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D.M. Rothstein (Haverford), M.A. Gurwell, P.T.P. Ho (Harvard-Smithsonian CfA)
We use the technique of methane-band imaging to search for faint companions to fourteen nearby stars. Most of the stars in the sample have previously discovered Doppler velocity companions at several AU or less, but our method is sensitive to companions at larger orbital distances. We develop various forms of median subtraction to remove the extremely high and often saturated primary star point-spread functions and to uncover faint objects hiding in their wings. We report the discovery of an apparent companion at 5.0'' from the star BD-04782 (corresponding to a minimum orbital radius of 100 AU); however, this potential companion does not seem to have an atmosphere that would identify it as a methane brown dwarf (T\rm eff < ~1600 K). Upper limits are set on the near infrared brightness of any companions in the data set which may have escaped our detection.
This research was supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates program.