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See detailCaractérisation de disques de poussière exozodiacale par interférométrie stellaire en infrarouge proche et moyen
Marion, Lindsay ULiege

Doctoral thesis (2017)

Nous savons aujourd’hui que notre système solaire n’est pas un cas isolé dans la galaxie et qu’il pourrait potentiellement en exister des milliers d’autres. La recherche de ces systèmes est devenue un ... [more ▼]

Nous savons aujourd’hui que notre système solaire n’est pas un cas isolé dans la galaxie et qu’il pourrait potentiellement en exister des milliers d’autres. La recherche de ces systèmes est devenue un centre d’intérêt majeur de la recherche en astrophysique au XXIème. La présence de poussière chaude et tiède est étroitement liée à la présence de planètes dans un système stellaire. En effet, elle provient généralement de la formation du système planétaire, du dégazage de comètes, et de collisions d’astéroides, comme c’est le cas dans notre système solaire. Il est donc devenu primordial de détecter et caractériser la poussière tiède/chaude autour d’étoiles en séquence principale. L’intérêt de l’étude des disques de débris tièdes/chauds est double : d’une part, les détecter et les caractériser nous permet d’obtenir plus d’informations sur la formation d’un éventuel système planétaire et sur la dynamique du système (mécanisme de piégeage de la poussière, ré-approvisionnement du disque de poussière chaudes à partir d’un disque de poussière plus froide, plus éloigné, présence de planètes qui nettoient le disque interne, etc) ; d’autre part, les disques de débris tièdes/chauds peuvent complètement masquer une planète lors de tentatives de détection en imagerie directe. Il convient donc de les détecter pour discriminer ces étoiles pour les missions futures de détection d’exoplanètes par imagerie directe. Le présent travail vise à poursuivre l’étude des disques tièdes/chauds commencée au début des années 2000. Dans un premier temps, nous recherchons la présence de compagnon au sein de l’échantillon d’étoiles dédiées au programme de détection d’exozodis afin de fournir un échantillon non biaisé pour la recherche de disques de débris tièdes/chauds. Grâce aux détections de compagnons, nous révisons également la statistique d’étoiles binaires de type spectral A. Ensuite, dans un nouvel échantillon défini spécifiquement à cet effet, nous étudions la corrélation possible entre présence de poussière tiède et chaude. Nous arrivons à la conclusion qu’il existe une corrélation entre présence de poussière tiède et chaude et que la poussière tiède pourrait donc servir de réservoir à la poussière chaude. Toutefois, pour confirmer ce résultat, d’autres études devront être menées. Ensuite, nous résumons les avancées réalisées au LBTI et mettons en exergue les progrès réalisés sur la méthode statistique de traitement de données pour des observations de nulling. Enfin, nous étudions le système de beta Pic au travers d’observations dans l’infrarouge moyen réalisées avec MIDI. Cette étude nous permet de conclure qu’il n’y a pas de poussière tiède dans les zones internes (~ 1.5 UA) du disque de Pic et que la poussière chaude qui cause un excès en infrarouge proche est probablement alimentée par le dégazage de comètes envoyées dans le système stellaire interne par la planète se trouvant aux environs de 9 UA. [less ▲]

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See detailA near-infrared interferometric survey of debris-disc stars. V. PIONIER search for variability
Ertel, S.; Defrere, Denis ULiege; Absil, Olivier ULiege et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2016), 595

Context. Extended circumstellar emission has been detected within a few 100 milli-arcsec around ≳10% of nearby main sequence stars using near-infrared interferometry. Follow-up observations using other ... [more ▼]

Context. Extended circumstellar emission has been detected within a few 100 milli-arcsec around ≳10% of nearby main sequence stars using near-infrared interferometry. Follow-up observations using other techniques, should they yield similar results or non-detections, can provide strong constraints on the origin of the emission. They can also reveal the variability of the phenomenon. Aims: We aim to demonstrate the persistence of the phenomenon over the timescale of a few years and to search for variability of our previously detected excesses. Methods: Using Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI)/Precision Integrated Optics Near Infrared ExpeRiment (PIONIER) in H band we have carried out multi-epoch observations of the stars for which a near-infrared excess was previously detected using the same observation technique and instrument. The detection rates and distribution of the excesses from our original survey and the follow-up observations are compared statistically. A search for variability of the excesses in our time series is carried out based on the level of the broadband excesses. Results: In 12 of 16 follow-up observations, an excess is re-detected with a significance of > 2σ, and in 7 of 16 follow-up observations significant excess (> 3σ) is re-detected. We statistically demonstrate with very high confidence that the phenomenon persists for the majority of the systems. We also present the first detection of potential variability in two sources. Conclusions: We conclude that the phenomenon responsible for the excesses persists over the timescale of a few years for the majority of the systems. However, we also find that variability intrinsic to a target can cause it to have no significant excess at the time of a specific observation. [less ▲]

