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The majority of extra-solar planets have been discovered (or confirmed after follow-up) through radial-velocity (RV) surveys. Using ground-based spectrographs such as High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planetary Search (HARPS) and HARPS-North, it is now possible to detect planets that are only a few times the mass of the Earth. However, the presence of dark spots on the stellar surface produces RV signals that are very similar in amplitude to those caused by orbiting low-mass planets. Disentangling these signals has thus become the biggest challenge in the detection of Earth-mass planets using RV surveys. To do so, we use the star's lightcurve to model the RV variations produced by spots. Here we present this method and show the results of its application to CoRoT-7.
Since the discovery of the transiting Super-Earth CoRoT-7b, several investigations have been made of the number and precise masses of planets present in the system, but they all yield different results, owing to the star's high level of activity. Radial velocity (RV) variations induced by stellar activity therefore need to be modelled and removed to allow a reliable detection of all planets in the system. We re-observed CoRoT-7 in January 2012 with both HARPS and the CoRoT satellite, so that we now have the benefit of simultaneous RV and photometric data. We fitted the off-transit variations in the CoRoT lightcurve using a harmonic decomposition similar to that implemented in Queloz et al. (2009). This fit was then used to model the stellar RV contribution, according to the methods described by Aigrain et al. (2011). This model was incorporated into a Monte Carlo Markov Chain in order to make a precise determination of the orbits of CoRoT-7b and CoRoT-7c. We also assess the evidence for the presence of one or two additional planetary companions.
We observed with HARPS, the Rossiter-McLaughlin effect for 40 of the 75 transiting hot Jupiters discovered in the Southern Hemisphere by WASP. Our observations reveal a wide distribution in orbital inclinations indicative of past dynamical interactions. Our data also demonstrate the important effect produced by tidal interactions in shaping the spin–orbit (β) angle distribution. We briefly present and interpret the data we collected in a series of graphs.
We present radial-velocity measurements (RV) obtained in one of the numbers of programs underway to search for extrasolar planets with the spectrograph SOPHIE at the 1.93-m telescope of the Observatoire de Haute-Provence. Targets were selected from catalogs observed with ELODIE, which had been mounted previously at the telescope, in order to detect long-period planets with an extended database close to 15 years.
High-precision radial velocity measurements have suffered from stellar spots effects for more than one decade. With the advent of high-resolution infra-red spectrographs, one is allowed to move into a new spectral domain where the influence of these stellar phenomena on measurements is significantly reduced. We present the first results of our CRIRES campaign on TW Hya, around which a periodic optical radial velocity variation was found and attributed to a planet. Our work showed that the signal is not present in the infra-red, pointing to a cold spot instead of to a planet as the explanation for the different data sets. This campaign
demonstrates the power of this new approach and shows that CRIRES can deliver high-precision radial velocity measurements.
The Doppler technique has continuously improved its precision during the past two decades, attaining the level of 1 ms−1. The increasing precision opened the way to the discovery of the first extrasolar planet, and later, to the exploration of a large range of orbital parameters of extrasolar planets. This ability to detect and characterize in great detail companions down to Neptune-mass planets has provided many new and unique inputs for the understanding of planet formation and evolution. In addition, the success of the Doppler technique introduced a great dynamic in the whole domain, allowing the exploration of new possibilities.
Nowadays, the Doppler technique is no longer the only means to discover extrasolar planets. The performance of new instruments, like the High Accuracy Radial-velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS), has shown that the potential of the Doppler technique has not been exhausted; Earth-mass planets are now within reach. In the future, radial velocities will also play a fundamental role in the follow-up and characterization of planets discovered by means of other techniques—for transit candidates, in particular. We think, therefore, that the follow-up of candidates provided by, e.g., the COnvection, ROtation and planetary Transits (COROT) and Kepler space telescopes, will be of primary importance.
