The bright star lam Ser hosts a hot Neptune with a minimum mass of 13.6 MEarth and a 15.5 day orbit. It also appears to be a solar analog, with a mean rotation period of 25.8 days and surface differential rotation very similar to the Sun. We detect solar-like oscillations in time series photometry from the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), and we derive precise asteroseismic properties from detailed modeling. We obtain new spectropolarimetric data, and we use them to reconstruct the large-scale magnetic field morphology. We reanalyze the complete time series of chromospheric activity measurements from the Mount Wilson Observatory, and we present new X-ray and ultraviolet observations from the Chandra and Hubble space telescopes. Finally, we use the updated observational constraints to assess the rotational history of the star and to estimate the wind braking torque. We conclude that the remaining uncertainty on stellar age currently prevents an unambiguous interpretation of the properties of lam Ser, and that the rate of angular momentum loss appears to be higher than for other stars with similar Rossby number. Future asteroseismic observations may help to improve the precision of the stellar age.
Read more: Metcalfe et al. 2023, AJ, in press (arXiv 2308.09808).
Numerous δ Sct and γ Dor pulsators are identified in the region of the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram that is occupied by chemically peculiar magnetic Ap stars. The connection between δ Sct and γ Dor pulsations and the magnetic field in Ap stars is however not clear: theory suggests for magnetic Ap stars some critical field strengths for pulsation mode suppression by computing the magnetic damping effect for selected p and g modes. To test these theoretical considerations, we obtained PEPSI spectropolarimetric snapshots of the typical Ap star HD 340577, for which δ Sct- like pulsations were recently detected in TESS data, and the γ Dor pulsator HR 8799, which is a remarkable system with multiple planets and two debris disks. Our measurements reveal the presence of a magnetic field with a strength of several hundred Gauss in HD 340577. The measured mean longitudinal field would be the strongest field measured so far in a δ Sct star if the pulsational character of HD 340577 is confirmed spectroscopically. No magnetic field is detected in HR 8799.
A magnetic-field surface map for both stellar components of the young visual binary ksi Boo AB (A: G8V, B: K5V) is presented. Employed are high resolution Stokes-V spectra obtained with the Potsdam Echelle Polarimetric and Spectroscopic Instrument (PEPSI) at the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT). Stokes V line profiles are inverted with our iMAP software and compared to previous inversions. We employed an iterative regularization scheme without the need of a penalty function and incorporated a three-component description of the surface magnetic-field vector. The spectral resolution of our data is 130,000 (0.040-0.055A) and have signal-to-noise ratios (S/N) of up to three thousand per pixel depending on wavelength. A singular-value decomposition (SVD) of a total of 1811 spectral lines is employed for averaging Stokes-V profiles. Our mapping is accompanied by a residual bootstrap error analysis. Magnetic flux densities of the radial field component of up to plus/minus 115 ± 5 G were reconstructed for ksi Boo A while up to plus/minus 55 ± 3G were reconstructed for ksi Boo B. ksi Boo A’s magnetic morphology is characterized by a very high latitude, nearly polar, spot of negative polarity and three low-to-mid latitude spots of positive polarity while ksi Boo B’s morphology is characterized by four low-to-mid latitude spots of mixed polarity. No polar magnetic field is reconstructed for the cooler ksi Boo B star. Both our maps are dominated by the radial field component, containing 86 and 89 percent of the magnetic energy of ksi Boo A and B, respectively. We found only weak azimuthal and meridional field densities on both stars (plus/minus 15-30 G), about a factor two weaker than what was seen previously for ksi Boo A. The phase averaged longitudinal field component and dispersion is +4.5 ± 1.5G for ksi Boo A and -5.0 ± 3.0 G for ksi Boo B.
During the first half of their main-sequence lifetimes, stars rapidly lose angular momentum to their magnetized winds, a process known as magnetic braking. Recent observations suggest a substantial decrease in the magnetic braking efficiency when stars reach a critical value of the Rossby number, the stellar rotation period normalized by the convective overturn timescale. Cooler stars have deeper convection zones with longer overturn times, reaching this critical Rossby number at slower rotation rates. The nature and timing of the transition to weakened magnetic braking has previously been constrained by several solar analogs and two slightly hotter stars. In this Letter, we derive the first direct constraints from stars cooler than the Sun. We present new spectropolarimetry of the old G8 dwarf τ Cet from the Large Binocular Telescope, and we reanalyze a published Zeeman Doppler image of the younger G8 star 61 UMa, yielding the large-scale magnetic field strengths and morphologies. We estimate mass-loss rates using archival X-ray observations and inferences from Lyα measurements, and we adopt other stellar properties from asteroseismology and spectral energy distribution fitting. The resulting calculations of the wind braking torque demonstrate that the rate of angular momentum loss drops by a factor of 300 between the ages of these two stars (1.4–9 Gyr), well above theoretical expectations. We summarize the available data to help constrain the value of the critical Rossby number, and we identify a new signature of the long-period detection edge in recent measurements from the Kepler mission.
