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Latest Results

First Light Results with the Multiple Object W.M. Keck Expolanet Tracker  

            On March 8-16, 2006, we have commissioned the new generation multiple object Doppler instrument, called the W.M. Keck Exoplanet Tracker (Keck ET), at the SDSS 2.5m telescope. We have obtained first light science quality data. Some of the results are shown below, indicating that we are capable of simultaneously observing 55 stars with this new instrument, greatly improving the planet survey speed. More results will be reported later.

 

First Planet Discovery for ET!

At the 205th AAS conference, we announced the discovery of our first extrasolar planet, ET-1, a 0.48 Jupiter mass planet orbiting a young, relatively active star in a 4.1 day period. The discovery was made during our first planet search (see below) at the KPNO 0.9m coudé telescope. Further follow-up RV observations were taken over the past year with the KPNO 2.1m and the 9.2m Hobby-Eberly Telescope, confirming the discovery. This discovery marks an important milestone for the Exoplanet Tracker instrument as it demonstrates the planet-discovering power of dispersed fixed-delay interferometry. ET-1 is just the first of what will be many exoplanets discovered when the multi-object Keck ET instrument begins operation on the Sloan 2.5m wide-field telescope later this year. Below is an artist's rendition of ET-1. 

 

   Multi-Object ET Feasibility Study

We have recently completed our first run at the Sloan 2.5m wide-field telescope where we constructed and tested the prototype multi-object Exoplanet Tracker instrument. Below is a First Light image showing ~20 simultaneously obtained fringing stellar spectra. The brightest star is V=8.5 and the faintest is V=11 in this 30 min exposure. (Click for a zoomed-in portion).

 

 

   First Planet Search

From October 2004 to February 2005 we conducted a preliminary survey for extrasolar planets using the KPNO single-object ET instrument on the 0.9m coudé-feed telescope. Our survey has produced several new planet and brown dwarf candidates. We are in the process of conducting follow-up observations to confirm the discoveries.

 

Published Results

First Planet Confirmation with a Dispersed Fixed-Delay Interferometer, Van Eyken, J., Ge, J., Mahadevan, S., & DeWitt, C.
The Astrophysical Journal, Volume 600, Issue 1, pp. L79-L82.

Fixed Delay Interferometry for Doppler Extrasolar Planet Detection, Ge, J.
The Astrophysical Journal, Volume 571, pp. L165-168.

An Externally Dispersed Interferometer for Sensitive Doppler Extrasolar Planet Searches, Ge, J., Erskine, D., & Rushford, M.
The Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, Volume 114, Issue 799, pp. 1016-1028.