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See detailM Dwarf Exoplanet Surface Density Distribution: A Log-Normal Fit from 0.07-400 AU
Meyer, Michael R.; Amara, Adam; Reggiani, Maddalena ULg et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics Letters (2017), 1707

We fit a log-normal function to the M dwarf orbital surface density distribution of gas giant planets, over the mass range 1-10 times that of Jupiter, from 0.07-400 AU. We use a Markov Chain Monte Carlo ... [more ▼]

We fit a log-normal function to the M dwarf orbital surface density distribution of gas giant planets, over the mass range 1-10 times that of Jupiter, from 0.07-400 AU. We use a Markov Chain Monte Carlo approach to explore the likelihoods of various parameter values consistent with point estimates of the data given our assumed functional form. This fit is consistent with radial velocity, microlensing, and direct imaging observations, is well-motivated from theoretical and phenomenological viewpoints, and makes predictions of future surveys. We present probability distributions for each parameter as well as a Maximum Likelihood Estimate solution. We suggest this function makes more physical sense than other widely used functions, and explore the implications of our results on the design of future exoplanet surveys. [less ▲]

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See detailThe VLT/NaCo large program to probe the occurrence of exoplanets and brown dwarfs at wide orbits. IV. Gravitational instability rarely forms wide, giant planets
Vigan, A.; Bonavita, M.; Biller, B. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2017), 603

Understanding the formation and evolution of giant planets (≥1 M[SUB]Jup[/SUB]) at wide orbital separation (≥5 AU) is one of the goals of direct imaging. Over the past 15 yr, many surveys have placed ... [more ▼]

Understanding the formation and evolution of giant planets (≥1 M[SUB]Jup[/SUB]) at wide orbital separation (≥5 AU) is one of the goals of direct imaging. Over the past 15 yr, many surveys have placed strong constraints on the occurrence rate of wide-orbit giants, mostly based on non-detections, but very few have tried to make a direct link with planet formation theories. In the present work, we combine the results of our previously published VLT/NaCo large program with the results of 12 past imaging surveys to constitute a statistical sample of 199 FGK stars within 100 pc, including three stars with sub-stellar companions. Using Monte Carlo simulations and assuming linear flat distributions for the mass and semi-major axis of planets, we estimate the sub-stellar companion frequency to be within 0.75-5.70% at the 68% confidence level (CL) within 20-300 AU and 0.5-75 M[SUB]Jup[/SUB], which is compatible with previously published results. We also compare our results with the predictions of state-of-the-art population synthesis models based on the gravitational instability (GI) formation scenario with and without scattering. We estimate that in both the scattered and non-scattered populations, we would be able to detect more than 30% of companions in the 1-75 M[SUB]Jup[/SUB] range (95% CL). With the threesub-stellar detections in our sample, we estimate the fraction of stars that host a planetary system formed by GI to be within 1.0-8.6% (95% CL). We also conclude that even though GI is not common, it predicts a mass distribution of wide-orbit massive companions that is much closer to what is observed than what the core accretion scenario predicts. Finally, we associate the present paper with the release of the Direct Imaging Virtual Archive (DIVA), a public database that aims at gathering the results of past, present, and future direct imaging surveys. Based on observations collected at the European Southern Observatory, Chile (ESO Large Program 184.C-0157 and Open Time 089.C-0137A and 090.C-0252A). [less ▲]

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See detailThe W. M. Keck Observatory infrared vortex coronagraph and a first image of HIP79124 B
Serabyn, Eugene; Huby, Elsa ULg; Matthews, Keith et al

in Astronomical Journal (The) (2017), 153(1), 43

An optical vortex coronagraph has been implemented within the NIRC2 camera on the Keck II telescope and used to carry out on-sky tests and observations. The development of this new L'-band observational ... [more ▼]

