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Coronagraphic search for wide substellar companions among members of the Ursa Major moving group

M. Ammler-von Eiff, A. Bedalov, C. Kranhold, M. Mugrauer, T. O. B. Schmidt, Ralph Neuhäuser, R. Errmann

Context. We present the results of a survey to detect low-mass companions of Ursa Major (UMa) group members, carried out in 2003-2006 with NACO at the ESO VLT. While many extra-solar planets and planetary candidates have been found in close orbits around stars by the radial velocity and the transit methods, direct detections at wider orbits are rare. The UMa group, a young nearby stellar association at an age of about 200-600 Myr, has not yet been addressed as a whole although its members represent a very interesting sample to search for and characterize substellar companions by direct imaging.
Aims. Our goal was to find or to provide detection limits on wide substellar companions around nearby UMa group members using high-resolution imaging.
Methods. We searched for faint companions around 20 UMa group members within 30 pc. The primaries were placed below a semi-transparent coronagraph, a rarely used mode of NACO, to increase the dynamic range of the images. In most cases, second epoch images of companion candidates were taken to check whether they share common proper motion with the primary.
Results. Our coronagraphic images rule out substellar companions around the stars of the sample. A typical dynamical range of 13-15 mag in the Ks band was achieved at separations beyond 3'' from the star. Candidates as faint as Ks ≈ 20 were securely identified and measured. The survey is most sensitive between separations of 100 and 200 au but only on average because of the very different target distance. Field coverage reaches about 650 au for the most distant targets. Most of the 200 candidates detected in the covered fields are visible in two epochs and were rejected because they are distant background objects.

binaries: visual, stars: imaging, brown dwarfs, open, clusters and associations: individual: Ursa Major, solar neighborhood

Based on observations collected at the European Southern Observatory, Chile, in programmes 72.C-0485, 73.C-0225, 76.C-0777, 77.C-0268, 384.C-0245A.

Table D.1 is also available at the CDS via anonymous ftp to ( or via

Astronomy & Astrophysics
Volume 591, Article Number A84, Number of pages 22
2016 July

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Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa Universidade do Porto Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia da Universidade de Coimbra
Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia COMPETE 2020 PORTUGAL 2020 União Europeia