B. D. Carter

University of Southern Queensland , Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia

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Publications (25)104.6 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Determining the orbital eccentricity of an extrasolar planet is critically important for understanding the system's dynamical environment and history. However, eccentricity is often poorly determined or entirely mischaracterized due to poor observational sampling, low signal-to-noise, and/or degeneracies with other planetary signals. Some systems previously thought to contain a single, moderate-eccentricity planet have been shown, after further monitoring, to host two planets on nearly-circular orbits. We investigate published apparent single-planet systems to see if the available data can be better fit by two lower-eccentricity planets. We identify nine promising candidate systems and perform detailed dynamical tests to confirm the stability of the potential new multiple-planet systems. Finally, we compare the expected orbits of the single- and double-planet scenarios to better inform future observations of these interesting systems.
    The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series 07/2013; 208(1). · 16.24 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We report the detection of two new planets from the Anglo-Australian Planet Search. These planets orbit two stars each previously known to host one planet. The new planet orbiting HD 142 has a period of 6005\pm427 days, and a minimum mass of 5.3M_Jup. HD142c is thus a new Jupiter analog: a gas-giant planet with a long period and low eccentricity (e = 0.21 \pm 0.07). The second planet in the HD 159868 system has a period of 352.3\pm1.3 days, and m sin i=0.73\pm0.05 M_Jup. In both of these systems, including the additional planets in the fitting process significantly reduced the eccentricity of the original planet. These systems are thus examples of how multiple-planet systems can masquerade as moderately eccentric single-planet systems.
    The Astrophysical Journal 05/2012; 753(2). · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Determining the occurrence rate of terrestrial-mass planets (m_p < 10M_earth) is a critically important step on the path towards determining the frequency of Earth-like planets (eta-Earth), and hence the uniqueness of our Solar system. Current radial-velocity surveys, achieving precisions of 1 m/s, are able to detect terrestrial-mass planets and provide meaningful estimates of their occurrence rate. We present an analysis of 67 solar-type stars from the Anglo-Australian Planet Search specifically targeted for very high-precision observations. When corrected for incompleteness, we find that the planet occurrence rate increases sharply with decreasing planetary mass. Our results are consistent with those from other surveys: in periods shorter than 50 days, we find that 1.5% of stars host a giant (m_p > 100M_earth) planet, and that 18.5% of stars host a planet with m_p < 10M_earth. The preponderance of low-mass planets in short-period orbits is in conflict with formation simulations in which the majority of terrestrial-mass planets reside at larger orbital distances. This work gives a hint as to the size of eta-Earth, but to make meaningful predictions on the frequency of terrestrial planets in longer, potentially habitable orbits, low-mass terrestrial planet searches at periods of 100-200 days must be made an urgent priority for ground-based Doppler planet searches in the years ahead.
    The Astrophysical Journal 03/2011; · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The Anglo-Australian Planet Search has now accumulated 12 years of radial-velocity data with long-term instrumental precision better than 3 m s–1. In this paper, we expand on earlier simulation work, to probe the frequency of near-circular, long-period gas-giant planets residing at orbital distances of 3-6 AU—the so-called Jupiter analogs. We present the first comprehensive analysis of the frequency of these objects based on radial-velocity data. We find that 3.3% of stars in our sample host Jupiter analogs; detailed, star-by-star simulations show that no more than 37% of stars host a giant planet between 3 and 6 AU.
