Seminar Series

The Role of Speckle Imaging in Exoplanet Characterization

Nic Scott, NASA / Ames

19 Sep 2019 - 15:30

The majority of all stars exist in multiple-star systems. This can lead to false detections of transiting exoplanets or assigning them underestimated radii. High angular resolution imaging provides a means to de-blend these systems along with providing separations, position angles, photometry, and contrast ratios. Speckle imaging, utilizing recent advancements in detector technology, has enabled new instruments that can produce diffraction-limited images from ground-based telescopes with great efficiency. Discerning blended binary systems removes a major source of contamination and allows the characterization suspected exoplanets discovered by the Kepler, K2, and TESS transit surveys. These observations confirm small, rocky planets like TRAPPIST-1 and constrain exoplanet radii and density. Observing in multiple wavelengths further characterizes observed systems, confirming which star the exoplanet orbits in blended systems. Some of the developments leading to this technique will be discussed, along with recent significant papers, ongoing speckle imaging programs, and prospects for the future.