Matching Items (9)

Filtering by

Clear all filters

Interstellar Landscapes: Landscapes of Carbon and Magnesium Planets

Description

How do we visualize environments outside our solar system? I have researched two very alien planets and their compositions with the goal of finding out how those differences would affect the way a planet appears on its surface. The first

How do we visualize environments outside our solar system? I have researched two very alien planets and their compositions with the goal of finding out how those differences would affect the way a planet appears on its surface. The first is a planet orbiting the nearby G type star Tau Ceti. This star has Mg/Si ratio of 1.78, compared to 1.2 found on the Earth. A planet formed around this star could have a very active surface, covered in volcanoes. The other planet is a hypothetical carbon planet that could orbit the star HD 144899. This star has a C/O ratio of 0.8, compared to 0.5 in the Sun. A planet formed here might be comprised mostly of carbides, with a hydrocarbon atmosphere. It would likely be geologically dead, the main forces shaping its surface being meteorites. Both planets, due to their extremes, would likely be barren and lifeless. The results of this project are two digital paintings showcasing my vision of these planets.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2015-05

152229-Thumbnail Image.png

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.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2013

150742-Thumbnail Image.png

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.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2012

147535-Thumbnail Image.png

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.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2021-05

151434-Thumbnail Image.png

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.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2012

152707-Thumbnail Image.png

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.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2014

Companions and Environments of Low-Mass Stars: From Star-Forming Regions to the Field

Description

The lowest-mass stars, known as M-dwarfs, form target samples for upcoming exoplanet searches, and together with lower-mass substellar objects known as brown dwarfs, are among prime targets for detailed study with high-contrast adaptive optics (AO) imaging and sub-millimeter interferometry. In

The lowest-mass stars, known as M-dwarfs, form target samples for upcoming exoplanet searches, and together with lower-mass substellar objects known as brown dwarfs, are among prime targets for detailed study with high-contrast adaptive optics (AO) imaging and sub-millimeter interferometry. In this thesis, I describe results from three studies investigating the companion properties and environments of low-mass systems: (1) The 245-star M-dwarfs in Multiples (MinMs) Survey, a volume-limited survey of field M-dwarf companions within 15 pc, (2) the Taurus Boundary of Stellar/Substellar (TBOSS) Survey, an ongoing study of disk properties for low-mass members within the Taurus star-forming region, and (3) spectroscopy of a brown dwarf companion using the Gemini Planet Imager (GPI).

Direct imaging of M-dwarfs is a sensitive technique to identify low-mass companions over a wide range of orbital separation, and the high proper motion of nearby M-dwarfs eases confirmation of new multiple stars. Combining AO and wide-field imaging, the MinMs Survey provides new measurements of the companion star fraction (CSF), separation distribution, and mass ratio distribution for the nearest K7-M6 dwarfs. These results demonstrate the closer orbital separations (~6 AU) and lower frequency (~23% CSF) of M-dwarf binaries relative to higher-mass stars.

From the TBOSS project, I report 885µm Atacama Large Millimeter/sub-millimeter Array continuum measurements for 24 Taurus members spanning the stellar/substellar boundary (M4-M7.75). Observations of submillimeter emission from dust grains around the lowest-mass hosts show decreasing disk dust mass for decreasing host star mass, consistent with low frequencies of giant planets around M-dwarfs. Compared to the older stellar association of Upper Scorpius, Taurus disks have a factor of four higher mass in submillimeter-sized grains.

