Place: 4421 Sterling Hall, Coffee and Cookies at 3:30 pm, Talk starts at 3:45 pm
Speaker: Gudmundur Stefansson, Princeton University
Abstract: One of the foremost goals of exoplanet science is the detailed characterization of terrestrial planets that potentially could harbor life. I will discuss near-term projects and instruments that are allowing for rapid progress on the detection and characterization of small planets. (1) Beam-shaping optical diffusers allow us to approach the precision of space-based photometry with ground-based telescopes, thereby enhancing our ability to detect and study terrestrial planets. (2) Improvements in Doppler spectrographs—including HPF and NEID—will expand our knowledge of the compositions, architectures, and atmospheres of small planets. (3) The ongoing 5-year HPF survey will detect terrestrial planets in the habitable-zones around nearby mid-to-late M dwarfs, some of the most favorable systems for direct imaging with future flagship missions. (4) Synergy between M dwarf planet surveys and low-frequency radio surveys offer the possibility of opening the door to a new field within exoplanet science: star-planet magnetic interactions, which may affect planetary habitability.