PI: Christian Marois, Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics, firstname.lastname@example.org
Address: National Research Council of Canada, 5071 West Saanich Road, RR. 5, Victoria, British Columbia, V9E 2E7, Canada
CoI: Ben Zuckerman, UC Los Angeles
CoI: Travis Barman, Lowell Observatory
CoI: Raphael Galicher, Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics
Title: Further constraining the nature of the enigmatic Fomalhaut b planet candidate with NICI.
Abstract: Since its discovery at optical wavelengths with HST, the candidate planet Fomalhaut b has yet to be independently confirmed; its puzzling photometry still has not been explained and it still has not been detected in the near-infrared from the ground or space. In addition, new HST STIS data have shown that the object may be crossing Fomalhaut's dusty debris belt. Plausible models to explain the HST data include: light from Fomalhaut reflected off a dusty disk surrounding a (hypothetical) planet or simply reflected light from a dust cloud generated as the aftermath of a collision of two "asteroids" in Fomalhaut's debris belt. We are proposing deep NICI imaging to (1) obtain the first near-IR detection of the candidate planet, allowing us to better constrain its SED and confirm if we are seeing only reflected light or also some thermal emission, and (2) refine the object's orbit to determine whether it will or will not cross the debris belt.
National Optical Astronomy Observatory, 950 North Cherry Avenue, P.O. Box 26732, Tucson, Arizona 85726, Phone: (520) 318-8000, Fax: (520) 318-8360