Josh Eisner

The University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, United States

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Publications (13)35.18 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Recently, Gauza et al. (2015) reported the discovery of a companion to the late M-dwarf, VHS J125601.92-125723.9 (VHS 1256-1257). The companion's absolute photometry suggests its mass and atmosphere are similar to the HR 8799 planets. However, as a wide companion to a late-type star, it is more accessible to spectroscopic characterization. We discovered that the primary of this system is an equal-magnitude binary. For an age $\sim300$ Myr the A and B components each have a mass of $64.6^{+0.8}_{-2.0}~M_{\mathrm{Jup}}$, and the b component has a mass of $11.2^{+9.7}_{-1.8}$, making VHS 1256-1257 only the third brown dwarf triple system. There exists some tension between the spectrophotometric distance of $17.2\pm2.6$ pc and the parallax distance of $12.7\pm1.0$ pc. At 12.7 pc VHS1256-1257 A and B would be the faintest known M7.5 objects, and are even faint outliers among M8 types. If the larger spectrophotmetric distance is more accurate than the parallax, then the mass of each component increases. In particular, the mass of the b component increases well above the deuterium burning limit to $\sim35~M_{\mathrm{Jup}}$ and the mass of each binary component increases to $73^{+20}_{-17}~M_{\mathrm{Jup}}$. At 17.1 pc, the UVW kinematics of the system are consistent with membership in the AB~Dor moving group. The architecture of the system resembles a hierarchical stellar multiple suggesting it formed via an extension of the star-formation process to low masses. Continued astrometric monitoring will resolve this distance uncertainty and will provide dynamical masses for a new benchmark system.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2016
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    ABSTRACT: As gas giant planets and brown dwarfs radiate away the residual heat from their formation, they cool through a spectral type transition from L to T, which encompasses the dissipation of cloud opacity and the appearance of strong methane absorption. While there are hundreds of known T-type brown dwarfs, the first generation of directly-imaged exoplanets were all L-type. Recently, Kuzuhara et al. (2013) announced the discovery of GJ 504 b, the first T dwarf exoplanet. GJ 504 b provides a unique opportunity to study the atmosphere of a new type of exoplanet with a ~500 K temperature that bridges the gap between the first directly imaged planets (~1000 K) and our own Solar System's Jupiter (~130 K). We observed GJ 504 b in three narrow L-band filters (3.71, 3.88, and 4.00 microns), spanning the red end of the broad methane fundamental absorption feature (3.3 microns) as part of the LEECH exoplanet imaging survey. By comparing our new photometry and literature photometry to a grid of custom model atmospheres, we were able to fit GJ 504 b's unusual spectral energy distribution for the first time. We find that GJ 504 b is well-fit by models with the following parameters: T_eff=544+/-10 K, g<600 m/s^2, [M/H]=0.60+/-0.12, cloud opacity parameter of f_sed=2-5, R=0.96+/-0.07 R_Jup, and log(L)=-6.13+/-0.03 L_Sun, implying a hot start mass of 3-30 M_jup for a conservative age range of 0.1-6.5 Gyr. Of particular interest, our model fits suggest that GJ 504 b has a super-stellar metallicity. Since planet formation can create objects with non-stellar metallicities, while binary star formation cannot, this result suggests that GJ 504 b formed like a planet, not like a binary companion.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2015 · The Astrophysical Journal
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    ABSTRACT: We present high-resolution Large Binocular Telescope LBTI/LMIRcam images of the spectroscopic and astrometric binary NO UMa obtained as part of the LBTI Exozodi Exoplanet Common Hunt (LEECH) exoplanet imaging survey. Our H, K$_s$, and L'-band observations resolve the system at angular separations <0.09". The components exhibit significant orbital motion over a span of ~7 months. We combine our imaging data with archival images, published speckle interferometry measurements, and existing spectroscopic velocity data to solve the full orbital solution and estimate component masses. The masses of the K2.0$\pm$0.5 primary and K6.5$\pm$0.5 secondary are 0.83$\pm$0.02 M$_{\odot}$ and 0.64$\pm$0.02 M$_{\odot}$, respectively. We also derive a system distance of d = 25.87$\pm$0.02 pc and revise the Galactic kinematics of NO UMa. Our revised Galactic kinematics confirm NO UMa as a nuclear member of the ~500 Myr old Ursa Major moving group and it is thus a mass and age benchmark. We compare the masses of the NO UMa binary components to those predicted by five sets of stellar evolution models at the age of the Ursa Major group. We find excellent agreement between our measured masses and model predictions with little systematic scatter between the models. NO UMa joins the short list of nearby, bright, late-type binaries having known ages and fully characterized orbits.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2015 · The Astrophysical Journal
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    ABSTRACT: In Spring 2013, the LEECH (LBTI Exozodi Exoplanet Common Hunt) survey began its $\sim$130-night campaign from the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) atop Mt Graham, Arizona. This survey benefits from the many technological achievements of the LBT, including two 8.4-meter mirrors on a single fixed mount, dual adaptive secondary mirrors for high Strehl performance, and a cold beam combiner to dramatically reduce the telescope's overall background emissivity. LEECH neatly complements other high-contrast planet imaging efforts by observing stars at L' (3.8 $\mu$m), as opposed to the shorter wavelength near-infrared bands (1-2.4 $\mu$m) of other surveys. This portion of the spectrum offers deep mass sensitivity, especially around nearby adolescent ($\sim$0.1-1 Gyr) stars. LEECH's contrast is competitive with other extreme adaptive optics systems, while providing an alternative survey strategy. Additionally, LEECH is characterizing known exoplanetary systems with observations from 3-5$\mu$m in preparation for JWST.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2014 · Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
