus, which, since formation, have significantly spun down because of tidal interactions. Here we report near-infrared spectroscopic observations, at a resolving power of 100,000, of the young extrasolar gas giant planet β Pictoris b (refs 7, 8). The absorption signal from carbon monoxide in the planet's thermal spectrum is found to be blueshifted with respect to that from the parent star by approximately 15 kilometres per second, consistent with a circular orbit. The combined line profile exhibits a rotational broadening of about 25 kilometres per second, meaning that β Pictoris b spins significantly faster than any planet in the Solar System, in line with the extrapolation of the known trend in spin velocity with planet mass.

  9. A map of the day-night contrast of the extrasolar planet HD 189733b.

    PubMed

    Knutson, Heather A; Charbonneau, David; Allen, Lori E; Fortney, Jonathan J; Agol, Eric; Cowan, Nicolas B; Showman, Adam P; Cooper, Curtis S; Megeath, S Thomas

    2007-05-10

    'Hot Jupiter' extrasolar planets are expected to be tidally locked because they are close (<0.05 astronomical units, where 1 au is the average Sun-Earth distance) to their parent stars, resulting in permanent daysides and nightsides. By observing systems where the planet and star periodically eclipse each other, several groups have been able to estimate the temperatures of the daysides of these planets. A key question is whether the atmosphere is able to transport the energy incident upon the dayside to the nightside, which will determine the temperature at different points on the planet's surface. Here we report observations of HD 189733, the closest of these eclipsing planetary systems, over half an orbital period, from which we can construct a 'map' of the distribution of temperatures. We detected the increase in brightness as the dayside of the planet rotated into view. We estimate a minimum brightness temperature of 973 +/- 33 K and a maximum brightness temperature of 1,212 +/- 11 K at a wavelength of 8 mum, indicating that energy from the irradiated dayside is efficiently redistributed throughout the atmosphere, in contrast to a recent claim for another hot Jupiter. Our data indicate that the peak hemisphere-integrated brightness occurs 16 +/- 6 degrees before opposition, corresponding to a hotspot shifted east of the substellar point. The secondary eclipse (when the planet moves behind the star) occurs 120 +/- 24 s later than predicted, which may indicate a slightly eccentric orbit.

  10. The runaway Greenhouse revisited: it's "theoretically possible for an Earth-like planet at 1 AU", plus implications for more diverse planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Goldblatt, C.; Zahnle, K. J.; Crisp, D.; Robinson, T. D.

    2013-12-01

    For water-vapour rich atmospheres, there is an asymptotic limit on thermal emission to space. If more sunlight is absorbed than this limit, energy balance is no longer possible and runaway heating occurs, evaporating the ocean and sterilizing the planet en route. Here, we present recently published work (Goldblatt et al., 2013) which was the first full re-evaluation of the problem since classic 1980's era work (e.g. Watson et al., 1984; Abe & Matsui, 1988; Kasting, 1988). With modern molecular absorption databases and a line-by-line resolution model, we find that the thermal limit is lower than previous estimates (282Wm-2, down from 310Wm-2) and that much more sunlight is absorbed by a steam atmosphere (294Wm-2, up from 222Wm-2). The immediate implication is that a cloud-free moist atmosphere on Earth would cause a runaway greenhouse. Triggering it would simply be a matter of sufficient heating, with around 30,000ppmv being sufficient in our most Earth-like model. This is substantially different than previous calculations, where weak solar absorption meant that a higher solar flux was required. Our published calculations are for the limit of clear-skies; any clouds would reduce both the thermal radiation emitted and the solar radiation absorbed, so clouds could make the runaway greenhouse either more or less likely. It can be shown that and excess of cloud reflection over cloud greenhouse is required to maintain temperate climate on Earth today - but how clouds will change in a warming atmosphere is far from clear. Work in progress (and hopefully ready by December!) on cloudy runaway greenhouse models will hopefully constrain this better. Wider implications for planetary stability will also be discussed. For example, water-world planets, with minimal background gas in the atmosphere may be highly susceptible to runaway greenhouses (heating Europa might take it directly from a snowball to a runaway). High CO2 levels after previous Snowball Earth events did not

  11. Early Direct Imaging and Spectral Characterization of Extrasolar Planets with the SCExAO/CHARIS

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Currie, Thayne; Guyon, Olivier; Kasdin, Jeremy; Brandt, Timothy; Groff, Tyler; Jovanovic, Nemanja; Lozi, Julien; Chilcote, Jeffrey K.; Uyama, Taichi; Ascensio-Torres, Ruben; Tamura, Motohide; Norris, Barnaby

    2018-01-01

    We present selected direct imaging/spectroscopy results from Subaru’s extreme adaptive optics system, SCExAO, coupled with the CHARIS integral field spectrograph obtained from the first full year of CHARIS’s operation. SCExAO/CHARIS yields high signal-to-noise detections and 1.1—2.4 micron spectra of benchmark directly-imaged companions like HR 8799 cde and kappa And b that clarify their atmospheric properties. We describe these results and multi-epoch, multi-wavelength imaging of LkCa 15 to assess the (non-)existence of protoplanetary companions, and briefly describe upgrades to SCExAO that will allow it to image and characterize even fainter self-luminous extrasolar planets and eventually mature planets in reflected light.

  12. Infrared spectroscopy of the transiting extrasolar planet HD 209458 b during secondary eclipse

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Richardson, Lee Jeremy

    2003-10-01

    We present spectroscopic observations that place strong limits on the atmospheric structure of the transiting extrasolar planet HD 209458 b. The discovery of the transit has led to several new observations that have provided the most de tailed information on the physical properties of a planet outside the solar system. These observations have concentrated on the primary eclipse, the time at which the planet crosses in front of the star as seen from Earth. The measurements have determined the basic physical characteristics of the planet, including radius, mass, average density, and orbital inclination, and have even refined values of the stellar mass and radius. Transmission spectroscopy of the system during primary eclipse resulted in the first detection of the atmosphere of an extrasolar planet, with the measurement of the sodium doublet. The present work discusses the first reported attempts to detect the secondary eclipse, or the disappearance of the planet behind the star, in the infrared. We devise the method of ‘occultation spectroscopy’ to detect the planetary spectrum, by searching in combined light for subtle changes in the shape of the spectrum as the planet passes behind the star. Predicted secondary eclipse events were observed from the Very Large Telescope (VLT) on UT 8 and 15 July 2001 using the Infrared Spectrometer and Array Camera (3.5 3.7 μm). Further observations from the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility (IRTF) using the SpeX instrument (1.9 4.2 μm) included two predicted secondary eclipse events on UT 20 and 27 September 2001. Analysis of these data reveal a statistically significant non- detection of the planetary spectrum. The results place strong limits on the structure of the planetary atmosphere and reject widely-accepted models for the planet that assume the incident stellar radiation is completely absorbed and re-emitted in the substellar hemisphere. Situations that remain consistent with our data include an isothermal atmosphere or

  13. THE PROJECT: an Observatory / Transport Spaceship for Discovering and Populating Habitable Extrasolar Terrestrial Planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kilston, S.

    1998-12-01

    Recent extrasolar planet discoveries and related progress in astrophysics have refined our knowledge of the implications of the Drake equation. The Space Interferometry Mission and the planned Terrestrial Planet Finder will deepen this understanding, and begin pointing the way to places we need to explore at closer range. If the correct resolution of the Fermi paradox regarding intelligent extraterrestrials (``where are they?") is found to lie in the actual scarcity of such beings, it may turn out that we are more advanced than most other life-forms in our galaxy. In this case, a main purpose in finding planets may be to find places for us to go: astronomy will once again play a major role in human navigation and migration. We describe a strawman design concept for an astronomical observatory ship designed for launch beyond our solar system within several hundred years. This ship design would employ plausible physics, biology, technology, sociology, and economics to carry one million passengers in a one-G environment shielded from space radiation. A cruising speed under 0.01 c, slower than in many science-fiction concepts, minimizes power requirements and the danger from collisional impacts. The ship would contain all subsystems needed to sustain multi-generational life on a voyage of thousands of years, as well as the observatories to identify for human settlement a habitable extrasolar planet. Even the modestly advanced technology described here could spread intelligent life throughout our galaxy within 40 million years, a very small fraction of the galaxy's age. Motivation for such an ambitious project is three-fold: expanding our knowledge of the universe, enlisting the efforts and enthusiasms of humankind toward a very grand goal which will stimulate progress in all aspects of our cultures and technologies, and participating in the process of spreading life so its survivability and fruition are enhanced.

  14. Production of Star-Grazing and Star-Impacting Planetestimals via Orbital Migration of Extrasolar Planets

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Quillen, A. C.; Holman, M.

    2000-01-01

    During the orbital migration of a giant extrasolar planet via ejection of planetesimals (as studied by Murray et al. in 1998), inner mean-motion resonances can be strong enough to cause planetesimals to graze or impact the star. We integrate numerically the motions of particles which pass through the 3:1 or 4:1 mean-motion resonances of a migrating Jupiter-mass planet. We find that many particles can be trapped in the 3:1 or 4:1 resonances and pumped to high enough eccentricities that they impact the star. This implies that for a planet migrating a substantial fraction of its semimajor axis, a fraction of its mass in planetesimals could impact the star. This process may be capable of enriching the metallicity of the star at a time when the star is no longer fully convective. Upon close approaches to the star, the surfaces of these planetesimals will be sublimated. Orbital migration should cause continuing production of evaporating bodies, suggesting that this process should be detectable with searches for transient absorption lines in young stars. The remainder of the particles will not impact the star but can be ejected subsequently by the planet as it migrates further inward. This allows the planet to migrate a substantial fraction of its initial semimajor axis by ejecting planetesimals.

  15. Homogeneous Studies of Transiting Extrasolar Planets: Current Status and Future Plans

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Taylor, John

    2011-09-01

    We now know of over 500 planets orbiting stars other than our Sun. The jewels in the crown are the transiting planets, for these are the only ones whose masses and radii are measurable. They are fundamental for our understanding of the formation, evolution, structure and atmospheric properties of extrasolar planets. However, their characterization is not straightforward, requiring extremely high-precision photometry and spectroscopy as well as input from theoretical stellar models. I summarize the motivation and current status of a project to measure the physical properties of all known transiting planetary systems using homogeneous techniques (Southworth 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 in preparation). Careful attention is paid to the treatment of limb darkening, contaminating light, correlated noise, numerical integration, orbital eccentricity and orientation, systematic errors from theoretical stellar models, and empirical constraints. Complete error budgets are calculated for each system and can be used to determine which type of observation would be most useful for improving the parameter measurements. Known correlations between the orbital periods, masses, surface gravities, and equilibrium temperatures of transiting planets can be explored more safely due to the homogeneity of the properties. I give a sneak preview of Homogeneous Studies Paper 4, which includes the properties of thirty transiting planetary systems observed by the CoRoT, Kepler and Deep Impact space missions. Future opportunities are discussed, plus remaining problems with our understanding of transiting planets. I acknowledge funding from the UK STFC in the form of an Advanced Fellowship.

  16. Dependence of the Onset of the Runaway Greenhouse Effect on the Latitudinal Surface Water Distribution of Earth-Like Planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kodama, T.; Nitta, A.; Genda, H.; Takao, Y.; O'ishi, R.; Abe-Ouchi, A.; Abe, Y.

    2018-02-01

    Liquid water is one of the most important materials affecting the climate and habitability of a terrestrial planet. Liquid water vaporizes entirely when planets receive insolation above a certain critical value, which is called the runaway greenhouse threshold. This threshold forms the inner most limit of the habitable zone. Here we investigate the effects of the distribution of surface water on the runaway greenhouse threshold for Earth-sized planets using a three-dimensional dynamic atmosphere model. We considered a 1 bar atmosphere whose composition is similar to the current Earth's atmosphere with a zonally uniform distribution of surface water. As previous studies have already showed, we also recognized two climate regimes: the land planet regime, which has dry low-latitude and wet high-latitude regions, and the aqua planet regime, which is globally wet. We showed that each regime is controlled by the width of the Hadley circulation, the amount of surface water, and the planetary topography. We found that the runaway greenhouse threshold varies continuously with the surface water distribution from about 130% (an aqua planet) to 180% (the extreme case of a land planet) of the present insolation at Earth's orbit. Our results indicate that the inner edge of the habitable zone is not a single sharp boundary, but a border whose location varies depending on planetary surface condition, such as the amount of surface water. Since land planets have wider habitable zones and less cloud cover, land planets would be good targets for future observations investigating planetary habitability.

  17. Hot Science with a "Warm" Telescope: Observations of Extrasolar Planets During the Spitzer Warm Mission

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Grillmair, Carl J.; Carey, S.; Helou, G.; Hurt, R.; Rebull, L.; Soifer, T.; Squires, G. K.; Storrie-Lombardi, L.

    2007-12-01

    The Spitzer Space Telescope will exhaust its cryogen supply sometime around March of 2009. However, the observatory is expected to remain operational until early 2014 with undiminished 3.6 and 4.5 micron imaging capabilities over two 5'x5’ fields-of-view. During this "warm” mission, Spitzer will operate with extremely high efficiency and provide up to 35,000 hours of science observing time. This will enable unprecedented opportunities to address key scientific questions requiring large allocations of observing time, while maintaining opportunities for broad community use with more "traditional” time allocations. Spitzer will remain a particularly valuable resource for studies of extrasolar planets, with applications including: 1) transit timing observations and precise radius measurements of Earth-sized planets transiting nearby M-dwarfs, 2) measuring thermal emission and distinguishing between broad band emission and absorption in the atmospheres of transiting hot Jupiters, 3) measuring orbital phase variations of thermal emission for both transiting and non-transiting, close-in planets, and 4) sensitive imaging searches for young planets at large angular separations from their parent stars.

  18. Atmospheric mass-loss of extrasolar planets orbiting magnetically active host stars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lalitha, Sairam; Schmitt, J. H. M. M.; Dash, Spandan

    2018-06-01

    Magnetic stellar activity of exoplanet hosts can lead to the production of large amounts of high-energy emission, which irradiates extrasolar planets, located in the immediate vicinity of such stars. This radiation is absorbed in the planets' upper atmospheres, which consequently heat up and evaporate, possibly leading to an irradiation-induced mass-loss. We present a study of the high-energy emission in the four magnetically active planet-bearing host stars, Kepler-63, Kepler-210, WASP-19, and HAT-P-11, based on new XMM-Newton observations. We find that the X-ray luminosities of these stars are rather high with orders of magnitude above the level of the active Sun. The total XUV irradiation of these planets is expected to be stronger than that of well-studied hot Jupiters. Using the estimated XUV luminosities as the energy input to the planetary atmospheres, we obtain upper limits for the total mass- loss in these hot Jupiters.

  19. Detecting Close-In Extrasolar Giant Planets with the Kepler Photometer via Scattered Light

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jenkins, J. M.; Doyle, L. R.; Kepler Discovery Mission Team

    2003-05-01

    NASA's Kepler Mission will be launched in 2007 primarily to search for transiting Earth-sized planets in the habitable zones of solar-like stars. In addition, it will be poised to detect the reflected light component from close-in extrasolar giant planets (CEGPs) similar to 51 Peg b. Here we use the DIARAD/SOHO time series along with models for the reflected light signatures of CEGPs to evaluate Kepler's ability to detect such planets. We examine the detectability as a function of stellar brightness, stellar rotation period, planetary orbital inclination angle, and planetary orbital period, and then estimate the total number of CEGPs that Kepler will detect over its four year mission. The analysis shows that intrinsic stellar variability of solar-like stars is a major obstacle to detecting the reflected light from CEGPs. Monte Carlo trials are used to estimate the detection threshold required to limit the total number of expected false alarms to no more than one for a survey of 100,000 stellar light curves. Kepler will likely detect 100-760 51 Peg b-like planets by reflected light with orbital periods up to 7 days. LRD was supported by the Carl Sagan Chair at the Center for the Study of Life in the Universe, a division of the SETI Institute. JMJ received support from the Kepler Mission Photometer and Science Office at NASA Ames Research Center.

  20. Astrometric Detection of Extrasolar Planets: Results of a Feasibility Study with the Palomar 5 Meter Telescope

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Pravdo, Steven H.; Shaklan, Stuart B.

    1996-01-01

    The detection of extrasolar planets around stars like the Sun remains an important goal of astronomy. We present results from Palomar 5 m observations of the open cluster NGC 2420 in which we measure some of the sources of noise that will be present in an astrometric search for extrasolar planets. This is the first time that such a large aperture has been used for high-precision astrometry. We find that the atmospheric noise is 150 micro-arcsec hr(exp 1/2) across a 90 sec field of view and that differential chromatic refraction (DCR) can be calibrated to 128 micro-arcsec for observations within 1 hr of the meridian and 45 deg of zenith. These results confirm that a model for astrometric measurements can be extrapolated to large apertures. We demonstrate, based upon these results, that a large telescope achieves the sensitivity required to perform a statistically significant search for extra solar planets. We describe an astrometric technique to detect planets, the astrometric signals expected, the role of reference stars, and the sources of measurement noise: photometric noise, atmospheric motion between stars, sky background, instrumental noise, and DCR. For the latter, we discuss a method to reduce the noise further to 66 micro-arcsecond for observations within 1 hr of the meridian and 45 deg of zenith. We discuss optimal lists of target stars taken from the latest Gliese & Jahreiss catalog of nearby stars with the largest potential astrometric signals, declination limits for both telescope accessibility and reduced DCR, and galactic latitude limits for a sufficiant number of reference stars. Two samples are described from which one can perform statistically significant searches for gas giant planets around nearby stars. One sample contains 100 "solar class" stars with an average stellar mass of 0.82 solar mass; the other maximizes the number of stars, 574, by searching mainly low-mass M stars. We perform Monte Carlo simulations of the statistical significance of

  1. High-resolution simulations of the final assembly of Earth-like planets. 2. Water delivery and planetary habitability.

    PubMed

    Raymond, Sean N; Quinn, Thomas; Lunine, Jonathan I

    2007-02-01

    The water content and habitability of terrestrial planets are determined during their final assembly, from perhaps 100 1,000-km "planetary embryos " and a swarm of billions of 1-10-km "planetesimals. " During this process, we assume that water-rich material is accreted by terrestrial planets via impacts of water-rich bodies that originate in the outer asteroid region. We present analysis of water delivery and planetary habitability in five high-resolution simulations containing about 10 times more particles than in previous simulations. These simulations formed 15 terrestrial planets from 0.4 to 2.6 Earth masses, including five planets in the habitable zone. Every planet from each simulation accreted at least the Earth's current water budget; most accreted several times that amount (assuming no impact depletion). Each planet accreted at least five water-rich embryos and planetesimals from the past 2.5 astronomical units; most accreted 10-20 water-rich bodies. We present a new model for water delivery to terrestrial planets in dynamically calm systems, with low-eccentricity or low-mass giant planets-such systems may be very common in the Galaxy. We suggest that water is accreted in comparable amounts from a few planetary embryos in a " hit or miss " way and from millions of planetesimals in a statistically robust process. Variations in water content are likely to be caused by fluctuations in the number of water-rich embryos accreted, as well as from systematic effects, such as planetary mass and location, and giant planet properties.

  2. Kepler’s Earth-like Planets Should Not Be Confirmed without Independent Detection: The Case of Kepler-452b

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mullally, Fergal; Thompson, Susan E.; Coughlin, Jeffrey L.; Burke, Christopher J.; Rowe, Jason F.

    2018-05-01

    We show that the claimed confirmed planet Kepler-452b (a.k.a., K07016.01, KIC 8311864) cannot be confirmed using a purely statistical validation approach. Kepler detects many more periodic signals from instrumental effects than it does from transits, and it is likely impossible to confidently distinguish the two types of events at low signal-to-noise. As a result, the scenario that the observed signal is due to an instrumental artifact cannot be ruled out with 99% confidence, and the system must still be considered a candidate planet. We discuss the implications for other confirmed planets in or near the habitable zone.

  3. Transit spectroscopy of the extrasolar planet HD 209458B: The search for water

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rojo, Patricio Michel

    This dissertation describes an attempt to detect water in the atmosphere of the extrasolar planet HD 209458b using transit spectroscopy. It first discusses the importance of water detection and reviews the state of knowledge about extrasolar planets. This review discusses the main statistical trends and describes the detection methods employed to this date. The importance of the transiting planets and the many measurements of the known ones are also discussed. A radiative transfer model designed and built specifically for this project predicts, given a planetary temperature/pressure/composition profile, the dependence in wavelength of the stellar spectrum modulation due to a transiting planet. A total of 352 spectra around 1.8 [mu]m were obtained on four nights (three in transit) of observations on August 3--4, September 26, and October 3 of 2002 using ISAAC at the Very Large Telescope. Correlating the modeled modulation with the infrared spectra yields a nondetection of water in the atmosphere of HD 209458b. It is found that the nondetection is due to an unfortunate choice of observing parameters and conditions that made it impossible to reach the required sensitivity. Nonetheless, the results are scaled with synthetic spectra to place strong limits on the planetary system configurations for which the observing parameters and telluric conditions would have yielded a successful detection. None of the 10 other known transiting planets would be detectable with the choice of parameters and conditions for this observation. A quantitative model of an improved observing strategy for future observations of this kind is developed. The improvements include: airmass and timing constraints, the simultaneous observation of a calibrator star, and a new method to find the optimal wavelength range. The data-reduction process includes several original techniques that were developed during this work, such as a method to remove fringes from flat fields and several methods to correct

  4. From Hot Jupiters to Super-Earths: Characterizing the Atmospheres of Extrasolar Planets with the Spitzer Space Telescope

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Knutson, Heather

    2009-05-01

    The Spitzer Space Telescope has been a remarkably successful platform for studies of exoplanet atmospheres, with notable results including the first detection of the light emitted by an extrasolar planet (Deming et al. 2005, Charbonneau et al. 2005), the first spectrum of an extrasolar planet (Richardson et al. 2007, Grillmair et al. 2007), and the first map of the flux distribution across the surface of an extrasolar planet (Knutson et al. 2007). These observations have allowed us to characterize the pressure-temperature profiles, chemistry, clouds, and circulation patterns of a select subset of the massive, close-in planets known as hot Jupiters, along with the hot Saturn HD 149026b and the cooler Neptune-mass planet GJ 436b. In my talk I will review the current status of Spitzer observations of transiting planets at the end of the cryogenic mission and look ahead to the observations planned for the two-year warm mission, which will begin this summer after the last of Spitzer's cryogen is exhausted.

  5. Remote life-detection criteria, habitable zone boundaries, and the frequency of Earth-like planets around M and late K stars.

    PubMed

    Kasting, James F; Kopparapu, Ravikumar; Ramirez, Ramses M; Harman, Chester E

    2014-09-02

    The habitable zone (HZ) around a star is typically defined as the region where a rocky planet can maintain liquid water on its surface. That definition is appropriate, because this allows for the possibility that carbon-based, photosynthetic life exists on the planet in sufficient abundance to modify the planet's atmosphere in a way that might be remotely detected. Exactly what conditions are needed, however, to maintain liquid water remains a topic for debate. In the past, modelers have restricted themselves to water-rich planets with CO2 and H2O as the only important greenhouse gases. More recently, some researchers have suggested broadening the definition to include arid, "Dune" planets on the inner edge and planets with captured H2 atmospheres on the outer edge, thereby greatly increasing the HZ width. Such planets could exist, but we demonstrate that an inner edge limit of 0.59 AU or less is physically unrealistic. We further argue that conservative HZ definitions should be used for designing future space-based telescopes, but that optimistic definitions may be useful in interpreting the data from such missions. In terms of effective solar flux, S(eff), the recently recalculated HZ boundaries are: recent Venus--1.78; runaway greenhouse--1.04; moist greenhouse--1.01; maximum greenhouse--0.35; and early Mars--0.32. Based on a combination of different HZ definitions, the frequency of potentially Earth-like planets around late K and M stars observed by Kepler is in the range of 0.4-0.5.

  6. A new statistical method for characterizing the atmospheres of extrasolar planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Henderson, Cassandra S.; Skemer, Andrew J.; Morley, Caroline V.; Fortney, Jonathan J.

    2017-10-01

    By detecting light from extrasolar planets, we can measure their compositions and bulk physical properties. The technologies used to make these measurements are still in their infancy, and a lack of self-consistency suggests that previous observations have underestimated their systemic errors. We demonstrate a statistical method, newly applied to exoplanet characterization, which uses a Bayesian formalism to account for underestimated errorbars. We use this method to compare photometry of a substellar companion, GJ 758b, with custom atmospheric models. Our method produces a probability distribution of atmospheric model parameters including temperature, gravity, cloud model (fsed) and chemical abundance for GJ 758b. This distribution is less sensitive to highly variant data and appropriately reflects a greater uncertainty on parameter fits.

  7. Constraints on planetary formation from the discovery & study of transiting Extrasolar Planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Triaud, A. H. M. J.

    2011-08-01

    After centuries of wondering about the presence of other worlds outside our Solar System, the first extrasolar planets were discovered about fifteen years ago. Since the quest continued. The greatest discovery of our new line of research, exoplanetology, has probably been the large diversity that those new worlds have brought forward; a diversity in mass, in size, in orbital periods, as well as in the architecture of the systems we discover. Planets very different from those composing our system have been detected. As such, we found hot Jupiters, gas giants which orbital period is only of a few days, mini-Neptunes, bodies five to ten time the mass of the Earth but covered by a thick gas layer, super-Earths of similar masses but rocky, lava worlds, and more recently, maybe the first ocean planet. Many more surprises probably await us. This thesis has for subject this very particular planet class: the hot Jupiters. Those astonishing worlds are still badly understood. Yet, thanks to the evolution of observational techniques and of the treatment of their signals, we probably have gathered as much knowledge from these worlds, than what was known of our own gas giants prior to their visit by probes. They are laboratories for a series of intense physical phenomena caused by their proximity to their star. Notably, these planets are found in average much larger than expected. In addition to these curiosities, their presence so close to their star is abnormal, the necessary conditions for the formation of such massive bodies, this close, not being plausible. Thus it is more reasonable to explain their current orbits by a formation far from their star, followed by an orbital migration. It is on this last subject that this thesis is on: the origin of hot Jupiters. The laws of physics are universal. Therefore, using the same physical phenomena, we need to explain the existence of hot Jupiters, while explaining why the Jupiter within our Solar System is found five times the

  8. Kepler’s DR25 Most Earth-like Planet Candidates: What To Know Before You Go

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thompson, Susan E.; Kepler Team

    2018-01-01

    The Kepler mission’s latest catalog of planet candidates (data release 25 KOI catalog at the NASA exoplanet archive) was released in June of 2017. The catalog contains 4034 candidates including a significant population of terrestrial-size planets in the habitable zone of FGK dwarf stars. I will highlight what we know about these planet candidates in the DR25 catalog and discuss some of the caveats when working with these detections. Specifically, I will discuss how the noise in the Kepler light curves (from both the instrument and the stars) is known to occasionally produce weak, transit-like signals. We use simulations of this noise to measure how often these signals sneak into the catalog. I will also demonstrate ways to select a high-reliability sample using information available in the catalog. Such considerations may prove useful for anyone planning to use these planet candidates for occurrence rate calculations, choosing targets for follow-up, or deciding which planet to visit on his/her next holiday.

  9. On evolutionary climate tracks in deep mantle volatile cycle computed from numerical mantle convection simulations and its impact on the habitability of the Earth-like planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nakagawa, T.; Tajika, E.; Kadoya, S.

    2017-12-01

    Discussing an impact of evolution and dynamics in the Earth's deep interior on the surface climate change for the last few decades (see review by Ehlmann et al., 2016), the mantle volatile (particularly carbon) degassing in the mid-oceanic ridges seems to play a key role in understanding the evolutionary climate track for Earth-like planets (e.g. Kadoya and Tajika, 2015). However, since the mantle degassing occurs not only in the mid-oceanic ridges but also in the wedge mantle (island arc volcanism) and hotspots, to incorporate more accurate estimate of mantle degassing flux into the climate evolution framework, we developed a coupled model of surface climate-deep Earth evolution in numerical mantle convection simulations, including more accurate deep water and carbon cycle (e.g. Nakagawa and Spiegelman, 2017) with an energy balance theory of climate change. Modeling results suggest that the evolution of planetary climate computed from a developed model is basically consistent with an evolutionary climate track in simplified mantle degassing model (Kadoya and Tajika, 2015), but an occurrence timing of global (snowball) glaciation is strongly dependent on mantle degassing rate occurred with activities of surface plate motions. With this implication, the surface plate motion driven by deep mantle dynamics would play an important role in the planetary habitability of such as the Earth and Earth-like planets over geologic time-scale.

  10. Equilibrium Temperatures and Albedos of Habitable Earth-Like Planets in a Coupled Atmosphere-Ocean GCM

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Del Genio, Anthony; Way, Michael; Amundsen, David; Sohl, Linda; Fujii, Yuka; Ebihara, Yuka; Kiang, Nancy; Chandler, Mark; Aleinov, Igor; Kelley, Maxwell

    2017-01-01

    The potential habitability of detected exoplanets is typically assessed using the concept of equilibrium temperature (T[subscript] e) based on cloud-free 1-D models with assumed albedo equal to Earth's (0.3) to determine whether a planet lies in the habitable zone. Incident stellar flux appears to be a better metric for stars unlike the Sun. These estimates, however, ignore the effect of clouds on planetary albedo and the fact that the climates of synchronously rotating planets are not well predicted by 1-D models. Given that most planet candidates that will be detected in the next few years will be tidally locked and orbiting M stars, how might the habitable zone e tailored to better in-form characterization with scarce observing resources?

  11. The SOPHIE search for northern extrasolar planets. X. Detection and characterization of giant planets by the dozen

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hébrard, G.; Arnold, L.; Forveille, T.; Correia, A. C. M.; Laskar, J.; Bonfils, X.; Boisse, I.; Díaz, R. F.; Hagelberg, J.; Sahlmann, J.; Santos, N. C.; Astudillo-Defru, N.; Borgniet, S.; Bouchy, F.; Bourrier, V.; Courcol, B.; Delfosse, X.; Deleuil, M.; Demangeon, O.; Ehrenreich, D.; Gregorio, J.; Jovanovic, N.; Labrevoir, O.; Lagrange, A.-M.; Lovis, C.; Lozi, J.; Moutou, C.; Montagnier, G.; Pepe, F.; Rey, J.; Santerne, A.; Ségransan, D.; Udry, S.; Vanhuysse, M.; Vigan, A.; Wilson, P. A.

    2016-04-01

    We present new radial velocity measurements of eight stars that were secured with the spectrograph SOPHIE at the 193 cm telescope of the Haute-Provence Observatory. The measurements allow detecting and characterizing new giant extrasolar planets. The host stars are dwarfs of spectral types between F5 and K0 and magnitudes of between 6.7 and 9.6; the planets have minimum masses Mp sin I of between 0.4 to 3.8 MJup and orbitalperiods of several days to several months. The data allow only single planets to be discovered around the first six stars (HD 143105, HIP 109600, HD 35759, HIP 109384, HD 220842, and HD 12484), but one of them shows the signature of an additional substellar companion in the system. The seventh star, HIP 65407, allows the discovery of two giant planets that orbit just outside the 12:5 resonance in weak mutual interaction. The last star, HD 141399, was already known to host a four-planet system; our additional data and analyses allow new constraints to be set on it. We present Keplerian orbits of all systems, together with dynamical analyses of the two multi-planet systems. HD 143105 is one of the brightest stars known to host a hot Jupiter, which could allow numerous follow-up studies to be conducted even though this is not a transiting system. The giant planets HIP 109600b, HIP 109384b, and HD 141399c are located in the habitable zone of their host star. Based on observations collected with the SOPHIE spectrograph on the 1.93-m telescope at Observatoire de Haute-Provence (CNRS), France, by the SOPHIE Consortium (programs 07A.PNP.CONS to 15A.PNP.CONS).Full version of the SOPHIE measurements (Table 1) is only available at the CDS via anonymous ftp to http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr (ftp://130.79.128.5) or via http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/qcat?J/A+A/588/A145

  12. Remote life-detection criteria, habitable zone boundaries, and the frequency of Earth-like planets around M and late K stars

    PubMed Central

    Kasting, James F.; Kopparapu, Ravikumar; Ramirez, Ramses M.; Harman, Chester E.

    2014-01-01

    The habitable zone (HZ) around a star is typically defined as the region where a rocky planet can maintain liquid water on its surface. That definition is appropriate, because this allows for the possibility that carbon-based, photosynthetic life exists on the planet in sufficient abundance to modify the planet’s atmosphere in a way that might be remotely detected. Exactly what conditions are needed, however, to maintain liquid water remains a topic for debate. In the past, modelers have restricted themselves to water-rich planets with CO2 and H2O as the only important greenhouse gases. More recently, some researchers have suggested broadening the definition to include arid, “Dune” planets on the inner edge and planets with captured H2 atmospheres on the outer edge, thereby greatly increasing the HZ width. Such planets could exist, but we demonstrate that an inner edge limit of 0.59 AU or less is physically unrealistic. We further argue that conservative HZ definitions should be used for designing future space-based telescopes, but that optimistic definitions may be useful in interpreting the data from such missions. In terms of effective solar flux, Seff, the recently recalculated HZ boundaries are: recent Venus—1.78; runaway greenhouse—1.04; moist greenhouse—1.01; maximum greenhouse—0.35; and early Mars—0.32. Based on a combination of different HZ definitions, the frequency of potentially Earth-like planets around late K and M stars observed by Kepler is in the range of 0.4–0.5. PMID:24277805

  13. Direct observation of extrasolar planets and the development of the gemini planet imager integral field spectrograph

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chilcote, Jeffrey Kaplan

    This thesis is focused on the development and testing of a new instrument capable of finding and characterizing recently-formed Jupiter-sized planets orbiting other stars. To observe these planets, I present the design, construction and testing of the Gemini Planet Imager (GPI) Integral Field Spectrograph (IFS). GPI is a facility class instrument for the Gemini Observatory with the primary goal of directly detecting young Jovian planets. The GPI IFS utilizes an infrared transmissive lenslet array to sample a rectangular 2.7 x 2.7 arcsecond field of view and provide low-resolution spectra across five bands between 1 and 2.5 mum. The dispersing element can be replaced with a Wollaston prism to provide broadband polarimetry across the same five filter bands. The IFS construction was based at the University of California, Los Angeles in collaboration with the Universite de Montreal, Immervision and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. I will present performance results, from in-lab testing, of the Integral Field Spectrograph (IFS) for the Gemini Planet Imager (GPI). The IFS is a large, complex, cryogenic, optical system requiring several years of development and testing. I will present the design and integration of the mechanical and optical performance of the spectrograph optics. The IFS passed its pre-ship review in 2011 and was shipped to University of California, Santa Cruz for integration with the remaining sub-systems of GPI. The UCLA built GPI IFS was integrated with the rest of GPI and is delivering high quality spectral datacubes of GPI's coronagraphic field. Using the NIRC2 instrument located at the Keck Observatory, my collaborators and I observed the planetary companion to beta Pictoris in L' (3.5--4.1mum). Observations taken in the fall of 2009 and 2012 are used to find the location and inclination of the planet relative to the massive debris disk orbiting beta Pictoris. We find that the planet's orbit has a position angle on the sky of 211

  14. The sustainability of habitability on terrestrial planets: Insights, questions, and needed measurements from Mars for understanding the evolution of Earth-like worlds

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ehlmann, B. L.; Anderson, F. S.; Andrews-Hanna, J.; Catling, D. C.; Christensen, P. R.; Cohen, B. A.; Dressing, C. D.; Edwards, C. S.; Elkins-Tanton, L. T.; Farley, K. A.; Fassett, C. I.; Fischer, W. W.; Fraeman, A. A.; Golombek, M. P.; Hamilton, V. E.; Hayes, A. G.; Herd, C. D. K.; Horgan, B.; Hu, R.; Jakosky, B. M.; Johnson, J. R.; Kasting, J. F.; Kerber, L.; Kinch, K. M.; Kite, E. S.; Knutson, H. A.; Lunine, J. I.; Mahaffy, P. R.; Mangold, N.; McCubbin, F. M.; Mustard, J. F.; Niles, P. B.; Quantin-Nataf, C.; Rice, M. S.; Stack, K. M.; Stevenson, D. J.; Stewart, S. T.; Toplis, M. J.; Usui, T.; Weiss, B. P.; Werner, S. C.; Wordsworth, R. D.; Wray, J. J.; Yingst, R. A.; Yung, Y. L.; Zahnle, K. J.

    2016-10-01

    understanding the factors driving the divergent evolutionary paths of the Earth, Venus, and thousands of small rocky extrasolar planets yet to be discovered.

  15. Study of Extra-Solar Planets with the Advanced Fiber Optic Echelle

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Noyes, Robert W.; Boyce, Joseph M. (Technical Monitor)

    2002-01-01

    This is the final report of NASA Grant NAG5-7505, for 'Study of Extra-solar Planets with the Advanced Fiber Optic Echelle'. This program was funded in response to our proposal submitted under NASA NRA 97-OSS-06, with a total period of performance from June 1, 1998 through Feb 28 2002. Principal Investigator is Robert W. Noyes; co-Investigators are Sylvain G. Korzennik (SAO), Peter Niserison (SAO), and Timothy M. Brown (High Altitude Observatory). Since the start of this program we have carried out more than 30 observing runs, typically of 5 to 7 days duration. We obtained a total of around 2000 usable observations of about 150 stars, where a typical observation consists of 3 exposures of 10 minutes each. Using this data base we detected thc two additional planetary companions to the star Upsilon Andromedae. This detection was made independently of, and essentially simultaneously with, a similar detection by the Berkeley group (Marcy et al): the fact that two data sets were completely independent and gave essentially the same orbital parameters for this three-planet system gave a strong confirmation of this important result. We also extended our previous detection of the planet orbiting Rho Coronae Borealis to get a better determination of its orbital eccentricity: e=0.13 +/- 0.05. We detected a new planet in orbit around the star HD 89744, with orbital period 256 days, semi-major axis 0.88 AU, eccentricity 0.70, and minimum mass m sini = 7.2 m(sub Jup). This discovery is significant because of the very high orbital eccentricity, arid also because HD 89744 has both high metallicity [Fe/H] and at the same time a low [C/Fe] abundance ratio.

  16. The effect of a strong stellar flare on the atmospheric chemistry of an earth-like planet orbiting an M dwarf.

    PubMed

    Segura, Antígona; Walkowicz, Lucianne M; Meadows, Victoria; Kasting, James; Hawley, Suzanne

    2010-09-01

    Main sequence M stars pose an interesting problem for astrobiology: their abundance in our galaxy makes them likely targets in the hunt for habitable planets, but their strong chromospheric activity produces high-energy radiation and charged particles that may be detrimental to life. We studied the impact of the 1985 April 12 flare from the M dwarf AD Leonis (AD Leo), simulating the effects from both UV radiation and protons on the atmospheric chemistry of a hypothetical, Earth-like planet located within its habitable zone. Based on observations of solar proton events and the Neupert effect, we estimated a proton flux associated with the flare of 5.9 × 10⁸ protons cm⁻² sr⁻¹ s⁻¹ for particles with energies >10 MeV. Then we calculated the abundance of nitrogen oxides produced by the flare by scaling the production of these compounds during a large solar proton event called the Carrington event. The simulations were performed with a 1-D photochemical model coupled to a 1-D radiative/convective model. Our results indicate that the UV radiation emitted during the flare does not produce a significant change in the ozone column depth of the planet. When the action of protons is included, the ozone depletion reaches a maximum of 94% two years after the flare for a planet with no magnetic field. At the peak of the flare, the calculated UV fluxes that reach the surface, in the wavelength ranges that are damaging for life, exceed those received on Earth during less than 100 s. Therefore, flares may not present a direct hazard for life on the surface of an orbiting habitable planet. Given that AD Leo is one of the most magnetically active M dwarfs known, this conclusion should apply to planets around other M dwarfs with lower levels of chromospheric activity.

  17. The Effect of a Strong Stellar Flare on the Atmospheric Chemistry of an Earth-like Planet Orbiting an M Dwarf

    PubMed Central

    Walkowicz, Lucianne M.; Meadows, Victoria; Kasting, James; Hawley, Suzanne

    2010-01-01

    Abstract Main sequence M stars pose an interesting problem for astrobiology: their abundance in our galaxy makes them likely targets in the hunt for habitable planets, but their strong chromospheric activity produces high-energy radiation and charged particles that may be detrimental to life. We studied the impact of the 1985 April 12 flare from the M dwarf AD Leonis (AD Leo), simulating the effects from both UV radiation and protons on the atmospheric chemistry of a hypothetical, Earth-like planet located within its habitable zone. Based on observations of solar proton events and the Neupert effect, we estimated a proton flux associated with the flare of 5.9 × 108 protons cm−2 sr−1 s−1 for particles with energies >10 MeV. Then we calculated the abundance of nitrogen oxides produced by the flare by scaling the production of these compounds during a large solar proton event called the Carrington event. The simulations were performed with a 1-D photochemical model coupled to a 1-D radiative/convective model. Our results indicate that the UV radiation emitted during the flare does not produce a significant change in the ozone column depth of the planet. When the action of protons is included, the ozone depletion reaches a maximum of 94% two years after the flare for a planet with no magnetic field. At the peak of the flare, the calculated UV fluxes that reach the surface, in the wavelength ranges that are damaging for life, exceed those received on Earth during less than 100 s. Therefore, flares may not present a direct hazard for life on the surface of an orbiting habitable planet. Given that AD Leo is one of the most magnetically active M dwarfs known, this conclusion should apply to planets around other M dwarfs with lower levels of chromospheric activity. Key Words: M dwarf—Flare—Habitable zone—Planetary atmospheres. Astrobiology 10, 751–771. PMID:20879863

  18. Development of a Model of Geophysical and Geochemical Controls on Abiotic Carbon Cycling on Earth-Like Planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Neveu, M.; Felton, R.; Domagal-Goldman, S. D.; Desch, S. J.; Arney, G. N.

