• The effect of ISM absorption on stellar activity measurements and its relevance for exoplanet studies

      Fossati, L.; Marcelja, S. E.; Staab, D.; Cubillos, P. E.; France, K.; Haswell, C. A.; Ingrassia, S.; Jenkins, J. S.; Koskinen, T.; Lanza, A. F.; et al. (EDP SCIENCES S A, 2017-05-11)
      Past ultraviolet and optical observations of stars hosting close-in Jupiter-mass planets have shown that some of these stars present an anomalously low chromospheric activity, significantly below the basal level. For the hot Jupiter planet host WASP-13, observations have shown that the apparent lack of activity is possibly caused by absorption from the intervening interstellar medium (ISM). Inspired by this result, we study the effect of ISM absorption on activity measurements (S and log R'(HK) indices) for main-sequence late-type stars. To this end, we employ synthetic stellar photospheric spectra combined with varying amounts of chromospheric emission and ISM absorption. We present the effect of ISM absorption on activity measurements by varying several instrumental (spectral resolution), stellar (projected rotational velocity, effective temperature, and chromospheric emission flux), and ISM parameters (relative velocity between stellar and ISM Ca II lines, broadening b-parameter, and Ca II column density). We find that for relative velocities between the stellar and ISM lines smaller than 30-40 km s(-1) and for ISM Ca II column densities log N-CaII greater than or similar to 12, the ISM absorption has a significant influence on activity measurements. Direct measurements and three dimensional maps of the Galactic ISM absorption indicate that an ISM Ca II column density of log N-CaII = 12 is typically reached by a distance of about 100 pc along most sight lines. In particular, for a Sun-like star lying at a distance greater than 100 pc, we expect a depression (bias) in the log R'(HK) value larger than 0.05-0.1 dex, about the same size as the typical measurement and calibration uncertainties on this parameter. This work shows that the bias introduced by ISM absorption must always be considered when measuring activity for stars lying beyond 100 pc. We also consider the effect of multiple ISM absorption components. We discuss the relevance of this result for exoplanet studies and revise the latest results on stellar activity versus planet surface gravity correlation. We finally describe methods with which it would be possible to account for ISM absorption in activity measurements and provide a code to roughly estimate the magnitude of the bias. Correcting for the ISM absorption bias may allow one to identify the origin of the anomaly in the activity measured for some planet-hosting stars.
    • The HR 4796A Debris System: Discovery of Extensive Exo-ring Dust Material

      Schneider, Glenn; Debes, John H.; Grady, Carol A.; Gáspár, András; Henning, Thomas; Hines, Dean C.; Kuchner, Marc J.; Perrin, Marshall; Wisniewski, J.; Univ Arizona, Steward Observ; et al. (IOP PUBLISHING LTD, 2018-01-22)
      The optically and IR-bright and starlight-scattering HR 4796A ringlike debris disk is one of the most-(and best-) studied exoplanetary debris systems. The presence of a yet-undetected planet has been inferred (or suggested) from the narrow width and inner/outer truncation radii of its r = 1.'' 05 (77 au) debris ring. We present new, highly sensitive Hubble Space Telescope (HST) visible-light images of the HR 4796A circumstellar debris system and its environment over a very wide range of stellocentric angles from 0.'' 32 (23 au) to approximate to 15 '' (1100 au). These very high-contrast images were obtained with the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS) using six-roll PSF template-subtracted coronagraphy suppressing the primary light of HR 4796A, with three image-plane occulters, and simultaneously subtracting the background light from its close angular proximity M2.5V companion. The resulting images unambiguously reveal the debris ring embedded within a much larger, morphologically complex, and biaxially asymmetric exo-ring scattering structure. These images at visible wavelengths are sensitive to and map the spatial distribution, brightness, and radial surface density of micron-size particles over 5 dex in surface brightness. These particles in the exo-ring environment may be unbound from the system and interacting with the local ISM. Herein, we present a new morphological and photometric view of the larger-than-prior-seen HR 4796A exoplanetary debris system with sensitivity to small particles at stellocentric distances an order of magnitude greater than has previously been observed.
    • Updated 34-band Photometry for the SINGS/KINGFISH Samples of Nearby Galaxies

      Dale, D. A.; Cook, D. O.; Roussel, H.; Turner, J. A.; Armus, L.; Bolatto, A. D.; Boquien, M.; Brown, M. J. I.; Calzetti, D.; Looze, I. De; et al. (IOP PUBLISHING LTD, 2017-03-07)
      We present an update to the ultraviolet-to-radio database of global broadband photometry for the 79 nearby galaxies that comprise the union of the KINGFISH (Key Insights on Nearby Galaxies: A Far-Infrared Survey with Herschel) and SINGS (Spitzer Infrared Nearby Galaxies Survey) samples. The 34-band data set presented here includes contributions from observational work carried out with a variety of facilities including GALEX, SDSS, Pan-STARRS1, NOAO, 2MASS, Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer, Spitzer, Herschel, Planck, JCMT, and the VLA. Improvements of note include recalibrations of previously published SINGS BVRCIC and KINGFISH farinfrared/submillimeter photometry. Similar to previous results in the literature, an excess of submillimeter emission above model predictions is seen primarily for low-metallicity dwarf or irregular galaxies. This 33-band photometric data set for the combined KINGFISH+SINGS sample serves as an important multiwavelength reference for the variety of galaxies observed at low redshift. A thorough analysis of the observed spectral energy distributions is carried out in a companion paper.