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The chemical composition of exoplanet-hosting binary star systems

Description

A significant portion of stars occur as binary systems, in which two stellar components orbit a common center of mass. As the number of known exoplanet systems continues to grow, some binary systems are now known to harbor planets around

A significant portion of stars occur as binary systems, in which two stellar components orbit a common center of mass. As the number of known exoplanet systems continues to grow, some binary systems are now known to harbor planets around one or both stellar components. As a first look into composition of these planetary systems, I investigate the chemical compositions of 4 binary star systems, each of which is known to contain at least one planet. Stars are known to vary significantly in their composition, and their overall metallicity (represented by iron abundance, [Fe/H]) has been shown to correlate with the likelihood of hosting a planetary system. Furthermore, the detailed chemical composition of a system can give insight into the possible properties of the system's known exoplanets. Using high-resolution spectra, I quantify the abundances of up to 28 elements in each stellar component of the binary systems 16 Cyg, 83 Leo, HD 109749, and HD 195019. A direct comparison is made between each star and its binary companion to give a differential composition for each system. For each star, a comparison of elemental abundance vs. condensation temperature is made, which may be a good diagnostic of refractory-rich terrestrial planets in a system. The elemental ratios C/O and Mg/Si, crucial in determining the atmospheric composition and mineralogy of planets, are calculated and discussed for each star. Finally, the compositions and diagnostics of each binary system are discussed in terms of the known planetary and stellar parameters for each system.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2013

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Modeling layered accretion and the magnetorotational instability in protoplanetary disks

Description

Understanding the temperature structure of protoplanetary disks (PPDs) is paramount to modeling disk evolution and future planet formation. PPDs around T Tauri stars have two primary heating sources, protostellar irradiation, which depends on the flaring of the disk, and accretional

Understanding the temperature structure of protoplanetary disks (PPDs) is paramount to modeling disk evolution and future planet formation. PPDs around T Tauri stars have two primary heating sources, protostellar irradiation, which depends on the flaring of the disk, and accretional heating as viscous coupling between annuli dissipate energy. I have written a "1.5-D" radiative transfer code to calculate disk temperatures assuming hydrostatic and radiative equilibrium. The model solves for the temperature at all locations simultaneously using Rybicki's method, converges rapidly at high optical depth, and retains full frequency dependence. The likely cause of accretional heating in PPDs is the magnetorotational instability (MRI), which acts where gas ionization is sufficiently high for gas to couple to the magnetic field. This will occur in surface layers of the disk, leaving the interior portions of the disk inactive ("dead zone"). I calculate temperatures in PPDs undergoing such "layered accretion." Since the accretional heating is concentrated far from the midplane, temperatures in the disk's interior are lower than in PPDs modeled with vertically uniform accretion. The method is used to study for the first time disks evolving via the magnetorotational instability, which operates primarily in surface layers. I find that temperatures in layered accretion disks do not significantly differ from those of "passive disks," where no accretional heating exists. Emergent spectra are insensitive to active layer thickness, making it difficult to observationally identify disks undergoing layered vs. uniform accretion. I also calculate the ionization chemistry in PPDs, using an ionization network including multiple charge states of dust grains. Combined with a criterion for the onset of the MRI, I calculate where the MRI can be initiated and the extent of dead zones in PPDs. After accounting for feedback between temperature and active layer thickness, I find the surface density of the actively accreting layers falls rapidly with distance from the protostar, leading to a net outward flow of mass from ~0.1 to 3 AU. The clearing out of the innermost zones is possibly consistent with the observed behavior of recently discovered "transition disks."

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Agent

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Date Created
2012

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Clustering of stars in nearby galaxies: probing the range of stellar structures

Description

Most stars form in groups, and these clusters are themselves nestled within larger associations and stellar complexes. It is not yet clear, however, whether stars cluster on preferred size scales within galaxies, or if stellar groupings have a continuous size

Most stars form in groups, and these clusters are themselves nestled within larger associations and stellar complexes. It is not yet clear, however, whether stars cluster on preferred size scales within galaxies, or if stellar groupings have a continuous size distribution. I have developed two methods to select stellar groupings across a wide range of size-scales in order to assess trends in the size distribution and other basic properties of stellar groupings. The first method uses visual inspection of color-magnitude and color-color diagrams of clustered stars to assess whether the compact sources within the potential association are coeval, and thus likely to be born from the same parentmolecular cloud. This method was developed using the stellar associations in the M51/NGC 5195 interacting galaxy system. This process is highly effective at selecting single-aged stellar associations, but in order to assess properties of stellar clustering in a larger sample of nearby galaxies, an automated method for selecting stellar groupings is needed. I have developed an automated stellar grouping selection method that is sensitive to stellar clustering on all size scales. Using the Source Extractor software package on Gaussian-blurred images of NGC 4214, and the annular surface brightness to determine the characteristic size of each cluster/association, I eliminate much of the size and density biases intrinsic to other methods. This automated method was tested in the nearby dwarf irregular galaxy NGC 4214, and can detect stellar groupings with sizes ranging from compact clusters to stellar complexes. In future work, the automatic selection method developed in this dissertation will be used to identify stellar groupings in a set of nearby galaxies to determine if the size scales for stellar clustering are uniform in the nearby universe or if it is dependent on local galactic environment. Once the stellar clusters and associations have been identified and age-dated, this information can be used to deduce disruption times from the age distribution as a function of the position of the stellar grouping within the galaxy, the size of the cluster or association, and the morphological type of the galaxy. The implications of these results for galaxy formation and evolution are discussed.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2011

