EDP Sciences
Free Access
Volume 505, Number 2, October II 2009
Page(s) 859 - 871
Section Planets and planetary systems
DOI https://doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361/200912479
Published online 11 August 2009
A&A 505, 859-871 (2009)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/200912479

The M dwarf planet search programme at the ESO VLT + UVES

A search for terrestrial planets in the habitable zone of M dwarfs
M. Zechmeister1, M. Kürster1, and M. Endl2

1  Max-Planck-Institut für Astronomie, Königstuhl 17, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany
    e-mail: zechmeister@mpia.de
2  McDonald Observatory, University of Texas, Austin, TX78712, USA

Received 13 May 2009 / Accepted 15 July 2009

We present radial velocity (RV) measurements of our sample of 40 M dwarfs from our planet search programme with VLT+UVES begun in 2000. Although with our RV precision down to 2–2.5 m/s and timebase line of up to 7 years, we are capable of finding planets of a few Earth masses in the close-in habitable zones of M dwarfs, there is no detection of a planetary companion. To demonstrate this we present mass detection limits allowing us to exclude Jupiter-mass planets up to 1 AU for most of our sample stars. We identified 6 M dwarfs that host a brown dwarf or low-mass stellar companion. With the exception of these, all other sample stars show low RV variability with an rms$\,<20\,$m/s. Some high proper motion stars exhibit a linear RV trend consistent with their secular acceleration. Furthermore, we examine our data sets for a possible correlation between RVs and stellar activity as seen in variations of the H$\alpha$ line strength. For Barnard's star we found a significant anticorrelation, but most of the sample stars do not show such a correlation.

Key words: stars: general -- stars: planetary systems -- techniques: radial velocities

© ESO 2009

Current usage metrics show cumulative count of Article Views (full-text article views including HTML views, PDF and ePub downloads, according to the available data) and Abstracts Views on Vision4Press platform.

Data correspond to usage on the plateform after 2015. The current usage metrics is available 48-96 hours after online publication and is updated daily on week days.

Initial download of the metrics may take a while.