NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2014A-0073

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Proposal Information for 2014A-0073


PI: Mukremin Kilic, University of Oklahoma, kilic@ou.edu
Address: Physics Department, 440 W Brooks Street, Norman, OK 73019, USA

CoI: Sara Barber, University of Oklahoma
CoI: Buell Januzzi, NOAO
CoI: Arjun Dey, NOAO
CoI: Peter Stetson, National Research Council of Canada

Title: A Search for Habitable Planets Around White Dwarfs

Abstract: A large fraction of white dwarfs (WDs) may host planets in their habitable zones. Here we propose to take advantage of the unique capability of DECam on the CTIO 4m to perform a pre-LSST transit survey that is capable of detecting the first planet in the habitable zone of a WD. We propose to obtain DECam time-series photometry of the CFHT Legacy Survey (CFHTLS) Wide2 field to search for planetary, substellar, and stellar companions to more than 500 WDs. Thanks to the 3 square degree field of view of DECam, for the first time in history, a large number of WDs can be observed at the same time, which is essential for discovering transits. We will use the original data taken 8 years ago for the CFHTLS and our stacked DECam images to identify the WDs based on their colors and proper motions. Given the observing window from the ground, if every WD has an Earth-like planet in its habitable zone, we expect to find up to 3 planets in this initial survey. In addition to planets, we will also constrain the frequency of eclipsing substellar and stellar companions to WDs, which has important implications for the LSST. Our stacked dataset will also provide a significantly improved WD luminosity function for the Galactic disk and halo.


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NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2014A-0073

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