NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2006B-0312

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Proposal Information for 2006B-0312


PI: Leslie Hebb, University of St Andrews, lh61@st-andrews.ac.uk
Address: Department of Physics and Astronomy, North Haugh, St Andrews, Fife KY16 9SS, UK

CoI: Jonathan Irwin, University of Cambridge
CoI: Simon Hodgkin, University of Cambridge
CoI: Suzanne Aigrain, University of Cambridge
CoI: Estelle Moraux, Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de l'Observatoire de Grenoble

Title: Monitoring of M34 and h/(chi) Per: Search for Young Low-mass Eclipsing Systems and Stellar Rotation Periods

Abstract: We are undertaking a large systematic, high cadence (~ 10 min) photometric variability study of a dozen nearby, young and rich open clusters and star-forming regions with known age and metallicity (the Monitor Project). The primary goals of the survey are to detect pre- main sequence (PMS) low-mass eclipsing binary stars (EBs) and brown dwarfs (BDs) and young transiting extra-solar planets. With these data we aim (1) to measure the masses and radii of late-type PMS stars in EBs of known age and metallicity which will allow the calibration of PMS stellar evolution models at the low-mass end and into the BD regime, (2) to detect the first planets orbiting stars younger than 200 Myr, and determine (with follow-up spectroscopy) their periods, masses and radii to place constraints on planet formation and evolution scenarios, and (3) to investigate the evolution of stellar angular momentum as a function of mass for stars with M<1 M_\odot. Here, we propose to use the KPNO-4m+Mosaic instrument to take high cadence photometry of the open clusters M34 and h & (chi) Per. In these clusters, we will obtain lightcurves for ~ 2500 low mass cluster members at the precisions needed to detect eclipses by stellar, BD, and planetary objects and to measure rotational periods in cluster stars due to starspot variability at the 1% level.


National Optical Astronomy Observatory, 950 North Cherry Avenue, P.O. Box 26732, Tucson, Arizona 85726, Phone: (520) 318-8000, Fax: (520) 318-8360



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