The Gemini Planet Imager and the GPI Exoplanet Survey

Wednesday, 16 November 2016 8 a.m. — 9 a.m. MST

AURA Lecture Hall

NOIRLab South Colloquia
BRUCE MACINTOSH (University of Stanford and Gemini South Visiting Astronomer)

The Gemini Planet Imager (GPI) was deployed on the Gemini South telescope in November 2013. Since then, it has been used for a variety of science missions, including the large scale Gemini Planet Imager Exoplanet Survey (GPIES). I will review the design of the instrument and its on-sky performance. The GPIES program has surveyed 50% of our target 600 stars, and I will discuss major science results, such as the low-mass cool planet 51 Erdidani b, debris disk observations, and preliminary statistical conclusions about planet frequency.

As part of GPIES, we have developed a automated data handling and analysis structure that produces reduced images and identifies planet candidates within 20 minutes of concluding an observation. We have also collected an extensive database connecting science sensitivity, AO telemetry, and observatory environmental information such as MASS seeing, allowing us to determine correlations between performance and conditions. I will discuss lessons learned about the instrument and its operation in Gemini, and plans for possible future upgrades.