NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2017B-0114

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Program Information for 2017B-0114


PI: Ralf Kotulla, U. of Wisconsin, Madison, kotulla@wisc.edu
Address: Department of Astronomy, 475 N Charter St, Madison, WI 53706 USA

CoI: Maggie Turnbull, SETI Institute/NASA Ames Research Center
CoI: Jay Gallagher, U. of Wisconsin, Madison
CoI: Guangwei Fu, U. of Wisconsin, Madison
CoI: Daniel Harbeck, Las Cumbres Observatory
CoI: Tristan L'Ecuyer, U. of Wisconsin, Madison
CoI: Aronne Merelli, U. of Wisconsin, Madison
CoI: Lauren Laufman, U. of Wisconsin, Madison

Title: Exploring the (extra-)galactic background along lines-of-sight to nearby exoplanet host star candidates.

Abstract: Although exoplanets are now known in the thousands, there are very few systems with direct detections that would allow more detailed follow- up studies. WFIRST, targeted to be launched in $sim$2025, will include a coronograph capable of detecting super-earths or larger ($ge 2R_e$) planets around the limited and fixed sample of bright, nearby stars. One major challenge of direct detections, however, remains to distinguish planetary candidates from background sources such as galactic stars and/or galaxies. In addition, stars near the target star can easily outshine faint exo-planets despite the use of a coronograph, Understanding the background around the highest priority, high proper motion targets is essential preparatory work designed and will facilitate the implementation of direct-imaging missions and enhance the likelihood of scientific success in this most critical endeavor. We propose to exploit ODI's unique multi-cell/CCD configuration in a non-traditional way to assess the actual background close to the current star position and along the proper motion path for the next 5-20 years. Having proven the feasibility of our approach we propose to extend the observed sample to include a more significant fraction of the population of solar-like exo-planet host stars closest to earth.

Program Type: Standard/NASA WIYN

Scheduled Nights:
Run 1 (2017B):  WIYN/ODI -- 6n on Dec 11 - Dec 19 2017, Jan 06 - Jan 08 2018


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