Detecting Rocky Exoplanets with Precise Radial Velocities

More than two decades after the first discovery of exoplanets, the field has moved into the era of finding populations of small planets, including the ones with a rocky composition that is similar to our Earth. Precise radial velocity (PRV) is taking the lead in surveying nearby bright stars for Earth analogs, while playing an important role in following up transiting exoplanets such as those discovered by Kepler (and TESS in the near future). With more than two dozen new PRV spectrographs being commissioned or built, we are now facing many challenges that emerge at the < 1 m/s level, which is the precision needed for finding and characterizing small, rocky planets. This talk focuses on projects addressing two of the challenges: contamination from the Earth's atmosphere and stellar jitter/activity. This talk will also cover our work with the Planet Finder Spectrograph on Magellan/Clay, which is going through an instrument upgrade to bring its precision to < 1 m/s.

1 May 2018
215 Sharp Lab
Dr. Sharon Xuesong Wang; Department of Terrestrial Magnetism Carnegie Institution of Washington