Exoplanets and Astrobiology

    General
    Description

    The search for life in the universe has been driven by recent discoveries of planets around other stars (known as exoplanets), becoming one of the most active fields in modern astrophysics. The growing number of new exoplanets discovered in recent years and the recent advance on the study of their atmospheres are not only providing new valuable information about its physical properties, but also allowing to constrain the properties of the Solar system's planets within a more global context. The field is approaching to the important discovery of the first potentially habitable planets and encouraging more detailed studies of them. With the launching of upcoming related satellites like JWST, CHEOPS, TESS, ARIEL and PLATO, the exoplanets field faces a bright future.

    It is for this reason that this field is aid of, and at the same time promotes, the development of increasingly sensitive and stable instrumentation for both, ground-based telescopes and space missions. Our group is particularly prepared for these two fronts. On the one hand, during the last years we have developed observational and reduction techniques of exoplanet transits data for the ORM telescopes, ours being one of the most productive groups in the exploitation of GTC. On the other hand, all ESA space missions (present and future) related to exoplanets have one or more components of the project as CoIs. Within the frame of this project, we intend that IAC researchers maintain an advantageous position regarding the operation of OSIRIS and CanariCam, first light

    GTC's instruments, and participate in the construction, commissioning and operation of new instruments such as the high resolution optical spectrograph HORUS at GTC. The exploitation of the photometry and spectroscopy of transits with LIRIS at WHT is also one of our principal interests, especially in preparation for the installation in 2015 of EMIR on the GTC .

    To summarize, the project "Exoplanets and Astrobiology" will focus on these four action lines:

    1) The characterization of atmospheric and physical properties of exoplanets (GTC, WHT, ARIEL, HARPSN, CARMENES, ESPRESSO, etc. ..)

    2) The search and confirmation of exoplanets by transits techniques (CoRoT, Kepler, K2, CHEOPS, XO, LCOGT, W FC, DISH, etc. ..)

    3) The search and confirmation of exoplanet by radial velocity techniques (HARPSN, HORUS, LCOGT, SONG, CARMENES)

    4) Astrobiology

    Principal investigator
    Project staff
    1. Detection of He in the atmosphere of an exoplanet from the ground, published in Science
    2. Detection of a super-earth around Barnard star, published in Nature
    3. Detection of the first TESS planets, with several papers of high relevance
    4. Discovery of Na and Halpha features in the spectrum of KELT-20b with TNG
    5. Publication of the Handbook of Exoplanets, the most extensive work of reference in the field of exoplanets. The Handbook was edited by members of our group, and includes contributions by about 300 experts worldwide, including 12 members of IAC.

    Related publications

    • Atmospheric characterization of terrestrial exoplanets in the mid-infrared: biosignatures, habitability, and diversity

      Exoplanet science is one of the most thriving fields of modern astrophysics. A major goal is the atmospheric characterization of dozens of small, terrestrial exoplanets in order to search for signatures in their atmospheres that indicate biological activity, assess their ability to provide conditions for life as we know it, and investigate their

      Quanz, Sascha P. et al.

      Advertised on:

      9
      2021
    • Occulter to earth: prospects for studying earth-like planets with the E-ELT and a space-based occulter

      Direct detection and characterization of Earth-like planets around Sun-like stars is a core task for evaluating the prevalence of habitability and life in the Universe. Here, we discuss a promising option for achieving this goal, which is based on placing an occulter in orbit and having it project its shadow onto the E-ELT at the surface of Earth

      Janson, Markus et al.

      Advertised on:

      8
      2021
    • Detecting life outside our solar system with a large high-contrast-imaging mission

      In this White Paper, which was submitted in response to the European Space Agency (ESA) Voyage 2050 Call, we recommend the ESA plays a proactive role in developing a global collaborative effort to construct a large high-contrast imaging space telescope, e.g. as currently under study by NASA. Such a mission will be needed to characterize a sizable

      Snellen, Ignas A. G. et al.

      Advertised on:

      10
      2021
    • The Ariel 0.6 - 7.8 μm stellar limb-darkening coefficients

      We provide here tables of stellar limb-darkening coefficients (LDCs) for the Ariel ESA M4 space mission. These tables include LDCs corresponding to different wavelength bins and white bands for the NIRSpec, AIRS-Ch0 and AIRS-Ch1 spectrographs, and those corresponding to the VISPhot, FGS1 and FGS2 photometers. The LDCs are calculated with the open

      Morello, Giuseppe et al.

      Advertised on:

      4
      2021
    • TOI-2285b: A 1.7 Earth-radius planet near the habitable zone around a nearby M dwarf

      We report the discovery of TOI-2285b, a sub-Neptune-sized planet transiting a nearby (42 pc) M dwarf with a period of 27.3 d. We identified the transit signal from the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite photometric data, which we confirmed with ground-based photometric observations using the multiband imagers MuSCAT2 and MuSCAT3. Combining these

      Fukui, Akihiko et al.

      Advertised on:

      12
      2021
    • Rapid contraction of giant planets orbiting the 20-million-year-old star V1298 Tau

      Current theories of planetary evolution predict that infant giant planets have large radii and very low densities before they slowly contract to reach their final size after about several hundred million years1,2. These theoretical expectations remain untested so far as the detection and characterization of very young planets is extremely

      Suárez Mascareño, A. et al.

