S. Udry

University of Geneva, Genève, Geneva, Switzerland

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Publications (755)1828.56 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: High-precision radial velocity surveys explore the population of low-mass exoplanets orbiting bright stars. This allows accurately deriving their orbital parameters such as their occurrence rate and the statistical distribution of their properties. Based on this, models of planetary formation and evolution can be constrained. The SOPHIE spectrograph has been continuously improved in past years, and thanks to an appropriate correction of systematic instrumental drift, it is now reaching 2 m/s precision in radial velocity measurements on all timescales. As part of a dedicated radial velocity survey devoted to search for low-mass planets around a sample of 190 bright solar-type stars in the northern hemisphere, we report the detection of a warm Neptune with a minimum mass of 16.1 +- 2.7 Mearth orbiting the solar analog HD164595 in 40 +- 0.24 days . We also revised the parameters of the multiplanetary system around HD190360. We discuss this new detection in the context of the upcoming space mission CHEOPS, which is devoted to a transit search of bright stars harboring known exoplanets.
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    ABSTRACT: We present the discovery by the WASP-South survey, in close collaboration with the Euler and TRAPPIST telescopes, of WASP-121 b, a new remarkable short-period transiting hot Jupiter, whose planetary nature has been statistically validated by the PASTIS software. The planet has a mass of $1.183_{-0.062}^{+0.064}$ $M_{\mathrm{Jup}}$, a radius of 1.865 $\pm$ 0.044 $R_{\mathrm{Jup}}$, and transits every $1.2749255_{-0.0000025}^{+0.0000020}$ days an active F6-type main-sequence star ($V$=10.4, $1.353_{-0.079}^{+0.080}$ $M_{\odot}$, 1.458 $\pm$ 0.030 $R_{\odot}$, $T_{\mathrm{eff}}$ = 6460 $\pm$ 140 K). A notable property of WASP-121 b is that its orbital semi-major axis is only $\sim$1.15 times larger than its Roche limit, which suggests that the planet might be close to tidal disruption. Furthermore, its large size and extreme irradiation ($\sim$$7.1\:10^{9}$ erg $\mathrm{s}^{-1} \mathrm{cm}^{-2}$) make it an excellent target for atmospheric studies via secondary eclipse observations. Using the TRAPPIST telescope, we indeed detect its emission in the $z'$-band at better than $\sim$4$\sigma$, the measured occultation depth being 603 $\pm$ 130 ppm. Finally, from a measurement of the Rossiter-McLaughlin effect with the CORALIE spectrograph, we infer a sky-projected spin-orbit angle of $257.8_{-5.5}^{+5.3}$ deg. This result indicates a significant misalignment between the spin axis of the host star and the orbital plane of the planet, the planet being in a nearly polar orbit. Such a high misalignment suggests a migration of the planet involving strong dynamical events with a third body.
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    ABSTRACT: Astrometric monitoring of the nearby early-L dwarf DE0823$-$49 has revealed a low-mass companion in a 248-day orbit that was announced in an earlier work. Here, we present new astrometric and spectroscopic observations that allow us to characterise the system in detail. The optical spectrum shows LiI-absorption indicative of a young age and/or substellar mass for the primary component. The near-infrared spectrum is best reproduced by a binary system of brown dwarfs with spectral types of L1.5 $+$ L5.5 and effective temperatures of $2150\pm100$ K and $1670\pm140$ K. To conform with the photocentric orbit size measured with astrometry and the current understanding of substellar evolution, the system must have an age in the 80--500 Myr range. Evolutionary models predict component masses in the ranges of $M_1\simeq0.028-0.063\,M_\odot$ and $M_2\simeq0.018-0.045\,M_\odot$ with a mass ratio of $q\simeq0.64-0.74$. Multi-epoch radial velocity measurements unambiguously establish the three-dimensional orbit of the system and allow us to investigate its kinematic properties. DE0823$-$49 emerges as a rare example of a nearby brown dwarf binary with orbit, component properties, and age that are characterised well. It is a juvenile resident of the solar neighbourhood, but does not appear to belong to a known young association or moving group.
