94 results found
Norris CM, Unruh YC, Witzke V, et al., 2023, Spectral variability of photospheric radiation due to faculae - II. Facular contrasts for cool main-sequence stars, MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY, Vol: 524, Pages: 1139-1155, ISSN: 0035-8711
Rackham BV, Espinoza N, Berdyugina SV, et al., 2023, The effect of stellar contamination on low-resolution transmission spectroscopy: needs identified by NASA’s Exoplanet Exploration Program Study Analysis Group 21, RAS Techniques and Instruments, Vol: 2, Pages: 148-206
<jats:title>Abstract</jats:title> <jats:p>Study Analysis Group 21 (SAG21) of NASA’s Exoplanet Exploration Program Analysis Group was organized to study the effect of stellar contamination on space-based transmission spectroscopy, a method for studying exoplanetary atmospheres by measuring the wavelength-dependent radius of a planet as it transits its star. Transmission spectroscopy relies on a precise understanding of the spectrum of the star being occulted. However, stars are not homogeneous, constant light sources but have temporally evolving photospheres and chromospheres with inhomogeneities like spots, faculae, plages, granules, and flares. This SAG brought together an interdisciplinary team of more than 100 scientists, with observers and theorists from the heliophysics, stellar astrophysics, planetary science, and exoplanetary atmosphere research communities, to study the current research needs that can be addressed in this context to make the most of transit studies from current NASA facilities like Hubble Space Telescope and JWST. The analysis produced 14 findings, which fall into three science themes encompassing (i) how the Sun is used as our best laboratory to calibrate our understanding of stellar heterogeneities (‘The Sun as the Stellar Benchmark’), (ii) how stars other than the Sun extend our knowledge of heterogeneities (‘Surface Heterogeneities of Other Stars’), and (iii) how to incorporate information gathered for the Sun and other stars into transit studies (‘Mapping Stellar Knowledge to Transit Studies’). In this invited review, we largely reproduce the final report of SAG21 as a contribution to the peer-reviewed literature.</jats:p>
Witzke V, Shapiro AI, Kostogryz NM, et al., 2022, Can 1D Radiative-equilibrium Models of Faculae Be Used for Calculating Contamination of Transmission Spectra?, ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL LETTERS, Vol: 941, ISSN: 2041-8205
Chadney JM, Koskinen TT, Hu X, et al., 2022, Energy deposition in Saturn's equatorial upper atmosphere, Icarus, Vol: 372, Pages: 1-16, ISSN: 0019-1035
We construct Saturn equatorial neutral temperature and density profiles of H, H2, He, and CH4, between 10−12 and 1 bar using measurements from Cassini’s Ion Neutral Mass Spectrometer (INMS) taken during the spacecraft’s final plunge into Saturn’s atmosphere on 15 September 2017, combined with previous deeper atmospheric measurements from the Cassini Composite InfraRed Spectrometer (CIRS) and from the UltraViolet Imaging Spectrograph (UVIS). These neutral profiles are fed into an energy deposition model employing soft X-ray and Extreme UltraViolet (EUV) solar fluxes at a range of spectral resolutions (∆λ = 4×10−3 nm to 1 nm) assembled from TIMED/SEE, from SOHO/SUMER, and from the Whole Heliosphere Interval (WHI) quiet Sun campaign. Our energy deposition model calculates ion production rate profiles through photo-ionisation and electron-impact ionisation processes, as well as rates of photo-dissociation of CH4. The ion reaction rate profiles we determine are important to obtain accurate ion density profiles, meanwhile methane photo-dissociation is key to initiate complex organic chemical processes. We assess the importance of spectral resolution in the energy deposition model by using a high-resolution H2 photo-absorption cross section, which has the effect of producing additional ionisation peaks near 800 km altitude. We find that these peaks are still formed when using low resolution (∆λ = 1 nm) or mid-resolution (∆λ = 0.1 nm) solar spectra, as long as high-resolution cross sections are included in the model.
