NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2011B-0168

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Proposal Information for 2011B-0168


PI: Karl Haisch Jr., Utah Valley University, Karl.Haisch@uvu.edu
Address: Physics Department, 800 W. University Pkwy., Orem, Utah 84058-5999, USA

CoI: Mary Barsony, SFSU/SSI
CoI: Ken Marsh, IPAC
CoI: Chris McCarthy, SFSU
CoI: Ron Probst, NOAO
CoI: Tom Greene, NASA/ARC
CoI: Mike Jorgensen, Utah Valley University

Title: A Methane Imaging Survey for T Dwarf Candidates in the Serpens and Corona Australis Star-Forming Regions

Abstract: T dwarfs are the coolest and least massive compact astrophysical objects that we can directly observe outside our Solar System, and share many properties with the expanding population of known exoplanets, almost all of which are inaccessible to direct observation themselves. An understanding of T dwarfs, therefore, is critical to our developing understanding of exoplanets. Moreover, T dwarf surveys in young star clusters allow the important question ``Is there a minimum mass for star formation?" to be directly addressed. Recently, methane imaging has emerged as a powerful tool for identifying T dwarf candidates in very young clusters, where T dwarfs are at their brightest and have not yet been subject to possible dynamical ejection from their clusters. We propose to use NEWFIRM on the CTIO 4m telescope to perform a comprehensive and dedicated search for T dwarfs in two of the most compact, closest (d <=250 pc) and youngest (\le 3 Myr) star- forming regions, Serpens and Corona Australis, to a depth sufficient to detect T dwarfs as late as T8, corresponding to masses of ~ 2 Jupiter masses in Serpens and ~ 1.5 Jupiter masses in CrA.


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