Programs Awarded Time by Yale TAC

2014B | 2014A | 2013B | 2013A | 2012B | 2012A


2014B

​Coming soon.


2014A

Coming soon.


2013B

Coming soon.


2013A

SMARTS

The CHIRON Planet Search for Rocky Planets
M. Giguere, D. Fischer

While the occurrence of Jupiter-mass planets around nearby stars is fairly well known, there is currently a significant discrepancy between several published values for the occurrence of low-mass planets (Howard et al. 2010a, Howard et al. 2011a, Mayor et al. 2011). While the amplitude of the wobble induced in solar-type stars by orbiting very low-mass planets is below the detection capabilities of HIRES on Keck, or any other instrument available to the US community, CHIRON has demonstrated that it is capable of detecting these planets through it’s sub-m s −1 precision over long time periods. We propose to use the CHIRON spectrometer on the CTIO-1.5m to determine the occurrence of low-mass planets and the frequency of low-mass planets in multi-planet systems. Knowing the mass and period distributions of planetary systems is necessary in order to understand planet formation and test formation theories. The low-mass planets around nearby stars we aim to discover with CHIRON will also be crucial for the development of future missions to detect the atmospheres of planets orbiting nearby stars and the eventual determination of the occurrence of habitable worlds.

Astrometric and Photometric Follow-up of the La Silla-QUEST Kuiper-Belt survey 2012B and 2013A
D.Rabinowitz, S. Tourtellotte, M. Schwamb, E. Hadjiyska

We propose two observing programs. The first is to continue our astrometric and photometric follow up of the distant solar-system bodies discovered by Yale’s La Silla - QUEST survey (LSQ). LSQ is detecting several new distant objects per month and the SMARTS 1.3m is vital for charactizing their orbits and physical properties. We anticipate the discovery of several exciting new objects – the largest objects, and those with the most peculiar properties – that we will follow with SMARTS to determine their rotation state and surface composition. The second program (beginning Oct 2012) is to reobserve the rotational light curve of 2010 WG9, an unusual Kuiper Belt object with extremely high inclination discovered by LSQ that likely has entered the Kuiper Belt from the Oort Cloud. The rotation period we fit to our earlier SMARTS observations is unusually long, perhaps indicating a binary system. This needs confirmation.

The Remains of the Dwarf Galaxy Associated with Omega Centauri
R. Zinn, K. Vivas, J. Fernandez

We propose to obtain follow-up spectra of 13 RR Lyrae stars recently discovered with the QUEST camera at the 1m Schmidt telescope at the Venezuelan National Observatory. These stars lie within ∼ 10 ◦ from the center of the globular cluster ωCen, and they have the same magnitude as its horizontal branch. Thus, they are strong candidates to be material stripped from the cluster or from the disrupted galaxy associated with it. Radial velocities will allow us to confirm a physical association with the cluster and can provide constrains in the models of the destruction of ωCen by the tidal forces of the Milky Way. 

WIYN

The Role of Close Companions in the Formation of Brightest Cluster Galaxies and Intracluster Light
L. O. V. Edwards , S. L. McGee (Leiden University)

Several puzzles continue to plague our understanding of the formation of Brightest Cluster Galaxies (BCGs). We will address the following ones in this proposal: 1) How are star forming BCGs, especially those outside of cool core clusters, fueled? And why has the otherwise effective quenching mechanism failed to work in these galaxies? 2) What is the age and metallicity of the accumulated stellar mass? And can these be understood simultaneously in hierarchical galaxy formation models. 3) How does the intracluster (ICL) form? Is it a natural extension of the outer envelope of BCGs? We will examine each of these questions with WIYN SparsePak IFU-like observations of a unique sample of 8 low redshift galaxy clusters. This will lead to a spectral analysis of the BCGs, their close companion galaxies, and for the first time, large samples of ICL. Ultimately, this will allow for measurements of star formation rates, stellar ages and metallicity of each component. We will directly measure the role of interactions and close companions in the build-up of the BCG and ICL,providing new and important observational constraints on models of galaxy evolution.

Searching for Milky Way Companions: pODI Follow-up of HI-Detected Dwarf Galaxy Candidates
M. Geha, J. Grcevich (AMNH), M. Putman (Columbia)

We have identified candidate Milky Way dwarf galaxies in a systematic search of the GALFA-HI Survey catalog. These candidates are compact, isolated HI gas clouds with properties similar to that of extremely low mass dwarf galaxies on the outskirts of the Milky Way. We require a stellar detection to claim a new dwarf galaxy, since there are currently no known HI-only galaxies. Based on very rough estimates, the majority of these candidates are expected between 300 kpc to 1 Mpc. Over these distances, the brightest associated stars will range in optical magnitude from r = 22 to 24.5. Thus, the majority of these candidates are below the detection limits of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. To confirm and estimate more accurate distances, we therefore request deep broad-band (gri) imaging with the WIYN pODI camera reaching a limiting magnitude of r ∼ 25. If we do not find stars associated with these HI candidates, the pODI observations will inform our ongoing and future multi-wavelength searches for Milky Way satellites. Confirmation of a single candidate will represent the first low luminosity Milky Way satellite detected outside the SDSS and open a new era of dwarf galaxy searches.

A Complete Sample of X-Ray-Selected AGN in Stripe 82
E. Glikman, S. LaMassa, C.M. Urry

We propose to complete a census of supermassive black hole growth by analyzing ∼ 12 deg 2 of archival XMM-Newton and ∼ 7.5 deg 2 of Chandra data matched to SDSS objects in Stripe 82. The large volume accessible with this survey as well as the hard X-ray response of Chandra and XMM provide access to rare objects (e.g., high L, high z, high mass). We will use this complete sample of X-ray-selected AGN, which is least sensitive to obscuration, to advance several key science goals: We will (1) measure the bright end of the X-ray luminosity function of QSOs, which is surprisingly poorly measured in X-rays; (2) study the co-evolution of black holes and their host galaxies, using the superior imaging available in this area; (3) obtain a full, multiwavelength census of X-ray bright AGN, using the extensive multiwavelength data in this area.

