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NACO GTO Proposal

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We propose to conduct a large NaCo L'-band coronographic AO angular differential imaging survey of a statistically significant sample of ≈180 young and nearby A4 – G5 stars with debris disks. The main scientific aim of this survey is the revelation and characterization of the theoretically hypothesized but largely unknown wide-separation (>10 au) planet population that may originate from a mix of in-situ formation and early dynamical evolution. Our survey will be partially overlapping, but also complementary to other state-of-the-art large exoplanet imaging surveys, like with SPHERE or GPI, since it will cover a different parameter range by exploiting the L'-band sensitivity to lower-mass and older planets and target a wider age range. The particular power of the proposed survey derives from this complementarity, the focus on stars with known and well-characterized debris disks (as robust tracers of planet formation), and the combination of restricting the stellar mass range and taking very deep images of a large, statistically significant sample. The completion of the proposed survey requires ≈120 UT nights with NaCo, distributed over 3 or more years.


editor of this page: Ralf Launhardt