A large star is on left with the illumination of an exoplanet shown on the right over a star background.

Projects

EXONEST – EXONEST is a MATLAB based software packages that uses Multinest to characterize exoplanets given photometric data. Users may choose what model(s) are applied to the data or create their own. Currently, EXONEST includes models for eccentric/circular orbits, transits and eclipses, basic reflected light, two models of thermal radiation, boosted light, and ellipsoidal variations. For more information, please see the release paper here.

Exoplanet Illumination – The light received by an exoplanet from their host star provides most of the energy for the exoplanet and affects temperature, climate, and how much light is reflected by the exoplanet. To correctly describe the foregoing, one must properly model the illumination of the exoplanet. This project is dedicated to describing the illumination as a function of position on the exoplanet, particularly for extremely close-in exoplanet for which the usual assumptions made by researchers do not apply.

Exoplanet Reflection– When a point on an exoplanet is illuminated by its host star, some of the light is absorbed and contributes toward heating of the exoplanet, and some is reflected. The amount of light reflected depends on many factors, but this project currently focuses on how changes to the illumination of the exoplanet influences the simplest models of reflection. Future work will consider more complicated reflection models, such as those that use albedo mapping.

Exoplanet Thermal Light – Objects that are very hot emit light in the form of thermal radiation and some exoplanets orbit close enough to their host stars that they are hot enough to do so noticeably. Instruments like the Kepler Space Telescope and the James Webb Space Telescope can detect this type of light. In this project, we seek to develop, incorporate, and test different methods of accounting for the thermal light of exoplanets.

Observational Astronomy at Susquehanna – Susquehanna University is home to several small and medium sized telescopes, and a few instruments. Unfortunately, the school was without a permanent astronomer for several years and the knowledge to use these tools was lost by the institution. The focus of this project is to relearn how to use the current equipment for educational and research purposes.

Miscellaneous Capstone Projects – Susquehanna University requires that each student complete a senior capstone project. The projects listed in this page do not fit into the other categories above and were mentored by Dr. Carter. They range from physics education to wind tunnel improvements.