Helio and Astero-Seismology and Exoplanets Search

    General
    Description

    The principal objectives of this project are: 1) to study the structure and dynamics of the solar interior, 2) to extend this study to other stars, 3) to search for extrasolar planets using photometric methods (primarily by transits of their host stars) and their characterization (using radial velocity information) and 4) the study of the planetary atmospheres.

    To reach our first objective, we use Global Helioseismology (analysis of the solar oscillation eigenmodes) and Local Helioseismology (that uses travel waves). Solar seismology allows to accurately infer information about the internal structure and dynamics of the Sun,. This project covers the various necessary aspects to attain the aforementioned objectives: instrumental, observational, reduction, analysis and interpretation of data and, finally, theoretical developments of inversion techniques and development of structure and evolution models.

    On the other hand, the Astroseismology aims to obtain a similar knowledge of other stars. Thanks to the huge number of stars observed by CoRoT, Kepler and TESS space missions it is possible to extract seismic global parameters of hundreds of stars; both solar type and red giants. Furthermore, the recent deployment and beginning of observations with the high precision spectrographs of the SONG (Stellar Observations Network Group) ground-based telescopes will substantially improve the characterization of the eigenmodes spectrum in bright stars.

    The strategy of using planetary transits to discover new planets around other stars consists of the photometric detection of the dimming of the light of the star when one of its planets passes, or ‘transits’ in front of it. Currently this method is the preferred one for the study of small planets, not only due to its sensitivity, but also because this method allows a more detailed investigation of the planets found (e.g. Planetary atmospheres). This technique is similar to the one that is used for helio- and asteroseismology and so some of its methods are a logical extension from that. However, it is also important to develop new algorithms and observing methods for the unequivocal detection and analysis of planets and to be able to distinguish them from false alarms.

    The current horizon for studies of exoplanets with space missions involves new missions, beginning with the launch of CHEOPS, followed by TESS, JWST and in 2026, PLATO. Thus, there is presently a window of opportunity for ground-based facilities, and we are pursuing observations using mainly TNG, NOT y GTC.

    Principal investigator

    Milestones

    1. Members of the team (P. G. Beck, H. Deeg, S. Mathur, F. H. Perez, C. Regulo) were involved in the discovery and characterization of a warm Saturn transiting a slightly evolved solar-like star (HD 89345) observed with the NASA K2 mission and confirmed with RV measurements. The seismic analysis of the star led to precise estimates of the stellar parameters.
    2. P.G.Beck lead two papers on binary systems hosting red-giant binaries, using asteroseismic techniques and data from the Kepler space telescope. Beck et al (2018a,b) allow a better understanding of the stellar structure of the stellar components, and the tidal interaction in binary systems. The internal mixing was investigated through measurements lithium.
    3. S. Mathur participated in the analysis of the first planet discovered with the NASA TESS mission, orbiting the star Pi Men. The seismic analysis led to a very marginal detection but gave a hint of the asteroseismic potential with the TESS data (Gandolfi et al. 2018).
    4. Project "Solar-SONG". For the first time, stellar instrumentation (SONG spectrograph) has been used to obtain precise measurements of the radial velocity of the Sun with high temporal cadence (4 sec.) and long duration (57 consecutive days) to allow the detailed study of the spectrum of oscillations ( p-modes) and obtain their global parameters
    5. The researchers Hans J. Deeg and Juan Antonio Belmonte coordinated the edition of the "Handbook of Exoplanets", four volumes with 160 articles by more than 300 specialists in exoplanetology. Three years of intensive work have resulted in a complete documentation on the state of the art of the studies of the planets beyond the Solar System.

    Related publications

    • Orbital period refinement of CoRoT planets with TESS observations

      CoRoT was the first space mission dedicated to exoplanet detection. Operational between 2007 and 2012, this mission discovered 37 transiting planets, including CoRoT-7b, the first terrestrial exoplanet with a measured size. The precision of the published transit ephemeris of most of these planets has been limited by the relative short durations of

      Klagyivik, Peter et al.

      Advertised on:

      12
      2021
    • GJ 367b: A dense, ultrashort-period sub-Earth planet transiting a nearby red dwarf star

      Ultrashort-period (USP) exoplanets have orbital periods shorter than 1 day. Precise masses and radii of USP exoplanets could provide constraints on their unknown formation and evolution processes. We report the detection and characterization of the USP planet GJ 367b using high-precision photometry and radial velocity observations. GJ 367b orbits a

      Lam, Kristine W. F. et al.

