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See detailA Search For 15NH2 Emission Lines In Comets
Rousselot, Philippe; Pirali, O.; Jehin, Emmanuel ULg et al

in Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society (2013, October 01), 45

The determination of nitrogen isotopic ratios in solar system objects is important for a good understanding of their origin. The measurements of [SUB]14[/SUB]N/[SUB]15[/SUB]N isotopic ratio done so far in ... [more ▼]

The determination of nitrogen isotopic ratios in solar system objects is important for a good understanding of their origin. The measurements of [SUB]14[/SUB]N/[SUB]15[/SUB]N isotopic ratio done so far in various solar system objects and molecules have revealed a great diversity (from 50 to 441), all of them, except Jupiter, being enriched in [SUB]15[/SUB]N compared to the protosolar nebula. Different explanations have been proposed to explain this enrichement. One of them suggests that these differences reflect the different interstellar N reservoirs from which N-bearing molecules are originating (Hily-Blant et al., 2013). These authors, from observations of H[SUB]13[/SUB]CN and HC[SUB]15[/SUB]N in two prestellar cores, suggest that the molecules carrying the nitrile- (-CN) functional group would be more enriched in [SUB]15[/SUB]N than the molecules carrying the amine (-NH) functional group. Comets are interesting targets to test this theory because they contain both HCN and NH[SUP]3[/SUP] molecules. So far the [SUB]14[/SUB]N/[SUB]15[/SUB]N ratio has only been measured in CN (Arpigny et al., 2003; Manfroid et al., 2009) and HCN (Bockelée-Morvan et al., 2005, 2008) in comets, leading for both species to [SUB]14[/SUB]N/[SUB]15[/SUB]N ≈ 150. Our work aimed at measuring the [SUB]14[/SUB]N/[SUB]15[/SUB]N isotopic ratio in NH[SUP]2[/SUP], which comes from NH[SUP]3[/SUP]. We have determined accurately the wavelengths of [SUB]15[/SUB]NH[SUP]2[/SUP] emission lines with the AILES beamline spectrometer at synchrotron SOLEIL by Fourier transform spectroscopy. The analysis of this spectrum has permitted to extract the [SUB]15[/SUB]NH[SUP]2[/SUP] emission lines wavelengths and to search for [SUB]15[/SUB]NH[SUP]2[/SUP] cometary emission lines. Thanks to a collection of spectra of 12 different comets obtained from 2002 to 2011 with the UVES spectrometer at the VLT ESO 8-m telescope (Manfroid et al., 2009), it has been possible to search for [SUB]15[/SUB]NH[SUP]2[/SUP] emission lines with a high sensitivity. We will present the results obtained from these data. Arpigny et al., Science, 301, 1522-1525, 2003 Bockelée-Morvan et al., in Comets II, ed. M. C. Festou, H. U. Keller, & H. A. Weaver (Tucson: Univ. Arizona Press), 391-423, 2005 Bockelée-Morvan et al., ApJ, 679, L49-L52, 2008 Hily-Blant et al., Icarus 223, 582-590, 2013 Manfroid et al., A&A, 503, 613-624, 2009 [less ▲]

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See detailThe May 4, 2013 Stellar Occultation by Pluto and Implications for Pluto's Atmosphere
Olkin, Catherine B.; Young, L. A.; Borncamp, D. et al

in Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society (2013, October 01), 45

On May 4 2013, Pluto passed in front of a 14 star and the shadow was well observed from multiple occultation groups. This paper presents results from the three light curves observed at Las Cumbres ... [more ▼]

On May 4 2013, Pluto passed in front of a 14 star and the shadow was well observed from multiple occultation groups. This paper presents results from the three light curves observed at Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network (LCOGT) from their Cerro Tololo site. The three LCOGT telescopes have 1.0 m apertures and used identical frame-transfer cameras. The cameras currently have a 2 second readout time therefore autonomous observations were scheduled with different exposure times to give good time resolution of the event. We will present results of this occultation and compare occultation results from 1988 to 2013 with volatile transport models. [less ▲]

