NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2012B-0466

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Proposal Information for 2012B-0466


PI: Eric L. Nielsen, University of Hawaii, enielsen@ifa.hawaii.edu
Address: Institute for Astronomy, 2680 Woodlawn Drive, Honolulu, HI 96822-1839, US

CoI: Michael C. Liu, University of Hawaii
CoI: Zahed Wahhaj, University of Hawaii
CoI: Beth A. Biller, Max-Planck-Institut fur Astronomie
CoI: Laird M. Close, University of Arizona
CoI: Tom Hayward, Gemini Observatory

Title: The Deepest Search for Planets Around Newly Identified Young, Nearby Stars

Abstract: We propose to use NICI to search for giant planets around 33 young, nearby members of the Tuc/Hor, Beta Pic, and AB Dor moving groups. These stars have never previously been observed by NICI, and are too faint for the next-generation planet imagers GPI and SPHERE. 2012B represents the last opportunity to search for self-luminous planets around these stars. We request 33 hours to obtain deep coronagraphic images, reaching very high contrasts around these stars, allowing us to track planet populations orbiting late-type stars in three distinct age bins: 12 Myr, 30 Myr, and 100 Myr. Given past experience with NICI, we calculate that for the median target star in our sample, our proposed observations will be 50% complete to 2.5 M_Jup planets at 30 AU. Since we will use NICI to simultaneously observe in the H and K bands, we will be able to identify background stars in a single epoch, and will not require additional telescope time to confirm that companions are physically associated. Based on the young ages (<100 Myr) & small distances (26-70 pc), our sample is the most promising set of nearby young stars currently known that has not previously been observed at high contrast.


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