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Searching for Molecular Absorption in Hot Jupiter Atmospheres using IGRINS at McDonald Observatory

Event Details

Event Dates: 

Friday, March 24, 2017 - 12:00pm

Seminar Location: 

  • JILA 10th Floor - Foothills Room

Speaker Name(s): 

Jessica Luna

Speaker Affiliation(s): 

Universty of Texas at Austin
Seminar Type/Subject

Scientific Seminar Type: 

  • Astrophysics Lunch Seminar

Event Details & Abstract: 


Ground-based detections of exoplanetary atmospheres is a difficult pursuit with current technology, and so far it has been mainly limited to transiting planets. Using the revolutionary new NIR spectrometer, IGRINS, we observed at high spectral resolution the dayside spectrum of the non-transiting exoplanet tau bootis b near superior conjunction on the Harlan J. Smith Telescope at McDonald Observatory. Following a novel analysis method adapted from recent studies, we are attempting to replicate past detection of CO while searching for other molecules in the IGRINS spectral range, such as water. This study demonstrates that an efficient spectrograph on a relatively small telescope can compete with studies at the biggest available ground telescopes, while being more flexible in terms of scheduling and total amount of telescope time per target. This could potentially extend high-resolution spectroscopy to smaller and cooler planets in the near future.