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SUPER-RDI: A Keck/NIRC2 Imaging Search for Low-Mass Companions around M Dwarfs with Improved Sensitivity at Small Angular Separations

Presentation #603.07 in the session Planet Detection - Imaging.

Published onApr 03, 2024
SUPER-RDI: A Keck/NIRC2 Imaging Search for Low-Mass Companions around M Dwarfs with Improved Sensitivity at Small Angular Separations

In this work, we present a novel implementation of the reference star differential imaging (RDI) strategy for Keck/NIRC2 high-contrast imaging observations with the vortex coronagraph. SUPER-RDI is a unique framework that combines frame selection and signal-to-noise ratio (S/N) optimization techniques with a large multi-year reference point spread function (PSF) library to achieve optimal PSF subtraction at small angular separations. We compile a ~7000 frame reference library based on a set of 288 new Keck/NIRC2 Lp sequences of 237 unique targets between 2015 and 2019. By maximizing the S/N of artificial companions in our injection-recovery tests, we identify the optimal image similarity metric, number of frames, and principal components for PSF subtraction. In a uniform comparison of SUPER-RDI and angular differential imaging (ADI) contrast curves, we show that SUPER-RDI outperforms ADI at separations < 0.4”. Taking advantage of SUPER-RDI’s improved sensitivity at small angular separations, we detect a new candidate substellar companion around an early-K dwarf in the AB Doradus Moving Group. Combining SUPER-RDI with advances in instrumentation such as the proposed extreme-adaptive optics upgrade to Keck II, High order Advanced Keck Adaptive optics (HAKA), has the potential to unlock new parameter spaces for giant planet demographic studies.

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