      Advertised on:

      12
      2021
    • Rapid contraction of giant planets orbiting the 20-million-year-old star V1298 Tau

      Current theories of planetary evolution predict that infant giant planets have large radii and very low densities before they slowly contract to reach their final size after about several hundred million years1,2. These theoretical expectations remain untested so far as the detection and characterization of very young planets is extremely

      Suárez Mascareño, A. et al.

      Advertised on:

      12
      2021
    • A compositional link between rocky exoplanets and their host stars

      Stars and planets both form by accreting material from a surrounding disk. Because they grow from the same material, theory predicts that there should be a relationship between their compositions. In this study, we search for a compositional link between rocky exoplanets and their host stars. We estimate the iron-mass fraction of rocky exoplanets

      Adibekyan, Vardan et al.

      Advertised on:

      10
      2021
    • 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
    • GTC/CanariCam Deep Mid-infrared Imaging Survey of Northern Stars within 5 pc

      In this work we present the results of a direct imaging survey for brown dwarf companions around the nearest stars at the mid-infrared 10 micron range (λ c = 8.7 μm, Δλ = 1.1 μm) using the CanariCam instrument on the 10.4 m Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC). We imaged the 25 nearest stellar systems within 5 pc of the Sun at declinations δ > -25° (at

      Gauza, Bartosz et al.

      Advertised on:

      12
      2021
    • Probing the atmosphere of WASP-69 b with low- and high-resolution transmission spectroscopy

      Consideration of both low- and high-resolution transmission spectroscopy is key for obtaining a comprehensive picture of exoplanet atmospheres. In studies of transmission spectra, the continuum information is well established with low-resolution spectra, while the shapes of individual lines are best constrained with high-resolution observations. In

      Khalafinejad, S. et al.

      Advertised on:

      12
      2021
    • TOI-1201 b: A mini-Neptune transiting a bright and moderately young M dwarf

      We present the discovery of a transiting mini-Neptune around TOI-1201, a relatively bright and moderately young early M dwarf (J ≈ 9.5 mag, ~600-800 Myr) in an equal-mass ~8 arcsecond-wide binary system, using data from the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, along with follow-up transit observations. With an orbital period of 2.49 d, TOI-1201 b

      Kossakowski, D. 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
    • Evidence for stellar contamination in the transmission spectra of HAT-P-12b

      Context. Transmission spectroscopy characterizes the wavelength dependence of transit depth, revealing atmospheric absorption features in planetary terminator regions. In this context, different optical transmission spectra of HAT-P-12b reported in previous studies exhibited discrepant atmospheric features (e.g., Rayleigh scattering and alkali

      Jiang, C. et al.

      Advertised on:

      12
      2021
    • Diving Beneath the Sea of Stellar Activity: Chromatic Radial Velocities of the Young AU Mic Planetary System

      We present updated radial-velocity (RV) analyses of the AU Mic system. AU Mic is a young (22 Myr) early-M dwarf known to host two transiting planets-P b ~ 8.46 days, ${R}_{b}={4.38}_{-0.18}^{+0.18}\ {R}_{\oplus }$ , P c ~ 18.86 days, ${R}_{c}={3.51}_{-0.16}^{+0.16}\ {R}_{\oplus }$ . With visible RVs from Calar Alto high-Resolution search for M

      Cale, Bryson L. 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
    • TOI-2109: An Ultrahot Gas Giant on a 16 hr Orbit

      We report the discovery of an ultrahot Jupiter with an extremely short orbital period of 0.67247414 ± 0.00000028 days (~16 hr). The 1.347 ± 0.047 R Jup planet, initially identified by the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) mission, orbits TOI-2109 (TIC 392476080)-a T eff ~ 6500 K F-type star with a mass of 1.447 ± 0.077 M ☉, a radius of 1

      Wong, Ian et al.

      Advertised on:

      12
      2021
    • Ammonia-methane ratios from H-band near-infrared spectra of late-T and Y dwarfs

      Aims: Our goals are to investigate the relative absorption strengths of ammonia and methane using low-resolution H-band (1.5−1.7 microns) spectra obtained in the laboratory and compared with observational spectra of late-T and Y dwarfs, and to estimate what can be expected from the wide-angle low-resolution near-infrared spectroscopic survey that

      Martín, E. L. et al.

      Advertised on:

      11
      2021
    • TIC 172900988: A Transiting Circumbinary Planet Detected in One Sector of TESS Data

      We report the first discovery of a transiting circumbinary planet detected from a single sector of Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) data. During Sector 21, the planet TIC 172900988b transited the primary star and then five days later it transited the secondary star. The binary is itself eclipsing, with a period P ≍ 19.7 days and an

      Kostov, Veselin B. et al.

      Advertised on:

      12
      2021
    • Wolf 503 b: Characterization of a Sub-Neptune Orbiting a Metal-poor K Dwarf

      Using radial-velocity measurements from four instruments, we report the mass and density of a 2.043 ±0.069 R⊕ sub-Neptune orbiting the quiet K-dwarf Wolf 503 (HIP 67285). In addition, we present improved orbital and transit parameters by analyzing previously unused short-cadence K2 campaign 17 photometry and conduct a joint radial-velocity-transit

      Polanski, Alex S. et al.

      Advertised on:

      12
      2021

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