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See detailMaking high-accuracy null depth measurements for the LBTI exozodi survey
Mennesson, Bertrand; Defrere, Denis ULiege; Nowak, Matthias et al

in Malbet, F.; Creech-Eakman, M.; Tuthill, P. (Eds.) Optical and Infrared Interferometry and Imaging V (2016, August 04)

The characterization of exozodiacal light emission is both important for the understanding of planetary systems evolution and for the preparation of future space missions aiming to characterize low mass ... [more ▼]

The characterization of exozodiacal light emission is both important for the understanding of planetary systems evolution and for the preparation of future space missions aiming to characterize low mass planets in the habitable zone of nearby main sequence stars. The Large Binocular Telescope Interferometer (LBTI) exozodi survey aims at providing a ten-fold improvement over current state of the art, measuring dust emission levels down to a typical accuracy of 12 zodis per star, for a representative ensemble of 30+ high priority targets. Such measurements promise to yield a final accuracy of about 2 zodis on the median exozodi level of the targets sample. Reaching a 1 σ measurement uncertainty of 12 zodis per star corresponds to measuring interferometric cancellation ("null") levels, i.e visibilities at the few 100 ppm uncertainty level. We discuss here the challenges posed by making such high accuracy mid-infrared visibility measurements from the ground and present the methodology we developed for achieving current best levels of 500 ppm or so. We also discuss current limitations and plans for enhanced exozodi observations over the next few years at LBTI. [less ▲]

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See detailUnveiling new stellar companions from the EXOZODI survey : follow up
Marion, Lindsay ULiege; Absil, Olivier ULiege; Ertel, Steve et al

Poster (2016, June 30)

In 2012, we have conducted a survey of nearby main sequence stars with VLTI/PIONIER to search for the presence of circumstellar dust. We focused on the use of the closure phases and the square ... [more ▼]

In 2012, we have conducted a survey of nearby main sequence stars with VLTI/PIONIER to search for the presence of circumstellar dust. We focused on the use of the closure phases and the square visibilities in a combined way to search for faint companions around the whole sample. In this process, we found four new stellar companions, for which we conducted follow-up observations in 2014. This follow up allows us to confirm the four detections, and to detect another new companion. Only the case of HD202730 remains ambiguous. [less ▲]

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See detailUnveiling new stellar companions from the PIONIER exozodi survey : follow up
Marion, Lindsay ULiege; Absil, Olivier ULiege; Ertel, Steve et al

Poster (2016, June 28)

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See detailNulling Data Reduction and On-sky Performance of the Large Binocular Telescope Interferometer
Defrere, Denis ULiege; Hinz, P. M.; Mennesson, B. et al

in Astrophysical Journal (2016), 824

The Large Binocular Telescope Interferometer (LBTI) is a versatile instrument designed for high angular resolution and high-contrast infrared imaging (1.5-13 μm). In this paper, we focus on the mid ... [more ▼]

The Large Binocular Telescope Interferometer (LBTI) is a versatile instrument designed for high angular resolution and high-contrast infrared imaging (1.5-13 μm). In this paper, we focus on the mid-infrared (8-13 μm) nulling mode and present its theory of operation, data reduction, and on-sky performance as of the end of the commissioning phase in 2015 March. With an interferometric baseline of 14.4 m, the LBTI nuller is specifically tuned to resolve the habitable zone of nearby main-sequence stars, where warm exozodiacal dust emission peaks. Measuring the exozodi luminosity function of nearby main-sequence stars is a key milestone to prepare for future exo-Earth direct imaging instruments. Thanks to recent progress in wavefront control and phase stabilization, as well as in data reduction techniques, the LBTI demonstrated in 2015 February a calibrated null accuracy of 0.05% over a 3 hr long observing sequence on the bright nearby A3V star β Leo. This is equivalent to an exozodiacal disk density of 15-30 zodi for a Sun-like star located at 10 pc, depending on the adopted disk model. This result sets a new record for high-contrast mid-infrared interferometric imaging and opens a new window on the study of planetary systems. [less ▲]