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See detailComet dust profiles from PACS images obtained in the framework of the HSSO project
Opitom, Cyrielle ULg; Bockelée-Morvan, D.; Hutsemekers, Damien ULg et al

Poster (2013, October)

In the framework of the HssO project the Herschel PACS instrument acquired images of 7 comets between June 2010 and February 2013. Three of these comets have been imaged at several heliocentric distances ... [more ▼]

In the framework of the HssO project the Herschel PACS instrument acquired images of 7 comets between June 2010 and February 2013. Three of these comets have been imaged at several heliocentric distances allowing us to follow up the evolution of the dust coma . Radial profiles have been derived for each image. We measured flux densities at 70, 110 and 160 μm in order to determine the comet dust production rate. In some cases, after deconvolution by the instrumental PSF, we might have detected the nucleus signal in the central pixels. [less ▲]

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See detailThree irradiated and bloated hot Jupiters: WASP-76b, WASP-82b & WASP-90b
West, R. G.; Almenara, J.-M.; Anderson, D. R. et al

E-print/Working paper (2013)

We report three new transiting hot-Jupiter planets discovered from the WASP surveys combined with radial velocities from OHP/SOPHIE and Euler/CORALIE and photometry from Euler and TRAPPIST. All three ... [more ▼]

We report three new transiting hot-Jupiter planets discovered from the WASP surveys combined with radial velocities from OHP/SOPHIE and Euler/CORALIE and photometry from Euler and TRAPPIST. All three planets are inflated, with radii 1.7-1.8 Rjup. All orbit hot stars, F5-F7, and all three stars have evolved, post-MS radii (1.7-2.2 Rsun). Thus the three planets, with orbits of 1.8-3.9 d, are among the most irradiated planets known. This reinforces the correlation between inflated planets and stellar irradiation. [less ▲]

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See detailTransiting hot Jupiters from WASP-South, Euler and TRAPPIST: WASP-95b to WASP-101b
Hellier, Coel; Anderson, D. R.; Collier Cameron, A. et al

E-print/Working paper (2013)

We report the discovery of the transiting exoplanets WASP-95b, WASP-96b, WASP-97b, WASP-98b, WASP-99b, WASP-100b and WASP-101b. All are hot Jupiters with orbital periods in the range 2.1 to 5.7 d, masses ... [more ▼]

We report the discovery of the transiting exoplanets WASP-95b, WASP-96b, WASP-97b, WASP-98b, WASP-99b, WASP-100b and WASP-101b. All are hot Jupiters with orbital periods in the range 2.1 to 5.7 d, masses of 0.5 to 2.8 Mjup, and radii of 1.1 to 1.4 Rjup. The orbits of all the planets are compatible with zero eccentricity. WASP-99b shows the shallowest transit yet found by WASP-South, at 0.4%. The host stars are of spectral type F2 to G8. Five have metallicities of [Fe/H] from -0.03 to +0.23, while WASP-98 has a metallicity of -0.60, exceptionally low for a star with a transiting exoplanet. Five of the host stars are brighter than V = 10.8, which significantly extends the number of bright transiting systems available for follow-up studies. WASP-95 shows a possible rotational modulation at a period of 20.7 d. We discuss the completeness of WASP survey techniques by comparing to the HAT project. [less ▲]

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See detailThree sub-Jupiter-mass planets: WASP-69b & WASP-84b transit active K dwarfs and WASP-70Ab transits the evolved primary of a G4+K3 binary
Anderson, D. R.; Collier Cameron, A.; Delrez, Laetitia ULg et al

E-print/Working paper (2013)

We report the discovery of the transiting exoplanets WASP-69b, WASP-70Ab and WASP-84b, each of which orbits a bright star (V~10). WASP-69b is a bloated Saturn-mass planet (0.26 M$_{\rm Jup}$, 1.06 R$_{\rm ... [more ▼]

