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The formation of massive stars remains one of the most intriguing questions in astrophysics today. The main limitations result from the difficulty to obtain direct observational constraints on the formation process itself. In this context, the Carina High-contrast Imaging Project of massive Stars (CHIPS) aims to observe all 80+ O stars in the Carina nebula using the new VLT 2nd-generation extreme-AO instrument SPHERE. This instrument offers unprecedented imaging contrast allowing us to detect the faintest companions around massive stars. These novel observational constraints will help to discriminate between the different formation scenarios by comparing their predictions for companion statistics and properties.
The origin of red supergiant mass loss still remains to be unveiled. Characterising the formation loci and the dust distribution in the first stellar radii above the surface is key to understand the initiation of the mass loss phenomenon. Polarimetric interferometry observations in the near-infrared allowed us to detect an inner dust atmosphere located only 0.5 stellar radius above the photosphere of Betelgeuse. We modelled these observations and compare them with visible polarimetric measurements to discuss the dust distribution properties.
The young (12+8−4 Myr) and nearby (19.44±0.05 pc) star β Pictoris is considered one of the best laboratories for the study of early phases of planetary systems formation since the identification of an extended debris disk surrounding the star in 1984. In 2009, we imaged at 3.8 μm with NaCo at VLT a gas giant planet around β Pictoris, roughly along the disk mid-plane, with a semi-major axis between 8 and 14 AU. We present here the first images of the planet in the J (1.265 μm), H (1.66 μm), and M' (4.78 μm) bands obtained between 2011 and 2012. We used these data to build the 1-5 μm spectral energy distribution (SED) of the companion, and to consolidate previous semi-major axis (8-10 AU) estimates. We compared the SED to seven atmospheric models to derive Teff = 1700 ± 100 K. We used the temperature and the luminosity of β Pictoris b to estimate new masses for the companion. We compared these masses to independent constraints set by the orbital parameters and the radial velocities and use them to discuss the formation history of the object.
The β Pic disk of dust and gas has been regarded as the prototype of young planetary systems since the 1980s and has revealed over the years an impressive amount of indirect signs pointing toward the presence of at least one giant planet. We present here the recently detected first giant planet around this star. We show how this planet could explain some very peculiar features of the star environment (disk, spectroscopic variability), and how it constrains the scenarios of planetary system formation (timescales, mechanisms).
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