AAS 198th Meeting, June 2001
Session 77. The Promise and Pitfalls of High Contrast Imaging
Display, Thursday, June 7, 2001, 9:20am-4:00pm, Exhibit Hall

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[77.18] NICMOS Imaging Search for a Candidate Companion to Proxima Centauri

M.D. Silverstone, G. Schneider (Steward Obs., U. of Az.), A.B. Schultz (CSC/STScI)

A candidate companion to Proxima Centauri (Prox Cen) was identified in Faint Object Spectrograph observations (Schultz, A.B. et al, 1998 AJ 115, 345). Subsequently, the field surrounding Prox Cen was observed at 3 epochs (UT 8 March, 1 July, and 13 October 1998) with NICMOS Camera 1 (0.043 arcsec/pix), in HST observing program GO/7847. At each epoch the field, which was oriented by the HST nominal roll, was observed in 4 dither positions in each of 3 filters (F160W, F165M, and F170M). The M5.5V star GL 905 was observed similarly at one epoch, to serve as a PSF reference for Prox Cen.

This total survey covered approx. 300 square arcseconds near Prox Cen, of which about 80 square arcseconds was common to two epochs, and about 60 square arcseconds was imaged in all three epochs.

We searched the PSF-subtracted images for common proper-motion and common parallax companions to this close (d \approx 1.3 pc) primary. Background stars were identified by comparison to archival WFPC-2 images and differential astrometry between the epochs.

We did not find multi-epoch evidence of candidate companions, though we have identified a number of single-epoch point-source like objects in the images. We derive upper limits for near-infrared flux densities from undetected companions as a function of projected distance.

Support for this work was provided by NASA through grant number GO-07847.01-96A from the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by AURA, Inc., under NASA contract NAS5-26555.

If you would like more information about this abstract, please follow the link to http://proto.as.arizona.edu/~murray/proxcen.html. This link was provided by the author. When you follow it, you will leave the Web site for this meeting; to return, you should use the Back comand on your browser.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: murray@as.arizona.edu

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