Deep imaging survey of young, nearby austral stars*
VLT/NACO near-infrared Lyot-coronographic observations
G. Chauvin1, A.-M. Lagrange1, M. Bonavita2,3, B. Zuckerman4, C. Dumas5, M. S. Bessell6, J.-L. Beuzit1, M. Bonnefoy1, S. Desidera2, J. Farihi7, P. Lowrance8, D. Mouillet1 and I. Song9
1 Laboratoire d'Astrophysique, Observatoire de Grenoble, UJF, CNRS,
414 rue de la piscine, 38400 Saint-Martin d'Hères, France e-mail: Gael.Chauvin@obs.ujf-grenoble.fr
2 INAF – Osservatorio Astronomico di Padova, Vicolo dell' Osservatorio 5, 35122 Padova, Italy
3 Universita' di Padova, Dipartimento di Astronomia, Vicolo dell'Osservatorio 2, 35122 Padova, Italy
4 Department of Physics & Astronomy and Center for Astrobiology, University of California: Los Angeles, Box 951562, CA 90095, USA
5 European Southern Observatory: Casilla 19001, Santiago 19, Chile
6 Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics Institute of Advance Studies, Australian National University: Cotter Road, Weston Creek, Canberra, ACT 2611, Australia
7 Department of Physics & Astronomy, University of Leicester, Leicester LE1 7RH, UK
8 Spitzer Science Center, IPAC/Caltech: MS 220-6, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA
9 Department of Physics & Astronomy, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602-2451, USA
Received: 23 January 2009
Accepted: 14 June 2009
Context. High contrast and high angular resolution imaging is the optimal search technique for substellar companions to nearby stars at physical separations larger than typically 10 AU. Two distinct populations of substellar companions, brown dwarfs and planets, can be probed and characterized. As a result, fossile traces of processes of formation and evolution can be revealed by physical and orbital properties, both for individual systems and as an ensemble.
Aims. Since November 2002, we have conducted a large, deep imaging, survey of young, nearby associations of the southern hemisphere. Our goal is detection and characterization of substellar companions with projected separations in the range 10–500 AU. We have observed a sample of 88 stars, primarily G to M dwarfs, younger than 100 Myr, and within 100 pc of Earth.
Methods. The VLT/NACO adaptive optics instrument of the ESO Paranal Observatory was used to explore the faint circumstellar environment between typically 0.1 and 10''. Diffraction-limited observations in H and -band combined with Lyot-coronagraphy enabled us to reach primary star-companion brightness ratios as small as 10-6. The existence of planetary mass companions could therefore be probed. We used a standardized observing sequence to precisely measure the position and flux of all detected sources relative to their visual primary star. Repeated observations at several epochs enabled us to discriminate comoving companions from background objects.
Results. We report the discovery of 17 new close (0.1–5.0'') multiple systems. HIP 108195 AB and C (F1 III-M6), HIP 84642 AB (a~14 AU, K0-M5) and TWA22 AB (a~1.8 AU; M6-M6) are confirmed comoving systems. TWA22 AB is likely to be a rare astrometric calibrator that can be used to test evolutionary model predictions. Among our complete sample, a total of 65 targets were observed with deep coronagraphic imaging. About 240 faint companion candidates were detected around 36 stars. Follow-up observations with VLT or HST for 83% of these stars enabled us to identify a large fraction of background contaminants. Our latest results that pertain to the substellar companions to GSC 08047-00232, AB Pic and 2M1207 (confirmed during this survey and published earlier), are reviewed. Finally, a statistical analysis of our complete set of coronagraphic detection limits enables us to place constraints on the physical and orbital properties of giant planets between typically 20 and 150 AU.
Key words: instrumentation: adaptive optics / instrumentation: high angular resolution / methods: observational / methods: statistical / brown dwarfs / planetary systems
Table 8 is only available in electronic form at the CDS via anonymous ftp to cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr (184.108.40.206) or via http://cdsweb.u-strasbg.fr/cgi-bin/qcat?J/A+A/509/A52
© ESO, 2010