High-contrast imaging has afforded astronomers the opportunity to study light directly emitted by adolescent (tens of megayears) and “proto” (<10 Myr) planets still undergoing formation. Direct detection of these planets is enabled by empirical point-spread function (PSF) modeling and removal algorithms. The computational intensity of such algorithms, as well as their multiplicity of tunable input parameters, has led to the prevalence of ad hoc optimization approaches to high-contrast imaging results. In this work, we present a new, systematic approach to optimization vetted using data of the high-contrast stellar companion HD 142527 B from the Magellan Adaptive Optics Giant Accreting Protoplanet Survey (GAPlanetS). More specifically, we present a grid search technique designed to explore three influential parameters of the PSF subtraction algorithm
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- DOI PREFIX: 10.3847
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- Journal Name:
- The Astronomical Journal
- Medium: X Size: Article No. 57
- ["Article No. 57"]
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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Abstract Accreting protoplanets are windows into planet formation processes, and high-contrast differential imaging is an effective way to identify them. We report results from the Giant Accreting Protoplanet Survey (GAPlanetS), which collected H α differential imagery of 14 transitional disk host stars with the Magellan Adaptive Optics System. To address the twin challenges of morphological complexity and point-spread function instability, GAPlanetS required novel approaches for frame selection and optimization of the Karhounen–Loéve Image Processing algorithm pyKLIP . We detect one new candidate, CS Cha “c,” at a separation of 68 mas and a modest Δmag of 2.3. We recover the HD 142527 B and HD 100453 B accreting stellar companions in several epochs, and the protoplanet PDS 70 c in 2017 imagery, extending its astrometric record by nine months. Though we cannot rule out scattered light structure, we also recover LkCa 15 “b,” at H α ; its presence inside the disk cavity, absence in Continuum imagery, and consistency with a forward-modeled point source suggest that it remains a viable protoplanet candidate. Through targeted optimization, we tentatively recover PDS 70 c at two additional epochs and PDS 70 b in one epoch. Despite numerous previously reported companion candidates around GAplanetS targets, we recover no additional point sources. Our moderate H α contrasts do not preclude most protoplanets, and we report limiting H α contrasts at unrecovered candidate locations. We find an overall detection rate of ∼36 − 22 + 26 % , considerably higher than most direct imaging surveys, speaking to both GAPlanetS’s highly targeted nature and the promise of H α differential imaging for protoplanet identification.more » « less
Companions embedded in the cavities of transitional circumstellar disks have been observed to exhibit excess luminosity at H
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