An optical vortex coronagraph has been implemented within the NIRC2 camera on the Keck II telescope and used to carry out on-sky tests and observations. The development of this new L'-band observational mode is described, and an initial demonstration of the new capability is presented: a resolved image of the low-mass companion to HIP79124, which had previously been detected by means of interferometry. With HIP79124 B at a projected separation of 186.5 mas, both the small inner working angle of the vortex coronagraph and the related imaging improvements were crucial in imaging this close companion directly. Due to higher Strehl ratios and more relaxed contrasts in L' band versus H band, this new coronagraphic capability will enable high-contrast small-angle observations of nearby young exoplanets and disks on a par with those of shorter-wavelength extreme adaptive optics coronagraphs. [less ▲]

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See detailCharacterization of the inner disk around HD 141569 A from Keck/NIRC2 L-band vortex coronagraphy
Mawet, Dimitri; Choquet, Élodie; Absil, Olivier ULg et al

in Astronomical Journal (The) (2017), 153(1), 44

HD 141569 A is a pre-main sequence B9.5 Ve star surrounded by a prominent and complex circumstellar disk, likely still in a transition stage from protoplanetary to debris disk phase. Here, we present a ... [more ▼]

HD 141569 A is a pre-main sequence B9.5 Ve star surrounded by a prominent and complex circumstellar disk, likely still in a transition stage from protoplanetary to debris disk phase. Here, we present a new image of the third inner disk component of HD 141569 A made in the L' band (3.8 micron) during the commissioning of the vector vortex coronagraph recently installed in the near-infrared imager and spectrograph NIRC2 behind the W.M. Keck Observatory Keck II adaptive optics system. We used reference point spread function subtraction, which reveals the innermost disk component from the inner working distance of $\simeq 23$ AU and up to $\simeq 70$ AU. The spatial scale of our detection roughly corresponds to the optical and near-infrared scattered light, thermal Q, N and 8.6 micron PAH emission reported earlier. We also see an outward progression in dust location from the L'-band to the H-band (VLT/SPHERE image) to the visible (HST/STIS image), likely indicative of dust blowout. The warm disk component is nested deep inside the two outer belts imaged by HST NICMOS in 1999 (respectively at 406 and 245 AU). We fit our new L'-band image and spectral energy distribution of HD 141569 A with the radiative transfer code MCFOST. Our best-fit models favor pure olivine grains, and are consistent with the composition of the outer belts. While our image shows a putative very-faint point-like clump or source embedded in the inner disk, we did not detect any true companion within the gap between the inner disk and the first outer ring, at a sensitivity of a few Jupiter masses. [less ▲]

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See detailCommissioning and first light results of an L'-band vortex coronagraph with the Keck II adaptive optics NIRC2 science instrument
Femenía Castellá, Bruno; Serabyn, Eugene; Mawet, Dimitri et al

in Marchetti, E.; Close, L.; Véran, J.-P. (Eds.) Adaptive Optics Systems V (2016, July 26)

On March 2015 an L'-band vortex coronagraph based on an Annular Groove Phase Mask made up of a diamond sub-wavelength grating was installed on NIRC2 as a demonstration project. This vortex coronagraph ... [more ▼]

On March 2015 an L'-band vortex coronagraph based on an Annular Groove Phase Mask made up of a diamond sub-wavelength grating was installed on NIRC2 as a demonstration project. This vortex coronagraph operates in the L' band not only in order to take advantage from the favorable star/planet contrast ratio when observing beyond the K band, but also to exploit the fact that the Keck II Adaptive Optics (AO) system delivers nearly extreme adaptive optics image quality (Strehl ratios values near 90%) at 3.7μm. We describe the hardware installation of the vortex phase mask during a routine NIRC2 service mission. The success of the project depends on extensive software development which has allowed the achievement of exquisite real-time pointing control as well as further contrast improvements by using speckle nulling to mitigate the effect of static speckles. First light of the new coronagraphic mode was on June 2015 with already very good initial results. Subsequent commissioning nights were interlaced with science nights by members of the VORTEX team with their respective scientific programs. The new capability and excellent results so far have motivated the VORTEX team and the Keck Science Steering Committee (KSSC) to offer the new mode in shared risk mode for 2016B. [less ▲]

