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Published April 1, 2011 | Published
Journal Article Open

Observational Constraints on Companions Inside of 10 AU in the HR 8799 Planetary System


We report the results of Keck L'-band non-redundant aperture masking of HR 8799, a system with four confirmed planetary mass companions at projected orbital separations of 14-68 AU. We use these observations to place constraints on the presence of planets and brown dwarfs at projected orbital separations inside of 10 AU—separations out of reach to more conventional direct imaging methods. No companions were detected at better than 99% confidence between orbital separations of 0.8 and 10 AU. Assuming an age of 30 Myr and adopting the Baraffe models, we place upper limits to planetary mass companions of 80, 60, and 11 M_(Jup) at projected orbital separations of 0.8, 1, and 3-10 AU, respectively. Our constraints on massive companions to HR 8799 will help clarify ongoing studies of the orbital stability of this multi-planet system, and may illuminate future work dedicated to understanding the dust-free hole interior to ~6 AU.

Additional Information

© 2011 The American Astronomical Society. Received 2010 December 23; accepted 2011 February 17; published 2011 March 7. This work was performed in part under contract with the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) funded by NASA through the Sagan Fellowship Program. M.J.I. was supported by an Australian Research Council Postdoctoral Fellowship. A.L.K. was supported by NASA through Hubble Fellowship grant 51257.01 awarded by the STScI, which is operated by AURA, Inc., for NASA, under contract NAS 5-26555. The data presented herein were obtained at theW. M. Keck Observatory, which is operated as a scientific partnership among the California Institute of Technology, the University of California, and NASA. The Observatory was made possible by the generous financial support of the W. M. Keck Foundation. The authors recognize and acknowledge the very significant cultural role and reverence that the summit of Mauna Kea has always had within the indigenous Hawaiian community.

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