We report the discovery of the transiting exoplanets WASP-69b, WASP-70Ab and WASP-84b, each of which orbits a bright star (V~10). WASP-69b is a bloated Saturn-mass planet (0.26 M$_{\rm Jup}$, 1.06 R$_{\rm Jup}$) in a 3.868-d period around an active mid-K dwarf. We estimate a stellar age of 1 Gyr from both gyrochronological and age-activity relations, though an alternative gyrochronological relation suggests an age of 3 Gyr. ROSAT detected X-rays at a distance of 60$\pm$27 arcsec from WASP-69. If the star is the source then the planet could be undergoing mass-loss at a rate of ~10$^{12}$ g s$^{-1}$. This is 1-2 orders of magnitude higher than the evaporation rate estimated for HD 209458b and HD 189733b, both of which have exhibited anomalously-large Lyman-{\alpha} absorption during transit. WASP-70Ab is a sub-Jupiter-mass planet (0.59 M$_{\rm Jup}$, 1.16R$_{\rm Jup}$) in a 3.713-d orbit around the primary of a spatially-resolved G4+K3 binary, with a separation of 3.3 arcsec ($\geq$800 AU). We exploit the binary nature of the system to construct a H-R diagram, from which we estimate its age to be 9-10 Gyr. WASP-84b is a sub-Jupiter-mass planet (0.69 M$_{\rm Jup}$, 0.94 R$_{\rm Jup}$) in an 8.523-d orbit around an active early-K dwarf. Of the transiting planets discovered from the ground to date, WASP-84b has the third-longest period. From a combination of gyrochronological and age-activity relations we estimate the age of WASP-84 to be ~1 Gyr. For both the active stars WASP-69 and WASP-84 we find a modulation of the radial velocities with a period similar to the photometrically-determined stellar rotation period. We fit the residuals with a low-order harmonic series and subtract the best fit from the RVs prior to deriving the system parameters. In each case the solution is essentially unchanged, with much less than a 1-{\sigma} change to the planetary mass. We found... [less ▲]

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See detailTRAPPIST (TRAnsiting Planets and PlanetesImals Small Telescope)
Jehin, Emmanuel ULg; Gillon, Michaël ULg; Opitom, Cyrielle ULg et al

in EPSC Abstract 2013 (2013, September 13), 8

TRAPPIST is a 60-cm robotic telescope that has been installed in June 2010 at the ESO La Silla Observatory [1]. Operated from Liège (Belgium) it is devoted to the detection and characterisation of ... [more ▼]

TRAPPIST is a 60-cm robotic telescope that has been installed in June 2010 at the ESO La Silla Observatory [1]. Operated from Liège (Belgium) it is devoted to the detection and characterisation of exoplanets and to the study of comets and other small bodies in the Solar System. We describe here the hardware and the goals of the project and give an overview of the comet production rates monitoring after three years of operations. [less ▲]

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See detailTRAPPIST monitoring of comet C/2012 F6 (Lemmon)
Opitom, Cyrielle ULg; Jehin, Emmanuel ULg; Manfroid, Jean ULg et al

Poster (2013, September 12)

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See detailStudy of the forbidden oxygen lines in comets at different heliocentric and nucleocentric distances
Decock, Alice ULg; Jehin, Emmanuel ULg; Rousselot, Philippe et al

in EPSC Abstract 2013 (2013, September 12), 8

Oxygen is an important element in the chemistry of the Solar System objects given its abundance and its presence in many molecules including H2O, which constitutes 80% of cometary ices. The analysis of ... [more ▼]

Oxygen is an important element in the chemistry of the Solar System objects given its abundance and its presence in many molecules including H2O, which constitutes 80% of cometary ices. The analysis of oxygen atoms in comets can provide information not only on the comets themselves but also on our Solar System. These atoms have been analyzed using the three forbidden oxygen lines [OI] observed in emission in the optical region at 5577 Å (the green line), 6300 Å and 6364 Å (the red lines) [1]. These lines are difficult to analyze because their detection requires high spectral and spatial resolutions. The oxygen analysis is interesting because it allows the determination of its parent molecules. [less ▲]

