A Coronagraphic Search for Substellar Companions to Young Stars

Computer Science

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Scientific paper

We are using NICMOS to search for very low-mass stellar and sub-stellar companions around nearby, young, main-sequence stars. With the coronagraph on Camera 2 and the F160W filter (1.4-1.8 micron), we search in the region 0.4" - 4" from the target star. To greatly reduce the scattered light near the hole, we image at two roll angles centered on the star and separated by 30 degrees. The lower mass limit of a detectable companion depends on the mass, age, and distance of the target star as well as the angular separation between star and companion. For several of our targets that are 10-50 Myr old, this lower mass limit could be as low as 10 Jupiter masses. We display preliminary results using this technique. A stellar-like object with Delta H=5.3 was discovered 0".9 from HD 102982. From the distance and age of the primary, this companion is most likely a low-mass M star. Recent observations demonstrate that we can obtain a S/N = 5 (clear detection) on a secondary with Delta H=12 at a separation of 1''.

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