Revealing planet migration and detection of terrestrial planets with improved spectroscopic tools
Spectroscopic observations of stars do not only provide us with valuable information about the stars themselves, but over the last years such observations have lead to numerous exoplanet discoveries and new insights into planet formation. One important clue emerged at the dawn of the field: the existence of hot Jupiters, gas giants with orbital distances much smaller than an astronomical unit. We and other groups found some of these planets orbiting their stars on highly inclined or even retrograde orbits. I show how the orientation of the stellar axis in relation to the orbital plane (obliquity) reveals the mechanism by which these planets move inwards. Similar measurements in multiple transiting planet systems, with smaller planets will further enhance our understanding of the formation and evolution of planetary systems. In order to take those measurements we need to improve the way we analyze spectra. I present recent results obtained with such a new technique. These include multiple planet systems and results from my "BANANA" survey of close binaries, some of which, such as DI Herculis, also show strong misalignment. The same technique will allow for a reduction of stellar noise in radial velocity surveys, improving our ability to search for smaller, more Earth like planets around bright nearby stars.
About the talk
MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research