April 2002 • 2002AJ....123.2027H
Abstract • A common proper-motion survey of M dwarf stars within 8 pc of the Sun reveals no new stellar or brown dwarf companions at wide separations (~100-1400 AU). This survey tests whether the brown dwarf ``desert'' extends to large separations around M dwarf stars and further explores the census of the solar neighborhood. The sample includes 66 stars north of -30° and within 8 pc of the Sun. Existing first-epoch images are compared with new J-band images of the same fields an average of 7 yr later to reveal proper-motion companions within a ~4' radius of the primary star. No new companions are detected to a J-band limiting magnitude of ~16.5, corresponding to a companion mass of ~40 Jupiter masses for an assumed age of 5 Gyr at the mean distance of the objects in the survey, 5.8 pc.