Plavchan & collaborators taking mass measurements of TESS transiting candidate companions


Peter Plavchan, Assistant Professor, Physics and Astronomy, received $50,000 from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center for a project in which he and his collaborators will use the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility (IRTF) iSHELL spectrometer and the MINERVA-Australis observatory with the radial velocity (RV) technique to confirm and measure the masses of planets discovered by NASA’s TESS mission orbiting bright K and M dwarf host stars.

The researchers will make (mostly) two-minute cadence observations of confirmed and candidate planets identified in Cycle 1 that they are observing with iSHELL and MINERVA-Australis in order to confirm the candidates and to constrain bulk densities to inform the exoplanet mass-radius relation.

For AU Mic and its planetary system, the researchers propose a 20-second shared risk cadence to better time-resolve the frequent flares present.

Funding for this work began in December 2020 and will end in December 2021.


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