Direct detection of extrasolar planets and the Gemini Planet Imager


Wednesday, September 17 2008 - 12:00 pm, PDT
Dr. Bruce Macintosh
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

The next frontier in the study of extrasolar planets is direct (imaging) detection of the planets themselves. Such direct detection is sensitive to planets inaccessible to current radial-velocity surveys and allows spectral characterization of the planets, shedding light on planet formation and the structure of other solar systems. We are constructing the Gemini Planet Imager, combining advanced adaptive optics, coronagraphy, and an integral field spectrograph/polarimeter to detect and characterize giant planets and circumstellar dust disks around nearby stars. Dr. Macintosh will present an overview of the science, design, and capabilities of this instrument and briefly discuss science possibilities for future observatories such as the Thirty Meter Telescope.

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