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Proposal Information for 2014B-0066


PI: Avi Shporer, JPL, shporer@gps.caltech.edu
Address: 4800 Oak Grove Drive, Pasadena, CA 91109, USA

CoI: Tsevi Mazeh, Tel Aviv University
CoI: Andrej Prsa, Villanova University
CoI: Simchon Faigler, Tel Aviv University
CoI: Lev Tal-Or, Tel Aviv University
CoI: Tabetha Boyajian, Yale University

Title: Studying low-mass short-period binary companions to stars across the main sequence

Abstract: Detecting short-period low-mass binary companions, with mass around the hydrogen burning threshold, is difficult. Despite a large observational effort during the last few decades, using hundreds of nights of telescope time, their number is still small. The scarcity of these objects, at the low-mass tail of short-period secondaries, represents a gap in our understanding of binary star formation and orbital evolution. Clearly there is a need for a new approach, using a reasonable amount of telescope time per detection. We propose to use a novel algorithm, where these objects are identified in the large sample of high-quality Kepler light curves, and use WIYN/Hydra to confirm their nature via radial-velocity monitoring. Our technique is sensitive to \it non-eclipsing systems, which are at least an order of magnitude more frequent than eclipsing ones, thereby allowing us to detect a large number of relatively rare systems with low-mass secondaries. This in turn will allow us to test the characteristics of the so-called brown- dwarf desert - a paucity of short-period low-mass secondaries in the brown-dwarf mass range, orbiting G- and K-type stars - and see how its characteristics change with the primary spectral type. The time requested here will complement time awarded in 2014A, to observe Kepler targets still within the same Kepler observing season.


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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