Institute of Astronomy

Connecting Planet and Debris Populations: A New Survey for Planetary Mass Companions at Keck and VLT

SpeakerTalk DateTalk Series
Sasha Hinkley30 July 2014Across HR 2014 Talks


Circumstellar debris disks are the signposts of planet formation. I will present our progress on the largest Adaptive Optics (AO) survey to date dedicated to imaging planetary mass companions orbiting stars with newly identified debris disks. The NASA WISE mission has discovered hundreds of new stars bearing debris disks, and we have obtained deep AO imaging of over 250 of these on the Keck and VLT telescopes. Importantly, nearly all of our targets have not been targeted by other comparable-sized surveys (e.g. IDPS, SEEDS, NICI, etc.). Further, the debris disks we target in our survey tend to be younger than the more evolved debris disk systems traditionally observed with AO. As such, our sample serves as a particularly important connection between the study of evolved planetary systems, and those objects in young moving group systems. Our survey will give the strongest constraints on the connection between planet and debris populations, and will pave the way for future spectroscopic follow-up of these planetary mass companions.