Thursday, October 8, 2020
25 years after the Nobel prize-winning discovery of the first exoplanet orbiting a main-sequence star, the field of observational exoplanet study is expanding rapidly on multiple fronts. Missions such as Kepler and TESS are revealing that the Galaxy hosts a wealth and diversity of planets, the likes of which could scarcely be imagined by extrapolating from the Solar system alone. On the horizon lie a collection of giant space- and ground-based telescopes that promise to reveal the detailed properties of these planets--potentially including signatures of life. The radial velocity (RV), or Doppler, technique is a critical tool for realizing the full scientific potential of observational exoplanet missions both now and in the future. I will discuss ongoing efforts of our group at UCI to use radial velocities to characterize newly-discovered exoplanets and lay the groundwork for discovering Earth analogs with the RV technique. These efforts include a massive collaborative effort to measure the masses of 100 exoplanets discovered by TESS, groundbreaking science using newly-developed ultra-precise Doppler spectrometers, and novel studies to better understand the inherent variability of exoplanet host stars.