Presenter Information

Chantanelle NavaFollow

Presentation Type

Presentation

Abstract

In the search for Earth analogues, astronomers are using technology designed to detect small rocky planets in the habitable zone, the annulus around a star in which temperatures could support liquid water. Small rocky planets induce RV signals easily missed in the presence of stellar noise sources of comparable or larger amplitudes. Over the next decade, the introduction of new technology such as the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) and the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) will allow astronomers to search small rocky planets’ atmospheres for biomarkers indicating the existence of past or present life. Before these telescopes take to the sky, however, it is essential that their operators know the most promising locations to investigate. MINERVA (MINiature Exoplanet Radial Velocity Array) is a dedicated exoplanet observatory with 1 meter per second precision to detect these low-mass Earth-like planets orbiting in the habitable zone of bright, nearby stars. We can determine how many planets we can expect to detect around these targets and optimize our observing strategy through the use of statistics from the NASA Kepler mission. I have produced computer-simulated MINERVA observations to quantify the observatory’s expected exoplanet yield and develop an observing strategy that will maximize the number of detections. In preliminary results, MINERVA’s expected yield is 15±4 new exoplanets with 2.2±1.5 in the habitable zone based on an average over 1000 simulations.

Category

Physical Sciences

Share

COinS
 
Apr 11th, 4:00 PM Apr 11th, 4:20 PM

Determining Capability of the MINERVA Observatory from Simulated Observations

In the search for Earth analogues, astronomers are using technology designed to detect small rocky planets in the habitable zone, the annulus around a star in which temperatures could support liquid water. Small rocky planets induce RV signals easily missed in the presence of stellar noise sources of comparable or larger amplitudes. Over the next decade, the introduction of new technology such as the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) and the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) will allow astronomers to search small rocky planets’ atmospheres for biomarkers indicating the existence of past or present life. Before these telescopes take to the sky, however, it is essential that their operators know the most promising locations to investigate. MINERVA (MINiature Exoplanet Radial Velocity Array) is a dedicated exoplanet observatory with 1 meter per second precision to detect these low-mass Earth-like planets orbiting in the habitable zone of bright, nearby stars. We can determine how many planets we can expect to detect around these targets and optimize our observing strategy through the use of statistics from the NASA Kepler mission. I have produced computer-simulated MINERVA observations to quantify the observatory’s expected exoplanet yield and develop an observing strategy that will maximize the number of detections. In preliminary results, MINERVA’s expected yield is 15±4 new exoplanets with 2.2±1.5 in the habitable zone based on an average over 1000 simulations.