Witzke V, Shapiro A, Cernetic M, et al., 2021, MPS-ATLAS: A fast all-in-one code for synthesising stellar spectra, Astronomy and Astrophysics: a European journal, Vol: 653, Pages: 1-22, ISSN: 0004-6361
Context. Stellar spectral synthesis is essential for various applications, ranging from determining stellar parameters to comprehensive stellar variability calculations. New observational resources as well as advanced stellar atmosphere modelling, taking three dimensional effects from radiative magnetohydrodynamics calculations into account, require a more efficient radiative transfer.Aims. For accurate, fast and flexible calculations of opacity distribution functions (ODFs), stellar atmospheres, and stellar spectra, we developed an efficient code building on the well-established ATLAS9 code. The new code also paves the way for easy and fast access to different elemental compositions in stellar calculations.Methods. For the generation of ODF tables, we further developed the well-established DFSYNTHE code by implementing additional functionality and a speed-up by employing a parallel computation scheme. In addition, the line lists used can be changed from Kurucz’s recent lists. In particular, we implemented the VALD3 line list.Results. A new code, the Merged Parallelised Simplified ATLAS, is presented. It combines the efficient generation of ODF, atmosphere modelling, and spectral synthesis in local thermodynamic equilibrium, therefore being an all-in-one code. This all-in-one code provides more numerical functionality and is substantially faster compared to other available codes. The fully portable MPS-ATLAS code is validated against previous ATLAS9 calculations, the PHOENIX code calculations, and high-quality observations.
Johnson LJ, Norris CM, Unruh YC, et al., 2021, Forward modelling of Kepler-band variability due to faculae and spots, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol: 504, Pages: 4751-4767, ISSN: 0035-8711
Variability observed in photometric light curves of late-type stars (on time-scales longer than a day) is a dominant noise source in exoplanet surveys and results predominantly from surface manifestations of stellar magnetic activity, namely faculae and spots. The implementation of faculae in light-curve models is an open problem, with scaling typically based on spectra equivalent to hot stellar atmospheres or assuming a solar-derived facular contrast. We modelled rotational (single period) light curves of active G2, K0, M0, and M2 stars, with Sun-like surface distributions and realistic limb-dependent contrasts for faculae and spots. The sensitivity of light-curve variability to changes in model parameters such as stellar inclination, feature area coverage, spot temperature, facular region magnetic flux density, and active band latitudes is explored. For our light-curve modelling approach we used ACTRESS, a geometrically accurate model for stellar variability. ACTRESS generates two-sphere maps representing stellar surfaces and populates them with user-prescribed spot and facular region distributions. From this, light curves can be calculated at any inclination. Quiet star limb darkening and limb-dependent facular contrasts were derived from MURaM 3D magnetoconvection simulations using ATLAS9. 1D stellar atmosphere models were used for the spot contrasts. We applied ACTRESS in Monte Carlo simulations, calculating light-curve variability amplitudes in the Kepler band. We found that, for a given spectral type and stellar inclination, spot temperature and spot area coverage have the largest effect on variability of all simulation parameters. For a spot coverage of 1 per cent, the typical variability of a solar-type star is around 2 parts per thousand. The presence of faculae clearly affects the mean brightness and light-curve shape, but has relatively little influence on the variability.
Nemec N-E, Isik E, Shapiro AI, et al., 2020, Connecting measurements of solar and stellar brightness variations, Astronomy and Astrophysics: a European journal, Vol: 638, Pages: 1-8, ISSN: 0004-6361
Context. A comparison of solar and stellar brightness variations is hampered by the difference in spectral passbands that are used in observations, and also by the possible difference in the inclination of the solar and stellar rotation axes from the line of sight.Aims. We calculate the rotational variability of the Sun as it would be measured in passbands used for stellar observations. In particular, we consider the filter systems used by the CoRoT, Kepler, TESS, and Gaia space missions. We also quantify the effect of the inclination of the rotation axis on the solar rotational variability.Methods. We employed the spectral and total irradiance reconstruction (SATIRE) model to calculate solar brightness variations in different filter systems as observed from the ecliptic plane. We then combined the simulations of the surface distribution of the magnetic features at different inclinations using a surface flux