Almost a Decade of Speckle Observing at Gemini

Friday, 13 September 2019 2 p.m. — 3 p.m. MST

AURA Lecture Hall

NOIRLab South Colloquia
STEVE B. HOWELL (Space Science and Astrobiology Division, NASA Ames Research Center and Gemini South Visiting Astronomer)

Starting in July 2012 at Gemini-N, speckle interferometric observations began their renaissance. The combination of a single 8-m mirror, great native seeing, and EMCCDs have opened new windows of astronomical observation, leading to ground-breaking scientific results. The combination of speckle imaging and the Gemini telescopes provide the highest resolution imaging available today with any single telescope even those in space. Observations at Gemini have led to a detailed look at the first possibly earth-like habitable zone exoplanets, provided the highest resolution images of Pluto (until New Horizons), been used for validation and characterization of most exoplanet discoveries by Kepler, K2, and TESS, led to a re-examination of transiting exoplanet analysis, recently opened a new chapter for exoplanet research in binary host stars, as well as providing additional science when high-resolution and/or high-speed observations are required.  This talk will review the past 8 years of speckle observations at both Gemini telescopes, discuss some of the current research activities in exoplanet science, and give some hints for future work.