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See detailunveiling new stellar companions from the exozodi survey
Marion, Lindsay ULiege

Speech/Talk (2015)

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See detailAn Unbiased Near-infrared Interferometric Survey for Hot Exozodiacal Dust
Ertel, S.; Augereau, J.-C.; Absil, Olivier ULiege et al

in The Messenger (2015), 159

Exozodiacal dust is warm or hot dust found in the inner regions of planetary systems orbiting main sequence stars, in or around their habitable zones. The dust can be the most luminous component of ... [more ▼]

Exozodiacal dust is warm or hot dust found in the inner regions of planetary systems orbiting main sequence stars, in or around their habitable zones. The dust can be the most luminous component of extrasolar planetary systems, but predominantly emits in the near- to mid-infrared where it is outshone by the host star. Interferometry provides a unique method of separating this dusty emission from the stellar emission. The visitor instrument PIONIER at the Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) has been used to search for hot exozodiacal dust around a large sample of nearby main sequence stars. The results of this survey are summarised: 9 out of 85 stars show excess exo- zodiacal emission over the stellar photospheric emission. [less ▲]

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See detailFirst-light LBT Nulling Interferometric Observations: Warm Exozodiacal Dust Resolved within a Few AU of eta Crv
Defrere, Denis ULiege; Hinz, P. M.; Skemer, A. J. et al

in Astrophysical Journal (2015), 799

We report on the first nulling interferometric observations with the Large Binocular Telescope Interferometer (LBTI), resolving the N' band (9.81-12.41 μm) emission around the nearby main-sequence star η ... [more ▼]

We report on the first nulling interferometric observations with the Large Binocular Telescope Interferometer (LBTI), resolving the N' band (9.81-12.41 μm) emission around the nearby main-sequence star η Crv (F2V, 1-2 Gyr). The measured source null depth amounts to 4.40% ± 0.35% over a field-of-view of 140 mas in radius (~2.6 AU for the distance of η Crv) and shows no significant variation over 35° of sky rotation. This relatively low null is unexpected given the total disk to star flux ratio measured by the Spitzer Infrared Spectrograph (IRS; ~23% across the N' band), suggesting that a significant fraction of the dust lies within the central nulled response of the LBTI (79 mas or 1.4 AU). Modeling of the warm disk shows that it cannot resemble a scaled version of the solar zodiacal cloud unless it is almost perpendicular to the outer disk imaged by Herschel. It is more likely that the inner and outer disks are coplanar and the warm dust is located at a distance of 0.5-1.0 AU, significantly closer than previously predicted by models of the IRS spectrum (~3 AU). The predicted disk sizes can be reconciled if the warm disk is not centrosymmetric, or if the dust particles are dominated by very small grains. Both possibilities hint that a recent collision has produced much of the dust. Finally, we discuss the implications for the presence of dust for the distance where the insolation is the same as Earth's (2.3 AU). [less ▲]

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See detailSearching for faint companions with VLTI/PIONIER. II. 92 main sequence stars from the Exozodi survey
Marion, Lindsay ULiege; Absil, Olivier ULiege; Ertel, S. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2014), 570

Context. The Exozodi survey aims to determine the occurrence rate of bright exozodiacal discs around nearby main sequence stars using infrared interferometry. Although the Exozodi survey targets have been ... [more ▼]

Context. The Exozodi survey aims to determine the occurrence rate of bright exozodiacal discs around nearby main sequence stars using infrared interferometry. Although the Exozodi survey targets have been carefully selected to avoid the presence of binary stars, the results of this survey can still be biased by the presence of unidentified stellar companions. <BR /> Aims: Using the PIONIER data set collected within the Exozodi survey in 2012, we aim to search for the signature of point-like companions around the Exozodi target stars. <BR /> Methods: We make use of both the closure phases and squared visibilities collected by PIONIER to search for companions within the ~100 mas interferometric field of view. The presence of a companion is assessed by computing the goodness of fit to the data for a series of binary models with various separations and contrasts. <BR /> Results: Five stellar companions are resolved for the first time around five A-type stars: HD 4150, HD 16555, HD 29388, HD 202730, and HD 224392 (although the companion to HD 16555 was independently resolved by speckle interferometry while we were carrying out the survey). In the most likely case of main sequence companions, their spectral types range from A5V to K4V. Three of these stars were already suspected to be binaries from Hipparcos astrometric measurements, although no information was available on the companions themselves so far. In addition to debiasing the statistics of the Exozodi survey, these results can also be used to revise the fraction of visual binaries among A-type stars, suggesting that an extra ~13% A-type stars are visual binaries in addition to the ones detected in previous direct imaging surveys. <BR /> Conclusions: We estimate that about half the population of nearby A-type stars could be resolved as visual binaries using a combination of state-of-the-art interferometry and single-aperture imaging, and we suggest that a significant fraction of these binaries remains undetected to date. [less ▲]