transport model with the SATIRE calculations to compute the dependence of the variability on the inclination.Results. For an ecliptic-bound observer, the amplitude of the solar rotational variability, as observed in the total solar irradiance (TSI), is 0.68 mmag (averaged over solar cycles 21–24). We obtained corresponding amplitudes in the Kepler (0.74 mmag), CoRoT (0.73 mmag), TESS (0.62 mmag), Gaia G (0.74 mmag), Gaia GRP (0.62 mmag), and Gaia GBP (0.86 mmag) passbands. Decreasing the inclination of the rotation axis decreases the rotational variability. For a sample of randomly inclined stars, the variability is on average 15% lower in all filter systems we considered. This almost compensates for the difference in amplitudes of the variability in TSI and Kepler passbands, making the amplitudes derived from the TSI records an ideal representation of the solar rotational variability for comparison to Kepler stars with unknown inclinations.Conclusions. The TSI appears to be a relatively good measure of solar variability for comparisons with stellar measur
Monguio M, Greimel R, Drew JE, et al., 2020, IGAPS: the merged IPHAS and UVEX optical surveys of the northern Galactic plane*, Astronomy and Astrophysics: a European journal, Vol: 638, Pages: 1-26, ISSN: 0004-6361
The INT Galactic Plane Survey (IGAPS) is the merger of the optical photometric surveys, IPHAS and UVEX, based on data from the Isaac Newton Telescope (INT) obtained between 2003 and 2018. Here, we present the IGAPS point source catalogue. It contains 295.4 million rows providing photometry in the filters, i, r, narrow-band Hα, g, and URGO. The IGAPS footprint fills the Galactic coordinate range, |b| < 5° and 30° < ℓ < 215°. A uniform calibration, referred to as the Pan-STARRS system, is applied to g, r, and i, while the Hα calibration is linked to r and then is reconciled via field overlaps. The astrometry in all five bands has been recalculated in the reference frame of Gaia Data Release 2. Down to i ∼ 20 mag (Vega system), most stars are also detected in g, r, and Hα. As exposures in the r band were obtained in both the IPHAS and UVEX surveys, typically a few years apart, the catalogue includes two distinct r measures, rI and rU. The r 10σ limiting magnitude is approximately 21, with median seeing of 1.1 arcsec. Between approximately 13th and 19th mag in all bands, the photometry is internally reproducible to within 0.02 mag. Stars brighter than r = 19.5 mag are tested for narrow-band Hα excess signalling line emission, and for variation exceeding |rI − rU| = 0.2 mag. We find and flag 8292 candidate emission line stars and over 53 000 variables (both at > 5σ confidence).
Tagirov RV, Shapiro AI, Krivova NA, et al., 2019, Readdressing the UV solar variability with SATIRE-S: non-LTE effects, Astronomy & Astrophysics, Vol: 631, Pages: 1-8, ISSN: 0004-6361
Context. Solar spectral irradiance (SSI) variability is one of the key inputs to models of the Earth’s climate. Understanding solar irradiance fluctuations also helps to place the Sun among other stars in terms of their brightness variability patterns and to set detectabilitylimits for terrestrial exoplanets.Aims. One of the most successful and widely used models of solar irradiance variability is Spectral And Total Irradiance REconstruction model (SATIRE-S). It uses spectra of the magnetic features and surrounding quiet Sun that are computed with the ATLAS9spectral synthesis code under the assumption of local thermodynamic equilibrium (LTE). SATIRE-S has been at the forefront of solarvariability modelling, but due to the limitations of the LTE approximation its output SSI has to be empirically corrected below 300 nm,which reduces the physical consistency of its results. This shortcoming is addressed in the present paper.Methods. We replaced the ATLAS9 spectra of all atmospheric components in SATIRE-S with spectra that were calculated using theNon-LTE Spectral SYnthesis (NESSY) code. To compute the spectrum of the quiet Sun and faculae, we used the temperature anddensity stratification models of the FAL set.Results. We computed non-LTE contrasts of spots and faculae and combined them with the corresponding fractional disc coverages,or filling factors, to calculate the total and spectral irradiance variability during solar cycle 24. The filling factors have been derivedfrom solar full-disc magnetograms and continuum images recorded by the Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager on Solar DynamicsObservatory (SDO/HMI).Conclusions. The non-LTE contrasts yield total and spectral solar irradiance variations that are in good agreement with empiricallycorrected LTE irradiance calculations. This shows that the empirical correction applied to the SATIRE-S total and spectral solarirradiance is consistent with results from non-LTE computations.
Stephen Serjeant and the STFC's Astronomy Advisory Panel summarize community responses to its consultation on research priorities, undertaken in November 2018.
