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Center for Astrophysics Research and Technologies Seminar Series Information


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Finessing cold planets from TESS: Microlensing and Transiting methods

Thursday January 25, 2024
2:00 pm

 Presenter:  Mallory Harris (UNM)
 Series:  Center for Astrophysics Research and Technologies Seminar Series
 Abstract:  Over the past five years, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite has expanded the field of extrasolar planet detection through its discovering of countless transiting exoplanets around nearby bright stars. The vast majority of TESS’s confirmed planets (85%), however, have periods shorter than 20 days, with 92.5% of the M dwarf TESS planets existing in this parameter space. My work to date has been focused on finding planets beyond this period limit to eventually characterize and calculate the frequency of cold planets around low-mass stars. In this past year, one avenue which I explored was determining TESS's potential to probe cold planets through the recovery and detection of gravitational microlensing events. The microlensing detection method represents the best opportunity to find small and distant exoplanets to date, though it is currently responsible for <4% of confirmed planets. The upcoming NASA flagship mission, the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope, is anticipated to greatly increase this sample, yet TESS also has the potential to find these planets by both taking advantage of its short observing cadence and its elliptical orbit. I will present on my work in recovering several known microlensing events using TESS data as well as my ongoing research in analyzing and modeling TESS’s first potential microlensing planet candidate. I will also present on the status of my ongoing research in creating a pipeline to find colder planets transiting M dwarfs in TESS observations and relate both projects to my overarching goal of calculating the occurrence rates of cold planet orbiting low-mass stars.
 Location:  PAIS-3205, PAIS

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