Monthly Archives: September 2020

Giant planet orbiting a white dwarf

Another day, another amazing planet! This week also saw an exciting announcement about a giant exoplanet orbiting very close to a white dwarf — possibly the first such planet discovered to survive its star’s death throes. This work was led by Andrew Vanderburg and also includes Caroline Morley and Andreia Carillo. This work used used TESS and Spitzer data, and included a high quality HET spectrum to confirm the nature of the white dwarf. This research was published Sept. 16 in Nature. You can read the press release here:

and the full article at Nature:

or the freely available version on the pre-print arXiv:

Hazy skies overhead and HPF discovers the first warm Jupiter around an M dwarf

In the past couple weeks we’ve noticed significant (30-60%) reductions in the amount of starlight reaching the telescope, due to the smoke overhead:

It makes the sunsets eerie and washes out the Milky Way at night, too. Hopefully this situation will improve soon! The extinction seems worst at the blue wavelengths (like those that VIRUS uses) and is not bad for redder light (HPF observations are mostly unaffected).



On the brighter side, yet another HPF paper has been accepted and published – this one is the discovery and confirmation of the first transiting ‘warm’ Jupiter around an M dwarf. You can read the HPF team’s blog post about it:

The PSU press release:

And of course the published article itself:


Hot Jupiters are rare around M dwarfs, and transiting warm Jupiters rarer still. The TESS spacecraft only detected a single transit – and it was only with HPF that we could nail down the orbital period and mass. This one definitely highlights the power of the HET and queue! Congrats to the whole team!