Volume 652, August 2021
|Number of page(s)||10|
|Section||Planets and planetary systems|
|Published online||18 August 2021|
High-contrast imaging at ten microns: A search for exoplanets around Eps Indi A, Eps Eri, Tau Ceti, Sirius A, and Sirius B
European Southern Observatory,
Garching bei München,
2 Space sciences, Technologies and Astrophysics Research (STAR) Institute, Université de Liège, 19c Allée du Six Août, 4000 Liège, Belgium
3 Institut für Teilchen- und Astrophysik ETH Zurich, Switzerland
4 Center for Astronomy Research, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, UK
5 Stockholm University, Stockholm Observatory, Sweden
6 AIM, CEA, CNRS, Université Paris-Saclay, Université Paris Diderot, Sorbonne Paris Cité, 91191 Gif-sur-Yvette, France
7 Astronomy Department, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA
8 Tsung-Dao Lee Institute, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, 800 Dongchuan Road, Shanghai 200240, PR China
9 Department of Astronomy, School of Physics and Astronomy, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, 800 Dongchuan Road, Shanghai 200240, PR China
Accepted: 26 April 2021
Context. The direct imaging of rocky exoplanets is one of the major science goals of upcoming large telescopes. The contrast requirement for imaging such planets is challenging. However, the mid-IR (infrared) regime provides the optimum contrast to directly detect the thermal signatures of exoplanets in our solar neighbourhood.
Aims. We aim to exploit novel fast-chopping techniques newly developed for astronomy with the aid of adaptive optics to look for thermal signatures of exoplanets around bright stars in the solar neighbourhood.
Methods. We used the upgraded Very Large Telescope Imager and Spectrometer for the mid-InfraRed (VISIR) instrument with high-contrast imaging capability optimised for observations at 10 μm to look for exoplanets around five nearby (d < 4 pc) stars. The instrument provides an improved signal-to-noise ratio (S/N) by a factor of ~4 in the N-band compared to standard VISIR for a given S/N and time.
Results. In this work, we achieve a detection sensitivity of sub-mJy, which is sufficient to detect a few Jupiter mass planets in nearby systems. Although no detections are made, we achieve most sensitive limits within <2″ for all the observed targets compared to previous campaigns. For ϵ Indi A and ϵ Eri, we achieve detection limits very close to the giant planets discovered by RV, with the limits on ϵ Indi A being the most sensitive to date. Our non-detection therefore supports an older age for ϵ Indi A. The results presented here are promising for high-contrast imaging and exoplanet detections in the mid-IR regime.
Key words: planets and satellites: detection / instrumentation: adaptive optics
© ESO 2021
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