Radial Velocities in the Discovery Boom at the Silver Anniversary of Exoplanet Science

Speaker: 
Paul Robertson
Institution: 
UCI
Date: 
Thursday, October 8, 2020
Time: 
3:30 pm
Location: 
Zoom Seminar
Abstract:
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.
Host: 
Kevork Abazajin