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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PEPSI deep spectra. III. Chemical analysis of the ancient planet-host star Kepler-444

Context. With the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT), we obtained a spectrum with PEPSI, its new optical high-resolution échelle spectrograph. The spectrum has very high resolution and a high signal-to-noise (S/N) and is of the K0V host Kepler-444, which is known to host five sub-Earth-sized rocky planets. The spectrum has a resolution of R ≈ 250 000, a continuous wavelength coverage from 4230 Å to 9120 Å, and an S/N between 150-550:1 (blue to red). Aim. We performed a detailed chemical analysis to determine the photospheric abundances of 18 chemical elements. These were used to place constraints on the bulk composition of the five rocky planets.
Methods: Our spectral analysis employs the equivalent-width method for most of our spectral lines, but we used spectral synthesis to fit a small number of lines that required special care. In both cases, we derived our abundances using the MOOG spectral analysis package and Kurucz model atmospheres.
Results: We find no correlation between elemental abundance and condensation temperature among the refractory elements (TC > 950 K). In addition, using our spectroscopic stellar parameters and isochrone fitting, we find an age of 10 ± 1.5 Gyr, which is consistent with the asteroseismic age of 11 ± 1 Gyr. Finally, from the photospheric abundances of Mg, Si, and Fe, we estimate that the typical Fe-core mass fraction for the rocky planets in the Kepler-444 system is approximately 24%.
Conclusions: If our estimate of the Fe-core mass fraction is confirmed by more detailed modeling of the disk chemistry and simulations of planet formation and evolution in the Kepler-444 system, then this would suggest that rocky planets in more metal-poor and α-enhanced systems may tend to be less dense than their counterparts of comparable size in more metal-rich systems.

Read more: Mack, Strassmeier, Ilyin, Schuler, Spada, Barnes, 2018, A&A, 612A, 46

PEPSI deep spectra. II. Gaia benchmark stars and other M-K standards

Context. High-resolution échelle spectra confine many essential stellar parameters once the data reach a quality appropriate to constrain the various physical processes that form these spectra. Aim. We provide a homogeneous library of high-resolution, high-S/N spectra for 48 bright AFGKM stars, some of them approaching the quality of solar-flux spectra. Our sample includes the northern Gaia benchmark stars, some solar analogs, and some other bright Morgan-Keenan (M-K) spectral standards.
Methods: Well-exposed deep spectra were created by average-combining individual exposures. The data-reduction process relies on adaptive selection of parameters by using statistical inference and robust estimators. We employed spectrum synthesis techniques and statistics tools in order to characterize the spectra and give a first quick look at some of the science cases possible.
Results: With an average spectral resolution of R ≈ 220 000 (1.36 km s-1), a continuous wavelength coverage from 383 nm to 912 nm, and S/N of between 70:1 for the faintest star in the extreme blue and 6000:1 for the brightest star in the red, these spectra are now made public for further data mining and analysis. Preliminary results include new stellar parameters for 70 Vir and α Tau, the detection of the rare-earth element dysprosium and the heavy elements uranium, thorium and neodymium in several RGB stars, and the use of the 12C to 13C isotope ratio for age-related determinations. We also found Arcturus to exhibit few-percent Ca II H&K and Hα residual profile changes with respect to the KPNO atlas taken in 1999.

