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Spectroscopy of Planetary Systems with Space-based Telescopes

Edwards, Billy Nelson; (2020) Spectroscopy of Planetary Systems with Space-based Telescopes. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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In the next decade, the field of exoplanetary science will be revolutionised by space-based instruments which are specifically designed for transit and eclipse spectroscopy. Current instruments provide low resolution data which has a low signal to noise ratio (SNR) over a narrow wavelength range. Upcoming missions JWST, Twinkle and Ariel will deliver broad spectral coverage, with a higher resolution and SNR, allowing for the atmospheres of hundreds of exoplanets to be probed. These missions will move the exoplanet field from an era of detection into one of characterisation, allowing for the identification of the molecular species present and their chemical profile, insights into the atmospheric temperature profile, and the detection and characterisation of clouds. However, to maximise the science gain of these missions, much preparatory work must be completed. Simulating the expected performance is fundamental as it allows for the capability of the instrumentation to be understood. Studies can then be undertaken to access the potential impact of the mission and explore possible degeneracies or biases that may arise when fitting the simulated data. These pre-emptive studies are crucial in ensuring that, when the mission is flying, the data collected is analysed in a suitable manner. The nature of these observations necessitates caution as they will be of a far higher quality than current data, invalidating the assumptions and simplifications currently made during fitting, and will undoubtedly lead to serendipitous results. In the publication of these, we must be sure that the anomalous result is due to the exotic nature of the object studied, not errors within the data reduction or analysis. This thesis presents an overview of current data, discusses the creation of simulators for upcoming missions along with applications of these models, and describes a project to engage high-school students and citizen astronomers in exoplanet science.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Spectroscopy of Planetary Systems with Space-based Telescopes
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2020. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Physics and Astronomy
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10089979
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