Read more: Metcalfe, T., Strassmeier, K., Ilyin, I., et al. 2023, ApJ Letters, in press (arXiv:2304.09896)
Hot giant planets like MASCARA-1 b are expected to have thermally inverted atmospheres, that makes them perfect laboratory for the atmospheric characterization through high-resolution spectroscopy. Nonetheless, previous attempts of detecting the atmosphere of MASCARA-1 b in transmission have led to negative results. In this paper we aim at the detection of the optical emission spectrum of MASCARA-1 b. We used the high-resolution spectrograph PEPSI to observe MASCARA-1 (spectral type A8) near the secondary eclipse of the planet. We cross-correlated the spectra with synthetic templates computed for several atomic and molecular species. We obtained the detection of FeI, Cr I and Ti I in the atmosphere of MASCARA-1 b with a S/N ~7, 4 and 5 respectively, and confirmed the expected systemic velocity of ~13 km/s and the radial velocity semi-amplitude of MASCARA-1 b of ~200 km/s. The detection of Ti is of particular importance in the context of the recently proposed Ti cold-trapping below a certain planetary equilibrium temperature. We confirm the presence of an the atmosphere around MASCARA-1 b through emission spectroscopy. We conclude that the atmospheric non detection in transmission spectroscopy is due to the high gravity of the planet and/or to the overlap between the planetary track and its Doppler shadow.
Read more: G. Scandariato, F. Borsa, A.S. Bonomo, et al. 2023, A&A, in press (eprint arXiv:2304.03328)
We embarked on a high-resolution optical spectroscopic survey of bright Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) stars around the Northern Ecliptic Pole (NEP), dubbed the Vatican-Potsdam-NEP (VPNEP) survey. Our NEP coverage comprises 1067 stars, of which 352 are bona fide dwarf stars and 715 are giant stars, all cooler than spectral type F0 and brighter than V=8.5. Our aim is to characterize these stars for the benefit of future studies in the community. We analyzed the spectra via comparisons with synthetic spectra. Particular line profiles were analyzed by means of eigen-profiles, equivalent widths, and relative emission-line fluxes (when applicable). Two R=200 000 spectra were obtained for each of the dwarf stars with the Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope (VATT) and the Potsdam Echelle Polarimetric and Spectroscopic Instrument (PEPSI), with typically three R=55 000 spectra obtained for the giant stars with STELLA and the STELLA Echelle Spectrograph (SES). Combined with V-band magnitudes, Gaia eDR3 parallaxes, and isochrones from the Padova and Trieste Stellar Evolutionary Code, the spectra can be used to obtain radial velocities, effective temperatures, gravities, rotational and turbulence broadenings, stellar masses and ages, and abundances for 27 chemical elements, as well as isotope ratios for lithium and carbon, line bisector spans, convective blue-shifts (when feasible), and levels of magnetic activity from Halpha, Hbeta, and the Ca II infrared triplet. In this initial paper, we discuss our analysis tools and biases, presenting our first results from a pilot sub-sample of 54 stars (27 bona-fide dwarf stars observed with VATT+PEPSI and 27 bona-fide giant stars observed with STELLA+SES) and making all reduced spectra available to the community.
Recent observations have shown that the atmospheres of ultra hot Jupiters (UHJs) commonly possess temperature inversions, where the temperature increases with increasing altitude. Nonetheless, which opacity sources are responsible for the presence of these inversions remains largely observationally unconstrained. We used LBT/PEPSI to observe the atmosphere of the UHJ KELT-20 b in both transmission and emission in order to search for molecular agents which could be responsible for the temperature inversion. We validate our methodology by confirming previous detections of Fe I in emission at 16.9 σ. Our search for the inversion agents TiO, VO, FeH, and CaH results in nondetections. Using injection-recovery testing we set 4σ upper limits upon the volume mixing ratios for these constituents as low as ∼1×10−9 for TiO. For TiO, VO, and CaH, our limits are much lower than expectations from an equilibrium chemical model, while we cannot set constraining limits on FeH with our data. We thus rule out TiO and CaH as the source of the temperature inversion in KELT-20 b, and VO only if the line lists are sufficiently accurate.
