AAS 207th Meeting, 8-12 January 2006
Session 82 Ground Based Optical Interferometry
Poster, Tuesday, 9:20am-6:30pm, January 10, 2006, Exhibit Hall

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[82.10] Surveying the Bright Stars by Optical Interferometry: A Search for Multiplicity Among TPF Target Stars

D. J. Hutter, R. T. Zavala, J. A. Benson (USNO, Flagstaff Station), K. J. Johnston (USNO), C. A. Hummel (ESO), B. O'Neill (Lowell Observatory), T. A. Pauls, J. T. Armstrong (NRL)

We present preliminary results from an ongoing survey for multiplicity among the bright stars using the Navy Prototype Optical Interferometer (NPOI). While the NPOI has previously concentrated on producing visual orbits of known close speckle and spectroscopic binaries, we have now embarked on a broader survey to detect new binary/multiple systems. We first present a summary of NPOI observations of known multiple systems to illustrate the instrument's detection sensitivity for binaries at large magnitude differences over the range of angular separation detectable by the NPOI (currently 3 - 300 mas). We then discuss early results of the survey of bright stars north of declination -20 degrees. This survey, which compliments previous surveys of the bright stars by speckle interferometry, initially emphasizes stars in a list of potential Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF) targets. We report observations of 32 TPF candidate stars (V < 4.3) that have each been observed on multiple nights. Analysis of these data produces fitted orbital separations, position angles, and component magnitude differences for five previously known visual binaries, along with the first visual detection of the components of the spectroscopic binary \zeta Bootis. Uniform-disk angular diameters are also reported for those resolved stars without detectable stellar companions.

The NPOI project is funded by the Oceanographer of the Navy and the Office of Naval Research.

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