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See detailTRAPPIST monitoring of comet C/2012 F6 (Lemmon)
Opitom, Cyrielle ULg; Jehin, Emmanuel ULg; Manfroid, Jean ULg et al

in EPSC Abstract 2013 (2013, September 12), 8

Comet C/2012 F6 is a long-period comet that reached perihelion on March 23, 2012. The unexpected brightness of this comet since December 2012 allowed us to obtain narrowband photometry and to study its ... [more ▼]

Comet C/2012 F6 is a long-period comet that reached perihelion on March 23, 2012. The unexpected brightness of this comet since December 2012 allowed us to obtain narrowband photometry and to study its chemical composition as well as its rotation. [less ▲]

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See detailComets C/2012 V2 (LINEAR) and C/2013 R1 (Lovejoy)
Opitom, Cyrielle ULg; Jehin, Emmanuel ULg; Manfroid, Jean ULg et al

in Central Bureau Electronic Telegrams (2013), 3659

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See detailA Herschel Study of D/H in Water in the Jupiter-family Comet 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdušáková and Prospects for D/H Measurements with CCAT
Lis, D. C.; Biver, N.; Bockelée-Morvan, D. et al

in Astrophysical Journal Letters (2013), 774

We present Herschel observations of water isotopologues in the atmosphere of the Jupiter-family comet 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdušáková. No HDO emission is detected, with a 3σ upper limit of 2.0 × 10[SUP]–4 ... [more ▼]

We present Herschel observations of water isotopologues in the atmosphere of the Jupiter-family comet 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdušáková. No HDO emission is detected, with a 3σ upper limit of 2.0 × 10[SUP]–4[/SUP] for the D/H ratio. This value is consistent with the earlier Herschel measurement in the Jupiter-family comet 103P/Hartley 2. The canonical value of 3 × 10[SUP]–4[/SUP] measured pre-Herschel in a sample of Oort-cloud comets can be excluded at a 4.5σ level. The observations presented here further confirm that a diversity of D/H ratios exists in the comet population and emphasize the need for additional measurements with future ground-based facilities, such as CCAT, in the post-Herschel era. [less ▲]

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See detailHigh angular resolution imaging and infrared spectroscopy of CoRoT candidates
Guenther, E. W.; Fridlund, M.; Alonso, R. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2013), 556

Context. Studies of transiting extrasolar planets are of key importance for understanding the nature of planets outside our solar system because their masses, diameters, and bulk densities can be measured ... [more ▼]

Context. Studies of transiting extrasolar planets are of key importance for understanding the nature of planets outside our solar system because their masses, diameters, and bulk densities can be measured. An important part of transit-search programmes is the removal of false-positives. In the case of the CoRoT space mission, the majority of the false-positives are removed by a detailed analysis of the light curves and by seeing-limited imaging in- and out-of-transit. However, the critical question is how many of the candidates that passed all these tests are false-positives. Such false-positives can be caused by eclipsing binaries, which are either related or unrelated to the targets. <BR /> Aims: For our study we selected 25 CoRoT candidates that have already been screened against false-positives using detailed analysis of the light curves and seeing-limited imaging, which has transits that are between 0.7 and 0.05% deep. Our aim is to search for companion candidates that had not been recognized in previous observations. <BR /> Methods: We observed 20 candidates with the adaptive optics imager NaCo and 18 with the high-resolution infrared spectrograph CRIRES. <BR /> Results: We found previously unknown stars within 2'' of the targets in seven of the candidates. All of these are too faint and too close to the targets to have been previously detected with seeing-limited telescopes in the optical. Our study thus leads to the surprising results that if we remove all candidates excluded by the sophisticated analysis of the light-curve, as well as carrying out deep imaging with seeing-limited telescopes, still 28-35% of the remaining candidates are found to possess companions that are bright enough to be false-positives. <BR /> Conclusions: Given that the companion candidates cluster around the targets and that the J - K colours are consistent with physical companions, we conclude that the companion candidates are more likely to be physical companions rather than unrelated field stars. Based on observations obtained at the European Southern Observatory at Paranal, Chile in programmes 282.C-5015A, 282.C-5015B, 282.C-5015C, 285.C-5045A, and 285.C-5045B, 086.C-0235A, 086.C-0235B, 088.C-0707A, 088.C-0707B, 090.C-0251A, 090.C-0251B, and 091.C-203(A).Appendices A and B are available in electronic form at <A href="http://www.aanda.org">http://www.aanda.org</A> [less ▲]

