Collaborative Research: The Gemini Planet Imager Exoplanet Survey

Project: Research project

Project Details


Collaborative Research: The Gemini Planet Imager Exoplanet Survey Collaborative Research: The Gemini Planet Imager Exoplanet Survey Draft Project Summary Detecting, characterizing, and modeling exoplanets are among the fastest-growing and highest- profile fields in current international astrophysics research. Thus far, over 800 exoplanets have been discovered, and their study has prompted enormous progress in our understanding of the diversity of planetary systems. The vast majority of these systems were detected with indirect techniques that are most sensitive to close orbit planets in exotic configurations unlike the Solar System, leaving unanswered the key scientific question: of how common are systems like the Solar System, with giant planets in wide orbits. With direct imaging, it is possible to investigate the frequency of planetary systems with an architecture similar to that of the Solar System by detecting Jupiter-like planets in orbits comparable to the location of the giant planets in the Solar System. The detection and characterization of a new population of wide orbit exoplanets is essential to obtain a full census of planetary systems and to provide crucial tests of planet formation and evolution theories. Directly imaged planets also present important systems for which the atmospheric properties can be characterized. With state-of-the-art extreme adaptive optics systems on the LBT and Gemini, this research project will expand the frontiers of exoplanet research by performing a direct imaging planet search around nearby intermediate mass stars and characterizing the atmospheres of the imaged planets and planetary mass brown dwarfs with multi-wavelength images and spectroscopy. The planet search component of the project is based on two highly complementary and approved large-scale campaigns the 890- hour GPIES (Gemini Planet Imager Exoplanet Survey) and the ~100night LEECH (LBTI Exozodi Exoplanet Common Hunt). The GPIES project will target the youngest (~10-250 Myr) nearby (D<~100pc) stars in the South and the LEECH Survey will target very nearby (D~25pc) older (~125-500 Myr) stars, providing an ideal combination to discover a new population of exoplanets and explore the evolution of the planetary atmospheres.
Effective start/end date8/15/142/29/20


  • National Science Foundation (NSF): $331,003.00


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