A Study of Isolated Interacting Dwarf Galaxy Pairs: Bridges and Tails
N.Kallivayalil, M. Geha, G. Besla (Columbia)

We request WIYN pODI Hα imaging for a sample of 20 isolated interacting dwarf galaxy pairs. These pairs were identified in the NASA-Sloan database and selected to be isolated analogs of LMC-SMC systems. Our goal is to quantify star formation rates in the individual galaxies and intervening tidal bridges as a function of pair separation and mass ratio. It is likely that the merging process between dwarf galaxies is quantitatively different as compared to more massive counterparts. In particular, the absence of quenched dwarf galaxies in the field suggests that the product of dwarf-dwarf mergers are not red and dead ellipticals. We thus hypothesize that the earlier stages of the dwarf merger sequence also differ; however, tidally induced star formation in dwarf galaxy pairs has not been studied systematically in any survey to date. Deep WIYN pODI imaging in Hα, r, and i will allow us to quantify the rate of star formation triggered in the interacting galaxies themselves and any tidally induced structures, bridges and tails, surrounding them. Bridges between dwarf galaxies will be particularly metal poor and subject to strong shocks - such structures represent physical environments where star formation is poorly understood. Given the ubiquity of low metallicity galaxies at high z, understanding how star formation proceeds in such regimes is critical to our understanding of the chemical evolution of high z galaxies and the cosmic star formation rate.

Systematic Characterization of Exoplanetary Atmospheres
N. Madhusudhan, J. M. Brewer, D. Fischer, J. Wang, C. Schwab, A. Mandell (NASA-GSFC), C. Jurgenson

Detailed characterization of extrasolar planets is one of the major frontiers of astronomy today. At the leading edge of this endeavor is the detection and characterization of exoplanetary atmospheres, whose chemical compositions and thermal profiles provide insights into their atmospheric processes, interior compositions, and formation conditions. In this program, we propose to conduct a systematic mini-survey of exoplanetary atmospheres using ground-based near-infrared photometric observations of thermal emission from four transiting hot Jupiters with different levels of stellar irradiation. By combining our proposed ground-based observations with existing Spitzer data at longer wavelengths, we plan to simultaneously infer the atmospheric thermal structures and compositions of the planets in our sample. The correlations between the inferred atmospheric properties and the incident irradiation levels will help constrain existing classification schemes of hot Jupiter atmospheres. Our effort will also demonstrate the feasibility of WIYN-WHIRC for high-precision infrared photometry of exoplanetary atmospheres.

Rayleigh Scattering in Exoplanet Atmospheres
S. Redfield, A. Jensen (Wesleyan), D. Fischer, N. Madhusudhan, M. Schwamb, W. Cochran (U.T.-Austin), Michael Endl (U.T.-Austin), T. Barman (Lowell), J. Lee (Oxford)

The vast majority of exoplanet atmospheric characterization has been of gas giants in the form of narrow atomic features in high resolution optical and ultraviolet spectra (e.g., Na I, Hα) and from broad molecular features in narrowband infrared photometry (e.g., CO, CO2, H2O). Super-Earths (M < 10M⊕) are of particular interest not only because there is no solar system analog, but also because the atmospheric transition from low molecular weight (giant-like) to high molecular weight (terrestrial-like) occurs in this regime. Unfortunately, infrared observations can be very similar for these two scenarios, and alone, are unable to differentiate between very different atmospheric structures (Benneke & Seager 2012). Observations of Rayleigh scattering in the optical are required to make a unique determination of atmospheric structure. We propose a pilot program to take advantage of the multi-object capability of Hydra on WIYN to make the first ground-based detection of a complete optical Rayleigh scattering spectrum f an exoplanetary atmosphere. We predict that we could detect the only other spectral measurement of Rayleigh scattering spectrum to-date, that of HD189733b observed with HST, with a significance of ∼7σ and smaller, Neptune-mass planets at >3σ with a single observed transit.

Quantifying the Minor Merger History of Bulgeless Galaxies Hosting Growing Supermassive Black Holes
C.M. Urry, B.D. Simmons, E. Glikman, C. Lintott (Oxford), S. Kaviraj (Oxford), K. Schawinski (ETH Zurich), A. Merritt 

We request 7 nights of WIYN time to carry out a multiwavelength study of bulgeless galaxies hosting AGN, including near-infrared images to place the strictest possible limits on bulge contributions to these galaxies, and deep optical images of their extended halos. Combined with recent simulations, the deep observations will allow us to quantify the maximum mass of satellite galaxies that could have been accreted by these disk galaxies during their formation histories. Detecting the long-lived tidal streams of satellite galaxies at ∼ 28 mag/arcsec 2 requires long integration times but will enable us to observationally answer one of the fundamental questions of galaxy evolution: what mass of minor merger is possible without creating a bulge? Additionally, because these galaxies host actively growing black holes, we will also quantitatively probe the connection between minor mergers and black hole growth. Importantly, a non-detection of satellite streams would be just as scientifically fruitful, allowing us to dfinitively attribute the observed black hole growth to merger-free processes, which are ordinarily very difficult to disentangle from merger-driven black hole growth.

