AAS 205th Meeting, 9-13 January 2005
Session 39 Finding Extrasolar Planets
Oral, Monday, January 10, 2005, 2:00-3:30pm, Golden Ballroom

Previous   |   Session 39   |   Next

[39.02] Are Metals in White Dwarf Atmospheres Markers for Extrasolar Planets?

J.H. Debes, S. Sigurdsson, B. Woodgate (PSU)

We present the latest results from a highly sensitive high contrast imaging search of nearby hydrogen white dwarfs with photospheric metal absorption, so called DAZs. Nearby DAZs may be markers for planetary systems; if that is the case they can be intensively studied in the hopes of directly detecting and characterizing planetary companions before the launch of missions such as the James Webb Space Telescope and the Terrestrial Planet Finder. Of the seven targets we observed, three promising candidates have been detected, with second epoch information for each of them. We find that we were sensitive enough to detect objects with masses > 6 MJup > 12 AU with some of our targets and > 12 MJup > 30 AU for all of our targets. Given the primordial masses of the main sequence progenitors of these systems, the observed projected separations would correspond to primordial separations of ~10 AU, probing primordial planetary formation sites around intermediate mass stars.

Based on observations made with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, obtained at the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., under NASA contract NAS 5-26555. These observations are associated with program #9834

Previous   |   Session 39   |   Next

Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 36 5
© 2004. The American Astronomical Society.