Exoplanets in the SHREK Era
Fri, March 04, 2016
Earth-size exoplanets and their slightly larger ‘super-Earth’ cousins are the most abundant planets orbiting close to Sun-like stars. These planets have diverse physical compositions, unusual atmospheres, and poorly understood origins. My talk will start by tracing the discovery and early characterization of these small worlds. I will then focus on SHREK, a Doppler spectrometer in development for Keck Observatory. SHREK will measure the mass distribution of cool, Earth-size planets discovered by Kepler to determine whether they are commonly rocky or gas-dominated. SHREK will also be a powerful probe of the diversity of planets from TESS, will discover and characterize planets to be observed by JWST and WFIRST, and will be a workhorse high-resolution spectrometer for the Keck community.