Leave a Comment Last week high profile publications hit the news about the direct detections of exoplanets around two stars, Fomalhaut & HR8799 (see ‘Optical Images of an Exosolar Planet 25 Light Years from Earth’ Kalas et al and ‘Direct Imaging of Multiple Planets Orbiting the Star HR 8799′ Marois et al and all major news sites).
Fomalhaut was observed by a team at the MMT using the Clio 3-5 micron camera (PI Phil Hinz) in December 2006 as part of a survey led by Eric Mamajek (University of Rochester). The uniquely high sensitivity thermal imaging observation of Fomalhaut obtained show that there are no planets above 2 Jupiter masses inside the dust ring imaged by HST. The open loop images had 0.5 arcsecond seeing at 2.0 to 2.5 airmasses, which the MMT AO system turned into 0.15 arcsecond diffraction limited 5 micron images. The images did not include the location of the newly announced planet, Fomalhaut b. These observations do, however, rule out any other large planets on distance scales similar to our Solar System. For further information see ‘MMT /AO 5 Micron Imaging Constraints on the Existence of Giant Planets Orbiting Fomalhaut at ~13 – 40AU’ Kenworthy et al.
CLIO Imaging of Fomalhaut: Thermal imaging observations of Fomalhaut using the Clio 3-5 micron camera.