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See detailThree years of harvest with the vector vortex coronagraph in the thermal infrared
Absil, Olivier ULg; Mawet, D.; Karlsson, M. et al

in Evans, C.; Simard, L.; Takami, H. (Eds.) Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy VI (2016, June 26)

For several years, we have been developing vortex phase masks based on sub-wavelength gratings, known as Annular Groove Phase Masks. Etched onto diamond substrates, these AGPMs are currently designed to ... [more ▼]

For several years, we have been developing vortex phase masks based on sub-wavelength gratings, known as Annular Groove Phase Masks. Etched onto diamond substrates, these AGPMs are currently designed to be used in the thermal infrared (ranging from 3 to 13 μm). Our AGPMs were first installed on VLT/NACO and VLT/VISIR in 2012, followed by LBT/LMIRCam in 2013 and Keck/NIRC2 in 2015. In this paper, we review the development, commissioning, on-sky performance, and early scientific results of these new coronagraphic modes and report on the lessons learned. We conclude with perspectives for future developments and applications. [less ▲]

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See detailThe VLT/NaCo large program to probe the occurrence of exoplanets and brown dwarfs at wide orbits . III. The frequency of brown dwarfs and giant planets as companions to solar-type stars
Reggiani, Maddalena ULg; Meyer, M. R.; Chauvin, G. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2016), 586

Context. In recent years there have been many attempts to characterize the occurrence and distribution of stellar, brown dwarf (BD), and planetary-mass companions to solar-type stars with the aim of ... [more ▼]

Context. In recent years there have been many attempts to characterize the occurrence and distribution of stellar, brown dwarf (BD), and planetary-mass companions to solar-type stars with the aim of constraining formation mechanisms. From radial velocity observations a dearth of companions with masses between 10-40 M[SUB]Jupiter[/SUB] has been noticed at close separations, suggesting the possibility of a distinct formation mechanism for objects above and below this range. <BR /> Aims: We present a model for the substellar companion mass function (CMF). This model consists of the superposition of the planet and BD companion mass distributions, assuming that we can extrapolate the radial velocity measured CMF for planets to larger separations and the stellar companion mass-ratio distribution over all separations into the BD mass regime. By using both the results of the VLT/NaCo large program (NaCo-LP) and the complementary archive datasets, which probe the occurrence of planets and BDs on wide orbits around solar-type stars, we place some constraints on the planet and BD distributions. <BR /> Methods: We developed a Monte Carlo simulation tool to predict the outcome of a given survey, depending on the shape of the orbital parameter distributions (mass, semimajor axis, eccentricity, and inclination). Comparing the predictions with the results of the observations, we calculate the likelihood of different models and which models can be ruled out. <BR /> Results: Current observations are consistent with the proposed model for the CMF, as long as a sufficiently small outer truncation radius (≲100 AU) is introduced for the planet separation distribution. Some regions of parameter space can be excluded by the observations. <BR /> Conclusions: We conclude that the results of the direct imaging surveys searching for substellar companions around Sun-like stars are consistent with a combined substellar mass spectrum of planets and BDs. This mass distribution has a minimum between 10 and 50 M[SUB]Jupiter[/SUB], in agreement with radial velocity measurements. In this picture the dearth of objects in this mass range would naturally arise from the shape of the mass distribution, without the introduction of any distinct formation mechanism for BDs. This kind of model for the CMF allows us to determine the probability for a substellar companion as a function of mass to have formed in a disk or from protostellar core fragmentation, as such mechanisms overlap in this mass range. Based on observations collected at the European Southern Observatory, Chile (ESO Large Program 184.C-0157 and Open Time 089.C-0137A and 090.C-0252A). [less ▲]

