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Proceedings Paper

The Gemini NICI Planet-Finding Campaign
Author(s): Michael C. Liu; Zahed Wahhaj; Beth A. Biller; Eric L. Nielsen; Mark Chun; Laird M. Close; Christ Ftaclas; Markus Hartung; Thomas L. Hayward; Fraser Clarke; I. Neill Reid; Evgenya L. Shkolnik; Mathias Tecza; Niranjan Thatte; Silvia Alencar; Pawel Artymowicz; Alan Boss; Adam Burrows; Elisabethe de Gouveia Dal Pino; Jane Gregorio-Hetem; Shigeru Ida; Marc J. Kuchner; Douglas Lin; Douglas Toomey
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Paper Abstract

Our team is carrying out a multi-year observing program to directly image and characterize young extrasolar planets using the Near-Infrared Coronagraphic Imager (NICI) on the Gemini-South 8.1-meter telescope. NICI is the first instrument on a large telescope designed from the outset for high-contrast imaging, comprising a high-performance curvature adaptive optics (AO) system with a simultaneous dual-channel coronagraphic imager. Combined with state-of-the-art AO observing methods and data processing, NICI typically achieves ≈2 magnitudes better contrast compared to previous ground-based or space-based planet-finding efforts, at separations inside of ≈2". In preparation for the Campaign, we carried out efforts to identify previously unrecognized young stars as targets, to develop a rigorous quantitative method for constructing our observing strategy, and to optimize the combination of angular differential imaging and spectral differential imaging. The Planet-Finding Campaign is in its second year, with first-epoch imaging of 174 stars already obtained out of a total sample of 300 stars. We describe the Campaign's goals, design, target selection, implementation, on-sky performance, and preliminary results. The NICI Planet-Finding Campaign represents the largest and most sensitive imaging survey to date for massive (>~ 1 MJup) planets around other stars. Upon completion, the Campaign will establish the best measurements to date on the properties of young gas-giant planets at -> 5-10 AU separations. Finally, Campaign discoveries will be well-suited to long-term orbital monitoring and detailed spectrophotometric followup with next-generation planet-finding instruments.

Paper Details

Date Published: 28 July 2010
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 7736, Adaptive Optics Systems II, 77361K (28 July 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.858358
Show Author Affiliations
Michael C. Liu, Institute for Astronomy, Univ. of Hawai'i (United States)
Zahed Wahhaj, Institute for Astronomy, Univ. of Hawai'i (United States)
Beth A. Biller, Institute for Astronomy, Univ. of Hawai'i (United States)
Eric L. Nielsen, Steward Observatory, The Univ. of Arizona (United States)
Mark Chun, Institute for Astronomy, Univ. of Hawai'i (United States)
Laird M. Close, Steward Observatory, The Univ. of Arizona (United States)
Christ Ftaclas, Institute for Astronomy, Univ. of Hawai'i (United States)
Markus Hartung, Gemini Observatory (Chile)
Thomas L. Hayward, Gemini Observatory (Chile)
Fraser Clarke, Univ. of Oxford (United Kingdom)
I. Neill Reid, Space Telescope Science Institute (United States)
Evgenya L. Shkolnik, Carnegie Institution of Washington (United States)
Mathias Tecza, Univ. of Oxford (United Kingdom)
Niranjan Thatte, Univ. of Oxford (United Kingdom)
Silvia Alencar, Univ. Federal de Minas Gerais (Brazil)
Pawel Artymowicz, Univ. of Toronto Scarborough (Canada)
Alan Boss, Space Telescope Science Institute (United States)
Adam Burrows, Princeton Univ. (United States)
Elisabethe de Gouveia Dal Pino, Univ. de São Paulo (Brazil)
Jane Gregorio-Hetem, Univ. de São Paulo (Brazil)
Shigeru Ida, Tokyo Institute of Technology (Japan)
Marc J. Kuchner, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Douglas Lin, Univ. of California, Santa Cruz (United States)
Douglas Toomey, Mauna Kea Infrared LLC (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7736:
Adaptive Optics Systems II
Brent L. Ellerbroek; Michael Hart; Norbert Hubin; Peter L. Wizinowich, Editor(s)

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