    2017-12-01

    About 20 Earth-sized planets (0.6-1.6 Earth masses and radii) have now been discovered beyond our solar system [1]. Although such planets are prime targets in the upcoming search for atmospheric biosignatures, their composition, geology, and climate are essentially unconstrained. Yet, developing an understanding of how these factors influence planetary evolution through time and space is essential to establishing abiotic backgrounds against which any deviations can provide evidence for biological activity. To this end, we are building coupled geophysical-geochemical models of abiotic carbon cycling on such planets. Our models are controlled by atmospheric factors such as temperature and composition, and compute interior inputs to atmospheric species. They account for crustal weathering, ocean-atmosphere equilibria, and exchange with the deep interior as a function of planet composition and size (and, eventually, age).Planets in other solar systems differ from the Earth not only in their bulk physical properties, but also likely in their bulk chemical composition [2], which influences key parameters such as the vigor of mantle convection and the near-surface redox state. Therefore, simulating how variations in such parameters affect carbon cycling requires us to simulate the above processes from first principles, rather than by using arbitrary parameterizations derived from observations as is often done with models of carbon cycling on Earth [3] or extrapolations thereof [4]. As a first step, we have developed a kinetic model of crustal weathering using the PHREEQC code [5] and kinetic data from [6]. We will present the ability of such a model to replicate Earth's carbon cycle using, for the time being, parameterizations for surface-interior-atmosphere exchange processes such as volcanism (e.g., [7]).[1] exoplanet.eu, 7/28/2017.[2] Young et al. (2014) Astrobiology 14, 603-626.[3] Lerman & Wu (2008) Kinetics of Global Geochemical Cycles. In Kinetics of Water

  19. Comparative Study on Hot Atom Coronae of Solar and Extrasolar Planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shematovich, Valery

    Solar/stellar forcing on the upper atmospheres of the solar and extrasolar planets via both absorption of the XUV (soft X-rays and extreme ultraviolet) radiation and atmospheric sputtering results in the formation of an extended neutral corona populated by the suprathermal (hot) H, C, N, and O atoms (see, e.g., Johnson et al., 2008). The hot corona, in turn, is altered by an inflow of the solar wind/magnetospheric plasma and local pick-up ions onto the planetary exosphere. Such inflow results in the formation of the superthermal atoms (energetic neutral atoms - ENAs) due to the charge exchange with the high-energy precipitating ions and can affect the long-term evolution of the atmosphere due to the atmospheric escape. The origin, kinetics and transport of the suprathermal H, C, N, and O atoms in the transition regions (from thermosphere to exosphere) of the planetary atmospheres are discussed. Reactions of dissociative recombination of the ionospheric ions CO _{2} (+) , CO (+) , O _{2} (+) , and N _{2} (+) with thermal electrons are the main photochemical sources of hot atoms. The dissociation of atmospheric molecules by the solar/stellar XUV radiation and accompanying photoelectron fluxes and the induced exothermic photochemistry are also the important sources of the suprathermal atoms. Such kinetic systems with the non-thermal processes are usually investigated with the different (test particles, DSMC, and hybrid) versions of the kinetic Monte Carlo method. In our studies the kinetic energy distribution functions of suprathermal and superthermal atoms were calculated using the stochastic model of the hot planetary corona (Shematovich, 2004, 2010; Groeller et al., 2014), and the Monte Carlo model (Shematovich et al., 2011, 2013) of the high-energy proton and hydrogen atom precipitation into the atmosphere respectively. These functions allowed us to estimate the space distribution of suprathermals in the planetary transition regions. An application of these

  20. Pervasive orbital eccentricities dictate the habitability of extrasolar earths.

    PubMed

    Kita, Ryosuke; Rasio, Frederic; Takeda, Genya

    2010-09-01

    The long-term habitability of Earth-like planets requires low orbital eccentricities. A secular perturbation from a distant stellar companion is a very important mechanism in exciting planetary eccentricities, as many of the extrasolar planetary systems are associated with stellar companions. Although the orbital evolution of an Earth-like planet in a stellar binary system is well understood, the effect of a binary perturbation on a more realistic system containing additional gas-giant planets has been very little studied. Here, we provide analytic criteria confirmed by a large ensemble of numerical integrations that identify the initial orbital parameters leading to eccentric orbits. We show that an extrasolar earth is likely to experience a broad range of orbital evolution dictated by the location of a gas-giant planet, which necessitates more focused studies on the effect of eccentricity on the potential for life.

  1. Venus: The Atmosphere, Climate, Surface, Interior and Near-Space Environment of an Earth-Like Planet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Taylor, Fredric W.; Svedhem, Håkan; Head, James W.

    2018-02-01

    This is a review of current knowledge about Earth's nearest planetary neighbour and near twin, Venus. Such knowledge has recently been extended by the European Venus Express and the Japanese Akatsuki spacecraft in orbit around the planet; these missions and their achievements are concisely described in the first part of the review, along with a summary of previous Venus observations. The scientific discussions which follow are divided into three main sections: on the surface and interior; the atmosphere and climate; and the thermosphere, exosphere and magnetosphere. These reports are intended to provide an overview for the general reader, and also an introduction to the more detailed topical surveys in the following articles in this issue, where full references to original material may be found.

  2. Earth as an extrasolar planet: Earth model validation using EPOXI earth observations.

    PubMed

    Robinson, Tyler D; Meadows, Victoria S; Crisp, David; Deming, Drake; A'hearn, Michael F; Charbonneau, David; Livengood, Timothy A; Seager, Sara; Barry, Richard K; Hearty, Thomas; Hewagama, Tilak; Lisse, Carey M; McFadden, Lucy A; Wellnitz, Dennis D

    2011-06-01

    The EPOXI Discovery Mission of Opportunity reused the Deep Impact flyby spacecraft to obtain spatially and temporally resolved visible photometric and moderate resolution near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopic observations of Earth. These remote observations provide a rigorous validation of whole-disk Earth model simulations used to better understand remotely detectable extrasolar planet characteristics. We have used these data to upgrade, correct, and validate the NASA Astrobiology Institute's Virtual Planetary Laboratory three-dimensional line-by-line, multiple-scattering spectral Earth model. This comprehensive model now includes specular reflectance from the ocean and explicitly includes atmospheric effects such as Rayleigh scattering, gas absorption, and temperature structure. We have used this model to generate spatially and temporally resolved synthetic spectra and images of Earth for the dates of EPOXI observation. Model parameters were varied to yield an optimum fit to the data. We found that a minimum spatial resolution of ∼100 pixels on the visible disk, and four categories of water clouds, which were defined by using observed cloud positions and optical thicknesses, were needed to yield acceptable fits. The validated model provides a simultaneous fit to Earth's lightcurve, absolute brightness, and spectral data, with a root-mean-square (RMS) error of typically less than 3% for the multiwavelength lightcurves and residuals of ∼10% for the absolute brightness throughout the visible and NIR spectral range. We have extended our validation into the mid-infrared by comparing the model to high spectral resolution observations of Earth from the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder, obtaining a fit with residuals of ∼7% and brightness temperature errors of less than 1 K in the atmospheric window. For the purpose of understanding the observable characteristics of the distant Earth at arbitrary viewing geometry and observing cadence, our validated forward model can be

  3. Subaru HDS transmission spectroscopy of the transiting extrasolar planet HD209458b

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Narita, N.; Suto, Y.; Winn, J. N.; Turner, E. L.; Aoki, W.; Leigh, C. J.; Sato, B.; Tamura, M.; Yamada, T.

    2006-02-01

    We have searched for absorption in several common atomic species due to the atmosphere or exosphere of the transiting extrasolar planet HD 209458b, using high precision optical spectra obtained with the Subaru High Dispersion Spectrograph (HDS). Previously we reported an upper limit on Hα absorption of 0.1% (3σ) within a 5.1Å band. Using the same procedure, we now report upper limits on absorption due to the optical transitions of Na D, Li, Hα, Hβ, Hγ, Fe, and Ca. The 3σ upper limit for each transition is approximately 1% within a 0.3Å band (the core of the line), and a few tenths of a per cent within a 2Å band (the full line width). The wide-band results are close to the expected limit due to photon-counting (Poisson) statistics, although in the narrow-band case we have encountered unexplained systematic errors at a few times the Poisson level. These results are consistent with all previously reported detections (Charbonneau et al. 2002, ApJ, 568, 377) and upper limits (Bundy & Marcy 2000, PASP, 112, 1421; Moutou et al. 2001, A&A, 371, 260), but are significantly more sensitive yet achieved from ground based observations.

  4. Spectral Resolution-linked Bias in Transit Spectroscopy of Extrasolar Planets

    SciT

    Deming, Drake; Sheppard, Kyle

    We re-visit the principles of transmission spectroscopy for transiting extrasolar planets, focusing on the overlap between the planetary spectrum and the illuminating stellar spectrum. Virtually all current models of exoplanetary transmission spectra utilize an approximation that is inaccurate when the spectrum of the illuminating star has a complex line structure, such as molecular bands in M-dwarf spectra. In those cases, it is desirable to model the observations using a coupled stellar–planetary radiative transfer model calculated at high spectral resolving power, followed by convolution to the observed resolution. Not consistently accounting for overlap of stellar M-dwarf and planetary lines at highmore » spectral resolution can bias the modeled amplitude of the exoplanetary transmission spectrum, producing modeled absorption that is too strong. We illustrate this bias using the exoplanet TRAPPIST-1b, as observed using Hubble Space Telescope /WFC3. The bias in this case is about 250 ppm, 12% of the modeled transit absorption. Transit spectroscopy using JWST will have access to longer wavelengths where the water bands are intrinsically stronger, and the observed signal-to-noise ratios will be higher than currently possible. We therefore expect that this resolution-linked bias will be especially important for future JWST observations of TESS-discovered super-Earths and mini-Neptunes transiting M-dwarfs.« less

  5. Spectral Resolution-linked Bias in Transit Spectroscopy of Extrasolar Planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Deming, Drake; Sheppard, Kyle

    2017-05-01

    We re-visit the principles of transmission spectroscopy for transiting extrasolar planets, focusing on the overlap between the planetary spectrum and the illuminating stellar spectrum. Virtually all current models of exoplanetary transmission spectra utilize an approximation that is inaccurate when the spectrum of the illuminating star has a complex line structure, such as molecular bands in M-dwarf spectra. In those cases, it is desirable to model the observations using a coupled stellar-planetary radiative transfer model calculated at high spectral resolving power, followed by convolution to the observed resolution. Not consistently accounting for overlap of stellar M-dwarf and planetary lines at high spectral resolution can bias the modeled amplitude of the exoplanetary transmission spectrum, producing modeled absorption that is too strong. We illustrate this bias using the exoplanet TRAPPIST-1b, as observed using Hubble Space Telescope/WFC3. The bias in this case is about 250 ppm, 12% of the modeled transit absorption. Transit spectroscopy using JWST will have access to longer wavelengths where the water bands are intrinsically stronger, and the observed signal-to-noise ratios will be higher than currently possible. We therefore expect that this resolution-linked bias will be especially important for future JWST observations of TESS-discovered super-Earths and mini-Neptunes transiting M-dwarfs.

  6. EUV-driven ionospheres and electron transport on extrasolar giant planets orbiting active stars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chadney, J. M.; Galand, M.; Koskinen, T. T.; Miller, S.; Sanz-Forcada, J.; Unruh, Y. C.; Yelle, R. V.

    2016-03-01

    The composition and structure of the upper atmospheres of extrasolar giant planets (EGPs) are affected by the high-energy spectrum of their host stars from soft X-rays to the extreme ultraviolet (EUV). This emission depends on the activity level of the star, which is primarily determined by its age. In this study, we focus upon EGPs orbiting K- and M-dwarf stars of different ages - ɛ Eridani, AD Leonis, AU Microscopii - and the Sun. X-ray and EUV (XUV) spectra for these stars are constructed using a coronal model. These spectra are used to drive both a thermospheric model and an ionospheric model, providing densities of neutral and ion species. Ionisation - as a result of stellar radiation deposition - is included through photo-ionisation and electron-impact processes. The former is calculated by solving the Lambert-Beer law, while the latter is calculated from a supra-thermal electron transport model. We find that EGP ionospheres at all orbital distances considered (0.1-1 AU) and around all stars selected are dominated by the long-lived H+ ion. In addition, planets with upper atmospheres where H2 is not substantially dissociated (at large orbital distances) have a layer in which H3+ is the major ion at the base of the ionosphere. For fast-rotating planets, densities of short-lived H3+ undergo significant diurnal variations, with the maximum value being driven by the stellar X-ray flux. In contrast, densities of longer-lived H+ show very little day/night variability and the magnitude is driven by the level of stellar EUV flux. The H3+ peak in EGPs with upper atmospheres where H2 is dissociated (orbiting close to their star) under strong stellar illumination is pushed to altitudes below the homopause, where this ion is likely to be destroyed through reactions with heavy species (e.g. hydrocarbons, water). The inclusion of secondary ionisation processes produces significantly enhanced ion and electron densities at altitudes below the main EUV ionisation peak, as

  7. Sonora: A New Generation Model Atmosphere Grid for Brown Dwarfs and Young Extrasolar Giant Planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Marley, Mark S.; Saumon, Didier; Fortney, Jonathan J.; Morley, Caroline; Lupu, Roxana E.; Freedman, Richard; Visscher, Channon

    2017-06-01

    Brown dwarf and giant planet atmospheric structure and composition has been studied both by forward models and, increasingly so, by retrieval methods. While indisputably informative, retrieval methods are of greatest value when judged in the context of grid model predictions. Meanwhile retrieval models can test the assumptions inherent in the forward modeling procedure.In order to provide a new, systematic survey of brown dwarf atmospheric structure, emergent spectra, and evolution, we have constructed a new grid of brown dwarf model atmospheres. We ultimately aim for our grid to span substantial ranges of atmospheric metallilcity, C/O ratios, cloud properties, atmospheric mixing, and other parameters. Spectra predicted by our modeling grid can be compared to both observations and retrieval results to aid in the interpretation and planning of future telescopic observations.We thus present Sonora, a new generation of substellar atmosphere models, appropriate for application to studies of L, T, and Y-type brown dwarfs and young extrasolar giant planets. The models describe the expected temperature-pressure profile and emergent spectra of an atmosphere in radiative-convective equilibrium for ranges of effective temperatures and gravities encompassing 200 ≤ Teff ≤ 2400 K and 2.5 ≤ log g ≤ 5.5. In our poster we briefly describe our modeling methodology, enumerate various updates since our group's previous models, and present our initial tranche of models for cloudless, solar metallicity, and solar carbon-to-oxygen ratio, chemical equilibrium atmospheres. These models will be available online and will be updated as opacities and cloud modeling methods continue to improve.

  8. Sonora: A New Generation Model Atmosphere Grid for Brown Dwarfs and Young Extrasolar Giant Planets

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Marley, Mark S.; Saumon, Didier; Fortney, Jonathan J.; Morley, Caroline; Lupu, Roxana Elena; Freedman, Richard; Visscher, Channon

    2017-01-01

    Brown dwarf and giant planet atmospheric structure and composition has been studied both by forward models and, increasingly so, by retrieval methods. While indisputably informative, retrieval methods are of greatest value when judged in the context of grid model predictions. Meanwhile retrieval models can test the assumptions inherent in the forward modeling procedure. In order to provide a new, systematic survey of brown dwarf atmospheric structure, emergent spectra, and evolution, we have constructed a new grid of brown dwarf model atmospheres. We ultimately aim for our grid to span substantial ranges of atmospheric metallilcity, C/O ratios, cloud properties, atmospheric mixing, and other parameters. Spectra predicted by our modeling grid can be compared to both observations and retrieval results to aid in the interpretation and planning of future telescopic observations. We thus present Sonora, a new generation of substellar atmosphere models, appropriate for application to studies of L, T, and Y-type brown dwarfs and young extrasolar giant planets. The models describe the expected temperature-pressure profile and emergent spectra of an atmosphere in radiative-convective equilibrium for ranges of effective temperatures and gravities encompassing 200 less than or equal to T(sub eff) less than or equal to 2400 K and 2.5 less than or equal to log g less than or equal to 5.5. In our poster we briefly describe our modeling methodology, enumerate various updates since our group's previous models, and present our initial tranche of models for cloudless, solar metallicity, and solar carbon-to-oxygen ratio, chemical equilibrium atmospheres. These models will be available online and will be updated as opacities and cloud modeling methods continue to improve.

  9. Ionisation and discharge in cloud-forming atmospheres of brown dwarfs and extrasolar planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Helling, Ch; Rimmer, P. B.; Rodriguez-Barrera, I. M.; Wood, Kenneth; Robertson, G. B.; Stark, C. R.

    2016-07-01

    Brown dwarfs and giant gas extrasolar planets have cold atmospheres with rich chemical compositions from which mineral cloud particles form. Their properties, like particle sizes and material composition, vary with height, and the mineral cloud particles are charged due to triboelectric processes in such dynamic atmospheres. The dynamics of the atmospheric gas is driven by the irradiating host star and/or by the rotation of the objects that changes during its lifetime. Thermal gas ionisation in these ultra-cool but dense atmospheres allows electrostatic interactions and magnetic coupling of a substantial atmosphere volume. Combined with a strong magnetic field \\gg {{B}\\text{Earth}} , a chromosphere and aurorae might form as suggested by radio and x-ray observations of brown dwarfs. Non-equilibrium processes like cosmic ray ionisation and discharge processes in clouds will increase the local pool of free electrons in the gas. Cosmic rays and lighting discharges also alter the composition of the local atmospheric gas such that tracer molecules might be identified. Cosmic rays affect the atmosphere through air showers in a certain volume which was modelled with a 3D Monte Carlo radiative transfer code to be able to visualise their spacial extent. Given a certain degree of thermal ionisation of the atmospheric gas, we suggest that electron attachment to charge mineral cloud particles is too inefficient to cause an electrostatic disruption of the cloud particles. Cloud particles will therefore not be destroyed by Coulomb explosion for the local temperature in the collisional dominated brown dwarf and giant gas planet atmospheres. However, the cloud particles are destroyed electrostatically in regions with strong gas ionisation. The potential size of such cloud holes would, however, be too small and might occur too far inside the cloud to mimic the effect of, e.g. magnetic field induced star spots.

  10. A correlation between the heavy element content of transiting extrasolar planets and the metallicity of their parent stars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Guillot, T.; Santos, N. C.; Pont, F.; Iro, N.; Melo, C.; Ribas, I.

    2006-07-01

    Context.Nine extrasolar planets with masses between 110 and 430 M_⊕ are known to transit their star. The knowledge of their masses and radii allows an estimate of their composition, but uncertainties on equations of state, opacities and possible missing energy sources imply that only inaccurate constraints can be derived when considering each planet separately.Aims.We seek to better understand the composition of transiting extrasolar planets by considering them as an ensemble, and by comparing the obtained planetary properties to that of the parent stars.Methods.We use evolution models and constraints on the stellar ages to derive the mass of heavy elements present in the planets. Possible additional energy sources like tidal dissipation due to an inclined orbit or to downward kinetic energy transport are considered.Results.We show that the nine transiting planets discovered so far belong to a quite homogeneous ensemble that is characterized by a mass of heavy elements that is a relatively steep function of the stellar metallicity, from less than 20 earth masses of heavy elements around solar composition stars, to up to ~100 M_⊕ for three times the solar metallicity (the precise values being model-dependant). The correlation is still to be ascertained however. Statistical tests imply a worst-case 1/3 probability of a false positive.Conclusions.Together with the observed lack of giant planets in close orbits around metal-poor stars, these results appear to imply that heavy elements play a key role in the formation of close-in giant planets. The large masses of heavy elements inferred for planets orbiting metal rich stars was not anticipated by planet formation models and shows the need for alternative theories including migration and subsequent collection of planetesimals.

  11. Earth as an Extrasolar Planet: Earth Model Validation Using EPOXI Earth Observations

    PubMed Central

    Meadows, Victoria S.; Crisp, David; Deming, Drake; A'Hearn, Michael F.; Charbonneau, David; Livengood, Timothy A.; Seager, Sara; Barry, Richard K.; Hearty, Thomas; Hewagama, Tilak; Lisse, Carey M.; McFadden, Lucy A.; Wellnitz, Dennis D.

    2011-01-01

    Abstract The EPOXI Discovery Mission of Opportunity reused the Deep Impact flyby spacecraft to obtain spatially and temporally resolved visible photometric and moderate resolution near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopic observations of Earth. These remote observations provide a rigorous validation of whole-disk Earth model simulations used to better understand remotely detectable extrasolar planet characteristics. We have used these data to upgrade, correct, and validate the NASA Astrobiology Institute's Virtual Planetary Laboratory three-dimensional line-by-line, multiple-scattering spectral Earth model. This comprehensive model now includes specular reflectance from the ocean and explicitly includes atmospheric effects such as Rayleigh scattering, gas absorption, and temperature structure. We have used this model to generate spatially and temporally resolved synthetic spectra and images of Earth for the dates of EPOXI observation. Model parameters were varied to yield an optimum fit to the data. We found that a minimum spatial resolution of ∼100 pixels on the visible disk, and four categories of water clouds, which were defined by using observed cloud positions and optical thicknesses, were needed to yield acceptable fits. The validated model provides a simultaneous fit to Earth's lightcurve, absolute brightness, and spectral data, with a root-mean-square (RMS) error of typically less than 3% for the multiwavelength lightcurves and residuals of ∼10% for the absolute brightness throughout the visible and NIR spectral range. We have extended our validation into the mid-infrared by comparing the model to high spectral resolution observations of Earth from the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder, obtaining a fit with residuals of ∼7% and brightness temperature errors of less than 1 K in the atmospheric window. For the purpose of understanding the observable characteristics of the distant Earth at arbitrary viewing geometry and observing cadence, our validated forward

  12. Jupiter and the Extrasolar Giant Planets: Composition and origin of atmospheres

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Atreya, S.; Wong, A.; Mahaffy, P.; Niemann, H.; Wong, M.; Owen, T.

    In this paper, we will discuss the related issues of the composition and origin of Jupiter's atmosphere, and how this can help in understanding the atmospheres of the extrasolar giant planets (EGP). In the case of Jupiter, a wealth of data on the planet's atmosphere is available, largely as a result of the successful spacecraft observations by the Galileo Orbiter and Probe, ISO and Voyager, complemented by ground-based observations (Atreya et al., PSS 47, 1243, 1999; Encrenaz et al., PSS, 47, 1223, 1999; Atreya et al., PSS, 2002, in press). Although the atmosphere is made up of mostly H and He, trace amounts of CH4 and its products, H O, NH 3, H2S,22 heavy noble gases (Ne, Ar, Kr, Xe), and disequilibrium species (PH3, CO, CO2, GeH4, AsH3), are also detected. From measurements of the trace constituents in Jupiter's upper and the deep well-mixed troposphere by the Galileo Probe, it has been possible to determine the "bulk" abundance of the heavy elements, which is key to understanding the origin and evolution of the planet's atmosphere. C, N, S, Ar, Kr and Xe are all found to be enriched by a factor of 2-4 relative to their solar ratios to H. This unexpected finding led Owen et al. (Nature, 402, 269, 1999) to suggest that the icy planetesimals that formed Jupiter must have had a low temperature (=30 K) origin in order for them to trap the volatiles containing the heavy elements. An alternate hypothesis - according to which the volatiles were trapped in clathrate hydrates instead (Gautier et al., Ap. J., 550, L227, 2001) - overestimates Jupiter's sulfur abundance, and it too requires a remarkably low temperature of =38 K for argon clathration (Gautier et al., Ap. J., 559, L183, 2001) Could the known composition of Jupiter help in understanding the atmospheres of the EGP's? So far, only sodium has been detected in the atmosphere of an EGP that orbits a sun-like star, HD 209458, at 0.0468 AU (Charbonneau et al., Ap. J., 568, 377, 2002). However, sodium has not been

  13. Telescope array for extrasolar planet detection from the far side of the Moon.

    PubMed

    Galan, Maximilian; Strojnik, Marija; Garcia-Torales, Guillermo; Kirk, Maureen S

    2016-12-01

    We propose that an array of 4×4 small-diameter telescopes, possibly 1 m in radius, be placed on the far side of the Moon for continuous monitoring of nearby stars for the existence of a planetary companion, similar to the Earth, and feasible for human colonization. The advantages of this location include long intervals of darkness, availability of a rigid platform in the form of a moon body, and most importantly, the absence of the atmosphere that allows the complete transmission of radiation in the spectral range from UV to millimeter waves. The task is facilitated in that the telescopes would act as light "buckets" to collect photons during long integration periods. All other technology has already been demonstrated, as humans in person delivered optical elements to the Moon's surface during the Apollo era. The disadvantages are primarily operational, in terms of requiring the establishment of a human habitat on the Moon. Likewise, all aspects of constructing a large 75 m by 75 m mirror array on the Moon's surface will be challenging. Simultaneously, the decreased gravity requires less effort and less energy to perform the construction tasks. The absence of atmosphere permits the search to extend from less than 10 to 300 μm to find Earth-like or even much colder planets.

  14. A Program to Detect and Characterize Extra-Solar Giant Planets

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lindstrom, David (Technical Monitor); Noyes, Robert W.

    2003-01-01

    We initiated a significant hardware upgrade to the AFOE, to increase its efficiency for precise radial velocity studies to the level where we can continue to contribute usefully to extrasolar planet research on relatively bright stars. The AFOE, at a 1.5-m telescope, will of course not have the sensitivity of radial velocity instruments at larger telescopes, such as the HIRES on Keck or the Hectochelle on the MMT telescope (about to come on line). However, it has been possible to increase its efficiency for precise radial velocity studies by a factor of 4 to 5, which-combined with the large amount of telescope time available at the 1.5-m telescope-will permit us to do intensive follow-up observations of stars brighter than about 8 magnitude. The AFOE was originally designed primarily for asteroseismology using a ThAr reference. This provided useful wavelength stability over tens of minutes as required for asteroseismology, but we were unable to get a long-term (month-to-month) velocity precision better than about 15 m/s with that setup. Hence, we implemented an iodine cell as a wavelength reference for extrasolar planet studies. However, the optical design of the original AFOE did not completely span the wavelength range covered by the iodine absorption spectrum, and furthermore the optics suffered significant light loss through optical obscuration in the camera secondary. To remedy this, we replaced the AFOE grating with a new one that covered the entire iodine spectral range at somewhat lower spectral resolution, and replaced the camera with a transmitting lens. (The use of a lens was made possible by restricting the spectral range covered by the upgraded AFOE to only the iodine region.) These upgrades were successfully completed, and the instrument was tested for three nights in fall of 2002. The expected improvement in sensitivity by a factor of 4 to 5 was observed: that is, the same velocity precision as previously attained (of order 5 to 7 m/s) was now

  15. Earth as an Extrasolar Planet: Earth Model Validation Using EPOXI Earth Observations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Robinson, Tyler D.; Meadows, Victoria S.; Crisp, David; Deming, Drake; A'Hearn, Michael F.; Charbonneau, David; Livengood, Timothy A.; Seager, Sara; Barry, Richard K.; Hearty, Thomas; Hewagama, Tilak; Lisse, Carey M.; McFadden, Lucy A.; Wellnitz, Dennis D.

    2011-06-01

    The EPOXI Discovery Mission of Opportunity reused the Deep Impact flyby spacecraft to obtain spatially and temporally resolved visible photometric and moderate resolution near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopic observations of Earth. These remote observations provide a rigorous validation of whole-disk Earth model simulations used to better understand remotely detectable extrasolar planet characteristics. We have used these data to upgrade, correct, and validate the NASA Astrobiology Institute's Virtual Planetary Laboratory three-dimensional line-by-line, multiple-scattering spectral Earth model. This comprehensive model now includes specular reflectance from the ocean and explicitly includes atmospheric effects such as Rayleigh scattering, gas absorption, and temperature structure. We have used this model to generate spatially and temporally resolved synthetic spectra and images of Earth for the dates of EPOXI observation. Model parameters were varied to yield an optimum fit to the data. We found that a minimum spatial resolution of ∼100 pixels on the visible disk, and four categories of water clouds, which were defined by using observed cloud positions and optical thicknesses, were needed to yield acceptable fits. The validated model provides a simultaneous fit to Earth's lightcurve, absolute brightness, and spectral data, with a root-mean-square (RMS) error of typically less than 3% for the multiwavelength lightcurves and residuals of ∼10% for the absolute brightness throughout the visible and NIR spectral range. We have extended our validation into the mid-infrared by comparing the model to high spectral resolution observations of Earth from the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder, obtaining a fit with residuals of ∼7% and brightness temperature errors of less than 1 K in the atmospheric window. For the purpose of understanding the observable characteristics of the distant Earth at arbitrary viewing geometry and observing cadence, our validated forward model can be

  16. Earth as an Extrasolar Planet: Earth Model Validation Using EPOXI Earth Observations

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Robinson, Tyler D.; Meadows, Victoria S.; Crisp, David; Deming, Drake; A'Hearn, Michael F.; Charbonneau, David; Livengood, Timothy A.; Seager, Sara; Barry, Richard; Hearty, Thomas; hide

    2011-01-01

    The EPOXI Discovery Mission of Opportunity reused the Deep Impact flyby spacecraft to obtain spatially and temporally resolved visible photometric and moderate resolution near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopic observations of Earth. These remote observations provide a rigorous validation of whole disk Earth model simulations used to better under- stand remotely detectable extrasolar planet characteristics. We have used these data to upgrade, correct, and validate the NASA Astrobiology Institute s Virtual Planetary Laboratory three-dimensional line-by-line, multiple-scattering spectral Earth model (Tinetti et al., 2006a,b). This comprehensive model now includes specular reflectance from the ocean and explicitly includes atmospheric effects such as Rayleigh scattering, gas absorption, and temperature structure. We have used this model to generate spatially and temporally resolved synthetic spectra and images of Earth for the dates of EPOXI observation. Model parameters were varied to yield an optimum fit to the data. We found that a minimum spatial resolution of approx.100 pixels on the visible disk, and four categories of water clouds, which were defined using observed cloud positions and optical thicknesses, were needed to yield acceptable fits. The validated model provides a simultaneous fit to the Earth s lightcurve, absolute brightness, and spectral data, with a root-mean-square error of typically less than 3% for the multiwavelength lightcurves, and residuals of approx.10% for the absolute brightness throughout the visible and NIR spectral range. We extend our validation into the mid-infrared by comparing the model to high spectral resolution observations of Earth from the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder, obtaining a fit with residuals of approx.7%, and temperature errors of less than 1K in the atmospheric window. For the purpose of understanding the observable characteristics of the distant Earth at arbitrary viewing geometry and observing cadence, our validated

  17. Cloudless Atmospheres for L/T Dwarfs and Extrasolar Giant Planets

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Tremblin, P.; Amundsen, D. S.; Chabrier, G.; Baraffe, I.; Drummond, B.; Hinkley, S.; Mourier, P.; Venot, O.

    2016-01-01

    The admitted, conventional scenario to explain the complex spectral evolution of brown dwarfs (BDs) since their first detection 20 years ago has always been the key role played by micron-size condensates, called "dust" or "clouds," in their atmosphere. This scenario, however, faces major problems, in particular the J-band brightening and the resurgence of FeH absorption at the L to T transition, and a physical first-principle understanding of this transition is lacking. In this Letter, we propose a new, completely different explanation for BD and extrasolar giant planet (EGP) spectral evolution, without the need to invoke clouds. We show that, due to the slowness of the CO/ CH4 and N2/NH3 chemical reactions, brown dwarf (L and T, respectively) and EGP atmospheres are subject to a thermo-chemical instability similar in nature to the fingering or chemical convective instability present in Earth oceans and at the Earth core/mantle boundary. The induced small-scale turbulent energy transport reduces the temperature gradient in the atmosphere, explaining the observed increase in near-infrared J-H and J-K colors of L dwarfs and hot EGPs, while a warming up of the deep atmosphere along the L to T transition, as the CO/CH4 instability vanishes, naturally solves the two aforementioned puzzles, and provides a physical explanation of the L to T transition. This new picture leads to a drastic revision of our understanding of BD and EGP atmospheres and their evolution.

  18. ESA to test the smartest technique for detecting extrasolar planets from the ground

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    2002-03-01

    . In nulling interferometry, however, the peaks are lined up with the troughs so they cancel out to nothing and the star disappears. Planets in orbit around the star show up, however, because they are offset from the central star and their light takes different paths through the telescope system. ESA and ESO will build a new instrument called GENIE (Ground-based European Nulling Interferometer Experiment) to perform nulling interferometry using ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT), a collection of four 8-metre telescopes in Chile. It will be the biggest investigation of nulling interferometry to date. "It's being tested in the lab in a number of places but we can do more," says Malcolm Fridlund, project scientist for the Darwin mission at the European Space Research and Technology Centre, the Netherlands. "We intend to use the world's largest telescope and the world's largest interferometer to get very high resolution." Using GENIE to perfect this technique will provide invaluable information for engineers about how to build the 'hub' spacecraft of the Darwin flotilla. Scheduled for launch in the middle of the next decade Darwin is a collection of six space telescopes and two other spacecraft, which will together search for Earth-like planets around nearby stars. The hub will combine the light from the telescopes. "If you see the way of getting to Darwin as being outlined by a number of technological milestones this is one of the most important ones," says Malcolm Fridlund. Once up and running, GENIE will also provide a training ground for astronomers who will later use Darwin. For example, it will allow them to perfect their methods of interpreting Darwin data because, as well as the engineering tests, GENIE will be capable of real science. One of its greatest tasks will be to develop the target list of stars for Darwin to study. As recently discovered by ESA's Ulysses spaceprobe, the signature of a planetary system is probably a ring of dust surrounding the central star

  19. Homogeneous studies of transiting extrasolar planets - IV. Thirty systems with space-based light curves

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Southworth, John

    2011-11-01

    I calculate the physical properties of 32 transiting extrasolar planet and brown-dwarf systems from existing photometric observations and measured spectroscopic parameters. The systems studied include 15 observed by the CoRoT satellite, 10 by Kepler and five by the Deep Impact spacecraft. Inclusion of the objects studied in previous papers leads to a sample of 58 transiting systems with homogeneously measured properties. The Kepler data include observations from Quarter 2, and my analyses of several of the systems are the first to be based on short-cadence data from this satellite. The light curves are modelled using the JKTEBOP code, with attention paid to the treatment of limb darkening, contaminating light, orbital eccentricity, correlated noise and numerical integration over long exposure times. The physical properties are derived from the light-curve parameters, spectroscopic characteristics of the host star and constraints from five sets of theoretical stellar model predictions. An alternative approach using a calibration from eclipsing binary star systems is explored and found to give comparable results whilst imposing a much smaller computational burden. My results are in good agreement with published properties for most of the transiting systems, but discrepancies are identified for CoRoT-5, CoRoT-8, CoRoT-13, Kepler-5 and Kepler-7. Many of the error bars quoted in the literature are underestimated. Refined orbital ephemerides are given for CoRoT-8 and for the Kepler planets. Asteroseismic constraints on the density of the host stars are in good agreement with the photometric equivalents for HD 17156 and TrES-2, but not for HAT-P-7 and HAT-P-11. Complete error budgets are generated for each transiting system, allowing identification of the observations best-suited to improve measurements of their physical properties. Whilst most systems would benefit from further photometry and spectroscopy, HD 17156, HD 80606, HAT-P-7 and TrES-2 are now extremely well

  20. DETECTION AND CHARACTERIZATION OF EXTRASOLAR PLANETS THROUGH MEAN-MOTION RESONANCES. I. SIMULATIONS OF HYPOTHETICAL DEBRIS DISKS

    SciT

    Tabeshian, Maryam; Wiegert, Paul A., E-mail: mtabeshi@uwo.ca

    2016-02-20

    The gravitational influence of a planet on a nearby disk provides a powerful tool for detecting and studying extrasolar planetary systems. Here we demonstrate that gaps can be opened in dynamically cold debris disks at the mean-motion resonances of an orbiting planet. The gaps are opened away from the orbit of the planet itself, revealing that not all disk gaps need contain a planetary body. These gaps are large and deep enough to be detectable in resolved disk images for a wide range of reasonable disk-planet parameters, though we are not aware of any such gaps detected to date. Themore » gap shape and size are diagnostic of the planet location, eccentricity and mass, and allow one to infer the existence of unseen planets, as well as many important parameters of both seen and unseen planets in these systems. We present expressions to allow the planetary mass and semimajor axis to be calculated from observed gap width and location.« less

  1. Plutonic-squishy lid and beyond: implications of intrusive magmatism and characterization of a new global-tectonic regime on Earth-like planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Louro Lourenço, Diogo; Rozel, Antoine; Ballmer, Maxim; Tackley, Paul

    2017-04-01

    It is now well established that compositional variations in the lithosphere can alter the stress state and greatly influence the likelihood of plate tectonics. Mechanisms that have been found to facilitate plate tectonics include: water circulation [Regenauer-Lieb et al., Science 2001; Dymkova and Gerya, GRL 2013], presence of continents [Rolf and Tackley, GRL 2011], and melting [Korenaga, GJI 2009; Armann and Tackley, JGR 2012]. In a recent work by Lourenço et al. [EPSL 2016], it has been shown that Earth-like plate tectonics is more likely to occur in planets that can produce a crust of variable thickness and density through melt extraction from the mantle. The authors employed a first-order approximation by assuming that all magmatism was extrusive. However, volumes of intruded magmas are observed to be around 4- 9 times more present on Earth than erupted magmas [Crisp, J. Volcanol. Geotherm. Res. 1984]. Therefore, intrusive magmatism is thought to play a role in the dynamics of the lithosphere on Earth [Cawood et al., Geol. Soc. Am. Bull. 2013] and other Earth-like planets. We extend the work of Lourenço et al. [2016] by taking into account intrusive magmatism, and systematically investigate the effect of plutonism, in conjugation with eruptive volcanism. We present a set of 2D spherical annulus simulations of thermo-compositional global mantle convection using StagYY [Tackley, PEPI 2008], which uses a finite-volume discretization of the governing compressible anelastic Stokes equations. Tracers are used to track composition and to allow for the treatment of partial melting and crustal formation. A direct solver is employed to obtain a solution of the Stokes and continuity equations, using the PETSc toolkit. The heat equation is solved in two steps: advection is performed using the MPDATA scheme and diffusion is then solved implicitly using a PETSc solver. Results show that three common convection regimes are usually reached in simulations when using a visco

  2. Response of Atmospheric Biomarkers to NOx-Induced Photochemistry Generated by Stellar Cosmic Rays for Earth-like Planets in the Habitable Zone of M Dwarf Stars

    PubMed Central

    Grießmeier, Jean-Mathias; von Paris, Philip; Patzer, A. Beate C.; Lammer, Helmut; Stracke, Barbara; Gebauer, Stefanie; Schreier, Franz; Rauer, Heike

    2012-01-01

    Abstract Understanding whether M dwarf stars may host habitable planets with Earth-like atmospheres and biospheres is a major goal in exoplanet research. If such planets exist, the question remains as to whether they could be identified via spectral signatures of biomarkers. Such planets may be exposed to extreme intensities of cosmic rays that could perturb their atmospheric photochemistry. Here, we consider stellar activity of M dwarfs ranging from quiet up to strong flaring conditions and investigate one particular effect upon biomarkers, namely, the ability of secondary electrons caused by stellar cosmic rays to break up atmospheric molecular nitrogen (N2), which leads to production of nitrogen oxides (NOx) in the planetary atmosphere, hence affecting biomarkers such as ozone (O3). We apply a stationary model, that is, without a time dependence; hence we are calculating the limiting case where the atmospheric chemistry response time of the biomarkers is assumed to be slow and remains constant compared with rapid forcing by the impinging stellar flares. This point should be further explored in future work with time-dependent models. We estimate the NOx production using an air shower approach and evaluate the implications using a climate-chemical model of the planetary atmosphere. O3 formation proceeds via the reaction O+O2+M→O3+M. At high NOx abundances, the O atoms arise mainly from NO2 photolysis, whereas on Earth this occurs via the photolysis of molecular oxygen (O2). For the flaring case, O3 is mainly destroyed via direct titration, NO+O3→NO2+O2, and not via the familiar catalytic cycle photochemistry, which occurs on Earth. For scenarios with low O3, Rayleigh scattering by the main atmospheric gases (O2, N2, and CO2) became more important for shielding the planetary surface from UV radiation. A major result of this work is that the biomarker O3 survived all the stellar-activity scenarios considered except for the strong case, whereas the biomarker

  3. Response of atmospheric biomarkers to NO(x)-induced photochemistry generated by stellar cosmic rays for earth-like planets in the habitable zone of M dwarf stars.

    PubMed

    Grenfell, John Lee; Grießmeier, Jean-Mathias; von Paris, Philip; Patzer, A Beate C; Lammer, Helmut; Stracke, Barbara; Gebauer, Stefanie; Schreier, Franz; Rauer, Heike

    2012-12-01

    Understanding whether M dwarf stars may host habitable planets with Earth-like atmospheres and biospheres is a major goal in exoplanet research. If such planets exist, the question remains as to whether they could be identified via spectral signatures of biomarkers. Such planets may be exposed to extreme intensities of cosmic rays that could perturb their atmospheric photochemistry. Here, we consider stellar activity of M dwarfs ranging from quiet up to strong flaring conditions and investigate one particular effect upon biomarkers, namely, the ability of secondary electrons caused by stellar cosmic rays to break up atmospheric molecular nitrogen (N(2)), which leads to production of nitrogen oxides (NO(x)) in the planetary atmosphere, hence affecting biomarkers such as ozone (O(3)). We apply a stationary model, that is, without a time dependence; hence we are calculating the limiting case where the atmospheric chemistry response time of the biomarkers is assumed to be slow and remains constant compared with rapid forcing by the impinging stellar flares. This point should be further explored in future work with time-dependent models. We estimate the NO(x) production using an air shower approach and evaluate the implications using a climate-chemical model of the planetary atmosphere. O(3) formation proceeds via the reaction O+O(2)+M→O(3)+M. At high NO(x) abundances, the O atoms arise mainly from NO(2) photolysis, whereas on Earth this occurs via the photolysis of molecular oxygen (O(2)). For the flaring case, O(3) is mainly destroyed via direct titration, NO+O(3)→NO(2)+O(2), and not via the familiar catalytic cycle photochemistry, which occurs on Earth. For scenarios with low O(3), Rayleigh scattering by the main atmospheric gases (O(2), N(2), and CO(2)) became more important for shielding the planetary surface from UV radiation. A major result of this work is that the biomarker O(3) survived all the stellar-activity scenarios considered except for the strong

  4. Lightning chemistry on Earth-like exoplanets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ardaseva, Aleksandra; Rimmer, Paul B.; Waldmann, Ingo; Rocchetto, Marco; Yurchenko, Sergey N.; Helling, Christiane; Tennyson, Jonathan

    2017-09-01

    We present a model for lightning shock-induced chemistry that can be applied to atmospheres of arbitrary H/C/N/O chemistry, hence for extrasolar planets and brown dwarfs. The model couples hydrodynamics and the STAND2015 kinetic gas-phase chemistry. For an exoplanet analogue to the contemporary Earth, our model predicts NO and NO2 yields in agreement with observation. We predict height-dependent mixing ratios during a storm soon after a lightning shock of NO ≈10-3 at 40 km and NO2 ≈10-4 below 40 km, with O3 reduced to trace quantities (≪10-10). For an Earth-like exoplanet with a CO2/N2 dominated atmosphere and with an extremely intense lightning storm over its entire surface, we predict significant changes in the amount of NO, NO2, O3, H2O, H2 and predict a significant abundance of C2N. We find that, for the Early Earth, O2 is formed in large quantities by lightning but is rapidly processed by the photochemistry, consistent with previous work on lightning. The chemical effect of persistent global lightning storms are predicted to be significant, primarily due to NO2, with the largest spectral features present at ˜3.4 and ˜6.2 μm. The features within the transmission spectrum are on the order of 1 ppm and therefore are not likely detectable with the James Webb Space Telescope. Depending on its spectral properties, C2N could be a key tracer for lightning on Earth-like exoplanets with a N2/CO2 bulk atmosphere, unless destroyed by yet unknown chemical reactions.

