NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2011B-0576

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Proposal Information for 2011B-0576


PI: Vanessa Bailey, University of Arizona (Astronomy), vbailey@as.arizona.edu
Address: Department of Astronomy and Steward Observatory, 933 North Cherry Avenue, Tucson, AZ 85721-0065, USA

CoI: Kate Su, University of Arizona (Astronomy)
CoI: Phil Hinz, University of Arizona (Astronomy)
CoI: George Rieke, University of Arizona (Astronomy)
CoI: Laird Close, University of Arizona (Astronomy)

Title: A search for the perturbing planets in large gap debris disks

Abstract: Are circumstellar debris disks with sharp edges and/or gaps shaped by giant planets, as seen in HR8799 and Fomalhaut? Direct imaging is the best way to attack this question, and several such systems have been discovered this way. HR8799, Fomalhaut, Beta Pic (and our own Solar System) have disks shepherded by companions, making systems with similar disk structure attractive targets for planet finding by direct imaging. Unlike previous surveys, which were selected by system proximity and age or by photometrically-indicated disks (and which yielded null results), we use MIPS and IRS SEDs to design a survey more targeted at dynamically cleared systems. Our target systems are young (<500Myr) and possess disks which have sharp inner edges beginning between 60AU and 70AU, beyond the expected influence of sublimation or Poynting-Robertson drag. In two cases there are indications of an additional inner disk component at <10AU. Using NICI's coronagraphic imager in H band, we propose to observe these systems to reach limiting magnitudes equivalent to between 5 and 10 Jupiter masses. One or more companion detections in our observations (or complimentary archival data) will further substantiate sharp disk edges and/or gaps as an observational indicator of such unusual wide separation systems.


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



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