AAS 205th Meeting, 9-13 January 2005
Session 11 Brown Dwarfs and Exoplanets
Poster, Monday, January 10, 2005, 9:20am-6:30pm, Exhibit Hall

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[11.24] Searching for Extrasolar Planets in the Stellar Graveyard

S. Sigurdsson, J.H. Debes (Penn State), B.T. Woodgate (GSFC)

White dwarfs, the stellar remnants of stars between ~ 1-8 \, M\odot, represent a uniquely suitable population to look for extrasolar planetary and brown dwarf companions. They are orders of magnitude fainter than their progenitors, and imaging of faint companions is correspondingly easier; and the orbits of any surviving companions will have adiabatically expanded during the mass-loss phase at the end of the main sequence, and they are therefore easier to separate from the glare of their parent star. Imaging searches around white dwarfs probe planet orbital parameters, and stellar mass ranges that are not feasible for other search techniques, complementing the data acquired through other approaches.

We present the latest results from a high contrast imaging campaign of nearby white dwarfs that uses the NICMOS coronagraph on the Hubble Space Telescope, PUEO/KIR on the Canada France Hawaii Telescope, and Altair/NIRI on the Gemini North Telescope. We discuss several candidate companions as well as limits on the formation efficiency of high mass planets around intermediate mass stars. We thank STSCI for support under GO-9834, and Gemini for discretionary time under program DD-9.

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

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© 2004. The American Astronomical Society.