  5. Atmospheric circulation of brown dwarfs and directly imaged extrasolar giant planets with active clouds

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tan, Xianyu; Showman, Adam

    2016-10-01

    Observational evidence have suggested active meteorology in the atmospheres of brown dwarfs (BDs) and directly imaged extrasolar giant planets (EGPs). In particular, a number of surveys for brown dwarfs showed that near-IR brightness variability is common for L and T dwarfs. Directly imaged EGPs share similar observations, and can be viewed as low-gravity versions of BDs. Clouds are believed to play the major role in shaping the thermal structure, dynamics and near-IR flux of these atmospheres. So far, only a few studies have been devoted to atmospheric circulation and the implications for observations of BDs and directly EGPs, and yet no global model includes a self-consistent active cloud formation. Here we present preliminary results from the first global circulation model applied to BDs and directly imaged EGPs that can properly treat absorption and scattering of radiation by cloud particles. Our results suggest that horizontal temperature differences on isobars can reach up to a few hundred Kelvins, with typical horizontal length scale of the temperature and cloud patterns much smaller than the radius of the object. The combination of temperature anomaly and cloud pattern can result in moderate disk-integrated near-IR flux variability. Wind speeds can reach several hundred meters per second in cloud forming layers. Unlike Jupiter and Saturn, we do not observe stable zonal jet/banded patterns in our simulations. Instead, our simulated atmospheres are typically turbulent and dominated by transient vortices. The circulation is sensitive to the parameterized cloud microphysics. Under some parameter combinations, global-scale atmospheric waves can be triggered and maintained. These waves induce global-scale temperature anomalies and cloud patterns, causing large (up to several percent) disk-integrated near-IR flux variability. Our results demonstrate that the commonly observed near-IR brightness variability for BDs and directly imaged EGPs can be explained by the

  6. Biomarker response to galactic cosmic ray-induced NOx and the methane greenhouse effect in the atmosphere of an Earth-like planet orbiting an M dwarf star.

    PubMed

    Grenfell, John Lee; Griessmeier, Jean-Mathias; Patzer, Beate; Rauer, Heike; Segura, Antigona; Stadelmann, Anja; Stracke, Barbara; Titz, Ruth; Von Paris, Philip

    2007-02-01

    Planets orbiting in the habitable zone of M dwarf stars are subject to high levels of galactic cosmic rays (GCRs), which produce nitrogen oxides (NOx) in Earth-like atmospheres. We investigate to what extent these NO(Mx) species may modify biomarker compounds such as ozone (O3) and nitrous oxide (N2O), as well as related compounds such as water (H2O) (essential for life) and methane (CH4) (which has both abiotic and biotic sources). Our model results suggest that such signals are robust, changing in the M star world atmospheric column due to GCR NOx effects by up to 20% compared to an M star run without GCR effects, and can therefore survive at least the effects of GCRs. We have not, however, investigated stellar cosmic rays here. CH4 levels are about 10 times higher on M star worlds than on Earth because of a lowering in hydroxyl (OH) in response to changes in the ultraviolet. The higher levels of CH4 are less than reported in previous studies. This difference arose partly because we used different biogenic input. For example, we employed 23% lower CH4 fluxes compared to those studies. Unlike on Earth, relatively modest changes in these fluxes can lead to larger changes in the concentrations of biomarker and related species on the M star world. We calculate a CH4 greenhouse heating effect of up to 4K. O3 photochemistry in terms of the smog mechanism and the catalytic loss cycles on the M star world differs considerably compared with that of Earth.

  7. Ground-based detectability of terrestrial and Jovian extrasolar planets: observations of CM Draconis at Lick Observatory.

    PubMed

    Doyle, L R; Dunham, E T; Deeg, H J; Blue, J E; Jenkins, J M

    1996-06-25

    The detection of terrestrial-sized extrasolar planets from the ground has been thought to be virtually impossible due to atmospheric scintillation limits. However, we show that this is not the case especially selected (but nevertheless main sequence) stars, namely small eclipsing binaries. For the smallest of these systems, CM Draconis, several months to a few years of photometric observations with 1-m-class telescopes will be sufficient to detect the transits of any short-period planets of sizes > or = 1.5 Earth radii (RE), using cross-correlation analysis with moderately good photometry. Somewhat larger telescopes will be needed to extend this detectability to terrestrial planets in larger eclipsing binary systems. (We arbitrarily define "terrestrial planets" herein as those whose disc areas are closer to that of Earth's than Neptune's i.e., less than about 2.78 RE.) As a "spin-off" of such observations, we will also be able to detect the presence of Jovian-mass planets without transits using the timing of the eclipse minima. Eclipse minima will drift in time as the binary system is offset by a sufficiently massive planet (i.e., one Jupiter mass) about the binary/giant-planet barycenter, causing a periodic variation in the light travel time to the observer. We present here an outline of present observations taking place at the University of California Lick Observatory using the Crossley 0.9-m telescope in collaboration with other observatories (in South Korea, Crete, France, Canary Islands, and New York) to detect or constrain the existence of terrestrial planets around main sequence eclipsing binary star systems, starting with CM Draconis. We demonstrate the applicability of photometric data to the general detection of gas giant planets via eclipse minima timings in many other small-mass eclipsing binary systems as well.

  8. Ground-based detectability of terrestrial and Jovian extrasolar planets: observations of CM Draconis at Lick Observatory

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Doyle, L. R.; Dunham, E. T.; Deeg, H. J.; Blue, J. E.; Jenkins, J. M.

    1996-01-01

    The detection of terrestrial-sized extrasolar planets from the ground has been thought to be virtually impossible due to atmospheric scintillation limits. However, we show that this is not the case especially selected (but nevertheless main sequence) stars, namely small eclipsing binaries. For the smallest of these systems, CM Draconis, several months to a few years of photometric observations with 1-m-class telescopes will be sufficient to detect the transits of any short-period planets of sizes > or = 1.5 Earth radii (RE), using cross-correlation analysis with moderately good photometry. Somewhat larger telescopes will be needed to extend this detectability to terrestrial planets in larger eclipsing binary systems. (We arbitrarily define "terrestrial planets" herein as those whose disc areas are closer to that of Earth's than Neptune's i.e., less than about 2.78 RE.) As a "spin-off" of such observations, we will also be able to detect the presence of Jovian-mass planets without transits using the timing of the eclipse minima. Eclipse minima will drift in time as the binary system is offset by a sufficiently massive planet (i.e., one Jupiter mass) about the binary/giant-planet barycenter, causing a periodic variation in the light travel time to the observer. We present here an outline of present observations taking place at the University of California Lick Observatory using the Crossley 0.9-m telescope in collaboration with other observatories (in South Korea, Crete, France, Canary Islands, and New York) to detect or constrain the existence of terrestrial planets around main sequence eclipsing binary star systems, starting with CM Draconis. We demonstrate the applicability of photometric data to the general detection of gas giant planets via eclipse minima timings in many other small-mass eclipsing binary systems as well.

  9. Implications of (Less) Accurate Mass-Radius-Measurements for the Habitability of Extrasolar Terrestrial Planets: Why Do We Need PLATO?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Noack, L.; Wagner, F. W.; Plesa, A.-C.; Höning, D.; Sohl, F.; Breuer, D.; Rauer, H.

    2012-04-01

    Several space missions (CoRoT, Kepler and others) already provided promising candidates for terrestrial exoplanets (i.e. with masses less than about 10 Earth masses) and thereby triggered an exciting new research branch of planetary modelling to investigate the possible habitability of such planets. Earth analogues (low-mass planets with an Earth-like structure and composition) are likely to be found in the near future with new missions such as the proposed M3 mission PLATO. Planets may be more diverse in the universe than they are in the solar system. Our neighbouring planets in the habitable zone are all terrestrial by the means of being differentiated into an iron core, a silicate mantle and a crust. To reliably determine the interior structure of an exoplanet, measurements of mass and radius have to be sufficiently accurate (around +/-2% error allowed for the radius and +/-5% for the mass). An Earth-size planet with an Earth-like mass but an expected error of ~15% in mass for example may have either a Mercury-like, an Earth-like or a Moon-like (i.e. small iron core) structure [1,2]. Even though the atmospheric escape is not strongly influenced by the interior structure, the outgassing of volatiles and the likeliness of plate tectonics and an ongoing carbon-cycle may be very different. Our investigations show, that a planet with a small silicate mantle is less likely to shift into the plate-tectonics regime, cools faster (which may lead to the loss of a magnetic field after a short time) and outgasses less volatiles than a planet with the same mass but a large silicate mantle and small iron core. To be able to address the habitability of exoplanets, space missions such as PLATO, which can lead up to 2% accuracy in radius [3], are extremely important. Moreover, information about the occurrence of different planetary types helps us to better understand the formation of planetary systems and to further constrain the Drake's equation, which gives an estimate of the

  10. Toward a Deterministic Model of Planetary Formation. I. A Desert in the Mass and Semimajor Axis Distributions of Extrasolar Planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ida, S.; Lin, D. N. C.

    2004-03-01

    In an attempt to develop a deterministic theory for planet formation, we examine the accretion of cores of giant planets from planetesimals, gas accretion onto the cores, and their orbital migration. We adopt a working model for nascent protostellar disks with a wide variety of surface density distributions in order to explore the range of diversity among extrasolar planetary systems. We evaluate the cores' mass growth rate Mc through runaway planetesimal accretion and oligarchic growth. The accretion rate of cores is estimated with a two-body approximation. In the inner regions of disks, the cores' eccentricity is effectively damped by their tidal interaction with the ambient disk gas and their early growth is stalled by ``isolation.'' In the outer regions, the cores' growth rate is much smaller. If some cores can acquire more mass than a critical value of several Earth masses during the persistence of the disk gas, they would be able to rapidly accrete gas and evolve into gas giant planets. The gas accretion process is initially regulated by the Kelvin-Helmholtz contraction of the planets' gas envelope. Based on the assumption that the exponential decay of the disk gas mass occurs on the timescales ~106-107 yr and that the disk mass distribution is comparable to those inferred from the observations of circumstellar disks of T Tauri stars, we carry out simulations to predict the distributions of masses and semimajor axes of extrasolar planets. In disks as massive as the minimum-mass disk for the solar system, gas giants can form only slightly outside the ``ice boundary'' at a few AU. However, cores can rapidly grow above the critical mass inside the ice boundary in protostellar disks with 5 times more heavy elements than those of the minimum-mass disk. Thereafter, these massive cores accrete gas prior to its depletion and evolve into gas giants. The limited persistence of the disk gas and the decline in the stellar gravity prevent the formation of cores capable of

  11. IBIS: An Interferometer-Based Imaging System for Detecting Extrasolar Planets with a Next Generation Space Telescope

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Diner, David J.

    1989-01-01

    The direct detection of extrasolar planetary systems is a challenging observational objective. The observing system must be able to detect faint planetary signals against the background of diffracted and scattered starlight, zodiacal light, and in the IR, mirror thermal radiation. As part of a JPL study, we concluded that the best long-term approach is a 10-20 m filled-aperture telescope operating in the thermal IR (10-15 microns). At these wavelengths, the star/planet flux ratio is on the order of 10(exp 6)-10(exp 8). Our study supports the work of Angel et al., who proposed a cooled 16-m IR telescope and a special apodization mask to suppress the stellar light within a limited angular region around the star. Our scheme differs in that it is capable of stellar suppression over a much broader field-of- view, enabling more efficient planet searches. To do this, certain key optical signal-processing components are needed, including a coronagraph to apodize the stellar diffraction pattern, an infrared interferometer to provide further starlight suppression, a complementary visible-wavelength interferometer to sense figure errors in the telescope optics, and a deformable mirror to adaptively compensate for these errors. Because of the central role of interferometry we have designated this concept the Interferometer-Based Imaging System (IBIS). IBIS incorporates techniques originally suggested by Ken Knight for extrasolar planet detection at visible wavelengths. The type of telescope discussed at this workshop is well suited to implementation of the IBIS concept.

  12. HAT-P-20b-HAT-P-23b: FOUR MASSIVE TRANSITING EXTRASOLAR PLANETS

    SciT

    Bakos, G. A.; Hartman, J.; Torres, G.

    We report the discovery of four relatively massive (2-7 M{sub J}) transiting extrasolar planets. HAT-P-20b orbits the moderately bright V = 11.339 K3 dwarf star GSC 1910-00239 on a circular orbit, with a period P = 2.875317 {+-} 0.000004 days, transit epoch T{sub c} = 2455080.92661 {+-} 0.00021 (BJD{sub UTC}), and transit duration 0.0770 {+-} 0.0008 days. The host star has a mass of 0.76 {+-} 0.03 M{sub Sun }, radius of 0.69 {+-} 0.02 R{sub Sun }, effective temperature 4595 {+-} 80 K, and metallicity [Fe/H] = +0.35 {+-} 0.08. The planetary companion has a mass of 7.246 {+-}more » 0.187 M{sub J} and a radius of 0.867 {+-} 0.033 R{sub J} yielding a mean density of 13.78 {+-} 1.50 g cm{sup -3}. HAT-P-21b orbits the V = 11.685 G3 dwarf star GSC 3013-01229 on an eccentric (e = 0.228 {+-} 0.016) orbit, with a period P = 4.124481 {+-} 0.000007 days, transit epoch T{sub c} = 2454996.41312 {+-} 0.00069, and transit duration 0.1530 {+-} 0.0027 days. The host star has a mass of 0.95 {+-} 0.04 M{sub Sun }, radius of 1.10 {+-} 0.08 R{sub Sun }, effective temperature 5588 {+-} 80 K, and metallicity [Fe/H] = +0.01 {+-} 0.08. The planetary companion has a mass of 4.063 {+-} 0.161 M{sub J} and a radius of 1.024 {+-} 0.092 R{sub J} yielding a mean density of 4.68{sup +1.59}{sub -0.99} g cm{sup -3}. HAT-P-21b is a borderline object between the pM and pL class planets, and the transits occur near apastron. HAT-P-22b orbits the bright V = 9.732 G5 dwarf star HD 233731 on a circular orbit, with a period P = 3.212220 {+-} 0.000009 days, transit epoch T{sub c} = 2454930.22001 {+-} 0.00025, and transit duration 0.1196 {+-} 0.0014 days. The host star has a mass of 0.92 {+-} 0.03 M{sub Sun }, radius of 1.04 {+-} 0.04 R{sub Sun }, effective temperature 5302 {+-} 80 K, and metallicity [Fe/H] = +0.24 {+-} 0.08. The planet has a mass of 2.147 {+-} 0.061 M{sub J} and a compact radius of 1.080 {+-} 0.058 R{sub J} yielding a mean density of 2.11{sup +0.40}{sub -0.29} g cm{sup -3}. The host star

  13. Predicting Precession Rates from Secular Dynamics for Extra-solar Multi-planet Systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Van Laerhoven, Christa

    2015-12-01

    Considering the secular dynamics of multi-planet systems provides substantial insight into the interactions between planets in those systems. Secular interactions are those that don't involve knowing where a planet is along its orbit, and they dominate when planets are not involved in mean motion resonances. These interactions exchange angular momentum among the planets, evolving their eccentricities and inclinations. To second order in the planets' eccentricities and inclinations, the eccentricity and inclination perturbations are decoupled. Given the right variable choice, the relevant differential equations are linear and thus the eccentricity and inclination behaviors can be described as a sum of eigenmodes. Since the underlying structure of the secular eigenmodes can be calculated using only the planets' masses and semi-major axes, one can elucidate the eccentricity and inclination behavior of planets in exoplanet systems even without knowing the planets' current eccentricities and inclinations. I have calculated both the eccentricity and inclination secular eigenmodes for the population of known multi-planet systems whose planets have well determined masses and periods and have used this to predict what range of pericenter precession (and nodal regression) rates the planets may have. One might have assumed that in any given system the planets with shorter periods would have faster precession rates, but I show that this is not necessarily the case. Planets that are 'loners' have narrow ranges of possible precession rates, while planets that are 'groupies' can have a wider range of possible precession rates. Several planets are expected to undergo significant precession on few-year timescales and many planets (though not the majority of planets) will undergo significant precession on decade timescales.

  14. Predicting Precession Rates from Secular Dynamics for Extra-solar Multi-planet Systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Van Laerhoven, Christa L.

    2015-11-01

    Considering the secular dynamics of multi-planet systems provides substantial insight into the interactions between planets in those systems. Secular interactions are those that don't involve knowing where a planet is along its orbit, and they dominate when planets are not involved in mean motion resonances. These interactions exchange angular momentum among the planets, evolving their eccentricities and inclinations. To second order in the planets' eccentricities and inclinations, the eccentricity and inclination perturbations are decoupled. Given the right variable choice, the relevant differential equations are linear and thus the eccentricity and inclination behaviors can be described as a sum of eigenmodes. Since the underlying structure of the secular eigenmodes can be calculated using only the planets' masses and semi-major axes, one can elucidate the eccentricity and inclination behavior of planets in exoplanet systems even without knowing the planets' current eccentricities and inclinations. I have calculated both the eccentricity and inclination secular eigenmodes for the population of known multi-planet systems whose planets have well determined masses and periods. Using this catalog, and assuming a Gausian distribution for the eigenmode amplitudes and a uniform distribution for the eigenmode phases, I have predicted what range of precession rates the planets may have. Generally, planets that have more than one eigenmode significantly contribute to their eccentricity ('groupies') can have a wide range of possible precession rates, while planets that are 'loners' have a narrow range of possible precession rates. One might have assumed that in any given system, the planets with shorter periods would have faster precession rates. However, I show that in systems where the planets suffer strong secular interactions this is not necessarily the case.

  15. Parent stars of extrasolar planets - XIV. Strong evidence of Li abundance deficit

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gonzalez, G.

    2015-01-01

    We report the results of our analysis of new high-resolution spectra of 30 late-F to early-G dwarf field stars for the purpose of deriving their Li abundances. They were selected from the subsample of stars in the Valenti and Fischer compilation that are lacking detected planets. These new data serve to expand our comparison sample used to test whether stars with Doppler-detected giant planets display Li abundance anomalies. Our results continue to show that Li is deficient among stars with planets when compared to very similar stars that lack such planets. This conclusion is strengthened when we add literature data to ours in a consistent way. We present a table of stars with planets paired with very similar stars lacking planets, extending the recent similar results of Delgado Mena et al.

  16. Planetary Formation: From the Earth and Moon to Extrasolar Giant Planets

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lissauer, Jack; DeVincenzi, Donald (Technical Monitor)

    1999-01-01

    An overview of current theories of star and planet formation is presented. These models are based upon observations of the Solar System and of young stars and their environments. They predict that rocky planets should form around most single stars, although it is possible that in some cases such planets are lost to orbital decay within the protoplanetary disk. The frequency of formation of gas giant planets is more difficult to predict theoretically. Terrestrial planets are believed to grow via pairwise accretion until the spacing of planetary orbits becomes large enough that the configuration is stable for the age of the system. Giant planets begin their growth like terrestrial planets, but they become massive enough that they are able to accumulate substantial amounts of gas before the protoplanetary disk dissipates. Specific issues to be discussed include: (1) how large a solid core is needed to initiate rapid accumulation of gas? (2) can giant planets form very close to stars? (3) could a giant impact leading to lunar formation have occurred approximately 100 million years after the condensation of the oldest meteorites?

  17. Planetary Formation: From the Earth and Moon to Extrasolar Giant Planets

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lissauer, Jack J.; DeVincenzi, Donald (Technical Monitor)

    1999-01-01

    An overview of current theories of star and planet formation is presented. These models are based upon observations of the Solar System and of young stars and their environments. They predict that rocky planets should form around most single stars, although it is possible that in some cases-such planets are lost to orbital decay within the protoplanetary disk. The frequency of formation of gas giant planets is more difficult to predict theoretically. Terrestrial planets are believed to grow via pairwise accretion until the spacing of planetary orbits becomes large enough that the configuration is stable for the age of the system. Giant planets begin their growth like terrestrial planets, but they become massive enough that they are able to accumulate substantial amounts of gas before the protoplanetary disk dissipates. Specific issues to be discussed include: (1) how large a solid core is needed to initiate rapid accumulation of gas? (2) can giant planets form very close to stars? (3) could a giant impact leading to lunar formation have occurred approx. 100 million years after the condensation of the oldest meteorites?

  18. Design and Verification of External Occulters for Direct Imaging of Extrasolar Planets

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cady, Eric

    2011-01-01

    An occulter is an optical element which is placed in front of the telescope to block most of the light from a star before it reaches the optics inside, without blocking the planet.In our case, we use two spacecraft ying in formation: First has its edge shaped to cancel the starlight Second is the telescope which images the star and planet

  19. The Effect of Host Star Spectral Energy Distribution and Ice-Albedo Feedback on the Climate of Extrasolar Planets

    PubMed Central

    Meadows, Victoria S.; Bitz, Cecilia M.; Pierrehumbert, Raymond T.; Joshi, Manoj M.; Robinson, Tyler D.

    2013-01-01

    ice coverage. The surface ice-albedo feedback effect becomes less important at the outer edge of the habitable zone, where atmospheric CO2 could be expected to be high such that it maintains clement conditions for surface liquid water. We showed that ∼3–10 bar of CO2 will entirely mask the climatic effect of ice and snow, leaving the outer limits of the habitable zone unaffected by the spectral dependence of water ice and snow albedo. However, less CO2 is needed to maintain open water for a planet orbiting an M-dwarf star than would be the case for hotter main-sequence stars. Key Words: Extrasolar planets—M stars—Habitable zone—Snowball Earth. Astrobiology 13, 715–739. PMID:23855332

  20. Toward the 4-Micron Infrared Spectrum of the Transiting Extrasolar Planet HD 209458 b

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Richardson, L. J.; Deming, D.

    2003-12-01

    We have continued our analysis of infrared spectra of the "transiting planet" system, HD 209458, recorded at the NASA IRTF in September 2001. The spectra cover two predicted secondary eclipse events, wherein the planet passed behind the star and re-emerged. We are attempting to detect the planet's infrared continuum peaks, by exploiting the spectral modulation which accompanies the secondary eclipse. Our initial analysis placed the strongest limits to date on the spectrum of the planet near 2.2 microns (Richardson, Deming & Seager 2003, recently appeared in ApJ). Further analysis of our long wavelength data (3.0--4.2 microns) decorrelates and removes most of the systematic errors due to seeing and guiding fluctuations. This decorrelation has improved the precision of our analysis to the level where a predicted 4-micron planetary flux peak may now be detectable.

  1. A matched filter method for ground-based sub-noise detection of terrestrial extrasolar planets in eclipsing binaries: application to CM Draconis.

    PubMed

    Jenkins, J M; Doyle, L R; Cullers, D K

    1996-02-01

    The photometric detection of extrasolar planets by transits in eclipsing binary systems can be significantly improved by cross-correlating the observational light curves with synthetic models of possible planetary transit features, essentially a matched filter approach. We demonstrate the utility and application of this transit detection algorithm for ground-based detections of terrestrial-sized (Earth-to-Neptune radii) extrasolar planets in the dwarf M-star eclipsing binary system CM Draconis. Preliminary photometric observational data of this system demonstrate that the observational noise is well characterized as white and Gaussian at the observational time steps required for precision photometric measurements. Depending on planet formation scenarios, terrestrial-sized planets may form quite close to this low-luminosity system. We demonstrate, for example, that planets as small as 1.4 Earth radii with periods on the order of a few months in the CM Draconis system could be detected at the 99.9% confidence level in less than a year using 1-m class telescopes from the ground. This result contradicts commonly held assumptions limiting present ground-based efforts to, at best, detections of gas giant planets after several years of observation. This method can be readily extended to a number of other larger star systems with the utilization of larger telescopes and longer observing times. Its extension to spacecraft observations should also allow the determination of the presence of terrestrial-sized planets in nearly 100 other known eclipsing binary systems.

  2. A matched filter method for ground-based sub-noise detection of terrestrial extrasolar planets in eclipsing binaries: application to CM Draconis

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jenkins, J. M.; Doyle, L. R.; Cullers, D. K.

    1996-01-01

    The photometric detection of extrasolar planets by transits in eclipsing binary systems can be significantly improved by cross-correlating the observational light curves with synthetic models of possible planetary transit features, essentially a matched filter approach. We demonstrate the utility and application of this transit detection algorithm for ground-based detections of terrestrial-sized (Earth-to-Neptune radii) extrasolar planets in the dwarf M-star eclipsing binary system CM Draconis. Preliminary photometric observational data of this system demonstrate that the observational noise is well characterized as white and Gaussian at the observational time steps required for precision photometric measurements. Depending on planet formation scenarios, terrestrial-sized planets may form quite close to this low-luminosity system. We demonstrate, for example, that planets as small as 1.4 Earth radii with periods on the order of a few months in the CM Draconis system could be detected at the 99.9% confidence level in less than a year using 1-m class telescopes from the ground. This result contradicts commonly held assumptions limiting present ground-based efforts to, at best, detections of gas giant planets after several years of observation. This method can be readily extended to a number of other larger star systems with the utilization of larger telescopes and longer observing times. Its extension to spacecraft observations should also allow the determination of the presence of terrestrial-sized planets in nearly 100 other known eclipsing binary systems.

  3. Types of Information Expected from a Photometric Search for Extra-Solar Planets

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Borucki, William; Koch, David; Bell, James, III; Cuzzi, Jeffrey N. (Technical Monitor)

    1994-01-01

    The current theory postulates that planets are a consequence of the formation of stars from viscous accretion disks. Condensation from the hotter, inner portion of the accretion disk favors the formation of small rocky planets in the inner portion and the formation of gas giants in the cuter, cooler part. Consequently, terrestrial-type planets in inner orbits must be commonplace (Wetheril 1991). From the geometry of the situation (Borucki and Summers 1984), it can be shown that 1% of those planetary systems that resemble our solar system should show transits for Earth-sized (or larger) planets. Thus a photometric satellite that uses a wide field of view telescope and a large CCD array to simultaneously monitor 5000 target stars should detect 50 planetary systems. To verify that regularly recurring transits are occurring rather than statistical fluctuations of the stellar flux, demands observations that extend over several orbital periods so that the constancy of the orbital period, signal amplitude, and duration can be measured. Therefore, to examine the region from Mercury's orbit to that of the Earth requires a duration of three years whereas a search out to the orbit of mars requires about six years. The results of the observations should provide estimates of the distributions of planetary size and orbital radius, and the frequency of planetary systems that have Earth-sized planets in inner orbits. Because approximately one half of the star systems observed will be binary systems, the frequency of planetary systems orbit ' ing either one or both of the stars can also be determined. Furthermore, the complexity of the photometric signature of a planet transiting a pair of stars provides enough information to estimate the eccentricities of the planetary orbits. In summary, the statistical evidence from a photometric search of solar-like stars should be able to either confirm or deny the applicability of the current theory of planet formation and provide new

  4. The New Worlds Observer: A New Approach to Observing Extrasolar Planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cash, W.; Wilkinson, E.; Green, J.; Kasdin, J.; Spergel, D.; Turner, E.; Vanderbei, R.; Seager, S.; Stern, A.; Kilston, S.; Leiber, J.

    2003-12-01

    Direct observation of planets around other stars has been hindered primarily by the spatial proximity of their parent stars. Diffraction and scattering swamp the signal from the planet, which is typically billions of times fainter. We present an approach which has the potential to sidestep these problems. The New Worlds Observer was proposed to NASA last summer for a concept study as a Life Finder Mission to perform spectroscopy of terrestrial planets at 10pc. It consists of two spacecraft separated by 180,00km. The first craft, the starshade, features a deployable dark sheet hundreds of meters across and an aperture approximately 10m in diameter, specially shaped to suppress diffraction. At the focal plane of this pinhole camera flies a 10m diameter, one arcsecond quality Cassegrain telescope. If the telescope is placed where the pinhole image of a planet falls, the diffracted light from the star is suppressed, so only planet light enters the telescope. This system will allow sensitive observations anywhere from the far ultraviolet to the near infrared. Accompanying posters at this meeting will present science simulations and more details on the starshade design.

  5. AN ANCIENT EXTRASOLAR SYSTEM WITH FIVE SUB-EARTH-SIZE PLANETS

    SciT

    Campante, T. L.; Davies, G. R.; Chaplin, W. J.

    The chemical composition of stars hosting small exoplanets (with radii less than four Earth radii) appears to be more diverse than that of gas-giant hosts, which tend to be metal-rich. This implies that small, including Earth-size, planets may have readily formed at earlier epochs in the universe's history when metals were more scarce. We report Kepler spacecraft observations of Kepler-444, a metal-poor Sun-like star from the old population of the Galactic thick disk and the host to a compact system of five transiting planets with sizes between those of Mercury and Venus. We validate this system as a true five-planetmore » system orbiting the target star and provide a detailed characterization of its planetary and orbital parameters based on an analysis of the transit photometry. Kepler-444 is the densest star with detected solar-like oscillations. We use asteroseismology to directly measure a precise age of 11.2 ± 1.0 Gyr for the host star, indicating that Kepler-444 formed when the universe was less than 20% of its current age and making it the oldest known system of terrestrial-size planets. We thus show that Earth-size planets have formed throughout most of the universe's 13.8 billion year history, leaving open the possibility for the existence of ancient life in the Galaxy. The age of Kepler-444 not only suggests that thick-disk stars were among the hosts to the first Galactic planets, but may also help to pinpoint the beginning of the era of planet formation.« less

  6. PASTIS: Bayesian extrasolar planet validation - I. General framework, models, and performance

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Díaz, R. F.; Almenara, J. M.; Santerne, A.; Moutou, C.; Lethuillier, A.; Deleuil, M.

    2014-06-01

    A large fraction of the smallest transiting planet candidates discovered by the Kepler and CoRoT space missions cannot be confirmed by a dynamical measurement of the mass using currently available observing facilities. To establish their planetary nature, the concept of planet validation has been advanced. This technique compares the probability of the planetary hypothesis against that of all reasonably conceivable alternative false positive (FP) hypotheses. The candidate is considered as validated if the posterior probability of the planetary hypothesis is sufficiently larger than the sum of the probabilities of all FP scenarios. In this paper, we present PASTIS, the Planet Analysis and Small Transit Investigation Software, a tool designed to perform a rigorous model comparison of the hypotheses involved in the problem of planet validation, and to fully exploit the information available in the candidate light curves. PASTIS self-consistently models the transit light curves and follow-up observations. Its object-oriented structure offers a large flexibility for defining the scenarios to be compared. The performance is explored using artificial transit light curves of planets and FPs with a realistic error distribution obtained from a Kepler light curve. We find that data support the correct hypothesis strongly only when the signal is high enough (transit signal-to-noise ratio above 50 for the planet case) and remain inconclusive otherwise. PLAnetary Transits and Oscillations of stars (PLATO) shall provide transits with high enough signal-to-noise ratio, but to establish the true nature of the vast majority of Kepler and CoRoT transit candidates additional data or strong reliance on hypotheses priors is needed.

  7. Parent Stars of Extrasolar Planets. VII. New Abundance Analyses of 30 Systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Laws, Chris; Gonzalez, Guillermo; Walker, Kyle M.; Tyagi, Sudhi; Dodsworth, Jeremey; Snider, Keely; Suntzeff, Nicholas B.

    2003-05-01

    The results of new spectroscopic analyses of 30 stars with giant planet and/or brown dwarf companions are presented. Values for Teff and [Fe/H] are used in conjunction with Hipparcos data and Padua isochrones to derive masses, ages, and theoretical surface gravities. These new data are combined with spectroscopic and photometric metallicity estimates of other stars harboring planets and published samples of F, G, and K dwarfs to compare several subsets of planet bearing stars with similarly well-constrained control groups. The distribution of [Fe/H] values continues the trend uncovered in previous studies in that stars hosting planetary companions have a higher mean value than otherwise similar nearby stars. We also investigate the relationship between stellar mass and the presence of giant planets, and we find statistically marginal but suggestive evidence of a decrease in the incidence of radial velocity companions orbiting relatively less massive stars. If confirmed with larger samples, this would represent a critical constraint to both planetary formation models, as well as to estimates of the distribution of planetary systems in our Galaxy.

  8. ADAPTIVE ANNEALED IMPORTANCE SAMPLING FOR MULTIMODAL POSTERIOR EXPLORATION AND MODEL SELECTION WITH APPLICATION TO EXTRASOLAR PLANET DETECTION

    SciT

    Liu, Bin, E-mail: bins@ieee.org

    2014-07-01

    We describe an algorithm that can adaptively provide mixture summaries of multimodal posterior distributions. The parameter space of the involved posteriors ranges in size from a few dimensions to dozens of dimensions. This work was motivated by an astrophysical problem called extrasolar planet (exoplanet) detection, wherein the computation of stochastic integrals that are required for Bayesian model comparison is challenging. The difficulty comes from the highly nonlinear models that lead to multimodal posterior distributions. We resort to importance sampling (IS) to estimate the integrals, and thus translate the problem to be how to find a parametric approximation of the posterior.more » To capture the multimodal structure in the posterior, we initialize a mixture proposal distribution and then tailor its parameters elaborately to make it resemble the posterior to the greatest extent possible. We use the effective sample size (ESS) calculated based on the IS draws to measure the degree of approximation. The bigger the ESS is, the better the proposal resembles the posterior. A difficulty within this tailoring operation lies in the adjustment of the number of mixing components in the mixture proposal. Brute force methods just preset it as a large constant, which leads to an increase in the required computational resources. We provide an iterative delete/merge/add process, which works in tandem with an expectation-maximization step to tailor such a number online. The efficiency of our proposed method is tested via both simulation studies and real exoplanet data analysis.« less

  9. Adaptive Annealed Importance Sampling for Multimodal Posterior Exploration and Model Selection with Application to Extrasolar Planet Detection

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liu, Bin

    2014-07-01

    We describe an algorithm that can adaptively provide mixture summaries of multimodal posterior distributions. The parameter space of the involved posteriors ranges in size from a few dimensions to dozens of dimensions. This work was motivated by an astrophysical problem called extrasolar planet (exoplanet) detection, wherein the computation of stochastic integrals that are required for Bayesian model comparison is challenging. The difficulty comes from the highly nonlinear models that lead to multimodal posterior distributions. We resort to importance sampling (IS) to estimate the integrals, and thus translate the problem to be how to find a parametric approximation of the posterior. To capture the multimodal structure in the posterior, we initialize a mixture proposal distribution and then tailor its parameters elaborately to make it resemble the posterior to the greatest extent possible. We use the effective sample size (ESS) calculated based on the IS draws to measure the degree of approximation. The bigger the ESS is, the better the proposal resembles the posterior. A difficulty within this tailoring operation lies in the adjustment of the number of mixing components in the mixture proposal. Brute force methods just preset it as a large constant, which leads to an increase in the required computational resources. We provide an iterative delete/merge/add process, which works in tandem with an expectation-maximization step to tailor such a number online. The efficiency of our proposed method is tested via both simulation studies and real exoplanet data analysis.

  10. The Effect of the Transit of Venus on ACRIM's Total Solar Irradiance Measurements: Implications for Transit Studies of Extrasolar Planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schneider, G.; Pasachoff, J. M.; Willson, Richard C.

    2006-04-01

    We have used the 2004 June 8 transit of Venus (ToV) as a surrogate to test observing methods, strategies, and techniques that are being contemplated for future space missions to detect and characterize extrasolar terrestrial planets (ETPs) as they transit their host stars, notably NASA's Kepler mission, planned for 2008. As an analog to ``Kepler-like'' photometric transit observations, we obtained (spatially unresolved) radiometric observations with the ACRIM 3 instrument on ACRIMSAT at a sampling cadence of 131 s to follow the effect of the ToV on the total solar irradiance (TSI). Contemporaneous high-resolution broadband imagery with NASA's TRACE spacecraft provided, directly, measures of the stellar (solar) astrophysical noise that can intrinsically limit such transit observations. During the Venus transit, which lasted ~5.5 hr, the planet's angular diameter was approximately 1/32 the solar diameter, thus covering ~0.1% of the stellar surface. With our ACRIM 3 data, we measure temporal changes in TSI with a 1 σ per sample (unbinned) uncertainty of approximately 100 mW m-2 (0.007%). A diminution in TSI of ~1.4 W m-2 (~0.1%, closely corresponding to the geometrically occulted area of the photosphere) was measured at mid-transit compared with a mean pre-/post-transit TSI of ~1365.9 W m-2. The radiometric light curve is complex because of the parallactic motion of Venus induced by ACRIMSAT's near-polar orbit, but exhibits the characteristic signature of photospheric limb darkening. These observations serve as a surrogate for future photometric observations of ETPs, such as Kepler will deliver. Detailed analysis of the ToV, a rare event within our own solar system, with time-resolved radiometry augmented with high-resolution imagery, provides a useful analog for investigating the detectability and characterization of ETPs from observations that are anticipated in the near future.

  11. Photon-Weighted Midpoint Exposure Meter for Keck/HIRES Extrasolar Planet Research

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1999-01-01

    NASA Grant was received for research involving the construction of a photon-weighting midpoint exposure meter for the Keck HIRES spectrometer, and for support of our NASA/Keck-based planet research with this instrumentation. The research funds were also to be used to make our iodine cell calibration system and exposure meter available to the NASA Keck observing community. Progress this past year, the second of the 3-year granting period, involved work in 4 areas: 1) Further construction of the midpoint exposure meter. 2) Assisting observers with use of the Iodine system. 3) Acquisition of precision radial velocity data on our program star sample with continued monitoring to proceed in subsequent years as available telescope time permits. 4) Reduction and analysis of incoming precision radial velocity data to reject problematic and uninteresting program stars, and to identify promising planet candidates.

  12. Transit Spectroscopy of Extrasolar Planet HD209458b: The Radiative Transfer Model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rojo, P.; Harrington, J.; Dermody, J.; Zeehandelaar, D.; Deming, D.; Wiedemann, G.; Seager, S.; Iro, N.; Fortney, J. J.; Burrows, A.

    2004-11-01

    We have developed a new code that calculates the modulation of a star's spectrum as a planet transits. We are applying this model to data from the VLT, Palomar, Keck, and IRTF to search for water on HD209458b, the transiting planet with the brightest primary. Observations of HD209458b's stellar spectrum modulation have yielded the first detections of exoplanetary sodium (Charbonneau et al. 2001), hydrogen, oxygen and carbon (Vidal-Madjar et al. 2003, 2004). Molecules, however, have still avoided detection. Water is predicted to be abundant at all plausible temperatures, but the modulation for most of the observable features is <0.04%. By simultaneously fitting for many excited water features while avoiding telluric water lines, we can significantly increase our signal. Our model predicts the modulation given line data, system geometry, and thermal and abundance profiles for any transiting planet. We will use this code to compare the observed modulation for HD209458b with that predicted by different planetary theories, do calculations for specific instruments with different resolutions and wavelength ranges, and constrain the abundances of detected species. We find that integrating the extinction over altitude produces significantly better results than assuming that the planet is an opaque disk whose radius is the altitude of optical depth unity. The latter is a widely used simplification. Our work will allow us to establish or place strong limits on the water abundance in HD209458b's atmosphere. Even a non-detection will be important, as it will require significant modifications to existing theory and/or will justify the need for better space-based instruments. This work was supported by NASA grant NAG5-13154.

  13. Statistical Analysis of Hubble /WFC3 Transit Spectroscopy of Extrasolar Planets

    SciT

    Fu, Guangwei; Deming, Drake; Knutson, Heather

    2017-10-01

    Transmission spectroscopy provides a window to study exoplanetary atmospheres, but that window is fogged by clouds and hazes. Clouds and haze introduce a degeneracy between the strength of gaseous absorption features and planetary physical parameters such as abundances. One way to break that degeneracy is via statistical studies. We collect all published HST /WFC3 transit spectra for 1.1–1.65 μ m water vapor absorption and perform a statistical study on potential correlations between the water absorption feature and planetary parameters. We fit the observed spectra with a template calculated for each planet using the Exo-transmit code. We express the magnitude ofmore » the water absorption in scale heights, thereby removing the known dependence on temperature, surface gravity, and mean molecular weight. We find that the absorption in scale heights has a positive baseline correlation with planetary equilibrium temperature; our hypothesis is that decreasing cloud condensation with increasing temperature is responsible for this baseline slope. However, the observed sample is also intrinsically degenerate in the sense that equilibrium temperature correlates with planetary mass. We compile the distribution of absorption in scale heights, and we find that this distribution is closer to log-normal than Gaussian. However, we also find that the distribution of equilibrium temperatures for the observed planets is similarly log-normal. This indicates that the absorption values are affected by observational bias, whereby observers have not yet targeted a sufficient sample of the hottest planets.« less

  14. Statistical Analysis of Hubble/WFC3 Transit Spectroscopy of Extrasolar Planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fu, Guangwei; Deming, Drake; Knutson, Heather; Madhusudhan, Nikku; Mandell, Avi; Fraine, Jonathan

    2018-01-01

    Transmission spectroscopy provides a window to study exoplanetary atmospheres, but that window is fogged by clouds and hazes. Clouds and haze introduce a degeneracy between the strength of gaseous absorption features and planetary physical parameters such as abundances. One way to break that degeneracy is via statistical studies. We collect all published HST/WFC3 transit spectra for 1.1-1.65 micron water vapor absorption, and perform a statistical study on potential correlations between the water absorption feature and planetary parameters. We fit the observed spectra with a template calculated for each planet using the Exo-Transmit code. We express the magnitude of the water absorption in scale heights, thereby removing the known dependence on temperature, surface gravity, and mean molecular weight. We find that the absorption in scale heights has a positive baseline correlation with planetary equilibrium temperature; our hypothesis is that decreasing cloud condensation with increasing temperature is responsible for this baseline slope. However, the observed sample is also intrinsically degenerate in the sense that equilibrium temperature correlates with planetary mass. We compile the distribution of absorption in scale heights, and we find that this distribution is closer to log-normal than Gaussian. However, we also find that the distribution of equilibrium temperatures for the observed planets is similarly log-normal. This indicates that the absorption values are affected by observational bias, whereby observers have not yet targeted a sufficient sample of the hottest planets.

  15. Statistical Analysis of Hubble/WFC3 Transit Spectroscopy of Extrasolar Planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fu, Guangwei; Deming, Drake; Knutson, Heather; Madhusudhan, Nikku; Mandell, Avi; Fraine, Jonathan

    2017-10-01

    Transmission spectroscopy provides a window to study exoplanetary atmospheres, but that window is fogged by clouds and hazes. Clouds and haze introduce a degeneracy between the strength of gaseous absorption features and planetary physical parameters such as abundances. One way to break that degeneracy is via statistical studies. We collect all published HST/WFC3 transit spectra for 1.1-1.65 μm water vapor absorption and perform a statistical study on potential correlations between the water absorption feature and planetary parameters. We fit the observed spectra with a template calculated for each planet using the Exo-transmit code. We express the magnitude of the water absorption in scale heights, thereby removing the known dependence on temperature, surface gravity, and mean molecular weight. We find that the absorption in scale heights has a positive baseline correlation with planetary equilibrium temperature; our hypothesis is that decreasing cloud condensation with increasing temperature is responsible for this baseline slope. However, the observed sample is also intrinsically degenerate in the sense that equilibrium temperature correlates with planetary mass. We compile the distribution of absorption in scale heights, and we find that this distribution is closer to log-normal than Gaussian. However, we also find that the distribution of equilibrium temperatures for the observed planets is similarly log-normal. This indicates that the absorption values are affected by observational bias, whereby observers have not yet targeted a sufficient sample of the hottest planets.