From the GPI Exoplanet Survey, I describe near-infrared spectroscopy of an unusually red companion orbiting inside the debris disk of an F5V star. As the second brown dwarf discovered within the innermost region of a debris disk, the properties of this system offer important dynamical constraints for companion-disk interaction and a useful benchmark for brown dwarf and giant planet atmospheric study.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2017

Exoplanet meteorology: characterizing the atmospheres of directly imaged sub-stellar objects

Description

The field of exoplanet science has matured over the past two decades with over 3500 confirmed exoplanets. However, many fundamental questions regarding the composition, and formation mechanism remain unanswered. Atmospheres are a window into the properties of a planet, and

The field of exoplanet science has matured over the past two decades with over 3500 confirmed exoplanets. However, many fundamental questions regarding the composition, and formation mechanism remain unanswered. Atmospheres are a window into the properties of a planet, and spectroscopic studies can help resolve many of these questions. For the first part of my dissertation, I participated in two studies of the atmospheres of brown dwarfs to search for weather variations. To understand the evolution of weather on brown dwarfs we conducted a multi-epoch study monitoring four cool brown dwarfs to search for photometric variability. These cool brown dwarfs are predicted to have salt and sulfide clouds condensing in their upper atmosphere and we detected one high amplitude variable. Combining observations for all T5 and later brown dwarfs we note a possible correlation between variability and cloud opacity.

For the second half of my thesis, I focused on characterizing the atmospheres of directly imaged exoplanets. In the first study Hubble Space Telescope data on HR8799, in wavelengths unobservable from the ground, provide constraints on the presence of clouds in the outer planets. Next, I present research done in collaboration with the Gemini Planet Imager Exoplanet Survey (GPIES) team including an exploration of the instrument contrast against environmental parameters, and an examination of the environment of the planet in the HD 106906 system. By analyzing archival HST data and examining the near-infrared colors of HD 106906b, we conclude that the companion shows weak evidence of a circumplanetary dust disk or cloud. Finally, I measure the properties of the low mass directly imaged planet 51 Eridani b. We combined published J, H spectra with updated LP photometry, new K1, K2 spectra, and MS photometry. The new data confirms that the planet has redder than similar spectral type objects, which might be due to the planet still transitioning from to L-to-T. Model atmospheres indicate a cooler effective temperature best fit by a patchy cloud atmosphere making 51 Eri b an excellent candidate for future variability studies with the James Webb Space Telescope.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2017

155766-Thumbnail Image.png

The Diversity of Chemical Composition and the Effects on Stellar Evolution and Planetary Habitability

Description

I present a catalog of 1,794 stellar evolution models for solar-type and low-mass stars, which is intended to help characterize real host-stars of interest during the ongoing search for potentially habitable exoplanets. The main grid is composed of 904 tracks,

I present a catalog of 1,794 stellar evolution models for solar-type and low-mass stars, which is intended to help characterize real host-stars of interest during the ongoing search for potentially habitable exoplanets. The main grid is composed of 904 tracks, for 0.5-1.2 M_sol at scaled metallicity values of 0.1-1.5 Z_sol and specific elemental abundance ratio values of 0.44-2.28 O/Fe_sol, 0.58-1.72 C/Fe_sol, 0.54-1.84 Mg/Fe_sol, and 0.5-2.0 Ne/Fe_sol. The catalog includes a small grid of late stage evolutionary tracks (25 models), as well as a grid of M-dwarf stars for 0.1-0.45 M_sol (856 models). The time-dependent habitable zone evolution is calculated for each track, and is strongly dependent on stellar mass, effective temperature, and luminosity parameterizations. I have also developed a subroutine for the stellar evolution code TYCHO that implements a minimalist coupled model for estimating changes in the stellar X-ray luminosity, mass loss, rotational velocity, and magnetic activity over time; to test the utility of the updated code, I created a small grid (9 models) for solar-mass stars, with variations in rotational velocity and scaled metallicity. Including this kind of information in the catalog will ultimately allow for a more robust consideration of the long-term conditions that orbiting planets may experience.

In order to gauge the true habitability potential of a given planetary system, it is extremely important to characterize the host-star's mass, specific chemical composition, and thus the timescale over which the star will evolve. It is also necessary to assess the likelihood that a planet found in the "instantaneous" habitable zone has actually had sufficient time to become "detectably" habitable. This catalog provides accurate stellar evolution predictions for a large collection of theoretical host-stars; the models are of particular utility in that they represent the real variation in stellar parameters that have been observed in nearby stars.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2017