Cool customers in the stellar graveyard. I. Limits to extrasolar planets around the white dwarf G29-38

John H. Debes, Steinn Sigurdsson, Bruce E. Woodgate

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16 Scopus citations

Abstract

We present high-contrast images of the hydrogen white dwarf G29-38 taken in the near-infrared with the Hubble Space Telescope and the Gemini North Telescope as part of a high-contrast imaging search for substellar objects in orbit around nearby white dwarfs. We review the current limits on planetary companions for G29-38, the only nearby white dwarf with an infrared excess due to a dust disk. We add our recent observations to these limits to produce extremely tight constraints on the types of possible companions that could be present. No objects >6MJ are detected in our data at projected separations >12 AU, and no objects >16MJ are detected for separations from 3 to 12 AU, assuming a total system age of 1 Gyr. Limits for companions at separations <3 AU come from a combination of Two Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS) photometry and previous studies of G29-38's pulsations. Our imaging with Gemini cannot confirm a tentative claim for the presence of a low-mass brown dwarf. These observations demonstrate that a careful combination of several techniques can probe nearby white dwarfs for large planets and low-mass brown dwarfs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1168-1174
Number of pages7
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume633
Issue number2 I
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 10 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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