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    ABSTRACT: In February 2013, the LEECH (LBTI Exozodi Exoplanet Common Hunt) survey began its 100-night campaign from the Large Binocular Telescope atop Mount Graham in Arizona. LEECH nearly complements other high-contrast planet imaging efforts by observing stars in L' band (3.8 microns) as opposed to the shorter wavelength near-infrared bands (1-2.3 microns). This part of the spectrum offers deeper mass sensitivity for intermediate age (several hundred Myr-old) systems, since their Jovian-mass planets radiate predominantly in the mid-infrared. In this proceedings, we present the science goals for LEECH and a preliminary contrast curve from some early data.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2014 · Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union
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    ABSTRACT: Ground-based long baseline interferometers have long been limited in sensitivity by the short integration periods imposed by atmospheric turbulence. The first observation fainter than this limit was performed on January 22, 2011 when the Keck Interferometer observed a K=11.5 target, about one magnitude fainter than its K=10.3 limit. This observation was made possible by the Dual Field Phase Referencing instrument of the ASTRA project: simultaneously measuring the real-time effects of the atmosphere on a nearby bright guide star, and correcting for it on the faint target, integration time longer than the turbulence time scale are made possible. As a prelude to this demonstration, we first present the implementation of Dual Field Phase Referencing on the interferometer. We then detail its on-sky performance focusing on the accuracy of the turbulence correction, and on the resulting fringe contrast stability. We conclude with a presentation of early results obtained with Laser Guide Star AO and the interferometer.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2012 · Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
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    ABSTRACT: We present diffraction-limited \ks band and \lprime adaptive optics images of the edge-on debris disk around the nearby F2 star HD 15115, obtained with a single 8.4 m primary mirror at the Large Binocular Telescope. At \ks band the disk is detected at signal-to-noise per resolution element (SNRE) \about 3-8 from \about 1-2\fasec 5 (45-113 AU) on the western side, and from \about 1.2-2\fasec 1 (63-90 AU) on the east. At \lprime the disk is detected at SNRE \about 2.5 from \about 1-1\fasec 45 (45-90 AU) on both sides, implying more symmetric disk structure at 3.8 \microns . At both wavelengths the disk has a bow-like shape and is offset from the star to the north by a few AU. A surface brightness asymmetry exists between the two sides of the disk at \ks band, but not at \lprime . The surface brightness at \ks band declines inside 1\asec (\about 45 AU), which may be indicative of a gap in the disk near 1\asec. The \ks - \lprime disk color, after removal of the stellar color, is mostly grey for both sides of the disk. This suggests that scattered light is coming from large dust grains, with 3-10 \microns -sized grains on the east side and 1-10 \microns dust grains on the west. This may suggest that the west side is composed of smaller dust grains than the east side, which would support the interpretation that the disk is being dynamically affected by interactions with the local interstellar medium.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2012 · The Astrophysical Journal
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    ABSTRACT: The sensitivity and astrometry upgrade ASTRA of the Keck Interferometer is introduced. After a brief overview of the underlying interferometric principles, the technology and concepts of the upgrade are presented. The interferometric dual-field technology of ASTRA will provide the KI with the means to observe two objects simultaneously, and measure the distance between them with a precision eventually better than 100 µas. This astrometric functionality of ASTRA will add a unique observing tool to fields of astrophysical research as diverse as exo-planetary kinematics, binary astrometry, and the investigation of stars accelerated by the massive black hole in the center of the Milky Way as discussed in this contribution.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2009 · New Astronomy Reviews
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    ABSTRACT: The formation of planets is one of the major unsolved problems in modern astrophysics. Planets are believed to form out of the material in circumstellar disks known to exist around young stars, and which are a by-product of the star formation process. Therefore, the physical conditions in these disks - structure and composition as a function of stellocentric radius and vertical height, density and temperature profiles of each component - represent the initial conditions under which planets form. Clearly, a good understanding of disk structure and its time evolution are crucial to understanding planet formation, the evolution of young planetary systems (e.g. migration), and the recently discovered, and unanticipated, diversity of planetary architectures. However, the inner disk regions (interior to ~10 AU) most relevant in the context of planet formation are very poorly known, primarily because of observational challenges in spatially resolving this region. In this contribution we discuss opportunities for the next decade from spectrally and spatially resolved observations, and from direct imaging, using infrared long baseline interferometry.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2009