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 05/2015; DOI:10.1051/0004-6361/201425536 · 4.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The detection of reflected light from an exoplanet is a difficult technical challenge at optical wavelengths. Even though this signal is expected to replicate the stellar signal, not only is it several orders of magnitude fainter, but it is also hidden among the stellar noise. We apply a variant of the cross-correlation technique to HARPS observations of 51 Peg to detect the reflected signal from planet 51 Peg b. Our method makes use of the cross-correlation function of a binary mask with high-resolution spectra to amplify the minute planetary signal that is present in the spectra by a factor proportional to the number of spectral lines when performing the cross correlation. The resulting cross-correlation functions are then normalized by a stellar template to remove the stellar signal. Carefully selected sections of the resulting normalized CCFs are stacked to increase the planetary signal further. The recovered signal allows probing several of the planetary properties, including its real mass and albedo. We detect evidence for the reflected signal from planet 51 Peg b at a significance of 3\sigma_noise. The detection of the signal permits us to infer a real mass of 0.46^+0.06_-0.01 M_Jup (assuming a stellar mass of 1.04\;M_Sun) for the planet and an orbital inclination of 80^+10_-19 degrees. The analysis of the data also allows us to infer a tentative value for the (radius-dependent) geometric albedo of the planet. The results suggest that 51Peg b may be an inflated hot Jupiter with a high albedo (e.g., an albedo of 0.5 yields a radius of 1.9 \pm 0.3 R_Jup for a signal amplitude of 6.0\pm0.4 x 10^-5). We confirm that the method we perfected can be used to retrieve an exoplanet's reflected signal, even with current observing facilities. The advent of next generation of observing facilities will yield new opportunities for this type of technique to probe deeper into exoplanets.
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 04/2015; 576:A134. DOI:10.1051/0004-6361/201425298 · 4.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Using astrometric measurements obtained with the FORS2/VLT camera, we are searching for low-mass companions around 20 nearby ultracool dwarfs. With a single-measurement precision of 0.1 milli-arcseconds, our survey is sensitive to a wide range of companion masses from planetary companions to binary systems. Here, we report the discovery and orbit characterisation of a new ultracool binary at a distance of 19.5 pc from Earth that is composed of the M8.5-dwarf primary DE0630-18 and a substellar companion. The nearly edge-on orbit is moderately eccentric (e=0.23) with an orbital period of 1120 d, which corresponds to a relative separation in semimajor axis of approximately 1.1 AU. We obtained a high-resolution optical spectrum with UVES/VLT and measured the system's heliocentric radial velocity. The spectrum does not exhibit lithium absorption at 670.8 nm, indicating that the system is not extremely young. A preliminary estimate of the binary's physical parameters tells us that it is composed of a primary at the stellar-substellar limit and a massive brown-dwarf companion. DE0630-18 is a new very low-mass binary system with a well-characterised orbit.
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    ABSTRACT: We performed a uniform and detailed abundance analysis of 12 refractory elements (Na, Mg, Al, Si, Ca, Ti, Cr, Ni, Co, Sc, Mn, and V) for a sample of 257 G- and K-type evolved stars from the CORALIE planet search program. To date, only one of these stars is known to harbor a planetary companion. We aimed to characterize this large sample of evolved stars in terms of chemical abundances and kinematics, thus setting a solid base for further analysis of planetary properties around giant stars. This sample, being homogeneously analyzed, can be used as a comparison sample for other planet-related studies, as well as for different type of studies related to stellar and Galaxy astrophysics. The abundances of the chemical elements were determined using an LTE abundance analysis relative to the Sun, with the spectral synthesis code MOOG and a grid of Kurucz ATLAS9 atmospheres. To separate the Galactic stellar populations both a purely kinematical approach and a chemical method were applied. We confirm the overabundance of Na in giant stars compared to the field FGK dwarfs. This enhancement might have a stellar evolutionary character, but departures from LTE may also produce a similar enhancement. Our chemical separation of stellar populations also suggests a "gap" in metallicity between the thick-disk and high-alpha metal-rich stars, as previously observed in dwarfs sample from HARPS. The present sample, as most of the giant star samples, also suffers from the B - V colour cut-off, which excludes low-log g stars with high metallicities, and high-logg star with low-[Fe/H]. For future studies of planet occurrence dependence on stellar metallicity around these evolved stars we suggest to use a sub-sample of stars in a "cut-rectangle" in the logg - [Fe/H] diagram to overcome the aforementioned issue.