Searching for Faint Comoving Companions to the α Centauri system in the VVV Survey Infrared Images

J.C. Beamin, D. Minniti, J. B. Pullen, Valentin D. Ivanov, E. Bendek, A. Bayo, M. Gromadzki, R. Kurtev, P. W. Lucas, R. P. Butler

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The VVV survey has observed the southern disk of the Milky Way in the near infrared, covering 240 deg$^{2}$ in the $ZYJHK_S$ filters. We search the VVV Survey images in a $\sim$19 deg$^{2}$ field around $\alpha$ Centauri, the nearest stellar system to the Sun, to look for possible overlooked companions that the baseline in time of VVV would be able to uncover. The photometric depth of our search reaches $Y\sim$19.3 mag, $J\sim$19 mag, and $K_S\sim$17 mag. This search has yielded no new companions in $\alpha$ Centauri system, setting an upper mass limit for any unseen companion well into the brown dwarf/planetary mass regime. The apparent magnitude limits were turned into effective temperature limits, and the presence of companion objects with effective temperatures warmer than 325K can be ruled out using different state-of-the-art atmospheric models. These limits were transformed into mass limits using evolutionary models, companions with masses above 11 M$_{Jup}$ were discarded, extending the constraints recently provided in the literature up to projected distances of d
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3952-3958
Number of pages7
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number4
Early online date19 Aug 2017
Publication statusPublished - 21 Dec 2017


  • astro-ph.SR
  • astro-ph.EP


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