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See detailThe HARPS-N Rocky Planet Search. I. HD 219134 b: A transiting rocky planet in a multi-planet system at 6.5 pc from the Sun
Motalebi, F.; Udry, S.; Gillon, Michaël ULg et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2015), 584

We know now from radial velocity surveys and transit space missions that planets only a few times more massive than our Earth are frequent around solar-type stars. Fundamental questions about their ... [more ▼]

We know now from radial velocity surveys and transit space missions that planets only a few times more massive than our Earth are frequent around solar-type stars. Fundamental questions about their formation history, physical properties, internal structure, and atmosphere composition are, however, still to be solved. We present here the detection of a system of four low-mass planets around the bright (V = 5.5) and close-by (6.5 pc) star HD 219134. This is the first result of the Rocky Planet Search programme with HARPS-N on the Telescopio Nazionale Galileo in La Palma. The inner planet orbits the star in 3.0935 ± 0.0003 days, on a quasi-circular orbit with a semi-major axis of 0.0382 ± 0.0003 AU. Spitzer observations allowed us to detect the transit of the planet in front of the star making HD 219134 b the nearest known transiting planet to date. From the amplitude of the radial velocity variation (2.25 ± 0.22 ms[SUP]-1[/SUP]) and observed depth of the transit (359 ± 38 ppm), the planet mass and radius are estimated to be 4.36 ± 0.44 M[SUB]⊕[/SUB] and 1.606 ± 0.086 R[SUB]⊕[/SUB], leading to a mean density of 5.76 ± 1.09 g cm[SUP]-3[/SUP], suggesting a rocky composition. One additional planet with minimum-mass of 2.78 ± 0.65 M[SUB]⊕[/SUB] moves on a close-in, quasi-circular orbit with a period of 6.767 ± 0.004 days. The third planet in the system has a period of 46.66 ± 0.08 days and a minimum-mass of 8.94 ± 1.13 M[SUB]⊕[/SUB], at 0.233 ± 0.002 AU from the star. Its eccentricity is 0.46 ± 0.11. The period of this planet is close to the rotational period of the star estimated from variations of activity indicators (42.3 ± 0.1 days). The planetary origin of the signal is, however, thepreferred solution as no indication of variation at the corresponding frequency is observed for activity-sensitive parameters. Finally, a fourth additional longer-period planet of mass of 71 M[SUB]⊕[/SUB] orbits the star in 1842 days, on an eccentric orbit (e = 0.34 ± 0.17) at a distance of 2.56 AU. The photometric time series and radial velocities used in this work are available in electronic form at the CDS via anonymous ftp to <A href="http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr">http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr</A> (ftp://130.79.128.5) or via <A href="http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/qcat?J/A+A/584/A72">http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/qcat?J/A+A/584/A72</A> [less ▲]

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See detailThe EChO science case
Tinetti, Giovanna; Drossart, Pierre; Eccleston, Paul et al

in ArXiv e-prints (2015), 1502

The discovery of almost 2000 exoplanets has revealed an unexpectedly diverse planet population. Observations to date have shown that our Solar System is certainly not representative of the general ... [more ▼]

The discovery of almost 2000 exoplanets has revealed an unexpectedly diverse planet population. Observations to date have shown that our Solar System is certainly not representative of the general population of planets in our Milky Way. The key science questions that urgently need addressing are therefore: What are exoplanets made of? Why are planets as they are? What causes the exceptional diversity observed as compared to the Solar System? EChO (Exoplanet Characterisation Observatory) has been designed as a dedicated survey mission for transit and eclipse spectroscopy capable of observing a large and diverse planet sample within its four-year mission lifetime. EChO can target the atmospheres of super-Earths, Neptune-like, and Jupiter-like planets, in the very hot to temperate zones (planet temperatures of 300K-3000K) of F to M-type host stars. Over the next ten years, several new ground- and space-based transit surveys will come on-line (e.g. NGTS, CHEOPS, TESS, PLATO), which will specifically focus on finding bright, nearby systems. The current rapid rate of discovery would allow the target list to be further optimised in the years prior to EChO's launch and enable the atmospheric characterisation of hundreds of planets. Placing the satellite at L2 provides a cold and stable thermal environment, as well as a large field of regard to allow efficient time-critical observation of targets randomly distributed over the sky. A 1m class telescope is sufficiently large to achieve the necessary spectro-photometric precision. The spectral coverage (0.5-11 micron, goal 16 micron) and SNR to be achieved by EChO, thanks to its high stability and dedicated design, would enable a very accurate measurement of the atmospheric composition and structure of hundreds of exoplanets. [less ▲]

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See detailThe Gaia-ESO Public Spectroscopic Survey
Gilmore, G.; Randich, S.; Asplund, M. et al

in The Messenger (2012), 147

The Gaia-ESO Public Spectroscopic Survey has begun and will obtain high quality spectroscopy of some 100000 Milky Way stars, in the field and in open clusters, down to magnitude 19, systematically ... [more ▼]

The Gaia-ESO Public Spectroscopic Survey has begun and will obtain high quality spectroscopy of some 100000 Milky Way stars, in the field and in open clusters, down to magnitude 19, systematically covering all the major components of the Milky Way. This survey will provide the first homogeneous overview of the distributions of kinematics and chemical element abundances in the Galaxy. The motivation, organisation and implementation of the Gaia-ESO Survey are described, emphasising the complementarity with the ESA Gaia mission. Spectra from the very first observing run of the survey are presented. [less ▲]

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See detailThe stellar population of the Rosat North Ecliptic Pole survey. II. Spectral analysis
Affer, L.; Micela, G.; Morel, Thierry ULg

