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"Minerva: Big Exoplanet Science with Small Telescopes"
Nate McCrady
Department of Physics & Astronomy
University of Montana
The Kepler mission has identified over 3000 candidate planets in the past three years, adding to the over 800 confirmed planets from radial velocity (RV) surveys. One of the most striking results of these surveys is that the number of planets increases rapidly with decreasing size. It is apparent that there are more small, rocky planets in the Galaxy than stars. These planets must be common around nearby stars, though few have yet been discovered. Finding these planets requires high precision RV measurements and high cadence observing to densely sample the orbital phase. Project Minerva is a robotic observatory dedicated to detection of rocky planets in the habitable zone around nearby stars. The observatory will consist of four 0.7-m telescopes that will use fiber optics to simultaneously feed a stable spectrometer to perform an intense campaign of precise velocimetry on the brightest, nearest, Sun-like stars. I will present simulated Minerva observations to estimate our expected exoplanet yield and habitable zone planet detections.
Monday, 21 April 2014
3:10 p.m. in Math 103
4:00 p.m. Refreshments in Math Lounge 109
Spring 2014 Colloquia & Events
Mathematical Sciences | University of Montana