Research on planets around distant stars is thriving at UF. Observational studies include radial velocity planet searches (e.g., MARVELS and MINERVA), transit searches (NASA’s Kepler mission), transit follow-up observations, spectroscopic observations of planet host stars, and high-contrast imaging with adaptive optics and new coronagraph techniques. UF’s involvement in several exoplanet programs provides many opportunities for detailed observational and theoretical studies of individual planetary systems, as well as statistical analyses of exoplanet populations. Theoretical investigations include modeling planet formation, planet-disk interactions and the orbital interactions of multiple planet systems. UF astronomers are also developing the next-generation of instruments for studying extrasolar planetary systems (e.g., CanariCam for GTC, Florida IR Silicon immersion grating spectromeTer (FIRST), Infrared Exoplanet Tracker (IRET) and potentially small satellites for transit photometry).
Our faculty’s specialty are Mid-IR Characterization of Debris Disks (CanariCam at GTC, T-ReCS at Gemini-S), High-contrast Direct Imaging of Planets and Sub-stellar Companions (e.g., CanariCam at GTC, Palomar), Dispersed fixed-delay Interferometry for Doppler Planet Searches and characterization (MARVELS, EXPERT, LIJET), Characterization of Planets Identified by NASA’s Kepler mission and RV planets Characterization of Transiting Planets (GTC, Magellan, RHO, microsatellites), Multiple Planet Systems (Detection, Orbital Dynamics & Formation), Planet Formation Theory (Planet Scattering, Planet-Disk Interactions), Statistical & Computational Methods for Analyzing Exoplanet Observations, Astrometric Planet Searches (VLBA), Infrared spectroscopy of M dwarfs and young stars, Astrobiology: Towards Characterizing Earth-like Planets.