AAS 197, January 2001
Session 49. The Formation, Evolution and Detection of Habitable Planets
Display, Tuesday, January 9, 2001, 9:30am-7:00pm, Exhibit Hall

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[49.04] A Method to Search for Jovian Planets around Hot White Dwarfs

R.A. Gruendl, Y.-H. Chu, B.C. Dunne (UIUC), W. Brandner (IfA)

Current searches for extrasolar planets have concentrated on observing the reflex Doppler shift of solar-type stars. Little is known, however, about planetary systems around non-solar-type stars. We suggest a new method to extend planetary searches to hot white dwarfs. Near a hot white dwarf, the atmosphere of a Jovian planet will be photoionized and emit hydrogen recombination lines, which may be detected by high-dispersion spectroscopic observations. Multi-epoch monitoring can be used to distinguish between non-LTE stellar emission and planetary emission, and to establish the orbital parameters of the detected planets. In the future, high-precision astrometric measurements of the hot white dwarf will allow the masses of the detected planets to be determined. Searches for Jovian planets around hot white dwarfs will provide invaluable new insight on the development of planetary systems around stars more massive than the Sun and on how stellar evolution affects these systems. We present high-dispersion spectroscopic observations of the white dwarf Feige~34 to demonstrate the complexity and feasibility of the search method. Weather permitting, further observations of hot white dwarfs (flux standards) will be presented.

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

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