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Stellar abundances in the solar neighborhood

Description

The only elements that were made in significant quantity during the Big Bang were hydrogen and helium, and to a lesser extent lithium. Depending on the initial mass of a star, it may eject some or all of the unique,

The only elements that were made in significant quantity during the Big Bang were hydrogen and helium, and to a lesser extent lithium. Depending on the initial mass of a star, it may eject some or all of the unique, newly formed elements into the interstellar medium. The enriched gas later collapses into new stars, which are able to form heavier elements due to the presence of the new elements. When we observe the abundances in a stellar regions, we are able to glean the astrophysical phenomena that occurred prior to its formation. I compile spectroscopic abundance data from 49 literature sources for 46 elements across 2836 stars in the solar neighborhood, within 150 pc of the Sun, to produce the Hypatia Catalog. I analyze the variability of the spread in abundance measurements reported for the same star by different surveys, the corresponding stellar atmosphere parameters adopted by various abundance determination methods, and the effect of normalizing all abundances to the same solar scale. The resulting abundance ratios [X/Fe] as a function of [Fe/H] are consistent with stellar nucleosynthetic processes and known Galactic thin-disk trends. I analyze the element abundances for 204 known exoplanet host-stars. In general, I find that exoplanet host-stars are not enriched more than the surrounding population of stars, with the exception of iron. I examine the stellar abundances with respect to both stellar and planetary physical properties, such as orbital period, eccentricity, planetary mass, stellar mass, and stellar color. My data confirms that exoplanet hosts are enriched in [Fe/H] but not in the refractory elements, per the self-enrichment theory for stellar composition. Lastly, I apply the Hypatia Catalog to the Catalog of Potentially Habitable Stellar Systems in order to investigate the abundances in the 1224 overlapping stars. By looking at stars similar to the Sun with respect to six bio-essential elements, I created maps that have located two ``habitability windows'' on the sky: (20.6hr, -4.8deg) and (22.6hr, -48.5deg). These windows may be of use in future targeted or beamed searches.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2012

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Photometric Color Correction of the Star-Planet Activity Research CubeSat (SPARCS)

Description

The Star Planet Activity Research CubeSat (SPARCS) will be a 6U CubeSat devoted to photometric monitoring of M dwarfs in the far-ultraviolet (FUV) and near-ultraviolet (NUV) (160 and 280 nm respectively), measuring the time-dependent spectral slope, intensity and evolution of

The Star Planet Activity Research CubeSat (SPARCS) will be a 6U CubeSat devoted to photometric monitoring of M dwarfs in the far-ultraviolet (FUV) and near-ultraviolet (NUV) (160 and 280 nm respectively), measuring the time-dependent spectral slope, intensity and evolution of M dwarf stellar UV radiation. The delta-doped detectors baselined for SPARCS have demonstrated more than five times the in-band quantum efficiency of the detectors of GALEX. Given that red:UV photon emission from cool, low-mass stars can be million:one, UV observation of thes stars are susceptible to red light contamination. In addition to the high efficiency delta-doped detectors, SPARCS will include red-rejection filters to help minimize red leak. Even so, careful red-rejection and photometric calibration is needed. As was done for GALEX, white dwarfs are used for photometric calibration in the UV. We find that the use of white dwarfs to calibrate the observations of red stars leads to significant errors in the reported flux, due to the differences in white dwarf and red dwarf spectra. Here we discuss the planned SPARCS calibration model and the color correction, and demonstrate the importance of this correction when recording UV measurements of M stars taken by SPARCS.

