PI: Paul Butler, Carnegie Institution of Washington, firstname.lastname@example.org
Address: Department of Terrestrial Magnetism, 5241 Broad Branch Road NW, Washington, DC 20015, USA
CoI: Steven S. Vogt, University of California Santa Cruz
CoI: Greg Laughlin, University of California Santa Cruz
CoI: Eugenio Rivera, University of California Santa Cruz
Title: The Search for Terrestrial Mass Planets
Abstract: M dwarfs comprise 70% of all nearby stars. They are by the principle targets of future interferometry (VLTI, SIM) and direct imaging missions. Due to the lower flux and mass of M dwarfs, Doppler programs that achieve 1 to 3 m/s precision are able to probe the habitable zone of these stars for planets as small as 2 earth-masses. Over the past 7 years we have received on average two nights per semester of NASA Keck time to survey the nearest 176 M dwarfs, resulting in most of the known M dwarf planets, the first neptune-mass planet, and the first terrestrial mass planet. This set of 176 stars has yielded 60 high priority stars that show evidence of terrestrial mass planets. These stars require higher observing cadence to confirm the existence of planets, and to break orbital aliases. Two NOAO nights per semester would allow us to triple the observing cadence on this set of sieved stars, from 1 to 3 nights per semester. This program will yield terrestrial mass planets around the nearest stars.
National Optical Astronomy Observatory, 950 North Cherry Avenue, P.O. Box 26732, Tucson, Arizona 85726, Phone: (520) 318-8000, Fax: (520) 318-8360