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Looking out for the little guys: measuring M-dwarf multiplicity with high-resolution imaging

Clark, Catherine Arielle (2022) Looking out for the little guys: measuring M-dwarf multiplicity with high-resolution imaging. Doctoral thesis, Northern Arizona University.

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The M dwarfs have become primary targets for the detection and characterization of habitable, Earth-sized exoplanets due to their small sizes, their low temperatures, and their abundance in the Solar neighborhood. However, unknown stellar multiplicity can inhibit planet detection and lead to obstacles in planet characterization, and stellar companions can hinder planet formation and/or the long-term stability of any inner planets that they host. Fortunately, speckle interferometry has become a leading technique to search for unknown stellar companions, and to investigate the region around candidate exoplanet hosts. We therefore used speckle interferometry to explore the multiplicity of both planet-hosting and non-planet-hosting M dwarfs. These multiplicity measurements revealed a dearth of close-in stellar companions to M-dwarf TESS Objects of Interest, a new stellar companion to an F1V star, and 26 new companions to nearby field M dwarfs. Additionally, we present a next-generation speckle camera that is optimized for investigating low-mass pairs. These studies have generated two main conclusions: (1) the stellar companions that planet-hosting M dwarfs host differ from those that non-planet-hosting M dwarfs host, and (2) recent advances in speckle interferometry have made speckle cameras substantially more sensitive than in the past, allowing us to probe novel M-dwarf discovery space.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Publisher’s Statement: © Copyright is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the Cline Library, Northern Arizona University. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Keywords: Exoplanets; High-Resolution Imaging; Instrumentation; M Dwarfs; Speckle Interferometry; Stellar Astrophysics
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy
NAU Depositing Author Academic Status: Student
Department/Unit: Graduate College > Theses and Dissertations
College of the Environment, Forestry, and Natural Sciences > Physics and Astronomy
Date Deposited: 15 Jul 2022 17:36
Last Modified: 15 Jul 2022 17:36
URI: https://openknowledge.nau.edu/id/eprint/5860

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