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Detecting massive-planet/brown-dwarf/low-mass-stellar companions with the beaming effect

Objective

"I propose to lead an international observational effort to characterize the population of massive planets, brown dwarf and stellar secondaries orbiting their parent stars with short periods, up to 10-30 days. The effort will utilize the superb, accurate, continuous lightcurves of more than hundred thousand stars obtained recently by two space missions – CoRoT and Kepler. I propose to use these lightcurves to detect non-transiting low-mass companions with a new algorithm, BEER, which I developed recently together with Simchon Faigler. BEER searches for the beaming effect, which causes the stellar intensity to increase if the star is moving towards the observer. The combination of the beaming effect with other modulations induced by a low-mass companion produces periodic modulation with a specific signature, which is used to detect small non-transiting companions. The accuracy of the space mission lightcurves is enough to detect massive planets with short periods. The proposed project is equivalent to a radial-velocity survey of tens of thousands of stars, instead of the presently active surveys which observe only hundreds of stars.
We will use an assortment of telescopes to perform radial velocity follow-up observations in order to confirm the existence of the detected companions, and to derive their masses and orbital eccentricities. We will discover many tens, if not hundreds, of new massive planets and brown dwarfs with short periods, and many thousands of new binaries. The findings will enable us to map the mass, period, and eccentricity distributions of planets and stellar companions, determine the upper mass of planets, understand the nature of the brown-dwarf desert, and put strong constrains on the theory of planet and binary formation and evolution."

Field of science

  • /natural sciences/physical sciences/astronomy/planetary science/planets
  • /natural sciences/physical sciences/astronomy/stellar astronomy/asteroseismology
  • /natural sciences/physical sciences/astronomy/observational astronomy

Call for proposal

ERC-2011-ADG_20110209
See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

ERC-AG - ERC Advanced Grant

Host institution

TEL AVIV UNIVERSITY
Address
Ramat Aviv
69978 Tel Aviv
Israel
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 1 737 600
Principal investigator
Moshe Zvi Mazeh (Prof.)
Administrative Contact
Lea Pais (Ms.)

Beneficiaries (1)

TEL AVIV UNIVERSITY
Israel
EU contribution
€ 1 737 600
Address
Ramat Aviv
69978 Tel Aviv
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Principal investigator
Moshe Zvi Mazeh (Prof.)
Administrative Contact
Lea Pais (Ms.)