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 03/2015; 450(2). DOI:10.1093/mnras/stv716 · 5.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: WASP-80b is a missing link in the study of exo-atmospheres. It falls between the warm Neptunes and the hot Jupiters and is amenable for characterisation, thanks to its host star's properties. We observed the planet through transit and during occultation with Warm Spitzer. Combining our mid-infrared transits with optical time series, we find that the planet presents a transmission spectrum indistinguishable from a horizontal line. In emission, WASP-80b is the intrinsically faintest planet whose dayside flux has been detected in both the 3.6 and 4.5 $\mu$m Spitzer channels. The depths of the occultations reveal that WASP-80b is as bright and as red as a T4 dwarf, but that its temperature is cooler. If planets go through the equivalent of an L-T transition, our results would imply this happens at cooler temperatures than for brown dwarfs. Placing WASP-80b's dayside into a colour-magnitude diagram, it falls exactly at the junction between a blackbody model and the T-dwarf sequence; we cannot discern which of those two interpretations is the more likely. Flux measurements on other planets with similar equilibrium temperatures are required to establish whether irradiated gas giants, like brown dwarfs, transition between two spectral classes. An eventual detection of methane absorption in transmission would also help lift that degeneracy. We obtained a second series of high-resolution spectra during transit, using HARPS. We reanalyse the Rossiter-McLaughlin effect. The data now favour an aligned orbital solution and a stellar rotation nearly three times slower than stellar line broadening implies. A contribution to stellar line broadening, maybe macroturbulence, is likely to have been underestimated for cool stars, whose rotations have therefore been systematically overestimated. [abridged]
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 03/2015; 450(3). DOI:10.1093/mnras/stv706 · 5.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Results from exoplanet surveys indicate that small planets (super-Earth size and below) are abundant in our Galaxy. However, little is known about their interiors and atmospheres. There is therefore a need to find small planets transiting bright stars, which would enable a detailed characterization of this population of objects. We present the results of a search for the transit of the Earth-mass exoplanet α Centauri B b with the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). We observed α Centauri B twice in 2013 and 2014 for a total of 40 h. We achieve a precision of 115 ppm per 6-s exposure time in a highly saturated regime, which is found to be consistent across HST orbits. We rule out the transiting nature of α Centauri B b with the orbital parameters published in the literature at 96.6 per cent confidence. We find in our data a single transit-like event that could be associated with another Earth-sized planet in the system, on a longer period orbit. Our programme demonstrates the ability of HST to obtain consistent, high-precision photometry of saturated stars over 26 h of continuous observations.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 03/2015; 450(2). DOI:10.1093/mnras/stv673 · 5.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Atmospheric properties of exoplanets can be constrained with transit spectroscopy. The signature of atomic sodium NaI, known to be present above the clouds, is a powerful probe of the upper atmosphere, where it can be best detected and characterized at high spectral resolution. Our goal is to obtain a high-resolution transit spectrum of HD189733b in the region around the resonance doublet of NaI at 589 nm, to characterize the absorption signature previously detected from space at low resolution. We analyze archival transit data of HD189733b obtained with the HARPS spectrograph. We retrieve the transit spectrum and light curve of the planet, implementing corrections for telluric contamination and planetary orbital motion. We spectrally resolve the NaI D doublet and measure line contrasts of $0.64\pm0.07\%$ (D2) and $0.40\pm0.07\%$ (D1) and FWHMs of $0.52\pm0.08~\AA$. This corresponds to a detection at the 10-$\sigma$ level of excess of absorption of $0.32\pm0.03\%$ in a passband of $2\times0.75\ \AA$ centered on each line. We derive temperatures of $2\,600\pm600$ K and $3270\pm330$ K at altitudes of $9\,800\pm2\,800$ km and $12\,700\pm2\,600$ km in the NaI D1 and D2 line cores, respectively. We measure a temperature gradient of $\sim0.2$ K km$^{-1}$ from comparison with theoretical models. We also detect a blueshift of $0.16\pm0.04\ \AA$ (4 $\sigma$) in the line positions. This blueshift may be due to winds blowing at $8\pm2$ km s$^{-1}$ in the upper layers of the atmosphere. We demonstrate the relevance of studying exoplanet atmospheres with high-resolution spectrographs mounted on 4-meter-class telescopes. Our results pave the way towards in-depth characterization of physical conditions in the atmospheres of many exoplanetary systems with future spectrographs such as ESPRESSO on the VLT or HiReS and METIS on the E-ELT.
