Twenty Years of Precise RVs III: What Keck Gave Us

Last time I wrote about my summary of the Lick Planet Search at the  at the OHP2015 conference; today I’ll finish up with what we learned from Keck.

In the mid-1990’s, Geoff and Paul were strengthening their connections to UC Berkeley, where with Gibor Basri they were using the Lick Observatory facilities.

Geoff and Paul in their UC Berkeley office circa 1994.

Geoff and Paul in their UC Berkeley office circa 1994.

Having connections via UC Santa Cruz and Berkeley, they were able to plan to extend their planet search to the new new HIRES spectrograph at Keck Observatory, which was, like the Lick Hamilton spectrograph, designed by Steve Vogt

Of course, HIRES was going to need an iodine cell; here are Geoff’s instructions to SFSU glass blower Mylan Healy for its construction.

Notes on the construction of the iodine cell for Keck for SFSU glass blower Mylan Healy.

Notes on the construction of the iodine cell for Keck for SFSU glass blower Mylan Healy.

 

Debra Fischer joined the team as a postdoc in 1997, a couple years before I arrived in 1999.  Here she is working to get a Fourier Transform Spectrograph scan of the Keck iodine cell:

Debra getting an FTS scan of the Keck iodine cell.

Debra getting an FTS scan of the Keck iodine cell.

HIRES proved to be capable of more precise velocities than the Hamilton, regularly achieving 1-3 m/s precision on stable stars.

One of the biggest benefits of a long survey is that you can detect loooooooooong period planets.  This culminated in a few significant discoveries I talked about at OHP: the 10th good Jupiter analog, announced by Sharon Wang (who is going to work with Paul in DC as a DTM Fellow this fall):

HD 37605 b and c, discovered with Keck and HET velocities.

HD 37605 b and c, discovered with Keck and HET velocities.

And many more such planets were announced by Katherina Feng (now a grad student at UCSC).  Here’s one some with large period ratios (the largest known between planets in a system — including in the solar system!)

HD 187123 b & c, which are the planets with the highest known well-measured period ratio

HD 187123 b & c, which are the planets with the highest known well-measured period ratio

I also had some comments about activity cycles, but I’ll save those for another post, another time.  If you’d like to learn more, my contribution to the conference proceedings is on the arXiv and on the OHP2015 site.

And there’s a link to video of my talk here.

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