Radio Interferometric Planet Search (RIPL)

For two decades (1984 - 2004), much of debris disk research focused on observations and theory concerning massive A-type stars, since Beta Pictoris was the archetype debris disk. After discovering the debris disk around the M dwarf AU Microscopii in 2004, a host of new a science questions surfaced that might be viewed as a mini-paradigm shift toward debris disks around low-mass stars. While researching the literature about AU Mic, I noticed that the star had been detected at radio wavelengths. It seemed possible that AU Mic could be monitored with unparalleled astrometric precision using radio interferometry, thereby detecting the reflex motion of a planet on the star. Professor Geoff Bower took the lead in an ongoing research program that monitors AU Mic and about a dozen other nearby M stars for the astrometric signature of a planet on a red dwarf. Please see the RIPL web page for figures, information, and the current status. Below is a figure representing the VLBA telescope locations.