Tuesday, Oct 25th, 2016: Physics Colloquium - Discovering and Characterizing Exoplanets with High-Contrast Spectroscopy

Event Date: 

Tuesday, October 25, 2016 - 4:00pm

Event Location: 

  • Broida 1640
  • Colloquium

Timothy Brandt, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton


Advances in adaptive optics and infrared instrumentation now enable us to see young exoplanets millions of times fainter than their host stars.  By collecting photons emitted by these worlds, imaging allows us to measure the chemistry and physical states of their atmospheres. Now, a new generation of experiments is combining upgraded adaptive optics with integral-field spectrographs (IFSs) to discover and characterize fainter worlds closer to their host stars.  I will present the results of recent high-contrast surveys and the scientific promise of this new generation of instruments, with a particular focus on the CHARIS IFS for the Subaru telescope. CHARIS is the only instrument of its class in the northern hemisphere and has the broadest spectral coverage of any high-contrast IFS; it provides unique sensitivity to close-in exoplanets and presents new data analysis challenges. CHARIS first-light data already show the large sensitivity gains that are possible by exploiting the spectral behavior of diffracted starlight.  CHARIS is now being commissioned, and will commence its first two year, 20 night survey in mid 2017, taking spectra of giant exoplanets and searching about 100 stars for new companions.


Refreshments served at 3:40 pm

Timothy Brandt