Seminar series

The Quest for Higher Radial Velocity Precision

Debra Fischer, Yale

22 Feb 2018 - 03:30

A few decades ago, astronomers began using radial velocity
measurements to detect exoplanets. At that time, it was not clear whether
other stars had planets and there was skepticism about whether Doppler
measurements would have the precision needed to detect exoplanets.
Radial velocity programs detected what they could detect: massive planets
in relatively short period orbits. The detection of thousands of exoplanets
with Kepler has been transformational. We now know that most stars have
planets and that small rocky planets far outnumber the exoplanets
traditionally detected by radial velocity surveys. If it is possible to reach
1 - 10 cm/s radial velocity precision, then a plethora of planets will be
detected around nearby stars. How would this affect the trajectory of
exoplanet science? Is this RV precision goal possible? Or is it simply
beyond our reach?

LCO Seminar Series,
6740 Cortona Dr, Suite 102,