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Important Progress of Exoplanet Imaging Scientific Observation by NIAOT group
Update time: 2019-04-09
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Supported by the Telescope Access Program 2018B, the exoplanet detection group of Nanjing Institute of Astronomical Optics & Technology (NIAOT) leaded by Prof. Deqing Ren and Prof.Yongtian Zhu carried out the scientific observation on the 5-meter Hale telescope of Palomar observatory in January, 2019. Taking the advantage of the PALM-3000 adaptive optics system of the Hale telescope, the NIAOT group observed tens of targets and 5 new sub-stellar companion candidates were discovered. As shown in the figure 1, these companion candidates have the imaging contrasts between 10E-3 and 10E-4, comparing to their host stars. The NIAOT group also detected 6 new binary star systems during the observation.

It is the first time that astronomers discovered exoplanet candidates through middle-aperture telescope in recent years, which verifies the roadmap proposed by the NIAOT group that middle size telescopes can be effectively used for imaging exoplanets. The NIAOT group will continue to analysis the proper motions of the 5 new sub-stellar companion candidates in follow-up observations. Once the candidates were confirmed as the real companions of their host stars, the NIAOT group will further estimate the physical properties of these candidates like mass, to identify these candidates be exoplanets or brown dwarfs.

Figure 1. The 5 new sub-stellar companion candidates were discovered by NIAOT group, supported by TAP. The observing data were processed by the novel algorithm developed by NIAOT group, which is optimized for equatorial telescope.

Nanjing Institute of Astronomical Optics & Technology ,National Astronomical Observatories ,CAS