M-band imaging of the HR8799 planetary system using an innovative loci-based background subtraction technique

Raphaël Galicher, Christian Marois, Bruce MacIntosh, Travis Barman, Quinn Konopacky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations


Multi-wavelength observations/spectroscopy of exoplanetary atmospheres are the basis of the emerging exciting field of comparative exoplanetology. The HR8799 planetary system is an ideal laboratory to study our current knowledge gap between massive field brown dwarfs and the cold 5 Gyr old solar system planets. The HR8799 planets have so far been imaged at J- to L-band, with only upper limits available at M-band. We present here deep high-contrast Keck II adaptive optics M-band observations that show the imaging detection of three of the four currently known HR8799 planets. Such detections were made possible due to the development of an innovative LOCI-based background subtraction scheme that is three times more efficient than a classical median background subtraction for Keck II AO data, representing a gain in telescope time of up to a factor of nine. These M-band detections extend the broadband photometric coverage out to 5 μm and provide access to the strong CO fundamental absorption band at 4.5 μm. The new M-band photometry shows that the HR8799 planets are located near the L/T-type dwarf transition, similar to what was found by other studies. We also confirm that the best atmospheric fits are consistent with low surface gravity, dusty, and non-equilibrium CO/CH 4 chemistry models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberL41
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 1 2011


  • instrumentation: high angular resolution
  • methods: data analysis
  • methods: observational
  • planetary systems
  • planets and satellites: atmospheres
  • techniques: image processing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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