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Exoplanet Seminar



The Promise of Precise Radial Velocity Surveys for Exoplanets
Peter Plavchan (George Mason)

Precise radial velocity (PRV) observations of nearby main sequence stars enable the discovery, mass determination, and orbit characterization of exoplanets. An Earth-mass planet orbiting in the Habitable Zone of a Sun-like star produces a reflex velocity of ~10 cm/s. However, activity from the stellar surface can introduce false apparent velocity changes of ~1 m/s. Multi-wavelength observations, high cadence, extreme spectral resolution, line-by-line analysis, simultaneous photometry, polarization and other approaches are all being pursued to distinguish this "jitter" activity from the signals of orbiting exoplanets. The next generation of visible and near-IR PRV spectrographs will continue to investigate the mitigation of stellar activity, but the ultimate solution may require a space-based platform. I will highlight several PRV projects underway at George Mason University, including EarthFinder, a probe-class mission currently under study for the Astro 2020 Decadal. I will also highlight our work with iSHELL at the NASA IRTF, and simulation work to quantify the benefit of PRV surves for a future flagship direct imagine mission.

Date February 06, 2018
Start/End Time 11:00 PM - 12:00 PM
Location 34/TBA
Event Type Seminars/Colloquia
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