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The Impact of Stellar Surface Magnetoconvection and Oscillations on the Detection of Temperate, Earth-Mass Planets Around Sun-Like Stars

by H. M. Cegla
Observatoire de Genève, Université de Genève, 51 Chemin des Maillettes, 1290 Versoix, Switzerland
CHEOPS Fellow.
Geosciences 2019, 9(3), 114;
Received: 17 December 2018 / Revised: 16 January 2019 / Accepted: 17 January 2019 / Published: 4 March 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Detection and Characterization of Extrasolar Planets)
Detecting and confirming terrestrial planets is incredibly difficult due to their tiny size and mass relative to Sun-like host stars. However, recent instrumental advancements are making the detection of Earth-like exoplanets technologically feasible. For example, Kepler and TESS photometric precision means we can identify Earth-sized candidates (and PLATO in the future will add many long-period candidates to the list), while spectrographs such as ESPRESSO and EXPRES (with an aimed radial velocity precision [RV] near 10 cm s 1 ) mean we will soon reach the instrumental precision required to confirm Earth-mass planets in the habitable zones of Sun-like stars. However, many astrophysical phenomena on the surfaces of these host stars can imprint signatures on the stellar absorption lines used to detect the Doppler wobble induced by planetary companions. The result is stellar-induced spurious RV shifts that can mask or mimic planet signals. This review provides a brief overview of how stellar surface magnetoconvection and oscillations can impact low-mass planet confirmation and the best-tested strategies to overcome this astrophysical noise. These noise reduction strategies originate from a combination of empirical motivation and a theoretical understanding of the underlying physics. The most recent predications indicate that stellar oscillations for Sun-like stars may be averaged out with tailored exposure times, while granulation may need to be disentangled by inspecting its imprint on the stellar line profile shapes. Overall, the literature suggests that Earth-analog detection should be possible, with the correct observing strategy and sufficient data collection. View Full-Text
Keywords: stellar oscillations; magnetoconvection; exoplanets; radial velocity stellar oscillations; magnetoconvection; exoplanets; radial velocity
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Cegla, H.M. The Impact of Stellar Surface Magnetoconvection and Oscillations on the Detection of Temperate, Earth-Mass Planets Around Sun-Like Stars. Geosciences 2019, 9, 114.

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