Diffraction-Limited Imaging with DSSI: Surveying Hipparcos Binaries and Vetting Candidate Exoplanet Host Stars
W. van Altena, E. Horch, S. Howell, D. Fischer

We propose two complementary projects best handled in the same run with the DSSI speckle camera, a visitor instrument currently at WIYN. The first project is a continuation of our effort to provide high-precision relative astrometry and differential photometry of binary stars. The main goal is to characterize a volume-limited sample of binaries within 250 pc of the Sun. With the full data set, it will be possible to make a major contribution to the main-sequence mass-luminosity relation especially for low-mass and metal-poor stars, as well as to conduct dozens of very sensitive tests of the details of stellar evolution models and to understand the statistics of thin and thick disk binaries. The latter is important in learning how to use binaries as probes of galactic structure and evolution. The second project is to obtain diffraction-limited images of candidate exoplanet host stars as a part of ground based follow-up for Kepler and including targets identified through the Planethunters citizen science project. Th photometric signal of an apparent planetary transit can be mimicked by e.g. a background eclipsing binary star very close to the Kepler target. With the high resolution that the DSSI camera provides, a substantial section of parameter space for this type of false positive can be ruled out. If a star has an exoplanet and has a close companion star, then the light due to the second star must be known before the light curve of the transit can be properly interpreted. DSSI can do this job as well with its proven photometric precision.

High Resolution Imaging of Globular Cluster Candidates
R. Zinn, G. di Tullio Zinn

We propose to observe with WHIRC candidate globular clusters that we have identified in the remote halo of M31 at (projected distances ≥ 100 kpc) and in areas of the sky that probe the extreme halo of the Milky Way (MW) and fields of the Local Group. If these objects are star clusters, they should be resolved by the superior resolution and depth of WHIRC over the SDSS. Photometry of the brightest stars in these objects and in a few of the new M31 clusters that we have discovered recently will be used to constrain their distances. This investigation should provide more information of the differences between the star clusters in the extreme halos of M31 and the MW, which are unexpected in the “accretion paradigm”, the formation of the stellar halos of galaxies by the accretion and destruction of dwarf galaxies.

Keck

Yale Exoplanet Search
D. Fischer, M. Giguere, J. Brewer, J. Moriarity, T. Boyajian

In the past year, the exoplanets from Kepler and Doppler surveys have demonstrated that SuperEarth and Neptune (SEN) mass planets are common: at least 25% of stars have low mass planetswith orbital periods less than 50d. Late type stars are ideal for the detection of these exoplanets:stellar noise is a minimum and the low stellar mass results in a larger reflex velocity. We havedefined a subset of 30 bright stars from the M2K program that already have a heritage of ∼16observations. The formal measurement precision is about 1.4 m s−1, and the mean velocity rms ofthis sample is 9 m s−1, making these prime targets for a search for short-period SEN planets.We are also continuing to follow up on a sample of metal-rich stars where we continue to detectgas giant planets in orbits from a few days to several years.

Low-mass Protostars in the Massive Filament G34.42+0024: When and Where is the IMF Established?
J. B. Foster, H. Arce, S. Offner, M. Kassis (Keck)

We propose to characterize the distribution of low-mass protostars in G34.43+00.24, a very young and nearby massive star-forming region. The initial mass function (IMF) of stars, which is important for understanding topics as varied as planetary disk formation to galactic evolution, is set in regions which are forming massive stars, but we do not know the details of this process. Do low-mass stars form co-evally with high-mass stars? How are low-mass protostars clustered around massive protostars and organized with respect to the massive clumps within a filament? From pilot data we know that our proposed observations will have sufficient depth and resolution to find lowmass stars within G34.43+00.24 based on their colors and by resolving the K-band bright outflows from young low-mass stars. Our observations will complement additional data on this source which is currently being observed from the submillimeter to the X-ray, and stands poised to become an examplar of the very early stages of massive star formation w hin a filament.

Chemical Evolution in the Oldest Known Galaxies
M. Geha, L. Vargas, E. Kirby (UC Irvine), J. Simon (Carnegie), T. Brown (STScI)

We propose Keck/DEIMOS observations of three Milky Way ultra-faint dwarf (UFD) galaxies in order to discern cosmologically-driven synchronization of their star formation histories. Hierarchical LCDM models predict that extremely low mass galaxies form the bulk of their stars before the epoch of reionization. We have recently obtained HST photometry for six UFDs and confirm that these objects have exclusively old ages (13.5 ± 0.5 Gyr). While this demonstrates that the UFDs are the oldest known galaxies, our age resolution is not sufficient to test timescales relevant to reionization which require +/- 200 Myr. Because the magnitude and color of the strongest age indicator, the main sequence turnoff, depends on metallicity, characterizing the distribution of metallicities in these objects is critical. Yet most of these UFDs have only ∼ 10 stars with measured metallicities. The lack of a larger metallicity sample represents the dominant statistical uncertainty on the derived ages of the UFD galaxies. We therefore req est Keck DEIMOS observations to significantly increase the number of stars with measured metallicities. These observations will allow us to test whether reionization is responsible for suppressing star formation in the low luminosity galaxies.

Thermal Spectrum of the hot Jupiter KOI-13.01
N. Madhusudhan, J. M. Brewer, D. Fischer, J. Wang, C. Jurgenson. C. Schwab, D. Anderson (WASP), P. Kabath (ESO)

One of the major frontiers of exoplanetary science today concerns the characterization of exoplanetary atmospheres. Recent advancements in observational techniques hold new promise for ground-based spectroscopy of exoplanetary atmospheres. Although several successful observations of thermal emission from transiting exoplanets have been reported using broad-band photometry, ground-based spectroscopy has had only limited success thus far. In the present proposal, we propose to use a fortuitous combination of a promising technique and a new particularly suitable target which will allow us to make the first high confidence detection of a high-resolution thermal spectrum from an exoplanet from ground. We propose to use an Integral Field Spectrograph (IFS) to recover the emission spectrum of a planet in the multiple star system KOI-13, which benefits relative to previous attempts by providing a very close comparison source for tellurians calibration and by avoiding variable slit losses and high background associated wh long-slit spectrographs. Besides being the first high resolution thermal spectrum of an exoplanet, the proposed observation will combine with existing data obtained with the Kepler space telescope to constrain the molecular composition, temperature profile, day-night heat-redistribution efficiency, and the albedo of the unique hot Jupiter KOI-13.01.