      Advertised on:

      12
      2021
    • TOI-1431b/MASCARA-5b: A Highly Irradiated Ultrahot Jupiter Orbiting One of the Hottest and Brightest Known Exoplanet Host Stars

      We present the discovery of a highly irradiated and moderately inflated ultrahot Jupiter, TOI-1431b/MASCARA-5 b (HD 201033b), first detected by NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite mission (TESS) and the Multi-site All-Sky Camera (MASCARA). The signal was established to be of planetary origin through radial velocity measurements obtained

      Addison, Brett C. et al.

      Advertised on:

      12
      2021
    • TESS Asteroseismology of α Mensae: Benchmark Ages for a G7 Dwarf and Its M Dwarf Companion

      Asteroseismology of bright stars has become increasingly important as a method to determine the fundamental properties (in particular ages) of stars. The Kepler Space Telescope initiated a revolution by detecting oscillations in more than 500 main-sequence and subgiant stars. However, most Kepler stars are faint and therefore have limited

      Chontos, Ashley et al.

      Advertised on:

      12
      2021
    • Magnetic and Rotational Evolution of ρ CrB from Asteroseismology with TESS

      During the first half of main-sequence lifetimes, the evolution of rotation and magnetic activity in solar-type stars appears to be strongly coupled. Recent observations suggest that rotation rates evolve much more slowly beyond middle age, while stellar activity continues to decline. We aim to characterize this midlife transition by combining

      Metcalfe, Travis S. et al.

      Advertised on:

      11
      2021
    • Asteroseismology of iota Draconis and Discovery of an Additional Long-period Companion

      Giant stars as known exoplanet hosts are relatively rare due to the potential challenges in acquiring precision radial velocities and the small predicted transit depths. However, these giant host stars are also some of the brightest in the sky and so enable high signal-to-noise ratio follow-up measurements. Here, we report on new observations of

      Hill, Michelle L. et al.

      Advertised on:

      11
      2021
    • On the relation between active-region lifetimes and the autocorrelation function of light curves

      Rotational modulation of stellar light curves due to dark spots encloses information on spot properties and, thus, on magnetic activity. In particular, the decay of the autocorrelation function (ACF) of light curves is presumed to be linked to spot/active-region lifetimes, given that some coherence of the signal is expected throughout their

      Santos, A. R. G. et al.

      Advertised on:

      11
      2021
    • 37 new validated planets in overlapping K2 campaigns

      We analysed 68 candidate planetary systems first identified during Campaigns 5 and 6 (C5 and C6) of the NASA K2 mission. We set out to validate these systems by using a suite of follow-up observations, including adaptive optics, speckle imaging, and reconnaissance spectroscopy. The overlap between C5 with C16 and C18, and C6 with C17, yields light

      de Leon, J. P. et al.

      Advertised on:

      11
      2021
    • Masses and compositions of three small planets orbiting the nearby M dwarf L231-32 (TOI-270) and the M dwarf radius valley

      We report on precise Doppler measurements of L231-32 (TOI-270), a nearby M dwarf (d = 22 pc, M⋆ = 0.39 M⊙, R⋆ = 0.38 R⊙), which hosts three transiting planets that were recently discovered using data from the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS). The three planets are 1.2, 2.4, and 2.1 times the size of Earth and have orbital periods of 3.4

      Van Eylen, V. et al.

      Advertised on:

      10
      2021
    • Brightness Fluctuation Spectra of Sun-like Stars. I. The Mid-frequency Continuum

      We analyze space-based time-series photometry of Sun-like stars, mostly in the Pleiades, but also field stars and the Sun itself. We focus on timescales between roughly 1 hr and 1 day. In the corresponding frequency band these stars display brightness fluctuations with a decreasing power-law continuous spectrum. K2 and Kepler observations show that

      Brown, Timothy M. et al.

      Advertised on:

      8
      2021
    • A calibration of the Rossby number from asteroseismology

      Stellar activity and rotation are tightly related in a dynamo process. Our understanding of this mechanism is mainly limited by our capability of inferring the properties of stellar turbulent convection. In particular, the convective turnover time is a key ingredient through the estimation of the stellar Rossby number, which is the ratio of the

      Corsaro, E. et al.