Chadney JM, Koskinen TT, Galand M, et al., 2017, Effect of stellar flares on the upper atmospheres of HD 189733b and HD 209458b, Astronomy and Astrophysics, Vol: 608, ISSN: 0004-6361
Stellar flares are a frequent occurrence on young low-mass stars around whichmany detected exoplanets orbit. Flares are energetic, impulsive events, andtheir impact on exoplanetary atmospheres needs to be taken into account wheninterpreting transit observations. We have developed a model to describe theupper atmosphere of Extrasolar Giant Planets (EGPs) orbiting flaring stars. Themodel simulates thermal escape from the upper atmospheres of close-in EGPs.Ionisation by solar radiation and electron impact is included and photochemicaland diffusive transport processes are simulated. This model is used to studythe effect of stellar flares from the solar-like G star HD209458 and the youngK star HD189733 on their respective planets. A hypothetical HD209458b-likeplanet orbiting the active M star AU Mic is also simulated. We find that theneutral upper atmosphere of EGPs is not significantly affected by typicalflares. Therefore, stellar flares alone would not cause large enough changes inplanetary mass loss to explain the variations in HD189733b transit depth seenin previous studies, although we show that it may be possible that an extremestellar proton event could result in the required mass loss. Our simulations dohowever reveal an enhancement in electron number density in the ionosphere ofthese planets, the peak of which is located in the layer where stellar X-raysare absorbed. Electron densities are found to reach 2.2 to 3.5 times pre-flarelevels and enhanced electron densities last from about 3 to 10 hours after theonset of the flare. The strength of the flare and the width of its spectralenergy distribution affect the range of altitudes that see enhancements inionisation. A large broadband continuum component in the XUV portion of theflaring spectrum in very young flare stars, such as AU Mic, results in a broadrange of altitudes affected in planets orbiting this star.
Yeo KL, Solanki SK, Norris CM, et al., 2017, Publisher's Note: Solar Irradiance Variability is Caused by the Magnetic Activity on the Solar Surface [Phys. Rev. Lett. 119, 091102 (2017)]., Phys Rev Lett, Vol: 119
This corrects the article DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.119.091102.
Norris CM, Beeck B, Unruh YC, et al., 2017, Spectral variability of photospheric radiation due to faculae. I. The Sun and Sun-like stars, Astronomy & Astrophysics, Vol: 605, ISSN: 0004-6361
Context. Stellar spectral variability on timescales of a day and longer, arising from magnetic surface features such as dark spots and bright faculae, is an important noise source when characterising extra-solar planets. Current 1D models of faculae do not capture the geometric properties and fail to reproduce observed solar facular contrasts. Magnetoconvection simulations provide facular contrasts accounting for geometry.Aims. We calculate facular contrast spectra from magnetoconvection models of the solar photosphere with a view to improve (a) future parameter determinations for planets with early G type host stars and (b) reconstructions of solar spectral variability.Methods. Regions of a solar twin (G2, log g = 4.44) atmosphere with a range of initial average vertical magnetic fields (100 to 500 G) were simulated using a 3D radiation-magnetohydrodynamics code, MURaM, and synthetic intensity spectra were calculated from the ultraviolet (149.5 nm) to the far infrared (160 000 nm) with the ATLAS9 radiative transfer code. Nine viewing angles were investigated to account for facular positions across most of the stellar disc.Results. Contrasts of the radiation from simulation boxes with different levels of magnetic flux relative to an atmosphere with no magnetic field are a complicated function of position, wavelength and magnetic field strength that is not reproduced by 1D facular models. Generally, contrasts increase towards the limb, but at UV wavelengths a saturation and decrease are observed close to the limb. Contrasts also increase strongly from the visible to the UV; there is a rich spectral dependence, with marked peaks in molecular bands and strong spectral lines. At disc centre, a complex relationship with magnetic field was found and areas of strong magnetic field can appear either dark or bright, depending on wavelength. Spectra calculated for a wide variety of magnetic fluxes will also serve to improve total and spectral solar irradiance re
Yeo KL, Solanki SK, Norris CM, et al., 2017, Solar Irradiance variability is caused by the magnetic activity on the solar surface, PHYSICAL REVIEW LETTERS, Vol: 119, ISSN: 0031-9007
The variation in the radiative output of the Sun, described in terms of solar irradiance, is important to climatology. A common assumption is that solar irradiance variability is driven by its surface magnetism. Verifying this assumption has, however, been hampered by the fact that models of solar irradiance variability based on solar surface magnetism have to be calibrated to observed variability. Making use of realistic three-dimensional magnetohydrodynamic simulations of the solar atmosphere and state-of-the-art solar magnetograms from the Solar Dynamics Observatory, we present a model of total solar irradiance (TSI) that does not require any such calibration. In doing so, the modeled irradiance variability is entirely independent of the observational record. (The absolute level is calibrated to the TSI record from the Total Irradiance Monitor.) The model replicates 95% of the observed variability between April 2010 and July 2016, leaving little scope for alternative drivers of solar irradiance variability at least over the time scales examined (days to years).