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See detailThe Size, Shape, Albedo, Density, and Atmospheric Limit of Transneptunian Object (50000) Quaoar from Multi-chord Stellar Occultations
Braga-Ribas, F.; Sicardy, B.; Ortiz, J. L. et al

in Astrophysical Journal (2013), 773

We present results derived from the first multi-chord stellar occultations by the transneptunian object (50000) Quaoar, observed on 2011 May 4 and 2012 February 17, and from a single-chord occultation ... [more ▼]

We present results derived from the first multi-chord stellar occultations by the transneptunian object (50000) Quaoar, observed on 2011 May 4 and 2012 February 17, and from a single-chord occultation observed on 2012 October 15. If the timing of the five chords obtained in 2011 were correct, then Quaoar would possess topographic features (crater or mountain) that would be too large for a body of this mass. An alternative model consists in applying time shifts to some chords to account for possible timing errors. Satisfactory elliptical fits to the chords are then possible, yielding an equivalent radius R [SUB]equiv[/SUB] = 555 ± 2.5 km and geometric visual albedo p[SUB]V[/SUB] = 0.109 ± 0.007. Assuming that Quaoar is a Maclaurin spheroid with an indeterminate polar aspect angle, we derive a true oblateness of \epsilon = 0.087^{+0.0268}_{-0.0175}, an equatorial radius of 569^{+24}_{-17} km, and a density of 1.99 ± 0.46 g cm[SUP]–3[/SUP]. The orientation of our preferred solution in the plane of the sky implies that Quaoar's satellite Weywot cannot have an equatorial orbit. Finally, we detect no global atmosphere around Quaoar, considering a pressure upper limit of about 20 nbar for a pure methane atmosphere. [less ▲]

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See detailTowards the first transmission spectrum of a gas giant transiting an M-dwarf
Delrez, Laetitia ULg; Gillon, Michaël ULg; Lendl, M. et al

Poster (2013, July 15)

At the forefront of comparative exoplanetology, the atmospheric characterization of transiting exoplanets is revealing the intimate nature of these new worlds. In this exciting context, we are currently ... [more ▼]

At the forefront of comparative exoplanetology, the atmospheric characterization of transiting exoplanets is revealing the intimate nature of these new worlds. In this exciting context, we are currently conducting a VLT observing campaign on a rare exoplanet specimen, WASP-80b, a gas giant in close orbit around a bright nearby M-dwarf. Even if this planet belongs to the hot-Jupiter population, it is actually more ‘warm’ than ‘hot’ with an estimated equilibrium temperature of only 800K. We present here some preliminary results of this program which consists in monitoring four transits of WASP-80b with the FORS2 instrument in multi-object spectroscopic mode in ESO phase 91. Through this approach, our goal is to precisely measure the transmission spectrum of the planet between 740 and 1070 nm in order to constrain the thermal structure and scacering properties of the planetary atmosphere. Furthermore, we will use the water features located around 950 nm to constrain the water mixing ratio in the atmosphere of this peculiar hot Jupiter. [less ▲]

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See detailForbidden oxygen lines in comets at various heliocentric distances
Decock, Alice ULg; Jehin, Emmanuel ULg; Hutsemekers, Damien ULg et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2013), 555