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See detailSearching for gas giant planets on Solar system scales - a NACO/APP L'-band survey of A- and F-type main-sequence stars
Meshkat, T.; Kenworthy, M. A.; Reggiani, Maddalena ULg et al

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (2015), 453

We report the results of a direct imaging survey of A- and F-type main-sequence stars searching for giant planets. A/F stars are often the targets of surveys, as they are thought to have more massive ... [more ▼]

We report the results of a direct imaging survey of A- and F-type main-sequence stars searching for giant planets. A/F stars are often the targets of surveys, as they are thought to have more massive giant planets relative to solar-type stars. However, most imaging is only sensitive to orbital separations >30 au, where it has been demonstrated that giant planets are rare. In this survey, we take advantage of the high-contrast capabilities of the Apodizing Phase Plate coronagraph on NACO at the Very Large Telescope. Combined with optimized principal component analysis post-processing, we are sensitive to planetary-mass companions (2-12 M[SUB]Jup[/SUB]) at Solar system scales (≤30 au). We obtained data on 13 stars in the L' band and detected one new companion as part of this survey: an M6.0 ± 0.5 dwarf companion around HD 984. We re-detect low-mass companions around HD 12894 and HD 20385, both reported shortly after the completion of this survey. We use Monte Carlo simulations to determine new constraints on the low-mass (<80 M[SUB]Jup[/SUB]) companion frequency, as a function of mass and separation. Assuming solar-type planet mass and separation distributions, normalized to the planet frequency appropriate for A-stars, and the observed companion mass-ratio distribution for stellar companions extrapolated to planetary masses, we derive a truncation radius for the planetary mass companion surface density of <135 au at 95 per cent confidence. [less ▲]

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See detailThe VLT/NaCo large program to probe the occurrence of exoplanets and brown dwarfs at wide orbits. II. Survey description, results, and performances
Chauvin, G.; Vigan, A.; Bonnefoy, M. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2015), 573

Context. Young, nearby stars are ideal targets for direct imaging searches for giant planets and brown dwarf companions. After the first-imaged planet discoveries, vast efforts have been devoted to the ... [more ▼]

Context. Young, nearby stars are ideal targets for direct imaging searches for giant planets and brown dwarf companions. After the first-imaged planet discoveries, vast efforts have been devoted to the statistical analysis of the occurence and orbital distributions of giant planets and brown dwarf companions at wide (≥5-6 AU) orbits. <BR /> Aims: In anticipation of the VLT/SPHERE planet-imager, guaranteed-time programs, we have conducted a preparatory survey of 86 stars between 2009 and 2013 to identify new faint comoving companions to ultimately analyze the occurence of giant planets and brown dwarf companions at wide (10-2000 AU) orbits around young, solar-type stars. <BR /> Methods: We used NaCo at VLT to explore the occurrence rate of giant planets and brown dwarfs between typically 0.1 and 8''. Diffraction-limited observations in H-band combined with angular differential imaging enabled us to reach primary star-companion brightness ratios as small as 10[SUP]-6[/SUP] at 1.5''. Repeated observations at several epochs enabled us to discriminate comoving companions from background objects. <BR /> Results: During our survey, twelve systems were resolved as new binaries, including the discovery of a new white dwarf companion to the star HD 8049. Around 34 stars, at least one companion candidate was detected in the observed field of view. More than 400 faint sources were detected; 90% of them were in four crowded fields. With the exception of HD 8049 B, we did not identify any new comoving companions. The survey also led to spatially resolved images of the thin debris disk around HD 61005 that have been published earlier. Finally, considering the survey detection limits, we derive a preliminary upper limit on the frequency of giant planets for the semi-major axes of [10, 2000] AU: typically less than 15% between 100 and 500 AU and less than 10% between 50 and 500 AU for exoplanets that are more massive than 5 M[SUB]Jup[/SUB] and 10 M[SUB]Jup[/SUB] respectively, if we consider a uniform input distribution and a confidence level of 95%. <BR /> Conclusions: The results from this survey agree with earlier programs emphasizing that massive, gas giant companions on wide orbits around solar-type stars are rare. These results will be part of a broader analysis of a total of ~210 young, solar-type stars to bring further statistical constraints for theoretical models of planetary formation and evolution. Based on observations collected at the European Southern Observatory, Chile (ESO Large Program 184.C-0157 and Open Time 089.C-0137A and 090.C-0252A).Tables 2 and 6 are available in electronic form at <A href="http://www.aanda.org/10.1051/0004-6361/201423564/olm">http://www.aanda.org</A> [less ▲]