Adaptive Optics Imaging of Transiting Planet Candidate Host Stars
M. Schwamb, M. Giguere, J. Crepp (U. Notre Dame)

NASA’s Kepler mission is monitoring nearly 160,000 stars for the signatures of transiting exoplanets. As the planet passes in front of its parent star it blocks out a portion of the star’s light. In an ideal case the depth of the transit is equal to the squared ratio of the radius of the planet to the star’s radius. But if there is any additional light from a neighboring star in the photometric aperture this will dilute the transit making it shallower. Without knowledge of the contaminating stars, one is unable to accurately assess the planet properties, and will estimate a smaller radius for the planet. Kepler has relatively large pixels (with a pixel scale of 4 !! per pixel) and a typical 6 !! radius photometric aperture used to generate the Kepler light curves. Using Natural Guide Star Adaptive Optics with NIRC2, one can achieve 10 miliacrsecond per pixel resolution revealing close companions within 5 !! of the planet candidate host star. Stellar companions found closer than 1 !! are likely to be bound in wide binary with the host star. We propose to follow-up on Planet Hunters planet candidates to search for close contaminator stellar companions in order to better constrain the properties of the planet and assess the likelihood the candidate is false positive.

The quenching of star formation in truly interacting pairs at high redshift
R. Skelton, R. Bezanson, I. Momcheva, E. Nelson, P. van Dokkum

One of the key questions in galaxy formation is how the striking bimodality of galaxy properties at low redshifts emerged and what role mass and environment play in the quenching of star formation. To address this, we need accurate measurements of star formation rates and environment. We have identified pairs of galaxies that are close in both projected distance and redshift in the 3D-HST survey at z ∼ 1, some of which are in overdensities in redshift space. While mergers are likely to be more common in group-scale environments, the likelihood of finding a projected pair also increases. 3D-HST provides excellent information on the star forming properties of galaxies and good enough redshifts to select pair candidates, but its ∼ 1000 km s −1 resolution is not sufficient to tell the difference. A high fraction of the companions of massive galaxies in this sample have very low levels of star formation, suggesting that they are quenched in tidal interactions, but it may be the larger scale environment rather than the ompanion that has the strongest influence. Using 2 nights with Keck/DEIMOS we will obtain 300 − 400 spectroscopic redshifts that will allow us to confirm whether pairs of galaxies identified in 3DHST are truly interacting, and what kind of environments they are in. The combination of precise spectroscopic redshifts and spectral information from DEIMOS with spatially resolved star formation information from 3D-HST will be a powerful tool to explore what quenches star formation at z ∼ 1.

Faster, Cheaper, Better: Tracing the Build-up of Galaxies at Fixed Number Density
P. van Dokkum, J. Leja, I. Momcheva, E. Nelson, R. Skelton

The redshift range 1 < z < 3 is marked by great diversity and change, and is key to understanding how present-day elliptical and spiral galaxies were formed. New multi-object near-IR spectrographs on Keck and the VLT are now opening up this redshift range for systematic study. Several large surveys will be done over the coming years, using dozens of nights to measure star formation rates, metallicities, kinematics and the dust content of hundreds of galaxies from rest-frame optical emission lines. Here we propose a relatively short MOSFIRE program to achieve several of the key science goals of these large surveys. This is possible thanks to two key differences with respect to competing surveys. First, we select galaxies at a constant number density at all redshifts, thus tracing the same galaxy population through cosmic time. This is a much more efficient selection than observing all galaxies down to some mass or star formation limit, as other surveys are doing. Second, we use our 250 orbit 3D-HST Treasury progr m to pre-select galaxies with detectable emission lines away from atmospheric absorption and emission. In only 3 nights we expect to measure Hα, Hβ, and [O iii] for ≈ 20 galaxies at hzi = 0.8, ≈ 15 galaxies at hzi = 1.5, and ≈ 20 galaxies at hzi = 2.3, all selected to have the same cumulative number density of 2 × 10 −4 Mpc −3 . This allows us to determine the evolution of the mean star formation rate, dust content, metallicity, and line width of galaxies. Combined with our 3D-HST emission maps and morphologies this will constitute the first self-consistent measurement of the build-up of galaxies during the peak of the cosmic star formation history.


2012B

SMARTS

SMARTS Observations of Fermi/LAT Monitored Blazars
C.D. Bailyn, C.M. Urry, M. Buxton, E. Bonning, R. Chatterjee, J. Isler

We propose to extend our ongoing program of SMARTS studies of blazars observed by Fermi/LAT. The Yale SMARTS team provides optical/IR photometry similar in cadence, duration, precision and homogeneity to the data provided by Fermi in GeV energies, as well as regular, bi-monthly spectroscopy of the brighter sources. In combination, these data are able to constrain both characteristic peaks of blazar spectral energy distributions. In addition, the optical emission lines allow unprecedented constraint on the disk and jet emission in these sources. Intra-night optical/IR monitoring can also help to constrain the size of the γ-emitting region. This data set is unique in its extent, duration and utility.

SMARTS Observations of X-ray Binaries
C.D. Bailyn, M. Buxton, R. Chatterjee, R. MacDonald, J. Orosz, J. McClintock, R. Remillard

We propose to continue our long-term campaign to monitor X-ray binaries with the SMARTS telescopes. The X-ray binaries we study are systems in which a compact object is accreting material from a Roche-lobe-filling secondary star; they can exist in any of several X-ray states, including quiescence and several types of outburst. Our monitoring program studies these objects while in X-ray quiescence, in order to learn more about their optical properties, binary parameters, and accretion flows. In addition to providing long-time-baseline light curves for a dozen objects, data from this project have shown that X-ray quiescent systems are often not completely stable and predictable—they can exhibit different optical states, with “active” being both brighter and more variable than “passive.” Our data have also shown that there are often optical precursors to X-ray outbursts, and that in some systems one can determine the X-ray state of the object simply by examining the optical and IR data. None of these discoveries would be possible with a one-time observing run. This long-term program has also provided data for many student and postdoc projects, including at least one undergraduate senior project a year for the past several years, and one ongoing PhD thesis.