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 03/2015; 577. DOI:10.1051/0004-6361/201525729 · 4.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present new observations of the Kuiper belt analogues around HD 38858 and HD 20794, hosts of super-Earth mass planets within 1 au. As two of the four nearby G-type stars (with HD 69830 and 61 Vir) that form the basis of a possible correlation between low-mass planets and debris disc brightness, these systems are of particular interest. The disc around HD 38858 is well resolved with Herschel and we constrain the disc geometry and radial structure. We also present a probable JCMT sub-mm continuum detection of the disc and a CO J=2-1 upper limit. The disc around HD 20794 is much fainter and appears marginally resolved with Herschel, and is constrained to be less extended than the discs around 61 Vir and HD 38858. We also set limits on the radial location of hot dust recently detected around HD 20794 with near-IR interferom-etry. We present HARPS upper limits on unseen planets in these four systems, ruling out additional super-Earths within a few au, and Saturn-mass planets within 10 au. We consider the disc structure in the three systems with Kuiper belt analogues (HD 69830 has only a warm dust detection), concluding that 61 Vir and HD 38858 have greater radial disc extent than HD 20794. We speculate that the greater width is related to the greater minimum planet masses (10-20 M ⊕ vs. 3-5 M ⊕), arising from an eccentric planetesi-mal population analogous to the Solar System's scattered disc. We discuss alternative scenarios and possible means to distinguish among them. Key words: planetary systems: formation — planet-disc interactions — circumstellar matter — stars: individual: HD 20794 — stars: individual: 61 Vir — stars: individual: HD 69830 — stars: individual: HD 38858
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 03/2015; · 5.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present the performance of the Integral Field Spectrograph (IFS) of SPHERE, the high-contrast imager for the ESO VLT telescope designed to perform imaging and spectroscopy of extrasolar planets, obtained from tests performed at the Institute de Plan\'etologie et d'Astrophysique de Grenoble facility during the integration phase of the instrument.} {The tests were performed using the instrument software purposely prepared for SPHERE. The output data were reduced applying the SPHERE data reduction and handling software, adding an improved spectral deconvolution procedure. To this aim, we prepared an alternative procedure for the spectral subtraction exploiting the principal components analysis algorithm. Moreover, a simulated angular differential imaging procedure was also implemented to estimate how the instrument performed once this procedure was applied at telescope. The capability of the IFS to faithfully retrieve the spectra of the detected faint companions was also considered.} {We found that the application of the updated version of the spectral deconvolution procedure alone, when the algorithm throughput is properly taken into account, gives us a $5\sigma$ limiting contrast of the order of 5$\times$$10^{-6}$ or slightly better. The further application of the angular differential imaging procedure on these data should allow us to improve the contrast by one order of magnitude down to around 7$\times$$10^{-7}$ at a separation of 0.3 arcsec. The application of a principal components analysis procedure that simultaneously uses spectral and angular data gives comparable results. Finally, we found that the reproducibility of the spectra of the detected faint companions is greatly improved when angular differential imaging is applied in addition to the spectral deconvolution.
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    ABSTRACT: The study of stellar parameters of planet-hosting stars, such as metallicity and chemical abundances, help us to understand the theory of planet formation and stellar evolution. Here, we present a catalogue of accurate stellar atmospheric parameters and iron abundances for a sample of 257 K and G field evolved stars that are being surveyed for planets using precise radial--velocity measurements as part of the CORALIE programme to search for planets around giants. The analysis was done using a set of high--resolution and high--signal-to-noise Ultraviolet and Visible Echelle Spectrograph spectra. The stellar parameters were derived using Fe I and II ionization and excitation equilibrium methods. To take into account possible effects related to the choice of the lines on the derived parameters, we used three different iron line-list sets in our analysis, and the results differ among themselves by a small factor for most of stars. {For those stars with previous literature parameter estimates, we found very good agreement with our own values.} In the present catalogue we are providing new precise spectroscopic measurements of effective temperature, surface gravity, microturbulence, and metallicity for 190 stars for which it has not been found or published in previous articles.