The search for planets and low-mass brown dwarfs around solar type stars
Radial velocity planet search surveys of nearby solar-type stars have shown a strong scarcity of brown dwarf companions within ~5 AU (dubbed the brown dwarf desert). There is presently no comprehensive explanation for this lack of brown dwarf companions; therefore, increasing the sample of such objects is crucial to understand their formation and evolution.
I conducted a radial velocity study of planet/brown dwarf companions of solar type stars using the the SOPHIE spectrograph at the OHP in France. Through my radial velocity analysis I characterised the orbital parameters of 15 companions to solar-type stars. Seven objects were reported for the first time leading to a significant contribution to the number of objects in the sparsely populated brown dwarf desert. The work marks an important step towards being able to form a statistically significant sample, which is necessary to be able to understand the formation and subsequent evolution of such objects. The results are published in Wilson et al. 2016. I am an active member of the SOPHIE consortium.
The picture on the left shows the 1.93m telescope at OHP (France).