Committee: Julien deWit (Chair)
Exoplanetary Systems in Technicolor
As the number of confirmed extra-solar planets surpasses 5000, our ability to characterize exoplanets has equally advanced in the era of high precision photometry afforded by instruments such as the James Webb Space Telescope. As the quantity and quality of observations improves however, we must ensure that the techniques used to analyze extra-solar planets remain robust and accurate, such that we can extract that maximal amount of information from these rich data sets. I first demonstrate the opportunities afforded by the bright, space2023multi-planet system HIP41378 with an observing baseline of over four years across multiple instruments, allowing us to study inter-planetary interactions, including the potential signs of a previously unknown sixth planet. Following this I will present work I have done towards understanding the observational biases that may arise if planets are not considered to be fully 3-dimensional objects, in particular if a tidally or rotationally distorted planet is considered to be perfectly spherical. Finally, I turn my attention to the stars themselves around which planets orbit. Given that any observation of an exoplanet system is typically dominated by the host star, non-homogeneities in the stellar surface have been found to be potential bottlenecks when analyzing high-precision data acquired by space telescopes, and I discuss ways of mitigating these bottlenecks in order to extract photon-noise limited planetary emission spectra.
Best of luck to David! (pwd: space2023) via Zoom