The CHIRON Planet Search for Rocky Planets
M. Giguere, D. Fischer

While the occurrence of Jupiter-mass planets around nearby stars is fairly well known, there is currently a significant discrepancy between several published values for the occurrence of low-mass planets (Howard et al. 2010a, Howard et al. 2011a, Mayor et al. 2011). While the amplitude of the wobble induced in solar-type stars by orbiting very low-mass planets is below the detection capabilities of HIRES on Keck, or any other instrument available to the US community, CHIRON has demonstrated that it is capable of detecting these planets through it’s sub-m s−1 precision overlong time periods. We propose to use the CHIRON spectrometer on the CTIO-1.5m to determine the occurrence of low-mass planets and the frequency of low-mass planets in multi-planet systems. Knowing the mass and period distributions of planetary systems is necessary in order to understand planet formation and test formation theories. The low-mass planets around nearby stars we aim to discover with CHIRON will also be crucial for the development of future missions to detect the atmospheres of planets orbiting nearby stars and the eventual determination of the occurrence of habitable worlds.

Astrometric and Photometric Follow-up of the La Silla-QUEST Kuiper-Belt survey
D.Rabinowitz, S. Tourtellotte, M. Schwamb, E. Hadjiyska

We propose to continue our astrometric and photometric follow-up of the distant solar-system bodies discovered by Yale’s La Silla - QUEST survey (LSQ). Studying the nature of these relic planetesimals constrains their composition, and also the formation and evolution of the solar system. LSQ is detecting several new distant objects per month. Our previous discovery of an unusually high-inclination body (2010 WG09) has led to a new constraint on the size of the Oort cloud and the dynamical pathways that bring these very distant bodies into the Kuiper Belt. Our recent SMARTS observations of the distant binary object, Sila-Nunam (1997 CS29), serendipitously led to a detection of a mutual eclipse and orbital period of the two objects. In combination with HST and Spitzer observations, our observations characterise the diameter, albedo, and density of the binary pair. We anticipate the discovery of several more exciting new objects – the largest objects,and those with the most peculiar properties – that we will follow with SMARTS to determine their rotation state and surface composition. We are also combining these results with visible and near-IR observations that we are making with the NTT at La Silla and the VLT at Paranal.

WIYN

A Complete Sample of X-Ray-Selected AGN in Stripe 82
E. Glikman, S. LaMassa, C.M. Urry, K. Schawinski

We propose to complete a census of supermassive black hole growth by analyzing ~ 12 deg2 of archival XMM-Newton data matched to SDSS objects in Stripe 82. The large volume accessible with this survey as well as the hard X-ray response of XMM-Newton provides access to rare objects (e.g., high L, high z, high mass). We will use this complete sample of X-ray-selected AGN, which is least sensitive to obscuration, to advance several key science goals: We will (1) measure the bright end of the X-ray luminosity function of QSOs, which is surprisingly poorly measured in X-rays; (2) study the co-evolution of black holes and their host galaxies, using the superior imaging available in this area; (3) obtain a full, multiwavelength census of X-ray bright AGN, using the extensive multiwavelength data in this area, complementing deep pencil-beam surveys like GOODS, CANDELS and COSMOS. .

Dwarf Satellites Around Milky Way-like Galaxies
E. Tollerud, M. Geha, A. Bonaca

The Milky Way (MW) galaxy is host to two dozen dwarf galaxy satellites. However, the brightest of these satellites and their properties do not fully agree with predictions from galaxy formation models. In particular, models suggest that there should be a factor of three more satellites brighter than the Fornax dwarf galaxy (eight magnitudes fainter than the MW, or ∆m = 8) than is known. While it is possible that model predictions are incorrect, an equally plausible solution is that the Milky Way’s satellite population is not representative of a typical MW-mass galaxy. No MW analog systems currently exist with known satellite properties down to ∆m = 8, with the exception of M31 which is likely twice as massive as the MW. This proposal aims to measure the luminosity function of satellites down to the scale of the Fornax dwarf for ten MW-analogs. These data will lay the ground work for follow-up observations with the Keck telescope to measure the satellite mass function. Photometrically, satellite galaxies cannot be distinguished from the much larger population of background galaxies at higher redshift. We therefore request 7 nights with WIYN/HYDRA to spectroscopically identify satellites around 10 MW-like host galaxies.

Diffraction-Limited Imaging with DSSI: Surveying Hipparcos Binaries and Vetting Candidate Exoplanet Host Stars
W. van Altena, E. Horch, S. Howell, D. Fischer

We propose two complementary projects best handled in the same run with the DSSI speckle camera, a visitor instrument currently at WIYN. The first project is a continuation of our effort to provide high-precision relative astrometry and differential photometry of binary stars. The main goal is to characterize a volume-limited sample of binaries within 250 pc of the Sun. With the full data set, it will be possible to make a major contribution to the main-sequence mass-luminosity relation especially for low-mass and metal-poor stars, as well as to conduct dozens of very sensitive tests of the details of stellar evolution models and to understand the statistics of thin and thick disk binaries. The latter is important in learning how to use binaries as probes of galactic structure and evolution. The second project is to obtain diffraction-limited images of candidate exoplanet host stars as a part of ground based follow-up for Kepler and including targets identified through the Planethunters citizen science project. The photometric signal of an apparent planetary transit can be mimicked by e.g. a background eclipsing binary star very close to the Kepler target. With the high resolution that the DSSI camera provides, a substantial section of parameter space for this type of false positive can be ruled out. If a star has an exoplanet and has a close companion star, then the light due to the second star must be known before the light curve of the transit can be properly interpreted. DSSI can do this job as well with its proven photometric precision..

