Molecule mapping of hot young gas giants

Monday 2 July, 17:00

To directly detect an Earth-like planet in the habitable zone of a Sun-like star, a contrast of 1E-10 needs to be achieved. We have proposed to combine high-contrast direct-imaging and high dispersion spectroscopy to reach this contrast on an ELT (Snellen et. al, 2015). This needs a high-dispersion, AO assisted integral-field spectrograph. The planet is distinguished from the stellar PSF by spatially resolving it, and by simultaneously cross-correlating with a model spectrum. We call this method "Molecule Mapping", and have shown that with existing instruments this technique already provides significant potential: In archival SINFONI (VLT) K-band IFU spectra of beta-Pic b we detected H2O and CO at high significance, while ruling out methane and ammonia (Hoeijmakers et al 2018, submitted). We also show that it is able to simultaneously discover a companion and perform a spectroscopic characterization using a spatial map of the cross-correlation function. Our work gives a new impulse to the development of METIS and HARMONI at the E-ELT, which will be perfectly suited for these kinds of studies. In this talk I will present the results of our latest application of this method to newly observed targets with SINFONI.

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