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These are the latest articles published in The Astrophysical Journal.
Rebekah I. Dawson et al. 2015 ApJ 798 66
Gas giant planets orbiting within 0.1 AU of their host stars are unlikely to have formed in situ and are evidence for planetary migration. It is debated whether the typical hot Jupiter smoothly migrated inward from its formation location through the proto-planetary disk, or was perturbed by another body onto a highly eccentric orbit, which tidal dissipation subsequently shrank and circularized during close stellar passages. Socrates and collaborators predicted that the latter model should produce a population of super-eccentric proto-hot Jupiters readily observable by Kepler. We find a paucity of such planets in the Kepler sample, which is inconsistent with the theoretical prediction with 96.9% confidence. Observational effects are unlikely to explain this discrepancy. We find that the fraction of hot Jupiters with an orbital period P > 3 days produced by the star-planet Kozai mechanism does not exceed (at two-sigma) 44%. Our results may indicate that disk migration is the dominant channel for producing hot Jupiters with P > 3 days. Alternatively, the typical hot Jupiter may have been perturbed to a high eccentricity by interactions with a planetary rather than stellar companion, and began tidal circularization much interior to 1 AU after multiple scatterings. A final alternative is that early in the tidal circularization process at high eccentricities tidal circularization occurs much more rapidly than later in the process at low eccentricities, although this is contrary to current tidal theories.
Alexandra Z. Greenbaum et al. 2015 ApJ 798 68
The high angular resolution technique of non-redundant masking (NRM) or aperture masking interferometry (AMI) has yielded images of faint protoplanetary companions of nearby stars from the ground. AMI on James Webb Space Telescope ( JWST)'s Near Infrared Imager and Slitless Spectrograph (NIRISS) has a lower thermal background than ground-based facilities and does not suffer from atmospheric instability. NIRISS AMI images are likely to have 90%-95% Strehl ratio between 2.77 and 4.8 μm. In this paper we quantify factors that limit the raw point source contrast of JWST NRM. We develop an analytic model of the NRM point spread function which includes different optical path delays (pistons) between mask holes and fit the model parameters with image plane data. It enables a straightforward way to exclude bad pixels, is suited to limited fields of view, and can incorporate effects such as intra-pixel sensitivity variations. We simulate various sources of noise to estimate their effect on the standard deviation of closure phase, σ CP (a proxy for binary point source contrast). If σ CP < 10 –4 radians—a contrast ratio of 10 mag—young accreting gas giant planets (e.g., in the nearby Taurus star-forming region) could be imaged with JWST NIRISS. We show the feasibility of using NIRISS' NRM with the sub-Nyquist sampled F277W, which would enable some exoplanet chemistry characterization. In the presence of small piston errors, the dominant sources of closure phase error (depending on pixel sampling, and filter bandwidth) are flat field errors and unmodeled variations in intra-pixel sensitivity. The in-flight stability of NIRISS will determine how well these errors can be calibrated by observing a point source. Our results help develop efficient observing strategies for space-based NRM.
Richard Lieu et al. 2015 ApJ 798 67
As an extension of the ideas of Hanbury-Brown and Twiss, a method is proposed to eliminate the phase noise of white chaotic light in the regime where it is dominant, and to measure the much smaller Poisson fluctuations from which the incoming flux can be reconstructed. The best effect is achieved when the timing resolution is finer than the inverse bandwidth of the spectral filter. There may be applications to radio astronomy at the phase noise dominated frequencies of 1-10 GHz, in terms of potentially increasing the sensitivity of telescopes by an order of magnitude.
James Guillochon and Enrico Ramirez-Ruiz 2015 ApJ 798 64
Y.-M. Wang et al. 2015 ApJ 798 50
The axes of solar active regions are inclined relative to the east-west direction, with the tilt angle tending to increase with latitude ("Joy's law"). Observational determinations of Joy's law have been based either on white-light images of sunspot groups or on magnetograms, where the latter have the advantage of measuring directly the physically relevant quantity (the photospheric field), but the disadvantage of having been recorded routinely only since the mid-1960s. White-light studies employing the historical Mount Wilson (MW) database have yielded tilt angles that are smaller and that increase less steeply with latitude than those obtained from magnetic data. We confirm this effect by comparing sunspot-group tilt angles from the Debrecen Photoheliographic Database with measurements made by Li and Ulrich using MW magnetograms taken during cycles 21-23. Whether white-light or magnetic data are employed, the median tilt angles significantly exceed the mean values, and provide a better characterization of the observed distributions. The discrepancy between the white-light and magnetic results is found to have two main sources. First, a substantial fraction of the white-light "tilt angles" refer to sunspots of the same polarity. Of greater physical significance is that the magnetograph measurements include the contribution of plage areas, which are invisible in white-light images but tend to have greater axial inclinations than the adjacent sunspots. Given the large uncertainties inherent in both the white-light and the magnetic measurements, it remains unclear whether any systematic relationship exists between tilt angle and cycle amplitude during cycles 16-23.