AAS Meeting #193 - Austin, Texas, January 1999
Session 31. Invited Talks: Cochran and Becklin
Invited, Wednesday, January 6, 1999, 3:40-5:10pm, Ballroom A

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[31.02] A Coronagraphic Search for Substellar Companions to Young Stars with NICMOS on HST

E.E. Becklin (UCLA), B.A. Smith (IfA), G. Schneider (Arizona), P.J. Lowrance (UCLA), D. C. Hines, F. J. Low, D. W. McCarthy, M. J. Rieke, R. I. Thompson (Arizona), R.J. Terrile (JPL), J.D. Kirkpatrick (IPAC), D.W. Koerner (UPenn), R. Meier (IfA), B. Zuckerman (UCLA)

We are using NICMOS to search for very low-mass stars and sub-stellar companions around nearby, young main-sequence stars. With the coronagraph on Camera 2 and the F160W filter (1.4-1.8\micron), we search the region 0.4\arcsec-4\arcsec from the target star. For this sample of stars whose mean distance is 50pc, this corresponds to a radius of 20 to 200 AU. The lower mass limit of a detected companion depends on mass, age, and the distance of the star, as well as the angular separation between star and compaion. For several of our targets that are 10-50 Myrs old, this lower mass limit is below 10 Jupiter masses.

We discuss the results of the search around 40 young stars including the discovery of at least one brown dwarf. The implications for imaging a high mass planet around these young stars are also discussed.

This work is supported in part by NASA grant NAG 5-3042 to the University of Arizona NICMOS Instrument Design Team.

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