Poster Abstracts

Name/Affiliation:  Angelle Tanner (Mississippi State University)

Title:  Using the 2.1 meter telescope and Phoenix to Search for Exoplanets around Cool Stars

I will report on a pilot study to collect multiple epochs of KPNO 2.1-m Phoenix radial velocity (RV) measurements for a sample of nearby, low-mass stars. Our goal was to identify new very-low mass companions and to assess the planet search capability of Phoenix on this telescope. Our sample consists of 17 M dwarfs with: 1) astrometric perturbations signaling the presence of a low-mass stellar companion, 2) infrared excesses which could indicate the presence of a planetary system, or 3) newly determined high metallicities which correlate with planets around solar-type stars. With an anticipated 50 m/s RV precision and the number and spacing of the observations in our programís design, we are sensitive to 1.5 and 5 MJup giant planets with periods of 3 and 10 days as well as any stellar or brown dwarf companions. The observationally intensive nature of exoplanet RV surveys makes them ideal for smaller telescopes like the KPNO 2.1 meter. I will address whether additional efforts should begin to enhance the planet detection capabilities of the Phoenix spectrograph and efforts to keep the telescope available for research in light of impending funding issues.†