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The search for planets around alpha centauri A and B

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Dynamics of Discs and Planets

We are carrying out an intensive Doppler search for low mass planets in the alpha Centauri system at the 1.5-m CTIO telescope. The binary star system presents a challenging environment for the accretion of planetesimals into protoplanets. However, dynamical simulations show that if they form, terrestrial mass planets within about 2 AU of either star could survive in stable orbits. We present the motivation for our exoplanet search and describe the auxiliary science: the power spectrum of p-mode oscillations, a study of the convective zone depth in A and B, and a measurement of the helium abundances in the stars. This program will also help us to determine the fundamental limits of Doppler planet searches. We will present the status of the project and our Doppler analysis.

This talk is part of the Isaac Newton Institute Seminar Series series.

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