Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, France
Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, France

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Le Coroller H.,Observatoire de Haute Provence | Dejonghe J.,Observatoire de Haute Provence | Regal X.,Observatoire de Haute Provence | Sottile R.,Observatoire de Haute Provence | And 9 more authors.
Astronomy and Astrophysics | Year: 2012

Aims. Studies are under way to propose a new generation of post-VLTI interferometers. The Carlina concept studied at the Haute-Provence Observatory is one of the proposed solutions. It consists in an optical interferometer configured like a diluted version of the Arecibo radio telescope: above the diluted primary mirror made of fixed cospherical segments, a helium balloon (or cables suspended between two mountains), carries a gondola containing the focal optics. Since 2003, we have been building a technical demonstrator of this diluted telescope. First fringes were obtained in May 2004 with two closely-spaced primary segments and a CCD on the focal gondola. We have been testing the whole optical train with three primary mirrors. The main aim of this article is to describe the metrology that we have conceived, and tested under the helium balloon to align the primary mirrors separate by 5-10 m on the ground with an accuracy of a few microns. Methods. Getting stellar fringes using delay lines is the main difficulty for astronomical interferometers. Carlina does not use delay lines, but the primary segments have to be positioned on a sphere i.e. coherencing the primary mirrors. As described in this paper, we used a supercontinuum laser source to coherence the primary segments. We characterize the Carlina's performances by testing its whole optical train: servo loop, metrology, and the focal gondola. Results. The servo loop stabilizes the mirror of metrology under the helium balloon with an accuracy better than 5 mm while it moves horizontally by 30 cm in open loop by 10-20 km/h of wind. We have obtained the white fringes of metrology; i.e., the three mirrors are aligned (cospherized) with an accuracy of ≈ 1 μm. We show data proving the stability of fringes over 15 min, therefore providing evidence that the mechanical parts are stabilized within a few microns. This is an important step that demonstrates the feasibility of building a diluted telescope using cables strained between cliffs or under a balloon. Carlina, like the MMT or LBT, could be one of the first members of a new class of telescopes named diluted telescopes. © 2012 ESO.

Coward D.M.,University of Western Australia | Gendre B.,Science Data Center | Sutton P.J.,University of Cardiff | Howell E.J.,University of Western Australia | And 6 more authors.
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters | Year: 2011

Observations of an optical source coincident with gravitational wave emission detected from a binary neutron star coalescence will improve the confidence of detection, provide host galaxy localization and test models for the progenitors of short gamma-ray bursts. We employ optical observations of three short gamma-ray bursts, 050724, 050709 and 051221, to estimate the detection rate of a coordinated optical and gravitational wave search of neutron star mergers. ModelR-band optical afterglow light curves of these bursts that include a jet-break are extrapolated for these sources at the sensitivity horizon of an Advanced LIGO/Virgo network. Using optical sensitivity limits of three telescopes, namely TAROT (m= 18), Zadko (m= 21) and an 8-10m class telescope (m= 26), we approximate detection rates and cadence times for imaging. We find a median coincident detection rate of 4yr-1 for the three bursts. GRB 050724 like bursts, with wide opening jet angles, offer the most optimistic rate of 13 coincident detections per year, and would be detectable by Zadko up to 5d after the trigger. Late-time imaging tom= 26 could detect off-axis afterglows for GRB 051221 like bursts several months after the trigger. For a broad distribution of beaming angles, the optimal strategy for identifying the optical emissions triggered by gravitational wave detectors is rapid response searches with robotic telescopes followed by deeper imaging at later times if an afterglow is not detected within several days of the trigger. © 2011 The Authors Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society © 2011 RAS.

Pont F.,University of Exeter | Endl M.,University of Texas at Austin | Cochran W.D.,University of Texas at Austin | Barnes S.I.,The Anglo Australian Observatory | And 13 more authors.
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters | Year: 2010

We measure the angle between the planetary orbit and the stellar rotation axis in the transiting planetary system CoRoT-1, with new HIRES/Keck and FORS/VLT high-accuracy photometry. The data indicate a highly tilted system, with a projected spin-orbit angle λ = 77° ± 11°. Systematic uncertainties in the radial velocity data could cause the actual errors to be larger by an unknown amount, and this result needs to be confirmed with further high-accuracy spectroscopic transit measurements. Spin-orbit alignment has now been measured in a dozen extra-solar planetary systems, and several show strong misalignment. The first three misaligned planets were all much more massive than Jupiter and followed eccentric orbits. CoRoT-1, however, is a jovian-mass close-in planet on a circular orbit. If its strong misalignment is confirmed, it would break this pattern. The high occurrence of misaligned systems for several types of planets and orbits favours planet-planet scattering as a mechanism to bring gas giants on very close orbits. © 2009 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2009 RAS.