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Agent

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Date Created
2021-05

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Tidal tales of minor mergers: star formation in the tidal tails of minor mergers

Description

This work examines star formation in the debris associated with collisions of dwarf and spiral galaxies. While the spectacular displays of major mergers are famous (e.g., NGC 4038/9, ``The Antennae''), equal mass galaxy mergers are relatively rare compared to minor

This work examines star formation in the debris associated with collisions of dwarf and spiral galaxies. While the spectacular displays of major mergers are famous (e.g., NGC 4038/9, ``The Antennae''), equal mass galaxy mergers are relatively rare compared to minor mergers (mass ratio <0.3) Minor mergers are less energetic than major mergers, but more common in the observable universe and, thus, likely played a pivotal role in the formation of most large galaxies. Centers of mergers host vigorous star formation from high gas density and turbulence and are surveyed over cosmological distances. However, the tidal debris resulting from these mergers have not been well studied. Such regions have large reservoirs of gaseous material that can be used as fuel for subsequent star formation but also have lower gas density. Tracers of star formation at the local and global scale have been examined for three tidal tails in two minor merger systems. These tracers include young star cluster populations, H-alpha, and [CII] emission. The rate of apparent star formation derived from these tracers is compared to the gas available to estimate the star formation efficiency (SFE). The Western tail of NGC 2782 formed isolated star clusters while massive star cluster complexes are found in the UGC 10214 (``The Tadpole'') and Eastern tail of NGC 2782. Due to the lack of both observable CO and [CII] emission, the observed star formation in the Western tail of NGC 2782 may have a low carbon abundance and represent only the first round of local star formation. While the Western tail has a normal SFE, the Eastern tail in the same galaxy has an low observed SFE. In contrast, the Tadpole tidal tail has a high observed star formation rate and a corresponding high SFE. The low SFE observed in the Eastern tail of NGC 2782 may be due to its origin as a splash region where localized gas heating is important. However, the other tails may be tidally formed regions where gravitational compression likely dominates and enhances the local star formation.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2013

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Investigation of Star Formation: Instrumentation and Methodology

Description

A thorough exploration of star formation necessitates observation across the electromagnetic spectrum. In particular, observations in the submillimeter and ultra-violet allow one to observe very early stage star formation and to trace the evolution from molecular cloud collapse to stellar

A thorough exploration of star formation necessitates observation across the electromagnetic spectrum. In particular, observations in the submillimeter and ultra-violet allow one to observe very early stage star formation and to trace the evolution from molecular cloud collapse to stellar ignition. Submillimeter observations are essential for piercing the heart of heavily obscured stellar nurseries to observe star formation in its infancy. Ultra-violet observations allow one to observe stars just after they emerge from their surrounding environment, allowing higher energy radiation to escape. To make detailed observations of early stage star formation in both spectral regimes requires state-of-the-art detector technology and instrumentation. In this dissertation, I discuss the calibration and feasibility of detectors developed by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and specially processed at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory to increase their quantum efficiency at far-ultraviolet wavelengths. A cursory treatment of the delta-doping process is presented, followed by a thorough discussion of calibration procedures developed at JPL and in the Laboratory for Astronomical and Space Instrumentation at ASU. Subsequent discussion turns to a novel design for a Modular Imager Cell forming one possible basis for construction of future large focal plane arrays. I then discuss the design, fabrication, and calibration of a sounding rocket imaging system developed using the MIC and these specially processed detectors. Finally, I discuss one scientific application of sub-mm observations. I used data from the Heinrich Hertz Sub-millimeter Telescope and the Sub-Millimeter Array (SMA) to observe sub-millimeter transitions and continuum emission towards AFGL 2591. I tested the use of vibrationally excited HCN emission to probe the protostellar accretion disk structure. I measured vibrationally excited HCN line ratios in order to elucidate the appropriate excitation mechanism. I find collisional excitation to be dominant, showing the emission originates in extremely dense (n&sim10;11 cm-3), warm (T&sim1000; K) gas. Furthermore, from the line profile of the v=(0, 22d, 0) transition, I find evidence for a possible accretion disk.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2012

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The resolved stellar populations in nearby star-forming galaxies: M83, NGC 4214, and CGCG 269-049

Description

Understanding the properties and formation histories of individual stars in galaxies remains one of the most important areas in astrophysics. The impact of the Hubble Space Telescope<\italic> (HST<\italic>) has been revolutionary, providing deep observations of nearby galaxies at high resolution