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    ABSTRACT: Recent Spitzer observations have added to the list of young stellar objects thought to possess circumstellar disks with large gaps or inner holes. The favored explanation for these large clearings is that planets are forming (or have recently formed) in these disks, and are preventing inward accretion of outer disk material. While millimeter- wavelength imaging has confirmed the existence of large holes around a few objects, substantial uncertainties remain in understanding what is going on within the cleared regions. Imaging at mid-IR wavelengths can spatially resolve the inner edges of holes and gaps, and probe small dust within the cleared regions, potentially tracing structures associated with planets in formation. We propose to use TReCS at Gemini South to spatially resolve the mid-infrared emission from protoplanetary disks suspected of harboring massive planets, and thereby directly measure the sizes and degree of clearing of the inner holes and gaps. Using a custom short-readout mode for TReCS, and the novel imaging technique of speckle interferometry, we will spatially resolve the mid- IR emission from these potentially planet-forming systems.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2008
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    ABSTRACT: We report new near-infrared, long-baseline interferometric observations at the AU scale of the pre-main-sequence star FU Orionis with the PTI, IOTA and VLTI interferometers. This young stellar object has been observed on 42 nights over a period of 6 years from 1998 to 2003. We have obtained 287 independent measurements of the fringe visibility with 6 different baselines ranging from 20 to 110 meters in length, in the H and K bands. Our extensive (u,v)-plane coverage, coupled with the published spectral energy distribution data, allows us to test the accretion disk scenario. We find that the most probable explanation for these observations is that FU Ori hosts an active accretion disk whose temperature law is consistent with standard models. We are able to constrain the geometry of the disk, including an inclination of 55 deg and a position angle of 47 deg. In addition, a 10 percent peak-to-peak oscillation is detected in the data (at the two-sigma level) from the longest baselines, which we interpret as a possible disk hot-spot or companion. However, the oscillation in our best data set is best explained with an unresolved spot located at a projected distance of 10 AU at the 130 deg position angle and with a magnitude difference of DeltaK = 3.9 and DeltaH = 3.6 mag moving away from the center at a rate of 1.2 AU/yr. we propose to interpret this spot as the signature of a companion of the central FU Ori system on an extremely eccentric orbit. We speculate that the close encounter of this putative companion and the central star could be the explanation of the initial photometric rise of the luminosity of this object.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2005
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    ABSTRACT: We report new near-infrared, long-baseline interferometric observations at the AU scale of the pre-main-sequence star FU Orionis with the PTI, IOTA and VLTI interferometers. This young stellar object has been observed on 42 nights over a period of 6 years from 1998 to 2003. We have obtained 287 independent measurements of the fringe visibility with 6 different baselines ranging from 20 to 110 meters in length, in the H and K bands. Our extensive (u,v)-plane coverage, coupled with the published spectral energy distribution data, allows us to test the accretion disk scenario. We find that the most probable explanation for these observations is that FU Ori hosts an active accretion disk whose temperature law is consistent with standard models. We are able to constrain the geometry of the disk, including an inclination of 55 deg and a position angle of 47 deg. In addition, a 10 percent peak-to-peak oscillation is detected in the data (at the two-sigma level) from the longest baselines, which we interpret as a possible disk hot-spot or companion. However, the oscillation in our best data set is best explained with an unresolved spot located at a projected distance of 10 AU at the 130 deg position angle and with a magnitude difference of DeltaK = 3.9 and DeltaH = 3.6 mag moving away from the center at a rate of 1.2 AU/yr. we propose to interpret this spot as the signature of a companion of the central FU Ori system on an extremely eccentric orbit. We speculate that the close encounter of this putative companion and the central star could be the explanation of the initial photometric rise of the luminosity of this object.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2005 · Astronomy and Astrophysics
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    Stuartt Corder · Josh Eisner · Anneila Sargent
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    ABSTRACT: We obtained high angular resolution (~2") images of the 13CO(J=1-0) line and 2.7 millimeter continuum emission, and slightly lower resolution images of 12CO(J=1-0) and C18O(J=1-0) line emission toward the Herbig Ae star AB Aurigae. We resolve a circumstellar disk of diameter 780 AU (FWHM) with a velocity pattern consistent with a purely rotational disk at inclination 21.5 degrees and position angle 58.6 degrees. Using Keplerian disk models, we find a central source dynamical mass of 2.8+-0.1 Msun and a cutoff radius of 615 AU for the 13CO emission. Inclination, mass, and radius determined from 12CO and C18O observations agree with those values, given optical depth and abundance effects. As a result of the high angular resolution of our observations, we confirm the existence of spiral structure suggested by near-IR scattered light images and show that the spiral arms represent density contrasts in the disk. Comment: 11 pages, 3 figures, accepted ApJ Letters
    Preview · Article · Feb 2005 · The Astrophysical Journal

Publication Stats

129 Citations
35.18 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2009-2012
    • The University of Arizona
      Tucson, Arizona, United States
  • 2005
    • California Institute of Technology
      • Department of Astronomy
      Pasadena, California, United States