Volume 572, December 2014
|Number of page(s)||12|
|Section||Planets and planetary systems|
|Published online||03 December 2014|
SPOTS: The Search for Planets Orbiting Two Stars
Institute for Astronomy, ETH Zurich, Wolfgang-Pauli-Strasse 27
2 INAF–Osservatorio Astronomico di Padova, Vicolo dell’Osservatorio 5, 35122 Padova, Italy
3 Astrophysics Research Center, Queen’s University Belfast, Belfast, UK
4 National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, 2-21-1 Osawa, Mitaka, 181-8588 Tokyo, Japan
5 Department of Astronomical Sciences, Graduate University for Advanced Studies (Sokendai), Mitaka, 181-8858 Tokyo, Japan
6 Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, Königstuhl 17, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany
7 Department of Physics & Astronomy, College of Charleston, 58 Coming Street, Charleston, SC 29424, USA
8 Observatoire de Meudon, LESIA, Bât. 17, 5 pl. J. Janssen, 92195 Meudon, France
9 Department of Physics & Astronomy, University College London, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT, UK
10 Universitätssternwerte München, Scheinerstr. 1, 81679 Munich, Germany
11 Dipartimento di Fisica, University of Padova, via Marzolo 8, 35131 Padova, Italy
Received: 10 July 2014
Accepted: 5 September 2014
Direct imaging surveys for exoplanets commonly exclude binary stars from their target lists, leaving a large part of the overall planet demography unexplored. To address this gap in our understanding of planet formation and evolution, we have launched the first direct-imaging survey dedicated to circumbinary planets: SPOTS, the Search for Planets Orbiting Two Stars. We discuss the theoretical context, scientific merit, and technical feasibility of such observations, describe the target sample and observational strategy of our survey, and report on the first results from our pilot survey of 26 targets with the VLT NaCo facility. While we have not found any confirmed substellar companions to date, a number of promising candidate companions remain to be tested for common proper motion in upcoming follow-up observations. We also report on the astrometry of the three resolved binaries in our target sample. This pilot survey constitutes a successful proof of concept for our survey strategy and paves the way for a second stage in the exploratory observations with VLT SPHERE.
Key words: planets and satellites: formation / planets and satellites: detection / binaries: close / techniques: high angular resolution
Based on data collected at the European Southern Observatory, Chile (ESO Programmes 088.C-0291 and 090.C-0416) and at the Subaru Telescope, which is operated by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan.
Appendix A is available in electronic form at http://www.aanda.org
© ESO, 2014
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