Dasi-Espuig M, Jiang J, Krivova NA, et al., 2016, Reconstruction of spectral solar irradiance since 1700 from simulated magnetograms, Astronomy & Astrophysics, Vol: 590, ISSN: 1432-0746
Aims. We present a reconstruction of the spectral solar irradiance since 1700 using the SATIRE-T2 (Spectral And Total Irradiance REconstructions for the Telescope era version 2) model. This model uses as input magnetograms simulated with a surface flux transport model fed with semi-synthetic records of emerging sunspot groups.Methods. The record of sunspot group areas and positions from the Royal Greenwich Observatory (RGO) is only available since 1874. We used statistical relationships between the properties of sunspot group emergence, such as the latitude, area, and tilt angle, and the sunspot cycle strength and phase to produce semi-synthetic sunspot group records starting in the year 1700. The semi-synthetic records are fed into a surface flux transport model to obtain daily simulated magnetograms that map the distribution of the magnetic flux in active regions (sunspots and faculae) and their decay products on the solar surface. The magnetic flux emerging in ephemeral regions is accounted for separately based on the concept of extended cycles whose length and amplitude are linked to those of the sunspot cycles through the sunspot number. The magnetic flux in each surface component (sunspots, faculae and network, and ephemeral regions) was used to compute the spectral and total solar irradiance (TSI) between the years 1700 and 2009. This reconstruction is aimed at timescales of months or longer although the model returns daily values.Results. We found that SATIRE-T2, besides reproducing other relevant observations such as the total magnetic flux, reconstructs the TSI on timescales of months or longer in good agreement with the PMOD composite of observations, as well as with the reconstruction starting in 1878 based on the RGO-SOON data. The model predicts an increase in the TSI of 1.2+0.2-0.3 Wm-2 between 1700 and the present. The spectral irradiance reconstruction is in good agreement with the UARS/SUSIM measurements as well as the Lyman-α composite.
Haywood RD, Cameron AC, Unruh YC, et al., 2016, The Sun as a planet-host star: proxies from SDO images for HARPS radial-velocity variations, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol: 457, Pages: 3637-3651, ISSN: 1365-2966
The Sun is the only star whose surface can be directly resolved at high resolution, and therefore constitutes an excellent test case to explore the physical origin of stellar radial-velocity (RV) variability. We present HARPS observations of sunlight scattered off the bright asteroid 4/Vesta, from which we deduced the Sun's activity-driven RV variations. In parallel, the Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager instrument on board the Solar Dynamics Observatory provided us with simultaneous high spatial resolution magnetograms, Dopplergrams and continuum images of the Sun in the Fe I 6173 Å line. We determine the RV modulation arising from the suppression of granular blueshift in magnetized regions and the flux imbalance induced by dark spots and bright faculae. The rms velocity amplitudes of these contributions are 2.40 and 0.41 m s−1, respectively, which confirms that the inhibition of convection is the dominant source of activity-induced RV variations at play, in accordance with previous studies. We find the Doppler imbalances of spot and plage regions to be only weakly anticorrelated. Light curves can thus only give incomplete predictions of convective blueshift suppression. We must instead seek proxies that track the plage coverage on the visible stellar hemisphere directly. The chromospheric flux index R′HKRHK′ derived from the HARPS spectra performs poorly in this respect, possibly because of the differences in limb brightening/darkening in the chromosphere and photosphere. We also find that the activity-driven RV variations of the Sun are strongly correlated with its full-disc magnetic flux density, which may become a useful proxy for activity-related RV noise.
