The Pennsylvania-Torun search for planets around evolved stars with HET

Andrzej Niedzielski, Alex Wolszczan, Grzegorz Nowak, Pawel Zielinski, Monika Adamow, Sara Gettel

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Searches for planets around giants represent an essential complement to 'traditional' surveys, because they furnish information about properties of planetary systems around stars that are the descendants of the A-F main sequence (MS) stars with masses as high as 5M. As the stars evolve off the MS, their effective temperatures and rotation rates decrease to the point that their radial velocity variations can be measured with a few ms 1 precision. This offers an excellent opportunity to improve our understanding of the population of planets around stars that are significantly more massive than the Sun, without which it would be difficult to produce abroad, integrated picture of planet formation and evolution. Since 2001, about 30 such objects have been identified, including our five published HET detections (Niedzielski et al. 2007; Niedzielski et al. 2009a; Niedzielski et al. 2009b). Our work has produced the tightest orbit of a planet orbiting a K-giant identified so far (0.6 AU), and the first convincing evidence for a multiplanet system around such as star (Niedzielski et al. 2009a). Our most recent discoveries (Niedzielski et al. 2009b) have identified new multiplanet systems, including a very intriguing one of two brown dwarf-mass bodies orbiting a 2.8M, K2 giant. This particular detection challenges the standard interpretation of the so-called brown dwarf desert known to exist in the case of solar-mass stars. Along with discoveries supplied by other groups, our work has substantially added to the emerging evidence that stellar mass positively correlates with masses of substellar companions, all the way from red dwarfs to intermediate-mass stars. We present current status and forthcoming results from the Pennsylvania-Torun Search for Planets performed with the Hobby-Eberly Telescope (HET) since 2004.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Astrophysics of Planetary Systems
Subtitle of host publicationFormation, Structure, and Dynamical Evolution
EditorsAlessandro Sozzetti, Mario Lattanzi, Alan Boss
Number of pages3
StatePublished - Oct 2010

Publication series

NameProceedings of the International Astronomical Union
ISSN (Print)1743-9213
ISSN (Electronic)1743-9221

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Space and Planetary Science


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