Potassium detected on exoplanet atmosphere

We investigated the potassium excess absorption around 7699 Å of the exoplanets HD189733b and HD209458b using high-spectral resolution transit observations acquired with the 2 × 8.4 m Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) and the Potsdam Echelle Polarimetric and Spectroscopic Instrument (PEPSI). For a bandwidth of 0.8 Å, we present a detection >7σ with an absorption level of 0.18 per cent for HD189733b. Applying the same analysis to HD209458b, we can set 3σ upper limit of 0.09 per cent, even though a K-excess absorption was not detected. The investigation suggests that the K feature is less present in the atmosphere of HD209458b than in the one of HD189733b and confirms previous claims that the atmospheres of these two planets must have fundamentally different properties.

Artist’s impression of a hot Jupiter (right) and its cool host star. Credit: AIP/Kristin Riebe.

Read more: Keles et al. 2019, MNRAS, 489, L37

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Sun-as-a-star observations of the 2017 August 21 solar eclipse

The Potsdam Echelle Polarimetric and Spectroscopic Instrument (PEPSI) is a state-of-the-art, thermally stabilized, fiber-fed, high-resolution spectrograph for the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) at Mt. Graham, Arizona. During daytime the instrument is fed with sunlight from the 10-millimeter aperture, fully automated, binocular Solar Disk-Integrated (SDI) telescope. The observed Sun-as-a-star spectra contain a multitude of photospheric and chromospheric spectral lines in the wavelength ranges 4200-4800 Å and 5300-6300 Å. One of the advantages of PEPSI is that solar spectra are recorded in the exactly same manner as nighttime targets. Thus, solar and stellar spectra can be directly compared. PEPSI/SDI recorded 116 Sun-as-a-star spectra during the 2017 August 21 solar eclipse. The observed maximum obscuration was 61.6%. The spectra were taken with a spectral resolution of ≈ 250000 and an exposure time of 0.3 s. The high-spectral resolution facilitates detecting subtle changes in the spectra while the Moon passes the solar disk. Sun-as-a-star spectra are affected by changing contributions due to limb darkening and solar differential rotation, and to a lesser extend by supergranular velocity pattern and the presence of active regions on the solar surface. The goal of this study is to investigate the temporal evolution of the chromospheric Na D doublet during the eclipse and to compare observations with synthetic line profiles computed with the state-of-the-art Bifrost code.

 

Read more: Dineva et al. 2020, IAU Symp. 354, 473

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Surface magnetic activity of the fast-rotating G5 giant IN Comae, central star of the faint planetary nebula LoTr 5

We present a time series of 13 consecutive Doppler images covering six months in 2017 that we used to measure the surface differential rotation with a cross-correlation method. Hitherto unpublished high-precision photometric data from 1989 to 2017 are presented. We applied Fourier-transformation-based frequency analysis to both photometry and spectra. Very high resolution (R ≈ 200 000) spectra were used to update IN Com’s astrophysical parameters by means of spectral synthesis.
Results: Our time-series Doppler images show cool and warm spots coexisting with an average surface temperature contrast of -1000 K and +300 K with respect to the effective temperature. Approximately 8% of the stellar surface is covered with cool spots and ∼3% with warm spots. A consistent cool polar spot is seen in all images. The average lifetime of the cool spots is not much more than a few stellar rotations (one month), while the warm spots appear to live longer (three months) and are mostly confined to high latitudes. We found anti-solar surface differential rotation with a shear coefficient of α = -0.026 ± 0.005 suggesting an equatorial rotation period of 5.973 ± 0.008 d. We reconfirm the 5.9 day rotation period of the cool star from photometry, radial velocities, and Hα line-profile variations. A long-term V-brightness variation with a likely period of 7.2 yr is also found. It appears in phase with the orbital radial velocity of the binary system in the sense that it is brightest at highest velocity and faintest at lowest velocity, that is, at the two phases of quadrature. We redetermine [Ba/Fe], [Y/Fe], and [Sr/Fe] ratios and confirm the overabundance of these s-process elements in the atmosphere of IN Com.

Doppler image for the PEPSI at VATT spectra. The corresponding mid-UT date is 11 March, 2017.

