28 July 2010 The Gemini NICI Planet-Finding Campaign
Author Affiliations +
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.
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Michael C. Liu, Michael C. Liu, Zahed Wahhaj, Zahed Wahhaj, Beth A. Biller, Beth A. Biller, Eric L. Nielsen, Eric L. Nielsen, Mark Chun, Mark Chun, Laird M. Close, Laird M. Close, Christ Ftaclas, Christ Ftaclas, Markus Hartung, Markus Hartung, Thomas L. Hayward, Thomas L. Hayward, Fraser Clarke, Fraser Clarke, I. Neill Reid, I. Neill Reid, Evgenya L. Shkolnik, Evgenya L. Shkolnik, Mathias Tecza, Mathias Tecza, Niranjan Thatte, Niranjan Thatte, Silvia Alencar, Silvia Alencar, Pawel Artymowicz, Pawel Artymowicz, Alan Boss, Alan Boss, Adam Burrows, Adam Burrows, Elisabethe de Gouveia Dal Pino, Elisabethe de Gouveia Dal Pino, Jane Gregorio-Hetem, Jane Gregorio-Hetem, Shigeru Ida, Shigeru Ida, Marc J. Kuchner, Marc J. Kuchner, Douglas Lin, Douglas Lin, Douglas Toomey, Douglas Toomey, } "The Gemini NICI Planet-Finding Campaign", Proc. SPIE 7736, Adaptive Optics Systems II, 77361K (28 July 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.858358; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.858358

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