  16. The Sustainability of Habitability on Terrestrial Planets: Insights, Questions, and Needed Measurements from Mars for Understanding the Evolution of Earth-Like Worlds

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ehlmann, B. L.; Anderson, F. S.; Andrews-Hanna, J.; Catling, D. C.; Christensen, P. R.; Cohen, B. A.; Dressing, C. D.; Edwards, C. S.; Elkins-Tanton, L. T.; Farley, K. A.; hide

    2016-01-01

    What allows a planet to be both within a potentially habitable zone and sustain habitability over long geologic time? With the advent of exoplanetary astronomy and the ongoing discovery of terrestrial-type planets around other stars, our own solar system becomes a key testing ground for ideas about what factors control planetary evolution. Mars provides the solar systems longest record of the interplay of the physical and chemical processes relevant to habitability on an accessible rocky planet with an atmosphere and hydrosphere. Here we review current understanding and update the timeline of key processes in early Mars history. We then draw on knowledge of exoplanets and the other solar system terrestrial planets to identify six broad questions of high importance to the development and sustaining of habitability (unprioritized): (1) Is small planetary size fatal? (2) How do magnetic fields influence atmospheric evolution? (3) To what extent does starting composition dictate subsequent evolution, including redox processes and the availability of water and organics? (4) Does early impact bombardment have a net deleterious or beneficial influence? (5) How do planetary climates respond to stellar evolution, e.g., sustaining early liquid water in spite of a faint young Sun? (6) How important are the timescales of climate forcing and their dynamical drivers? Finally, we suggest crucial types of Mars measurements (unprioritized) to address these questions: (1) in situ petrology at multiple units/sites; (2) continued quantification of volatile reservoirs and new isotopic measurements of H, C, N, O, S, Cl, and noble gases in rocks that sample multiple stratigraphic sections; (3) radiometric age dating of units in stratigraphic sections and from key volcanic and impact units; (4) higher-resolution measurements of heat flux, subsurface structure, and magnetic field anomalies coupled with absolute age dating. Understanding the evolution of early Mars will feed forward to

  17. 'Signs of disequilibrium chemistry in extrasolar hot-Jupiter type planets?'

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rocha, Graca; Swain, Mark; Line, Michael; West, Robert

    2018-01-01

    In the recent years Infrared spectroscopy of hot exoplanets has been revealing their atmospheric composition. For example the spectra of the planet HD189733b exhibits signatures of CH4, CO2, CO and H2O molecules (Swain et al 2008, 2009, etc.). The original 2008 detection of CH4 was a surprise because it is not thermochemically favored at the relatively high temperature (~1300 K) of the atmosphere of HD 189733b. More recent analysis of HD 189733b measurements (Swain, Line, Deroo 2014) implied a CH4 enhancement of ~1000x greater than has been assumed. Significantly more data has recently become available from WFC3 observations (Mccullah et al. 2014, Crozet at al. 2015) of this planet. In the meantime theoretical models by Moses et al. 2011 showed that large enhancement of quenched methane is possible due to transport if vertical eddy diffusion is significant.In this talk we will present results from a new study of CH4 enhancement in the atmosphere of HD189733b. We analysise the transit spectra of this planet obtained with the Hubble Space Telescope, combining the shorter wavelength 1.1-1.6 μm data from WFC3 measurements with the 1.5-2.4 μm data from NICMOS measurements. We also introduce a new methodology, implemented within a Bayesian framework, where hypothesis testing is conducted via evidence based model selection. Our analysis indicates, for the first time, that the observed excess of Methane in HD189733b’s atmosphere requires disequilibrium chemistry. However the Evidence has a modest discriminatory power amongst a subset of models. Furthermore our constraints confirm Swain et al. 2014 results with an excess of Methane with a mixing ratio of 10 2.26 ppm with EvidencelogZ=-58.602 +/- 0.109.

  18. A Bayesian re-analysis of HD 11964 extrasolar planet data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gregory, Philip C.

    2007-05-01

    A Bayesian multi-planet Kepler periodogram has been developed for the analysis of precision radial velocity data (Gregory, ApJ, 631, 1198, 2005 and Astro-ph/0609229). The periodogram employs a parallel tempering Markov chain Monte Carlo algorithm. The HD 11964 data (Butler et al. ApJ, 646, 505, 2006) has been re-analyzed using 1, 2, 3 and 4 planet models. Each model incorporates an extra noise parameter which can allow for additional independent Gaussian noise beyond the known measurement uncertainties. The most probable model exhibits three periods of 38.02-0.05+0.06, 360-4+4 and 1924-43+44d, and eccentricities of 0.22-0.22+0.11, 0.63-0.17+0.34 and 0.05-0.05+0.03, respectively. Assuming the three signals (each one consistent with a Keplerian orbit) are caused by planets, the corresponding limits on planetary mass (M sin i) and semi-major axis are (0.090-0.14+0.15 MJ, 0.253-0.009+0.009 au), (0.21-0.02+0.05 MJ, 1.13-0.04+0.04 au), (0.77-0.08+0.08 MJ, 3.46-0.13+0.13 au), respectively. The small difference (1.3 sigma) between the 360 day period and one year suggests that it might be worth investigating the barycentric correction for the HD 11964 data. This research was supported in part by a grant from the Canadian Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada at the University of British Columbia.

  19. Direct imaging of extra-solar planets with stationary occultations viewed by a space telescope

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Elliot, J. L.

    1978-01-01

    The use of a telescope in space to detect planets outside the solar system by means of imaging at optical wavelengths is discussed. If the 'black' limb of the moon is utilized as an occulting edge, a hypothetical Jupiter-Sun system could be detected at a distance as great as 10 pc, and a signal-to-noise ratio of 9 could be achieved in less than 20 min with a 2.4 m telescope in space. An orbit for the telescope is proposed; this orbit could achieve a stationary lunar occultation of any star for a period of nearly two hours.

  20. Removing Activity-Related Radial Velocity Noise to Improve Extrasolar Planet Searches

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Saar, Steven; Lindstrom, David M. (Technical Monitor)

    2004-01-01

    We have made significant progress towards the proposal goals of understanding the causes and effects of magnetic activity-induced radial velocity (v_r) jitter and developing methods for correcting it. In the process, we have also made some significant discoveries in the fields of planet-induced stellar activity, planet detection methods, M dwarf convection, starspot properties, and magnetic dynamo cycles. We have obtained super high resolution (R approximately 200,000), high S / N (greater than 300) echelle study of joint line bisector and radial velocity variations using the McDonald 2-D coude. A long observing run in October 2002 in particular was quite successful (8 clear nights). We now have close to three years of data, which begins to sample a good fraction of the magnetic cycle timescales for some of our targets (e.g., kappa Ceti; P_cyc = 5.6 yrs). This will be very helpful in unraveling the complex relationships between plage and radial velocity (v-r) changes which we have uncovered. Preliminary analysis (Saar et al. 2003) of the data in hand, reveals correlations between median line bisector displacement and v_r. The correlation appears to be specific the the particular star being considered, probably since it is a function of both spectral type and rotation rate. Further analysis and interpretation will be in the context of evolving plage models and is in progress.

  1. The Physics of Extrasolar Gaseous Planets : from Theory to Observable Signatures

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chabrier, G.; Allard, F.; Baraffe, I.; Barman, T.; Hauschildt, P. H.

    2004-12-01

    We review our present understanding of the physical properties of substellar objects, brown dwarfs and irradiated or non-irradiated gaseous exoplanets. This includes a description of their internal properties, mechanical structure and heat content, their atmospheric properties, thermal profile and emergent spectrum, and their evolution, in particular as irradiated companions of a close parent star. The general theory can be used to make predictions in term of detectability for the future observational projects. Special attention is devoted to the evolution of the two presently detected transit planets, HD 209458b and OGLE-TR-56B. For this latter, we present a consistent evolution for its recently revised mass and show that we reproduce the observed radius within its error bars. We briefly discuss differences between brown dwarfs and gaseous planets, both in terms of mass function and formation process. We outline several arguments to show that the minimum mass for deuterium burning, recently adopted officially as the limit to distinguish the two types of objects, is unlikely to play any specific role in star formation, so that such a limit is of purely semantic nature and is not supported by a physical justification.

  2. Water vapor in the spectrum of the extrasolar planet HD 189733b. I. The transit

    SciT

    McCullough, P. R.; Crouzet, N.; Deming, D.

    2014-08-10

    We report near-infrared spectroscopy of the gas giant planet HD 189733b in transit. We used the Hubble Space Telescope Wide Field Camera 3 (HST WFC3) with its G141 grism covering 1.1 μm to 1.7 μm and spatially scanned the image across the detector at 2'' s{sup –1}. When smoothed to 75 nm bins, the local maxima of the transit depths in the 1.15 μm and 1.4 μm water vapor features are, respectively, 83 ± 53 ppm and 200 ± 47 ppm greater than the local minimum at 1.3 μm. We compare the WFC3 spectrum with the composite transit spectrum ofmore » HD 189733b assembled by Pont et al., extending from 0.3 μm to 24 μm. Although the water vapor features in the WFC3 spectrum are compatible with the model of non-absorbing, Rayleigh-scattering dust in the planetary atmosphere, we also re-interpret the available data with a clear planetary atmosphere. In the latter interpretation, the slope of increasing transit depth with shorter wavelengths from the near infrared, through the visible, and into the ultraviolet is caused by unocculted star spots, with a smaller contribution of Rayleigh scattering by molecular hydrogen in the planet's atmosphere. At relevant pressures along the terminator, our model planetary atmosphere's temperature is ∼700 K, which is below the condensation temperatures of sodium- and potassium-bearing molecules, causing the broad wings of the spectral lines of Na I and K I at 0.589 μm and 0.769 μm to be weak.« less

  3. Studies of Pressure-Broadening of Alkali Atom Resonance Lines for Modeling Atmospheres of Extrasolar Giant Planets and Brown Dwarfs

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kirby, Kate; Babb, J.; Yoshino, K.

    2004-01-01

    In L-dwarfs and T-dwarfs the resonance lines of sodium and potassium are so profoundly pressure-broadened that their wings extend several hundred nanometers from line center. With accurate knowledge of the line profiles as a function of temperature and pressure: such lines can prove to be valuable diagnostics of the atmospheres of such objects. We have initiated a joint program of theoretical and experimental research to study the line-broadening of alkali atom resonance lines due to collisions with species such as helium and molecular hydrogen. Although potassium and sodium are the alkali species of most interest in the atmospheres of cool brown dwarfs and extrasolar giant planets, some of our theoretical focus this year has involved the calculation of pressure-broadening of lithium resonance lines by He, as a test of a newly developed suite of computer codes. In addition, theoretical calculations have been carried out to determine the leading long range van der Waals coefficients for the interactions of ground and excited alkali metal atoms with helium atoms, to within a probable error of 2%. Such data is important in determining the behavior of the resonance line profiles in the far wings. Important progress has been made on the experimental aspects of the program since the arrival of a postdoctoral fellow in September. A new absorption cell has been designed, which incorporates a number of technical improvements over the previous cell, including a larger cell diameter to enhance the signal, and fittings which allow for easier cleaning, thereby significantly reducing the instrument down-time.

  4. On the possibility of ground-based direct imaging detection of extra-solar planets: the case of TWA-7

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Neuhäuser, R.; Brandner, W.; Eckart, A.; Guenther, E.; Alves, J.; Ott, T.; Huélamo, N.; Fernández, M.

    2000-02-01

    We show that ground-based direct imaging detection of extra-solar planets is possible with current technology. As an example, we present evidence for a possible planetary companion to the young T Tauri star 1RXSJ104230.3-334014 (=TWA-7), discovered by ROSAT as a member of the nearby TW Hya association. In an HST NICMOS F160W image, an object is detected that is more than 9 mag fainter than TWA-7, located 2.445 +/- 0.035'' south-east at a position angle of 142.24 +/- 1.34deg. One year later using the ESO-NTT with the SHARP speckle camera, we obtained H- and K-band detections of this faint object at a separation of 2.536 +/- 0.077'' and a position angle of 139.3 +/- 2.1deg. Given the known proper motion of TWA-7, the pair may form a proper motion pair. If the faint object orbits TWA-7, then its apparent magnitudes of H=16.42 +/- 0.11 and K=16.34 +/- 0.15 mag yield absolute magnitudes consistent with a ~ 106.5 yr old ~ 3 M_jup mass object according to the non-gray theory by Burrows et al. (1997). At ~ 55 pc, the angular separation of ~ 2.5'' corresponds to ~ 138 AU, clearly within typical disk sizes. However, position angles and separations are slightly more consistent with a background object than with a companion. Based on observations obtained at the European Southern Observatory, La Silla (ESO Proposals 62.I-0418 and 63.N-0178), and on observations made with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, obtained from the data archive at the Space Telescope Science Institute. STScI is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., under the NASA contract NAS 5-26555.

  5. Ionization in atmospheres of brown dwarfs and extrasolar planets VI: Properties of large-scale discharge events

    SciT

    Bailey, R. L.; Helling, Ch.; Hodosán, G.

    2014-03-20

    Mineral clouds in substellar atmospheres play a special role as a catalyst for a variety of charge processes. If clouds are charged, the surrounding environment becomes electrically activated, and ensembles of charged grains are electrically discharging (e.g., by lightning), which significantly influences the local chemistry creating conditions similar to those thought responsible for life in early planetary atmospheres. We note that such lightning discharges contribute also to the ionization state of the atmosphere. We apply scaling laws for electrical discharge processes from laboratory measurements and numerical experiments to DRIFT-PHOENIX model atmosphere results to model the discharge's propagation downward (as lightning)more » and upward (as sprites) through the atmospheric clouds. We evaluate the spatial extent and energetics of lightning discharges. The atmospheric volume affected (e.g., by increase of temperature or electron number) is larger in a brown dwarf atmosphere (10{sup 8}-10{sup 10} m{sup 3}) than in a giant gas planet (10{sup 4}-10{sup 6} m{sup 3}). Our results suggest that the total dissipated energy in one event is <10{sup 12} J for all models of initial solar metallicity. First attempts to show the influence of lightning on the local gas phase indicate an increase of small carbohydrate molecules like CH and CH{sub 2} at the expense of CO and CH{sub 4}. Dust-forming molecules are destroyed and the cloud particle properties are frozen in unless enough time is available for complete evaporation. We summarize instruments potentially suitable to observe lightning on extrasolar objects.« less

  6. The SOPHIE search for northern extrasolar planets. VII. A warm Neptune orbiting HD 164595

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Courcol, B.; Bouchy, F.; Pepe, F.; Santerne, A.; Delfosse, X.; Arnold, L.; Astudillo-Defru, N.; Boisse, I.; Bonfils, X.; Borgniet, S.; Bourrier, V.; Cabrera, N.; Deleuil, M.; Demangeon, O.; Díaz, R. F.; Ehrenreich, D.; Forveille, T.; Hébrard, G.; Lagrange, A. M.; Montagnier, G.; Moutou, C.; Rey, J.; Santos, N. C.; Ségransan, D.; Udry, S.; Wilson, P. A.

    2015-09-01

    High-precision radial velocity surveys explore the population of low-mass exoplanets orbiting bright stars. This allows accurately deriving their orbital parameters such as their occurrence rate and the statistical distribution of their properties. Based on this, models of planetary formation and evolution can be constrained. The SOPHIE spectrograph has been continuously improved in past years, and thanks to an appropriate correction of systematic instrumental drift, it is now reaching 2 m s-1precision in radial velocity measurements on all timescales. As part of a dedicated radial velocity survey devoted to search for low-mass planets around a sample of 190 bright solar-type stars in the northern hemisphere, we report the detection of a warm Neptune with a minimum mass of 16.1 ± 2.7M⊕ orbiting the solar analog HD 164595 in 40 ± 0.24 days. We also revised the parameters of the multiplanetary system around HD 190360. We discuss this new detection in the context of the upcoming space mission CHEOPS, which is devoted to a transit search of bright stars harboring known exoplanets. Based on observations made with SOPHIE spectrograph on the 1.93-m telescope at Observatoire de Haute-Provence (CNRS/OSU Pythéas), France (program 07A.PNP.CONS).Appendix A is available in electronic form at http://www.aanda.org

  7. Extrasolar planet detection by binary stellar eclipse timing: evidence for a third body around CM Draconis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Deeg, H. J.; Ocaña, B.; Kozhevnikov, V. P.; Charbonneau, D.; O'Donovan, F. T.; Doyle, L. R.

    2008-03-01

    Aims:Our objective is to elucidate the physical process that causes the observed observed-minus-calculated (O-C) behavior in the M4.5/M4.5 binary CM Dra and to test for any evidence of a third body around the CM Dra system. Methods: New eclipse minimum timings of CM Dra were obtained between the years 2000 and 2007. The O-C times of the system are fitted against several functions, representing different physical origins of the timing variations. Results: Using our observational data in conjunction with published timings going back to 1977, a clear non-linearity in O-C times is apparent. An analysis using model-selection statistics gives about equal weight to a parabolic and to a sinusoidal fitting function. Attraction from a third body, either at large distance in a quasi-constant constellation across the years of observations or from a body on a shorter orbit generating periodicities in O-C times is the most likely source of the observed O-C times. The white dwarf GJ 630.1B, a proper motion companion of CM Dra, can however be rejected as the responsible third body. Also, no further evidence of the short-periodic planet candidate described by Deeg et al. (2000, A&A, 358, L5) is found, whereas other mechanisms, such as period changes from stellar winds or Applegate's mechanism can be rejected. Conclusions: A third body, being either a few-Jupiter-mass object with a period of 18.5 ± 4.5 years or an object in the mass range of 1.5 M_jup to 0.1 M⊙ with periods of hundreds to thousands of years is the most likely origin of the observed minimum timing behavior.

  8. Beryllium abundances in parent stars of extrasolar planets: 16 Cygni A & B and rho (1) CANCRI

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Garcia Lopez, R. J.; Perez de Taoro, M. R.

    1998-06-01

    The (9) Be ii lambda 3131 Angstroms doublet has been observed in the solar-type stars 16 Cyg A & B and in the late G-type star rho (1) Cnc, to derive their beryllium abundances. 16 Cyg A & B show similar (solar) beryllium abundances while 16 Cyg B, which has been proposed to have a planetary companion of ~ 2 M_Jup, is known to be depleted in lithium by a factor larger than 6 with respect to 16 Cyg A. Differences in their rotational histories which could induce different rates of internal mixing of material, and the ingestion of a similar planet by 16 Cyg A are discussed as potential explanations. The existence of two other solar-type stars which are candidates to harbour planetary-mass companions and which show lithium and beryllium abundances close to those of 16 Cyg A, requires a more detailed inspection of the peculiarities of the 16 Cyg system. For rho (1) Cnc, which is the coolest known object candidate to harbour a planetary-mass companion (M > 0.85 M_Jup), we establish a precise upper limit for its beryllium abundance, showing a strong Be depletion which constrains the available mixing mechanisms. Observations of similar stars without companions are required to assess the potential effects of the planetary companion on the observed depletion. It has been recently claimed that rho (1) Cnc appears to be a subgiant. If this were the case, the observed strong Li and Be depletions could be explained by a dilution process taking place during its post-main sequence evolution. Based on observations made with the Nordic Optical and William Herschel Telescopes, which are operated on the island of La Palma by the NOT Scientific Association and the Isaac Newton Group, respectively, in the Spanish Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos of the Instituto de Astrof\\'\\i sica de Canarias.

  9. ExSPO: A Discovery Class Apodized Square Aperture (ASA) Expo-Planet Imaging Space Telescope Concept

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gezari, D.; Harwit, M.; Lyon, R.; Melnick, G.; Papaliolos, G.; Ridgeway, S.; Woodruff, R.; Nisenson, P.; Oegerle, William (Technical Monitor)

    2002-01-01

    ExSPO is a Discovery Class (approx. 4 meter) apodized square aperture (ASA) space telescope mission designed for direct imaging of extrasolar Earth-like planets, as a precursor to TPF. The ASA telescope concept, instrument design, capabilities, mission plan and science goals are described.

  10. A New Search for Carbon Monoxide Absorption in the Transmission Spectrum of the Extrasolar Planet HD 209458b

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Deming, Drake; Brown, Timothy M.; Charbonneau, David; Harrington, Joseph; Richardson, L. Jeremy

    2005-04-01

    We have revisited the search for carbon monoxide absorption features in transmission during the transit of the extrasolar planet HD 209458b. In 2002 August-September we acquired a total of 1077 high-resolution spectra (λ/δλ~25,000) in the K-band (2 μm) wavelength region using NIRSPEC on the Keck II telescope during three transits. These data are more numerous and of better quality than the data analyzed in an initial search by Brown et al. Our analysis achieves a sensitivity sufficient to test the degree of CO absorption in the first-overtone bands during transit on the basis of plausible models of the planetary atmosphere. We analyze our observations by comparison with theoretical tangent geometry absorption spectra, computed by adding height-invariant ad hoc temperature perturbations to the model atmosphere of Sudarsky et al. and by treating cloud height as an adjustable parameter. We do not detect CO absorption. The strong 2-0 R-branch lines between 4320 and 4330 cm-1 have depths during transit less than 1.6 parts in 104 in units of the stellar continuum (3 σ limit) at a spectral resolving power of 25,000. Our analysis indicates a weakening similar to that found in the case of sodium, suggesting that a general masking mechanism is at work in the planetary atmosphere. Under the interpretation that this masking is provided by high clouds, our analysis defines the maximum cloud-top pressure (i.e., minimum height) as a function of the model atmospheric temperature. For the relatively hot model used by Charbonneau et al. to interpret their sodium detection, our CO limit requires cloud tops at or above 3.3 mbar, and these clouds must be opaque at a wavelength of 2 μm. High clouds comprised of submicron-sized particles are already present in some models but may not provide sufficient opacity to account for our CO result. Cooler model atmospheres, having smaller atmospheric scale heights and lower CO mixing ratios, may alleviate this problem to some extent

  11. A scientometric prediction of the discovery of the first potentially habitable planet with a mass similar to Earth.

    PubMed

    Arbesman, Samuel; Laughlin, Gregory

    2010-10-04

    The search for a habitable extrasolar planet has long interested scientists, but only recently have the tools become available to search for such planets. In the past decades, the number of known extrasolar planets has ballooned into the hundreds, and with it, the expectation that the discovery of the first Earth-like extrasolar planet is not far off. Here, we develop a novel metric of habitability for discovered planets and use this to arrive at a prediction for when the first habitable planet will be discovered. Using a bootstrap analysis of currently discovered exoplanets, we predict the discovery of the first Earth-like planet to be announced in the first half of 2011, with the likeliest date being early May 2011. Our predictions, using only the properties of previously discovered exoplanets, accord well with external estimates for the discovery of the first potentially habitable extrasolar planet and highlight the the usefulness of predictive scientometric techniques to understand the pace of scientific discovery in many fields.

  12. A Scientometric Prediction of the Discovery of the First Potentially Habitable Planet with a Mass Similar to Earth

    PubMed Central

    Arbesman, Samuel; Laughlin, Gregory

    2010-01-01

    Background The search for a habitable extrasolar planet has long interested scientists, but only recently have the tools become available to search for such planets. In the past decades, the number of known extrasolar planets has ballooned into the hundreds, and with it, the expectation that the discovery of the first Earth-like extrasolar planet is not far off. Methodology/Principal Findings Here, we develop a novel metric of habitability for discovered planets and use this to arrive at a prediction for when the first habitable planet will be discovered. Using a bootstrap analysis of currently discovered exoplanets, we predict the discovery of the first Earth-like planet to be announced in the first half of 2011, with the likeliest date being early May 2011. Conclusions/Significance Our predictions, using only the properties of previously discovered exoplanets, accord well with external estimates for the discovery of the first potentially habitable extrasolar planet and highlight the the usefulness of predictive scientometric techniques to understand the pace of scientific discovery in many fields. PMID:20957226

  13. Giant Impacts on Earth-Like Worlds

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kohler, Susanna

    2016-05-01

    Earth has experienced a large number of impacts, from the cratering events that may have caused mass extinctions to the enormous impact believed to have formed the Moon. A new study examines whether our planets impact history is typical for Earth-like worlds.N-Body ChallengesTimeline placing the authors simulations in context of the history of our solar system (click for a closer look). [Quintana et al. 2016]The final stages of terrestrial planet formation are thought to be dominated by giant impacts of bodies in the protoplanetary disk. During this stage, protoplanets smash into one another and accrete, greatly influencing the growth, composition, and habitability of the final planets.There are two major challenges when simulating this N-body planet formation. The first is fragmentation: since computational time scales as N^2, simulating lots of bodies that split into many more bodies is very computationally intensive. For this reason, fragmentation is usually ignored; simulations instead assume perfect accretion during collisions.Total number of bodies remaining within the authors simulations over time, with fragmentation included (grey) and ignored (red). Both simulations result in the same final number of bodies, but the ones that include fragmentation take more time to reach that final number. [Quintana et al. 2016]The second challengeis that many-body systems are chaotic, which means its necessary to do a large number of simulations to make statistical statements about outcomes.Adding FragmentationA team of scientists led by Elisa Quintana (NASA NPP Senior Fellow at the Ames Research Center) has recently pushed at these challenges by modeling inner-planet formation using a code that does include fragmentation. The team ran 140 simulations with and 140 without the effects of fragmentation using similar initial conditions to understand how including fragmentation affects the outcome.Quintana and collaborators then used the fragmentation-inclusive simulations to

  14. Earth-Like Exoplanets: The Science of NASA's Navigator Program

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lawson, Peter R. (Editor); Traub, Wesley A. (Editor)

    2006-01-01

    This book outlines the exoplanet science content of NASA's Navigator Program, and it identifies the exoplanet research priorities. The goal of Navigator Program missions is to detect and characterize Earth-like planets in the habitable zone of nearby stars and to search for signs of life on those planets.

  15. Systems level feasibility study for the detection of extra-solar planets. Volume 1: Infrared interferometer (IRIS) known as the Stanford Concept

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1979-01-01

    A sensor system for the direct detection of extrasolar planets from an Earth orbit is evaluated: a spinning, infrared interferometer (IRIS). It is shuttle deployed, free flying, requires no on-orbit assembly and no reservicing over a design life of five years. The sensor concept and the mission objectives are reviewed, and the performance characteristics of a baseline sensor for standard observation conditions are derived. A baseline sensor design is given and the enabling technology discussed. Cost and weight estimates are performed; and a schedule for an IRIS program including technology development and assessment of risk are given. Finally, the sensor is compared with the apodized visual telescope sensor (APOTS) proposed for the same mission. The major conclusions are: that with moderate to strong technology advances, particularly in the fields of long life cryogenics, dynamical control, mirror manufacturing, and optical alignment, the detection of a Jupiter like planet around a Sunlike star at a distance of 30 light years is feasible, with a 3 meter aperture and an observation time of 1 hour. By contrast, major and possibly unlikely breakthroughs in mirror technology are required for APOTS to match this performance.

  16. The effect of host star spectral energy distribution and ice-albedo feedback on the climate of extrasolar planets.

    PubMed

    Shields, Aomawa L; Meadows, Victoria S; Bitz, Cecilia M; Pierrehumbert, Raymond T; Joshi, Manoj M; Robinson, Tyler D

    2013-08-01

    Planetary climate can be affected by the interaction of the host star spectral energy distribution with the wavelength-dependent reflectivity of ice and snow. In this study, we explored this effect with a one-dimensional (1-D), line-by-line, radiative transfer model to calculate broadband planetary albedos as input to a seasonally varying, 1-D energy balance climate model. A three-dimensional (3-D) general circulation model was also used to explore the atmosphere's response to changes in incoming stellar radiation, or instellation, and surface albedo. Using this hierarchy of models, we simulated planets covered by ocean, land, and water-ice of varying grain size, with incident radiation from stars of different spectral types. Terrestrial planets orbiting stars with higher near-UV radiation exhibited a stronger ice-albedo feedback. We found that ice extent was much greater on a planet orbiting an F-dwarf star than on a planet orbiting a G-dwarf star at an equivalent flux distance, and that ice-covered conditions occurred on an F-dwarf planet with only a 2% reduction in instellation relative to the present instellation on Earth, assuming fixed CO(2) (present atmospheric level on Earth). A similar planet orbiting the Sun at an equivalent flux distance required an 8% reduction in instellation, while a planet orbiting an M-dwarf star required an additional 19% reduction in instellation to become ice-covered, equivalent to 73% of the modern solar constant. The reduction in instellation must be larger for planets orbiting cooler stars due in large part to the stronger absorption of longer-wavelength radiation by icy surfaces on these planets in addition to stronger absorption by water vapor and CO(2) in their atmospheres, which provides increased downwelling longwave radiation. Lowering the IR and visible-band surface ice and snow albedos for an M-dwarf planet increased the planet's climate stability against changes in instellation and slowed the descent into global ice

  17. IMPACT OF η{sub Earth} ON THE CAPABILITIES OF AFFORDABLE SPACE MISSIONS TO DETECT BIOSIGNATURES ON EXTRASOLAR PLANETS

    SciT

    Léger, Alain; Defrère, Denis; Malbet, Fabien

    2015-08-01

    We present an analytic model to estimate the capabilities of space missions dedicated to the search for biosignatures in the atmosphere of rocky planets located in the habitable zone of nearby stars. Relations between performance and mission parameters, such as mirror diameter, distance to targets, and radius of planets, are obtained. Two types of instruments are considered: coronagraphs observing in the visible, and nulling interferometers in the thermal infrared. Missions considered are: single-pupil coronagraphs with a 2.4 m primary mirror, and formation-flying interferometers with 4 × 0.75 m collecting mirrors. The numbers of accessible planets are calculated as a functionmore » of η{sub Earth}. When Kepler gives its final estimation for η{sub Earth}, the model will permit a precise assessment of the potential of each instrument. Based on current estimations, η{sub Earth} = 10% around FGK stars and 50% around M stars, the coronagraph could study in spectroscopy only ∼1.5 relevant planets, and the interferometer ∼14.0. These numbers are obtained under the major hypothesis that the exozodiacal light around the target stars is low enough for each instrument. In both cases, a prior detection of planets is assumed and a target list established. For the long-term future, building both types of spectroscopic instruments, and using them on the same targets, will be the optimal solution because they provide complementary information. But as a first affordable space mission, the interferometer looks the more promising in terms of biosignature harvest.« less

  18. The HARPS search for southern extra-solar planets. III. Three Saturn-mass planets around HD 93083, HD 101930 and HD 102117

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lovis, C.; Mayor, M.; Bouchy, F.; Pepe, F.; Queloz, D.; Santos, N. C.; Udry, S.; Benz, W.; Bertaux, J.-L.; Mordasini, C.; Sivan, J.-P.

    2005-07-01

    We report on the detection of three Saturn-mass planets discovered with the HARPS instrument. HD 93083 shows radial-velocity (RV) variations best explained by the presence of a companion of 0.37 MJup orbiting in 143.6 days. HD 101930 b has an orbital period of 70.5 days and a minimum mass of 0.30 MJup. For HD 102117, we present the independent detection of a companion with m2 sin{i} = 0.14 MJup and orbital period P = 20.7 days. This planet was recently detected by Tinney et al. (ApJ, submitted). Activity and bisector indicators exclude any significant RV perturbations of stellar origin, reinforcing the planetary interpretation of the RV variations. The radial-velocity residuals around the Keplerian fits are 2.0, 1.8 and 0.9 m s-1 respectively, showing the unprecedented RV accuracy achieved with HARPS. A sample of stable stars observed with HARPS is also presented to illustrate the long-term precision of the instrument. All three stars are metal-rich, confirming the now well-established relation between planet occurrence and metallicity. The new planets are all in the Saturn-mass range, orbiting at moderate distance from their parent star, thereby occupying an area of the parameter space which seems difficult to populate according to planet formation theories. A systematic exploration of these regions will provide new constraints on formation scenarios in the near future.

  19. The HARPS search for southern extra-solar planets. XLII. A system of Earth-mass planets around the nearby M dwarf YZ Ceti

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Astudillo-Defru, N.; Díaz, R. F.; Bonfils, X.; Almenara, J. M.; Delisle, J.-B.; Bouchy, F.; Delfosse, X.; Forveille, T.; Lovis, C.; Mayor, M.; Murgas, F.; Pepe, F.; Santos, N. C.; Ségransan, D.; Udry, S.; Wünsche, A.

    2017-09-01

    Exoplanet surveys have shown that systems with multiple low-mass planets on compact orbits are common. Except for a few cases, however, the masses of these planets are generally unknown. At the very end of the main sequence, host stars have the lowest mass and hence offer the largest reflect motion for a given planet. In this context, we monitored the low-mass (0.13 M⊙) M dwarf YZ Cet (GJ 54.1, HIP 5643) intensively and obtained radial velocities and stellar-activity indicators derived from spectroscopy and photometry, respectively. We find strong evidence that it is orbited by at least three planets in compact orbits (POrb = 1.97, 3.06, 4.66 days), with the inner two near a 2:3 mean-motion resonance. The minimum masses are comparable to the mass of Earth (M sin I = 0.75 ± 0.13, 0.98 ± 0.14, and 1.14 ± 0.17 M⊕), and they are also the lowest masses measured by radial velocity so far. We note the possibility for a fourth planet with an even lower mass of M sin I = 0.472 ± 0.096 M⊕ at POrb = 1.04 days. An n-body dynamical model is used to place further constraints on the system parameters. At 3.6 parsecs, YZ Cet is the nearest multi-planet system detected to date. Based on observations made with the HARPS instrument on the ESO 3.6 m telescope under the program IDs 180.C-0886(A), 183.C-0437(A), and 191.C-0873(A) at Cerro La Silla (Chile).Radial velocity data (Table B.4) are only available at the CDS via anonymous ftp to http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr (http://130.79.128.5) or via http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/qcat?J/A+A/605/L11

  20. Direct imaging of extra-solar planets in star forming regions. Lessons learned from a false positive around IM Lupi

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mawet, D.; Absil, O.; Montagnier, G.; Riaud, P.; Surdej, J.; Ducourant, C.; Augereau, J.-C.; Röttinger, S.; Girard, J.; Krist, J.; Stapelfeldt, K.

    2012-08-01

    Context. Most exoplanet imagers consist of ground-based adaptive optics coronagraphic cameras which are currently limited in contrast, sensitivity and astrometric precision, but advantageously observe in the near-infrared window (1-5 μm). Because of these practical limitations, our current observational aim at detecting and characterizing planets puts heavy constraints on target selection, observing strategies, data reduction, and follow-up. Most surveys so far have thus targeted young systems (1-100 Myr) to catch the putative remnant thermal radiation of giant planets, which peaks in the near-infrared. They also favor systems in the solar neighborhood (d < 80 pc), which eases angular resolution requirements but also ensures a good knowledge of the distance and proper motion, which are critical to secure the planet status, and enable subsequent characterization. Aims: Because of their youth, it is very tempting to target the nearby star forming regions, which are typically twice as far as the bulk of objects usually combed for planets by direct imaging. Probing these interesting reservoirs sets additional constraints that we review in this paper by presenting the planet search that we initiated in 2008 around the disk-bearing T Tauri star IM Lup, which is part of the Lupus star forming region (140-190 pc). Methods: We show and discuss why age determination, the choice of evolutionary model for both the central star and the planet, precise knowledge of the host star proper motion, relative or absolute (between different instruments) astrometric accuracy (including plate scale calibration), and patience are the key ingredients for exoplanet searches around more distant young stars. Results: Unfortunately, most of the time, precision and perseverance are not paying off: we discovered a candidate companion around IM Lup in 2008, which we report here to be an unbound background object. We nevertheless review in details the lessons learned from our endeavor, and

  1. Light-curve analysis of KOI 2700b: the second extrasolar planet with a comet-like tail

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Garai, Z.

    2018-03-01

    Context. The Kepler object KOI 2700b (KIC 8639908b) was discovered recently as the second exoplanet with a comet-like tail. It exhibits a distinctly asymmetric transit profile, likely indicative of the emission of dusty effluents and reminiscent of KIC 12557548b, the first exoplanet with a comet-like tail. Aim. The scientific goal of this work is to verify the disintegrating-planet scenario of KOI 2700b by modeling its light curve and to put constraints on various tail and planet properties, as was done in the case of KIC 12557548b. Methods: We obtained the phase-folded and binned transit light curve of KOI 2700b, which we subsequently iteratively modeled using the radiative-transfer code SHELLSPEC. We modeled the comet-like tail as part of a ring around the parent star and we also included the solid body of the planet in the model. During the modeling we applied selected species and dust particle sizes. Results: We confirmed the disintegrating-planet scenario of KOI 2700b. Furthermore, via modeling, we derived some interesting features of KOI 2700b and its comet-like tail. It turns out that the orbital plane of the planet and its tail are not edge-on, but the orbital inclination angle is from the interval [85.1, 88.6] deg. In comparison with KIC 12557548b, KOI 2700b exhibits a relatively low dust density decreasing in its tail. We also derived the dust density at the beginning of the ring and the highest optical depth through the tail in front of the star, based on a tail-model with a cross-section of 0.05 × 0.05 R⊙ at the beginning and 0.09 × 0.09 R⊙ at its end. Our results show that the dimension of the planet is Rp/Rs ≤ 0.014 (Rp ≤ 0.871 R⊕, or ≤5551 km). We also estimated the mass-loss rate from KOI 2700b, and we obtained Ṁ values from the interval [5.05 × 107, 4.41 × 1015] g s-1. On the other hand, we could not draw any satisfactory conclusions about the typical grain size in the dust tail.

  2. Atom Resonance Lines for Modeling Atmosphere: Studies of Pressure-Broadening of Alkali Atom Resonance Lines for Modeling Atmospheres of Extrasolar Giant Planets and Brown Dwarfs

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hasan, Hashima (Technical Monitor); Kirby, K.; Babb, J.; Yoshino, K.

    2005-01-01

    We report on progress made in a joint program of theoretical and experimental research to study the line-broadening of alkali atom resonance lines due to collisions with species such as helium and molecular hydrogen. Accurate knowledge of the line profiles of Na and K as a function of temperature and pressure will allow such lines to serve as valuable diagnostics of the atmospheres of brown dwarfs and extra-solar giant planets. A new experimental apparatus has been designed, built and tested over the past year, and we are poised to begin collecting data on the first system of interest, the potassium resonance lines perturbed by collisions with helium. On the theoretical front, calculations of line-broadening due to sodium collisions with helium are nearly complete, using accurate molecular potential energy curves and transition moments just recently computed for this system. In addition we have completed calculations of the three relevant potential energy curves and associated transition moments for K - He, using the MOLPRO quantum chemistry codes. Currently, calculations of the potential surfaces describing K-H2 are in progress.

  3. Kepler-539: A young extrasolar system with two giant planets on wide orbits and in gravitational interaction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mancini, L.; Lillo-Box, J.; Southworth, J.; Borsato, L.; Gandolfi, D.; Ciceri, S.; Barrado, D.; Brahm, R.; Henning, Th.

    2016-05-01

    We confirm the planetary nature of Kepler-539 b (aka Kepler object of interest K00372.01), a giant transiting exoplanet orbiting a solar-analogue G2 V star. The mass of Kepler-539 b was accurately derived thanks to a series of precise radial velocity measurements obtained with the CAFE spectrograph mounted on the CAHA 2.2-m telescope. A simultaneous fit of the radial-velocity data and Kepler photometry revealed that Kepler-539 b is a dense Jupiter-like planet with a mass of Mp = 0.97 ± 0.29 MJup and a radius of Rp = 0.747 ± 0.018 RJup, making a complete circular revolution around its parent star in 125.6 days. The semi-major axis of the orbit is roughly 0.5 au, implying that the planet is at ≈0.45 au from the habitable zone. By analysing the mid-transit times of the 12 transit events of Kepler-539 b recorded by the Kepler spacecraft, we found a clear modulated transit time variation (TTV), which is attributable to the presence of a planet c in a wider orbit. The few timings available do not allow us to precisely estimate the properties of Kepler-539 c and our analysis suggests that it has a mass between 1.2 and 3.6 MJup, revolving on a very eccentric orbit (0.4 planet c is the probable cause of the TTV modulation of planet b. The analysis of the CAFE spectra revealed a relatively high photospheric lithium content, A(Li) = 2.48 ± 0.12 dex, which, together with both a gyrochronological and isochronal analysis, suggests that the parent star is relatively young. RV/BVS measurements are only available at the CDS via anonymous ftp to http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr (http://130.79.128.5) or via http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/qcat?J/A+A/590/A112

  4. A Search for Transiting Neptune-Mass Extrasolar Planets in High-Precision Photometry of Solar-Type Stars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Henry, Stephen M.; Gillman, Amelie r.; Henry, Gregory W.

    2005-01-01

    Tennessee State University operates several automatic photometric telescopes (APTs) at Fairborn Observatory in southern Arizona. Four 0.8 m APTs have been dedicated to measuring subtle luminosity variations that accompany magnetic cycles in solar-type stars. Over 1000 program and comparison stars have been observed every clear night in this program for up to 12 years with a precision of approximately 0.0015 mag for a single observation. We have developed a transit-search algorithm, based on fitting a computed transit template for each trial period, and have used it to search our photometric database for transits of unknown companions. Extensive simulations with the APT data have shown that we can reliably recover transits with periods under 10 days as long as the transits have a depth of at least 0.0024 mag, or about 1.6 times the scatter in the photometric observations. Thus, due to our high photometric precision, we are sensitive to transits of possible short-period Neptune-mass planets that likely would have escaped detection by current radial velocity techniques. Our search of the APT data sets for 1087 program and comparison stars revealed no new transiting planets. However, the detection of several unknown grazing eclipsing binaries from among our comparison stars, with eclipse depths of only a few millimags, illustrates the success of our technique. We have used this negative result to place limits on the frequency of Neptune-mass planets in close orbits around solar-type stars in the Sun's vicinity.

  5. The search for extrasolar planets: Study of line bisectors and its relation with precise radial velocity measurements

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Martinez Fiorenzano, A. F.

    2006-03-01

    (Abridged) To this purpose, in the course of the thesis work we prepared a suitable software in order to use the same spectra acquired for radial velocity determinations (i.e., with the spectrum of the Iodine cell imprinted on) to measure variations of the stellar line profiles. This is a novel approach, that can be of general utility in all high precision radial velocity surveys based on iodine cell data. This software has then been extensively used on data acquired within our survey, allowing a proper insight into a number of interesting cases, where spurious estimates of the radial velocities due to activity or contamination by light from the companions were revealed. The same technique can also be considered to correct the measured radial velocities, in order to search for planets around active stars.

