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A Survey of Close, Young Stars with SDI at the VLT and MMT

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 May 2006

Beth A. Biller
Affiliation:
Steward Observatory, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721 email: bbiller@as.arizona.edu
Laird M. Close
Affiliation:
Steward Observatory, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721 email: bbiller@as.arizona.edu
Elena Masciadri
Affiliation:
Max-Planck-Institut für Astronomie, Königstuhl 17, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany
Rainer Lenzen
Affiliation:
Max-Planck-Institut für Astronomie, Königstuhl 17, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany
Wolfgang Brandner
Affiliation:
Max-Planck-Institut für Astronomie, Königstuhl 17, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany
Donald McCarthy
Affiliation:
Steward Observatory, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721 email: bbiller@as.arizona.edu
Thomas Henning
Affiliation:
Max-Planck-Institut für Astronomie, Königstuhl 17, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany
Eric Nielsen
Affiliation:
Steward Observatory, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721 email: bbiller@as.arizona.edu
Markus Hartung
Affiliation:
European Southern Observatory, Alonso de Cordova 3107, Santiago 19, Chile
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Abstract

We discuss the preliminary results of a survey of young ($<$300 Myr), close ($<$50 pc) stars with the Simultaneous Differential Extrasolar Planet Imager (SDI) implemented at the VLT and the MMT. SDI uses a quad filter to take images simultaneously at 3 wavelengths surrounding the 1.62 $\mu$m methane bandhead found in the spectrum of cool brown dwarfs and gas giants. By performing a difference of images in these filters, speckle noise from the primary can be significantly attenuated, resulting in photon noise limited data. In our survey data, we achieved H band contrasts $>$25000 (5$\sigma \Delta$F1(1.575$\mu$m)$>$10 mag, $\Delta$H$>$11.5 mag for a T6 spectral type) at a separation of 0.5” from the primary star. With this degree of attenuation, we should be able to image (5$\sigma$ detection) a 2-4 Jupiter mass planet at 5 AU around a 30 Myr star at 10 pc. We are currently completing our survey of young, nearby stars, with complete datasets for 35 stars in the southern sky (VLT) and 7 stars in the northern sky (MMT). We believe that our SDI images are the highest contrast astronomical images ever made from ground or space for methane rich companions.

Type
Contributed Papers
Copyright
© 2006 International Astronomical Union
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