RVSPY -- Radial Velocity Survey for Planets around Young Stars. Target characterization and high-cadence survey
We introduce our Radial Velocity Survey for Planets around Young stars (RVSPY), characterise our target stars, and search for substellar companions at orbital separations smaller than a few au from the host star. We use the FEROS spectrograph to obtain high signal-to-noise spectra and time series of precise radial velocities (RVs) of 111 stars most of which are surrounded by debris discs. Our target stars have spectral types between early F and late K, a median age of 400 Myr, and a median distance of 45 pc. We determine for all target stars their basic stellar parameters and present the results of the high-cadence RV survey and activity characterization. We achieve a median single-measurement RV precision of 6 m/s and derive the short-term intrinsic RV scatter of our targets (median 22 m/s), which is mostly caused by stellar activity and decays with age from >100 m/s at <20 Myr to <20 m/s at >500 Myr. We discover six previously unknown close companions with orbital periods between 10 and 100 days, three of which are low-mass stars, and three are in the brown dwarf mass regime. We detect no hot companion with an orbital period <10 days down to a median mass limit of ~1 M_Jup for stars younger than 500 Myr, which is still compatible with the established occurrence rate of such companions around main-sequence stars. We find significant RV periodicities between 1.3 and 4.5 days for 14 stars, which are, however, all caused by rotational modulation due to starspots. We also analyse the TESS photometric time series data and find significant periodicities for most of the stars. For 11 stars, the photometric periods are also clearly detected in the RV data. We also derive stellar rotation periods ranging from 1 to 10 days for 91 stars, mostly from TESS data. From the intrinsic activity-related short-term RV jitter, we derive the expected mass-detection thresholds for longer-period companions.