  6. High-dispersion spectroscopy of extrasolar planets: from CO in hot Jupiters to O2 in exo-Earths.

    PubMed

    Snellen, Ignas

    2014-04-28

    Ground-based high-dispersion spectroscopy could reveal molecular oxygen as a biomarker gas in the atmospheres of twin-Earths transiting red dwarf stars within the next 25 years. The required contrasts are only a factor of 3 lower than that already achieved for carbon monoxide in hot Jupiter atmospheres today but will need much larger telescopes because the target stars will be orders of magnitude fainter. If extraterrestrial life is very common and can therefore be found on planets around the most nearby red dwarf stars, it may be detectable via transmission spectroscopy with the next-generation extremely large telescopes. However, it is likely that significantly more collecting area is required for this. This can be achieved through the development of low-cost flux collector technology, which combines a large collecting area with a low but sufficient image quality for high-dispersion spectroscopy of bright stars.

  7. Habitable planets with high obliquities

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Williams, D. M.; Kasting, J. F.

    1997-01-01

    Earth's obliquity would vary chaotically from 0 degrees to 85 degrees were it not for the presence of the Moon (J. Laskar, F. Joutel, and P. Robutel, 1993, Nature 361, 615-617). The Moon itself is thought to be an accident of accretion, formed by a glancing blow from a Mars-sized planetesimal. Hence, planets with similar moons and stable obliquities may be extremely rare. This has lead Laskar and colleagues to suggest that the number of Earth-like planets with high obliquities and temperate, life-supporting climates may be small. To test this proposition, we have used an energy-balance climate model to simulate Earth's climate at obliquities up to 90 degrees. We show that Earth's climate would become regionally severe in such circumstances, with large seasonal cycles and accompanying temperature extremes on middle- and high-latitude continents which might be damaging to many forms of life. The response of other, hypothetical, Earth-like planets to large obliquity fluctuations depends on their land-sea distribution and on their position within the habitable zone (HZ) around their star. Planets with several modest-sized continents or equatorial supercontinents are more climatically stable than those with polar supercontinents. Planets farther out in the HZ are less affected by high obliquities because their atmospheres should accumulate CO2 in response to the carbonate-silicate cycle. Dense, CO2-rich atmospheres transport heat very effectively and therefore limit the magnitude of both seasonal cycles and latitudinal temperature gradients. We conclude that a significant fraction of extrasolar Earth-like planets may still be habitable, even if they are subject to large obliquity fluctuations.

  8. 3.6 AND 4.5 {mu}m PHASE CURVES AND EVIDENCE FOR NON-EQUILIBRIUM CHEMISTRY IN THE ATMOSPHERE OF EXTRASOLAR PLANET HD 189733b

    SciT

    Knutson, Heather A.; Lewis, Nikole; Showman, Adam P.

    2012-07-20

    We present new, full-orbit observations of the infrared phase variations of the canonical hot Jupiter HD 189733b obtained in the 3.6 and 4.5 {mu}m bands using the Spitzer Space Telescope. When combined with previous phase curve observations at 8.0 and 24 {mu}m, these data allow us to characterize the exoplanet's emission spectrum as a function of planetary longitude and to search for local variations in its vertical thermal profile and atmospheric composition. We utilize an improved method for removing the effects of intrapixel sensitivity variations and robustly extracting phase curve signals from these data, and we calculate our best-fit parametersmore » and uncertainties using a wavelet-based Markov Chain Monte Carlo analysis that accounts for the presence of time-correlated noise in our data. We measure a phase curve amplitude of 0.1242% {+-} 0.0061% in the 3.6 {mu}m band and 0.0982% {+-} 0.0089% in the 4.5 {mu}m band, corresponding to brightness temperature contrasts of 503 {+-} 21 K and 264 {+-} 24 K, respectively. We find that the times of minimum and maximum flux occur several hours earlier than predicted for an atmosphere in radiative equilibrium, consistent with the eastward advection of gas by an equatorial super-rotating jet. The locations of the flux minima in our new data differ from our previous observations at 8 {mu}m, and we present new evidence indicating that the flux minimum observed in the 8 {mu}m is likely caused by an overshooting effect in the 8 {mu}m array. We obtain improved estimates for HD 189733b's dayside planet-star flux ratio of 0.1466% {+-} 0.0040% in the 3.6 {mu}m band and 0.1787% {+-} 0.0038% in the 4.5 {mu}m band, corresponding to brightness temperatures of 1328 {+-} 11 K and 1192 {+-} 9 K, respectively; these are the most accurate secondary eclipse depths obtained to date for an extrasolar planet. We compare our new dayside and nightside spectra for HD 189733b to the predictions of one-dimensional radiative transfer models

  9. MODELING THE INFRARED SPECTRUM OF THE EARTH-MOON SYSTEM: IMPLICATIONS FOR THE DETECTION AND CHARACTERIZATION OF EARTHLIKE EXTRASOLAR PLANETS AND THEIR MOONLIKE COMPANIONS

    SciT

    Robinson, Tyler D., E-mail: robinson@astro.washington.edu

    2011-11-01

    The Moon maintains large surface temperatures on its illuminated hemisphere and can contribute significant amounts of flux to spatially unresolved thermal infrared (IR) observations of the Earth-Moon system, especially at wavelengths where Earth's atmosphere is absorbing. In this paper we investigate the effects of an unresolved companion on IR observations of Earthlike exoplanets. For an extrasolar twin Earth-Moon system observed at full phase at IR wavelengths, the Moon consistently comprises about 20% of the total signal, approaches 30% of the signal in the 9.6 {mu}m ozone band and the 15 {mu}m carbon dioxide band, makes up as much as 80%more » of the signal in the 6.3 {mu}m water band, and more than 90% of the signal in the 4.3 {mu}m carbon dioxide band. These excesses translate to inferred brightness temperatures for Earth that are too large by 20-40 K and demonstrate that the presence of undetected satellites can have significant impacts on the spectroscopic characterization of exoplanets. The thermal flux contribution from an airless companion depends strongly on phase, implying that observations of exoplanets should be taken when the star-planet-observer angle (i.e., phase angle) is as large as feasibly possible if contributions from companions are to be minimized. We show that, by differencing IR observations of an Earth twin with a companion taken at both gibbous and crescent phases, Moonlike satellites may be detectable by future exoplanet characterization missions for a wide range of system inclinations.« less

  10. CHEMICAL ABUNDANCES IN THE EXTERNALLY POLLUTED WHITE DWARF GD 40: EVIDENCE OF A ROCKY EXTRASOLAR MINOR PLANET

    SciT

    Klein, B.; Jura, M.; Zuckerman, B.

    2010-02-01

    We present Keck/High Resolution Echelle Spectrometer data with model atmosphere analysis of the helium-dominated polluted white dwarf GD 40, in which we measure atmospheric abundances relative to helium of nine elements: H, O, Mg, Si, Ca, Ti, Cr, Mn, and Fe. Apart from hydrogen, whose association with the other contaminants is uncertain, this material most likely accreted from GD 40's circumstellar dust disk whose existence is demonstrated by excess infrared emission. The data are best explained by accretion of rocky planetary material, in which heavy elements are largely contained within oxides, derived from a tidally disrupted minor planet at leastmore » the mass of Juno, and probably as massive as Vesta. The relatively low hydrogen abundance sets an upper limit of 10% water by mass in the inferred parent body, and the relatively high abundances of refractory elements, Ca and Ti, may indicate high-temperature processing. While the overall constitution of the parent body is similar to the bulk Earth being over 85% by mass composed of oxygen, magnesium, silicon, and iron, we find n(Si)/n(Mg) = 0.30 +- 0.11, significantly smaller than the ratio near unity for the bulk Earth, chondrites, the Sun, and nearby stars. This result suggests that differentiation occurred within the parent body.« less

  11. Dust in brown dwarfs and extrasolar planets. V. Cloud formation in carbon- and oxygen-rich environments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Helling, Ch.; Tootill, D.; Woitke, P.; Lee, G.

    2017-07-01

    Context. Recent observations indicate potentially carbon-rich (C/O > 1) exoplanet atmospheres. Spectral fitting methods for brown dwarfs and exoplanets have invoked the C/O ratio as additional parameter but carbon-rich cloud formation modeling is a challenge for the models applied. The determination of the habitable zone for exoplanets requires the treatment of cloud formation in chemically different regimes. Aims: We aim to model cloud formation processes for carbon-rich exoplanetary atmospheres. Disk models show that carbon-rich or near-carbon-rich niches may emerge and cool carbon planets may trace these particular stages of planetary evolution. Methods: We extended our kinetic cloud formation model by including carbon seed formation and the formation of C[s], TiC[s], SiC[s], KCl[s], and MgS[s] by gas-surface reactions. We solved a system of dust moment equations and element conservation for a prescribed Drift-Phoenixatmosphere structure to study how a cloud structure would change with changing initial C/O0 = 0.43...10.0. Results: The seed formation efficiency is lower in carbon-rich atmospheres than in oxygen-rich gases because carbon is a very effective growth species. The consequence is that fewer particles make up a cloud if C/O0 > 1. The cloud particles are smaller in size than in an oxygen-rich atmosphere. An increasing initial C/O ratio does not revert this trend because a much greater abundance of condensible gas species exists in a carbon-rich environment. Cloud particles are generally made of a mix of materials: carbon dominates if C/O0 > 1 and silicates dominate if C/O0 < 1. A carbon content of 80-90% carbon is reached only in extreme cases where C/O0 = 3.0 or 10.0. Conclusions: Carbon-rich atmospheres form clouds that are made of particles of height-dependent mixed compositions, sizes and numbers. The remaining gas phase is far less depleted than in an oxygen-rich atmosphere. Typical tracer molecules are HCN and C2H2 in combination with a featureless

  12. Occurrence of Earth-like bodies in planetary systems.

    PubMed

    Wetherill, G W

    1991-08-02

    Present theories of terrestrial planet formation predict the rapid ;;runaway formation'' of planetary embryos. The sizes of the embryos increase with heliocentric distance. These embryos then merge to form planets. In earlier Monte Carlo simulations of the merger of these embryos it was assumed that embryos did not form in the asteroid belt, but this assumption may not be valid. Simulations in which runaways were allowed to form in the asteroid belt show that, although the initial distributions of mass, energy, and angular momentum are different from those observed today, during the growth of the planets these distributions spontaneously evolve toward those observed, simply as a result of known solar system processes. Even when a large planet analogous to ;;Jupiter'' does not form, an Earth-sized planet is almost always found near Earth's heliocentric distance. These results suggest that occurrence of Earth-like planets may be a common feature of planetary systems.

  13. Clouds in the atmospheres of extrasolar planets. IV. On the scattering greenhouse effect of CO2 ice particles: Numerical radiative transfer studies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kitzmann, D.; Patzer, A. B. C.; Rauer, H.

    2013-09-01

    Context. Owing to their wavelength-dependent absorption and scattering properties, clouds have a strong impact on the climate of planetary atmospheres. The potential greenhouse effect of CO2 ice clouds in the atmospheres of terrestrial extrasolar planets is of particular interest because it might influence the position and thus the extension of the outer boundary of the classic habitable zone around main sequence stars. Such a greenhouse effect, however, is a complicated function of the CO2 ice particles' optical properties. Aims: We study the radiative effects of CO2 ice particles obtained by different numerical treatments to solve the radiative transfer equation. To determine the effectiveness of the scattering greenhouse effect caused by CO2 ice clouds, the radiative transfer calculations are performed over the relevant wide range of particle sizes and optical depths, employing different numerical methods. Methods: We used Mie theory to calculate the optical properties of particle polydispersion. The radiative transfer calculations were done with a high-order discrete ordinate method (DISORT). Two-stream radiative transfer methods were used for comparison with previous studies. Results: The comparison between the results of a high-order discrete ordinate method and simpler two-stream approaches reveals large deviations in terms of a potential scattering efficiency of the greenhouse effect. The two-stream methods overestimate the transmitted and reflected radiation, thereby yielding a higher scattering greenhouse effect. For the particular case of a cool M-type dwarf, the CO2 ice particles show no strong effective scattering greenhouse effect by using the high-order discrete ordinate method, whereas a positive net greenhouse effect was found for the two-stream radiative transfer schemes. As a result, previous studies of the effects of CO2 ice clouds using two-stream approximations overrated the atmospheric warming caused by the scattering greenhouse effect

  14. Extrasolar planetary systems.

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Huang, S.-S.

    1973-01-01

    The terms 'planet' and 'planet-like objects' are defined. The observational search for extrasolar planetary systems is described, as performable by earthbound optical telescopes, by space probes, by long baseline radio interferometry, and finally by inference from the reception of signals sent by intelligent beings in other worlds. It is shown that any planetary system must be preceded by a rotating disk of gas and dust around a central mass. A brief review of the theories of the formation of the solar system is given, along with a proposed scheme for classification of these theories. The evidence for magnetic activity in the early stages of stellar evolution is presented. The magnetic braking theories of solar and stellar rotation are discussed, and an estimate is made for the frequency of occurrence of planetary systems in the universe.

  15. Dust in brown dwarfs and extra-solar planets. I. Chemical composition and spectral appearance of quasi-static cloud layers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Helling, Ch.; Woitke, P.; Thi, W.-F.

    2008-07-01

    Aims: Brown dwarfs are covered by dust cloud layers which cause inhomogeneous surface features and move below the observable τ = 1 level during the object's evolution. The cloud layers have a strong influence on the structure and spectral appearance of brown dwarfs and extra-solar planets, e.g. by providing high local opacities and by removing condensable elements from the atmosphere causing a sub-solar metalicity in the atmosphere. We aim at understanding the formation of cloud layers in quasi-static substellar atmospheres that consist of dirty grains composed of numerous small islands of different solid condensates. Methods: The time-dependent description is a kinetic model describing nucleation, growth and evaporation. It is extended to treat gravitational settling and is applied to the static-stationary case of substellar model atmospheres. From the solution of the dust moments, we determine the grain size distribution function approximately which, together with the calculated material volume fractions, provides the basis for applying effective medium theory and Mie theory to calculate the opacities of the composite dust grains. Results: The cloud particles in brown dwarfs and hot giant-gas planets are found to be small in the high atmospheric layers (a ≈ 0.01 μm), and are composed of a rich mixture of all considered condensates, in particular MgSiO3[s], Mg2SiO4[s] and SiO2[s]. As the particles settle downward, they increase in size and reach several 100 μm in the deepest layers. The more volatile parts of the grains evaporate and the particles stepwise purify to form composite particles of high-temperature condensates in the deeper layers, mainly made of Fe[s] and Al2O3[s]. The gas phase abundances of the elements involved in the dust formation process vary by orders of magnitudes throughout the atmosphere. The grain size distribution is found to be relatively broad in the upper atmospheric layers but strongly peaked in the deeper layers. This reflects

  16. Maximum number of habitable planets at the time of Earth's origin: new hints for panspermia?

    PubMed

    von Bloh, Werner; Franck, Siegfried; Bounama, Christine; Schellnhuber, Hans-Joachim

    2003-04-01

    New discoveries have fuelled the ongoing discussion of panspermia, i.e. the transport of life from one planet to another within the solar system (interplanetary panspermia) or even between different planetary systems (interstellar panspermia). The main factor for the probability of interstellar panspermia is the average density of stellar systems containing habitable planets. The combination of recent results for the formation rate of Earth-like planets with our estimations of extrasolar habitable zones allows us to determine the number of habitable planets in the Milky Way over cosmological time scales. We find that there was a maximum number of habitable planets around the time of Earth's origin. If at all, interstellar panspermia was most probable at that time and may have kick-started life on our planet.

  17. Precursor Science for the Terrestrial Planet Finder

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lawson, P. R. (Editor); Unwin, S. C. (Editor); Beichman, C. A. (Editor)

    2004-01-01

    This document outlines a path for the development of the field of extrasolar planet research, with a particular emphasis on the goals of the Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF). Over the past decade, a new field of research has developed, the study of extrasolar planetary systems, driven by the discovery of massive planets around nearby stars. The planet count now stands at over 130. Are there Earth-like planets around nearby stars? Might any of those planets be conducive to the formation and maintenance of life? These arc the questions that TPF seeks to answer. TPF will be implemented as a suite of two space observatories, a 6-m class optical coronagraph, to be launched around 20 14, and a formation flying mid-infrared interferometer, to be launched sometime prior to 2020. These facilities will survey up to 165 or more nearby stars and detect planets like Earth should they be present in the 'habitable zone' around each star. With observations over a broad wavelength range, TPF will provide a robust determination of the atmospheric composition of planets to assess habitability and the presence of life. At this early stage of TPF's development, precursor observational and theoretical programs are essential to help define the mission, to aid our understanding of the planets that TPF could discover, and to characterize the stars that TPF will eventually study. This document is necessarily broad in scope because the significance of individual discoveries is greatly enhanced when viewed in thc context of the field as a whole. This document has the ambitious goal of taking us from our limited knowledge today, in 2004, to the era of TPF observations in the middle of the next decade. We must use the intervening years wisely. This document will be reviewed annually and updated as needed. The most recent edition is available online at http://tpf.jpl.nasa.gov/ or by email request to lawson@hucy.jpl.nasa.gov

  18. Elemental Compositions of Extrasolar Planetesimals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Xu, Siyi; Jura, M.

    2014-01-01

    The composition of extrasolar rocky planets is essential for understanding the formation and evolution of these alien worlds. Studying externally-polluted white dwarfs provides the only method to directly measure the elemental compositions of extrasolar planetesimals, the building blocks of planets. The standard model is that some planetesimals can survive to the white dwarf phase, get perturbed, enter into the tidal radius of the white dwarf and get accreted, polluting its pure hydrogen or helium atmosphere. We have been performing high-resolution spectroscopic observations on a number of polluted white dwarfs to measure the bulk compositions of the accreted objects. To have a full picture of the abundance pattern, we gathered data from both Keck/HIRES and HST/COS. I will present the analysis for one of the most interesting objects -- G29-38. It is the first white dwarf identified with an infrared excess from debris of pulverized planetesimals and among the very first identified polluted hydrogen atmosphere white dwarfs. Our analysis indicates that the accreted extrasolar planetesimal is enhanced in refractory elements and depleted in volatile elements. A detailed comparison with solar system objects show that the observed composition can be best interpreted as a blend of chondritic object with some refractory-rich material, a result from post-nebular processing. When all polluted white dwarfs are viewed as an ensemble, we find that the elemental compositions of accreted extrasolar planetesimals resemble to those of solar system objects to zeroth order. (i) The big four elements, O, Fe, Mg and Si are also dominant. Objects with exotic compositions, e.g. diamond planets and refractory-dominated planets, are yet to be found. (ii) Volatiles, such as carbon and water, are only trace constituents. In terms of bulk composition, solar system objects are essentially normal.

  19. Climate of an Earth-Like World with Changing Eccentricity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kohler, Susanna

    2017-02-01

    Having a giant planet like Jupiter next door can really wreak havoc on your orbit! A new study examines what such a bad neighbor might mean for the long-term climate of an Earth-like planet.Influence of a Bad NeighborThe presence of a Jupiter-like giant planet in a nearby orbit can significantly affect how terrestrial planets evolve dynamically, causing elements like the planets orbital eccentricities and axial tilts to change over time. Earth is saved this inconvenience Jupiter isnt close enough to significantly influence us, and our large moon stabilizes our orbit against Jupiters tugs.Top panels: Authors simulationoutcomes for Case1, in which the planets eccentricity varies from 0 to 0.283 over 6500 years. Bottom panels: Outcomes for Case 2, in which the planets eccentricity varies from 0 to 0.066 over 4500 years. The highereccentricities reached in Case 1 causes the climate parameters to vary more widely. Click for a better look! [Way Georgakarakos 2017]Mars, on the other hand, isnt as lucky: its possible that Jupiters gravitational pull causes Marss axial tilt, for instance, to evolve through a range as large as 0 to 60 degrees on timescales of millions of years! Marss orbital eccentricity is similarly thought to vary due to Jupiters influence, and both of these factors play a major role in determining Marss climate.As exoplanet missions discover more planets many of which are Earth-like we must carefully consider which among these are most likely to be capable of sustaining life. If having a nearby neighbor like a Jupiter can tug an Earth-like world into an orbit with varying eccentricity, how does this affect the planets climate? Will the planet remain temperate? Or will it develop a runaway heating or cooling effect as it orbits, rendering it uninhabitable?Oceans and OrbitsTo examine these questions, two scientists have built the first ever 3D global climate model simulations of an Earth-like world using a fully coupled ocean (necessary for understanding

  20. A Diffraction-limited Survey for Direct Detection of Halpha Emitting/Accreting ExtraSolar Planets with the 6.5m Magellan Telescope and the MagAO Visible AO system

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Close, Laird

    TECHNICAL BACKGROUND: An advanced adaptive secondary mirror (ASM) with 585 actuators was commissioned at the 6.5-m Magellan Telescope at one of the world’s best sites (Las Campanas Observatory; LCO) in Chile. By the end of the commissioning run (April 2013) the MagAO system was regularly producing the highest spatial resolution deep images to date (0.023” deep images at Halpha (0.656 microns); Close et al. 2013). This is due to its 378 corrective modes at 1kHz on a 6.5-m telescope. Strehl ratis>20% at Halpha were obtained in 75% of the seeing statistics at the site. We propose here to utilize MagAO’s absolutely unique ability to take Halpha, continuum (0.643 microns), and L’ (3.8 microns) thermal images (all simultaneously) to carry out a novel survey to: Discover a population of the lowest mass young accreting extrasolar planets imaged to date. to characterize the spatial distribution, and estimate accretion rates, of young extrasolar planets >5AU, to understand the influence of planets on transitional disk gaps. THEORY BACKGROUND: Extrasolar planets are very difficult to image directly since planets become very faint below ~8 Mjup (Jupiter masses) for ages >1 Myr and such massive planets are rare. There is a class of young stars that are still accreting yet have SED (and often imaging) evidence of a lack of dust and gas inside a r=5-140 AU “gap”. These “transitional disks” are believed to be transitioning into “disk free” stars. These gaps are believed to be maintained by planets that continuously clear (though scattering or accretion) the optically thin gaps. Indeed large >10 AU gaps (>few Hill spheres) must be maintained by multiple ~1 Mjup planets (Dodson-Robinson & Salyk 2011). Since gas must pass through each of these gaps to continuously supply the accreting star, simulations suggest that these “gap planets” are also crossing points for these gas streamers on their way to the star. These streamers “force-feed” these planets a

  1. Does the Presence of Planets Affect the Frequency and Properties of Extrasolar Kuiper Belts? Results from the Herschel Debris and Dunes Surveys

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moro-Martín, A.; Marshall, J. P.; Kennedy, G.; Sibthorpe, B.; Matthews, B. C.; Eiroa, C.; Wyatt, M. C.; Lestrade, J.-F.; Maldonado, J.; Rodriguez, D.; Greaves, J. S.; Montesinos, B.; Mora, A.; Booth, M.; Duchêne, G.; Wilner, D.; Horner, J.

    2015-03-01

    The study of the planet-debris disk connection can shed light on the formation and evolution of planetary systems and may help “predict” the presence of planets around stars with certain disk characteristics. In preliminary analyses of subsamples of the Herschel DEBRIS and DUNES surveys, Wyatt et al. and Marshall et al. identified a tentative correlation between debris and the presence of low-mass planets. Here we use the cleanest possible sample out of these Herschel surveys to assess the presence of such a correlation, discarding stars without known ages, with ages \\lt 1 Gyr, and with binary companions \\lt 100 AU to rule out possible correlations due to effects other than planet presence. In our resulting subsample of 204 FGK stars, we do not find evidence that debris disks are more common or more dusty around stars harboring high-mass or low-mass planets compared to a control sample without identified planets. There is no evidence either that the characteristic dust temperature of the debris disks around planet-bearing stars is any different from that in debris disks without identified planets, nor that debris disks are more or less common (or more or less dusty) around stars harboring multiple planets compared to single-planet systems. Diverse dynamical histories may account for the lack of correlations. The data show a correlation between the presence of high-mass planets and stellar metallicity, but no correlation between the presence of low-mass planets or debris and stellar metallicity. Comparing the observed cumulative distribution of fractional luminosity to those expected from a Gaussian distribution in logarithmic scale, we find that a distribution centered on the solar system’s value fits the data well, while one centered at 10 times this value can be rejected. This is of interest in the context of future terrestrial planet detection and characterization because it indicates that there are good prospects for finding a large number of debris

  2. Correcting Estimates of the Occurrence Rate of Earth-like Exoplanets for Stellar Multiplicity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cantor, Elliot; Dressing, Courtney D.; Ciardi, David R.; Christiansen, Jessie

    2018-06-01

    One of the most prominent questions in the exoplanet field has been determining the true occurrence rate of potentially habitable Earth-like planets. NASA’s Kepler mission has been instrumental in answering this question by searching for transiting exoplanets, but follow-up observations of Kepler target stars are needed to determine whether or not the surveyed Kepler targets are in multi-star systems. While many researchers have searched for companions to Kepler planet host stars, few studies have investigated the larger target sample. Regardless of physical association, the presence of nearby stellar companions biases our measurements of a system’s planetary parameters and reduces our sensitivity to small planets. Assuming that all Kepler target stars are single (as is done in many occurrence rate calculations) would overestimate our search completeness and result in an underestimate of the frequency of potentially habitable Earth-like planets. We aim to correct for this bias by characterizing the set of targets for which Kepler could have detected Earth-like planets. We are using adaptive optics (AO) imaging to reveal potential stellar companions and near-infrared spectroscopy to refine stellar parameters for a subset of the Kepler targets that are most amenable to the detection of Earth-like planets. We will then derive correction factors to correct for the biases in the larger set of target stars and determine the true frequency of systems with Earth-like planets. Due to the prevalence of stellar multiples, we expect to calculate an occurrence rate for Earth-like exoplanets that is higher than current figures.

  3. Scenarios of giant planet formation and evolution and their impact on the formation of habitable terrestrial planets.

    PubMed

    Morbidelli, Alessandro

    2014-04-28

    In our Solar System, there is a clear divide between the terrestrial and giant planets. These two categories of planets formed and evolved separately, almost in isolation from each other. This was possible because Jupiter avoided migrating into the inner Solar System, most probably due to the presence of Saturn, and never acquired a large-eccentricity orbit, even during the phase of orbital instability that the giant planets most likely experienced. Thus, the Earth formed on a time scale of several tens of millions of years, by collision of Moon- to Mars-mass planetary embryos, in a gas-free and volatile-depleted environment. We do not expect, however, that this clear cleavage between the giant and terrestrial planets is generic. In many extrasolar planetary systems discovered to date, the giant planets migrated into the vicinity of the parent star and/or acquired eccentric orbits. In this way, the evolution and destiny of the giant and terrestrial planets become intimately linked. This paper discusses several evolutionary patterns for the giant planets, with an emphasis on the consequences for the formation and survival of habitable terrestrial planets. The conclusion is that we should not expect Earth-like planets to be typical in terms of physical and orbital properties and accretion history. Most habitable worlds are probably different, exotic worlds.

  4. Beyond Kepler: Direct Imaging of Earth-like Planets

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Belikov, Ruslan

    2012-01-01

    Is there another Earth out there? Is there life on it? People have been asking these questions for over two thousand years, and we finally stand on the verge of answering them. The Kepler space telescope is NASA's first mission designed to study Earthlike exoplanets (exo-Earths), and it will soon tell us how often exo-Earths occur in the habitable zones of their stars. The next natural step after Kepler is spectroscopic characterization of exo-Earths, which would tell us whether they possess an atmosphere, oxygen, liquid water, as well as other biomarkers. In order to do this, directly imaging an exo-Earth may be necessary (at least for Sun-like stars). Directly imaging an exo-Earth is challenging and likely requires a flagship-size optical space telescope with an unprecedented imaging system capable of achieving contrasts of 1(exp 10) very close to the diffraction limit. Several coronagraphs and external occulters have been proposed to meet this challenge and are in development. After first overviewing the history and current state of the field, my talk will focus on the work proceeding at the Ames Coronagraph Experiment (ACE) at the NASA Ames Research Center, where we are developing the Phase Induced Amplitude Apodization (PIAA) coronagraph in a collaboration with JPL. PIAA is a powerful technique with demonstrated aggressive performance that defines the state of the art at small inner working angles. At ACE, we have achieved contrasts of 2(exp -8) with an inner working angle of 2 lambda/D and 1(exp -6) at 1.4 lambda/D. On the path to exo-Earth imaging, we are also pursuing a smaller telescope concept called EXCEDE (EXoplanetary Circumstellar Environments and Disk Explorer), which was recently selected for technology development (Category III) by NASA's Explorer program. EXCEDE will do fundamental science on debris disks as well as serve as a technological and scientific pathfinder for an exo-Earth imaging mission.

  5. Investigations on physics of planetary atmospheres and small bodies of the Solar system, extrasolar planets and disk structures around the stars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vidmachenko, A. P.; Delets, O. S.; Dlugach, J. M.; Zakhozhay, O. V.; Kostogryz, N. M.; Krushevska, V. M.; Kuznyetsova, Y. G.; Morozhenko, O. V.; Nevodovskyi, P. V.; Ovsak, O. S.; Rozenbush, O. E.; Romanyuk, Ya. O.; Shavlovskiy, V. I.; Yanovitskij, E. G.

    2015-12-01

    The history and main becoming stages of Planetary system physics Department of the Main astronomical observatory of National academy of Sciences of Ukraine are considered. Fundamental subjects of department researches and science achievements of employees are presented. Fields of theoretical and experimental researches are Solar system planets and their satellites; vertical structures of planet atmospheres; radiative transfer in planet atmospheres; exoplanet systems of Milky Way; stars having disc structures; astronomical engineering. Employees of the department carry out spectral, photometrical and polarimetrical observations of Solar system planets, exoplanet systems and stars with disc structures. 1. From the history of department 2. The main directions of department research 3. Scientific instrumentation 4. Telescopes and observation stations 5. Theoretical studies 6. The results of observations of planets and small Solar system bodies and their interpretation 7. The study of exoplanets around the stars of our galaxy 8. Spectral energy distribution of fragmenting protostellar disks 9. Cooperation with the National Technical University of Ukraine (KPI) and National University of Ukraine "Lviv Polytechnic" to study the impact of stratospheric aerosol changes on weather and climate of the Earth 10. International relations. Scientific and organizational work. Scientific conferences, congresses, symposia 11. The main achievements of the department 12. Current researches 13. Anniversaries and awards

  6. The Terrestrial Planet Finder and Darwin Missions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Danchi, William C.

    2004-01-01

    Both in the United States and in Europe, teams of scientists and engineers are exploring the feasibility of the Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF) and Darwin missions, which are designed to search for Earth-like planets in the habitable zone of nearby stars. In the US, the TPF Science Working Group is studying four options - small (4m by 6 m primary mirror) and large (4m by 10 m primary mirror) coronagraphs for planet detection at visible wavelengths, and structurally connected and free-flyer interferometers at thermal infrared wavelengths. The US TPF-SWG is charged with selecting an option for NASA by the end of 2006. In Europe the Darwin Terrestrial Exo-planet Advisory Team (TE- SAT) is exploring the free-flyer interferometer option only at this time. I will discuss the vurtures and difficulties of detecting and characterizing extra-solar planets in both wavelength regions as well as some of the technical challenges and progress in the past year.

  7. Formation, Habitability, and Detection of Extrasolar Moons

    PubMed Central

    Williams, Darren; Kipping, David; Limbach, Mary Anne; Turner, Edwin; Greenberg, Richard; Sasaki, Takanori; Bolmont, Émeline; Grasset, Olivier; Lewis, Karen; Barnes, Rory; Zuluaga, Jorge I.

    2014-01-01

    Abstract The diversity and quantity of moons in the Solar System suggest a manifold population of natural satellites exist around extrasolar planets. Of peculiar interest from an astrobiological perspective, the number of sizable moons in the stellar habitable zones may outnumber planets in these circumstellar regions. With technological and theoretical methods now allowing for the detection of sub-Earth-sized extrasolar planets, the first detection of an extrasolar moon appears feasible. In this review, we summarize formation channels of massive exomoons that are potentially detectable with current or near-future instruments. We discuss the orbital effects that govern exomoon evolution, we present a framework to characterize an exomoon's stellar plus planetary illumination as well as its tidal heating, and we address the techniques that have been proposed to search for exomoons. Most notably, we show that natural satellites in the range of 0.1–0.5 Earth mass (i) are potentially habitable, (ii) can form within the circumplanetary debris and gas disk or via capture from a binary, and (iii) are detectable with current technology. Key Words: Astrobiology—Extrasolar planets—Habitability—Planetary science—Tides. Astrobiology 14, 798–835. PMID:25147963

  8. Planet Formation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Klahr, Hubert; Brandner, Wolfgang

    2006-05-01

    This volume addresses fundamental questions concerning the formation of planetary systems in general, and of our solar system in particular. Drawing from recent advances in observational, experimental, and theoretical research, it summarises our current understanding of the planet formation processes, and addresses major open questions and research issues. Chapters are written by leading experts in the field of planet formation and extrasolar planet studies. The book is based on a meeting held at Ringberg Castle in Bavaria, where experts gathered together to present and exchange their ideas and findings. It is a comprehensive resource for graduate students and researchers, and is written to be accessible to newcomers to the field.

  9. Planet Formation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lissauer, Jack J.; Fonda, Mark (Technical Monitor)

    2002-01-01

    Modern theories of star and planet formation and of the orbital stability of planetary systems are described and used to discuss possible characteristics of undiscovered planetary systems. The most detailed models of planetary growth are based upon observations of planets and smaller bodies within our own Solar System and of young stars and their environments. Terrestrial planets are believed to grow via pairwise accretion until the spacing of planetary orbits becomes large enough that the configuration is stable for the age of the system. Giant planets begin their growth as do terrestrial planets, but they become massive enough that they are able to accumulate substantial amounts of gas before the protoplanetary disk dissipates. These models predict that rocky planets should form in orbit about most single stars. It is uncertain whether or not gas giant planet formation is common, because most protoplanetary disks may dissipate before solid planetary cores can grow large enough to gravitationally trap substantial quantities of gas. A potential hazard to planetary systems is radial decay of planetary orbits resulting from interactions with material within the disk. Planets more massive than Earth have the potential to decay the fastest, and may be able to sweep up smaller planets in their path. The implications of the giant planets found in recent radial velocity searches for the abundances of habitable planets are discussed, and the methods that are being used and planned for detecting and characterizing extrasolar planets are reviewed.

  10. Effects of Variable Eccentricity on the Climate of an Earth-like World

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Way, M. J.; Georgakarakos, Nikolaos

    2017-01-01

    The Kepler era of exoplanetary discovery has presented the astronomical community with a cornucopia of planetary systems that are very different from the one that we inhabit. It has long been known that Jupiter plays a major role in the orbital parameters of Mars and its climate, but there is also a long-standing belief that Jupiter would play a similar role for Earth if not for the Moon. Using a three-dimensional general circulation model (3D GCM) with a fully coupled ocean, we simulate what would happen to the climate of an Earth-like world if Mars did not exist, but a Jupiter-like planet was much closer to Earth’s orbit. We investigate two scenarios that involve the evolution of the Earth-like planet’s orbital eccentricity from 0 to 0.283 over 6500 years, and from 0 to 0.066 on a timescale of 4500 years. In both cases we discover that they would maintain relatively temperate climates over the timescales simulated. More Earth-like planets in multi-planet systems will be discovered as we continue to survey the skies and the results herein show that the proximity of large gas giant planets may play an important role in the habitability of these worlds. These are the first such 3D GCM simulations using a fully coupled ocean with a planetary orbit that evolves over time due to the presence of a giant planet.

  11. Coronal mass ejection (CME) activity of low mass M stars as an important factor for the habitability of terrestrial exoplanets. I. CME impact on expected magnetospheres of Earth-like exoplanets in close-in habitable zones.

    PubMed

    Khodachenko, Maxim L; Ribas, Ignasi; Lammer, Helmut; Griessmeier, Jean-Mathias; Leitner, Martin; Selsis, Franck; Eiroa, Carlos; Hanslmeier, Arnold; Biernat, Helfried K; Farrugia, Charles J; Rucker, Helmut O

    2007-02-01

    Low mass M- and K-type stars are much more numerous in the solar neighborhood than solar-like G-type stars. Therefore, some of them may appear as interesting candidates for the target star lists of terrestrial exoplanet (i.e., planets with mass, radius, and internal parameters identical to Earth) search programs like Darwin (ESA) or the Terrestrial Planet Finder Coronagraph/Inferometer (NASA). The higher level of stellar activity of low mass M stars, as compared to solar-like G stars, as well as the closer orbital distances of their habitable zones (HZs), means that terrestrial-type exoplanets within HZs of these stars are more influenced by stellar activity than one would expect for a planet in an HZ of a solar-like star. Here we examine the influences of stellar coronal mass ejection (CME) activity on planetary environments and the role CMEs may play in the definition of habitability criterion for the terrestrial type exoplanets near M stars. We pay attention to the fact that exoplanets within HZs that are in close proximity to low mass M stars may become tidally locked, which, in turn, can result in relatively weak intrinsic planetary magnetic moments. Taking into account existing observational data and models that involve the Sun and related hypothetical parameters of extrasolar CMEs (density, velocity, size, and occurrence rate), we show that Earth-like exoplanets within close-in HZs should experience a continuous CME exposure over long periods of time. This fact, together with small magnetic moments of tidally locked exoplanets, may result in little or no magnetospheric protection of planetary atmospheres from a dense flow of CME plasma. Magnetospheric standoff distances of weakly magnetized Earth-like exoplanets at orbital distances

  12. Formation, habitability, and detection of extrasolar moons.

    PubMed

    Heller, René; Williams, Darren; Kipping, David; Limbach, Mary Anne; Turner, Edwin; Greenberg, Richard; Sasaki, Takanori; Bolmont, Emeline; Grasset, Olivier; Lewis, Karen; Barnes, Rory; Zuluaga, Jorge I

    2014-09-01

    The diversity and quantity of moons in the Solar System suggest a manifold population of natural satellites exist around extrasolar planets. Of peculiar interest from an astrobiological perspective, the number of sizable moons in the stellar habitable zones may outnumber planets in these circumstellar regions. With technological and theoretical methods now allowing for the detection of sub-Earth-sized extrasolar planets, the first detection of an extrasolar moon appears feasible. In this review, we summarize formation channels of massive exomoons that are potentially detectable with current or near-future instruments. We discuss the orbital effects that govern exomoon evolution, we present a framework to characterize an exomoon's stellar plus planetary illumination as well as its tidal heating, and we address the techniques that have been proposed to search for exomoons. Most notably, we show that natural satellites in the range of 0.1-0.5 Earth mass (i) are potentially habitable, (ii) can form within the circumplanetary debris and gas disk or via capture from a binary, and (iii) are detectable with current technology.

  13. Using polarimetry to retrieve the cloud coverage of Earth-like exoplanets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rossi, L.; Stam, D. M.

    2017-11-01

    Context. Clouds have already been detected in exoplanetary atmospheres. They play crucial roles in a planet's atmosphere and climate and can also create ambiguities in the determination of atmospheric parameters such as trace gas mixing ratios. Knowledge of cloud properties is required when assessing the habitability of a planet. Aims: We aim to show that various types of cloud cover such as polar cusps, subsolar clouds, and patchy clouds on Earth-like exoplanets can be distinguished from each other using the polarization and flux of light that is reflected by the planet. Methods: We have computed the flux and polarization of reflected starlight for different types of (liquid water) cloud covers on Earth-like model planets using the adding-doubling method, that fully includes multiple scattering and polarization. Variations in cloud-top altitudes and planet-wide cloud cover percentages were taken into account. Results: We find that the different types of cloud cover (polar cusps, subsolar clouds, and patchy clouds) can be distinguished from each other and that the percentage of cloud cover can be estimated within 10%. Conclusions: Using our proposed observational strategy, one should be able to determine basic orbital parameters of a planet such as orbital inclination and estimate cloud coverage with reduced ambiguities from the planet's polarization signals along its orbit.

  14. The HARPS search for southern extra-solar planets . XXXII. New multi-planet systems in the HARPS volume limited sample: a super-Earth and a Neptune in the habitable zone

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lo Curto, G.; Mayor, M.; Benz, W.; Bouchy, F.; Hébrard, G.; Lovis, C.; Moutou, C.; Naef, D.; Pepe, F.; Queloz, D.; Santos, N. C.; Segransan, D.; Udry, S.

    2013-03-01

    The vast diversity of planetary systems detected to date is defying our capability of understanding their formation and evolution. Well-defined volume-limited surveys are the best tool at our disposal to tackle the problem, via the acquisition of robust statistics of the orbital elements. We are using the HARPS spectrograph to conduct our survey of ≈850 nearby solar-type stars, and in the course of the past nine years we have monitored the radial velocity of HD 103774, HD 109271, and BD-061339. In this work we present the detection of five planets orbiting these stars, with msin (i) between 0.6 and 7 Neptune masses, four of which are in two multiple systems, comprising one super-Earth and one planet within the habitable zone of a late-type dwarf. Although for strategic reasons we chose efficiency over precision in this survey, we have the capability to detect planets down to the Neptune and super-Earth mass range as well as multiple systems, provided that enough data points are made available. Based on observations made with the HARPS instrument on the ESO 3.6 m telescope at La Silla (Chile), under the GTO program ID 072.C-0488 and the regular programs: 085.C-0019, 087.C-0831 and 089.C-0732. RV data are only available at the CDS via anonymous ftp to cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr (130.79.128.5) or via http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/qcat?J/A+A/551/A59

  15. Effects of Variable Eccentricity on the Climate of an Earth-Like World

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Way, M. J.; Georgakarakos, Nikolaos

    2017-01-01

    The Kepler era of exoplanetary discovery has presented the Astronomical community with a cornucopia of planetary systems very different from the one which we inhabit. It has long been known that Jupiter plays a major role in the orbital parameters of Mars and its climate, but there is also a long-standing belief that Jupiter would play a similar role for Earth if not for its large moon. Using a three dimensional general circulation model (3-D GCM) with a fully-coupled ocean we simulate what would happen to the climate of an Earth-like world if Mars did not exist, but a Jupiter-like planet was much closer to Earths orbit. We investigate two scenarios that involve evolution of the Earth-like planets orbital eccentricity from 0 to 0.066 on a time scale of 4500 years, and from 0 to 0.283 over 6500 years. We discover that during most of the 6500 year scenario the planet would experience a moist greenhouse effect when near periastron. This could have implications for the ability of such a world to retain an ocean on time scales of 109 years. More Earth-like planets in multi-planet systems will be discovered as we continue to survey the skies and the results herein show that the proximity of large gas giant planets may play an important role in the habitabilty of these worlds. These are the first such 3-D GCM simulations using a fully-coupled ocean with a planetary orbit that evolves over time due to the presence of a giant planet.