    The Astrophysical Journal 01/2011; 727(2):102. · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Radial-velocity planet search campaigns are now beginning to detect low-mass "Super-Earth" planets, with minimum masses M sin i < 10 M_earth. Using two independently-developed methods, we have derived detection limits from nearly four years of the highest-precision data on 24 bright, stable stars from the Anglo-Australian Planet Search. Both methods are more conservative than a human analysing an individual observed data set, as is demonstrated by the fact that both techniques would detect the radial velocity signals announced as exoplanets for the 61 Vir system in 50% of trials. There are modest differences between the methods which can be recognised as arising from particular criteria that they adopt. What both processes deliver is a quantitative selection process such that one can use them to draw quantitative conclusions about planetary frequency and orbital parameter distribution from a given data set. Averaging over all 24 stars, in the period range P<300 days and the eccentricity range 0.0<e<0.6, we could have detected 99% of planets with velocity amplitudes K>7.1 m/s. For the best stars in the sample, we are able to detect or exclude planets with K>3 m/s, corresponding to minimum masses of 8 M_earth (P=5 days) or 17 M_earth (P=50 days). Our results indicate that the observed "period valley," a lack of giant planets (M>100 M_earth) with periods between 10-100 days, is indeed real. However, for planets in the mass range 10-100 M_earth, our results suggest that the deficit of such planets may be a result of selection effects. Comment: ApJ, accepted
    The Astrophysical Journal 08/2010; · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Direct imaging of brown dwarfs as companions to solar-type stars can provide a wealth of well-constrained data to "benchmark" the physics of such objects, since quantities like metallicity and age can be determined from their well-studied primaries. We present results from an adaptive optics imaging program on stars drawn from the Anglo-Australian and Keck Planet Search projects, with the aim of directly imaging known cool companions. Simulations have modeled the expected contrast ratios and separations of known companions using estimates of orbital parameters available from current radial-velocity data and then a selection of the best case objects were followed-up with high contrast imaging to attempt to directly image these companions. These simulations suggest that only a very small number of radial-velocity detected exoplanets with consistent velocity fits and age estimates could potentially be directly imaged using the VLT's Simultaneous Differential Imaging system and only under favorable conditions. We also present detectability confidence limits from the radial-velocity data sets and show how these can be used to gain a better understanding of these systems when combined with the imaging data. For HD32778 and HD91204 the detectabilities help little in constraining the companion and hence almost all our knowledge is drawn from the SDI images. Therefore, we can say that these stars do not host cool methane objects, out to on-sky separations of ~2'', with contrasts less than 10-11 magnitudes. However, for HD25874, HD120780 and HD145825, the contrasts and detectabilities can rule out a number of possible solutions, particularly at low angular separations, and for the best case, down to strong methane masses of 40MJ at 1'' separation. The contrast curves constructed for these five stars show 5 sigma contrasts (Delta F1) of ~9.2-11.5 magnitudes at separations of >/=0.6'', which correspond to contrasts of ~9.7-12.0 magnitudes for companions of mid-T spectral type. Such limits allow us to reach down to 40MJ around fairly old field dwarfs that typically constitute high precision radial-velocity programs. Finally, the analysis performed here can serve as a template for future projects that will employ extreme-AO systems to directly image planets already indirectly discovered by the radial-velocity method. Comment: 12 pages, 15 figures, accepted for publication in A&A
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 03/2010; · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We report first results from the Anglo-Australian Telescope Rocky Planet Search—an intensive, high-precision Doppler planet search targeting low-mass exoplanets in contiguous 48 night observing blocks. On this run, we targeted 24 bright, nearby and intrinsically stable Sun-like stars selected from the Anglo-Australian Planet Search's main sample. These observations have already detected one low-mass planet reported elsewhere (HD 16417b), and here we reconfirm the detection of HD 4308b. Further, we have Monte Carlo simulated data from this run on a star-by-star basis to produce robust detection constraints. These simulations demonstrate clear differences in the exoplanet detectability functions from star to star due to differences in sampling, data quality and intrinsic stellar stability. They reinforce the importance of star-by-star simulation when interpreting the data from Doppler planet searches. These simulations indicate that for some of our target stars we are sensitive to close-orbiting planets as small as a few Earth masses. The two low-mass planets present in our 24-star sample indicate that the exoplanet minimum mass function at low masses is likely to be a flat α ~ –1 (for dN/dM M α) and that between 15% ± 10% (at α = –0.3) and 48% ± 34% (at α = –1.3) of stars host planets with orbital periods of less than 16 days and minimum masses greater than 3 M ⊕.
    The Astrophysical Journal 08/2009; 701(2):1732. · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present a catalog of nearby exoplanets. It contains the 172 known low-mass companions with orbits established through radial velocity and transit measurements around stars within 200 pc. We include five previously unpublished exoplanets orbiting the stars HD 11964, HD 66428, HD 99109, HD 107148, and HD 164922. We update orbits for 83 additional exoplanets, including many whose orbits have not been revised since their announcement, and include radial velocity time series from the Lick, Keck, and Anglo-Australian Observatory planet searches. Both these new and previously published velocities are more precise here due to improvements in our data reduction pipeline, which we applied to archival spectra. We present a brief summary of the global properties of the known exoplanets, including their distributions of orbital semimajor axis, minimum mass, and orbital eccentricity.
