ASET Colloquium

In search of Exo-earths: Development of next generation extreme precision radial velocity spectrographs

by Dr. Joe Philip Ninan (Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics, Pennsylvania State University, USA)

Tuesday, December 19, 2017 from to (Asia/Kolkata)
at AG-66.
Search for earth-like exo-planets in habitable zone (exo-earths) has been the holy grail in exo-planet astronomy research. Beginning with the instruments like HARPS, the extreme precision radial velocity (EPRV) community have made incredible progress in building ultra-stable spectrographs for bringing down the measurable radial velocity (rv) precision to sub-m/sec. However, to detect earth-like planets around sun-like stars in earth-like orbits, we need to be able to measure radial velocities at a few cm/sec level. For comparison, our Earth has ~9 cm/sec rv effect on our Sun.

After a brief introduction on the exciting field of exo-planets, I shall present our R&D work on the interesting subtleties one has to deal with in cm/s regime.  We are developing two spectrographs; Habitable Planet Finder (HPF) in near-infrared wavelength (< 3 m/sec in NIR), and the next generation NEID spectrograph in optical wavelength (<29 cm/sec). NEID was the winning proposal of NASA-NSF Exoplanet Observational Research (NN-EXPLORE) partnership's call for an Extreme Precision Doppler Spectrometer based on recommendations of the Astro2010 Decadal Survey. With HPF already on sky and under commissioning at 10-m Hobby Eberly Telescope, USA, and NEID under construction for completion by the end of 2018 for 3.8-m WIYN telescope, we are at the beginning of the next generation cm/sec radial velocity era!.

About the Speaker:

Joe obtained his Ph.D. in 2016 from TIFR. He worked on near infrared instrumentation for developing a near-IR imager and spectrograph (TIRSPEC) for 2-meter Himalayan Chandra Telescope. He is a Postdoctoral Researcher at Penn State University, USA, where he has been working on IR detector and instrument development for very high precision radial velocity measurements for the search of exo-planets. He won Geeta Udgaonkar Award for the Best Ph.D. Thesis in Physical Sciences (2017) and NSA Medal for Young Scientist (2017).
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Organised by Dr. Satyanarayana Bheesette
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