AAS 198th Meeting, June 2001
Session 87. Galactic Star Forming Regions
Oral, Thursday, June 7, 2001, 2:00-3:30pm, C106

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[87.02] Searching for Young Nearby Stars

I. Song, B. Zuckerman (UCLA), M. Bessell (Australian Nat'l University), R. Webb (NASA Ames)

Nearby young stars are excellent targets for direct imaging of cooling planets because young giant planets are hot (hence bright at near infrared wavelengths) in youth. We are involved in a long term project to find the youngest and closest stars to Earth by using X-ray (RASS) and astrometric (Hipparcos and Tycho) catalogs. We generated a list contaning of order 1000 very young stars candidates scattered around the sky and within ~60 pc of Earth. In January 2001, with the 2.3 m telescope at Siding Spring Observatory in Austrlia, we found that about 20 candidates are indeed very young, i.e. showing strong H\alpha emission and Li 6708Åabsorption. In particular, we found the closest T Tauri stars known to date, HIP 23309 (26 pc) and HIP 29964 (38 pc). These stars share the same space motion as \beta Pictoris, the famous nearby star with a very prominent protoplanetary disk. We estimate the age of all three stars as 15±5 Myrs. We are observing northern hemisphere stars with the Hamilton echelle on the 3 m telescope at Lick Observatory.

This research was supported in part by the UCLA Astrobiology Institute and by a NASA grant to UCLA.

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