NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2010A-0359

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Proposal Information for 2010A-0359


PI: Karl Stapelfeldt, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, krs@exoplanet.jpl.nasa.gov
Address: California Institute of Technology, 4800 Oak Grove, Drive Pasadena, CA 91109, USA

CoI: Dimitri Mawet, Jet Propulsion Laboratory
CoI: Peter Plavchan, IPAC / Caltech
CoI: David Koerner, Northern Arizona University

Title: Coronagraphic Imaging Survey of a New Spitzer Debris Disk Sample

Abstract: Debris disks are the signposts of planetary systems: collisions among asteroidal and cometary parent bodies maintain the observed dust population against losses to radiation pressure and P-R drag. Since dust production is enhanced by gravitational stirring, debris disks systems are natural targets for imaging searches for giant planet and brown dwarf companions. Both stars with extrasolar planets directly imaged in 2008, Fomalhaut and HR 8799, host prominent debris disk systems. During its cryogenic mission, we have used the Spitzer Space Telescope to survey hundreds of nearby stars for far-infrared excess indicative of debris dust. As of 2009 this work has now completed, and our group has submitted two papers presenting the last significant sample of new, nearby debris disks found with Spitzer. We propose NICI coronagraphic imaging of 16 stars from these lists that are observable from Gemini S in 2010A. Our goal is to discover or place limits on substellar companions that could be stirring or sculpting these disks. Imaging detection of the disks themselves is possible for a subset of our targets if the disks are presented edge-on or are radially confined to narrow rings. The results will provide the first imaging characterization of these new, nearby planetary systems.


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 >   2010A-0359

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