AAS 198th Meeting, June 2001
Session 69. Planet Searchs and Dwarfs
Display, Thursday, June 7, 2001, 9:20am-4:00pm, Exhibit Hall

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[69.05] A Barnard's Star Perturbation Search Using McCormick Observatory Photographic Plate Material

J. Bartlett, P. Ianna (University of Virginia)

Barnard's Star is of particular interest due to its high proper motion, nearness to the Solar System, and previous claims of planetary companions. Based upon observations made at the Sproul Observatory between 1916 and 1962, Peter van de Kamp claimed the star had a 24-year period and a planetary companion of about 1.6 Jupiter masses (Van de Kamp, AJ, 68, 515, 1963). Later, based on Sproul observations from 1938 to 1974, Van de Kamp found that the perturbation was better fit by two companions with 11.5- and 20 or 25-year orbits and corresponding masses of 1 and 0.5 Jupiter masses (Van de Kamp, ARA&A, 13, 295, 1975). Searches by other observers over shorter periods of time or with fewer exposures failed to find clear indications of planetary companions (Gatewood and Eichhorn, AJ, 78, 769, 1973). However, the McCormick Observatory has more than 900 exposures made on photographic plates between 1969 and 1998. In view of the continuing controversy, reviewing these data to identify any perturbations indicative of a companion is worthwhile. Therefore, we scanned the plates on the microdensitometer (PDS) at the McCormick Observatory. We present the results of a time-series analysis to search these observations for one or more perturbations.

We acknowledge support from NSF grant AST 98-20711 and from Litton Marine Systems, Incorporated.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: jlb2j@virginia.edu

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