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Blogs by Center for Exoplanet & Habitable World Members

Habitable Zone Planet Finder Team

  • HPF Commissioning: A New Standard in the Near Infrared
    We’ve been quiet… Our last post, made about a year ago, shared our excitement at having delivered HPF to its permanent home on HET, and recording the instrument’s first data.  Since then, we have been busy doing the hard work … Continue reading →
  • The HPF Astro-Comb
    After beginning operations earlier this year, HPF continues to patiently watch for the subtle Doppler shifting of stellar spectra that hints at the back-and-forth tug of orbiting exoplanets. As described in previous blog posts, HPF records spectra on a detector … Continue reading →
  • HPF Goes On Sky!
    Introduction Things have been quiet here on the HPF blog for the last few months, but that has certainly not been the case in our lab!  Our team has been working diligently, making the final push to deliver HPF to … Continue reading →
  • The Camera of HPF
    Introduction: Spectrometer Cameras A spectrometer, as the name implies, records a ‘spectrum’ of an object. This spectrum, in its most basic form, is just a series of images of the instrument entrance aperture (whether it be a star, slit, optical … Continue reading →
  • Stellar Activity in the Near-Infrared: We Need a New Ruler!
    Introduction We talk about stellar activity a lot on this blog.  Once HPF gets on sky, radial velocity noise from stellar activity will likely be the biggest impediment to finding exoplanets.  Thus, if we want HPF’s chief scientific mission of … Continue reading →

NEID Spectrograph Team

  • NEID has shipped for WIYN!
    This morning the first truck left from Penn State for WIYN university. This truck along with NEID also contains the etalon and the calibration bench for the system. It was surely a nerve wracking few bits when the entire instrument … Continue reading →
  • Successful Pre-Ship Review!
    NEID successfully passed its Pre Ship Review, held on the 17th and 18th of September 2019, at the Penn Stater Hotel & Conference Center. Time to ship to WIYN!  
  • Alignment, Integration and Verification (AI&V) has begun!
    After many months of careful coating and testing, all of NEID’s optical components have arrived safely at Penn State. For the instrument team, this means it’s go time. We’ve begun the process of adding optics to the instrument while our … Continue reading →
  • The NEID spectrograph – Optical Fiber Train
    Optical fibers are thin waveguides made of glass and are used for transportation of light. Widely used in the telecommunication industry, in the 1980s they started to be used in astronomy to couple light from the telescope focus to highly … Continue reading →
  • Under Construction Already!
    It has been a busy summer for NEID and its team.  Now that the project has officially started, there are many tasks that must be done in a short amount of time.  Plans must be made, parts must be ordered, … Continue reading →

Jason Wright: AstroWright

  • Doing SETI Better
    One of the reasons SETI is hard is that we don’t know exactly what we are looking for, and part of that difficulty is that we still aren’t sure of who we are.  It seems counter-intuitive, but in order to be good at looking for aliens, we have to become experts at understanding ourselves. Looking […]
  • Primer on Precise Radial Velocities
    Objects in space are specified by their Right Ascension, Declination, and distance.  The first two are easily measured, usually to better than a part in a million; the last is notoriously tricky to measure, sometimes uncertain to an order of magnitude. The time derivatives of these quantities are the reverse: proper motions are unmeasured for most […]
  • Schelling Points in SETI
    How do you find someone who is also looking for you if you can’t communicate with them? I was reading the Wikipedia article on the water hole concept in SETI, and saw under “see also” the entry “Schelling point“. Investigating led me to a fascinating bit of history. Thomas Schelling is a heterodox economist and foreign policy […]
  • Star-Planet Interactions, and Jupiter Analogs
    Waaaaay back in 2015 the International Astronomical Union held its General Assembly in Honolulu. I went and gave a review talk on star-planet interactions at a Focus Meeting. One nice thing (in the long run) about these Focus Meetings is that they generate proceedings that get published. It’s sort of old-fashioned now, but it’s still […]
  • Tabby doing a Q&A on the WTF star on Twitter
    Tabby just did a 20-questions-and-answers thing on Twitter.  I found it hard to read the whole thread, so I’ve compiled it here.  Enjoy! @lsu @Kervanderv A1: The dip lasted 5 days but now we're back to normal. #TabbysStar — Tabetha Boyajian (@tsboyajian) May 26, 2017 @lsu @Bharat_J25 A2: This is the latest light curve up […]

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