From recent high-accuracy transit timings measurements, we discard the 5 M⊕ planet recently proposed by Ribas et al. (2008). Thanks to a combined radial-velocity and transit timings overview we also define a mass/period domain in which a secondary planet may be found in the system. We also show that timings obtained until now, although not sufficient to remove degeneracies on mass and period, can still restrict the parameter space of the potential secondary planet.
The SOPHIE Consortium started a large program of exoplanets search and characterization in the Northern hemisphere with the new spectrograph SOPHIE at the 1.93-m telescope of Haute-Provence Observatory, France. The objectives of this program are to characterize the zoo of exoplanets and to bring strong constraints on their processes of formation and evolution using the radial velocity technique. We present here new SOPHIE measurements of the transiting planet host star XO-3. This allowed us to observe the Rossiter-McLaughlin effect and to refine the parameters of the planet. The unusual shape of the radial velocity anomaly during the transit provides a hint for a nearly transverse Rossiter-McLaughlin effect. The sky-projected angle between the planetary orbital axis and the stellar rotation axis should be λ = 70° ± 15° to be compatible with our observations. This suggests that some close-in planets might result from gravitational interaction between planets and/or stars rather than migration. This result requires confirmation by additional observations.
The HARPS search for low-mass extrasolar planets has been ongoing for more than 4 years, targeting originally about 400 bright FGK dwarfs in the solar neighbourhood. The published low-mass planetary systems coming from this survey are fully confirmed by subsequent observations, which demonstrate the sub-m/s long-term stability reached by HARPS. The complex RV curves of these systems have led us to focus on a smaller sample of stars, accumulating more data points per star. We perform a global search in our data to assess the existence of the large population of ice giants and super-Earths predicted by numerical simulations of planet formation. We indeed detect about 45 candidates having minimum masses below 30 M⊕ and orbital periods below 50 days. These numbers are preliminary since the existence of these objects has to be confirmed by subsequent observations. However, they indicate that about 30% of solar-type stars may have such close-in, low-mass planets. Some emerging properties of this low-mass population are presented. We finally discuss the prospects for finding transiting objects among these candidates, which may possibly yield the first nearby, transiting super-Earth.
Exoplanet search programs need to study how to disentangle radial-velocity (RV) variations due to Doppler motion and the noise induced by stellar activity. We monitored the active K2V HD 189733 with the high-resolution SOPHIE spectrograph (OHP, France). We refined the orbital parameters of HD 189733b and put limitations on the eccentricity and on a long-term velocity gradient. We subtracted the orbital motion of the planet and compared the variability of activity spectroscopic indices (HeI, Hα, Ca II H&K lines) to the evolution of the RV residuals and the shape of spectral lines. All are in agreement with an active stellar surface in rotation. We used such correlations to correct for the RV jitter due to stellar activity. This results in achieving a high precision on the orbital parameters, with a semi-amplitude: K=200.56±0.88m⋅s−1 and a derived planet mass of MP=1.13±0.03 MJup.
The Astrometric Data-Reduction Software (ADRS) processes fringe, delay, environmental, and calibration data for PRIMA narrow-angle astrometry. It is automated software designed to provide fully-calibrated differential delays and separation angles. The ADRS is divided into on-line and off-line processing. The former deals with calibration and data compression, while the latter applies corrections and calculates science quantities. PRIMA is the first VLTI instrument that may require removal of long-term environmental trends. The trend identification and fitting routines are not part of the distributed on-line and off-line processing software. Instead, files containing fit parameters will be updated regularly. Coding is presently underway. The PRIMA error budget summarizes the principal sources of error in PRIMA astrometric observations.