Keck

Yale Exoplanet Search
D. Fischer, M. Giguere, J. Brewer, J. Moriarity

In the past year, the exoplanets from Kepler and Doppler surveys have demonstrated that SuperEarth and Neptune (SEN) mass planets are common: at least 25% of stars have low mass planets with orbital periods less than 50d. Late type stars are ideal for the detection of these exoplanets: stellar noise is a minimum and the low stellar mass results in a larger reflex velocity. We have defined a subset of 30 bright stars from the M2K program that already have a heritage of ~10 observations. The formal measurement precision is about 1.4 m s−1, and the mean velocity rms of this sample is 9 m s−1, making these prime targets for a search for short-period SEN planets. We are also following planet candidates from a sample of metal-rich stars and using time to investigate planet candidates discovered by users on PlanetHunters.com.

Precision Abundances of M31 dSph Satellites
M. Geha, E. Tollerud, L. Vargas

The dwarf spheroidal (dSph) satellites of the Milky Way are the faintest known galaxies, but nevertheless show a clear trend between their total luminosity and average metallicity. Such a relation provides strong constraints on formation scenarios for these galaxies, in particular implying that their faint luminosities are not due to extreme tidal stripping of larger systems. The lack of precision abundances for dSphs outside the Milky Way prevents broad applicability of such constraints. Recent observations of the environs of M31 reveal a similar population of dSphs. We therefore propose three nights of DEIMOS spectroscopy to obtain precision abundances for
individual stars in six M31 dSphs. This is sufficient to test if the Milky Way luminosity-metallicity relation holds for M31 dSphs, the first measurement of such a relation for a single host’s satellite system outside the Milky Way. This dataset will also provide significant ancillary science, improving mass estimates for these objects as well as providing the first-ever precision abundance of a M31 halo star.

Probing Quasar/Galaxy Co-Evolution: Integral-Field Spectroscopy of Dust Obscured Quasars
E. Glikman, C.M. Urry, B. Simmons, K. Schawinski

We propose to obtain high angular resolution, spatially-resolved spectroscopy of moderately dust-obscured quasars and their strongly interacting hosts with the OSIRIS integral field spectrograph combined with Laser Guide-Star Adaptive Optics. We have identified a large sample of red quasars by matching the radio and near-infrared surveys and spectroscopically following up very red objects. Detailed study of this population reveals that red quasars are the most intrinsically luminous objects in the Universe at all redshifts, and appear to represent a transitional phase in the mergerdriven black hole growth scenario. The observations proposed here will probe the morphology and kinematics of the ionized gas, extended star formation, and dust distribution in these systems, as well as the potential for dual, pre-merger quasars. These observations will shed light on the triggering and fueling mechanisms for the buried, yet emerging quasars, their feedback processes,and the implications for galaxy/SMBH co-formation and co-evolution.

3D-HST+NewHα: Accurate Measurements of Metallicities, Dust, and Active Nuclei in Star-Forming Galaxies at z ~ 2
I. Momcheva, P. van Dokkum, E. Nelson, J. Leja, J. Lee, C. Ly, D. Dale, M. Ouchi

We propose to study the physical properties of a large sample of star-forming galaxies at z ~ 2, a time when the structural components of today’s galaxies were assembled. Using MOSFIRE we will acquire NIR spectroscopy of the full suite of optical emission line – [OII]λ3727 (in the J band), Hβ, [OIII]λ4959 and [OIII]λ5007 (in the H band), as well as Hα and [NII]λλ6548,84 (in the K band) – for a sample of 100 normal star forming galaxies at z = 2.2. From these rest-frame optical spectra we will measure the star formation rates, dust content, metallicities, and AGN presence. This endeavor has become possible thanks to the availability of to our NewHα + 3D-HST surveys, which are uniquely suited for efficient target selection. We will target well-characterized galaxies with know redshifts thereby selecting an optimal and ”risk-free” sample. The overarching goal is to determine when and how the stars in present-day galaxies were formed. In practice, we will determine the physical conditions in star forming galaxies and correlate them with their structure, stellar mass, and other parameters. We expect this to be the first of a major survey effort at Yale to characterize the physical properties of galaxies during a time when most of the stellar mass and most of the black hole mass in the Universe were assembled. We stress, that this first sample of 100 will already be the largest of its kind, and will lead to several papers. The project is firmly centered at Yale.

Does the IMF vary with velocity dispersion?
P. van Dokkum, C. Conroy

Over the past two years several studies, including our own, have suggested that the initial mass function (IMF) varies systematically with a galaxy’s velocity dispersion σ: galaxies with σ ~ 150 km/s have IMFs similar to the Milky Way, whereas galaxies with σ ~ 300 km/s appear to have “bottom-heavy” IMFs with a very large number of low mass stars. This result is hotly debated, as it would have significant implications for many areas of astrophysics. Here we propose to use NIRSPEC to test whether the IMF does indeed vary with velocity dispersion.


2012A

SMARTS

SMARTS Observations of Fermi/LAT Monitored Blazars

C.D. Bailyn, C.M. Urry, M. Buzton, E. Bonning, R. Chatterjee, J. Isler

We propose to extend our ongoing program of SMARTS studies of blazars observed by Fermi/LAT. The Yale SMARTS team provides optical/IR photometry similar in cadence, duration, precision and homogeneity to the data provided by Fermi in GeV energies, as well as regular, bi-monthly spectroscopy of the brighter sources. In combination, these data are able to constrain both characteristic peaks of blazar spectral energy distributions. In addition, the optical emission lines allow unprecendented constraint on the disk and jet emission in these sources. Intra-night optical/IR monitoring can also help to constrain the size of the !-emitting region.