Gendre B.,French National Center for Scientific Research | Klotz A.,Observatoire de Haute Provence | Klotz A.,Toulouse University Midi-Pyrénées | Palazzi E.,Istituto di Astrofisica Spaziale e Fisica Cosmica | And 10 more authors.
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society | Year: 2010

We present the observations of the afterglow of gamma-ray burst GRB 090102. Optical data taken by the Telescope a Action Rapide pour les Objets Transitoires (TAROT), Rapid Eye Mount (REM), Gamma-Ray burst Optical/Near-Infrared Detector (GROND), together with publicly available data from Palomar, Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) and Nordic Optical Telescope (NOT) telescopes, and X-ray data taken by the XRT instrument on board the Swift spacecraft were used. This event features an unusual light curve. In X-rays, it presents a constant decrease with no hint of temporal break from 0.005 to 6 d after the burst. In the optical, the light curve presents a flattening after 1 ks. Before this break, the optical light curve is steeper than that of the X-ray. In the optical, no further break is observed up to 10 d after the burst. We failed to explain these observations in light of the standard fireball model. Several other models, including the cannonball model were investigated. The explanation of the broad-band data by any model requires some fine-tuning when taking into account both optical and X-ray bands. © 2010 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2010 RAS.

Kovtyukh V.V.,Odessa I I Mechnikov National University | Wallerstein G.,University of Washington | Andrievsky S.M.,Odessa I I Mechnikov National University | Gillet D.,Observatoire de Haute Provence | And 3 more authors.
Astronomy and Astrophysics | Year: 2011

Aims. The aim of this work was to perform a multiphase spectroscopic study of W Vir which represents stars of the class of population II Cepheids, in order to trace the behaviour of emission features in different lines, and to use the data to describe the dynamical processes in the atmosphere of this star associated with the shock wave propagation. Methods. Our spectroscopic study of W Vir involved 18 high-resolution spectra obtained with the help of 3.5-m telescope of Apache Point Observatory. These spectra cover W Vir's pulsational cycle with good phase resolution that enabled us to precisely fix the intervals of appearance, existence and disappearance of many anomalous spectral features, as well as to construct their radial velocity curves. Results. We detected and investigated the behaviour of emission and line doubling in many metallic lines (Na I, Fe I, Fe II, Ba II etc), as well as in hydrogen and helium lines. Analysis of the temporal characteristics of those emission features allowed us to make, in particular, the following conclusion. Conclusions. W Vir consists of two parts: the inner part, which is, in fact, a pulsating star itself with periodic shocks penetrating into the upper atmosphere, an outer one - a circumstellar envelope. The interaction of the main shock wave with the infalling envelope layers can explain the observed peculiarities of the spectral line variability. © ESO, 2011.

Briot D.,Paris Observatory | Arnold L.,Observatoire de Haute Provence | Jacquemoud S.,CNRS Paris Institute of Global Physics
Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union | Year: 2012

It is likely that images of Earth-like planets will be obtained in the next years. The first images will actually come down to single dots, in which biomarkers can be searched. Taking the Earth as a example of planet providing life, Earthshine observations showed that the spectral signature of photosynthetic pigments and atmospheric biogenic molecules was detectable, suggesting that, in principle, life on other planets could be detected on a global scale, if it is widely spread and distinguishable from known abiotic spectral signatures. As for the Earth, we already showed that the Vegetation Red Edge which is related to chlorophyll absorption features was larger when continents, versus oceans, were facing the Moon. It proved that an elementary mapping of a planet was even possible. In the frame of the LUCAS (LUmière Cendrée en Antarctique par Spectroscopie) project, the Earthshine has been measured in the Concordia Research Station (Dome C, Antarctica) long enough to observe variations corresponding to different parts of the Earth facing the Moon. An extension of this project, called LUCAS II, would allow long-term observations to detect seasonal variations in the vegetation signal. These data, together with precise measurements of the Earth's albedo, will help to validate a model of global and spectral albedo of our planet. Copyright © 2013 International Astronomical Union.

Klotz A.,Observatoire de Haute Provence | Klotz A.,Roche Holding AG
AIP Conference Proceedings | Year: 2010

Robotic observatories use modern techniques based on industrial automation. In this paper, we describe components to use and the importance of their reliability. The software is also the key of the scientific success. It must include management of external events such as VOEvents. © 2010 Institute of Physics.

Galliano E.,Observatorio Nacional | Kissler-Patig M.,European Southern Observatory | Alloin D.,Observatoire de Haute Provence | Telles E.,Observatorio Nacional
Astronomy and Astrophysics | Year: 2012

This paper presents and examines new near-infrared integral field observations of the three so-called "embedded star clusters" located in the nuclear region of NGC 1365. Adaptive-optics-corrected K-band data cubes were obtained with the ESO/VLT instrument SINFONI. The continuum in the K-band and emission lines such as He I, Brγ, and several H2 lines were mapped at an achieved angular resolution of 0.2′ over a field of 3 × 3′2 around each source. We find that the continuum emission of the sources is spatially resolved. This means that they are indeed cluster complexes confined to regions of about 50 pc extension. We performed robust measurements of the equivalent width of the CO absorption band at 2.3 μm and of Brγ. For the main mid-infrared bright sources, the data only allow us to determine an upper limit to the equivalent width of the CO bands. Under the assumption of an instantaneously formed standard initial mass function Starburst99 model, the new measurements are found to be incompatible with previously published mid-infrared line ratios. We show that an upper mass limit of 25 to 30 M·, lower than the typically assumed 100 M ·, allows one to simply remove this inconsistency. For such a model, the measurements are consistent with ages in the range of 5.5 Myr to 6.5 Myr, implying masses in the range from 3 to 10 × 106 M ·. We detect extended gas emission both in H ii and H 2. We argue that the central cluster complexes are the sources of excitation for the whole nebulae, through ionisation and shock heating. We detect a blue wing on the Brγ emission profile, suggesting the existence of gas outflows centred on the cluster complexes. We do not find any evidence for the presence of a lower mass cluster population, which would fill up a "traditional" power law cluster mass function. © 2012 ESO.