Chadney JM, Galand M, Koskinen TT, et al., 2016, EUV-driven ionospheres and electron transport on extrasolar giant planets orbiting active stars, Astronomy & Astrophysics, Vol: 587, ISSN: 1432-0746
The composition and structure of the upper atmospheres of Extrasolar GiantPlanets (EGPs) are affected by the high-energy spectrum of their host starsfrom soft X-rays to EUV. This emission depends on the activity level of thestar, which is primarily determined by its age. We focus upon EGPs orbiting K-and M-dwarf stars of different ages. XUV spectra for these stars areconstructed using a coronal model. These spectra are used to drive both athermospheric model and an ionospheric model, providing densities of neutraland ion species. Ionisation is included through photo-ionisation andelectron-impact processes. We find that EGP ionospheres at all orbitaldistances considered and around all stars selected are dominated by thelong-lived H$^+$ ion. In addition, planets with upper atmospheres where H$_2$is not substantially dissociated have a layer in which H$_3^+$ is the major ionat the base of the ionosphere. For fast-rotating planets, densities ofshort-lived H$_3^+$ undergo significant diurnal variations, with the maximumvalue being driven by the stellar X-ray flux. In contrast, densities oflonger-lived H$^+$ show very little day/night variability and the magnitude isdriven by the level of stellar EUV flux. The H$_3^+$ peak in EGPs with upperatmospheres where H$_2$ is dissociated under strong stellar illumination ispushed to altitudes below the homopause, where this ion is likely to bedestroyed through reactions with heavy species. The inclusion of secondaryionisation processes produces significantly enhanced ion and electron densitiesat altitudes below the main EUV ionisation peak, as compared to models that donot include electron-impact ionisation. We estimate infrared emissions fromH$_3^+$, and while, in an H/H$_2$/He atmosphere, these are larger from planetsorbiting close to more active stars, they still appear too low to be detectedwith current observatories.
Kalari VM, Vink JS, Drew JE, et al., 2015, Classical T Tauri stars with VPHAS plus - I. H alpha and u-band accretion rates in the Lagoon Nebula M8, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol: 453, Pages: 1026-1046, ISSN: 1365-2966
We estimate the accretion rates of 235 Classical T Tauri star (CTTS) candidates in the Lagoon Nebula using ugri H α photometry from the VST Photometric H α survey+. Our sample consists of stars displaying H α excess, the intensity of which is used to derive accretion rates. For a subset of 87 stars, the intensity of the u-band excess is also used to estimate accretion rates. We find the mean variation in accretion rates measured using H α and u-band intensities to be ∼0.17 dex, agreeing with previous estimates (0.04–0.4 dex) but for a much larger sample. The spatial distribution of CTTS align with the location of protostars and molecular gas suggesting that they retain an imprint of the natal gas fragmentation process. Strong accretors are concentrated spatially, while weak accretors are more distributed. Our results do not support the sequential star-forming processes suggested in the literature.
Yeo KL, Ball WT, Krivova NA, et al., 2015, UV solar irradiance in observations and the NRLSSI and SATIRE-S models, Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, Vol: 120, Pages: 6055-6070, ISSN: 2169-9402
Total solar irradiance and UV spectral solar irradiance has been monitored since 1978 through a succession of space missions. This is accompanied by the development of models aimed at replicating solar irradiance by relating the variability to solar magnetic activity. The Naval Research Laboratory Solar Spectral Irradiance (NRLSSI) and Spectral And Total Irradiance REconstruction for the Satellite era (SATIRE-S) models provide the most comprehensive reconstructions of total and spectral solar irradiance over the period of satellite observation currently available. There is persistent controversy between the various measurements and models in terms of the wavelength dependence of the variation over the solar cycle, with repercussions on our understanding of the influence of UV solar irradiance variability on the stratosphere. We review the measurement and modeling of UV solar irradiance variability over the period of satellite observation. The SATIRE-S reconstruction is consistent with spectral solar irradiance observations where they are reliable. It is also supported by an independent, empirical reconstruction of UV spectral solar irradiance based on Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite/Solar Ultraviolet Spectral Irradiance Monitor measurements from an earlier study. The weaker solar cycle variability produced by NRLSSI between 300 and 400 nm is not evident in any available record. We show that although the method employed to construct NRLSSI is principally sound, reconstructed solar cycle variability is detrimentally affected by the uncertainty in the SSI observations it draws upon in the derivation. Based on our findings, we recommend, when choosing between the two models, the use of SATIRE-S for climate studies.
