The Gemini Planet Imager Exoplanet Survey

Tuesday, 29 September 2015 1:30 p.m. — 2 p.m. MST

AURA Lecture Hall

NOIRLab South Colloquia
ABHIJITH RAJAN (Arizona State University and Gemini South Visiting Astronomer)

We will present an update on the ongoing Gemini Planet Imager Exoplanet Survey (GPIES), an 890-hour campaign designed to measure the frequency and properties of giant extrasolar planets in wide orbits (4 − 40 AU) around a sample of 600 young, nearby stars. Using a high-order adaptive optics system, an apodized pupil coronagraph, and an integral field spectrograph, the Gemini Planet imager (GPI) is designed to detect faint planetary-mass companions between 0.2 and 1 arcsec around bright (I < 9) stars. In addition to its spectral capabilities, GPI can also be operated in a dual channel polarimetry mode capable of measuring polarized light scattered from small dust grains within circumstellar debris disks. During the initial GPIES campaign runs, we have achieved a median 5-sigma sensitivity of 1.6 × 10−5 at 0.3" in the H band in spectral mode after PSF subtraction, reaching a contrast of 6.3 × 10−6 at 0.3" for our most sensitive observation. For the average star within our sample, a 125 Myr F6 star at 47 pc, the median sensitivity corresponds to a detectable planet mass of 10 MJup at a projected separation of 14 AU using the COND model grid. We will summarize the progress of the campaign, and highlight several science results based on the initial campaign observations in both the spectral and polarimetric modes which we have obtained since late 2014.