      Advertised on:

      8
      2021
    • Surface Rotation and Photometric Activity for Kepler Targets. II. G and F Main-sequence Stars and Cool Subgiant Stars

      Dark magnetic spots crossing the stellar disk lead to quasiperiodic brightness variations, which allow us to constrain stellar surface rotation and photometric activity. The current work is the second of this series, where we analyze the Kepler long-cadence data of 132,921 main-sequence F and G stars and late subgiant stars. Rotation-period

      Santos, A. R. G. et al.

      Advertised on:

      7
      2021
    • TOI-220 b: a warm sub-Neptune discovered by TESS

      In this paper, we report the discovery of TOI-220 b, a new sub-Neptune detected by the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) and confirmed by radial velocity follow-up observations with the HARPS spectrograph. Based on the combined analysis of TESS transit photometry and high precision radial velocity measurements, we estimate a planetary

      Hoyer, S. et al.

      Advertised on:

      8
      2021
    • Hot planets around cool stars - two short-period mini-Neptunes transiting the late K-dwarf TOI-1260

      We present the discovery and characterization of two sub-Neptunes in close orbits, as well as a tentative outer planet of a similar size, orbiting TOI-1260 - a low metallicity K6 V dwarf star. Photometry from Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite(TESS) yields radii of Rb = 2.33 ± 0.10 and Rc = 2.82 ± 0.15 R⊕, and periods of 3.13 and 7.49 d for TOI

      Georgieva, I. Y. et al.

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      8
      2021
    • Magnetic signatures on mixed-mode frequencies. I. An axisymmetric fossil field inside the core of red giants

      Context. The discovery of moderate differential rotation between the core and the envelope of evolved solar-like stars could be the signature of a strong magnetic field trapped inside the radiative interior. The population of intermediate-mass red giants presenting surprisingly low-amplitude mixed modes (i.e. oscillation modes that behave as

      Bugnet, L. et al.

      Advertised on:

      6
      2021
    • Weighing stars from birth to death: mass determination methods across the HRD

      The mass of a star is the most fundamental parameter for its structure, evolution, and final fate. It is particularly important for any kind of stellar archaeology and characterization of exoplanets. There exist a variety of methods in astronomy to estimate or determine it. In this review we present a significant number of such methods, beginning

      Serenelli, Aldo et al.

      Advertised on:

      12
      2021
    • A transmission spectrum of the planet candidate WD 1856+534 b and a lower limit to its mass

      The cool white dwarf WD 1856+534 was found to be transited by a Jupiter-sized object with a mass at or below 14 MJup. We used the GTC telescope to obtain and analyse the photometry and low-resolution spectroscopy of six transits of WD 1856+534 b, with the intention of deriving the slope of the transmission spectrum. Such a slope, assuming a cloud

      Alonso, R. et al.

      Advertised on:

      5
      2021
    • Spectroscopic and seismic analysis of red giants in eclipsing binaries discovered by Kepler

      Eclipsing binaries (EBs) are unique targets for measuring accurate stellar properties and constraining stellar evolution models. In particular, it is possible to measure masses and radii at the few percent level for both components of a double-lined spectroscopic EB (SB2-EB). On the one hand, detached EBs hosting at least one star with detectable

      Benbakoura, M. et al.

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      4
      2021
    • ROOSTER: a machine-learning analysis tool for Kepler stellar rotation periods

      In order to understand stellar evolution, it is crucial to efficiently determine stellar surface rotation periods. Indeed, while they are of great importance in stellar models, angular momentum transport processes inside stars are still poorly understood today. Surface rotation, which is linked to the age of the star, is one of the constraints

      Breton, S. N. et al.

      Advertised on:

      3
      2021
    • Precise radial velocities of giant stars. XV. Mysterious nearly periodic radial velocity variations in the eccentric binary ε Cygni

      Context. Using the Hamilton Échelle Spectrograph at Lick Observatory, we have obtained precise radial velocities (RVs) of a sample of 373 G- and K-giant stars over more than 12 yr, leading to the discovery of several single and multiple planetary systems. The RVs of the long-period (~53 yr) spectroscopic binary ε Cyg (HIP 102488) are found to

      Heeren, Paul et al.

      Advertised on:

      3
      2021

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