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See detailA near-infrared interferometric survey of debris-disk stars. IV. An unbiased sample of 92 southern stars observed in H band with VLTI/PIONIER
Ertel, S.; Absil, Olivier ULiege; Defrere, Denis ULiege et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2014), 570

Context. Detecting and characterizing circumstellar dust is a way to study the architecture and evolution of planetary systems. Cold dust in debris disks only traces the outer regions. Warm and hot ... [more ▼]

Context. Detecting and characterizing circumstellar dust is a way to study the architecture and evolution of planetary systems. Cold dust in debris disks only traces the outer regions. Warm and hot exozodiacal dust needs to be studied in order to trace regions close to the habitable zone. <BR /> Aims: We aim to determine the prevalence and to constrain the properties of hot exozodiacal dust around nearby main-sequence stars. <BR /> Methods: We searched a magnitude-limited (H <= 5) sample of 92 stars for bright exozodiacal dust using our VLTI visitor instrument PIONIER in the H band. We derived statistics of the detection rate with respect to parameters, such as the stellar spectral type and age or the presence of a debris disk in the outer regions of the systems. We derived more robust statistics by combining our sample with the results from our CHARA/FLUOR survey in the K band. In addition, our spectrally dispersed data allowed us to put constraints on the emission mechanism and the dust properties in the detected systems. <BR /> Results: We find an overall detection rate of bright exozodiacal dust in the H band of 11% (9 out of 85 targets) and three tentative detections. The detection rate decreases from early type to late type stars and increases with the age of the host star. We do not confirm the tentative correlation between the presence of cold and hot dust found in our earlier analysis of the FLUOR sample alone. Our spectrally dispersed data suggest that either the dust is extremely hot or the emission is dominated by the scattered light in most cases. The implications of our results for the target selection of future terrestrial planet-finding missions using direct imaging are discussed. [less ▲]

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See detailUnveiling new stellar companions from the PIONIER exozodi survey
Marion, Lindsay ULiege; Absil, Olivier ULiege; Ertel, S. et al

in Rajagopal, Jayadev; Creech-Eakman; Malbet, Fabien (Eds.) Optical and Infrared Interferometry IV (2014, July 24)

The main goal of the EXOZODI survey is to detect and characterize circumstellar dust and to propose the first statistical study of exozodiacal disks in the near-infrared using telescopes in both ... [more ▼]

The main goal of the EXOZODI survey is to detect and characterize circumstellar dust and to propose the first statistical study of exozodiacal disks in the near-infrared using telescopes in both hemispheres (VLTI and CHARA). For this purpose, Ertel et al. have conducted in 2012 a survey of nearby main sequence stars with VLTI/PIONIER to search for the presence of circumstellar dust. This survey, carried out during 12 nights, comprises about 100 stars. For each star, we obtained typically three OBs and we searched for circumstellar emission based on the measurement of squared visibilities at short baselines. A drop in the measured visibilities with respect to the expected photospheric visibility indicates the presence of resolved emission around the target star. It is however generally not possible to conclude on the morphology of the detected emission based solely on the squared visibilities. Here, we focus on closure phases to search systematically for faint companions around the whole sample. Indeed, to derive robust statistics on the occurrence rate of bright exozodiacal disks, we need to discriminate between companions and disks. For this reason, the main goal of this paper is to discriminate between circumstellar disks (which show no closure phase provided that they are point-symmetric) and faint companions (point-like sources, creating non-zero closure phases). We also aim to reveal new companions that do not necessarily produce a significant signature in the squared visibilities, as the signature of the companion may show up more prominently in the closure phases. In this process, we reveal four new stellar companions with contrasts ranging from 2% to 95% (i.e., up to near-equal flux binaries). We also tentatively detect faint companions around one other target that will require follow-up observations to be confirmed or infirmed. We discuss the implications of these discoveries on the results of the exozodi survey. [less ▲]

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See detailObserving the Sun with micro-interferometric devices: a didactic experiment
Defrere, Denis ULiege; Absil, Olivier ULiege; Hanot, C. et al

in Surdej, Jean; Le Coroller, Hervé; Arnold, Luc (Eds.) Improving the Performances of Current Optical Interferometers & Future Designs (2014, April 01)