We present a study of the three forbidden oxygen lines [OI] located in the optical region - i.e., 5577.339 Å (the green line), 6300.304 Å and 6363.776 Å (the two red lines) - in order to better understand ... [more ▼]

We present a study of the three forbidden oxygen lines [OI] located in the optical region - i.e., 5577.339 Å (the green line), 6300.304 Å and 6363.776 Å (the two red lines) - in order to better understand the production of these atoms in cometary atmospheres. The analysis is based on 48 high-resolution and high signal-to-noise spectra collected with UVES at the ESO VLT between 2003 and 2011 referring to 12 comets of different origins observed at various heliocentric distances. The flux ratio of the green line to the sum of the two red lines is evaluated to determine the parent species of the oxygen atoms by comparison with theoretical models. This analysis confirms that, at about 1 AU, H[SUB]2[/SUB]O is the main parent molecule producing oxygen atoms. At heliocentric distances >2.5 AU, this ratio changes rapidly, an indication that other molecules are starting to contribute. The most abundant species after H[SUB]2[/SUB]O in the coma, CO and CO[SUB]2[/SUB], are good candidates, and the ratio is used to estimate their abundances. We found that the CO[SUB]2[/SUB] abundance relative to H[SUB]2[/SUB]O in comet C/2001 Q4 (NEAT) observed at 4 AU can be as high as ~70%. The intrinsic widths of the oxygen lines were also measured. The green line is on average about 1 km s[SUP]-1[/SUP] broader than the red lines, while the theory predicts that the red lines are broader. This might be due to the nature of the excitation source or to a contribution of CO[SUB]2[/SUB] as the parent molecule of the 5577.339 Å line. At 4 AU, we found that the width of the green and red lines in comet C/2001 Q4 are the same, which could be explained if CO[SUB]2[/SUB] becomes the main contributor to the three [OI] lines at high heliocentric distances. Based on observations made with ESO Telescope at the La Silla Paranal Observatory under programs ID 268.C-5570, 270.C-5043, 073.C-0525, 274.C-5015, 075.C-0355, 080.C-0615, 280.C-5053, 086.C-0958, and 087.C-0929. [less ▲]

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See detailSPECULOOS: Search for habitable Planets EClipsing ULtra-cOOl Stars
Gillon, Michaël ULg; Jehin, Emmanuel ULg; Delrez, Laetitia ULg et al

in Protostars and Planets VI, Heidelberg, July 15-20, 2013. Poster #2K066 (2013, July 01)

The 1000 nearest ultra-cool stars (spectral type M6 and latter) represent a unique opportunity for the search for life outside our solar system. Due to their small luminosity, their habitable zone is 30 ... [more ▼]

The 1000 nearest ultra-cool stars (spectral type M6 and latter) represent a unique opportunity for the search for life outside our solar system. Due to their small luminosity, their habitable zone is 30-100 times closer than for the Sun, the corresponding orbital periods ranging from one to a few days. Thanks to this proximity, the transits of a habitable planet are much more probable and frequent than for an Earth-Sun analog, while their tiny size (about 1 Jupiter radius) leads to transits deep enough for a ground-based detection, even for sub-Earth size planets. Furthermore, a habitable planet transiting one of these nearby ultra-cool stars would be amenable for a thorough atmospheric characterization, including the detection of possible biosignatures, notably with the near-to-come JWST. Motivated by these reasons, we have set up the concept of a ground-based survey optimized for detecting planets of Earth-size and below transiting the nearest Southern ultra-cool stars. We present here this concept and its status. [less ▲]

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See detailFast-evolving weather for the coolest of our two new substellar neighbours
Gillon, Michaël ULg; Triaud, A. H. M. J.; Jehin, Emmanuel ULg et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2013), 555

We present the results of an intense photometric monitoring in the near-infrared (~0.9 microns) with the TRAPPIST robotic telescope of the newly discovered binary brown dwarf WISE J104915.57-531906.1, the ... [more ▼]

