Here you may find information on the fellows of the PhD::SPACE Program that have selected a topic on the thematic line on Towards the detection and characterization of other Earths.
2016/B015 Fellow: Ruben H. M. Gonçalves (ongoing)
PhD Topic (2016/122): Planetary atmospheres – From Solar System to Exoplanets: Atmospheric Characterization and Search for Chemical Desequilibrium Compounds
High-resolution visible and infrared (in the CO2 transparency windows) spectroscopic capabilities to the Solar System planets opens a new window by accessing atmospheric composition, mixing ratios and isotopic ratios, in particular, the measurement of the spectral lines’ Doppler shifts allows the retrieval of wind velocities and thus contribute to constrain planetary circulation dynamics.
Solar System observations and data reduction techniques, besides their own relevance research sake, serve as a stepping-stone for the study of extrasolar planets. In this project we propose to use them as a starting point for the development and test of atmospheric characterization tools. In a second phase the fine-tuned protocols will be adapted and applied to exoplanetary targets in order to constrain their atmospheric composition. The research will be focused in the presence of chemical disequilibrium compounds.
Starting date: 2016/10/01
2016/B014 Fellow: Saeed Hojjatpanah (ongoing)
PhD Topic (2016/123): The Awakening of the ESPRESSO Planet-hunter: Finding a Twin of Earth
In 2018 the most anticipated planet-hunter machine will go online. From Paranal Observatory, the ESPRESSO spectrograph will be able to record with unprecedented precision the radial velocity of nearby stars. Its declared goal is clear: to find an Earth-mass planet inside the habitable zone around a star similar to our very own. The Institute of Astrophysics and Space Sciences (IA) has been behind the development of ESPRESSO since its inception, participating in the design and construction, and maximizing the scientific output of the spectrograph. As we enter this very last stage of the project, we have to put together the information we gathered on which stars are we more likely to detect earth-like planets, and define the final ESPRESSO catalog. The student will make use of data from two recently awarded ESO proposal datasets, on HARPS and UVES spectrographs, to pave the way to ESPRESSO and assist on the very first observations of the instrument. This will be done, specifically by studying the stellar granulation and activity signatures of our own star, the Sun, and by using high-resolution spectra to investigate the key stellar characteristics of the main planet-host candidates.
Starting date: 2016/10/01