NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2009B-0504

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Proposal Information for 2009B-0504


PI: Naved Mahmud, Rice University, naved@rice.edu
Address: Physics Department, 6100 Main Street, MS 108, Houston, Texas 77005, USA

CoI: Christopher Crockett, Lowell Observatory
CoI: Christopher Johns-Krull, Rice University
CoI: Lisa Prato, Lowell Observatory
CoI: Patrick Hartigan, Rice University
CoI: Daniel Jaffe, University of Texas at Austin

Title: Brown Dwarf and Giant Planet Companions to Young Stars in Taurus

Abstract: We are surveying ~100 T Tauri stars in the Taurus star forming region to search for stellar reflex motions resulting from brown dwarf and giant planet companions. Previous radial velocity surveys have revealed that the frequency of brown dwarfs as close companions to solar age stars is extraordinarily rare, i.e. the brown dwarf desert. Brown dwarfs should be common at young ages within 3 AU if orbital migration into the central star causes the brown dwarf desert, but close brown dwarf companions will be rare at all ages if the desert is intrinsic to the star formation process. Our survey will provide the answer to this question and will also identify the first generation of giant extrasolar planets. Our brighter targets are being observed with 2-3 m telescopes at McDonald Observatory. We propose to use the KPNO 4-m to observe the fainter ~50 targets. Observations at McDonald coupled with near-IR follow-ups at the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility demonstrate that we can identify spurious radial velocity measurements caused by starspots, and that errors in radial velocity measurements made with echelle spectrographs (coude and cass mounted) are small compared with the expected signature of close substellar companions.


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



NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2009B-0504

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