    The Astrophysical Journal 12/2008; 646(1):505. · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Precise Doppler measurements from the Anglo-Australian Telescope (AAT) UCLES spectrometer reveal two companions to both HD 154857 and HD 160691. The inner companion to HD 154857 has a period of 398 days, an eccentricity of 0.51, and a minimum mass of 1.8MJ. An outer companion has a period much longer than 2 yr and is currently detected only as a linear trend of 14 m s-1 yr-1. The inner companion to HD 160691, previously announced from AAT data, has a period of 645 days, an eccentricity of 0.20, and a minimum mass of 1.7MJ. For the outer planet, whose orbit is less well constrained, a two-Keplerian fit yields a period of 8.2 yr, an eccentricity of 0.57, and a minimum mass of 3.1MJ. With these orbital parameters, its maximum separation from the star of 04 makes it a viable target for direct imaging.
    The Astrophysical Journal 12/2008; · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present a preliminary analysis of the sensitivity of Anglo-Australian Planet Search data to the orbital parameters of extrasolar planets. To do so, we have developed new tools for the automatic analysis of large-scale simulations of Doppler velocity planet search data. One of these tools is the 2-Dimensional Keplerian Lomb-Scargle periodogram, that enables the straightforward detection of exoplanets with high eccentricities (something the standard Lomb-Scargle periodogram routinely fails to do). We used this technique to re-determine the orbital parameters of HD20782b, with one of the highest known exoplanet eccentricities (e=0.97+/-0.01). We also derive a set of detection criteria that do not depend on the distribution functions of fitted Keplerian orbital parameters (which we show are non-Gaussian with pronounced, extended wings). Using these tools, we examine the selection functions in orbital period, eccentricity and planet mass of Anglo-Australian Planet Search data for three planets with large-scale Monte Carlo-like simulations. We find that the detectability of exoplanets declines at high eccentricities. However, we also find that exoplanet detectability is a strong function of epoch-to-epoch data quality, number of observations, and period sampling. This strongly suggests that simple parametrisations of the detectability of exoplanets based on "whole-of-survey" metrics may not be accurate. We have derived empirical relationships between the uncertainty estimates for orbital parameters that are derived from least-squares Keplerian fits to our simulations, and the true 99% limits for the errors in those parameters, which are larger than equivalent Gaussian limits by factors of 5-10. (abridged) Comment: 16 pages, 20 figures, accepted to MNRAS
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 10/2008; · 5.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Doppler-shift measurements with a remarkable precision of Δλ/λ=3×10−9, corresponding to velocities of 1 m s−1, have been made repeatedly of 2500 stars located within 300 light years. The observed gravitational perturbations of the stars have revealed 250 orbiting planets, with 27 that cross in front of the host star, blocking a fraction of the starlight to allow measurement of the planet's mass, radius and density. Two new discoveries are the first good analog of Jupiter (HD 154345b) and the first system of five planets (55 Cancri). The predominantly eccentric orbits of exoplanets probably result from planet–planet gravitational interactions or angular momentum exchange by mean-motion resonances. The planet mass distribution ranges from ~15 MJUP to as low as ~5 MEarth and rises toward lower masses as dN/dM∝M−1.1. The distribution with orbital distance, a, rises (in logarithmic intervals) as dN/d log a∝a+0.4. Extrapolation and integration suggests that 19% of all Sun-like stars harbor a gas-giant planet within 20 AU, but there remains considerable incompleteness for large orbits. Beyond 20 AU, the occurrence of gas-giant planets may be less than a few per cent as protoplanetary disk material there has lower densities and is vulnerable to destruction. Jupiter-mass planets occur more commonly around more massive stars than low mass stars. The transit of the Neptune-mass planet, Gliese 436b, yields a density of 1.55 g cm−3 suggesting that its interior has an iron–silicate core surrounded by an envelope of water–ice and an outer H–He shell. Planets with masses as low as five Earth-masses may be commonly composed of iron–nickel, rock and water along with significant amounts of H and He, making the term 'super-Earth' misleading. The transiting planet HD147506b has high orbital eccentricity but no significant orbital inclination to the line of sight, presenting a puzzle about its history. Its orbit together with the mean motion resonances of 4 of the 22 multi-planet systems provides further evidence for the role of planet–planet interactions in shaping planetary architectures.
    Physica Scripta 07/2008; 2008(T130):014001. · 1.03 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present elemental abundances of 118 stars (28 of which are known extrasolar planetary host stars) observed as part of the Anglo-Australian Planet Search. Abundances of O, Mg, Cr, Y, Zr, Ba, Nd and Eu (along with previously published abundances for C and Si) are presented. This study is one of the first to specifically examine planetary host stars for the heavy elements produced by neutron capture reactions. We find that the host stars are chemically different to both the standard solar abundance and non-host stars in all elements studied, with enrichments over non-host stars ranging from 0.06 dex (for O) to 0.11 dex (for Cr and Y). Such abundance trends are in agreement with other previous studies of field stars and lead us to conclude that the chemical anomalies observed in planetary host stars are the result of normal galactic chemical evolution processes. Based on this observation, we conclude that the observed chemical traits of planetary host stars are primordial in origin, coming from the original nebula and not from a ``pollution'' process occurring during or after formation and that planet formation occurs naturally with the evolution of stellar material.