  16. Title: Characterizing a Frozen Extrasolar World

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Skemer, Andrew J.; Morley, Caroline V.; Allers, Katelyn N.; Geballe, Thomas R.; Marley, Mark S.; Fortney, Jonathan J.; Faherty, Jacqueline K.; Bjoraker, Gordon L.

    2016-01-01

    The recently discovered brown dwarf WISE 0855 presents our first opportunity to study an object outside the Solar System that is nearly as cold as our own gas giant planets. However the traditional methodology for characterizing brown dwarfs-near infrared spectroscopy-is not currently feasible as WISE 0855 is too cold and faint. To characterize this frozen extrasolar world we obtained a 4.5-5.2 micrometers spectrum, the same bandpass long used to study Jupiter's deep thermal emission. Our spectrum reveals the presence of atmospheric water vapor and clouds, with an absorption profile that is strikingly similar to Jupiter. The spectrum is high enough quality to allow the investigation of dynamical and chemical processes that have long been studied in Jupiter's atmosphere, but this time on an extrasolar world.

  17. The ExtraSolar Planetary Imaging Coronagraph

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Clampin, M.; Lyon, R.

    2010-10-01

    The Extrasolar Planetary Imaging Coronagraph (EPIC) is a 1.65-m telescope employing a visible nulling coronagraph (VNC) to deliver high-contrast images of extrasolar system architectures. EPIC will survey the architectures of exosolar systems, and investigate the physical nature of planets in these solar systems. EPIC will employ a Visible Nulling Coronagraph (VNC), featuring an inner working angle of ≤2λ/D, and offers the ideal balance between performance and feasibility of implementation, while not sacrificing science return. The VNC does not demand unrealistic thermal stability from its telescope optics, achieving its primary mirror surface figure requires no new technology, and pointing stability is within state of the art. The EPIC mission will be launched into a drift-away orbit with a five-year mission lifetime.

  18. Tidally-induced thermal runaway on extrasolar Earth: Impact on habitability

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Behounkova, M.; Tobie, G.; Choblet, G.; Cadek, O.

    2010-12-01

    Low mass extrasolar bodies start to be discovered owing to the increased precision of detection surveys. As the detection probability decreases with the star-body distance, these planets (and the numerous candidates already announced for the coming years) are likely to orbit their parent stars in a close distance. These short-period planets undergo a strong tidal forcing and their orbits are tidally locked. The associated heat production may influence the internal thermal evolution of these bodies: it has even been suggested that the habitable zone could be influenced by tidal heating (Barnes et al. 2008; Henning et al. 2009). In this study, we further investigate the effect of tidal heating on thermal evolution of tidally locked Earth-like planets. Owing to the strong temperature dependence of the mechanical properties of both the long-term evolution and the tidal deformations, the two processes are coupled. Nevertheless, the tidal deformation has no direct effect on the convective flow and only the dissipative part is included as a heat source for mantle dynamics since the time scales of the two processes strongly differs. For significant tidal dissipation rates, the strong positive feedback leads, in some cases, to thermal runaways. We focus here on the susceptibility of Earth-like planets to tidal dissipation for fixed orbital parameters (eccentricity, orbital period and the spin-orbit resonance type) and on the associated timescales for runaway (if any). In order to describe this behavior and the three dimensional nature of both the tidal forcing and the temperature anomalies, a fully three-dimensional approach solving the two processes simultaneously is employed (Běhounková et al., JGR, in press). We consider an extrasolar planet having the internal properties similar to the Earth. Two modes for heat transfer are modeled through the choice of convective parameters (Rayleigh number and temperature dependence of viscosity, amount of radiogenic heating): a

  19. SOFIA - Science Potential for Extrasolar Planet Reseaarch

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sandell, G.; Becklin, E. E.; Dunham, E. W.

    The joint U.S. and German Stratospheric Observatory For Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) project to develop and operate a 2.5-meter infrared airborne telescope in a Boeing 747-SP is now well into development. The telescope was delivered to the U.S. in September 2002 and will be integrated into the aircraft in early 2003. First science flights will begin in late 2004. Once fully operational the observatory will do 960 observing hours/year, with an expected lifetime of over 20 years. We give an overview of the characteristics of the observatory and its first suite of nine instruments, three of which are facility instruments, five are principal investigator instruments and one is a specialty instrument.

  20. Occultation Spectrophotometry of Extrasolar Planets with SOFIA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Angerhausen, Daniel; Huber, Klaus F.; Mandell, Avi M.; McElwain, Michael W.; Czesla, Stefan; Madhusudhan, Nikku; Morse, Jon A.

    2014-04-01

    The NASA/DLR Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), a 2.5-meter infrared telescope on board a Boeing 747-SP, will conduct 0.3 - 1,600 μm photometric, spectroscopic, and imaging observations from altitudes as high as 45,000 ft., where the average atmospheric transmission is greater than 80 percent. SOFIA's first light cameras and spectrometers, as well as future generations of instruments, will make important contributions to the characterization of the physical properties of exoplanets. Our analysis shows that optical and near-infrared photometric and spectrophotometric follow-up observations during planetary transits and eclipses will be feasible with SOFIA's instrumentation, in particular the HIPO-FLITECAM optical/NIR instruments. The airborne-based platform has unique advantages in comparison to ground- and space-based observatories in this field of research which we will outline here. Furthermore we will present two exemplary science cases, that will be conducted in SOFIA's cycle 1.

  1. Occultation Spectrophotometry of Extrasolar Planets with SOFIA

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Angerhausen, Daniel; Huber, Klaus F.; Mandell, Avi M.; McElwain, Michael W.; Czesla, Stefan; Madhusudhan, Nikku

    2012-01-01

    The NASA/DLR Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), a 2.5- meter infrared telescope on board a Boeing 747-SP, will conduct 0.3 - 1,600 micrometer photometric, spectroscopic, and imaging observations from altitudes as high as 45,000 ft., where the average atmospheric transmission is greater than 80 percent. SOFIA's first light cameras and spectrometers, as well as future generations of instruments, will make important contributions to the characterization of the physical properties of exoplanets. Our analysis shows that optical and near-infrared photometric and spectrophotometric follow-up observations during planetary transits and eclipses will be feasible with SOFIA's instrumentation, in particular the HIPOFLITECAM optical/NIR instruments. The airborne-based platform has unique advantages in comparison to ground- and space-based observatories in this field of research which we will outline here. Furthermore we will present two exemplary science cases, that will be conducted in SOFIA's cycle 1.

  2. Commission 53: Extra-Solar Planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Boss, Alan; Lecavelier des Etangs, Alain; Mayor, Michel; Bodenheimer, Peter; Collier-Cameron, Andrew; Kokubo, Eiichiro; Mardling, Rosemary; Minniti, Dante; Queloz, Didier

    2010-05-01

    Commission 53 met in August 12, 2009. Outgoing President Michel Mayor chaired the meeting, and there were several dozen members present, including incoming President Alan Boss, incoming Vice President Alain Lecavelier des Etangs. Commission 53 (C53) was founded at the 2006 Prague General Assembly of the IAU. After a period of 6 years, C53 will come up for renewal at the 2012 IAU General Assembly in Beijing, China. For the moment, more than 150 IAU members have asked to be members of C53 and few dozen non-IAU members having asked to be informed of the commission activity.

  3. Earth-like sand fluxes on Mars.

    PubMed

    Bridges, N T; Ayoub, F; Avouac, J-P; Leprince, S; Lucas, A; Mattson, S

    2012-05-09

    Strong and sustained winds on Mars have been considered rare, on the basis of surface meteorology measurements and global circulation models, raising the question of whether the abundant dunes and evidence for wind erosion seen on the planet are a current process. Recent studies showed sand activity, but could not determine whether entire dunes were moving--implying large sand fluxes--or whether more localized and surficial changes had occurred. Here we present measurements of the migration rate of sand ripples and dune lee fronts at the Nili Patera dune field. We show that the dunes are near steady state, with their entire volumes composed of mobile sand. The dunes have unexpectedly high sand fluxes, similar, for example, to those in Victoria Valley, Antarctica, implying that rates of landscape modification on Mars and Earth are similar.

  4. Planets and Life

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sullivan, Woodruff T., III; Baross, John

    2007-09-01

    Foreword; Preface; Contributors; Prologue; Part I. History: 1. History of astrobiological ideas W. T. Sullivan and D. Carney; 2. From exobiology to astrobiology S. J. Dick; Part II. The Physical Stage: 3. Formation of Earth-like habitable planets D. E. Brownlee and M. Kress; 4. Planetary atmospheres and life D. Catling and J. F. Kasting; Part III. The Origin of Life on Earth: 5. Does 'life' have a definition? C.E. Cleland and C. F. Chyba; 6. Origin of life: crucial issues R. Shapiro; 7. Origin of proteins and nucleic acids A. Ricardo and S. A. Benner; 8. The roots of metabolism G.D. Cody and J. H. Scott; 9. Origin of cellular life D. W. Deamer; Part IV. Life on Earth: 10. Evolution: a defining feature of life J. A. Baross; 11. Evolution of metabolism and early microbial communities J. A. Leigh, D. A. Stahl and J. T. Staley; 12. The earliest records of life on Earth R. Buick; 13. The origin and diversification of eukaryotes M. L. Sogin, D. J. Patterson and A. McArthur; 14. Limits of carbon life on Earth and elsewhere J. A. Baross, J. Huber and M. Schrenk; 15. Life in ice J. W. Deming and H. Eicken; 16. The evolution and diversification of life S. Awramik and K. J. McNamara; 17. Mass extinctions P. D. Ward; Part V. Potentially Habitable Worlds: 18. Mars B. M. Jakosky, F. Westall and A. Brack; 19. Europa C. F. Chyba and C. B. Phillips; 20. Titan J. I. Lunine and B. Rizk; 21. Extrasolar planets P. Butler; Part VI. Searching for Extraterrestrial Life: 22. How to search for life on other worlds C. P. McKay; 23. Instruments and strategies for detecting extraterrestrial life P. G. Conrad; 24. Societial and ethical concerns M. S. Race; 25. Planetary protection J. D. Rummel; 26. Searching for extraterrestrial intelligence J. C. Tarter; 27. Alien biochemistries P. D. Ward and S. A. Benner; Part VII. Future of the Field: 28. Disciplinary and educational opportunities L. Wells, J. Armstrong and J. Huber; Epilogue C. F. Chyba; Appendixes: A. Units and usages; B. Planetary

  5. Atomic Spectroscopy of the Solar Atmosphere to Enable Earth-like Exoplanet Detection

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Milbourne, Timothy; Langellier, Nicholas; Ravi, Aakash; Dolliff, Christian; Phillips, David; Walsworth, Ronald

    2017-04-01

    The radial velocity (RV) method has proved to be one of the most prolific means of exoplanet detection. This technique uses measurements of periodic Doppler shifts of the stellar spectrum to deduce the mass and semi-major axis of orbiting exoplanets. The detection an Earth-like exoplanet orbiting a Sun-like star requires RV sensitivity below 10 cm/s (corresponding to kHz shifts of GHz-wide spectral lines). The installation of a laser-frequency ``astro-comb'' at the High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Search for the Northern Hemisphere (HARPS-N) spectrograph on La Palma has enabled such observations. Exoplanet measurements is now limited by the noise of the stars themselves: sunspots, convection, and other types of stellar activity produce RV variations on the order of m/s, far above the detection threshold for Earth-like planets. Here, we use the Sun as a test case to better understand RV variations due to stellar activity. By comparing solar spectra taken by a purpose-built Solar Telescope on La Palma with images taken by the Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager (HMI) onboard the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), we hope to identify feature in the solar spectrum which are correlated with solar activity. Such correlates will allow us to build more sophisticated models of stellar activity, and will enable more precise measurements of Earth-like exoplanets.

  6. Giant Transiting Planets Observations - GITPO

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Afonso, C.

    2006-08-01

    The search for extrasolar planets is nowadays one of the most promising science drivers in Astronomy. The radial velocity technique proved to be successful in planet hunting, harvesting more than a hundred planets to date. In these last years, the transit method has come to fruition, with the detection of seven Jupiter-mass extrasolar transiting planets in close-in orbits (< 0.05 AU). Currently, the radius of planets can only be determined from transiting planets, representing the principal motivation and strength of this technique. The MPIA is presently building the Large Area Imager (LAIWO) for the 1m telescope in the Wise Observatory, Israel. LAIWO will have a field of view of one square degree. An intensive search for extra-solar planets will be performed with the 1m Wise telecope, together with the 1.2m MONET telescope in Texas. We will monitor three fields at a given time during three years and more than 200 nights per year. We expect several dozens of extra-solar planets.

  7. Giant Transiting Planets Observations GITPO

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Afonso, C.; Henning, Th.; Weldrake, D.; Mazeh, T.; Dreizler, S.

    The search for extrasolar planets is nowadays one of the most promising science drivers in Astronomy. The radial velocity technique proved to be successful in planet hunting, harvesting more than a hundred planets to date. In these last recent years, the transit method has come to fruition, with the detection of seven Jupiter-mass extrasolar transiting planets in close-in orbits ({ AU). Currently, the radius of planets can only be determined from transiting planets, representing the principal motivation and strength of this technique. The MPIA is presently building the Large Area Imager (LAIWO) for the 1m telescope in the Wise Observatory, Israel. LAIWO will have a field of view of one square degree. An intensive search for extra-solar planets will be performed with the 1m Wise telescope, together with the 1.2m MONET telescope in Texas. We will monitor three fields at a given time during three years and more than 200 nights per year. We expect several dozens of extra-solar planets.

  8. Planet Formation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Klahr, Hubert; Brandner, Wolfgang

    2011-02-01

    1. Historical notes on planet formation Bodenheimer; 2. The formation and evolution of planetary systems Bouwman et al.; 3. Destruction of protoplanetary disks by photoevaporation Richling, Hollenbach and Yorke; 4. Turbulence in protoplanetary accretion disks Klahr, Rozyczka, Dziourkevitch, Wunsch and Johansen; 5. The origin of solids in the early solar system Trieloff and Palme; 6. Experiments on planetesimal formation Wurm and Blum; 7. Dust coagulation in protoplanetary disks Henning, Dullemond, Wolf and Dominik; 8. The accretion of giant planet cores Thommes and Duncan; 9. Planetary transits: direct vision of extrasolar planets Lecavelier des Etangs and Vidal-Madjar; 10. The core accretion - gas capture model Hubickyj; 11. Properties of exoplanets Marcy, Fischer, Butler and Vogt; 12. Giant planet formation: theories meet observations Boss; 13. From hot Jupiters to hot Neptures … and below Lovis, Mayor and Udry; 14. Disk-planet interaction and migration Masset and Kley; 15. The Brown Dwarf - planet relation Bate; 16. From astronomy to astrobiology Brandner; 17. Overview and prospective Lin.

  9. A radiogenic heating evolution model for cosmochemically Earth-like exoplanets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Frank, Elizabeth A.; Meyer, Bradley S.; Mojzsis, Stephen J.

    2014-11-01

    Discoveries of rocky worlds around other stars have inspired diverse geophysical models of their plausible structures and tectonic regimes. Severe limitations of observable properties require many inexact assumptions about key geophysical characteristics of these planets. We present the output of an analytical galactic chemical evolution (GCE) model that quantitatively constrains one of those key properties: radiogenic heating. Earth's radiogenic heat generation has evolved since its formation, and the same will apply to exoplanets. We have fit simulations of the chemical evolution of the interstellar medium in the solar annulus to the chemistry of our Solar System at the time of its formation and then applied the carbonaceous chondrite/Earth's mantle ratio to determine the chemical composition of what we term ;cosmochemically Earth-like; exoplanets. Through this approach, predictions of exoplanet radiogenic heat productions as a function of age have been derived. The results show that the later a planet forms in galactic history, the less radiogenic heat it begins with; however, due to radioactive decay, today, old planets have lower heat outputs per unit mass than newly formed worlds. The long half-life of 232Th allows it to continue providing a small amount of heat in even the most ancient planets, while 40K dominates heating in young worlds. Through constraining the age-dependent heat production in exoplanets, we can infer that younger, hotter rocky planets are more likely to be geologically active and therefore able to sustain the crustal recycling (e.g. plate tectonics) that may be a requirement for long-term biosphere habitability. In the search for Earth-like planets, the focus should be made on stars within a billion years or so of the Sun's age.

  10. Understanding stellar activity and flares to search for Earth-like exoplanets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Del Sordo, Fabio

    2015-08-01

    The radial velocity method is a powerful way to search for exoplanetary systems and it led to many discoveries of exoplanets in the last 20 years. Nowadays, understanding stellar activity, flares and noise is a key factor for achieving a substantial improvement in such technique.Radial-velocity data are time-series containing the effect of both planets and stellar disturbances: the detection of Earth-like planets requires to improve the signal-to-noise ratio, i.e. it is central to understand the noise present in the data. Noise is caused by physical processes which operate on different time-scales, oftentimes acting in a non-periodic fashion. We present here an approach to such problem: to look for multifractal structures in the time-series coming from radial velocity measurements, identifying the underlying long-range correlations and fractal scaling properties, connecting them to the underlying physical processes (stellar oscillations, stellar wind, granulation, rotation, magnetic activity). This method has been previously applied to satellite data related to Arctic sea albedo, relevant for identify trends and noise in the Arctic sea ice (Agarwal, Moon, Wettlaufer, 2012). Here we suggest to use such analysis for exoplanetary data related to possible Earth-like planets.

  11. Spectral signatures of photosynthesis. II. Coevolution with other stars and the atmosphere on extrasolar worlds.

    PubMed

    Kiang, Nancy Y; Segura, Antígona; Tinetti, Giovanna; Govindjee; Blankenship, Robert E; Cohen, Martin; Siefert, Janet; Crisp, David; Meadows, Victoria S

    2007-02-01

    As photosynthesis on Earth produces the primary signatures of life that can be detected astronomically at the global scale, a strong focus of the search for extrasolar life will be photosynthesis, particularly photosynthesis that has evolved with a different parent star. We take previously simulated planetary atmospheric compositions for Earth-like planets around observed F2V and K2V, modeled M1V and M5V stars, and around the active M4.5V star AD Leo; our scenarios use Earth's atmospheric composition as well as very low O2 content in case anoxygenic photosynthesis dominates. With a line-by-line radiative transfer model, we calculate the incident spectral photon flux densities at the surface of the planet and under water. We identify bands of available photosynthetically relevant radiation and find that photosynthetic pigments on planets around F2V stars may peak in absorbance in the blue, K2V in the red-orange, and M stars in the near-infrared, in bands at 0.93-1.1 microm, 1.1-1.4 microm, 1.5-1.8 microm, and 1.8-2.5 microm. However, underwater organisms will be restricted to wavelengths shorter than 1.4 microm and more likely below 1.1 microm. M star planets without oxygenic photosynthesis will have photon fluxes above 1.6 microm curtailed by methane. Longer-wavelength, multi-photo-system series would reduce the quantum yield but could allow for oxygenic photosystems at longer wavelengths. A wavelength of 1.1 microm is a possible upper cutoff for electronic transitions versus only vibrational energy; however, this cutoff is not strict, since such energetics depend on molecular configuration. M star planets could be a half to a tenth as productive as Earth in the visible, but exceed Earth if useful photons extend to 1.1 microm for anoxygenic photosynthesis. Under water, organisms would still be able to survive ultraviolet flares from young M stars and acquire adequate light for growth.

  12. The potential of planets orbiting red dwarf stars to support oxygenic photosynthesis and complex life

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gale, Joseph; Wandel, Amri

    2017-01-01

    We review the latest findings on extra-solar planets and their potential of having environmental conditions that could support Earth-like life. Focusing on planets orbiting red dwarf (RD) stars, the most abundant stellar type in the Milky Way, we show that including RDs as potential life supporting host stars could increase the probability of finding biotic planets by a factor of up to a thousand, and reduce the estimate of the distance to our nearest biotic neighbour by up to 10. We argue that binary and multiple star systems need to be taken into account when discussing habitability and the abundance of biotic exoplanets, in particular RDs in such systems. Early considerations indicated that conditions on RD planets would be inimical to life, as their habitable zones would be so close to the host star as to make planets tidally locked. This was thought to cause an erratic climate and expose life forms to flares of ionizing radiation. Recent calculations show that these negative factors are less severe than originally thought. It has also been argued that the lesser photon energy of the radiation of the relatively cool RDs would not suffice for oxygenic photosynthesis (OP) and other related energy expending reactions. Numerous authors suggest that OP on RD planets may evolve to utilize photons in the infrared. We however argue, by analogy to the evolution of OP and the environmental physiology and distribution of land-based vegetation on Earth, that the evolutionary pressure to utilize infrared radiation would be small. This is because vegetation on RD planets could enjoy continuous illumination of moderate intensity, containing a significant component of photosynthetic 400-700 nm radiation. We conclude that conditions for OP could exist on RD planets and consequently the evolution of complex life might be possible. Furthermore, the huge number and the long lifetime of RDs make it more likely to find planets with photosynthesis and life around RDs than around

  13. Particle-in-cell simulations of Earth-like magnetosphere during a magnetic field reversal

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Barbosa, M. V. G.; Alves, M. V.; Vieira, L. E. A.; Schmitz, R. G.

    2017-12-01

    The geologic record shows that hundreds of pole reversals have occurred throughout Earth's history. The mean interval between the poles reversals is roughly 200 to 300 thousand years and the last reversal occurred around 780 thousand years ago. Pole reversal is a slow process, during which the strength of the magnetic field decreases, become more complex, with the appearance of more than two poles for some time and then the field strength increases, changing polarity. Along the process, the magnetic field configuration changes, leaving the Earth-like planet vulnerable to the harmful effects of the Sun. Understanding what happens with the magnetosphere during these pole reversals is an open topic of investigation. Only recently PIC codes are used to modeling magnetospheres. Here we use the particle code iPIC3D [Markidis et al, Mathematics and Computers in Simulation, 2010] to simulate an Earth-like magnetosphere at three different times along the pole reversal process. The code was modified, so the Earth-like magnetic field is generated using an expansion in spherical harmonics with the Gauss coefficients given by a MHD simulation of the Earth's core [Glatzmaier et al, Nature, 1995; 1999; private communication to L.E.A.V.]. Simulations show the qualitative behavior of the magnetosphere, such as the current structures. Only the planet magnetic field was changed in the runs. The solar wind is the same for all runs. Preliminary results show the formation of the Chapman-Ferraro current in the front of the magnetosphere in all the cases. Run for the middle of the reversal process, the low intensity magnetic field and its asymmetrical configuration the current structure changes and the presence of multiple poles can be observed. In all simulations, a structure similar to the radiation belts was found. Simulations of more severe solar wind conditions are necessary to determine the real impact of the reversal in the magnetosphere.

  14. Mass-Radius Relationships for Low-Mass Planets: From Iron Planets to Water Planets

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kuchner, Marc

    2007-01-01

    Transit observations, and radial velocity measurements, have begun to populate the mass radius diagram for extrasolar planets; fubture astrometric measurements and direct images promise more mass and radius information. Clearly, the bulk density of a planet indicates something about a planet s composition--but what? I will attempt to answer this question in general for low-mass planets (planets obey a kind of universal mass-radius relationship: an expansion whose first term is M approx. R(sup 3).

  15. Shock Temperatures of Major Silicates in Rocky Planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Davies, E.; Root, S.; Spaulding, D.; Kraus, R. G.; Stewart, S. T.; Jacobsen, S. B.; Mattsson, T. R.

    2016-12-01

    Rocky extra-solar planets have been discovered with very high masses that challenge our theoretical understanding of planetary structures and notions of planet formation. In order to constrain models and understand mechanisms of both the formation and subsequent evolution of these planets, it is imperative to determine the properties of materials within the interiors of large Earth-like planets. The major minerals olivine [(Mg,Fe)2SiO4] and enstatite [(Mg,Fe)SiO3], along with Fe-rich metal (with 5% Ni), are the most abundant solids from which Earth-like planets accrete. These materials are subject to ultra-high pressures and temperatures (approaching 10TPa and 10,000 K) during planetary formation and in the present day interiors of large rocky planets. Here, we present results of shock compression experiments on the Sandia Z machine. Shock compression experiments with the Sandia Z machine use large current and field densities that generate magnetic pressures up to 650 GPa that can accelerate flyer plates up to 40 km/s. We report shock temperatures for pressures greater than 270 GPa for forsterite (Mg2SiO4) and enstatite. Our results, together with prior data, demonstrate discrepancies in shock temperatures on forsterite in the region of possible incongruent melting on the Hugoniot. Key gaps in the Hugoniot contribute to this uncertainty. EOS formalisms such as M-ANEOS, which are commonly used in planetary impact simulations, over predict temperatures above 200 GPa with significant disagreement above 500 GPa. As a result, the amount of material subject to shock-induced vaporization during giant impacts is larger than currently estimated. Sandia National Laboratories is a multi-program laboratory managed and operated by Sandia Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corporation, for the U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration under contract DE-AC04-94AL85000. This work was performed under the auspices of the U

  16. Some inconvenient truths about biosignatures involving two chemical species on Earth-like exoplanets.

    PubMed

    Rein, Hanno; Fujii, Yuka; Spiegel, David S

    2014-05-13

    The detection of strong thermochemical disequilibrium in the atmosphere of an extrasolar planet is thought to be a potential biosignature. In this article we present a previously unidentified kind of false positive that can mimic a disequilibrium or any other biosignature that involves two chemical species. We consider a scenario where the exoplanet hosts a moon that has its own atmosphere and neither of the atmospheres is in chemical disequilibrium. Our results show that the integrated spectrum of the planet and the moon closely resembles that of a single object in strong chemical disequilibrium. We derive a firm limit on the maximum spectral resolution that can be obtained for both directly imaged and transiting planets. The spectral resolution of even idealized space-based spectrographs that might be achievable in the next several decades is in general insufficient to break the degeneracy. Both chemical species can only be definitively confirmed in the same object if absorption features of both chemicals can be unambiguously identified and their combined depth exceeds 100%.

  17. Some inconvenient truths about biosignatures involving two chemical species on Earth-like exoplanets

    PubMed Central

    Rein, Hanno; Fujii, Yuka; Spiegel, David S.

    2014-01-01

    The detection of strong thermochemical disequilibrium in the atmosphere of an extrasolar planet is thought to be a potential biosignature. In this article we present a previously unidentified kind of false positive that can mimic a disequilibrium or any other biosignature that involves two chemical species. We consider a scenario where the exoplanet hosts a moon that has its own atmosphere and neither of the atmospheres is in chemical disequilibrium. Our results show that the integrated spectrum of the planet and the moon closely resembles that of a single object in strong chemical disequilibrium. We derive a firm limit on the maximum spectral resolution that can be obtained for both directly imaged and transiting planets. The spectral resolution of even idealized space-based spectrographs that might be achievable in the next several decades is in general insufficient to break the degeneracy. Both chemical species can only be definitively confirmed in the same object if absorption features of both chemicals can be unambiguously identified and their combined depth exceeds 100%. PMID:24778224

  18. Optimized Strategies for Detecting Extrasolar Space Weather

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hallinan, Gregg

    2018-06-01

    Fully understanding the implications of space weather for the young solar system, as well as the wider population of planet-hosting stars, requires remote sensing of space weather in other stellar systems. Solar coronal mass ejections can be accompanied by bright radio bursts at low frequencies (typically <100 MHz), that are produced as the resulting shockwave propagates through the corona and interplanetary medium.; searches for similar emissions are ongoing from nearby stellar systems. Exoplanets that encounter CMEs can increase in radio luminosity by orders of magnitude at kHz-MHz frequencies. A detection of this radio emission allows the direct measurement of the magnetic field strength of the planet, informing on whether the atmosphere of the planet can survive the intense magnetic activity of its host star. However, both stellar and planetary radio emission are highly variable and optimal strategies for detection of these emissions requires the capability to monitor 1000s of nearby stellar/planetary systems simultaneously. I will discuss optimized strategies for both ground and space-based experiments to take advantage of the highly variable nature of the radio emissions powered by extrasolar space weather to enable detection of stellar CMEs and planetary magnetospheres.

  19. Comparative Habitable Planet Signatures in Polarized Light

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bott, K.; Bailey, J.; Meadows, V.; Kedziora-Chudczer, L.; Cotton, D.; Crisp, D.

    2017-11-01

    VSTAR polarized light models of terrestrial worlds are compared for varying cloud, atmospheric, and surface conditions. Archetypal "Earth-like" planets are compared and the observability of their combined polarimetric effects assessed.

  20. Systems of Multiple Planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Marcy, G. W.; Fischer, D. A.; Butler, R. P.; Vogt, S. S.

    To date, 10 stars are known which harbor two or three planets. These systems reveal secular and mean motion resonances in some systems and consist of widely separated, eccentric orbits in others. Both of the triple planet systems, namely Upsilon And and 55 Cancri, exhibit evidence of resonances. The two planets orbiting GJ 876 exhibit both mean-motion and secular resonances and they perturb each other so strongly that the evolution of the orbits is revealed in the Doppler measurements. The common occurrence of resonances suggests that delicate dynamical processes often shape the architecture of planetary systems. Likely processes include planet migration in a viscous disk, eccentricity pumping by the planet-disk interaction, and resonance capture of two planets. We find a class of "hierarchical" double-planet systems characterized by two planets in widely separated orbits, defined to have orbital period ratios greater than 5 to 1. In such systems, resonant interactions are weak, leaving high-order interactions and Kozai resonances plausibly important. We compare the planets that are single with those in multiple systems. We find that neither the two mass distributions nor the two eccentricity distributions are significantly different. This similarity in single and multiple systems suggests that similar dynamical processes may operate in both. The origin of eccentricities may stem from a multi-planet past or from interactions between planets and disk. Multiple planets in resonances can pump their eccentricities pumping resulting in one planet being ejected from the system or sent into the star, leaving a (more massive) single planet in an eccentric orbit. The distribution of semimajor axes of all known extrasolar planets shows a rise toward larger orbits, portending a population of gas-giant planets that reside beyond 3 AU, arguably in less perturbed, more circular orbits.

  1. Technology Plan for the Terrestrial Planet Finder Interferometer

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lawson, Peter R. (Editor); Dooley, Jennifer A. (Editor)

    2005-01-01

    The technology plan for the Terrestrial Planet Finder Interferometer (TPF-I) describes the breadth of technology development currently envisaged to enable TPF-I to search for habitable worlds around nearby stars. TPF-I is currently in Pre-Phase A (the Advanced Study Phase) of its development. For planning purposes, it is expected to enter into Phase A in 2010 and be launched sometime before 2020. TPF-I is being developed concurrently with the Terrestrial Planet Finder Coronagraph (TPF-C), whose launch is anticipated in 201 6. The missions are being designed with the capability to detect Earth-like planets should they exist in the habitable zones of Sun-like (F,G, and K) stars out to a distance of about 60 light-years. Each mission will have the starlight-suppression and spectroscopic capability to enable the characterization of extrasolar planetary atmospheres, identifying biomarkers and signs of life. TPF-C is designed as a visible-light coronagraph; TPF-I is designed as a mid-infrared formation-flying interferometer. The two missions, working together, promise to yield unambiguous detections and characterizations of Earth-like planets. The challenges of planet detections with mid-infrared formation-flying interferometry are described within this technology plan. The approach to developing the technology is described through roadmaps that lead from our current state of the art through the different phases of mission development to launch. Technology metrics and milestones are given to measure progress. The emphasis of the plan is development and acquisition of technology during pre-Phase A to establish feasibility of the mission to enter Phase A sometime around 2010. Plans beyond 2010 are outlined. The plan contains descriptions of the development of new component technology as well as testbeds that demonstrate the viability of new techniques and technology required for the mission. Starlight-suppression (nulling) and formation-flying technology are highlighted

  2. Occurrence of earth-like bodies in planetary systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wetherill, George W.

    1991-01-01

    Present theories of terrestrial planet formation predict the rapid 'runaway formation' of planetary embryos. The sizes of the embryos increase with heliocentric distance. These embryos then emerge to form planets. In earlier Monte Carlo simulations of the merger of these embryos it was assumed that embryos did not form in the asteroid belt, but this assumption may not be valid. Simulations in which runaways were allowed to form in the asteroid belt show that, although the initial distributions of mass, energy, and angular momentum are different from those observed today, during the growth of the planets these distributions spontaneously evolve toward those observed, simply as a result of known solar system processes. Even when a large planet analogous to 'Jupiter' does not form, an earth-sized planet is almost always found near earth's heliocentric distance. These results suggest that occurrence of earthlike planets may be a common feature of planetary systems.

  3. Atmospheric dynamics and habitability range in Earth-like aquaplanets obliquity simulations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nowajewski, Priscilla; Rojas, M.; Rojo, P.; Kimeswenger, S.

    2018-05-01

    We present the evolution of the atmospheric variables that affect planetary climate by increasing the obliquity by using a general circulation model (PlaSim) coupled to a slab ocean with mixed layer flux correction. We increase the obliquity between 30° and 90° in 16 aquaplanets with liquid sea surface and perform the simulation allowing the sea ice cover formation to be a consequence of its atmospheric dynamics. Insolation is maintained constant in each experiment, but changing the obliquity affects the radiation budget and the large scale circulation. Earth-like atmospheric dynamics is observed for planets with obliquity under 54°. Above this value, the latitudinal temperature gradient is reversed giving place to a new regime of jet streams, affecting the shape of Hadley and Ferrel cells and changing the position of the InterTropical Convergence Zone. As humidity and high temperatures determine Earth's habitability, we introduce the wet bulb temperature as an atmospheric index of habitability for Earth-like aquaplanets with above freezing temperatures. The aquaplanets are habitable all year round at all latitudes for values under 54°; above this value habitability decreases toward the poles due to high temperatures.

  4. Constraints on Climate and Habitability for Earth-like Exoplanets Determined from a General Circulation Model

    SciT

    Wolf, Eric T.; Toon, Owen B.; Shields, Aomawa L.

    Conventional definitions of habitability require abundant liquid surface water to exist continuously over geologic timescales. Water in each of its thermodynamic phases interacts with solar and thermal radiation and is the cause for strong climatic feedbacks. Thus, assessments of the habitable zone require models to include a complete treatment of the hydrological cycle over geologic time. Here, we use the Community Atmosphere Model from the National Center for Atmospheric Research to study the evolution of climate for an Earth-like planet at constant CO{sub 2}, under a wide range of stellar fluxes from F-, G-, and K-dwarf main sequence stars. Aroundmore » each star we find four stable climate states defined by mutually exclusive global mean surface temperatures ( T {sub s}); snowball ( T {sub s} ≤ 235 K), waterbelt (235 K ≤ T {sub s} ≤ 250 K), temperate (275 K ≤ T {sub s} ≤ 315 K), and moist greenhouse ( T {sub s} ≥ 330 K). Each is separated by abrupt climatic transitions. Waterbelt, temperate, and cooler moist greenhouse climates can maintain open-ocean against both sea ice albedo and hydrogen escape processes respectively, and thus constitute habitable worlds. We consider the warmest possible habitable planet as having T {sub s} ∼ 355 K, at which point diffusion limited water-loss could remove an Earth ocean in ∼1 Gyr. Without long timescale regulation of non-condensable greenhouse species at Earth-like temperatures and pressures, such as CO{sub 2}, habitability can be maintained for an upper limit of ∼2.2, ∼2.4, and ∼4.7 Gyr around F-, G-, and K-dwarf stars respectively, due to main sequence brightening.« less

  5. Constraints on Climate and Habitability for Earth-like Exoplanets Determined from a General Circulation Model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wolf, Eric T.; Shields, Aomawa L.; Kopparapu, Ravi K.; Haqq-Misra, Jacob; Toon, Owen B.

    2017-03-01

    Conventional definitions of habitability require abundant liquid surface water to exist continuously over geologic timescales. Water in each of its thermodynamic phases interacts with solar and thermal radiation and is the cause for strong climatic feedbacks. Thus, assessments of the habitable zone require models to include a complete treatment of the hydrological cycle over geologic time. Here, we use the Community Atmosphere Model from the National Center for Atmospheric Research to study the evolution of climate for an Earth-like planet at constant CO2, under a wide range of stellar fluxes from F-, G-, and K-dwarf main sequence stars. Around each star we find four stable climate states defined by mutually exclusive global mean surface temperatures (T s); snowball (T s ≤ 235 K), waterbelt (235 K ≤ T s ≤ 250 K), temperate (275 K ≤ T s ≤ 315 K), and moist greenhouse (T s ≥ 330 K). Each is separated by abrupt climatic transitions. Waterbelt, temperate, and cooler moist greenhouse climates can maintain open-ocean against both sea ice albedo and hydrogen escape processes respectively, and thus constitute habitable worlds. We consider the warmest possible habitable planet as having T s ˜ 355 K, at which point diffusion limited water-loss could remove an Earth ocean in ˜1 Gyr. Without long timescale regulation of non-condensable greenhouse species at Earth-like temperatures and pressures, such as CO2, habitability can be maintained for an upper limit of ˜2.2, ˜2.4, and ˜4.7 Gyr around F-, G-, and K-dwarf stars respectively, due to main sequence brightening.

  6. Passive isolator design for jitter reduction in the Terrestrial Planet Finder Coronagraph

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Blaurock, Carl; Liu, Kuo-Chia; Dewell, Larry; Alexander, James

    2005-01-01

    Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF) is a mission to locate and study extrasolar Earth-like planets. The TPF Coronagraph (TPF-C), planned for launch in the latter half of the next decade, will use a coronagraphic mask and other optics to suppress the light of the nearby star in order to collect visible light from such planets. The required contrast ratio of 5e-11 can only be achieved by maintaining pointing accuracy to 4 milli-arcseconds, and limiting optics jitter to below 5 nm. Numerous mechanical disturbances act to induce jitter. This paper concentrates on passive isolation techniques to minimize the optical degradation introduced by disturbance sources. A passive isolation system, using compliant mounts placed at an energy bottleneck to reduce energy transmission above a certain frequency, is a low risk, flight proven design approach. However, the attenuation is limited, compared to an active system, so the feasibility of the design must be demonstrated by analysis. The paper presents the jitter analysis for the baseline TPF design, using a passive isolation system. The analysis model representing the dynamics of the spacecraft and telescope is described, with emphasis on passive isolator modeling. Pointing and deformation metrics, consistent with the TPF-C error budget, are derived. Jitter prediction methodology and results are presented. Then an analysis of the critical design parameters that drive the TPF-C jitter response is performed.

  7. Extrasolar Planetary Systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ksanfomaliti, L. V.

    2000-11-01

    The discovery of planetary systems around alien stars is an outstanding achievement of recent years. The idea that the Solar System may be representative of planetary systems in the Galaxy in general develops upon the knowledge, current until the last decade of the 20th century, that it is the only object of its kind. Studies of the known planets gave rise to a certain stereotype in theoretical research. Therefore, the discovery of exoplanets, which are so different from objects of the Solar System, alters our basic notions concerning the physics and very criteria of normal planets. A substantial factor in the history of the Solar System was the formation of Jupiter. Two waves of meteorite bombardment played an important role in that history. Ultimately there arose a stable low-entropy state of the Solar System, in which Jupiter and the other giants in stable orbits protect the inner planets from impacts by dangerous celestial objects, reducing this danger by many orders of magnitude. There are even variants of the anthropic principle maintaining that life on Earth owes its genesis and development to Jupiter. Some 20 companions more or less similar to Jupiter in mass and a few ``infrared dwarfs,'' have been found among the 500 solar-type stars belonging to the main sequence. Approximately half of the exoplanets discovered are of the ``hot-Jupiter'' type. These are giants, sometimes of a mass several times that of Jupiter, in very low orbits and with periods of 3-14 days. All of their parent stars are enriched with heavy elements, [Fe/H] = 0.1-0.2. This may indicate that the process of exoplanet formation depends on the chemical composition of the protoplanetary disk. The very existence of exoplanets of the hot-Jupiter type considered in the context of new theoretical work comes up against the problem of the formation of Jupiter in its real orbit. All the exoplanets in orbits with a semimajor axis of more than 0.15-0.20 astronomical units (AU) have orbital

  8. Organic Haze as a Biosignature in Anoxic Earth-like Atmospheres

    PubMed Central

    Domagal-Goldman, Shawn D.; Meadows, Victoria S.

    2018-01-01

    Abstract Early Earth may have hosted a biologically mediated global organic haze during the Archean eon (3.8–2.5 billion years ago). This haze would have significantly impacted multiple aspects of our planet, including its potential for habitability and its spectral appearance. Here, we model worlds with Archean-like levels of carbon dioxide orbiting the ancient Sun and an M4V dwarf (GJ 876) and show that organic haze formation requires methane fluxes consistent with estimated Earth-like biological production rates. On planets with high fluxes of biogenic organic sulfur gases (CS2, OCS, CH3SH, and CH3SCH3), photochemistry involving these gases can drive haze formation at lower CH4/CO2 ratios than methane photochemistry alone. For a planet orbiting the Sun, at 30× the modern organic sulfur gas flux, haze forms at a CH4/CO2 ratio 20% lower than at 1× the modern organic sulfur flux. For a planet orbiting the M4V star, the impact of organic sulfur gases is more pronounced: at 1× the modern Earth organic sulfur flux, a substantial haze forms at CH4/CO2 ∼ 0.2, but at 30× the organic sulfur flux, the CH4/CO2 ratio needed to form haze decreases by a full order of magnitude. Detection of haze at an anomalously low CH4/CO2 ratio could suggest the influence of these biogenic sulfur gases and therefore imply biological activity on an exoplanet. When these organic sulfur gases are not readily detectable in the spectrum of an Earth-like exoplanet, the thick organic haze they can help produce creates a very strong absorption feature at UV-blue wavelengths detectable in reflected light at a spectral resolution as low as 10. In direct imaging, constraining CH4 and CO2 concentrations will require higher spectral resolution, and R > 170 is needed to accurately resolve the structure of the CO2 feature at 1.57 μm, likely the most accessible CO2 feature on an Archean-like exoplanet. Key Words: Organic haze—Organic sulfur gases—Biosignatures—Archean Earth

  9. Organic Haze as a Biosignature in Anoxic Earth-Like Atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Arney, Giada; Domagal-Goldman, Shawn D.; Meadows, Victoria S.