We measured abundances of 12 elements (Na, Mg, Si, Ca, Sc, Ti, V, Cr, Mn, Fe, Co, Ni) in a sample of 86 metal-poor subgiant stars in the solar neighborhood. Abundances are derived from high-resolution spectra taken with the Potsdam Echelle Polarimetric and Spectroscopic Instrument on the Large Binocular Telescope, modeled using iSpec and MOOG. By carefully quantifying the impact of photon-noise (< 0.05 dex for all elements) we robustly measure the intrinsic scatter of abundance ratios. At fixed [Fe/H] the RMS intrinsic scatter in [X/Fe] ranges from 0.04 dex (Cr) to 0.16 dex (Na), with a median of 0.08 dex. Scatter in [X/Mg] is similar, and accounting for [alpha/Fe] only reduces the overall scatter moderately. We consider several possible origins of the intrinsic scatter with particular attention to fluctuations in the relative enrichment by core-collapse supernovae (CCSN) and Type Ia supernovae (SNIa) and stochastic sampling of the CCSN progenitor mass distribution. The stochastic sampling scenario provides a good quantitative explanation of our data if the effective number of CCSN contributing to the enrichment of a typical sample star is N approx 50. At the median metallicity of our sample, this interpretation implies that the CCSN ejecta are mixed over a gas mass 10^5 MSun before forming stars. The scatter of elemental abundance ratios is a powerful diagnostic test for simulations of star formation, feedback, and gas mixing in the early phases of the Galaxy.
Recent studies have established that the majority of Io’s molecular atmosphere, SO2 and SO, condenses during its passage through Jupiter’s shadow. The eclipse response of Io’s atomic atmosphere is less certain, having been characterized solely by ultraviolet aurorae. Here we explore the response of optical aurorae for the first time. We find oxygen to be indifferent to the changing illumination with [O I] brightness merely tracking the plasma density at Io’s position in the torus. In shadow, line ratios confirm sparse SO2 coverage relative to O since their collisions would otherwise quench the emission. Io’s sodium aurora mostly disappears in eclipse and e-folding timescales for decline and recovery differ sharply: ~10 minutes at ingress and nearly 2 hours at egress. Only ion chemistry can produce such a disparity; Io’s molecular ionosphere is much weaker at egress due to rapid recombination. Auroral emission is also evident from potassium, confirming K as the major source of far red emissions seen in situ. In all cases, direct electron impact on atomic gas is sufficient to explain the brightness without invoking significant dissociative excitation of molecules. The non-response of O and rapid depletion of Na during Io’s eclipse phase is surprisingly inverted from the eclipse phase behavior of the SO2 and NaCl parent molecules.
Read more: Schmidt et al. 2022, PSJ, in press (AAS Planetary Science Journal)
A spectroscopic investigation of the lithium resonance doublet in ξ Boo A and ξ Boo B in terms of both abundance and isotopic ratio is presented. We obtained new R=130 000 spectra with a signal-to-noise ratio (S/N) per pixel of up to 3200 using the 11.8m LBT and PEPSI. From fits with synthetic line profiles based on 1D-LTE MARCS model atmospheres and 3D-NLTE corrections, we determine the abundances of both isotopes. For ξ Boo A, we find A(Li) = 2.40±0.03 dex and 6Li/7Li < 1.5±1.0 % in 1D LTE, which increases to ≈2.45 for the 3D-NLTE case. For ξ Boo B we obtain A(Li) = 0.37±0.09 dex in 1D-LTE with an unspecified 6Li/7Li level. Therefore, no 6Li is seen on any of the two stars. We consider a spot model for the Li fit for ξ Boo B and find A(Li) = 0.45±0.09 dex. The 7Li abundance is 23 times higher for ξ Boo A than the Sun’s, but three times lower than the Sun’s for ξ Boo B while both fit the trend of single stars in the similar-aged M35 open cluster. Effective temperatures are redetermined from the TiO band head strength. We note that the best-fit global metallicities are –0.13±0.01 dex for ξ Boo A but +0.13±0.02 dex for ξ Boo B. Lithium abundance for the K5V benchmark star 61 Cyg A was obtained to A(Li)≈0.53 dex when including a spot model but to ≈0.15 dex without a spot model.