Deleuil M.,Aix - Marseille University | Almenara J.-M.,Aix - Marseille University | Santerne A.,Aix - Marseille University | Santerne A.,University of Porto | And 12 more authors.
Astronomy and Astrophysics | Year: 2014

Context. Hot Jupiters are still a fascinating exoplanet population that presents a diversity we are still far from understanding. High-precision photometric observations combined with radial velocity measurements give us a unique opportunity to constrain their properties better, on both their internal structure and their atmospheric bulk properties. Aims. We initiated a follow-up program of Kepler-released planet candidates with the goal of confirming the planetary nature of a number of them through radial velocity measurements. For those that successfully passed the radial velocity screening, we furthermore performed a detailed exploration of their properties to characterize the systems. As a byproduct, these systematic observations allow us to consolidate the exoplanets' occurrence rate. Methods. We performed a complete analysis of the Kepler-412 system, listed as planet candidate KOI-202 in the Kepler catalog, by combining the Kepler observations from Q1 to Q15, to ground-based spectroscopic observations that allowed us to derive radial velocity measurements, together with the host-star parameters and properties. We also analyzed the light curve to derive the star's rotation period and the phase function of the planet, including the secondary eclipse. Results. We secured the planetary nature of Kepler-412b. We found the planet has a mass of 0.939 ± 0.085MJup and a radius of 1.325 ± 0.043R Jup, which makes it a member of the bloated giant subgroup. It orbits its G3 V host star in 1.72 days. The system has an isochronal age of 5.1 Gyr, consistent with its moderate stellar activity as observed in the Kepler light curve and the rotation of the star of 17.2 ± 1.6 days. From the detected secondary we derived the day-side temperature as a function of the geometric albedo. We estimated that the geometrical albedo Ag should be between 0.094 ± 0.015 and 0.013+0.017 -0.013 and the brightness of the day side 2380 ± 40 K. The measured night-side flux corresponds to a night-side brightness temperature of 2154 ± 83 K, much greater than what is expected for a planet with homogeneous heat redistribution. From the comparison to star and planet evolution models, we found that dissipation should operate in the deep interior of the planet. This modeling also shows that despite its inflated radius, the planet presents a noticeable amount of heavy elements, which accounts for a mass fraction of 0.11 ± 0.04. © 2014 ESO.

Fabas N.,Montpellier University | Lebre A.,Montpellier University | Gillet D.,Observatoire de Haute Provence
Astronomy and Astrophysics | Year: 2011

Context. In the spectra of variable pulsating stars, especially Mira stars, the detection of intense hydrogen emission lines has been explained by the presence of a radiative and hypersonic shock wave, periodically propagating throughout the stellar atmosphere. Previous observation of the Mira star o Ceti around one of its brightest maximum light led to the detection of a strong level of linear polarization associated to Balmer emissions, although the origin of this phenomenon is not fully explained yet. Aims. With the help of spectropolarimetry, we propose to investigate the nature of shock waves propagating throughout the stellar atmosphere and present, for o Ceti (the prototype of Mira stars), a full observational study of hydrogen emission lines formed in the radiative region of such a shock. Methods. Using the instrument NARVAL mounted on the Télescope Bernard Lyot (TBL) in Pic du Midi Observatory (France), we performed a spectropolarimetric monitoring of o Ceti during three consecutive pulsation cycles. For this survey, the four Stokes parameters (I for intensity, Q and U for linear polarization, and V for circular polarization) were systematically collected, with a particular emphasis on the maxima of luminosity, i.e. when a radiative shock wave is supposed to emerge from the photosphere and starts to propagate outward. Results. On hydrogen Balmer lines, over a large part of the luminosity cycle, we report clear detection of polarimetric structures in Q and U Stokes spectra (and also in V Stokes spectra but to a lesser extent). We report a temporal evolution of these spectropolarimetric signatures, which appear strongly correlated to the presence of an intense shock wave responsible for the hydrogen emission lines. We establish that the hydrogen lines are polarized by a physical process inherent to the mechanism responsible for the emission line formation: the shock wave itself. Two mechanisms are thus considered: a global one that implies a polarization induced by some giant convective cells located around the photosphere and a local one that implies a charge separation due to the passage of the shock wave, inducing an electrical current. Combined with the existing turbulence, this may generate a magnetic field, hence polarization. © 2011 ESO.

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