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The POKEMON Speckle Survey of Nearby M Dwarfs. I. New Discoveries

Clark, Catherine A. and van Belle, Gerard T. and Horch, Elliott P. and von Braun, Kaspar and Ciardi, David R. and Winters, Jennifer G. and Kiman, Rocio (2022) The POKEMON Speckle Survey of Nearby M Dwarfs. I. New Discoveries. Astronomical Journal, 164 (2). Art. no. 33. ISSN 0004-6256. doi:10.3847/1538-3881/ac739c.

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M dwarfs are favorable targets for exoplanet detection with current instrumentation, but stellar companions can induce false positives and inhibit planet characterization. Knowledge of stellar companions is also critical to our understanding of how binary stars form and evolve. We have therefore conducted a survey of stellar companions around nearby M dwarfs, and here we present our new discoveries. Using the Differential Speckle Survey Instrument at the 4.3 m Lowell Discovery Telescope, and the similar NN-EXPLORE Exoplanet Stellar Speckle Imager at the 3.5 m WIYN telescope, we carried out a volume-limited survey of M-dwarf multiplicity to 15 parsecs, with a special emphasis on including the later M dwarfs that were overlooked in previous surveys. Additional brighter targets at larger distances were included for a total sample size of 1070 M dwarfs. Observations of these 1070 targets revealed 26 new companions; 22 of these systems were previously thought to be single. If all new discoveries are confirmed, then the number of known multiples in the sample will increase by 7.6%. Using our observed properties, as well as the parallaxes and 2MASS K magnitudes for these objects, we calculate the projected separation, and estimate the mass ratio and component spectral types, for these systems. We report the discovery of a new M-dwarf companion to the white dwarf Wolf 672 A, which hosts a known M-dwarf companion as well, making the system trinary. We also examine the possibility that the new companion to 2MASS J13092185-2330350 is a brown dwarf. Finally, we discuss initial insights from the POKEMON survey.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Clark, Catherine A.0000-0002-2361-5812
van Belle, Gerard T.0000-0002-8552-158X
Horch, Elliott P.0000-0003-2159-1463
von Braun, Kaspar0000-0002-5823-4630
Ciardi, David R.0000-0002-5741-3047
Winters, Jennifer G.0000-0001-6031-9513
Kiman, Rocio0000-0003-2102-3159
Additional Information:© 2022. The Author(s). Published by the American Astronomical Society. Original content from this work may be used under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence. Any further distribution of this work must maintain attribution to the author(s) and the title of the work, journal citation and DOI. Received 2022 April 7; revised 2022 May 23; accepted 2022 May 24; published 2022 July 4. We thank our anonymous reviewer for their thoughtful assessment. We also thank Frederick Hahne, Zachary Hartman, and Joe Llama for their contributions to and feedback on this manuscript. Finally, we thank the army of TOs at the LDT and the WIYN Telescope for all of their help and insight during our 50 nights of observing. This research was supported by NSF grant No. AST-1616084 and JPL RSA No. 1610345. These results made use of the Lowell Discovery Telescope at Lowell Observatory. Lowell is a private, nonprofit institution dedicated to astrophysical research and public appreciation of astronomy and operates the LDT in partnership with Boston University, the University of Maryland, the University of Toledo, Northern Arizona University, and Yale University. Lowell Observatory sits at the base of mountains sacred to tribes throughout the region. We honor their past, present, and future generations, who have lived here for millennia and will forever call this place home. These results are also based on observations from Kitt Peak National Observatory, the NSF's National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory (NOIRLab Prop. ID: 2018B-0126; PI: C. Clark), which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) under a cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation. Data presented herein were obtained at the WIYN Observatory from telescope time allocated to NN-EXPLORE through the scientific partnership of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Science Foundation, and the NSF's National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory. This work presents results from the European Space Agency (ESA) space mission Gaia. Gaia data are being processed by the Gaia Data Processing and Analysis Consortium (DPAC). Funding for the DPAC is provided by national institutions, in particular the institutions participating in the Gaia MultiLateral Agreement (MLA). The Gaia mission website is The Gaia archive website is This work has used data products from the Two Micron All Sky Survey (Skrutskie et al. 2019), which is a joint project of the University of Massachusetts and the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center at the California Institute of Technology, funded by NASA and NSF. Information was collected from several additional large database efforts: the Simbad database and the VizieR catalog access tool, operated at CDS, Strasbourg, France; NASA's Astrophysics Data System; the Washington Double Star Catalog maintained at the US Naval Observatory; and the fourth US Naval Observatory CCD Astrograph Catalog (Zacharias et al. 2020). Facilities: LDT(DSSI), WIYN(NESSI). Software: Astropy (Astropy Collaboration et al. 2013), IPython (Pérez & Granger 2007), Matplotlib (Hunter 2007), NumPy (Harris et al. 2020), Pandas (McKinney et al. 2010), SciPy (Virtanen et al. 2020).
Group:Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC)
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Gaia Multilateral AgreementUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Binary stars; Visual binary stars; Low mass stars; High angular resolution; Speckle interferometry; Close binary stars; M dwarf stars; White dwarf stars
Issue or Number:2
Classification Code:Unified Astronomy Thesaurus concepts: Binary stars (154); Visual binary stars (1777); Low mass stars (2050); High angular resolution (2167); Speckle interferometry (1552); Close binary stars (254); M dwarf stars (982); White dwarf stars (1799)
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20220705-671896000
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Catherine A. Clark et al 2022 AJ 164 33
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:115312
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:08 Jul 2022 21:43
Last Modified:25 Jul 2022 23:14

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