Adams, Elizabeth R., Ciardi, D. R., Dupree, A. K., Gautier, T. N., III, Kulesa, C., and McCarthy, D. 2012. "Adaptive Optics Images of Kepler Objects of Interest." The Astronomical Journal 144:42. https://doi.org/10.1088/0004-6256/144/2/42
All transiting planets are at risk of contamination by blends with nearby, unresolved stars. Blends dilute the transit signal, causing the planet to appear smaller than it really is, or produce a false-positive detection when the target star is blended with eclipsing binary stars. This paper reports on high spatial-resolution adaptive optics images of 90 Kepler planetary candidates. Companion stars are detected as close as 0farcs1 from the target star. Images were taken in the near-infrared (J and Ks bands) with ARIES on the MMT and PHARO on the Palomar Hale 200 inch telescope. Most objects (60%) have at least one star within 6'' separation and a magnitude difference of 9. Eighteen objects (20%) have at least one companion within 2'' of the target star; six companions (7%) are closer than 0farcs5. Most of these companions were previously unknown, and the associated planetary candidates should receive additional scrutiny. Limits are placed on the presence of additional companions for every system observed, which can be used to validate planets statistically using the BLENDER method. Validation is particularly critical for low-mass, potentially Earth-like worlds, which are not detectable with current-generation radial velocity techniques. High-resolution images are thus a crucial component of any transit follow-up program. Based on observations obtained at the MMT Observatory, a joint facility of the Smithsonian Institution and the University of Arizona.