Mohr-Smith M, Drew JE, Barentsen G, et al., 2015, New OB star candidates in the Carina Arm around Westerlund 2 from VPHAS, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol: 450, Pages: 3855-3873, ISSN: 1365-2966
O and early B stars are at the apex of galactic ecology, but in the Milky Way, only a minority of them may yet have been identified. We present the results of a pilot study to select and parametrize OB star candidates in the Southern Galactic plane, down to a limiting magnitude of g = 20. A 2 deg2 field capturing the Carina Arm around the young massive star cluster, Westerlund 2, is examined. The confirmed OB stars in this cluster are used to validate our identification method, based on selection from the (u − g, g − r) diagram for the region. Our Markov Chain Monte Carlo fitting method combines VPHAS+ u, g, r, i with published J, H, K photometry in order to derive posterior probability distributions of the stellar parameters log (Teff) and distance modulus, together with the reddening parameters A0 and RV. The stellar parameters are sufficient to confirm OB status while the reddening parameters are determined to a precision of σ(A0) ∼ 0.09 and σ(RV) ∼ 0.08. There are 489 objects that fit well as new OB candidates, earlier than ∼B2. This total includes 74 probable massive O stars, 5 likely blue supergiants and 32 reddened subdwarfs. This increases the number of previously known and candidate OB stars in the region by nearly a factor of 10. Most of the new objects are likely to be at distances between 3 and 6 kpc. We have confirmed the results of previous studies that, at these longer distances, these sight lines require non-standard reddening laws with 3.5 < RV < 4.
Chadney, Galand M, Unruh YC, et al., 2015, XUV-driven mass loss from extrasolar giant planets orbiting active stars, Icarus, Vol: 250, Pages: 357-367, ISSN: 1090-2643
Upper atmospheres of Hot Jupiters are subject to extreme radiation conditions that can result in rapid atmospheric escape. The composition and structure of the upper atmospheres of these planets are affected by the high-energy spectrum of the host star. This emission depends on stellar type and age, which are thus important factors in understanding the behaviour of exoplanetary atmospheres. In this study, we focus on Extrasolar Giant Planets (EPGs) orbiting K and M dwarf stars. XUV spectra for three different stars – ∊ Eridani, AD Leonis and AU Microscopii – are constructed using a coronal model. Neutral density and temperature profiles in the upper atmosphere of hypothetical EGPs orbiting these stars are then obtained from a fluid model, incorporating atmospheric chemistry and taking atmospheric escape into account. We find that a simple scaling based solely on the host star’s X-ray emission gives large errors in mass loss rates from planetary atmospheres and so we have derived a new method to scale the EUV regions of the solar spectrum based upon stellar X-ray emission. This new method produces an outcome in terms of the planet’s neutral upper atmosphere very similar to that obtained using a detailed coronal model of the host star. Our results indicate that in planets subjected to radiation from active stars, the transition from Jeans escape to a regime of hydrodynamic escape at the top of the atmosphere occurs at larger orbital distances than for planets around low activity stars (such as the Sun).