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See detailDiscovery of a Companion Candidate in the HD 169142 Transition Disk and the Possibility of Multiple Planet Formation
Reggiani, Maddalena ULg; Quanz, Sascha P.; Meyer, Michael R. et al

in Astrophysical Journal Letters (2014), 792

We present L'- and J-band high-contrast observations of HD 169142, obtained with the Very Large Telescope/NACO AGPM vector vortex coronagraph and the Gemini Planet Imager, respectively. A source located ... [more ▼]

We present L'- and J-band high-contrast observations of HD 169142, obtained with the Very Large Telescope/NACO AGPM vector vortex coronagraph and the Gemini Planet Imager, respectively. A source located at 0.''156 ± 0.''032 north of the host star (P.A. = 7.4° ± 11.3°) appears in the final reduced L' image. At the distance of the star (~145 pc), this angular separation corresponds to a physical separation of 22.7 ± 4.7 AU, locating the source within the recently resolved inner cavity of the transition disk. The source has a brightness of L' = 12.2 ± 0.5 mag, whereas it is not detected in the J band (J >13.8 mag). If its L' brightness arose solely from the photosphere of a companion and given the J - L' color constraints, it would correspond to a 28-32 MJup object at the age of the star, according to the COND models. Ongoing accretion activity of the star suggests, however, that gas is left in the inner disk cavity from which the companion could also be accreting. In this case, the object could be lower in mass and its luminosity enhanced by the accretion process and by a circumplanetary disk. A lower-mass object is more consistent with the observed cavity width. Finally, the observations enable us to place an upper limit on the L'-band flux of a second companion candidate orbiting in the disk annular gap at ~50 AU, as suggested by millimeter observations. If the second companion is also confirmed, HD 169142 might be forming a planetary system, with at least two companions opening gaps and possibly interacting with each other. [less ▲]

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See detailImaging the Inner and Outer Gaps of the Pre-transitional Disk of HD 169142 at 7 mm
Osorio, Mayra; Anglada, Guillem; Carrasco-González, Carlos et al

in Astrophysical Journal Letters (2014), 791

We present Very Large Array observations at 7 mm that trace the thermal emission of large dust grains in the HD 169142 protoplanetary disk. Our images show a ring of enhanced emission of radius ~25-30 AU ... [more ▼]

We present Very Large Array observations at 7 mm that trace the thermal emission of large dust grains in the HD 169142 protoplanetary disk. Our images show a ring of enhanced emission of radius ~25-30 AU, whose inner region is devoid of detectable 7 mm emission. We interpret this ring as tracing the rim of an inner cavity or gap, possibly created by a planet or a substellar companion. The ring appears asymmetric, with the western part significantly brighter than the eastern one. This azimuthal asymmetry is reminiscent of the lopsided structures that are expected to be produced as a consequence of trapping of large dust grains. Our observations also reveal an outer annular gap at radii from ~40 to ~70 AU. Unlike other sources, the radii of the inner cavity, the ring, and the outer gap observed in the 7 mm images, which trace preferentially the distribution of large (millimeter/centimeter sized) dust grains, coincide with those obtained from a previous near-infrared polarimetric image, which traces scattered light from small (micron-sized) dust grains. We model the broadband spectral energy distribution and the 7 mm images to constrain the disk physical structure. From this modeling we infer the presence of a small (radius ~0.6 AU) residual disk inside the central cavity, indicating that the HD 169142 disk is a pre-transitional disk. The distribution of dust in three annuli with gaps in between them suggests that the disk in HD 169142 is being disrupted by at least two planets or substellar objects. [less ▲]

