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Physics Colloquium: The Promise of Precise Radial Velocity Surveys for Exoplanets
Wednesday, Feb 8
4 p.m. - 5 p.m. Location: SLC 1.102

Dr. Peter Plavchan (Missouri State)

Precise radial velocity (PRV) observations of nearby main sequence stars enable the discovery, mass determination, and orbit characterization of exoplanets. A velocity precision of ~10 cm/s is needed to detect the reflex motion of an Earth-mass planet orbiting in the habitable zone of a Sun-like star. If successful, the next generation of visible PRV spectrographs will identify these Earth analogs for a future NASA flagship mission to directly image.  However, activity from the stellar surface can introduce false apparent velocity changes of ~1 m/s. Multi-wavelength PRV observations are one of several approaches to distinguish this "jitter" activity from the signals of orbiting exoplanets. The first generation of dedicated near-infrared PRV spectrometers is coming online, including iSHELL. I will discuss the science drivers and challenges for near-infrared PRVs, the connection with direct imaging, and I will highlight several of my projects including my first light observations with iSHELL at the NASA IRTF.

Contact Info:
Michael Kesden, 972-883-3598
Questions? Email me.

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