    The Astrophysical Journal 04/2008; 682. · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    01/2008;
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    ABSTRACT: Six nights of observations were taken over a period of 4yr. The observations were made using the University College London Echelle Spectrograph mounted on the 3.9-m Anglo-Australian Telescope (AAT). (1 data file).
    VizieR Online Data Catalog. 05/2007;
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    ABSTRACT: Six nights of observations were taken over a period of 4yr. The observations were made using the University College London Echelle Spectrograph mounted on the 3.9-m Anglo-Australian Telescope (AAT). (1 data file).
    VizieR Online Data Catalog. 05/2007;
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    ABSTRACT: We present four new exoplanets: HIP 14810 b & c, HD 154345 b, and HD 187123 c. The two planets orbiting HIP 14810, from the N2K project, have masses of 3.9 and 0.76 M_jup. We have searched the radial velocity time series of 90 known exoplanet systems and found new residual trends due to additional, long period companions. Two stars known to host one exoplanet have sufficient curvature in the residuals to a one planet fit to constrain the minimum mass of the outer companion to be substellar: HD 68988 c with 8 M_jup < M sini < 20 M_jup and HD 187123 c with 3 M_jup < msini < 7 M_jup$, both with P > 8 y. We have also searched the velocity residuals of known exoplanet systems for prospective low-amplitude exoplanets and present some candidates. We discuss techniques for constraining the mass and period of exoplanets in such cases, and for quantifying the significance of weak RV signals. We also present two substellar companions with incomplete orbits and periods longer than 8 y: HD 24040 b and HD 154345 b with M sini < 20 M_jup and M sini < 10 M_jup, respectively.
    The Astrophysical Journal 12/2006; · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Spectroscopic observations of the target stars were obtained at the 3.9-m Anglo-Australian Telescope (AAT) between 1998 January and 2000 November as part of the AAPS. All of the spectra used were obtained with the University College London Echelle Spectrograph using the 31.6lines/mm echelle grating. (2 data files).
    VizieR Online Data Catalog. 11/2006;
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    ABSTRACT: We present the results of a uniform, high-precision spectroscopic metallicity study of 136 G-type stars from the Anglo-Australian Planet Search, 20 of which are known to harbour extrasolar planets (as at 2005 July). Abundances in Fe, C, Na, Al, Si, Ca, Ti and Ni are presented, along with Strömgen photometric metallicities. This study is one of several recent studies examining the metallicities of a sample of planet-host and non-planet-host stars that were obtained from a single sample, and analysed in an identical manner, providing an unbiased estimate of the metallicity trends for planet-bearing stars. We find that non-parametric tests of the distribution of metallicities for planet-host and non-planet-host stars are significantly different at a level of 99.4 per cent confidence. We confirm the previously observed trend for planet-host stars to have higher mean metallicities than non-planet-host stars, with a mean metallicity for planet-host stars of [Fe/H]= 0.06 ± 0.03 dex compared with [Fe/H]=−0.09 ± 0.01 dex for non-host-stars in our sample. This enrichment is also seen in the other elements studied. Based on our findings, we suggest that this observed enhancement is more likely a relic of the original gas cloud from which the star and its planets formed, rather than being due to ‘pollution’ of the stellar photosphere.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 07/2006; 370(1):163 - 173. · 5.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We have acquired high-resolution echelle spectra of 225 F6-M5 type stars in the southern hemisphere. The stars are targets or candidates to be targets for the Anglo-Australian Planet Search. CaII HK line cores were used to derive activity indices for all of these objects. The indices were converted to the Mt. Wilson system of measurements and logR'HK values determined. A number of these stars had no previously derived activity indices. In addition we have also included the stars from Tinney et al. (2002) using our Mt. Wilson calibration. The radial-velocity instability (also known as jitter) level was determined for all 21 planet-host stars in our dataset. We find the jitter to be at a level considerably below the radial-velocity signatures in all but one of these systems. 19 stars from our sample were found to be active (logR'HK > -4.5) and thus have high levels of jitter. Radial-velocity analysis for planetary companions to these stars should precede with caution. Comment: 12 pages, 4 figures, 2 tables
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 07/2006; · 5.52 Impact Factor