Measuring the angular diameter of celestial bodies has long been the main purpose of stellar interferometry and was its historical motivation. Nowadays, stellar interferometry is widely used for various ... [more ▼]

Measuring the angular diameter of celestial bodies has long been the main purpose of stellar interferometry and was its historical motivation. Nowadays, stellar interferometry is widely used for various other scientific purposes that require very high angular resolution measurements. In terms of angular spatial scales probed, o [less ▲]

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See detailmaking the most of the LBTI nulling interferometry observations using a statistical data reduction method
Marion, Lindsay ULiege; Mennesson, Bertrand; Defrere, Denis ULiege et al

Poster (2014, March 20)

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See detailsearch for companions with PIONIER : "the exozodi sample"
Marion, Lindsay ULiege

Speech/Talk (2014)

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See detailThe Hunt for Observable Signatures of Terrestrial Planetary Systems (HOSTS)
Defrere, Denis ULiege; Hinz, P.; Bryden, G. et al

Conference (2014, March)

The presence of large amounts of exozodiacal dust around nearby main sequence stars is considered as a potential threat for the direct imaging of Earth-like exoplanets and, hence, the search for ... [more ▼]

The presence of large amounts of exozodiacal dust around nearby main sequence stars is considered as a potential threat for the direct imaging of Earth-like exoplanets and, hence, the search for biosignatures (Roberge et al. 2012). However, it is also considered as a signpost for the presence of terrestrial planets that might be hidden in the dust disk (Stark and Kuchner 2008). Characterizing exozodiacal dust around nearby sequence stars is therefore a crucial step toward one of the main goals of modern astronomy: finding extraterrestrial life. After briefly reviewing the latest results in this field, we present the exozodiacal dust survey on the Large Binocular Telescope Interferometer (LBTI). The survey is called HOSTS and is specifically designed to determine the prevalence and brightness of exozodiacal dust disks with the sensitivity required to prepare for future New Worlds Missions that will image Earth-like exoplanets. To achieve this objective, the LBTI science team has carefully established a balanced list of 50 nearby main-sequence stars that are likely candidates of these missions and/or can be observed with the best instrument performance (see companion abstract by Roberge et al.). Exozodiacal dust disk candidates detected by the Keck Interferometer Nuller will also be observed. The first results of the survey will be presented. To precisely detect exozodiacal dust, the LBTI combines the two 8-m primary mirrors of the LBT using N-band nulling interferometry. Interferometric combination provides the required angular resolution (70-90 mas) to resolve the habitable zone of nearby main sequence stars while nulling is used to subtract the stellar light and reach the required contrast of a few 10-4. A Kband fringe tracker ensures the stability of the null. The current performance of the instrument and the first nulling measurements will be presented. [less ▲]

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See detailExpanding the CHARA/FLUOR hot disk survey
Mennesson, B.; Scott, N.; Ten Brummelaar, T. et al

in Journal of Astronomical Instrumentation (2013), 2(2), 1340010

Little is presently known about the hot (>300 K) dust component of debris disks surrounding main sequence stars, similar to the zodiacal dust cloud found in the inner solar system.While extensive surveys ... [more ▼]

Little is presently known about the hot (>300 K) dust component of debris disks surrounding main sequence stars, similar to the zodiacal dust cloud found in the inner solar system.While extensive surveys have been carried out from space, the majority of detections have surprisingly come from the ground, where near infrared interferometric observations have recently revealed small (∼1%) resolved excesses around a dozen nearby main sequence stars. Most of these results have come from the CHARA array “FLUOR” instrument (Mt. Wilson, CA), which has demonstrated the best sensitivity worldwide so far for this type of studies, and has carried out an initial survey of ∼40 stars. In order to further understand the origin of this “hot dust phenomenon”, we will extend this initial survey to a larger number of stars and lower excess detection limits, i.e. higher visibility accuracy providing higher contrast measurements. To this end, two major instrumental developments are underway at CHARA. The first one aims at improving FLUOR’s sensitivity to a median K-band magnitude limit of 5 (making 200 targets available). The second development is based on a method that we recently developed for accurate (better than 0.1%) null depth measurements of stars, and that can be extended to regular interferometric visibility measurements. [less ▲]

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See detailRecherche de compagnons sub-stellaires par interférométrie de nulling
Marion, Lindsay ULiege

Master's dissertation (2013)

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