SMARTS Observations of X-ray Binaries
C.D. Bailyn, M. Buxton, R. Chatterjee, R. MacDonald, J. Orosz, J. McClintock, R. Remillard

We propose to continue our long-term campaign to monitor x-ray binaries with the SMARTS 1.3m and 1.5m telescopes. The x-ray binaries we study are systems in which a compact object is accreting material from a Roche-lobe-filling secondary star; they can exist in any of several x-ray states, including quiescence and several types of outburst. Our monitoring program studies these objects while in x-ray quiescence, in order to learn more about their optical properties, binary parameters, and accretion flows. In addition to providing long-time-baseline light curves for a dozen objects, data from this project has shown that x-ray quiescent systems are often not completely stable and predictable—they can exhibit different optical states, with “active” being both brighter and more variable than “passive.” Our data has also shown that there are often optical precursors to x-ray outbursts, and that in some systems one can determine the x-ray state of the object simply by examining the optical and IR data. None of these discoveries would be possible with a onetime observing run. This long-term program has also provided data for many student and postdoc projects, including at least one undergraduate senior project a year for the past several years, and one ongoing PhD thesis.

The CHIRON Planet Search for Rocky Planets
M. Giguere, D. Fischer

While the occurrence of Jupiter-mass planets around nearby stars is fairly well known, there is currently a significant discrepancy between several published values for the occurrence of low-mass planets (Howard et al. 2010a, Howard et al. 2011a, Mayor et al. 2011). While the amplitude of the wobble induced in solar-type stars by orbiting very low-mass planets is below the detection capabilities of HIRES on Keck, or any other instrument available to the US community, CHIRON has demonstrated that it is capable of detecting these planets through it’s sub-m s−1 precision overlong time periods. We propose to use the CHIRON spectrometer on the CTIO-1.5m to determine the occurrence of low-mass planets and the frequency of low-mass planets in multi-planet systems. Knowing the mass and period distributions of planetary systems is necessary in order to understand planet formation and test formation theories. The low-mass planets around nearby stars we aim to discover with CHIRON will also be crucial for the development of future missions to detect the atmospheres of planets orbiting nearby stars and the eventual determination of the occurrence of habitable worlds.

Astrometric and Photometric Follow-up of the La Silla-QUEST Kuiper-Belt survey
D.Rabinowitz, S. Tourtellote, M. Schwamb, E. Hadjiyska

We propose to continue our astrometric and photometric follow-up of the distant solar-system bodies discovered by Yale’s La Silla - QUEST survey (LSQ). Studying the nature of these relic planetesimals constrains their composition, and also the formation and evolution of the solar system. LSQ is detecting several new distant objects per month. In the past year, we discovered an exciting new object of unusually high inclination (2010 WG09) which could be from the same source population as the mysterious, distant object Sedna. We also found a pair of TNOs with unusually similar orbits and colors (2010 FD49 and 2010 FE49). This could be the first discovery of an ”ionized” binary in the Kuiper Belt – two objects that once formed a binary but were later separated by the gravitional interaction with a third large body. We are using ANDICAM on the SMARTS 1.3m to characterise these new objects, and to measure the orbit, brightness, and color of other new discoveries. The largest objects, and those with the most peculiar properties are being followed extensively to determine their rotation state and surface composition. We are also combining these results with visible and near-IR observations we are making with the NTT at La Silla and the VLT at Paranal.

WIYN

The Host Galaxies of Dust-Reddened Quasars
E. Glikman, B. Simmons, C. M. Urry, K. Schawinski

We propose to take advantage of the superior imaging quality offered by the WIYN observatory to study the host galaxies of heavily reddened quasars. These objects may represent a unique evolutionary stage in merger-driven quasar/galaxy co-evolution where the enshrouded, obscured quasar is shedding its cocoon and is beginning to reveal itself. The dust-reddening of the quasars makes it possible to study the hosts at rest-frame optical-UV wavelengths more easily than the hosts of unobscured quasars of similar bolometric luminosity. Our target list spans a redshift range of 0.2 − 2.3 requiring both optical and near-IR imaging, depending on the source. We will look for evidence of merging and interaction, multiple nuclei, and star formation activity to better understand the role and time scales of mergers in galaxy/SMBH co-formation and co-evolution.

A Complete Sample of X-Ray-Selected AGN in Stripe 82
E. Glikman, C.M. Urry, S. LaMassa, K. Schawinski

We propose to complete a census of supermassive black hole growth by analyzing ∼ 12 deg 2 of archival XMM-Newton data matched to SDSS objects in Stripe 82. The large volume accessible with this survey as well as the hard X-ray response of XMM-Newton provides access to rare objects (e.g., high L, high z, high mass). We will use this complete sample of X-ray-selected AGN, which is least sensitive to obscuration, to advance several key science goals: We will (1) measure the bright end of the X-ray luminosity function of QSOs, which is surprisingly poorly measured in X-rays; (2) study the co-evolution of black holes and their host galaxies, using the superior imaging available in this area; (3) obtain a full, multiwavelength census of X-ray bright AGN, using the extensive multiwavelength data in this area.

Finding the Parent of the ‘Orphan Tidal Stream’: accretion and structure formation in the Milky Way Halo
N. Kallivayalil, M. Geha, A. Bonaca

We propose to obtain radial velocities for stars in the Orphan stellar stream in the Milky Way with WIYN/HYDRA. Tidal streams are emerging as active sites to disentangle the processes of structure formation in the Milky Way because they contain information about the internal dynamics of the projenitor as well as information about the phase-space structure of dark matter in the Milky Way halo. While the theory of tidal disruption has seen a flood of work recently, the 3-D velocities needed to test these theories are largely missing. Here we will specifically target parts of the Orphan stream for which proper motion data is already in hand. Combination of the radial velocities and proper motions will allow us to determine the nature of Orphan’s parent (whether a globular cluster or a satellite galaxy), put limits on whether the ‘lumpiness’ of the Milky Way halo can affect the velocity structure of streams, and calculate the orbit of the stream, thereby constraining the mass and shape of the Milky Way gravitational otential.