Barentsen G, Farnhill HJ, Drew JE, et al., 2014, The second data release of the INT Photometric Ha Survey of the Northern Galactic Plane (IPHAS DR2), MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY, Vol: 444, Pages: 3230-3257, ISSN: 0035-8711
Ball WT, Krivova NA, Unruh YC, et al., 2014, A new SATIRE-S spectral solar irradiance reconstruction for solar cycles 21-23 and its implications for stratospheric Ozone, Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, Vol: 71, Pages: 4086-4101, ISSN: 0022-4928
The authors present a revised and extended total and spectral solar irradiance (SSI) reconstruction, which includes a wavelength-dependent uncertainty estimate, spanning the last three solar cycles using the Spectral and Total Irradiance Reconstruction—Satellite era (SATIRE-S) model. The SSI reconstruction covers wavelengths between 115 and 160 000 nm and all dates between August 1974 and October 2009. This represents the first full-wavelength SATIRE-S reconstruction to cover the last three solar cycles without data gaps and with an uncertainty estimate. SATIRE-S is compared with the Naval Research Laboratory Spectral Solar Irradiance (NRLSSI) model and ultraviolet (UV) observations from the Solar Radiation and Climate Experiment (SORCE) Solar Stellar Irradiance Comparison Experiment (SOLSTICE). SATIRE-S displays similar cycle behavior to NRLSSI for wavelengths below 242 nm and almost twice the variability between 242 and 310 nm. During the decline of the last solar cycle, between 2003 and 2008, the SSI from SORCE SOLSTICE versions 12 and 10 typically displays more than 3 times the variability of SATIRE-S between 200 and 300 nm. All three datasets are used to model changes in stratospheric ozone within a 2D atmospheric model for a decline from high solar activity to solar minimum. The different flux changes result in different modeled ozone trends. Using NRLSSI leads to a decline in mesospheric ozone, while SATIRE-S and SORCE SOLSTICE result in an increase. Recent publications have highlighted increases in mesospheric ozone when considering version 10 SORCE SOLSTICE irradiances. The recalibrated SORCE SOLSTICE version 12 irradiances result in a much smaller mesospheric ozone response than that of version 10, and this smaller mesospheric ozone response is similar in magnitude to that of SATIRE-S. This shows that current knowledge of variations in spectral irradiance is not sufficient to warrant robust conclusions concerning the impact of solar variability on th
Haywood RD, Cameron AC, Queloz D, et al., 2014, Planets and stellar activity: hide and seek in the CoRoT-7 system, MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY, Vol: 443, Pages: 2517-2531, ISSN: 0035-8711
Shapiro AI, Solanki SK, Krivova NA, et al., 2014, Variability of Sun-like stars: reproducing observed photometric trends, ASTRONOMY & ASTROPHYSICS, Vol: 569, ISSN: 1432-0746
Drew JE, Gonzalez-Solares E, Greimel R, et al., 2014, The VST Photometric Hα Survey of the Southern Galactic Plane and Bulge (VPHAS plus ), MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY, Vol: 440, Pages: 2036-2058, ISSN: 0035-8711
Haywood RD, Cameron AC, Queloz D, et al., 2014, Disentangling planetary orbits from stellar activity in radial-velocity surveys, International Journal of Astrobiology, Vol: 13, Pages: 155-157, ISSN: 1475-3006
The majority of extra-solar planets have been discovered (or confirmed after follow-up) through radial-velocity (RV) surveys. Using ground-based spectrographs such as High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planetary Search (HARPS) and HARPS-North, it is now possible to detect planets that are only a few times the mass of the Earth. However, the presence of dark spots on the stellar surface produces RV signals that are very similar in amplitude to those caused by orbiting low-mass planets. Disentangling these signals has thus become the biggest challenge in the detection of Earth-mass planets using RV surveys. To do so, we use the star's lightcurve to model the RV variations produced by spots. Here we present this method and show the results of its application to CoRoT-7.
Solanki SK, Unruh YC, 2013, Solar irradiance variability, ASTRONOMISCHE NACHRICHTEN, Vol: 334, Pages: 145-150, ISSN: 0004-6337
Haywood RD, Cameron AC, Queloz D, et al., 2013, Planets and stellar activity: Hide and seek in the CoRoT-7 system, Pages: 237-240, ISSN: 1743-9213
Since the discovery of the transiting Super-Earth CoRoT-7b, several investigations have been made of the number and precise masses of planets present in the system, but they all yield different results, owing to the star's high level of activity. Radial velocity (RV) variations induced by stellar activity therefore need to be modelled and removed to allow a reliable detection of all planets in the system. We re-observed CoRoT-7 in January 2012 with both HARPS and the CoRoT satellite, so that we now have the benefit of simultaneous RV and photometric data. We fitted the off-transit variations in the CoRoT lightcurve using a harmonic decomposition similar to that implemented in Queloz et al. (2009). This fit was then used to model the stellar RV contribution, according to the methods described by Aigrain et al. (2011). This model was incorporated into a Monte Carlo Markov Chain in order to make a precise determination of the orbits of CoRoT-7b and CoRoT-7c. We also assess the evidence for the presence of one or two additional planetary companions. Copyright © 2013, International Astronomical Union.
Ermolli I, Matthes K, de Wit TD, et al., 2013, Recent variability of the solar spectral irradiance and its impact on climate modelling, ATMOSPHERIC CHEMISTRY AND PHYSICS, Vol: 13, Pages: 3945-3977, ISSN: 1680-7316
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