Project/blog link:Exoplanet Exploration BASIS Advisor: Mrs. Buldis/Dr. Greenfield Internship location: U of Arizona Astronomy Dept.
Have you ever wondered if there were other planets that could harbor life, and if there were, how we would find them? Maybe you are interested in finding planets that already harbor life. As far as we know there are no planets in our solar system other than Earth that harbor life, which is why we’ll have to look for planets outside our solar system, also known as exoplanets. The goal of this project is to assess where habitable planets could be around stars within 10 parsecs (a unit of distance used in astronomy, equal to about 3.26 light years). Scientists at the Steward Observatory are working on different methods of finding new planets, some of which, hopefully, could harbor life. In my time there, I will focus my research on the telescope's capabilities and limitations in finding exoplanets. I will use different articles found on NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS) to learn about the different ways astronomers can detect exoplanets. I’ll be working with other Tucson North students as well, and we plan to co-produce a prioritized target list for future telescope biosignature surveys. Through this project I hope to get a better understanding of telescopes' limitations, and one day be able to help improve their capabilities in discovering planets.