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Published February 2023 | Published
Journal Article Open

Planet search with the Keck/NIRC2 vortex coronagraph in the Mₛ band for Vega


Context. Gaps in circumstellar disks can signal the existence of planetary perturbers, making such systems preferred targets for direct imaging observations of exoplanets. Aims. Being one of the brightest and closest stars to the Sun, the photometric standard star Vega hosts a two-belt debris disk structure. Together with the fact that its planetary system is being viewed nearly face-on, Vega has been one of the prime targets for planet imaging efforts. Methods. Using the vector vortex coronagraph on Keck/NIRC2 in the Mₛ band at 4.67 μm, we report the planet detection limits from 1 au to 22 au for Vega with an on-target time of 1.8 h. Results. We reach a 3 M_(Jupiter) limit outward of 12 au, which is nearly an order of magnitude deeper than for other existing studies. Combining our observations with existing radial velocity studies, we can confidently rule out the existence of companions more than ~8 M_(Jupiter) from 22 au down to 0.1 au for Vega. Interior and exterior to ~4 au, this combined approach reaches planet detection limits down to ~2–3 M_(Jupiter) using radial velocity and direct imaging, respectively. Conclusions. By reaching multi-Jupiter mass detection limits, our results are expected to be complemented by the planet imaging of Vega in the upcoming observations using the James Webb Space Telescope to obtain a more holistic understanding of the planetary system configuration around Vega.

Additional Information

© The Authors 2023. Open Access article, published by EDP Sciences, under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. This article is published in open access under the Subscribe to Open model. Subscribe to A&A to support open access publication. We thank the anonymous referee for their constructive comments that increased the clarity and reproducibility of this paper. This research is partially supported by NASA ROSES XRP, award 80NSSC19K0294. B.B.R. has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (PRO-TOPLANETS, grant agreement No. 101002188). É.C. has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union's Horizon Europe research and innovation programme (ESCAPE, grant agreement No 101044152). Some of the data presented herein were obtained at the W.M. Keck Observatory, which is operated as a scientific partnership among the California Institute of Technology, the University of California and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The Observatory was made possible by the generous financial support of the W.M. Keck Foundation. The authors wish to recognize and acknowledge the very significant cultural role and reverence that the summit of Maunakea has always had within the indigenous Hawaiian community. We are most fortunate to have the opportunity to conduct observations from this mountain. Part of the computations presented here was conducted in the Resnick High Performance Computing Center, a facility supported by Resnick Sustainability Institute at the California Institute of Technology.

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August 22, 2023
August 22, 2023