Daniel Angerhausen (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY)

Exoplanet Atmospheres before JWST - Occultation spectrophotometry with current groud, space and airborne based platforms
When Dec 11, 2012 from 02:30 PM to 04:00 PM
  • Special Seminar
Where SH, Seminar room
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In the last few years our knowledge of exoplanets has been revolutionized by the detection of statistically significant numbers of planets by platforms such as Kepler and CoRoT. Furthermore, the characterization of exoplanet atmospheres by the Hubble (HST) and Spitzer Space telescopes brought an 'Era of Comparative Exoplanetology'. By utilizing the transit method (measuring the small, wavelength-dependent variation in flux as an exoplanet passes in front of or behind its parent star), we are now able to characterize exoplanetary atmosphere. However, due to its Earth-trailing orbit, Spitzer will inevitably become unavailable for further observations in the near future and is only capable of photometric observations in limited bandpasses in its “warm” mission phase. HST is scheduled to remain on-line until ~2020, but the current instrumentation limits HST to wavelengths shorter than 1.7 μm.

In my talk I will describe how the airborne-based platform SOFIA and ground-based multi-object-spectrometers will help to close this NIR characterization bottleneck until the start of JWST: I will present the proposals chosen in SOFIA's Cycle 1 in this field as well as the 2nd generation instrument concept NIMBUS (near-infrared multi-band ultraprecise spectroimager). Furthermore I will display recent observations with Keck's MOSFIRE instrument.