    2017-01-01

    Early Earth may have hosted a biologically mediated global organic haze during the Archean eon (3.8-2.5 billion years ago). This haze would have significantly impacted multiple aspects of our planet, including its potential for habitability and its spectral appearance. Here, we model worlds with Archean-like levels of carbon dioxide orbiting the ancient Sun and anM4Vdwarf (GJ 876) and show that organic haze formation requires methane fluxes consistent with estimated Earth-like biological production rates. On planets with high fluxes of biogenic organic sulfur gases (CS2, OCS, CH3SH, and CH3SCH3), photochemistry involving these gases can drive haze formation at lower CH4/CO2 ratios than methane photochemistry alone. For a planet orbiting the Sun, at 30x the modern organic sulfur gas flux, haze forms at a CH4/CO2 ratio 20% lower than at 1x the modern organic sulfur flux. For a planet orbiting the M4V star, the impact of organic sulfur gases is more pronounced: at 1x the modern Earth organic sulfur flux, a substantial haze forms at CH4/CO2 approx. 0.2, but at 30x the organic sulfur flux, the CH4/CO2 ratio needed to form haze decreases by a full order of magnitude. Detection of haze at an anomalously low CH4/ CO2 ratio could suggest the influence of these biogenic sulfur gases and therefore imply biological activity on an exoplanet. When these organic sulfur gases are not readily detectable in the spectrum of an Earth-like exoplanet, the thick organic haze they can help produce creates a very strong absorption feature at UV-blue wavelengths detectable in reflected light at a spectral resolution as low as 10. In direct imaging, constraining CH4 and CO2 concentrations will require higher spectral resolution, and R > 170 is needed to accurately resolve the structure of the CO2 feature at 1.57 microns, likely the most accessible CO2 feature on an Archean-like exoplanet.

  10. Organic Haze as a Biosignature in Anoxic Earth-like Atmospheres.

    PubMed

    Arney, Giada; Domagal-Goldman, Shawn D; Meadows, Victoria S

    2018-03-01

    Early Earth may have hosted a biologically mediated global organic haze during the Archean eon (3.8-2.5 billion years ago). This haze would have significantly impacted multiple aspects of our planet, including its potential for habitability and its spectral appearance. Here, we model worlds with Archean-like levels of carbon dioxide orbiting the ancient Sun and an M4V dwarf (GJ 876) and show that organic haze formation requires methane fluxes consistent with estimated Earth-like biological production rates. On planets with high fluxes of biogenic organic sulfur gases (CS 2 , OCS, CH 3 SH, and CH 3 SCH 3 ), photochemistry involving these gases can drive haze formation at lower CH 4 /CO 2 ratios than methane photochemistry alone. For a planet orbiting the Sun, at 30× the modern organic sulfur gas flux, haze forms at a CH 4 /CO 2 ratio 20% lower than at 1× the modern organic sulfur flux. For a planet orbiting the M4V star, the impact of organic sulfur gases is more pronounced: at 1× the modern Earth organic sulfur flux, a substantial haze forms at CH 4 /CO 2 ∼ 0.2, but at 30× the organic sulfur flux, the CH 4 /CO 2 ratio needed to form haze decreases by a full order of magnitude. Detection of haze at an anomalously low CH 4 /CO 2 ratio could suggest the influence of these biogenic sulfur gases and therefore imply biological activity on an exoplanet. When these organic sulfur gases are not readily detectable in the spectrum of an Earth-like exoplanet, the thick organic haze they can help produce creates a very strong absorption feature at UV-blue wavelengths detectable in reflected light at a spectral resolution as low as 10. In direct imaging, constraining CH 4 and CO 2 concentrations will require higher spectral resolution, and R > 170 is needed to accurately resolve the structure of the CO 2 feature at 1.57 μm, likely the most accessible CO 2 feature on an Archean-like exoplanet. Key Words: Organic haze-Organic sulfur gases-Biosignatures-Archean Earth

  11. Habitability of the Paleo-Earth as a Model for Earth-like Exoplanets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mendez, A.

    2013-05-01

    The Phanerozoic is the current eon of Earth's geological history, from 542 million years ago to today, when large and complex life started to populate the ocean and land areas. Our planet became more hospitable and life took the opportunity to evolve and spread globally, especially on land. This had an impact on surface and atmospheric bio-signatures. Future observations of exoplanets might be able to detect similar changes on nearby exoplanets. Therefore, the application of the evolution of terrestrial habitability might help to determine the potential for life on Earth-like exoplanets. Here we evaluated the habitability of Earth during the Phanerozoic as a model for comparison with future observations of Earth-like exoplanets. Vegetation was used as a global indicator of habitability because as a primary producer it provides the energy for many other simple to complex life forms in the trophic scale. Our first proxy for habitability was the Relative Vegetation Density (RVD) derived from our vegetation datasets of the Visible Paleo-Earth. The RVD is a measure similar to vegetation indices, such as the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), that gives a general idea of the global area-weighted fraction of vegetation cover. Our second habitability proxy was the Standard Primary Habitability (SPH) derived from mean global surface temperatures and relative humidity. The RVD is a more direct measure of the habitability of a planet but the SPH is easier to measure by remote sensors. Our analysis shows that terrestrial habitability has been greater than today for most of the Phanerozoic as demonstrated by both the RVD and SPH, with the Devonian and Cretaceous particularly more habitable. The RVD and SPH are generally correlated except around the Permian-Triassic, matching the P-Tr extinction. There has been a marked decrease in terrestrial habitability during the last 100 million years, even superseding the K-Pg extinction. Additional metrics were used to examine

  12. Theories of Giant Planet Formation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lissauer, Jack J.; Young, Richard E. (Technical Monitor)

    1998-01-01

    An overview of current theories of planetary formation, with emphasis on giant planets, is presented. The most detailed models are based upon observations of our own Solar System and of young stars and their environments. While these models predict that rocky planets should form around most single stars, the frequency of formation of gas giant planets is more difficult to predict theoretically. Terrestrial planets are believed to grow via pairwise accretion until the spacing of planetary orbits becomes large enough that the configuration is stable for the age of the system. Giant planets begin their growth as do terrestrial planets, but they become massive enough that they are able to accumulate substantial amounts of gas before the protoplanetary disk dissipates. Most models for extrasolar giant planets suggest that they formed as did Jupiter and Saturn (in nearly circular orbits, far enough from the star that ice could), and subsequently migrated to their current positions, although some models suggest in situ formation.

  13. Exotic Earths: forming habitable worlds with giant planet migration.

    PubMed

    Raymond, Sean N; Mandell, Avi M; Sigurdsson, Steinn

    2006-09-08

    Close-in giant planets (e.g., "hot Jupiters") are thought to form far from their host stars and migrate inward, through the terrestrial planet zone, via torques with a massive gaseous disk. Here we simulate terrestrial planet growth during and after giant planet migration. Several-Earth-mass planets also form interior to the migrating jovian planet, analogous to recently discovered "hot Earths." Very-water-rich, Earth-mass planets form from surviving material outside the giant planet's orbit, often in the habitable zone and with low orbital eccentricities. More than a third of the known systems of giant planets may harbor Earth-like planets.

  14. STRATOSPHERIC TEMPERATURES AND WATER LOSS FROM MOIST GREENHOUSE ATMOSPHERES OF EARTH-LIKE PLANETS

    SciT

    Kasting, James F.; Kopparapu, Ravi K.; Chen, Howard, E-mail: jfk4@psu.edu, E-mail: hwchen@bu.edu

    A radiative-convective climate model is used to calculate stratospheric temperatures and water vapor concentrations for ozone-free atmospheres warmer than that of modern Earth. Cold, dry stratospheres are predicted at low surface temperatures, in agreement with recent 3D calculations. However, at surface temperatures above 350 K, the stratosphere warms and water vapor becomes a major upper atmospheric constituent, allowing water to be lost by photodissociation and hydrogen escape. Hence, a moist greenhouse explanation for loss of water from Venus, or some exoplanet receiving a comparable amount of stellar radiation, remains a viable hypothesis. Temperatures in the upper parts of such atmospheresmore » are well below those estimated for a gray atmosphere, and this factor should be taken into account when performing inverse climate calculations to determine habitable zone boundaries using 1D models.« less

  15. On the history and future of cosmic planet formation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Behroozi, Peter; Peeples, Molly S.

    2015-12-01

    We combine constraints on galaxy formation histories with planet formation models, yielding the Earth-like and giant planet formation histories of the Milky Way and the Universe as a whole. In the Hubble volume (1013 Mpc3), we expect there to be ˜1020 Earth-like and ˜1020 giant planets; our own galaxy is expected to host ˜109 and ˜1010 Earth-like and giant planets, respectively. Proposed metallicity thresholds for planet formation do not significantly affect these numbers. However, the metallicity dependence for giant planets results in later typical formation times and larger host galaxies than for Earth-like planets. The Solar system formed at the median age for existing giant planets in the Milky Way, and consistent with past estimates, formed after 80 per cent of Earth-like planets. However, if existing gas within virialized dark matter haloes continues to collapse and form stars and planets, the Universe will form over 10 times more planets than currently exist. We show that this would imply at least a 92 per cent chance that we are not the only civilization the Universe will ever have, independent of arguments involving the Drake equation.

  16. On The History and Future of Cosmic Planet Formation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Behroozi, Peter

    2016-03-01

    We combine constraints on galaxy formation histories with planet formation models, yielding the Earth-like and giant planet formation histories of the Milky Way and the Universe as a whole. In the Hubble Volume (1013 Mpc3), we expect there to be ~1020 Earth-like and ~1020 giant planets; our own galaxy is expected to host ~109 and ~1010 Earth-like and giant planets, respectively. Proposed metallicity thresholds for planet formation do not significantly affect these numbers. However, the metallicity dependence for giant planets results in later typical formation times and larger host galaxies than for Earth-like planets. The Solar System formed at the median age for existing giant planets in the Milky Way, and consistent with past estimates, formed after 80% of Earth-like planets. However, if existing gas within virialised dark matter haloes continues to collapse and form stars and planets, the Universe will form over 10 times more planets than currently exist. We show that this would imply at least a 92% chance that we are not the only civilisation the Universe will ever have, independent of arguments involving the Drake Equation.

  17. Development of a model to compute the extension of life supporting zones for Earth-like exoplanets.

    PubMed

    Neubauer, David; Vrtala, Aron; Leitner, Johannes J; Firneis, Maria G; Hitzenberger, Regina

    2011-12-01

    A radiative convective model to calculate the width and the location of the life supporting zone (LSZ) for different, alternative solvents (i.e. other than water) is presented. This model can be applied to the atmospheres of the terrestrial planets in the solar system as well as (hypothetical, Earth-like) terrestrial exoplanets. Cloud droplet formation and growth are investigated using a cloud parcel model. Clouds can be incorporated into the radiative transfer calculations. Test runs for Earth, Mars and Titan show a good agreement of model results with observations.

  18. Space vehicle with artificial gravity and earth-like environment

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gray, V. H. (Inventor)

    1973-01-01

    A space vehicle adapted to provide an artificial gravity and earthlike atmospheric environment for occupants is disclosed. The vehicle comprises a cylindrically shaped, hollow pressure-tight body, one end of which is tapered from the largest diameter of the body, the other end is flat and transparent to sunlight. The vehicle is provided with thrust means which rotates the body about its longitudinal axis, generating an artificial gravity effect upon the interior walls of the body due to centrifugal forces. The walls of the tapered end of the body are maintained at a temperature below the dew point of water vapor in the body and lower than the temperature near the transparent end of the body. The controlled environment and sunlight permits an earth like environment to be maintained wherein the CO2/O2 is balanced, and food for the travelers is supplied through a natural system of plant life grown on spacecraft walls where soil is located.

  19. Eccentricity Evolution of Extrasolar Multiple Planetary Systems Due to the Depletion of Nascent Protostellar Disks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nagasawa, M.; Lin, D. N. C.; Ida, S.

    2003-04-01

    Most extrasolar planets are observed to have eccentricities much larger than those in the solar system. Some of these planets have sibling planets, with comparable masses, orbiting around the same host stars. In these multiple planetary systems, eccentricity is modulated by the planets' mutual secular interaction as a consequence of angular momentum exchange between them. For mature planets, the eigenfrequencies of this modulation are determined by their mass and semimajor axis ratios. However, prior to the disk depletion, self-gravity of the planets' nascent disks dominates the precession eigenfrequencies. We examine here the initial evolution of young planets' eccentricity due to the apsidal libration or circulation induced by both the secular interaction between them and the self-gravity of their nascent disks. We show that as the latter effect declines adiabatically with disk depletion, the modulation amplitude of the planets' relative phase of periapsis is approximately invariant despite the time-asymmetrical exchange of angular momentum between planets. However, as the young planets' orbits pass through a state of secular resonance, their mean eccentricities undergo systematic quantitative changes. For applications, we analyze the eccentricity evolution of planets around υ Andromedae and HD 168443 during the epoch of protostellar disk depletion. We find that the disk depletion can change the planets' eccentricity ratio. However, the relatively large amplitude of the planets' eccentricity cannot be excited if all the planets had small initial eccentricities.

  20. The hottest planet.

    PubMed

    Harrington, Joseph; Luszcz, Statia; Seager, Sara; Deming, Drake; Richardson, L Jeremy

    2007-06-07

    Of the over 200 known extrasolar planets, just 14 pass in front of and behind their parent stars as seen from Earth. This fortuitous geometry allows direct determination of many planetary properties. Previous reports of planetary thermal emission give fluxes that are roughly consistent with predictions based on thermal equilibrium with the planets' received radiation, assuming a Bond albedo of approximately 0.3. Here we report direct detection of thermal emission from the smallest known transiting planet, HD 149026b, that indicates a brightness temperature (an expression of flux) of 2,300 +/- 200 K at 8 microm. The planet's predicted temperature for uniform, spherical, blackbody emission and zero albedo (unprecedented for planets) is 1,741 K. As models with non-zero albedo are cooler, this essentially eliminates uniform blackbody models, and may also require an albedo lower than any measured for a planet, very strong 8 microm emission, strong temporal variability, or a heat source other than stellar radiation. On the other hand, an instantaneous re-emission blackbody model, in which each patch of surface area instantly re-emits all received light, matches the data. This planet is known to be enriched in heavy elements, which may give rise to novel atmospheric properties yet to be investigated.

  1. Propiedades espectroscópicas de planetas extrasolares y de enanas marrones

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Martínez, C. F.; Gómez, M.

    In this contribution we present a comparison of the spectroscopic properties of three groups of objects: brown dwarfs, "Hot Jupiter" extrasolar planets and giant solar system planets, in particular Jupiter and Saturn. We col- lect all published spectra from the literature and compare their characteris- tics. Elements such as water vapor (H2 O) and methane (CH4 ) are present in practical all analyzed objects. On the contrary molecules such as carbon monoxide (CO) and carbon dioxide (CO2 ) are only detected in the spectra of planets. FULL TEXT IN SPANISH

  2. The Chemical Composition of an Extrasolar Kuiper-Belt-Object

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Xu, S.; Zuckerman, B.; Dufour, P.; Young, E. D.; Klein, B.; Jura, M.

    2017-02-01

    The Kuiper Belt of our solar system is a source of short-period comets that may have delivered water and other volatiles to Earth and the other terrestrial planets. However, the distribution of water and other volatiles in extrasolar planetary systems is largely unknown. We report the discovery of an accretion of a Kuiper-Belt-Object analog onto the atmosphere of the white dwarf WD 1425+540. The heavy elements C, N, O, Mg, Si, S, Ca, Fe, and Ni are detected, with nitrogen observed for the first time in extrasolar planetary debris. The nitrogen mass fraction is ∼2%, comparable to that in comet Halley and higher than in any other known solar system object. The lower limit to the accreted mass is ∼1022 g, which is about one hundred thousand times the typical mass of a short-period comet. In addition, WD 1425+540 has a wide binary companion, which could facilitate perturbing a Kuiper-Belt-Object analog into the white dwarf’s tidal radius. This finding shows that analogs to objects in our Kuiper Belt exist around other stars and could be responsible for the delivery of volatiles to terrestrial planets beyond the solar system. Part of the data presented herein were obtained at the W.M. Keck Observatory, which is operated as a scientific partnership among Caltech, the University of California and NASA. The Observatory was made possible by the generous financial support of the W.M. Keck Foundation.

  3. Astrometric Planet Searches with SIM PlanetQuest

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Beichman, Charles A.; Unwin, Stephen C.; Shao, Michael; Tanner, Angelle M.; Catanzarite, Joseph H.; March, Geoffrey W.

    2007-01-01

    SIM will search for planets with masses as small as the Earth's orbiting in the habitable zones' around more than 100 of the stars and could discover many dozen if Earth-like planets are common. With a planned 'Deep Survey' of 100-450 stars (depending on desired mass sensitivity) SIM will search for terrestrial planets around all of the candidate target stars for future direct detection missions such as Terrestrial Planet Finder and Darwin, SIM's 'Broad Survey' of 2010 stars will characterize single and multiple-planet systems around a wide variety of stellar types, including many now inaccessible with the radial velocity technique. In particular, SIM will search for planets around young stars providing insights into how planetary systems are born and evolve with time.

  4. Characterizing Cool Giant Planets in Reflected Light

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Marley, Mark

    2016-01-01

    While the James Webb Space Telescope will detect and characterize extrasolar planets by transit and direct imaging, a new generation of telescopes will be required to detect and characterize extrasolar planets by reflected light imaging. NASA's WFIRST space telescope, now in development, will image dozens of cool giant planets at optical wavelengths and will obtain spectra for several of the best and brightest targets. This mission will pave the way for the detection and characterization of terrestrial planets by the planned LUVOIR or HabEx space telescopes. In my presentation I will discuss the challenges that arise in the interpretation of direct imaging data and present the results of our group's effort to develop methods for maximizing the science yield from these planned missions.

  5. The effects of circumstellar gas on terrestrial planet formation: Theory and observation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mandell, Avram M.

    the remaining planets would be located in the Habitable Zone, suggesting that planetary systems with close-in giant planets are viable targets for searches for Earth-like habitable planets around other stars. I then present more realistic dynamical simulations of the effects of a migrating giant planet on a disk of protoplanetary material embedded in a gaseous disk, and the subsequent post-scattering evolution of the planetary system. I numerically investigate the dynamics of several types of post-migration planetary systems over 200 million years: a model with a single migrating giant planet, a model with one migrating and one nonmigrating giant planet, and a model excluding the effects of the gas disk. Material that is shepherded in front of the migrating giant planet by moving mean motion resonances accretes into "hot Earths", but survival of these bodies is strongly dependent on dynamical damping. Furthermore, a significant amount of material scattered outward by the giant planet survives in highly excited orbits; the orbits of these scattered bodies are then damped by gas drag and dynamical friction over the remaining accretion time. In all simulations Earth-mass planets accrete on approximately 100 Myr timescales, often with orbits in the Habitable Zone. These planets range in mass and water content, with both quantities increasing with the presence of a gas disk and decreasing with the presence of an outer giant planet. I use scaling arguments and previous results to derive a simple recipe that constrains which giant planet systems are able to form and harbor Earth-like planets in the Habitable Zone, demonstrating that roughly one third of the known planetary systems are potentially habitable. Finally, I present results from a search for new molecular tracers of warm gas in circumstellar disks using the NIRSPEC instrument on the Keck II telescope. I have detected emission from multiple ro-vibrational transitions in the v = 1--0 band of hydroxyl (OH) located in

  6. Towards a robust green astro-comb for Earth-like exoplanet searches

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ravi, Aakash; Martin, Leopoldo; Phillips, David; Langellier, Nicholas; Milbourne, Timothy; Dolliff, Christian; Walsworth, Ronald

    2017-04-01

    The detection of exoplanets using the radial velocity (RV) method has become a very exciting and active area of research. Detecting Earth-like planets, however, is still very challenging as it requires extremely precise calibration of the spectrographs used in such measurements. To address this challenge, we employ a visible wavelength frequency comb - referenced to the global positioning system - as a calibration source. Our comb calibrator is realized by spectrally broadening and shifting the output of a 1 GHz repetition rate modelocked Ti:sapphire laser using a photonic crystal fiber and then filtering the comb lines to create a 16 GHz-spacing comb. This system has been implemented at the TNG telescope on La Palma to calibrate the HARPS-N spectrograph. However, the complexity of the system has thus far prevented its routine use as it requires frequency comb specialists to be on site during measurements. Here, we propose some automation strategies and present preliminary results from our efforts. We also discuss ongoing comb-calibrated astrophysical observations, including measurements of the Sun. The solar measurements are part of an effort to understand stellar noise sources in the RV data and demonstrate the sensitivity of the instrument to detect terrestrial exoplanets.

  7. Fluvial geomorphology on Earth-like planetary surfaces: A review.

    PubMed

    Baker, Victor R; Hamilton, Christopher W; Burr, Devon M; Gulick, Virginia C; Komatsu, Goro; Luo, Wei; Rice, James W; Rodriguez, J A P

    2015-09-15

    Morphological evidence for ancient channelized flows (fluvial and fluvial-like landforms) exists on the surfaces of all of the inner planets and on some of the satellites of the Solar System. In some cases, the relevant fluid flows are related to a planetary evolution that involves the global cycling of a volatile component (water for Earth and Mars; methane for Saturn's moon Titan). In other cases, as on Mercury, Venus, Earth's moon, and Jupiter's moon Io, the flows were of highly fluid lava. The discovery, in 1972, of what are now known to be fluvial channels and valleys on Mars sparked a major controversy over the role of water in shaping the surface of that planet. The recognition of the fluvial character of these features has opened unresolved fundamental questions about the geological history of water on Mars, including the presence of an ancient ocean and the operation of a hydrological cycle during the earliest phases of planetary history. Other fundamental questions posed by fluvial and fluvial-like features on planetary bodies include the possible erosive action of large-scale outpourings of very fluid lavas, such as those that may have produced the remarkable canali forms on Venus; the ability of exotic fluids, such as methane, to create fluvial-like landforms, as observed on Saturn's moon, Titan; and the nature of sedimentation and erosion under different conditions of planetary surface gravity. Planetary fluvial geomorphology also illustrates fundamental epistemological and methodological issues, including the role of analogy in geomorphological/geological inquiry.

  8. Planetary atmosphere evolution: do other habitable planets exist and can we detect them?

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kasting, J. F.

    1996-01-01

    The goal of this conference is to consider whether it is possible within the next few decades to detect Earth-like planets around other stars using telescopes or interferometers on the ground or in space. Implicit in the term "Earth-like" is the idea that such planets might be habitable by Earth-like organisms, or that they might actually be inhabited. Here, I shall address two questions from the standpoint of planetary atmosphere evolution. First, what are the chances that habitable planets exist around other stars? And, second, if inhabited planets exist, what would be the best way to detect them?.

  9. Planetary atmosphere evolution: do other habitable planets exist and can we detect them?

    PubMed

    Kasting, J F

    1996-01-01

    The goal of this conference is to consider whether it is possible within the next few decades to detect Earth-like planets around other stars using telescopes or interferometers on the ground or in space. Implicit in the term "Earth-like" is the idea that such planets might be habitable by Earth-like organisms, or that they might actually be inhabited. Here, I shall address two questions from the standpoint of planetary atmosphere evolution. First, what are the chances that habitable planets exist around other stars? And, second, if inhabited planets exist, what would be the best way to detect them?

  10. The O2 A-Band in the Fluxes and Polarization of Starlight Reflected by Earth-Like Exoplanets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fauchez, Thomas; Rossi, Loic; Stam, Daphne M.

    2017-06-01

    Earth-like, potentially habitable exoplanets are prime targets in the search for extraterrestrial life. Information about their atmospheres and surfaces can be derived by analyzing the light of the parent star reflected by the planet. We investigate the influence of the surface albedo A s, the optical thickness b cloud, the altitude of water clouds, and the mixing ratio of biosignature O2 on the strength of the O2 A-band (around 760 nm) in the flux and polarization spectra of starlight reflected by Earth-like exoplanets. Our computations for horizontally homogeneous planets show that small mixing ratios (η < 0.4) will yield moderately deep bands in flux and moderate-to-small band strengths in polarization, and that clouds will usually decrease the band depth in flux and the band strength in polarization. However, cloud influence will be strongly dependent on properties such as optical thickness, top altitude, particle phase, coverage fraction, and horizontal distribution. Depending on the surface albedo and cloud properties, different O2 mixing ratios η can give similar absorption-band depths in flux and band strengths in polarization, especially if the clouds have moderate-to-high optical thicknesses. Measuring both the flux and the polarization is essential to reduce the degeneracies, although it will not solve them, especially not for horizontally inhomogeneous planets. Observations at a wide range of phase angles and with a high temporal resolution could help to derive cloud properties and, once those are known, the mixing ratio of O2 or any other absorbing gas.

  11. Fluvial geomorphology on Earth-like planetary surfaces: A review

    PubMed Central

    Baker, Victor R.; Hamilton, Christopher W.; Burr, Devon M.; Gulick, Virginia C.; Komatsu, Goro; Luo, Wei; Rice, James W.; Rodriguez, J.A.P.

    2017-01-01

    Morphological evidence for ancient channelized flows (fluvial and fluvial-like landforms) exists on the surfaces of all of the inner planets and on some of the satellites of the Solar System. In some cases, the relevant fluid flows are related to a planetary evolution that involves the global cycling of a volatile component (water for Earth and Mars; methane for Saturn’s moon Titan). In other cases, as on Mercury, Venus, Earth’s moon, and Jupiter’s moon Io, the flows were of highly fluid lava. The discovery, in 1972, of what are now known to be fluvial channels and valleys on Mars sparked a major controversy over the role of water in shaping the surface of that planet. The recognition of the fluvial character of these features has opened unresolved fundamental questions about the geological history of water on Mars, including the presence of an ancient ocean and the operation of a hydrological cycle during the earliest phases of planetary history. Other fundamental questions posed by fluvial and fluvial-like features on planetary bodies include the possible erosive action of large-scale outpourings of very fluid lavas, such as those that may have produced the remarkable canali forms on Venus; the ability of exotic fluids, such as methane, to create fluvial-like landforms, as observed on Saturn’s moon, Titan; and the nature of sedimentation and erosion under different conditions of planetary surface gravity. Planetary fluvial geomorphology also illustrates fundamental epistemological and methodological issues, including the role of analogy in geomorphological/geological inquiry. PMID:29176917

  12. Geophysical and atmospheric evolution of habitable planets.

    PubMed

    Lammer, Helmut; Selsis, Frank; Chassefière, Eric; Breuer, Doris; Griessmeier, Jean-Mathias; Kulikov, Yuri N; Erkaev, Nikolai V; Khodachenko, Maxim L; Biernat, Helfried K; Leblanc, Francois; Kallio, Esa; Lundin, Richard; Westall, Frances; Bauer, Siegfried J; Beichman, Charles; Danchi, William; Eiroa, Carlos; Fridlund, Malcolm; Gröller, Hannes; Hanslmeier, Arnold; Hausleitner, Walter; Henning, Thomas; Herbst, Tom; Kaltenegger, Lisa; Léger, Alain; Leitzinger, Martin; Lichtenegger, Herbert I M; Liseau, René; Lunine, Jonathan; Motschmann, Uwe; Odert, Petra; Paresce, Francesco; Parnell, John; Penny, Alan; Quirrenbach, Andreas; Rauer, Heike; Röttgering, Huub; Schneider, Jean; Spohn, Tilman; Stadelmann, Anja; Stangl, Günter; Stam, Daphne; Tinetti, Giovanna; White, Glenn J

    2010-01-01

    The evolution of Earth-like habitable planets is a complex process that depends on the geodynamical and geophysical environments. In particular, it is necessary that plate tectonics remain active over billions of years. These geophysically active environments are strongly coupled to a planet's host star parameters, such as mass, luminosity and activity, orbit location of the habitable zone, and the planet's initial water inventory. Depending on the host star's radiation and particle flux evolution, the composition in the thermosphere, and the availability of an active magnetic dynamo, the atmospheres of Earth-like planets within their habitable zones are differently affected due to thermal and nonthermal escape processes. For some planets, strong atmospheric escape could even effect the stability of the atmosphere.

  13. Aerosol Properties of the Atmospheres of Extrasolar Giant Planets

    SciT

    Lavvas, P.; Koskinen, T., E-mail: panayotis.lavvas@univ-reims.fr

    2017-09-20

    We use a model of aerosol microphysics to investigate the impact of high-altitude photochemical aerosols on the transmission spectra and atmospheric properties of close-in exoplanets, such as HD 209458 b and HD 189733 b. The results depend strongly on the temperature profiles in the middle and upper atmospheres, which are poorly understood. Nevertheless, our model of HD 189733 b, based on the most recently inferred temperature profiles, produces an aerosol distribution that matches the observed transmission spectrum. We argue that the hotter temperature of HD 209458 b inhibits the production of high-altitude aerosols and leads to the appearance of amore » clearer atmosphere than on HD 189733 b. The aerosol distribution also depends on the particle composition, photochemical production, and atmospheric mixing. Due to degeneracies among these inputs, current data cannot constrain the aerosol properties in detail. Instead, our work highlights the role of different factors in controlling the aerosol distribution that will prove useful in understanding different observations, including those from future missions. For the atmospheric mixing efficiency suggested by general circulation models, we find that the aerosol particles are small (∼nm) and probably spherical. We further conclude that a composition based on complex hydrocarbons (soots) is the most likely candidate to survive the high temperatures in hot-Jupiter atmospheres. Such particles would have a significant impact on the energy balance of HD 189733 b’s atmosphere and should be incorporated in future studies of atmospheric structure. We also evaluate the contribution of external sources to photochemical aerosol formation and find that their spectral signature is not consistent with observations.« less

  14. Physical Studies of Brown Dwarfs and Extrasolar Planets

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Noll, Keith

    2004-01-01

    The main purpose of this grant proposal was to fund the ongoing work on brown dwarfs by Denise Stephens during her tenure at STScI as a postdoctoral researcher. We have completed approximately half of the three-year grant period. Dr. Stephens has now assumed to role of senior research associate at Johns Hopkins University and in this position is eligible to be PI of grants. Because the bulk of the work and funds under this grant have been and will continue to be for the purposes of supporting Dr. Stephens, we are transferring control of the grant to her at JHU. This closeout is a formality to allow that transfer. The largest project was the completion of a major work on the infrared photometry of L and T dwarfs. The paper was published in January 2004.

  15. Estrellas asociadas con planetas extrasolares vs. estrellas de tipo β Pictoris

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chavero, C.; Gómez, M.

    In this contribution we initially confront physical properties of two groups of stars: the Planet Host Stars and the Vega-like objects. The Planet Host Star group has one or more planet mass object associated and the Vega-like stars have circumstellar disks. We have compiled magnitudes, colors, parallaxes, spectral types, etc. for these objects from the literature and analyzed the distribution of both groups. We find that the samples are very similar in metallicities, ages, and spatial distributions. Our analysis suggests that the circumstellar environments are probably different while the central objects have similar physical properties. This difference may explain, at least in part, why the Planet Host Stars form extra-solar planetary objects such as those detected by the Doppler effect while the Vega-like objects are not commonly associated with these planet-mass bodies.

  16. Sagan Lecture : Exploring Titan, An Earth-like Organic Paradise

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lorenz, R. D.

    2007-12-01

    Saturn's giant moon Titan has been called many things - 'The Mars of the Outer Solar System', 'A Fiercely-Frozen Echo of the Early Earth', 'A Place Like Home'- indeed, 'The Whole ball of Wax'. These various appelations reflect the richness and bewildering complexity of this most fascinating world which bears comparisons with both the terrestrial planets as well as other icy satellites. Titan's thick but dynamic atmosphere sculpts its surface with tidal winds and methane monsoons, and its climate has competing greenhouse and antigreenhouse effects as well as a seasonal polar haze structure analogous to the Earth's ozone hole. Titan is striking also in its massive organic inventory - its dunes and lakes make up an exposed carbon reservoir hundreds of times more massive than all of Earth's fossil fuels. At least part of this organic inventory has been processed by transient exposures to liquid water, in impact melt sheets and cryovolcanic flows (a scenario first pointed out by Thompson and Sagan in 1991). This aqueous chemical interaction is known from terrestrial laboratory experiments to yield amino acids, pyrimidines and other building blocks of living molecular systems. How far these chemical systems might evolve on geological, as opposed to laboratory, scales of space and time on Titan is completely unknown, but must surely be interesting to find out. The talk will review some of the surprising findings from Cassini-Huygens, their lessons for us here on Earth, and what future Titan exploration may tell us about the origins of worlds and the origins of life.

  17. Can The Periods of Some Extra-Solar Planetary Systems be Quantized?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    El Fady Morcos, Abd

    A simple formula was derived before by Morcos (2013 ), to relate the quantum numbers of planetary systems and their periods. This formula is applicable perfectly for the solar system planets, and some extra-solar planets , of stars of approximately the same masses like the Sun. This formula has been used to estimate the periods of some extra-solar planet of known quantum numbers. The used quantum numbers were calculated previously by other authors. A comparison between the observed and estimated periods, from the given formula has been done. The differences between the observed and calculated periods for the extra-solar systems have been calculated and tabulated. It is found that there is an error of the range of 10% The same formula has been also used to find the quantum numbers, of some known periods, exo-planet. Keywords: Quantization; Periods; Extra-Planetary; Extra-Solar Planet REFERENCES [1] Agnese, A. G. and Festa, R. “Discretization on the Cosmic Scale Inspirred from the Old Quantum Mechanics,” 1998. http://arxiv.org/abs/astro-ph/9807186 [2] Agnese, A. G. and Festa, R. “Discretizing ups-Andro- medae Planetary System,” 1999. http://arxiv.org/abs/astro-ph/9910534. [3] Barnothy, J. M. “The Stability of the Solar Systemand of Small Stellar Systems,” Proceedings of the IAU Sympo-sium 62, Warsaw, 5-8 September 1973, pp. 23-31. [4] Morcos, A.B. , “Confrontation between Quantized Periods of Some Extra-Solar Planetary Systems and Observations”, International Journal of Astronomy and Astrophysics, 2013, 3, 28-32. [5] Nottale, L. “Fractal Space-Time and Microphysics, To-wards a Theory of Scale Relativity,” World Scientific, London, 1994. [6] Nottale , L., “Scale-Relativity and Quantization of Extra- Solar Planetary Systems,” Astronomy & Astrophysics, Vol. 315, 1996, pp. L9-L12 [7] Nottale, L., Schumacher, G. and Gay, J. “Scale-Relativity and Quantization of the Solar Systems,” Astronomy & Astrophysics letters, Vol. 322, 1997, pp. 1018-10 [8

  18. Chance and necessity in biochemistry: implications for the search for extraterrestrial biomarkers in Earth-like environments.

    PubMed

    Davila, Alfonso F; McKay, Christopher P

    2014-06-01

    In this paper, we examine a restricted subset of the question of possible alien biochemistries. That is, we look into how different life might be if it emerged in environments similar to that required for life on Earth. We advocate a principle of chance and necessity in biochemistry. According to this principle, biochemistry is in some fundamental way the sum of two processes: there is an aspect of biochemistry that is an endowment from prebiotic processes, which represents the necessity, plus an aspect that is invented by the process of evolution, which represents the chance. As a result, we predict that life originating in extraterrestrial Earth-like environments will share biochemical motifs that can be traced back to the prebiotic world but will also have intrinsic biochemical traits that are unlikely to be duplicated elsewhere as they are combinatorially path-dependent. Effective and objective strategies to search for biomarkers, and evidence for a second genesis, on planets with Earth-like environments can be built based on this principle.

  19. Chance and Necessity in Biochemistry: Implications for the Search for Extraterrestrial Biomarkers in Earth-like Environments

    PubMed Central

    McKay, Christopher P.

    2014-01-01

    Abstract In this paper, we examine a restricted subset of the question of possible alien biochemistries. That is, we look into how different life might be if it emerged in environments similar to that required for life on Earth. We advocate a principle of chance and necessity in biochemistry. According to this principle, biochemistry is in some fundamental way the sum of two processes: there is an aspect of biochemistry that is an endowment from prebiotic processes, which represents the necessity, plus an aspect that is invented by the process of evolution, which represents the chance. As a result, we predict that life originating in extraterrestrial Earth-like environments will share biochemical motifs that can be traced back to the prebiotic world but will also have intrinsic biochemical traits that are unlikely to be duplicated elsewhere as they are combinatorially path-dependent. Effective and objective strategies to search for biomarkers, and evidence for a second genesis, on planets with Earth-like environments can be built based on this principle. Key Words: Origin of life—Biomarkers—Exobiology—Extraterrestrial life—Prebiotic chemistry. Astrobiology 14, 534–540. PMID:24867145

  20. SCIENCE PARAMETRICS FOR MISSIONS TO SEARCH FOR EARTH-LIKE EXOPLANETS BY DIRECT IMAGING

    SciT

    Brown, Robert A., E-mail: rbrown@stsci.edu

    2015-01-20

    We use N{sub t} , the number of exoplanets observed in time t, as a science metric to study direct-search missions like Terrestrial Planet Finder. In our model, N has 27 parameters, divided into three categories: 2 astronomical, 7 instrumental, and 18 science-operational. For various ''27-vectors'' of those parameters chosen to explore parameter space, we compute design reference missions to estimate N{sub t} . Our treatment includes the recovery of completeness c after a search observation, for revisits, solar and antisolar avoidance, observational overhead, and follow-on spectroscopy. Our baseline 27-vector has aperture D = 16 m, inner working angle IWAmore » = 0.039'', mission time t = 0-5 yr, occurrence probability for Earth-like exoplanets η = 0.2, and typical values for the remaining 23 parameters. For the baseline case, a typical five-year design reference mission has an input catalog of ∼4700 stars with nonzero completeness, ∼1300 unique stars observed in ∼2600 observations, of which ∼1300 are revisits, and it produces N {sub 1} ∼ 50 exoplanets after one year and N {sub 5} ∼ 130 after five years. We explore offsets from the baseline for 10 parameters. We find that N depends strongly on IWA and only weakly on D. It also depends only weakly on zodiacal light for Z < 50 zodis, end-to-end efficiency for h > 0.2, and scattered starlight for ζ < 10{sup –10}. We find that observational overheads, completeness recovery and revisits, solar and antisolar avoidance, and follow-on spectroscopy are all important factors in estimating N.« less

  1. Formation of the giant planets

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lissauer, Jack J.

    2006-01-01

    The observed properties of giant planets, models of their evolution and observations of protoplanetary disks provide constraints on the formation of gas giant planets. The four largest planets in our Solar System contain considerable quantities of hydrogen and helium, which could not have condensed into solid planetesimals within the protoplanetary disk. All three (transiting) extrasolar giant planets with well determined masses and radii also must contain substantial amounts of these light gases. Jupiter and Saturn are mostly hydrogen and helium, but have larger abundances of heavier elements than does the Sun. Neptune and Uranus are primarily composed of heavier elements. HD 149026 b, which is slightly more massive than is Saturn, appears to have comparable quantities of light gases and heavy elements. HD 209458 b and TrES-1 are primarily hydrogen and helium, but may contain supersolar abundances of heavy elements. Spacecraft flybys and observations of satellite orbits provide estimates of the gravitational moments of the giant planets in our Solar System, which in turn provide information on the internal distribution of matter within Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Atmospheric thermal structure and heat flow measurements constrain the interior temperatures of planets. Internal processes may cause giant planets to become more compositionally differentiated or alternatively more homogeneous; high-pressure laboratory .experiments provide data useful for modeling these processes. The preponderance of evidence supports the core nucleated gas accretion model. According to this model, giant planets begin their growth by the accumulation of small solid bodies, as do terrestrial planets. However, unlike terrestrial planets, the growing giant planet cores become massive enough that they are able to accumulate substantial amounts of gas before the protoplanetary disk dissipates. The primary questions regarding the core nucleated growth model is under what conditions

  2. The MEarth project: an all-sky survey for transiting Earth-like exoplanets orbiting nearby M-dwarfs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Irwin, Jonathan; Berta-Thompson, Zachory K.; Charbonneau, David; Dittmann, Jason; Newton, Elisabeth R.

    2015-01-01

    The MEarth project is an operational all-sky survey searching for transiting Earth-like exoplanets around 3,000 of the closest mid-to-late M-dwarfs. These will be among the best planets in their size class for atmospheric characterization using present day and near-future instruments such as HST, JWST and ground-based Extremely Large Telescopes (ELTs), by virtue of the large observational signal sizes afforded by their small and bright host stars. We present an update on the status and recent scientific results of the survey from our two observing stations: MEarth-North at Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory, Mount Hopkins, Arizona, and MEarth-South at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory, Chile. MEarth-North discovered the transiting mini-Neptune exoplanet GJ 1214b, which currently has the best-studied atmosphere of any exoplanet in its size class. In addition to searching for planets, we actively pursue stellar astrophysics topics and characterization of the target star sample using MEarth data and supplementary spectroscopic follow-up. This has included measuring astrometric parallaxes for more than 1500 nearby stars, the discovery of 6 new low-mass eclipsing binaries amenable to direct measurement of the masses and radii of their components, and rotation periods, spectral classifications, metallicities and activity indices for hundreds of stars. The MEarth light curves themselves also provide a detailed record of the photometric behavior of the target stars, which include the most favorable and interesting targets to search for small and potentially habitable planets. This will be a valuable resource for all future surveys searching for planets around these stars. All light curves gathered during the survey are made publicly available after one year.The MEarth project gratefully acknowledges funding from the David and Lucile Packard Fellowship for Science and Engineering, the National Science Foundation under grants AST-0807690, AST-1109468, and AST-1004488

  3. The Terrestrial Planet Finder coronagraph dynamics error budget

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Shaklan, Stuart B.; Marchen, Luis; Green, Joseph J.; Lay, Oliver P.

    2005-01-01

    The Terrestrial Planet Finder Coronagraph (TPF-C) demands extreme wave front control and stability to achieve its goal of detecting earth-like planets around nearby stars. We describe the performance models and error budget used to evaluate image plane contrast and derive engineering requirements for this challenging optical system.

  4. Finding Terrestrial Planets Using External Occulters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Heap, Sara

    2007-01-01

    In order to identify a detected exoplanet as an Earth-like (habitable) planet, we must obtain its spectrum to verify that its atmosphere shows evidence of water vapor. We argue that a regular, optical telescope combined with a large occulter to block light from the star offers the most promising, cost-effective way to detect and characterize exoplanets.

  5. Barnard’s Star: Planets or Pretense

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bartlett, Jennifer L.; Ianna, P. A.

