Name/Affiliation: Bartosz Gauza (Instituto de Astrofisica de Canariasá)
A mid-IR imaging search for substellar companions of the nearest stars
At the relatively old ages of the solar vicinity, very low-mass brown dwarfs and massive planetary companions have cooled down to temperatures below 500-600 K and emit most of their flux in the mid-IR. In this talk we outline the first results of our program aiming at detection of substellar companions of the nearest stars of the Northern Hemisphere. We use the mid-infrared instrument CanariCam operating at the 10.4 m GTC telescope, to perform a deep, direct imaging search in the N-band (Si-2 filter, 8.7 Ám), reaching the diffraction limit of the telescope. We are sensitive to objects with fluxes above 0.5 mJy at 8.7 microns and at separations in the range from 1 to 10 arcsec, which translates into planet masses down to 10 MJup and physical separations of ~5-45 AU for our sample stars. These separations imply relatively long orbital periods (P>12 yrs), which are yet unexplored with astrometry or radial velocity programs, and offers a unique opportunity to explore the separations where giant planets are expected to form.