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See detailFrom the Companion Mass Ratio Distribution to the Planetary Mass Function: Using Multiple Systems to Constrain Models of Star and Planet Formation
Reggiani, Maddalena ULg; Meyer, Michael R.; Goodwin, Simon et al

in Stamatellos, Dimitri; Goodwin, Simon; Ward-Thompson, Derek (Eds.) The Labyrinth of Star Formation, Astrophysics and Space Science Proceedings (2014)

We present new results regarding the companion mass ratio distribution (CMRD) of stars, and sub-stellar objects. Considering the new survey of multiples for solar type field stars (Raghavan et al. ApJS ... [more ▼]

We present new results regarding the companion mass ratio distribution (CMRD) of stars, and sub-stellar objects. Considering the new survey of multiples for solar type field stars (Raghavan et al. ApJS 190:1, 2010) and M dwarfs (Janson et al. ApJ 754(1):26, 2012), we test the universality of the CMRD derived in Reggiani and Meyer (ApJ 738:60, 2011). Whereas we do not find significant differences in the CMRD for M dwarfs compared to previous results, the solar type CMRD appears to inconsistent with the previously derived CMRD from Reggiani and Meyer (ApJ 738:60, 2011). Despite the fact that this survey spans a wider range of angular separations than the previously studied samples, there is no evidence for variations in the CMRD as a function of orbital separation. Assuming that we can extrapolate both the stellar CMRD into the BD regime and the radial velocity planetary Companion Mass Function (Cumming et al. PASP 120:531, 2008) to larger separations, we can run MC simulations to test in which mass range we expect the planet population to become more important than BDs as companions to stars. This tool can be useful to predict the outcome of future surveys for very low mass companions or to analyze already existing datasets. [less ▲]

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See detailThe Hubble Space Telescope Treasury Program on the Orion Nebula Cluster
Robberto, M.; Soderblom, D. R.; Bergeron, E. et al

in Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series (2013), 207

The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) Treasury Program on the Orion Nebula Cluster (ONC) has used 104 orbits of HST time to image the Great Orion Nebula region with the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS), the ... [more ▼]

The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) Treasury Program on the Orion Nebula Cluster (ONC) has used 104 orbits of HST time to image the Great Orion Nebula region with the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS), the Wide-Field/Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2), and the Near-Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrograph (NICMOS) instrument in 11 filters ranging from the U band to the H band equivalent of HST. The program has been intended to perform the definitive study of the stellar component of the ONC at visible wavelengths, addressing key questions like the cluster initial mass function, age spread, mass accretion, binarity, and cirumstellar disk evolution. The scanning pattern allowed us to cover a contiguous field of approximately 600 arcmin[SUP]2[/SUP] with both ACS and WFPC2, with a typical exposure time of approximately 11 minutes per ACS filter, corresponding to a point source depth AB(F435W) = 25.8 and AB(F775W) = 25.2 with 0.2 mag of photometric error. We describe the observations, data reduction, and data products, including images, source catalogs, and tools for quick look preview. In particular, we provide ACS photometry for 3399 stars, most of them detected at multiple epochs; WFPC2 photometry for 1643 stars, 1021 of them detected in the U band; and NICMOS JH photometry for 2116 stars. We summarize the early science results that have been presented in a number of papers. The final set of images and the photometric catalogs are publicly available through the archive as High Level Science Products at the STScI Multimission Archive hosted by the Space Telescope Science Institute. [less ▲]

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See detailThe binary companion mass ratio distribution: an imprint of the star formation process?
Parker, Richard J.; Reggiani, Maddalena ULg

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (2013), 432

We explore the effects of dynamical evolution in dense clusters on the companion mass ratio distribution (CMRD) of binary stars. Binary systems are destroyed by interactions with other stars in the ... [more ▼]