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2008), 483

Context: X-ray surveys allow to identify young, main-sequence stars in the solar neighborhood. Young, stellar samples, selected according to their activity, can be used to determine the stellar birthrate ... [more ▼]

Context: X-ray surveys allow to identify young, main-sequence stars in the solar neighborhood. Young, stellar samples, selected according to their activity, can be used to determine the stellar birthrate in the last billion years. The ROSAT North Ecliptic Pole survey (NEP), with its moderately deep sensitivity (fluxes â 10[SUP]-14[/SUP] erg cm[SUP]-2[/SUP] s[SUP]-1[/SUP]), is the best survey, to date, able to sample the intermediate-age (10^8{-}10[SUP]9[/SUP] years) nearby population. The identification process of NEP X-ray sources resulted in 144 X-ray sources having a normal stellar counterpart, with an excess of yellow stars with respect to model predictions. <BR />Aims: We want to determine if these X-ray active stars are young or intermediate-age stars, or active binaries. <BR />Methods: We acquired high-resolution, high signal-to-noise ratio optical spectra, to determine the age and physical properties of the NEP X-ray-detected stellar sources. We measure the (i) lithium abundance using the Li I 6707.8 à line, which is an excellent, youth indicator for our age range of interest; (ii) rotational and radial velocities (through cross-correlation methods); and (iii) chromospheric emission (from Hα and Na I D{_1} and D{_2} lines). <BR />Results: The radial velocities distribution is consistent with that of a young field star population of age 4à 10{^9} yrs, or younger. Rotational velocity measurements imply that our sample is dominated by relatively young or intermediate-age stars, as confirmed by our lithium measurements. <BR />Conclusions: Most of the detected stars probably belong to a young or intermediate-age population. Our measurements suggest that a burst in the stellar birthrate of a factor of four occurred in the last 10[SUP]8[/SUP] years. We cannot, however, exclude the possibility that a small fraction of sources, amongst the fastest of the K-rotators, are old binary systems with tidally-locked rotation. [less ▲]

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See detailA Comparison of Methods for Photospheric Abundance Determinations in K-Type Stars
Affer, L.; Micela, G.; Morel, Thierry ULg et al

in Chemical Abundances and Mixing in Stars in the Milky Way and its Satellites, ESO ASTROPHYSICS SYMPOSIA. ISBN 978-3-540-34135-2. Springer-Verlag, 2006, p. 31 (2006)

We have performed a detailed abundance analysis of six inactive K-type stars using high-resolution optical spectra. We have used three different techniques and compared the results obtained in order to ... [more ▼]

We have performed a detailed abundance analysis of six inactive K-type stars using high-resolution optical spectra. We have used three different techniques and compared the results obtained in order to establish their respective merits and faults. The two spectroscopic methods give consistent results suggesting that non- LTE effects are small, whereas the â mixedâ spectroscopic-photometric method leads to photospheric parameters and abundances systematically lower than those obtained with the other two. We have also determined the starsâ positions in H-R diagrams and made a comparison between the gravities derived from the ionization equilibrium of the iron lines and from the evolutionary tracks: the agreement is reasonably good. [less ▲]

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See detailSpectroscopic determination of photospheric parameters and chemical abundances of 6 K-type stars
Affer, L.; Micela, G.; Morel, Thierry ULg et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2005), 433

High resolution, high -S/N- ratio optical spectra have been obtained for a sample of 6 K-type dwarf and subgiant stars, and have been analysed with three different LTE methods in order to derive detailed ... [more ▼]

High resolution, high -S/N- ratio optical spectra have been obtained for a sample of 6 K-type dwarf and subgiant stars, and have been analysed with three different LTE methods in order to derive detailed photospheric parameters and abundances and to compare the characteristics of analysis techniques. The results have been compared with the aim of determining the most robust method to perform complete spectroscopic analyses of K-type stars, and in this perspective the present work must be considered as a pilot study. In this context we have determined the abundance ratios with respect to iron of several elements. In the first method the photospheric parameters (T_eff, log g, and ξ) and metal abundances are derived using measured equivalent widths and Kurucz LTE model atmospheres as input for the MOOG software code. The analysis proceeds in an iterative way, and relies on the excitation equilibrium of the ion{Fe}{i} lines for determining the effective temperature and microturbulence, and on the ionization equilibrium of the ion{Fe}{i} and ion{Fe}{ii} lines for determining the surface gravity and the metallicity. The second method follows a similar approach, but discards the ion{Fe}{i} low excitation potential transitions (which are potentially affected by non-LTE effects) from the initial line list, and relies on the B-V colour index to determine the temperature. The third method relies on the detailed fitting of the 6162 à ion{Ca}{i} line to derive the surface gravity, using the same restricted line list as the second method. Methods 1 and 3 give consistent results for the program stars; in particular the comparison between the results obtained shows that the ion{Fe}{i} low-excitation potential transitions do not appear significantly affected by non-LTE effects (at least for the subgiant stars), as suggested by the good agreement of the atmospheric parameters and chemical abundances derived. The second method leads to systematically lower T_eff and log g values with respect to the first one, and a similar trend is shown by the chemical abundances (with the exception of the oxygen abundance). These differences, apart from residual non-LTE effects, may be a consequence of the colour-T_eff scale used. The α-elements have abundance ratios consistent with the solar values for all the program stars, as expected for â normalâ disk stars. The first method appears to be the most reliable one, as it is self-consistent, it always leads to convergent solutions and the results obtained are in good agreement with previous determinations in the literature. Based on observations made with the Nordic Optical Telescope, operated on the island of La Palma jointly by Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden, in the Spanish Observatorio del Roche de los Muchachos of the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias. Table 6 is only available in electronic form at http://www.edpsciences.org [less ▲]

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