AAS 203rd Meeting, January 2004
Session 42 Nearby Stars: Binaries, Theory and the Future
Poster, Tuesday, January 6, 2004, 9:20am-6:30pm, Grand Hall

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[42.07] Astrometric Search for Planets Encircling Nearby Stars (ASPENS)

D.W. Koerner (Northern Arizona University), T.J. Henry (Georgia State University), L.A. Fuhrman, C.C. Parker, I.J. Kaplan (Northern Arizona University), J. Wei-Chun, J. Subasavage (Georgia State University)

The Astrometric Search for Planets Encircling Nearby Stars (ASPENS) expands on CTIOPI, an existing parallax survey, to measure changes in apparent stellar positions with milli-arcsecond precision. NAU and GSU participation in the SMARTS consortium provides observing time on the CTIO 0.9m telescope to study a large sample of nearby stars visible from the southern hemisphere. The survey is sensitive to Jupiter-mass (MJ) companions orbiting at 5 AU from late M Dwarfs 8 pc away and 13-MJ companions (deuterium-burning mass limit) 5 AU from late K dwarfs at a distance of 20 pc. This economic probe of the substellar companion mass regime forms a natural complement to future high-precision efforts with interferometry, since the latter are less suitable to large-scale long-duration surveys. ASPENS data are housed in a relational database that facilitates easy retrieval and analysis. This tool is designed to incorporate astrometric measurements from other surveys and to yield limits on companions for incorporation into NStars Database.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 35#5
© 2003. The American Astronomical Soceity.