We explore the effects of dynamical evolution in dense clusters on the companion mass ratio distribution (CMRD) of binary stars. Binary systems are destroyed by interactions with other stars in the cluster, lowering the total binary fraction and significantly altering the initial semimajor axis distribution. However, the shape of the CMRD is unaffected by dynamics; an equal number of systems with high mass ratios are destroyed compared to systems with low mass ratios. We might expect a weak dependence of the survivability of a binary on its mass ratio because its binding energy is proportional to both the primary and secondary mass components of the system. However, binaries are broken up by interactions in which the perturbing star has a significantly higher energy (by a factor of ≳10, depending on the particular binary properties) than the binding energy of the binary, or through multiple interactions in the cluster. We therefore suggest that the shape of the observed binary CMRD is an outcome of the star formation process and should be measured in preference to the distributions of orbital parameters, such as the semimajor axis distribution. [less ▲]

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See detailUniversality of the companion mass-ratio distribution
Reggiani, Maddalena ULg; Meyer, M. R.

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2013), 553

<BR /> Aims: We present new results regarding the companion mass-ratio distribution (CMRD) of stars, as a follow-up of our previous work. <BR /> Methods: We used a maximum-likelihood-estimation method to ... [more ▼]

<BR /> Aims: We present new results regarding the companion mass-ratio distribution (CMRD) of stars, as a follow-up of our previous work. <BR /> Methods: We used a maximum-likelihood-estimation method to re-derive the field CMRD power law avoiding dependence on the arbitrary binning. We also considered two new surveys of multiples in the field for solar-type stars and M dwarfs to test the universality of the CMRD. <BR /> Results: We found no significant differences in the CMRD for M dwarfs and solar-type stars compared with previous results over the common mass ratio and separation range. The new best-fit power law of the CMRD in the field, combining two previous sets of data, is dN/dq ∝ q[SUP]β[/SUP], with β = 0.25 ± 0.29. [less ▲]

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See detailDirect imaging constraints on planet populations detected by microlensing
Quanz, S. P.; Lafrenière, D.; Meyer, M. R. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2012), 541

Context. Results from gravitational microlensing suggested the existence of a large population of free-floating planetary mass objects. The main conclusion from this work was partly based on constraints ... [more ▼]

Context. Results from gravitational microlensing suggested the existence of a large population of free-floating planetary mass objects. The main conclusion from this work was partly based on constraints from a direct imaging survey. This survey determined upper limits for the frequency of stars that harbor giant exoplanets at large orbital separations. <BR /> Aims: We want to verify to what extent upper limits from direct imaging do indeed constrain the microlensing results. <BR /> Methods: We examine the current derivation of the upper limits used in the microlensing study and re-analyze the data from the corresponding imaging survey. We focus on the mass and semi-major axis ranges that are most relevant in context of the microlensing results. We also consider new results from a recent M-dwarf imaging survey as these objects are typically the host stars for planets detected by microlensing. <BR /> Results: We find that the upper limits currently applied in context of the microlensing results are probably underestimated. This means that a larger fraction of stars than assumed may harbor gas giant planets at larger orbital separations. Also, the way the upper limit is currently used to estimate the fraction of free-floating objects is not strictly correct. If the planetary surface density of giant planets around M-dwarfs is described as df[SUB]Planet[/SUB] ∝ a[SUP]β[/SUP]da, we find that β ≲ 0.5-0.6 is consistent with results from different observational studies probing semi-major axes between ~0.03-30 AU. <BR /> Conclusions: Having a higher upper limit on the fraction of stars that may have gas giant planets at orbital separations probed by the microlensing data implies that more of the planets detected in the microlensing study are potentially bound to stars rather than free-floating. The current observational data are consistent with a rising planetary surface density for giant exoplanets around M-dwarfs out to ~30 AU. Future direct imaging surveys will show out to what semi-major axis the above mentioned range of β is valid and what fraction of the planetary mass objects detected by microlensing are indeed bound. [less ▲]