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 03/2015; 448(3). DOI:10.1093/mnras/stv189 · 5.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present new observations of the Kuiper belt analogues around HD 38858 and HD 20794, hosts of super-Earth mass planets within 1 au. As two of the four nearby G-type stars (with HD 69830 and 61 Vir) that form the basis of a possible correlation between low-mass planets and debris disc brightness, these systems are of particular interest. The disc around HD 38858 is well resolved with Herschel and we constrain the disc geometry and radial structure. We also present a probable JCMT sub-mm continuum detection of the disc and a CO J=2-1 upper limit. The disc around HD 20794 is much fainter and appears marginally resolved with Herschel, and is constrained to be less extended than the discs around 61 Vir and HD 38858. We also set limits on the radial location of hot dust recently detected around HD 20794 with near-IR interferometry. We present HARPS upper limits on unseen planets in these four systems, ruling out additional super-Earths within a few au, and Saturn-mass planets within 10 au. We consider the disc structure in the three systems with Kuiper belt analogues (HD 69830 has only a warm dust detection), concluding that 61 Vir and HD 38858 have greater radial disc extent than HD 20794. We speculate that the greater width is related to the greater minimum planet masses (10-20 $M_\oplus$ vs. 3-5 $M_\oplus$), arising from an eccentric planetesimal population analogous to the Solar System's scattered disc. We discuss alternative scenarios and possible means to distinguish among them.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 03/2015; 449(3). DOI:10.1093/mnras/stv511 · 5.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Kepler-93b is a 1.478 +/- 0.019 Earth radius planet with a 4.7 day period around a bright (V=10.2), astroseismically-characterized host star with a mass of 0.911+/-0.033 solar masses and a radius of 0.919+/-0.011 solar radii. Based on 86 radial velocity observations obtained with the HARPS-N spectrograph on the Telescopio Nazionale Galileo and 32 archival Keck/HIRES observations, we present a precise mass estimate of 4.02+/-0.68 Earth masses. The corresponding high density of 6.88+/-1.18 g/cc is consistent with a rocky composition of primarily iron and magnesium silicate. We compare Kepler-93b to other dense planets with well-constrained parameters and find that between 1-6 Earth masses, all dense planets including the Earth and Venus are well-described by the same fixed ratio of iron to magnesium silicate. There are as of yet no examples of such planets with masses > 6 Earth masses: All known planets in this mass regime have lower densities requiring significant fractions of volatiles or H/He gas. We also constrain the mass and period of the outer companion in the Kepler-93 system from the long-term radial velocity trend and archival adaptive optics images. As the sample of dense planets with well-constrained masses and radii continues to grow, we will be able to test whether the fixed compositional model found for the seven dense planets considered in this paper extends to the full population of 1-6 Earth mass planets.
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    ABSTRACT: We report the discovery of the transiting hot Jupiter exoplanet WASP-85Ab. Using a combined analysis of spectroscopic and photometric data, we determine that the planet orbits its host star every 2.66 days, and has a mass of 1.09+/-0.03 M_Jup and a radius of 1.44+/-0.02 R_Jup. The host star is of G5 spectral type, with magnitude V=11.2, and lies 125+/-80 pc distant. We find stellar parameters of T_eff=5685+/-65 K, super-solar metallicity ([Fe/H]=0.08+/-0.10), M_star=1.04+/-0.07 M_sun and R_star=0.96+/-0.13 R_sun. The system has a K-dwarf binary companion, WASP-85B, at a separation of approximately 1.5". The close proximity of this companion leads to contamination of our photometry, decreasing the apparent transit depth that we account for during our analysis. Without this correction, we find the depth to be 50 percent smaller, the stellar density to be 32 percent smaller, and the planet radius to be 18 percent smaller than the true value. Many of our radial velocity observations are also contaminated; these are disregarded when analysing the system in favour of the uncontaminated HARPS observations, as they have reduced semi-amplitudes that lead to underestimated planetary masses. We find a long-term trend in the binary position angle, indicating a misalignment between the binary and orbital planes. WASP observations of the system show variability with a period of 14.64 days, indicative of rotational modulation caused by stellar activity. Analysis of the Ca ii H+K lines shows strong emission that implies that both binary components are strongly active. We find that the system is likely to be less than a few Gyr old. WASP-85 lies in the field of view of K2 Campaign 1. Long cadence observations of the planet clearly show the planetary transits, along with the signature of stellar variability. Analysis of the K2 data, both long and short cadence, is ongoing.
