AuthorBailey, Vanessa Perry
AdvisorHinz, Philip M.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractIn this dissertation I present the results from five papers (including one in preparation) on giant planets, brown dwarfs, and their environments, as well as on the commissioning and optimization of the Adaptive Optics system for the Large Binocular Telescope Interferometer. The first three Chapters cover direct imaging results on several distantly-orbiting planets and brown dwarf companions. The boundary between giant planets and brown dwarf companions in wide orbits is a blurry one. In Chapter 2, I use 3–5 μm imaging of several brown dwarf companions, combined with mid-infrared photometry for each system to constrain the circum-substellar disks around the brown dwarfs. I then use this information to discuss limits on scattering events versus in situ formation. In Chapters 3 and 4, I present results from an adaptive optics imaging survey for giant planets, where the target stars were selected based on the properties of their circumstellar debris disks. Specifically, we targeted systems with debris disks whose SEDs indicated gaps, clearings, or truncations; these features may possibly be sculpted by planets. I discuss in detail one planet-mass companion discovered as part of this survey, HD 106906 b. At a projected separation of 650 AU and weighing in at 11 Jupiter masses, a companion such as this is not a common outcome of any planet or binary star formation model. In the remaining three Chapters, I discuss pre-commissioning, on-sky results, and planned work on the Large Binocular Telescope Interferometer Adaptive Optics system. Before construction of the LBT AO system was complete, I tested a prototype of LBTI's pyramid wavefront sensor unit at the MMT with synthetically-generated calibration files. I present the methodology and MMT on-sky tests in Chapter 5. In Chapter 6, I present the commissioned performance of LBTIAO. Optical imperfections within LBTI limited the quality of the science images, and I describe a simple method to use the adaptive optics system to correct for the science camera's optical aberrations. Finally, in Chapter 7, I discuss the status of a more sophisticated method for correcting these optical aberrations in LBTI.
Degree ProgramGraduate College