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See detailQuantitative evidence of an intrinsic luminosity spread in the Orion nebula cluster
Reggiani, Maddalena ULg; Robberto, M.; Da Rio, N. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2011), 534

<BR /> Aims: We study the distribution of stellar ages in the Orion nebula cluster (ONC) using accurate HST photometry taken from HST Treasury Program observations of the ONC utilizing the cluster ... [more ▼]

<BR /> Aims: We study the distribution of stellar ages in the Orion nebula cluster (ONC) using accurate HST photometry taken from HST Treasury Program observations of the ONC utilizing the cluster distance estimated by Menten and collaborators. We investigate whether there is an intrinsic age spread in the region and whether the age depends on the spatial distribution. <BR /> Methods: We estimate the extinction and accretion luminosity towards each source by performing synthetic photometry on an empirical calibration of atmospheric models using the package Chorizos of Maiz-Apellaniz. The position of the sources in the HR-diagram is compared with different theoretical isochrones to estimate the mean cluster age and age dispersion. On the basis of Monte Carlo simulations, we quantify the amount of intrinsic age spread in the region, taking into account uncertainties in the distance, spectral type, extinction, unresolved binaries, accretion, and photometric variability. <BR /> Results: According to the evolutionary models of Siess and collaborators, the mean age of the Cluster is 2.2 Myr with a scatter of few Myr. With Monte Carlo simulations, we find that the observed age spread is inconsistent with that of a coeval stellar population, but in agreement with a star formation activity between 1.5 and 3.5 Myr. We also observe some evidence that ages depends on the spatial distribution. [less ▲]

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See detailBinary Formation Mechanisms: Constraints from the Companion Mass Ratio Distribution
Reggiani, Maddalena ULg; Meyer, Michael R.

in Astrophysical Journal (2011), 738

We present a statistical comparison of the mass ratio distribution of companions, as observed in different multiplicity surveys, to the most recent estimate of the single-object mass function. The main ... [more ▼]

We present a statistical comparison of the mass ratio distribution of companions, as observed in different multiplicity surveys, to the most recent estimate of the single-object mass function. The main goal of our analysis is to test whether or not the observed companion mass ratio distribution (CMRD) as a function of primary star mass and star formation environment is consistent with having been drawn from the field star initial mass function (IMF). We consider samples of companions for M dwarfs, solar-type stars, and intermediate-mass stars, both in the field as well as clusters or associations, and compare them with populations of binaries generated by random pairing from the assumed IMF for a fixed primary mass. With regard to the field we can reject the hypothesis that the CMRD was drawn from the IMF for different primary mass ranges: the observed CMRDs show a larger number of equal-mass systems than predicted by the IMF. This is in agreement with fragmentation theories of binary formation. For the open clusters α Persei and the Pleiades we also reject the IMF random-pairing hypothesis. Concerning young star-forming regions, currently we can rule out a connection between the CMRD and the field IMF in Taurus but not in Chamaeleon I. Larger and different samples are needed to better constrain the result as a function of the environment. We also consider other companion mass functions and we compare them with observations. Moreover the CMRD both in the field and clusters or associations appears to be independent of separation in the range covered by the observations. Combining therefore the CMRDs of M (1-2400 AU) and G (28-1590 AU) primaries in the field and intermediate-mass primary binaries in Sco OB2 (29-1612 AU) for mass ratios, q = M [SUB]2[/SUB]/M [SUB]1[/SUB], from 0.2 to 1, we find that the best chi-square fit follows a power law dN/dqvpropq [SUP]β[/SUP], with β = -0.50 ± 0.29, consistent with previous results. Finally, we note that the Kolmogorov-Smirnov test gives a ~1% probability of the observed CMRD in the Pleiades and Taurus being consistent with that observed for solar-type primaries in the field over comparable primary mass range. This highlights the value of using CMRDs to understand which star formation events contribute most to the field. [less ▲]

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