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Extrasolar planets in binary and multiple star systems have become a noticeable niche with about 50 planets among over 500 known. Here we however focus on a particular subset of exoplanets in binary star systems — circumbinary planets. They have the unique advantage that a search for circumbinary planets does also significantly contribute to the understanding of their parent stars. We review what is currently known about circumbinary planets and then introduce our two projects aimed at detecting circumbinary planets: The TATOOINE project to find circumbinary planets around non-eclipsing double-lined spectroscopic binary stars with precision radial velocities, and the SOLARIS project to detect circumbinary planets with the timing of eclipses of eclipsing binary stars. For the SOLARIS project, we were granted 2.6 million USD to establish a network of at least four robotic 0.5-m telescopes on three continents (Australia, Africa and South America) to carry out precision photometry of a sample of eclipsing binary stars. We expect that both projects will have a large impact also on the observational stellar astronomy.
A sample of about 160 speckle binary stars was observed with the Keck I telescope and its Échelle HIRES spectrograph over the years 2003-2007 in an effort to detect substellar and planetary companions to components of binary and multiple star systems. This data set was supplemented with the data obtained at the TNG telescope equipped with the SARG Échelle spectrograph over the years 2006-2007. The high-resolution (R = 65000 for HIRES and R = 86000 for SARG) and high signal-to-noise (typically 75-150) spectra were used to derive radial velocities of the components of the observed speckle binaries. Here, we present a summary of this effort, which includes the discovery of new triple star systems and improved orbital solutions of a few known binaries.
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