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    ABSTRACT: We describe radial-velocity time series obtained by HARPS on the 3.60 m telescope in La Silla (ESO, Chile) over ten years and report the discovery of five new giant exoplanets in distant orbits; these new planets orbit the stars HD 564, HD 30669, HD 108341, and BD-114672. Their periods range from 492 to 1684 days, semi-major axes range from 1.2 to 2.69 AU, and eccentricities range from 0 to 0.85. Their minimum mass ranges from 0.33 to 3.5 Mjup. We also refine the parameters of two planets announced previously around HD 113538, based on a longer series of measurements. The planets have a period of 663+-8 and 1818+-25 days, orbital eccentricities of 0.14+-0.08 and 0.20+-0.04, and minimum masses of 0.36+-0.04 and 0.93+-0.06 Mjup. Finally, we report the discovery of a new hot-Jupiter planet around an active star, HD 103720; the planet has a period of 4.5557+-0.0001 days and a minimum mass of 0.62+-0.025 Mjup. We discuss the fundamental parameters of these systems and limitations due to stellar activity in quiet stars with typical 2m/s radial velocity precision.
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 12/2014; DOI:10.1051/0004-6361/201424965 · 4.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We report the first planet discovery from the two-wheeled Kepler (K2) mission: HIP 116454 b. The host star HIP 116454 is a bright (V = 10.1, K = 8.0) K1-dwarf with high proper motion, and a parallax-based distance of 55.2 +/- 5.4 pc. Based on high-resolution optical spectroscopy, we find that the host star is metal-poor with [Fe/H] = -.16 +/- .18, and has a radius R = 0.716 +/- .0024 R_sun and mass M = .775 +/- .027 Msun. The star was observed by the Kepler spacecraft during its Two-Wheeled Concept Engineering Test in February 2014. During the 9 days of observations, K2 observed a single transit event. Using a new K2 photometric analysis technique we are able to correct small telescope drifts and recover the observed transit at high confidence, corresponding to a planetary radius of Rp = 2.53 +/- 0.18 Rearth. Radial velocity observations with the HARPS-N spectrograph reveal a 11.82 +/- 1.33 Mearth planet in a 9.1 day orbit, consistent with the transit depth, duration, and ephemeris. Follow-up photometric measurements from the MOST satellite confirm the transit observed in the K2 photometry and provide a refined ephemeris, making HIP 116454 b amenable for future follow-up observations of this latest addition to the growing population of transiting super-Earths around nearby, bright stars.
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    ABSTRACT: Exoplanet science is booming. In 20 years our knowledge has expanded considerably, from the first discovery of a Hot Jupiter, to the detection of a large population of Neptunes and super-Earths, to the first steps toward the characterization of exoplanet atmospheres. Between today and 2025, the field will evolve at an even faster pace with the advent of several space-based transit search missions, ground-based spectrographs, high-contrast imaging facilities, and the James Webb Space Telescope. Especially the ESA M-class PLATO mission will be a game changer in the field. From 2024 onwards, PLATO will find transiting terrestrial planets orbiting within the habitable zones of nearby, bright stars. These objects will require the power of Extremely Large Telescopes (ELTs) to be characterized further. The technique of ground-based high-resolution spectroscopy is establishing itself as a crucial pathway to measure chemical composition, atmospheric structure and atmospheric circulation in transiting exoplanets. A high-resolution spectrograph covering the visible and near-IR domains, mounted on the European ELT, will be able to detect molecules such as water vapour, carbon dioxide and oxygen in the atmospheres of habitable planets under favourable circumstances. E-ELT HiRES is the perfect ground-based match to the PLATO space mission and represents a unique opportunity for Europe to lead the world into the era of exploration of exoplanets with habitable conditions. HiRES will also be extremely complementary to other E-ELT planned instruments specialising in different kinds of planets, such as METIS and EPICS.
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    ABSTRACT: Context. Planetary companions of a fixed mass induce larger amplitude reflex motions around lower-mass stars, which helps make M dwarfs excellent targets for extra-solar planet searches. State of the art velocimeters with $\sim$1m/s stability can detect very low-mass planets out to the habitable zone of these stars. Low-mass, small, planets are abundant around M dwarfs, and most known potentially habitable planets orbit one of these cool stars. Aims. Our M-dwarf radial velocity monitoring with HARPS on the ESO 3.6m telescope at La Silla observatory makes a major contribution to this sample. Methods. We present here dense radial velocity (RV) time series for three M dwarfs observed over $\sim5$ years: GJ 3293 (0.42M$_\odot$), GJ 3341 (0.47M$_\odot$), and GJ 3543 (0.45M$_\odot$). We extract those RVs through minimum $\chi^2$ matching of each spectrum against a high S/N ratio stack of all observed spectra for the same star. We then vet potential orbital signals against several stellar activity indicators, to disentangle the Keplerian variations induced by planets from the spurious signals which result from rotational modulation of stellar surface inhomogeneities and from activity cycles. Results. Two Neptune-mass planets - $msin(i)=1.4\pm0.1$ and $1.3\pm0.1M_{nept}$ - orbit GJ 3293 with periods $P=30.60\pm0.02$ d and $P=123.98\pm0.38$ d, possibly together with a super-Earth - $msin(i)\sim7.9\pm1.4M_\oplus$ - with period $P=48.14\pm0.12\;d$. A super-Earth - $msin(i)\sim6.1M_\oplus$ - orbits GJ 3341 with $P=14.207\pm0.007\;d$. The RV variations of GJ 3543, on the other hand, reflect its stellar activity rather than planetary signals.