    2014-01-01

    Barnard’s Star remains popular with planet hunters because it is not only an extremely near, high proper motion star, but also the object of early planet-detection claims. In 1963, van de Kamp explained perturbations in its proper motion by the presence of a planet. In 1969, he produced another single-planet solution and a two-planet solution to the astrometric wobbles detected. At least 19 studies have failed to confirm his results using a range of techniques, including radial velocity, direct imaging, and speckle interferometry. However, most of them lacked the sensitivity to detect the planets he described, including astrometric studies at the McCormick and Naval Observatories. However, radial-velocity monitoring of Barnard’s Star at Lick and Keck Observatories from 1987 through 2012 appears to have ruled out such planets. Based upon observations made at the Sproul Observatory between 1916 and 1962, van de Kamp claimed that Barnard’s Star had a planet with about 1.6 times the mass of Jupiter and an orbital period of 24 years. After accounting for instrumentation effects that might have been partially responsible for his initial results, he continued to assert that this red dwarf had two planets. In his 1982 analysis of ~20,000 exposures collected between 1938 and 1981, he calculated that two planets with 0.7- and 0.5-Jupiter masses in 12- and 20-year orbits, respectively, orbited the second-closest stellar system to our own. Starting in 1995, the dramatic successes of radial velocity searches for extrasolar planets drove van de Kamp’s unsubstantiated claims from popular consciousness. Although many low-mass stellar companions were discovered through astrometry, the technique has been less successful for planets: “The Extrasolar Planets Encyclopaedia” identifies one such discovery out of the 997 planets listed on 2013 September 23. Although Barnard’s Star has lost its pretensions to hosting the first extrasolar planets known, its intrinsic

  6. Seeing, touching and smelling the extraordinarily Earth-like world of Titan

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    2005-01-01

    , these are rock-like solid at Titan's temperatures. Titan's soil appears to consist at least in part of precipitated deposits of the organic haze that shrouds the planet. This dark material settles out of the atmosphere. When washed off high elevations by methane rain, it concentrates at the bottom of the drainage channels and riverbeds contributing to the dark areas seen in DISR images. New, stunning evidence based on finding atmospheric argon 40 indicates that Titan has experienced volcanic activity generating not lava, as on Earth, but water ice and ammonia. Thus, while many of Earth's familiar geophysical processes occur on Titan, the chemistry involved is quite different. Instead of liquid water, Titan has liquid methane. Instead of silicate rocks, Titan has frozen water ice. Instead of dirt, Titan has hydrocarbon particles settling out of the atmosphere, and instead of lava, Titanian volcanoes spew very cold ice. Titan is an extraordinary world having Earth-like geophysical processes operating on exotic materials in very alien conditions. "We are really extremely excited about these results. The scientists have worked tirelessly for the whole week because the data they have received from Huygens are so thrilling. This is only the beginning, these data will live for many years to come and they will keep the scientists very very busy", said Jean-Pierre Lebreton, ESA's Huygens Project Scientist and Mission manager. The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperation between NASA, ESA and ASI, the Italian space agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, is managing the mission for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington DC. JPL designed, developed and assembled the Cassini orbiter while ESA operated the Huygens atmospheric probe.

  7. Eccentricity Evolution of Migrating Planets

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Murray, N.; Paskowitz, M.; Holman, M.

    2002-01-01

    We examine the eccentricity evolution of a system of two planets locked in a mean motion resonance, in which either the outer or both planets lose energy and angular momentum. The sink of energy and angular momentum could be a gas or planetesimal disk. We analytically calculate the eccentricity damping rate in the case of a single planet migrating through a planetesimal disk. When the planetesimal disk is cold (the average eccentricity is much less than 1), the circularization time is comparable to the inward migration time, as previous calculations have found for the case of a gas disk. If the planetesimal disk is hot, the migration time can be an order of magnitude shorter. We show that the eccentricity of both planetary bodies can grow to large values, particularly if the inner body does not directly exchange energy or angular momentum with the disk. We present the results of numerical integrations of two migrating resonant planets showing rapid growth of eccentricity. We also present integrations in which a Jupiter-mass planet is forced to migrate inward through a system of 5-10 roughly Earth-mass planets. The migrating planets can eject or accrete the smaller bodies; roughly 5% of the mass (averaged over all the integrations) accretes onto the central star. The results are discussed in the context of the currently known extrasolar planetary systems.

  8. LARGER PLANET RADII INFERRED FROM STELLAR ''FLICKER'' BRIGHTNESS VARIATIONS OF BRIGHT PLANET-HOST STARS

    SciT

    Bastien, Fabienne A.; Stassun, Keivan G.; Pepper, Joshua

    2014-06-10

    Most extrasolar planets have been detected by their influence on their parent star, typically either gravitationally (the Doppler method) or by the small dip in brightness as the planet blocks a portion of the star (the transit method). Therefore, the accuracy with which we know the masses and radii of extrasolar planets depends directly on how well we know those of the stars, the latter usually determined from the measured stellar surface gravity, log g. Recent work has demonstrated that the short-timescale brightness variations ({sup f}licker{sup )} of stars can be used to measure log g to a high accuracymore » of ∼0.1-0.2 dex. Here, we use flicker measurements of 289 bright (Kepmag < 13) candidate planet-hosting stars with T {sub eff} = 4500-6650 K to re-assess the stellar parameters and determine the resulting impact on derived planet properties. This re-assessment reveals that for the brightest planet-host stars, Malmquist bias contaminates the stellar sample with evolved stars: nearly 50% of the bright planet-host stars are subgiants. As a result, the stellar radii, and hence the radii of the planets orbiting these stars, are on average 20%-30% larger than previous measurements had suggested.« less

  9. Planet Detection: The Kepler Mission

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jenkins, Jon M.; Smith, Jeffrey C.; Tenenbaum, Peter; Twicken, Joseph D.; Van Cleve, Jeffrey

    2012-03-01

    The search for exoplanets is one of the hottest topics in astronomy and astrophysics in the twenty-first century, capturing the public's attention as well as that of the astronomical community. This nascent field was conceived in 1989 with the discovery of a candidate planetary companion to HD114762 [35] and was born in 1995 with the discovery of the first extrasolar planet 51 Peg-b [37] orbiting a main sequence star. As of March, 2011, over 500 exoplanets have been discovered* and 106 are known to transit or cross their host star, as viewed from Earth. Of these transiting planets, 15 have been announced by the Kepler Mission, which was launched into an Earth-trailing, heliocentric orbit in March, 2009 [1,4,6,15,18,20,22,31,32,34,36,43]. In addition, over 1200 candidate transiting planets have already been detected by Kepler [5], and vigorous follow-up observations are being conducted to vet these candidates. As the false-positive rate for Kepler is expected to be quite low [39], Kepler has effectively tripled the number of known exoplanets. Moreover, Kepler will provide an unprecedented data set in terms of photometric precision, duration, contiguity, and number of stars. Kepler's primary science objective is to determine the frequency of Earth-size planets transiting their Sun-like host stars in the habitable zone, that range of orbital distances for which liquid water would pool on the surface of a terrestrial planet such as Earth, Mars, or Venus. This daunting task demands an instrument capable of measuring the light output from each of over 100,000 stars simultaneously with an unprecedented photometric precision of 20 parts per million (ppm) at 6.5-h intervals. The large number of stars is required because the probability of the geometrical alignment of planetary orbits that permit observation of transits is the ratio of the size of the star to the size of the planetary orbit. For Earth-like planets in 1-astronomical unit (AU) orbits† about sun-like stars

  10. Formation of Giant Planets and Brown Dwarves

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lissauer, Jack J.

    2003-01-01

    According to the prevailing core instability model, giant planets begin their growth by the accumulation of small solid bodies, as do terrestrial planets. However, unlike terrestrial planets, the growing giant planet cores become massive enough that they are able to accumulate substantial amounts of gas before the protoplanetary disk dissipates. Models predict that rocky planets should form in orbit about most stars. It is uncertain whether or not gas giant planet formation is common, because most protoplanetary disks may dissipate before solid planetary cores can grow large enough to gravitationally trap substantial quantities of gas. Ongoing theoretical modeling of accretion of giant planet atmospheres, as well as observations of protoplanetary disks, will help decide this issue. Observations of extrasolar planets around main sequence stars can only provide a lower limit on giant planet formation frequency . This is because after giant planets form, gravitational interactions with material within the protoplanetary disk may cause them to migrat inwards and be lost to the central star. The core instability model can only produce planets greater than a few jovian masses within protoplanetary disks that are more viscous than most such disks are believed to be. Thus, few brown dwarves (objects massive enough to undergo substantial deuterium fusion, estimated to occur above approximately 13 jovian masses) are likely to be formed in this manner. Most brown dwarves, as well as an unknown number of free-floating objects of planetary mass, are probably formed as are stars, by the collapse of extended gas/dust clouds into more compact objects.

  11. Protostars and Planets VI

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Beuther, Henrik; Klessen, Ralf S.; Dullemond, Cornelis P.; Henning, Thomas

    Protostars and Planets series, the field of star and planet formation has progressed enormously. The advent of new space observatories like Spitzer and more recently Herschel have opened entirely new windows to study the interstellar medium, the birthplaces of new stars, and the properties of protoplanetary disks. Millimeter and radio observatories, in particular interferometers, allow us to investigate even the most deeply embedded and youngest protostars. Complementary to these observational achievements, novel multi-scale and multi-physics theoretical and numerical models have provided new insights into the physical and chemical processes that govern the birth of stars and their planetary systems. Sophisticated radiative transfer modeling is critical in order to better connect theories with observations. Since the last Protostars and Planets volume, more than 1000 new extrasolar planets have been identified and there are thousands more waiting to be verified. Such a large database allows for the first time a statistical assessment of the planetary properties as well as their evolution pathways. These investigations show the enormous diversity of the architecture of planetary systems and the properties of planets. High-contrast imaging at short and long wavelengths has resolved protoplanetary disks and associated planets, and transit spectroscopy is a new tool that allows us to study even the physical properties of extrasolar planetary atmospheres. The understanding of our own solar system has also progressed enormously since 2005. For instance, the sample-return Stardust mission has provided direct insight into the composition of comets and asteroids, and has demonstrated the importance of mixing processes in the early solar system. And much more is now known about the origin and role of short-lived nuclides at these stages of the solar system. For generations of astronomers, the Protostars and Planets volumes have served as an essential resource for our understanding of

  12. A Demonstration Setup to Simulate Detection of Planets outside the Solar System

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Choopan, W.; Ketpichainarong, W.; Laosinchai, P.; Panijpan, B.

    2011-01-01

    We constructed a simple demonstration setup to simulate an extrasolar planet and its star revolving around the system's centre of mass. Periodic dimming of light from the star by the transiting planet and the star's orbital revolution simulate the two major ways of deducing the presence of an exoplanet near a distant star. Apart from being a…

  13. Kuiper Prize: Giant Planet Atmospheres

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ingersoll, Andrew P.

    2007-10-01

    The study of giant planet atmospheres is near and dear to me, for several reasons. First, the giant planets are photogenic; the colored clouds are great tracers, and one can make fantastic movies of the atmosphere in motion. Second, the giant planets challenge us with storms that last for hundreds of years and winds that blow faster the farther you go from the sun. Third, they remind us of Earth with their hurricanes, auroras, and lightning, but they also are the link to the 200 giant planets that have been discovered around other stars. This talk will cover the past, present, and future (one hopes) of giant planet research. I will review the surprises of the Voyager and Galileo eras, and will discuss what we are learning now from the Cassini orbiter. I will review the prospects for answering the outstanding questions like: Where's the water? What is providing the colors of the clouds? How deep do the features extend? Where do the winds get their energy? What is the role of the magnetic field? Finally, I will briefly discuss how extrasolar giant planets compare with objects in our own solar system.

  14. Habitable zone limits for dry planets.

    PubMed

    Abe, Yutaka; Abe-Ouchi, Ayako; Sleep, Norman H; Zahnle, Kevin J

    2011-06-01

    Most discussion of habitable planets has focused on Earth-like planets with globally abundant liquid water. For an "aqua planet" like Earth, the surface freezes if far from its sun, and the water vapor greenhouse effect runs away if too close. Here we show that "land planets" (desert worlds with limited surface water) have wider habitable zones than aqua planets. For planets at the inner edge of the habitable zone, a land planet has two advantages over an aqua planet: (i) the tropics can emit longwave radiation at rates above the traditional runaway limit because the air is unsaturated and (ii) the dry air creates a dry stratosphere that limits hydrogen escape. At the outer limits of the habitable zone, the land planet better resists global freezing because there is less water for clouds, snow, and ice. Here we describe a series of numerical experiments using a simple three-dimensional global climate model for Earth-sized planets. Other things (CO(2), rotation rate, surface pressure) unchanged, we found that liquid water remains stable at the poles of a low-obliquity land planet until net insolation exceeds 415 W/m(2) (170% that of modern Earth), compared to 330 W/m(2) (135%) for the aqua planet. At the outer limits, we found that a low-obliquity land planet freezes at 77%, while the aqua planet freezes at 90%. High-obliquity land and aqua planets freeze at 58% and 72%, respectively, with the poles offering the last refuge. We show that it is possible that, as the Sun brightens, an aqua planet like Earth can lose most of its hydrogen and become a land planet without first passing through a sterilizing runaway greenhouse. It is possible that Venus was a habitable land planet as recently as 1 billion years ago.

  15. Terrestrial Planet Finder Coronagraph Observatory summary

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ford, Virginia; Levine-Westa, Marie; Kissila, Andy; Kwacka, Eug; Hoa, Tim; Dumonta, Phil; Lismana, Doug; Fehera, Peter; Cafferty, Terry

    2005-01-01

    Creating an optical space telescope observatory capable of detecting and characterizing light from extra-solar terrestrial planets poses technical challenges related to extreme wavefront stability. The Terrestrial Planet Finder Coronagraph design team has been developing an observatory based on trade studies, modeling and analysis that has guided us towards design choices to enable this challenging mission. This paper will describe the current flight baseline design of the observatory and the trade studies that have been performed. The modeling and analysis of this design will be described including predicted performance and the tasks yet to be done.

  16. A Planet Detection Tutorial and Simulator

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Knoch, David; DeVincenzi, Donald (Technical Monitor)

    2001-01-01

    Detection of extra-solar planets has been a very popular topic with the general public for years. Considerable media coverage of recent detections (currently at about 50) has only heightened the interest in the topic. School children are particularly interested in learning about recent astronomical discoveries. Scientists have the knowledge and responsibility to present this information in both an understandable and interesting format. Most classrooms and homes are now connected to the internet, which can be utilized to provide more than a traditional 'flat' presentation. An interactive software package on planet detection has been developed. The major topics include: "1996 - The Break Through Year In Planet Detection"; "What Determines If A Planet Is Habitable?"; "How Can We Find Other Planets (Search Methods)"; "All About the Kepler Mission: How To Find Terrestrial Planets"; and "A Planet Detection Simulator". Using the simulator, the student records simulated observations and then analyzes and interprets the data within the program. One can determine the orbit and planet size, the planet's temperature and surface gravity, and finally determine if the planet is habitable. Originally developed for the Macintosh, a web based browser version is being developed.

  17. The Chemistry of Planet Formation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Oberg, Karin I.

    2017-01-01

    Exo-planets are common, and they span a large range of compositions. The origins of the observed diversity of planetary compositions is largely unconstrained, but must be linked to the planet formation physics and chemistry. Among planets that are Earth-like, a second question is how often such planets form hospitable to life. A fraction of exo-planets are observed to be ‘physically habitable’, i.e. of the right temperature and bulk composition to sustain a water-based prebiotic chemistry, but this does not automatically imply that they are rich in the building blocks of life, in organic molecules of different sizes and kinds, i.e. that they are chemically habitable. In this talk I will argue that characterizing the chemistry of protoplanetary disks, the formation sites of planets, is key to address both the origins of planetary bulk compositions and the likelihood of finding organic matter on planets. The most direct path to constrain the chemistry in disks is to directly observe it. In the age of ALMA it is for the first time possible to image the chemistry of planet formation, to determine locations of disk snowlines, and to map the distributions of different organic molecules. Recent ALMA highlights include constraints on CO snowline locations, the discovery of spectacular chemical ring systems, and first detections of more complex organic molecules. Observations can only provide chemical snapshots, however, and even ALMA is blind to the majority of the chemistry that shapes planet formation. To interpret observations and address the full chemical complexity in disks requires models, both toy models and astrochemical simulations. These models in turn must be informed by laboratory experiments, some of which will be shown in this talk. It is thus only when we combine observational, theoretical and experimental constraints that we can hope to characterize the chemistry of disks, and further, the chemical compositions of nascent planets.

  18. EFFECTS OF DYNAMICAL EVOLUTION OF GIANT PLANETS ON SURVIVAL OF TERRESTRIAL PLANETS

    SciT

    Matsumura, Soko; Ida, Shigeru; Nagasawa, Makiko

    2013-04-20

    The orbital distributions of currently observed extrasolar giant planets allow marginally stable orbits for hypothetical, terrestrial planets. In this paper, we propose that many of these systems may not have additional planets on these ''stable'' orbits, since past dynamical instability among giant planets could have removed them. We numerically investigate the effects of early evolution of multiple giant planets on the orbital stability of the inner, sub-Neptune-like planets which are modeled as test particles, and determine their dynamically unstable region. Previous studies have shown that the majority of such test particles are ejected out of the system as a resultmore » of close encounters with giant planets. Here, we show that secular perturbations from giant planets can remove test particles at least down to 10 times smaller than their minimum pericenter distance. Our results indicate that, unless the dynamical instability among giant planets is either absent or quiet like planet-planet collisions, most test particles down to {approx}0.1 AU within the orbits of giant planets at a few AU may be gone. In fact, out of {approx}30% of survived test particles, about three quarters belong to the planet-planet collision cases. We find a good agreement between our numerical results and the secular theory, and present a semi-analytical formula which estimates the dynamically unstable region of the test particles just from the evolution of giant planets. Finally, our numerical results agree well with the observations, and also predict the existence of hot rocky planets in eccentric giant planet systems.« less

  19. Transit visibility zones of the Solar system planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wells, R.; Poppenhaeger, K.; Watson, C. A.; Heller, R.

    2018-01-01

    The detection of thousands of extrasolar planets by the transit method naturally raises the question of whether potential extrasolar observers could detect the transits of the Solar system planets. We present a comprehensive analysis of the regions in the sky from where transit events of the Solar system planets can be detected. We specify how many different Solar system planets can be observed from any given point in the sky, and find the maximum number to be three. We report the probabilities of a randomly positioned external observer to be able to observe single and multiple Solar system planet transits; specifically, we find a probability of 2.518 per cent to be able to observe at least one transiting planet, 0.229 per cent for at least two transiting planets, and 0.027 per cent for three transiting planets. We identify 68 known exoplanets that have a favourable geometric perspective to allow transit detections in the Solar system and we show how the ongoing K2 mission will extend this list. We use occurrence rates of exoplanets to estimate that there are 3.2 ± 1.2 and 6.6^{+1.3}_{-0.8} temperate Earth-sized planets orbiting GK and M dwarf stars brighter than V = 13 and 16, respectively, that are located in the Earth's transit zone.

  20. TeMPEST: the Texas, McDonald Photometric Extrasolar Search for Transits

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Baliber, N. R.; Cochran, W. D.

    2001-11-01

    The TeMPEST project is a photometric search for transits of extrasolar giant planets orbiting at distances < ~ 0.1 AU to their parent stars. As is the case with HD 209458, the only known transiting system, measurements of the photometric dimming of stars with transiting planets, along with radial velocity (RV) data, will provide information on physical characteristics (mass, radius, and mean density) of these planets. Further study of HD 209458 b and planets like it might reveal their reflectivity, putting further constraints on their surface temperatures, as well as allow measurement of the composition of their outer atmospheres. To detect these types of systems, we use the McDonald Observatory 0.76m Prime Focus Camera (PFC), which provides a 46.2 arcmin square field. We are currently obtaining our first full season of data, and by early 2002 will have sufficient data to follow approximately 5,000 stars with the precision necessary to detect transits of close-orbiting Jovian planets. We also present data of the detection of the transit of the planet orbiting HD 209458 using the 0.76m PFC. These data are consistent with the partial occultation of the light from the star caused by the transit of an opaque disc of radius 1.4 R Jup. The TeMPEST project is funded by the NASA Origins program.

  1. THE STATISTICAL MECHANICS OF PLANET ORBITS

    SciT

    Tremaine, Scott, E-mail: tremaine@ias.edu

    2015-07-10

    The final “giant-impact” phase of terrestrial planet formation is believed to begin with a large number of planetary “embryos” on nearly circular, coplanar orbits. Mutual gravitational interactions gradually excite their eccentricities until their orbits cross and they collide and merge; through this process the number of surviving bodies declines until the system contains a small number of planets on well-separated, stable orbits. In this paper we explore a simple statistical model for the orbit distribution of planets formed by this process, based on the sheared-sheet approximation and the ansatz that the planets explore uniformly all of the stable region ofmore » phase space. The model provides analytic predictions for the distribution of eccentricities and semimajor axis differences, correlations between orbital elements of nearby planets, and the complete N-planet distribution function, in terms of a single parameter, the “dynamical temperature,” that is determined by the planetary masses. The predicted properties are generally consistent with N-body simulations of the giant-impact phase and with the distribution of semimajor axis differences in the Kepler catalog of extrasolar planets. A similar model may apply to the orbits of giant planets if these orbits are determined mainly by dynamical evolution after the planets have formed and the gas disk has disappeared.« less

  2. Elemental compositions of two extrasolar rocky planetesimals

    SciT

    Xu, S.; Jura, M.; Klein, B.

    2014-03-10

    We report Keck/HIRES and Hubble Space Telescope/COS spectroscopic studies of extrasolar rocky planetesimals accreted onto two hydrogen atmosphere white dwarfs, G29-38 and GD 133. In G29-38, eight elements are detected, including C, O, Mg, Si, Ca, Ti, Cr, and Fe while in GD 133, O, Si, Ca, and marginally Mg are seen. These two extrasolar planetesimals show a pattern of refractory enhancement and volatile depletion. For G29-38, the observed composition can be best interpreted as a blend of a chondritic object with some refractory-rich material, a result from post-nebular processing. Water is very depleted in the parent body accreted ontomore » G29-38, based on the derived oxygen abundance. The inferred total mass accretion rate in GD 133 is the lowest of all known dusty white dwarfs, possibly due to non-steady state accretion. We continue to find that a variety of extrasolar planetesimals all resemble to zeroth order the elemental composition of bulk Earth.« less

  3. The O{sub 2} A-Band in the Fluxes and Polarization of Starlight Reflected by Earth-Like Exoplanets

    SciT

    Fauchez, Thomas; Rossi, Loic; Stam, Daphne M.

    Earth-like, potentially habitable exoplanets are prime targets in the search for extraterrestrial life. Information about their atmospheres and surfaces can be derived by analyzing the light of the parent star reflected by the planet. We investigate the influence of the surface albedo A {sub s}, the optical thickness b {sub cloud}, the altitude of water clouds, and the mixing ratio of biosignature O{sub 2} on the strength of the O{sub 2} A-band (around 760 nm) in the flux and polarization spectra of starlight reflected by Earth-like exoplanets. Our computations for horizontally homogeneous planets show that small mixing ratios ( ηmore » < 0.4) will yield moderately deep bands in flux and moderate-to-small band strengths in polarization, and that clouds will usually decrease the band depth in flux and the band strength in polarization. However, cloud influence will be strongly dependent on properties such as optical thickness, top altitude, particle phase, coverage fraction, and horizontal distribution. Depending on the surface albedo and cloud properties, different O{sub 2} mixing ratios η can give similar absorption-band depths in flux and band strengths in polarization, especially if the clouds have moderate-to-high optical thicknesses. Measuring both the flux and the polarization is essential to reduce the degeneracies, although it will not solve them, especially not for horizontally inhomogeneous planets. Observations at a wide range of phase angles and with a high temporal resolution could help to derive cloud properties and, once those are known, the mixing ratio of O{sub 2} or any other absorbing gas.« less

  4. Challenges in Discerning Atmospheric Composition in Directly Imaged Planets

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Marley, Mark S.

    2017-01-01

    One of the justifications motivating efforts to detect and characterize young extrasolar giant planets has been to measure atmospheric composition for comparison with that of the primary star. If the enhancement of heavy elements in the atmospheres of extrasolar giant planets, like it is for their solar system analogs, is inversely proportional to mass, then it is likely that these worlds formed by core accretion. However in practice it has been very difficult to constrain metallicity because of the complex effect of clouds. Cloud opacity varies both vertically and, in some cases, horizontally through the atmosphere. Particle size and composition, both of which impact opacity, are difficult challenges both for forward modeling and retrieval studies. In my presentation I will discuss systematic efforts to improve cloud studies to enable more reliable determinations of atmospheric composition. These efforts are relevant both to discerning composition of directly imaged young planets from ground based telescopes and future space based missions, such as WFIRST and LUVOIR.

  5. Ionisation in ultra-cool, cloud forming extrasolar planetary atmospheres

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Helling, Christiane; the LEAP Team

    2015-04-01

    Transit spectroscopy provides evidence that extrasolare planets are covered in clouds, a finding that has been forecast by cloud model simulations 15 years ago. Atmospheres are strongly affected by clouds through their large opacity and their chemical activity. Cloud formation models allow to predict cloud particle sizes, their chemical composition and the composition of the remaining atmospheric gas (Woitke & Helling 2004, A&A 414; Helling & Woitke 2006, A&A 455), for example, as input for radiative transfer codes like Drift-Phoenix (Witte et al. 2009; A&A 506). These cloud particles are charged and can discharge, for example in form of lighting (Helling et al. 2013, ApJ 767; Bailey et al. 2014, ApJ 784). Earth observations demonstrate that lighting effects not only the local chemistry but also the electron budget of the atmosphere. This talk will present our work on cloud formation modelling and ionisation processes in cloud forming atmospheres. An hierarchy of ionisation processes leads to a vertically inhomogenously ionised atmosphere which has implications for planetary mass loss and global circulation pattern of planetary atmospheres. Processes involved, like Cosmic Ray ionisation, do also activate the local chemistry such that large hydrocarbon molecules form (Rimmer et al. 2014, IJAsB 13).

  6. European astronomers observe first evaporating planet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    2003-03-01

    The scorched planet called HD 209458b orbits ‘only’ 7 million kilometres from its yellow Sun-like star. By comparison, Jupiter, the closest gas giant in our Solar System, orbits 780 million kilometres from our Sun. NASA/ESA Hubble Space telescope observations reveal a hot and puffed-up evaporating hydrogen atmosphere surrounding the planet. This huge envelope of hydrogen resembles a comet with a tail trailing behind the planet. The planet circles the parent star in a tight 3.5-day orbit. Earth also has an extended atmosphere of escaping hydrogen gas, but the loss rate is much lower. A mainly European team led by Alfred Vidal-Madjar (Institut d’Astrophysique de Paris, CNRS, France) reports this discovery in the 13 March edition of Nature. "We were astonished to see that the hydrogen atmosphere of this planet extends over 200 000 kilometres," says Vidal-Madjar. Studying extrasolar planets, especially if they are very close to their parent stars, is not easy because the starlight is usually too blinding. The planet was also too close to the star for Hubble to photograph directly in this case. However, astronomers were able to observe the planet indirectly since it blocks light from a small part of the star during transits across the disc of the star, thereby dimming it slightly. Light passing through the atmosphere around the planet is scattered and acquires a signature from the atmosphere. In a similar way, the Sun’s light is reddened as it passes obliquely through the Earth’s atmosphere at sunset. Astronomers used Hubble’s space telescope imaging spectrograph (STIS) to measure how much of the planet's atmosphere filters light from the star. They saw a startling drop in the star's hydrogen emission. A huge, puffed-up atmosphere can best explain this result. What is causing the atmosphere to escape? The planet’s outer atmosphere is extended and heated so much by the nearby star that it starts to escape the planet's gravity. Hydrogen boils off in the

  7. Review of methodology and technology available for the detection of extrasolar planetary systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Tarter, J. C.; Black, D. C.; Billingham, J.

    1985-01-01

    Four approaches exist for the detection of extrasolar planets. According to the only direct method, the planet is imaged at some wavelength in a manner which makes it possible to differentiate its own feeble luminosity (internal energy source plus reflected starlight) from that of the nearby host star. The three indirect methods involve the detection of a planetary mass companion on the basis of the observable effects it has on the host star. A search is conducted regarding the occurrence of regular, periodic changes in the stellar spatial motion (astrometric method) or the velocity of stellar emission line spectra (spectroscopic method) or in the apparent total stellar luminosity (photometric method). Details regarding the approaches employed for implementing the considered methods are discussed.

  8. Planet Formation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lissauer, Jack J.; DeVincenzi, Donald L. (Technical Monitor)

    1998-01-01

    An overview of current theories of star and planet formation is presented. These models are based upon observations of the Solar System and of young stars and their environments. They predict that rocky planets should form around most single stars, although it is possible that in some cases such planets are lost to orbital decay within the protoplanetary disk. The frequency of formation of gas giant planets is more difficult to predict theoretically. Terrestrial planets are believed to grow via pairwise accretion until the spacing of planetary orbits becomes large enough that the configuration is stable for the age of the system. Giant planets begin their growth like terrestrial planets, but they become massive enough that they are able to accumulate substantial amounts of gas before the protoplanetary disk dissipates.

  9. Planet Formation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lissauer, Jack J.; Young, Richard E. (Technical Monitor)

    1997-01-01

    Modern theories of star and planet formation, which are based upon observations of the Solar System and of young stars and their environments, predict that most single stars should have rocky planets in orbit about them; the frequency of gas giant planets is more difficult to predict theoretically. Terrestrial planets are believed to grow via pairwise accretion until the spacing of planetary orbits becomes large enough that the configuration is stable for the age of the system. Giant planets begin their growth like terrestrial planets, but they become massive enough that they are able to accumulate substantial amounts of gas before the protoplanetary disk dissipates. Models for the formation of the giant planets found in recent radial velocity searches are discussed.

  10. Jovian Planet Finder optical system

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Krist, John E.; Clampin, Mark; Petro, Larry; Woodruff, Robert A.; Ford, Holland C.; Illingworth, Garth D.; Ftaclas, Christ

    2003-02-01

    The Jovian Planet Finder (JPF) is a proposed NASA MIDEX mission to place a highly optimized coronagraphic telescope on the International Space Station (ISS) to image Jupiter-like planets around nearby stars. The optical system is an off-axis, unobscured telescope with a 1.5 m primary mirror. A classical Lyot coronagraph with apodized occulting spots is used to reduce diffracted light from the central star. In order to provide the necessary contrast for detection of a planet, scattered light from mid-spatial-frequency errors is reduced by using super-smooth optics. Recent advances in polishing optics for extreme-ultraviolet lithography have shown that a factor of >30 reduction in midfrequency errors relative to those in the Hubble Space Telescope is possible (corresponding to a reduction in scattered light of nearly 1000x). The low level of scattered and diffracted light, together with a novel utilization of field rotation introduced by the alt-azimuth ISS telescope mounting, will provide a relatively low-cost facility for not only imaging extrasolar planets, but also circumstellar disks, host galaxies of quasars, and low-mass substellar companions such as brown dwarfs.

  11. The Relative Influence of H2O and CO2 on the Primitive Surface Conditions and Evolution of Rocky Planets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Salvador, A.; Massol, H.; Davaille, A.; Marcq, E.; Sarda, P.; Chassefiere, E.

    2016-12-01

    Recent literature reveals how different the telluric planets' water content can be, depending on the formation processes and origins of water. Furthermore, for Earth mass planets, estimates of their atmospheric water content range between 0.3 to 1000 water oceans. We simulate the secular convective cooling and solidification of a 1D magma ocean (hereafter "MO") in interaction with the outgassed atmosphere. We vary the initial CO2 and H2O contents (respectively from 0.1×10-2 to 14×10-2wt% and from 0.05 to 2.2 times the Earth Ocean current mass (MEO)), the solar distance - from 0.63 to 1.30 AU -, the radiative heat transfer in the atmosphere (grey or non-grey, with or without clouds) and investigate the relative influence of these parameters on an Earth like planet's surface conditions at the MO phase term, and especially its ability to form a water ocean. We define the end of the MO as the time when the heat flux from the vigorous convecting mantle becomes negligible compared to the incident solar flux, linked to the dramatic increase of viscosity as the MO solidification reaches the surface, which considerably reduces the convection intensity and the heat transfer. This particular time coincides with the possible apparition of a water ocean and with the development of a thermal boundary layer at the surface, thick enough to limit the interactions between the two reservoirs. As a first step, we assume a bottom-up solidification of the MO. The planetary surface pressure-temperature conditions, resulting from the solidification, are conditioned by the sun-planet distance and the initial CO2 and H2O contents. There is a critical sun-planet distance Rc below which water will never condense, whatever the initial volatile content. For distances larger than Rc, water condensation strongly depends on the relative proportion of CO2 and H2O. The higher the H2O content, the easier it is to reach the equilibrium water vapor pressure and therefore to condense water, for the

  12. Artemis: A Stratospheric Planet Finder

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ford, H. C.; Petro, L. D.; Burrows, C.; Ftaclas, C.; Roggemann, M. C.; Trauger, J. T.

    2003-01-01

    The near-space environment of the stratosphere is far superior to terrestrial sites for optical and infrared observations. New balloon technologies will enable flights and safe recovery of 2-ton payloads at altitudes of 35 km for 100 days and longer. The combination of long flights and superb observing conditions make it possible to undertake science programs that otherwise could only be done from orbit. We propose to fly an "Ultra-Hubble" Stratospheric Telescope (UHST) equipped with a coronagraphic camera and active optics at 35 km to search for planets around 200 of the nearest stars. This ULDB mission will establish the frequency of solar-type planetary systems, and provide targets to search for earth-like planets.

  13. Terrestrial Planet Finder Interferometer: 2007-2008 Progress and Plans

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lawson, P. R.; Lay, O. P.; Martin, S. R.; Peters, R. D.; Gappinger, R. O.; Ksendzov, A.; Scharf, D. P.; Booth, A. J.; Beichman, C. A.; Serabyn, E.; hide

    2008-01-01

    This paper provides an overview of technology development for the Terrestrial Planet Finder Interferometer (TPF-I). TPF-I is a mid-infrared space interferometer being designed with the capability of detecting Earth-like planets in the habitable zones around nearby stars. The overall technology roadmap is presented and progress with each of the testbeds is summarized. The current interferometer architecture, design trades, and the viability of possible reduced-scope mission concepts are also presented.

  14. The search for life on Earth and other planets.

    PubMed

    Gross, Michael

    2012-04-10

    As the NASA rover Curiosity approaches Mars on its quest to look for signs of past or present life there and sophisticated instruments like the space telescopes Kepler and CoRoT keep discovering additional, more Earth-like planets orbiting distant stars, science faces the question of how to spot life on other planets. Even here on Earth biotopes remain to be discovered and explored.

  15. Discovery and spectroscopy of the young Jovian planet 51 Eri b with the Gemini Planet Imager

    DOE PAGES

    Macintosh, B.; Graham, J. R.; Barman, T.; ...

    2015-10-02

    Directly detecting thermal emission from young extrasolar planets allows measurement of their atmospheric compositions and luminosities, which are influenced by their formation mechanisms. Using the Gemini Planet Imager, we discovered a planet orbiting the ~20-million-year-old star 51 Eridani at a projected separation of 13 astronomical units. Near-infrared observations show a spectrum with strong methane and water-vapor absorption. Modeling of the spectra and photometry yields a luminosity (normalized by the luminosity of the Sun) of 1.6 to 4.0 × 10 –6 and an effective temperature of 600 to 750 kelvin. For this age and luminosity, “hot-start” formation models indicate a massmore » twice that of Jupiter. As a result, this planet also has a sufficiently low luminosity to be consistent with the “cold-start” core-accretion process that may have formed Jupiter.« less

  16. Discovery and spectroscopy of the young jovian planet 51 Eri b with the Gemini Planet Imager

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Macintosh, B.; Graham, J. R.; Barman, T.; De Rosa, R. J.; Konopacky, Q.; Marley, M. S.; Marois, C.; Nielsen, E. L.; Pueyo, L.; Rajan, A.; Rameau, J.; Saumon, D.; Wang, J. J.; Patience, J.; Ammons, M.; Arriaga, P.; Artigau, E.; Beckwith, S.; Brewster, J.; Bruzzone, S.; Bulger, J.; Burningham, B.; Burrows, A. S.; Chen, C.; Chiang, E.; Chilcote, J. K.; Dawson, R. I.; Dong, R.; Doyon, R.; Draper, Z. H.; Duchêne, G.; Esposito, T. M.; Fabrycky, D.; Fitzgerald, M. P.; Follette, K. B.; Fortney, J. J.; Gerard, B.; Goodsell, S.; Greenbaum, A. Z.; Hibon, P.; Hinkley, S.; Cotten, T. H.; Hung, L.-W.; Ingraham, P.; Johnson-Groh, M.; Kalas, P.; Lafreniere, D.; Larkin, J. E.; Lee, J.; Line, M.; Long, D.; Maire, J.; Marchis, F.; Matthews, B. C.; Max, C. E.; Metchev, S.; Millar-Blanchaer, M. A.; Mittal, T.; Morley, C. V.; Morzinski, K. M.; Murray-Clay, R.; Oppenheimer, R.; Palmer, D. W.; Patel, R.; Perrin, M. D.; Poyneer, L. A.; Rafikov, R. R.; Rantakyrö, F. T.; Rice, E. L.; Rojo, P.; Rudy, A. R.; Ruffio, J.-B.; Ruiz, M. T.; Sadakuni, N.; Saddlemyer, L.; Salama, M.; Savransky, D.; Schneider, A. C.; Sivaramakrishnan, A.; Song, I.; Soummer, R.; Thomas, S.; Vasisht, G.; Wallace, J. K.; Ward-Duong, K.; Wiktorowicz, S. J.; Wolff, S. G.; Zuckerman, B.

    2015-10-01

    Directly detecting thermal emission from young extrasolar planets allows measurement of their atmospheric compositions and luminosities, which are influenced by their formation mechanisms. Using the Gemini Planet Imager, we discovered a planet orbiting the ~20-million-year-old star 51 Eridani at a projected separation of 13 astronomical units. Near-infrared observations show a spectrum with strong methane and water-vapor absorption. Modeling of the spectra and photometry yields a luminosity (normalized by the luminosity of the Sun) of 1.6 to 4.0 × 10-6 and an effective temperature of 600 to 750 kelvin. For this age and luminosity, “hot-start” formation models indicate a mass twice that of Jupiter. This planet also has a sufficiently low luminosity to be consistent with the “cold-start” core-accretion process that may have formed Jupiter.

  17. Discovery and spectroscopy of the young jovian planet 51 Eri b with the Gemini Planet Imager.

    PubMed

    Macintosh, B; Graham, J R; Barman, T; De Rosa, R J; Konopacky, Q; Marley, M S; Marois, C; Nielsen, E L; Pueyo, L; Rajan, A; Rameau, J; Saumon, D; Wang, J J; Patience, J; Ammons, M; Arriaga, P; Artigau, E; Beckwith, S; Brewster, J; Bruzzone, S; Bulger, J; Burningham, B; Burrows, A S; Chen, C; Chiang, E; Chilcote, J K; Dawson, R I; Dong, R; Doyon, R; Draper, Z H; Duchêne, G; Esposito, T M; Fabrycky, D; Fitzgerald, M P; Follette, K B; Fortney, J J; Gerard, B; Goodsell, S; Greenbaum, A Z; Hibon, P; Hinkley, S; Cotten, T H; Hung, L-W; Ingraham, P; Johnson-Groh, M; Kalas, P; Lafreniere, D; Larkin, J E; Lee, J; Line, M; Long, D; Maire, J; Marchis, F; Matthews, B C; Max, C E; Metchev, S; Millar-Blanchaer, M A; Mittal, T; Morley, C V; Morzinski, K M; Murray-Clay, R; Oppenheimer, R; Palmer, D W; Patel, R; Perrin, M D; Poyneer, L A; Rafikov, R R; Rantakyrö, F T; Rice, E L; Rojo, P; Rudy, A R; Ruffio, J-B; Ruiz, M T; Sadakuni, N; Saddlemyer, L; Salama, M; Savransky, D; Schneider, A C; Sivaramakrishnan, A; Song, I; Soummer, R; Thomas, S; Vasisht, G; Wallace, J K; Ward-Duong, K; Wiktorowicz, S J; Wolff, S G; Zuckerman, B

    2015-10-02

    Directly detecting thermal emission from young extrasolar planets allows measurement of their atmospheric compositions and luminosities, which are influenced by their formation mechanisms. Using the Gemini Planet Imager, we discovered a planet orbiting the ~20-million-year-old star 51 Eridani at a projected separation of 13 astronomical units. Near-infrared observations show a spectrum with strong methane and water-vapor absorption. Modeling of the spectra and photometry yields a luminosity (normalized by the luminosity of the Sun) of 1.6 to 4.0 × 10(-6) and an effective temperature of 600 to 750 kelvin. For this age and luminosity, "hot-start" formation models indicate a mass twice that of Jupiter. This planet also has a sufficiently low luminosity to be consistent with the "cold-start" core-accretion process that may have formed Jupiter. Copyright © 2015, American Association for the Advancement of Science.

  18. Discovery and spectroscopy of the young Jovian planet 51 Eri b with the Gemini Planet Imager

    SciT

    Macintosh, B.; Graham, J. R.; Barman, T.

    Directly detecting thermal emission from young extrasolar planets allows measurement of their atmospheric compositions and luminosities, which are influenced by their formation mechanisms. Using the Gemini Planet Imager, we discovered a planet orbiting the ~20-million-year-old star 51 Eridani at a projected separation of 13 astronomical units. Near-infrared observations show a spectrum with strong methane and water-vapor absorption. Modeling of the spectra and photometry yields a luminosity (normalized by the luminosity of the Sun) of 1.6 to 4.0 × 10 –6 and an effective temperature of 600 to 750 kelvin. For this age and luminosity, “hot-start” formation models indicate a massmore » twice that of Jupiter. As a result, this planet also has a sufficiently low luminosity to be consistent with the “cold-start” core-accretion process that may have formed Jupiter.« less

  19. ScienceCast 54: Getting to Know the Goldilocks Planet

    2012-03-29

    NASA's Kepler spacecraft is discovering a veritable avalanche of alien worlds. It seems to be just a matter of time before Kepler finds what astronomers are really looking for: an Earth-like planet orbiting its star in the "Goldilocks zone".

  20. DETERMINATION OF THE INTERIOR STRUCTURE OF TRANSITING PLANETS IN MULTIPLE-PLANET SYSTEMS

    SciT

    Batygin, Konstantin; Bodenheimer, Peter; Laughlin, Gregory, E-mail: kbatygin@gps.caltech.ed

    Tidal dissipation within a short-period transiting extrasolar planet perturbed by a companion object can drive orbital evolution of the system to a so-called tidal fixed point, in which the apses of the transiting planet and its perturber are aligned, and variations in orbital eccentricities vanish. Significant contribution to the apsidal precession rate is made by gravitational quadrupole fields, created by the transiting planets tidal and rotational distortions. The fixed-point orbital eccentricity of the inner planet is therefore a strong function of its interior structure. We illustrate these ideas in the specific context of the recently discovered HAT-P-13 exoplanetary system, andmore » show that one can already glean important insights into the physical properties of the inner transiting planet. We present structural models of the planet, which indicate that its observed radius can be maintained for a one-parameter sequence of models that properly vary core mass and tidal energy dissipation in the interior. We use an octupole-order secular theory of the orbital dynamics to derive the dependence of the inner planet's eccentricity, e{sub b} , on its tidal Love number, k {sub 2b}. We find that the currently measured eccentricity, e{sub b} = 0.021 +- 0.009, implies 0.116 < k {sub 2b} < 0.425, 0 M {sub +} < M {sub core} < 120 M {sub +}, and 10, 000 < Q{sub b} < 300, 000. Improved measurement of the eccentricity will soon allow for far tighter limits to be placed on all of these quantities, and will provide an unprecedented probe into the interior structure of an extrasolar planet.« less