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NICMOS Coronagraphic Observations of 55 Cancri

By G. Schneider, E. E. Becklin, B. A. Smith, M. Silverstone and D. C. Hines

Abstract

We present new near-infrared (1.1-µm) observations of the circumstellar environment of the planet-bearing star 55 Cancri. With these Hubble Space Telescope images we are unable to confirm the observation of bright scattered radiation at longer NIR wavelengths previously reported by Trilling & Brown (1998) and Trilling, Brown & Rivkin (2000). NICMOS coronagraphic images with detection sensitivities to ∼100 µJy arcsec−2 at 1.1 µm in the region 28- 60 AU from the star fail to reveal any significant excess flux in point- spread-function (PSF) subtracted images taken in two Hubble Space Telescope orbits. These new observations place flux densities in the 19-28 AU zone at a factor of ten or more below the reported ground-based observations. Applying a suite of a dozen well-matched coronagraphic reference PSFs, including one obtained in the same orbits as the observations of 55 Cnc, yielded consistently null results in detecting a disk. We also searched for, and failed to find, a suggested flux-excess anisotropy in the ratio of ∼1.7:1 in the circumstellar background along and orthogonal t

Year: 2013
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