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Published January 10, 2003 | Published + Submitted
Journal Article Open

Adaptive Optics Observations of Vega: Eight Detected Sources and Upper Limits to Planetary‐Mass Companions


From adaptive optics observations with the Palomar 5 m telescope we place upper limits on the masses of any planetary companions located between ~30 and 230 AU away from Vega, where our data are sensitive to depths ranging from H = 12.5-19.0 mag fainter than Vega itself. Our observations cover a plus-shaped area with two 25″ × 57″ elements, excluding 7″ × 7″ centered on the star. We have identified two double and four single point sources. These projected companions are 14.9-18.9 mag fainter than Vega and, if physically associated, would have masses ranging from 4 to 35 M_J and orbital radii of 170-260 AU. Recent simulations of dusty rings around Vega predict the presence of a perturbing body with a mass of less than 2-3 M_J and an orbital radius of ~40-100 AU, and more massive (≾10 M_J) planets cannot be excluded. None of the detected objects are this predicted planet. Based on a color-magnitude, spectroscopic, and proper motion analysis, all objects are consistent with being background sources. Given the glare of Vega, a 2 M_J object near the expected orbital radii would not have been visible at the 5 σ level in our data, though any brown dwarf with mass greater than 10 M_J could have been seen at a separation greater than 80 AU.

Additional Information

© 2003 American Astronomical Society. Received 2002 July 26. Accepted 2002 September 17. We acknowledge with appreciation those who have endeavored over the years to further the development of the adaptive optics system at Palomar. In particular, we have benefited substantially from conversations with T. Hayward, M. Troy, R. Dekany, and R. Burruss, and enjoyed the expert assistance at the telescope of J. Mueller and K. Dunscombe. J. Carpenter also participated in some of the data acquisition. This publication makes use of data products from the Two Micron All Sky Survey, which is a joint project of the University of Massachusetts and the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center, California Institute of Technology, funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the National Science Foundation.

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Published - Metchev_2003_ApJ_582_1102.pdf

Submitted - 0209318.pdf


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