NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2013A-0421

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Proposal Information for 2013A-0421


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 complete our survey for giant planets around young, nearby members of the Beta Pic, Tuc/Hor, and AB Dor moving groups. This sample has never previously been observed by NICI and is too faint for the next-generation planet imagers GPI and SPHERE. 2013A represents the last opportunity to search for self-luminous planets around these stars. We request deep high contrast coronagraphic images of our remaining 26 targets, allowing us to track planet populations orbiting late-type stars (mostly K and M dwarfs) in three distinct age bins: 12 Myr, 30 Myr, and 100 Myr. Given our past experience with NICI, we calculate that for our median target star, our observations will be 50% complete to 2.5 M_Jup planets at a semi-major axis of 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) and small distances (7-70 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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