Understanding the properties and formation histories of individual stars in galaxies remains one of the most important areas in astrophysics. The impact of the Hubble Space Telescope<\italic> (HST<\italic>) has been revolutionary, providing deep observations of nearby galaxies at high resolution and unprecedented sensitivity over a wavelength range from near-ultraviolet to near-infrared. In this study, I use deep HST<\italic> imaging observations of three nearby star-forming galaxies (M83, NGC 4214, and CGCG 269-049) based on the HST<\italic> observations, in order to provide to construct color-magnitude and color-color diagrams of their resolved stellar populations. First, I select 50 regions in the spiral arm and inter-arm areas of M83, and determine the age distribution of the luminous stellar populations in each region. I developed an innovative method of star-by-star correction for internal extinction to improve stellar age and mass estimates. I compare the extinction-corrected ages of the 50 regions with those determined from several independent methods. The young stars are much more likely to be found in concentrated aggregates along spiral arms, while older stars are more dispersed. These results are consistent with a scenario where star formation is associated with the spiral arms, and stars form primarily in star clusters before dispersing on short timescales to form the field population. I address the effects of spatial resolution on the measured colors, magnitudes, and age estimates. While individual stars can occasionally show measurable differences in the colors and magnitudes, the age estimates for entire regions are only slightly affected. The same procedure is applied to nearby starbursting dwarf NGC 4214 to study the distributions of young and old stellar populations. Lastly, I describe the analysis of the HST<\italic> and Spitzer Space Telescope<\italic> observations of the extremely metal-poor dwarf galaxy (XMPG) CGCG 269-049 at a distance of 4.96 Mpc. This galaxy is one of the most metal-poor known with 12+log(O/H)=7.43. I find clear evidence for the presence of an old stellar population in CGCG~269-049, ruling out the possibility that this galaxy is forming its first generation of stars, as originally proposed for XMPGs. This comprehensive study of resolved stellar populations in three nearby galaxies provides detailed view of the current state of star formation and evolution of galaxies.

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Date Created
2012

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Variability of elemental abundances in the local neighborhood and its effect on planetary systems

Description

As the detection of planets become commonplace around our neighboring stars, scientists can now begin exploring their possible properties and habitability. Using statistical analysis I determine a true range of elemental compositions amongst local stars and how this variation could

As the detection of planets become commonplace around our neighboring stars, scientists can now begin exploring their possible properties and habitability. Using statistical analysis I determine a true range of elemental compositions amongst local stars and how this variation could affect possible planetary systems. Through calculating and analyzing the variation in elemental abundances of nearby stars, the actual range in stellar abundances can be determined using statistical methods. This research emphasizes the diversity of stellar elemental abundances and how that could affect the environment from which planets form. An intrinsic variation has been found to exist for almost all of the elements studied by most abundance-finding groups. Specifically, this research determines abundances for a set of 458 F, G, and K stars from spectroscopic planet hunting surveys for 27 elements, including: C, O, Na, Mg, Al, Si, S, Ca, Sc, Ti, V, Cr, Mn, Fe, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, Y, Zr, Mo, Ba, La, Ce, Nd, Eu, and Hf. Abundances of the elements in many known exosolar planet host stars are calculated for the purpose investigating new ways to visualize how stellar abundances could affect planetary systems, planetary formation, and mineralogy. I explore the Mg/Si and C/O ratios as well as place these abundances on ternary diagrams with Fe. Lastly, I emphasize the unusual stellar abundance of τ Ceti. τ Ceti is measured to have 5 planets of Super-Earth masses orbiting in near habitable zone distances. Spectroscopic analysis finds that the Mg/Si ratio is extremely high (~2) for this star, which could lead to alterations in planetary properties. τ Ceti's low metallicity and oxygen abundance account for a change in the location of the traditional habitable zone, which helps clarify a new definition of habitable planets.

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Date Created
2014

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Examining the Bombardment Record of the Saturnian Satellites Through Impact Crater Analysis

Description

The central question of my dissertation is "How old are the inner moons of Saturn?" This question is of critical importance for the refinement of how solar systems and giant planet systems form and evolve. One of the most direct

The central question of my dissertation is "How old are the inner moons of Saturn?" This question is of critical importance for the refinement of how solar systems and giant planet systems form and evolve. One of the most direct ways to test the ages of a planet's surface is through the use of impact craters. Here I utilize images from the Cassini Imaging Science Subsystem (ISS) to count the craters on the mid-sized moons of Saturn, Tethys and Dione. I present a statistical analysis of the craters and the likely impactor sources that crated these craters. On Tethys I find that the impact craters can be explained by a planetocentric source that is local to the Saturnian system and is not found elsewhere in the outer planets. I also find that the majority of mapped regions are likely close in age. On Dione, I have mapped four areas at a regional-scale resolution ( ~ 200 m/ pix) and have found that resurfacing has greatly affected the small crater population and that the overall size-frequency distribution of craters is most representative of a planetocentric source unique to Saturn. Elliptical craters provide another means of assessing the bombardment environment around Saturn, as they record the primary direction of the object that created the crater upon impact on the surface. I have mapped these craters on Tethys and Dione, to analyze the global distributions of these craters and their orientations. Across both satellites, I find that in the equatorial regions between 30° N and 30°S in latitude, the orientations of the elliptical craters are consistent with an East/West orientation for their direction, which also is suggestive of a local planetocentric source. Throughout the main three studies presented in this dissertation I find that the main impactor source is a planetocentric source that is unique to Saturn and is not seen on the moons of the other giant planets.

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Date Created
2021