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 11/2014; DOI:10.1051/0004-6361/201424253 · 4.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We test whether or not the orbital poles of the systems in the solar neighbourhood are isotropically distributed on the celestial sphere. The problem is plagued by the ambiguity on the position of the ascending node. Of the 95 systems closer than 18 pc from the Sun with an orbit in the 6th Catalogue of Orbits of Visual Binaries, the pole ambiguity could be resolved for 51 systems using radial velocity collected in the literature and CORAVEL database or acquired with the HERMES-Mercator spectrograph. For several systems, we can correct the erroneous nodes in the 6th Catalogue of Orbits and obtain new combined spectroscopic-astrometric orbits for seven systems [WDS 01083+5455Aa,Ab; 01418+4237AB; 02278+0426AB (SB2); 09006+4147AB (SB2); 16413+3136AB; 17121+4540AB; 18070+3034AB]. We used of spherical statistics to test for possible anisotropy. After ordering the binary systems by increasing distance from the Sun, we computed the false-alarm probability for subsamples of increasing sizes, from N = 1 up to the full sample of 51 systems. Rayleigh-Watson and Beran tests deliver a false-alarm probability of 0.5% for the 20 systems closer than 8.1 pc. To evaluate the robustness of this conclusion, we used a jackknife approach, for which we repeated this procedure after removing one system at a time from the full sample. The false-alarm probability was then found to vary between 1.5% and 0.1%, depending on which system is removed. The reality of the deviation from isotropy can thus not be assessed with certainty at this stage, because only so few systems are available, despite our efforts to increase the sample. However, when considering the full sample of 51 systems, the concentration of poles toward the Galactic position l = 46.0{\deg}, b = 37{\deg}, as observed in the 8.1 pc sphere, totally vanishes (the Rayleigh-Watson false-alarm probability then rises to 18%).
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 11/2014; 574. DOI:10.1051/0004-6361/201323056 · 4.48 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

13k Citations
1,828.56 Total Impact Points


  • 1970–2015
    • University of Geneva
      • Department of Astronomy
      Genève, Geneva, Switzerland
  • 2007–2013
    • University of Porto
      • Departamento de Física e Astronomia
      Oporto, Porto, Portugal
  • 2012
    • The Royal Observatory, Edinburgh
      Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
    • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
      Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
  • 2005–2010
    • French National Centre for Scientific Research
      Lutetia Parisorum, Île-de-France, France
    • Weizmann Institute of Science
  • 2000–2010
    • Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias
      San Cristóbal de La Laguna, Canary Islands, Spain
  • 2009
    • Pierre and Marie Curie University - Paris 6
      • Institut d'astrophysique de Paris
      Lutetia Parisorum, Île-de-France, France
  • 2008
    • National Institute of Astrophysics
      Roma, Latium, Italy
  • 2005–2007
    • University of Aveiro
      • Department of Physics
      Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal
  • 2006
    • University of Coimbra
      Coímbra, Coimbra, Portugal
  • 2003–2006
    • University of Lisbon
      Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal
  • 2000–2006
    • Universität Bern
      • Physics Institute
      Berna, Bern, Switzerland
  • 2003–2005
    • University of Grenoble
      Grenoble, Rhône-Alpes, France
  • 2002–2004
    • University of Santiago, Chile
      CiudadSantiago, Santiago Metropolitan, Chile
    • Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte
      Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil
    • Spanish National Research Council
      Madrid, Madrid, Spain
  • 2001
    • Tennessee State University
      Nashville, Tennessee, United States
    • Observatoire de Haute-Provence
      Manosque, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France