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The Grid Giant Star Survey for the Space Interferometry Mission

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 April 2016

Richard J. Patterson
Affiliation:
Astronomy Department, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22903, USA
Steven R. Majewski
Affiliation:
Astronomy Department, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22903, USA
Catherine L. Slesnick
Affiliation:
Astronomy Department, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22903, USA
Jaehyon Rhee
Affiliation:
Astronomy Department, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22903, USA
Jeffrey D. Crane
Affiliation:
Astronomy Department, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22903, USA
Allyson A. Polak
Affiliation:
Astronomy Department, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22903, USA
Arunav Kundu
Affiliation:
Astronomy Department, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520, USA
William E. Kunkel
Affiliation:
Las Campanas Observatory, Casilla 601, La Serena, CHILE
Douglas Geisler
Affiliation:
Departamento de Fisica, Universidad de Concepción, Concepción, CHILE
Ricardo Muñoz
Affiliation:
Departamento de Fisica, Universidad de Concepción, Concepción, CHILE
Jose Arenas
Affiliation:
Departamento de Fisica, Universidad de Concepción, Concepción, CHILE
Juan Seguel
Affiliation:
Departamento de Fisica, Universidad de Concepción, Concepción, CHILE
Wolfgang Gieren
Affiliation:
Departamento de Fisica, Universidad de Concepción, Concepción, CHILE
Verne V. Smith
Affiliation:
Department of Physics, University of Texas, El Paso, TX 79968 USA
G. Fritz Benedict
Affiliation:
McDonald Observatory, University of Texas, Austin, TX 78712 USA
Kathryn V. Johnston
Affiliation:
Astronomy Department, Wesleyan University, Middleton, CT 06459 USA
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Abstract

NASA’s Space Interferometry Mission (SIM), scheduled for launch in 2009, will determine the positions of thousands of stars as faint as V = 20 to a precision better than 4 microarcseconds (µas). A key part of the mission is the Astrometric Grid, which is a reference frame of several thousand stars with V ≤ 13 against which all relative measurements will be calibrated. To serve as a reliable inertial reference frame, the Grid must be astrometrically stable against photocenter jitter (from planets, binary companions, flaring or spotting) at the ~ 4µas level. Sub–solar metallicity giant stars, by virtue of their intrinsic luminosity, can probe the Galaxy to greater distances than almost any other stellar type at the same apparent magnitude. Thus, distant (> 3 kpc) giants with V < 13 will have proportionately smaller astrometric jitter compared to other potential Astrometric Grid star candidates. The Grid Giant Star Survey is a patchwork all-sky survey to find sub–solar metallicity K giants for the Grid, and to provide a unique database for studies of Galactic stellar populations. We describe here the survey characteristics and give examples of results to date.

Type
II. Monitoring and Surveys
Copyright
Copyright © Astronomical Society of the Pacific 2001

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