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Center for Astrophysics Research and Technologies Seminar Series Information


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A Probe of the Limits of Planet Formation by Finding the Frequency of Tatooines

Thursday November 10, 2022
2:00 pm

 Presenter:  Dominic Oddo (UNM)
 Series:  Center for Astrophysics Research and Technologies Seminar Series
 Abstract:  Circumbinary planets (CBPs) - those that orbit outside of both components of a stellar binary - represent a special population of exoplanets which test the extremes of planet formation. Indeed, there are many mysteries which are yet to be addressed regarding CBP formation and evolution, including reliably explaining how these planets form. The ~ dozen CBPs discovered to date have been illuminating in regards to their aggregate behavior, but finding more of these planets will be informative to the limits of planet formation, the extremes of planetary system architectures, and the potential for habitability in a variety of environments quite dissimilar from our own. I propose a search for transiting CBPs in Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) mission data to answer valuable questions about this interesting population. We will search for these planets by examining the light curves of the hundreds of thousands of EBs observed by TESS, searching for transit signals, vetting these signals, and conducting followup observations of systems we discover to verify them as real and constrain their properties. Prior to this, I completed entirely different exploratory research which sought to characterize a set of planets which were discovered by TESS and subsequently observed by the CHaraterizing ExOPlanet Satellite (CHEOPS) mission. While a three times increase in primary mirror size should mean that one CHEOPS transit yields an equivalent model uncertainty in transit depth as about nine TESS transits under ideal conditions, we found that our CHEOPS transits typically yield uncertainties equivalent to between 2 and 12 TESS transits, averaging 5.9 equivalent transits. Therefore, we found that while our model fits to CHEOPS transits provide overall lower uncertainties on transit depth and better precision relative to fits to TESS transits, our uncertainties for these fits do not always match expected predictions given photon-limited noise. In this talk, I will describe both of these projects as they relate to my own academic journey.
 Host:  Gregory Taylor
 Location:  PAIS-3205, PAIS

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