Monday, September 21, 2015

ExTrA Itends to Detect Habitable Zone Terrestrial Exoplanets Around Nearby M Dwarfs

ExTrA: Exoplanets in Transit and their Atmospheres


Bonfils et al


The ExTrA facility, located at La Silla observatory, will consist of a near-infrared multi-object spectrograph fed by three 60-cm telescopes. ExTrA will add the spectroscopic resolution to the traditional differential photometry method. This shall enable the fine correction of color-dependent systematics that would otherwise hinder ground-based observations. With both this novel method and an infrared-enabled efficiency, ExTrA aims to find transiting telluric planets orbiting in the habitable zone of bright nearby M dwarfs. It shall have the versatility to do so by running its own independent survey and also by concurrently following-up on the space candidates unveiled by K2 and TESS. The exoplanets detected by ExTrA will be amenable to atmospheric characterisation with VLTs, JWST, and ELTs and could give our first peek into an exo-life laboratory.

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