The Search for 100 Earths

Event Dates: 

Wednesday, March 2, 2016 - 4:00pm

CTQM Seminar Type: 

  • Related Seminar Series

Speaker Name(s): 

Debra Fischer

Speaker Affiliation(s): 

Yale University

Abstract, Event Details: 

Exoplanets are an important subfield of astronomy and there has been an impressive rate of discovery over the past two decades. Hundreds of exoplanets have been detected using the Doppler technique and the NASA Kepler mission discovered thousands of transiting planets, providing important statistical information about the size and ubiquity of other worlds. However, the vast majority of planets around nearby stars have escaped detection; a radial velocity precision of about 10 cm/s is required to discover potentially habitable worlds and to unravel complex multi-planet architectures. Such high precision would also dramatically improve the efficiency of space-based transit missions by providing the masses needed to estimate bulk densities and model the internal structure of exoplanets. The future of exoplanet science has very different trajectories depending on the precision that can ultimately be achieved with Doppler measurements.
I will describe the work my team is carrying out to reach 10 cm/s precision with the radial velocity technique. We are commissioning a new instrument, the EXPRES spectrograph, at the Discovery Channel Telescope to carry out a search for 100 Earths in 2017.