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Publications (3)11.82 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Stellar activity is a potential important limitation to the detection of low mass extrasolar planets with indirect methods (RV, photometry, astrometry). In previous papers, using the Sun as a proxy, we investigated the impact of stellar activity (spots, plages, convection) on the detectability of an Earth-mass planet in the habitable zone (HZ) of solar-type stars with RV techniques. We extend here the detectability study to the case of astrometry. We used the sunspot and plages properties recorded over one solar cycle to infer the astrometric variations that a Sun-like star seen edge-on, 10 pc away, would exhibit, if covered by such spots/bright structures. We compare the signal to the one expected from the astrometric wobble (0.3 {\mu}as) of such a star surrounded by a one Earth-mass planet in the HZ. We also briefly investigate higher levels of activity. The activity-induced astrometric signal along the equatorial plane has an amplitude of typ. less than 0.2 {\mu}as (rms=0.07 {\mu}as), smaller than the one expected from an Earth-mass planet at 1 AU. Hence, for this level of activity, the detectability is governed by the instrumental precision rather than the activity. We show that for instance a one Earth-mass planet at 1 AU would be detected with a monthly visit during less than 5 years and an instrumental precision of 0.8 {\mu}as. A level of activity 5 times higher would still allow such a detection with a precision of 0.35 {\mu}as. We conclude that astrometry is an attractive approach to search for such planets around solar type stars with most levels of stellar activity.
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 01/2011; 528. · 5.08 Impact Factor
  • I. Ribas, F. Malbet
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    ABSTRACT: In this contribution we summarize the satellite meeting (P2 panel) held at the ``Pathways towards Habitable Planets'' conference about the complementarity of two techniques, namely astrometry and radial velocities, to detect telluric planets in the habitable zone of solar type stars. This question has a direct impact on the future possibility of launching a characterization mission with the aim of detecting bio-signatures of Earth-like planets. Beyond the level of instrumental noise, the main issue is how to cope with the intrinsic stellar variability due to magnetic activity (i.e., starspots).
    10/2010;
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    ABSTRACT: Analytical relations are derived for the amplitude of astrometric, photometric and radial velocity perturbations caused by a single rotating spot. The relative power of the star spot jitter is estimated and compared with the available data for $\kappa^1$ Ceti and HD 166435, as well as with numerical simulations for $\kappa^1$ Ceti and the Sun. A Sun-like star inclined at $i=90\degr$ at 10 pc is predicted to have a RMS jitter of 0.087 \uas in its astrometric position along the equator, and 0.38 m s$^{-1}$ in radial velocities. If the presence of spots due to stellar activity is the ultimate limiting factor for planet detection, the sensitivity of SIM Lite to Earth-like planets in habitable zones is about an order of magnitude higher that the sensitivity of prospective ultra-precise radial velocity observations of nearby stars. Comment: accepted in ApJ Letters, Nov. 2009
    The Astrophysical Journal 11/2009; · 6.73 Impact Factor