Multi-Band Deep Imaging of “Hidden” Broad-Line-Region Active Galaxies
K. Schawinski, C. M. Urry, M. Sarzi, S. K. Yi, K. Oh, H. Jeong

We newly found thousands of “hidden” broad-line-region galaxies (BLRs) from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey DR7 under the most detailed analysis of galaxy spectra. This increases the current estimate for the number of BLR galaxies by a factor of almost 10. These objects with low-luminosity active galactic nucleus (AGN) have not been detected well due to their weak signature. The poorresolution SDSS images are giving some clues that BLRs are in varieties of galaxy morphological types and a very high fraction of them is merger or interacting system. Recent work on SDSS AGN has shown that morphology is a key parameter in the galaxy-black hole connection and galaxy evolution. The poor seeing of SDSS images, however, makes it hard to discern their morphological types and complete further analysis. Previous use of WIYN+MiniMo convinced that its superb seeing conditions make it possible to search for fine structures. We observed 10 galaxies in the spring (2011), but this sample is too small for robust statistics. We theefore propose to observe ∼20 more BLRs with WIYN+MiniMo. By combining WIYN imaging data with existing SDSS spectral data, we aim to detect merger features to test the hypothesis of a high merger fraction and determine the morphology of the host galaxies. In addition, all targets were observed by GALEX and it allows us to see further analysis such as star formation features. Moreover, detailed light profile fitting using GALFIT and GIM2D will be used to find anomalous light distribution including central AGN activities. The WIYN data give us a privileged glimpse into the future of BLR AGN host galaxies.

Diffraction-Limited Imaging with DSSI: Surveying Hipparcos Binaries and Vetting Candidate Exoplanet Host Stars
W. van Altena, E. Horch, S. Howell, D. Fischer

We propose two complementary projects best handled in the same run with the DSSI speckle camera, a visitor instrument currently at WIYN. The first project is a continuation of our effort to provide high-precision relative astrometry and differential photometry of binary stars. The main goal is to characterize a volume-limited sample of binaries within 250 pc of the Sun. With the full data set, it will be possible to make a major contribution to the main-sequence mass-luminosity relation especially for low-mass and metal-poor stars, as well as to conduct dozens of very sensitive tests of the details of stellar evolution models and to understand the statistics of thin and thick disk binaries. The latter is important in learning how to use binaries as probes of galactic structure and evolution. The second project is to obtain diffraction-limited images of candidate exoplanet host stars as a part of ground based follow-up for Kepler and including targets identified through the Planethunters citizen science project. Th photometric signal of an apparent planetary transit can be mimicked by e.g. a background eclipsing binary star very close to the Kepler target. With the high resolution that the DSSI camera provides, a substantial section of parameter space for this type of false positive can be ruled out. If a star has an exoplanet and has a close companion star, then the light due to the second star must be known before the light curve of the transit can be properly interpreted. DSSI can do this job as well with its proven photometric precision.

Keck

Yale Exoplanet Search
D. Fischer, J. Spronck, M. Giguere, J. Brewer, J. Moriarity, J. O’Rourke

In the past year, the exoplanets from Kepler and Doppler surveys have demonstrated that SuperEarth and Neptune (SEN) mass planets are common: at least 25% of stars have low mass planets with orbital periods less than 50d. Late type stars are ideal for the detection of these exoplanets: stellar noise is a minimum and the low stellar mass results in a larger reflex velocity. We have defined a subset of 30 bright stars from the M2K program that already have a heritage of ∼10 observations. The formal measurement precision is about 1.4 m s −1, and the mean velocity rms of this sample is 9 m s−1, making these prime targets for a search for short-period SEN planets. We are also following planet candidates from a sample of metal-rich stars and using time to investigate planet candidates discovered by users on PlanetHunters.com.

Black holes at the centers of nearby dwarf galaxies
C. M. Urry, K. Schawinski, E. Moran, P. Natarajan

Using a distance-limited subset of the SDSS DR7, we have identified a new sample of nearby, lowmass dwarf galaxies that contain AGNs. The study of such objects is crucial for gaining insight into the origins of (a) the black hole/host galaxy scaling relations observed for massive, bulgedominated galaxies and (b) the “seeds” of supermassive black holes that formed at earlier times. Our sample consists of 20 galaxies fainter than Mg = −18.3 and with stellar masses below 10 10 M⊙. Collectively, they are the least massive galaxies known to contain central black holes, and the black holes themselves must be in the intermediate-mass range (MBH = 10 3 –10 6 M⊙). We request two nights of Keck II/ESI time to obtain high resolution, high S/N spectra of our targets, which will be used to measure their central stellar velocity dispersions σ*. In more massive systems, σ* correlates tightly with black hole mass. A comparison of the range of σ* values we obtain to cosmological simulations of the evolution of “light” and “heavy” black hole seeds will shed light on the mechanism by which BH seeds formed.

The Star-Forming Ancestors of Elliptical Galaxies
P. van Dokkum, E. Nelson, J. Leja, G. Brammer, R. Skelton

Many studies over the past few years have identified a population of compact, massive galaxies at redshifts 1.5 < z < 2.5 with old stellar populations. These compact galaxies essentially disappear at redshifts z < 1: they are thought to have gradually increased their sizes since z ∼ 2 through mergers, forming the cores of giant elliptical galaxies today. The stars in these dense galaxies must have formed at some point in the past, presumably in extremely vigorous star bursts accompanied by significant black hole growth. Many groups are now searching for these star forming progenitors, as their properties are expected to be spectacular. Our 248-orbit 3D-HST Treasury program provides near-IR grism spectroscopy for thousands of high redshift galaxies. We have searched the initial ∼ 50 % of 3D-HST data to identify compact, massive galaxies with strong emission lines and identified six such objects. These are the best candidates for being direct ancestors of the enigmatic compact massive galaxies at high redshift – ad of today’s elliptical galaxies. To confirm this, we need to measure the kinematics of these galaxies: if the galaxies are as massive and as dense as we think they are, predicted rotation speeds are in excess of 400 km/s. The HST grism spectra have very poor spectral resolution and cannot be used to measure kinematics. Here we request two nights with NIRSPEC to measure the kinematics of these six objects, to test whether they could indeed be the long-sought star-forming cores of present-day elliptical galaxies.