Colloquium: A New Exoplanet Imaging Spectrograph for Studying Planetary Processes

Feb 7, 2024, 4:00 pm5:15 pm
General Public (virtual)



Event Description

We know of thousands of planets that orbit stars beyond our solar system. However, only a handful of these exoplanets have been directly detected via imaging. In these rare and valuable cares, the light from directly imaged planets can be spectrally dispersed, allowing the study of planetary compositions and physical processes. I will describe a new instrument under construction for Keck Observatory that is optimized for both discovering and spectroscopically characterizing directly imaged exoplanets. The Slicer Combined with Array of Lenslets for Exoplanet Spectroscopy (SCALES) makes use of Keck's largest-in-the-world aperture, adaptive optics to correct turbulence in the Earth's atmosphere, coronagraphy to block starlight, and a cryogenic integral field spectroscopy to obtain infrared spectra of each pixel in an image. Once built, SCALES will enable the discovery of new classes of cold and embedded exoplanets and the detailed characterization of various planetary processes, including accretion, turbulent mixing and cloud physics.

Peter Dugan