We present the results of an intense photometric monitoring in the near-infrared (~0.9 microns) with the TRAPPIST robotic telescope of the newly discovered binary brown dwarf WISE J104915.57-531906.1, the third closest system to the Sun at a distance of only 2 pc. Our twelve nights of photometric time-series reveal a quasi-periodic (P = 4.87+-0.01 h) variability with a maximal peak-peak amplitude of ~11% and strong night-to-night evolution. We attribute this variability to the rotational modulation of fast-evolving weather patterns in the atmosphere of the coolest component (~T1-type) of the binary. No periodic signal is detected for the hottest component (~L8-type). For both brown dwarfs, our data allow us to firmly discard any unique transit during our observations for planets >= 2 Rearth. For orbital periods smaller than ~9.5 h, transiting planets are excluded down to an Earth-size. [less ▲]

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See detailLuhman 16AB: A Remarkable, Variable L/T Transition Binary 2 pc from the Sun
Burgasser, A. J.; Faherty, J.; Beletsky, Y. et al

E-print/Working paper (2013)

Luhman (2013) has reported the discovery of a brown dwarf binary system only 2.01+/-0.15 pc from the Sun. The binary is well-resolved with a projected separation of 1.5", and spectroscopic observations ... [more ▼]

Luhman (2013) has reported the discovery of a brown dwarf binary system only 2.01+/-0.15 pc from the Sun. The binary is well-resolved with a projected separation of 1.5", and spectroscopic observations have identified the components as late-L and early-T dwarfs. The system exhibits several remarkable traits, including a "flux reversal", where the T dwarf is brighter over 0.9-1.3 micron but fainter at other wavelengths; and significant (~10%) short-period (~4.9 hr) photometric variability with a complex light curve. These observations suggest spatial variations in condensate cloud structure, which is known to evolve substantially across the L dwarf/T dwarf transition. Here we report preliminary results from a multi-site monitoring campaign aimed at probing the spectral and temporal properties of this source. Focusing on our spectroscopic observations, we report the first detections of NIR spectral variability, present detailed analysis of K I lines that confirm differences in condensate opacity between the components; and preliminary determinations of radial and rotational velocities based on high-resolution NIR spectroscopy. [less ▲]

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See detailSearch for a habitable terrestrial planet transiting the nearby red dwarf GJ 1214
Gillon, Michaël ULg; Demory, B.-O.; Madhusudhan, N. et al

E-print/Working paper (2013)

High-precision eclipse spectrophotometry of transiting terrestrial exoplanets represents a promising path for the first atmospheric characterizations of habitable worlds and the search for life outside ... [more ▼]

High-precision eclipse spectrophotometry of transiting terrestrial exoplanets represents a promising path for the first atmospheric characterizations of habitable worlds and the search for life outside our solar system. The detection of terrestrial planets transiting nearby late-type M-dwarfs could make this approach applicable within the next decade, with near-to-come general facilities. In this context, we previously identified GJ 1214 as a high-priority target for a transit search, as the transit probability of a habitable planet orbiting this nearby M4.5 dwarf would be significantly enhanced by the transiting nature of GJ 1214 b, the super-Earth already known to orbit the star. Basing on this observation, we have set-up an ambitious high-precision photometric monitoring of GJ 1214 with the Spitzer Space Telescope to probe its entire habitable zone in search of a transiting planet as small as Mars. We present here the results of this transit search. Unfortunately, we did not detect any second transiting planet. Assuming GJ 1214 hosts a habitable planet larger than Mars, our global analysis of the whole Spitzer dataset leads to a posterior no-transit probability >=97%. Our analysis allows us to significantly improve the characterization of GJ 1214 b, to measure its occultation depth to be 70+-35 ppm at 4.5 microns, and to constrain it to be smaller than 205ppm (3-sigma upper limit) at 3.6 microns. In agreement with the plethora of transmission measurements published so far for GJ 1214 b, these emission measurements are consistent with both a metal-rich and a cloudy hydrogen-rich atmosphere. [less ▲]

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