New Frontiers in Exoplanet Science with Extremely Precise Doppler Velocimetry

November 29, 2018
Phillips Auditorium

Precise radial velocity work, responsible for the lion's share of exoplanet discovery pre-Kepler, remains a cornerstone of exoplanetary research and an essential component of validation and characterization of transiting planets such as those that will be discovered by TESS. It is an important tool for the discovery of long-period planets amenable to direct imaging, determining the architecture of exoplanetary systems, conducting a census of the planetary systems closest to the Sun, and the discovery of new transiting planets including temperate terrestrial planets amenable for atmospheric transmission spectroscopy.

This work will be performed by a new generation of extremely precise Doppler spectrographs. In the optical, they will have factors of a few better instrumental precision than the current generation and an order of magnitude below the amplitude of stellar noise ('jitter') in even the quietest stars, which moves the problem of sensitivity from the realm engineering to one of stellar astrophysics and astrostatistics. In the infrared, these instruments will probe new regimes, including terrestrial planets in the Habitable Zones of the coolest, closest stars to the Sun.

I will focus on two such instruments built at Penn State, the NN-EXPLORE NEID optical spectrograph which will be a facility instrument at Kitt Peak available for public use, and HPF, an infrared spectrograph at the Hobby-Eberly Telescope focused on work with M dwarf planet hosts.

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