Read more: Strassmeier, Ilyin, Weber, 2018, A&A, 612A, 45

PEPSI deep spectra. I. The Sun-as-a-star

Context. Full-disk solar flux spectra can be directly compared to stellar spectra and thereby serve as our most important reference source for, for example stellar chemical abundances, magnetic activity phenomena, radial-velocity signatures or global pulsations. Aim. As part of the first Potsdam Echelle Polarimetric and Spectroscopic Instrument (PEPSI) key-science project, we aim to provide well-exposed and average-combined (viz. deep) high-resolution spectra of representative stellar targets. Such deep spectra contain an overwhelming amount of information, typically much more than what could be analyzed and discussed within a single publication. Therefore, these spectra will be made available in form of (electronic) atlases. The first star in this series of papers is our Sun. It also acts as a system-performance cornerstone.
Methods: The Sun was monitored with PEPSI at the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT). Instead of the LBT we used a small robotic solar disk integration (SDI) telescope. The deep spectra in this paper are the results of combining up to ≈100 consecutive exposures per wavelength setting and are compared with other solar flux atlases.
Results: Our software for the optimal data extraction and reduction of PEPSI spectra is described and verified with the solar data. Three deep solar flux spectra with a spectral resolution of up to 270 000, a continuous wavelength coverage from 383 nm to 914 nm, and a photon signal to noise ratio (S/N) of between 2000-8000:1 depending on wavelength are presented. Additionally, a time-series of 996 high-cadence spectra in one cross disperser is used to search for intrinsic solar modulations. The wavelength calibration based on Th-Ar exposures and simultaneous Fabry-Pérot combs enables an absolute wavelength solution within 10 m s-1 (rms) with respect to the HARPS laser-comb solar atlas and a relative rms of 1.2 m s-1 for one day. For science demonstration, we redetermined the disk-average solar Li abundance to 1.09 ± 0.04 dex on the basis of 3D NLTE model atmospheres. We detected disk-averaged p-mode RV oscillations with a full amplitude of 47 cm s-1 at 5.5 min.
Conclusions: Comparisons with two solar FTS atlases, as well as with the HARPS solar atlas, validate the PEPSI data product. Now, PEPSI/SDI solar-flux spectra are being taken with a sampling of one deep spectrum per day, and are supposed to continue a full magnetic cycle of the Sun.

Read more:  Strassmeier, Ilyin, Steffen, 2018, A&A, 612A, 44

AIP press release on PEPSI

First PEPSI data release

9 January 2018. The Potsdam Echelle Polarimetric and Spectroscopic Instrument (PEPSI) at the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) in Arizona released its first batch of high-spectral resolution data to the scientific community. In a series of three papers in the European journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, the PEPSI team presents a new spectral atlas of the Sun, a total of 48 atlases of bright benchmark stars, and a detailed analysis of the chemical abundances of the 10-billion year old planet-system host Kepler-444.

Read more on the AIP website.

Kelt-21b: A hot Jupiter transiting the rapidly-rotating metal-poor late-A primary of a likely hierarchical triple system

We present the discovery of KELT-21b, a hot Jupiter transiting the V = 10.5 A8V star HD 332124. The planet has an orbital period of P = 3.6127647 ± 0.0000033 days and a radius of 1.586 RJ. We set an upper limit on the planetary mass of MP< 3.91 MJ at 3σ confidence. We confirmed the planetary nature of the transiting companion using this mass limit and Doppler tomographic observations to verify that the companion transits HD 332124. These data also demonstrate that the planetary orbit is well-aligned with the stellar spin, with a sky-projected spin-orbit misalignment of λ =-5.6° . The star has Teff=7598 K, M=1.458 M☉ , R=1.638 R☉ , and vsini=146 km s-1, the highest projected rotation velocity of any star known to host a transiting hot Jupiter. The star also appears to be somewhat metal poor and α-enhanced, with Fe/H=-0.405 and [α/Fe] = 0.145 ± 0.053 these abundances are unusual, but not extraordinary, for a young star with thin-disk kinematics like KELT-21. High-resolution imaging observations revealed the presence of a pair of stellar companions to KELT-21, located at a separation of 1.″2 and with a combined contrast of 6.39 with respect to the primary. Although these companions are most likely physically associated with KELT-21, we cannot confirm this with our current data. If associated, the candidate companions KELT-21 B and C would each have masses of ∼0.12 M☉ , a projected mutual separation of ∼20 au, and a projected separation of ∼500 au from KELT-21. KELT-21b may be one of only a handful of known transiting planets in hierarchical triple stellar systems.

Read more: Johnson et al. 2018, AJ, 2018, 155, 100