The PRIMA (Phase-Referenced Imaging and Micro-arcsecond Astrometry) facility at ESO VLTI (Paranal observatory) is expected to be commissioned in mid 2008. The ESPRI (Exoplanet Search with PRIMA) consortium is currently preparing an astrometric survey to search for extrasolar planets. To achieve the scientific goal of this survey, a careful selection of target and reference stars is necessary. Apart from catalog search and modelling, extensive and dedicated preparatory observations are indispensable. Here we present two aspects of the preparatory observation programs: A high dynamic range near infrared (NIR) imaging survey to search for astrometric reference stars around the preselected target stars and characterization of the target stars by using high-resolution spectroscopy.
We describe the ongoing hardware and software developments that shall enable the ESO VLTI to perform narrow-angle differential delay astrometry in K-band with an accuracy of up to 10 μarcsec. The ultimate goal of these efforts is to perform an astrometric search for extrasolar planets around nearby stars.
The Exoplanet Search with PRIma (ESPRI) will use the PRIMA dual-feed astrometric capability on the Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) to perform astrometric detections of extra-solar planets. We present an overview of our data-reduction strategy for achieving 10-μarcsecond accuracy narrow-angle astrometry using the PRIMA instrument. We discuss the error budget for astrometric measurements, and those aspects of our strategy which are designed to minimise the astrometric measurement errors.
In this paper, we first summarize the results of a large-scale double-blind tests campaign carried out for the realistic estimation of the Gaia potential in detecting and measuring planetary systems. Then, we put the identified capabilities in context by highlighting the unique contribution that the Gaia exoplanet discoveries will be able to bring to the science of extrasolar planets during the next decade.
The combination of the collecting power of an ELT with an ultra-stable high resolution spectrograph opens up the possibility to measure for the first time directly the dynamical effect of the acceleration of the Universe. CODEX will also provide unique opportunities for advance in many other branches of astrophysics. The CODEX design is based on an array of several identical spectrographs. It is highly modular and can be easily adapted to a large range of sky apertures and telescope diameters. CODEX is designed to work as a seeing limited instrument. The requirements for the telescope are moderate and clearly identified.
In our search for clues as to the nature of the exosphere of HD209458 (Moutou et al., 2001 ; Moutou et al., 2003, Iro et al., 2004), we have acquired VLT/UVES data during an ambitious observational campaign performed in June-September 2002 and covering 6 transits of the exoplanet. The resolving power was R=100000 in the 0.475-0.68 micron range. We search for ions and neutral molecules (such as H2O+, CO+, CH+, etc) originating in the planets exosphere and located in the evaporated material around the planet, occulting its primary star. We present in this paper a tentative search in the spectral regions where features of sodium or H$_2$O$^+$ can be present.
We present radial-velocity data measurements for 4 solar-type stars (HD 6434, HD 19994, HD 92788 and HD 121504) harboring new detected planetary companions. The measurements were obtained with the CORALIE echelle spectrograph mounted on the 1.2–m “Leonard Euler” Swiss telescope at ESO–LaSilla Observatory (Chile). The minimum masses inferred for the planets are m2 sin i = 0.48, 2.0, 3.81 and 0.89MJup, respectively.
Since the discovery of 51 Peg by Mayor & Queloz (1995) about 50 extra-solar planets have been discovered by means of the Doppler technique, and much more will follow. In future the goal will be to detect even lighter planets and/or planets with longer orbital periods, which may induce changes of only few m/s on the radial velocity of their parent star. Therefore very high performance instruments will be required. In view of the realization of HARPS (Pepe et al. 2000), the high-accuracy RV spectrograph for the ESO 3.6-m telescope dedicated to extra-solar planet search, we are investigating the accuracy limits and possible error sources. First results are presented in this paper.
We report the discovery of an extrasolar planetary system with two Saturnian planets around the star HD 83443. The new planetary system is unusual by more than one aspect, as it contains two very low–mass gaseous giant planets, both on very tight orbits. Among the planets detected so far, the inner planet has the smallest semi–major axis (0.038 AU) and period (2.985 days) whereas the outer planet is the lightest one with m2 sin i = 0.53 MSat. A preliminary dynamical study confirms the stability of the system.