Institute of Astronomy

High Contrast Studies of Nearby Stars with Project 1640

SpeakerTalk DateTalk Series
Neil Zimmerman (AMNH)17 February 2010Institute of Astronomy Seminars


Project 1640 is a new integral field spectrograph and coronagraph at Palomar Observatory. I will demonstrate the capabilities of this new instrument by reviewing one of our first results, the discovery of an M-dwarf companion to Alcor, a main sequence A star at a distance of 25 pc. We confirmed the physical association between the stars using a novel method of high precision relative astrometry applied to two images taken just 100 days apart, demonstrating that the companion shares common parallactic and proper motion with its host star. The same data gave us a low-resolution near-infrared spectrum spanning the J and H bands, enabling us to classify the companion as an M3-M4 dwarf.


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