NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2011B-0114

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Proposal Information for 2011B-0114


PI: William Herbst, Wesleyan University, wherbst@wesleyan.edu
Address: Department of Astronomy, Middletown, CT, 06459-0123, USA

CoI: Catrina Hamilton, Dickinson College
CoI: Chris Johns-Krull, Rice University
CoI: Josh Winn, MIT
CoI: Reinhard Mundt, MPIA-Heidelberg
CoI: Sandy Leggett, Gemini

Title: Near Infrared Spectroscopy of the Unique T Tauri Binary System KH 15D

Abstract: KH 15D is a unique T Tauri binary system; it is the only known example of a system at the key phase of planet formation where a settled particulate layer of chondrule (mm) sized objects has clearly formed, but planetesimal formation has not yet occurred. As such, it deserves intensive study to ascertain its structure in detail, and the possibility that there is third light in the system requires the close scrutiny that is only possible with an 8-10m class telescope. In Semester 10B we were awarded time with NIRI on Gemini North to obtain medium resolution J-band spectra of KH 15D at two orbital phases. The objective was to search for and characterize a putative third body, assess the spectral differences between stars A and B, and extend the search for a reflectance spectrum signature of silicate minerals and/or ice. Unfortunately the loss of NIRI as a spectrometer, and poor weather during the timing windows when GNIRS was available, led to observations only being taken in the bright phase of the system. Here we propose to complete the project by obtaining GNIRS cross-dispersed spectra of the system in its faint phase.


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