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Extrasolar Planets: from stellar activity to the new generation of planet-hunting spectrographs

Dr. Pedro Figueira
Centro de Astrofísica da Universidade do Porto

November 29th, 2016


As of today, we know now more than 3000 planets orbiting other stars. The detection of planets through radial velocity gathers special attention in the world of exoplanet characterization, as this technique will probably allow us to detect and characterize the first Earth-mass planet inside the habitable zone of a neighbouring star. In this talk I will discuss the ongoing efforts for developing state-of-the art spectrographs that permit the detection of an Earth twin, and discuss one of the most formidable obstacles to the detection of planetary signals: stellar activity. While for several years planetary surveys simply avoided active stars, today we know that the presence of extrasolar planets around a star might suppress stellar activity as we measure it, or even boost it. I will present the current view of the intricate relationship between exoplanets and activity, and discuss some of the latest works on the topic.