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Cloud Atlas: High-contrast Time-resolved Observations of Planetary-mass Companions

Zhou, Yifan and Apai, Dániel and Lew, Ben W. P. and Schneider, Glenn and Manjavacas, Elena and Bedin, Luigi R. and Cowan, Nicolas B. and Marley, Mark S. and Radigan, Jacqueline and Karalidi, Theodora and Lowrance, Patrick J. and Miles-Páez, Paulo A. and Metchev, Stanimir and Burgasser, Adam J. (2019) Cloud Atlas: High-contrast Time-resolved Observations of Planetary-mass Companions. Astronomical Journal, 157 (3). Art. No. 128. ISSN 1538-3881.

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Directly imaged planetary-mass companions offer unique opportunities in atmospheric studies of exoplanets. They share characteristics of both brown dwarfs and transiting exoplanets, and therefore are critical for connecting atmospheric characterizations for these objects. Rotational phase mapping is a powerful technique to constrain the condensate cloud properties in ultra-cool atmospheres. Applying this technique to directly imaged planetary-mass companions will be extremely valuable for constraining cloud models in low mass and surface-gravity atmospheres and for determining the rotation rate and angular momentum of substellar companions. Here, we present Hubble Space Telescope Wide Field Camera 3 near-infrared time-resolved photometry for three planetary-mass companions, AB Pic B, 2M0122B, and 2M1207b. Using two-roll differential imaging and hybrid point-spread function modeling, we achieve sub-percent photometric precision for all three observations. We find tentative modulations (<2σ) for AB Pic B and 2M0122B, but cannot reach conclusive results on 2M1207b due to strong systematics. The relatively low significance of the modulation measurements cannot rule out the hypothesis that these planetary-mass companions have the same vertical cloud structures as brown dwarfs. Our rotation rate measurements, combined with archival period measurements of planetary-mass companions and brown dwarfs, do not support a universal mass-rotation relation. The high precision of our observations and the high occurrence rates of variable low-surface-gravity objects encourage high-contrast time-resolved observations with the James Webb Space Telescope.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Zhou, Yifan0000-0003-2969-6040
Apai, Dániel0000-0003-3714-5855
Lew, Ben W. P.0000-0003-1487-6452
Schneider, Glenn0000-0002-4511-5966
Manjavacas, Elena0000-0003-0192-6887
Bedin, Luigi R.0000-0003-4080-6466
Cowan, Nicolas B.0000-0001-6129-5699
Marley, Mark S.0000-0002-5251-2943
Radigan, Jacqueline0000-0002-6732-3651
Karalidi, Theodora0000-0001-7356-6652
Lowrance, Patrick J.0000-0001-8014-0270
Miles-Páez, Paulo A.0000-0003-2446-8882
Metchev, Stanimir0000-0003-3050-8203
Burgasser, Adam J.0000-0002-6523-9536
Additional Information:© 2019. The American Astronomical Society. Received 2018 December 6; revised 2019 January 22; accepted 2019 January 29; published 2019 February 28. We thank the referee for a constructive report. We thank Dr. Kaitlin Kratter for pointing out an inadequacy in an earlier version of the manuscript and Dr. Aleks Scholz for useful comments. Y.Z. acknowledges support in part by the NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship Program—Grant NNX16AP54H. D.A. acknowledges support by NASA under agreement no. NNX15AD94G for the program Earths in Other Solar Systems. Support for program no. 14241 was provided by NASA through a grant from the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., under NASA contract NAS5-26555. Based on observations made with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, obtained in GO program 14241 at the Space Telescope Science Institute. Software: Numpy&Scipy (van der Walt et al. 2011), Matplotlib (Hunter 2007), IPython (Perez & Granger 2007), Astropy (Robitaille et al. 2013), Seaborn (Waskom et al. 2017).
Group:Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC)
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NASA Earth and Space Science FellowshipNNX16AP54H
NASAGO 14241
Subject Keywords:methods: observational; planetary systems; planets and satellites: atmospheres
Issue or Number:3
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20190228-124828518
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Yifan Zhou et al 2019 AJ 157 128
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:93355
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:28 Feb 2019 21:10
Last Modified:09 Mar 2020 13:19

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