 

Read more: Kovari et al. 2019, A&A 624, A83

First ZDI with PEPSI

We present a temperature and a magnetic-field surface map of the K2 subgiant of the active binary II Peg. Employed are high resolution Stokes IV spectra obtained with the new Potsdam Echelle Polarimetric and Spectroscopic Instrument (PEPSI) at the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT). Our main result is that the temperature features on II Peg closely correlate with its magnetic field topology. We find a warm spot (350K warmer with respect to the effective temperature) of positive polarity and radial field density of 1.1 kG coexisting with a cool spot (780K cooler) of negative polarity of 2 kG.

Temperature map from four different viewing angles.

Magnetic field map from four different viewing angles.

Read more: Strassmeier, Carroll & Ilyin 2019 A&A, 625, 27 

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Revised carbon 12C/13C isotope ratio of α Aurigae

The new measure of the carbon 12C/13C isotope ratio of the primary component of Capella, 17.8 ± 1.9, using high-resolution R ≈ 250 000 spectra obtained with PEPSI at both the Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope (VATT) and the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) is significantly lower than the previous value of 27 ± 4 but now agrees better with the recent model prediction of 18.8-20.7.

The spectrum synthesis fitting.

Read more: Sablowski et al. 2019 A&A, 622, L11

 

 

EK Draconis showing evidence for starspot penumbrae

The first temperature surface map of EK Dra from very-high-resolution spectra obtained with the Potsdam Echelle Polarimetric and Spectroscopic Instrument (PEPSI) at the Large Binocular Telescope shows four cool spots. The temperature morphology of one of them appears to show so far the best evidence for the existence of a solar-like penumbra for a starspot.

Left: Temperature Doppler image of EK Draconis. Right: iMap reconstruction of the spot that indicates evidence for penumbra.

Read more: Järvinen et al. 2018, A&A, 620, 162

 

KELT-9 b optical Mg I triplet detected

PEPSI has detected the optical Mg I triplet at 7.8-sigma in the extended atmosphere of the ultra-hot Jupiter KELT-9 b. Constraints are placed on the density and radial extent of the excited hydrogen envelope.

Average line profiles for the Mg triplet lines of the Kelt-9 b atmosphere.
Average line profiles for the Mg triplet lines of the Kelt-9 b atmosphere. ST is the ratio stellar spectrum in transit divided by stellar spectrum out of transit. Possible contaminating atomic transitions are marked with vertical red lines. Spectral resolution R is 50,000.

 

Read more: Cauley et al., 2019, AJ 157, 69

Want a PEPSI? Performance status of the recently commissioned high-resolution spectrograph and polarimeter for the 2×8.4m Large Binocular Telescope

PEPSI is the new fiber-fed and stabilized “Potsdam Echelle Polarimetric and Spectroscopic Instrument” for the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT). It covers the entire optical wavelength range from 384 to 913 nm in three exposures at resolutions of either R=λ/▵λ=50,000, 130,000 or 250,000. The R=130,000 mode can also be used with two dual-beam Stokes IQUV polarimeters. The 50,000-mode with its 12-pix sampling per resolution element is our “bad seeing” or “faint-object” mode. A robotic solar-disk-integration (SDI) telescope feeds solar light to PEPSI during day time and a 450-m fiber feed from the 1.8m VATT can be used when the LBT is busy otherwise. CCD characterization and a removal procedure for the spatial fixed-pattern noise were the main tasks left from the commissioning phase. Several SDI spectral time series with up to 300 individual spectra per day recovered the well-known solar 5-minute oscillation at a peak of 3 mHz (5.5min) with a disk-integrated radial-velocity amplitude of only 47 cm/s. Spectral atlases for 50 bright benchmark stars including the Sun were recently released to the scientific community, among them the ancient planet- system host Kepler-444. These data combine PEPSI’s high spectral resolution of R=250,000 with signal-to-noise ratio (S/N) of many hundreds to even thousands covering the entire optical to near-infrared wavelength range from 384 to 913 nm. Other early science cases were exoplanet transits including TRAPPIST-1, a spectrum of Boyajian’s star that revealed strong and structured but stable ISM Na D lines, a spectrum of Oph allowing a redetermination of the ISM Li line doublet, and a first Doppler image of the young solar analog EK Dra that revealed starspots with solar-like penumbrae.

Read more: Strassmeier et al. 2018, SPIE 10702, id. 1070212

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