NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2010B-0420

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Proposal Information for 2010B-0420


PI: Gaspard Duchene, UC Berkeley (Astronomy), gduchene@berkeley.edu
Address: Department of Astronomy, 601 Campbell Hall #3411, Berkeley, CA, 94720-3411, USA

CoI: Serge Correia, Astr. Inst. Potsdam (AIP)
CoI: Hans Zinnecker, Astr. Inst. Potsdam (AIP)

Title: The physical properties of visual binaries in the Orion Nebula Cluster

Abstract: We propose to conduct a near-infrared spectroscopic and photometric survey of tight (<1.3") pre-main sequence binaries in the Orion Nebula Cluster using the ALTAIR AO system to follow-up on HST-discovered systems. Our primary objective is to assess which component(s) of the system possess a circumstellar disk that could provide fertile grounds for planet formation and whether the disk lifetime is related to the total mass of the system and/or mass ratio of the binary. Long thought to be rare if not impossible, planet formation in binary systems is now known to occur at an appreciable rate. Most of our current knowledge of the initial conditions for planet formation in binaries is dominated by nearby associations such as Taurus and Ophiuchus. However, the primary mode of star (and planet) formation is in rich clusters, such as the ONC. Our proposed survey will therefore shade the first light on the initial condition for planet formation in a more typical environment. Furthermore, it will offer an important sample to compare to observations of other star-forming regions (testing the sensitivity of star formation to environment) as well as to the population of mature extrasolar systems (testing planet formation theories).


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