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Advances in Telescope and Detector Technologies - Impacts on the Study and Understanding of Binary Star and Exoplanet Systems
Guinan, Edward F.; Engle, Scott; Devinney, Edward J.
AA(Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics, Villanova University, Villanova, PA 19085, USA ), AB(Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics, Villanova University, Villanova, PA 19085, USA ), AC(Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics, Villanova University, Villanova, PA 19085, USA )
From Interacting Binaries to Exoplanets: Essential Modeling Tools, Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union. Edited by M. T. Richards and I. Hubeny, IAU Symposium, Volume 282, p. 11-20
Publication Date:
instrumentation: detectors, spectrographs, (stars:) binaries: eclipsing, planetary systems
Abstract Copyright:
(c) 2012: Copyright © International Astronomical Union 2012
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Current and planned telescope systems (both on the ground and in space) as well as new technologies will be discussed with emphasis on their impact on the studies of binary star and exoplanet systems. Although no telescopes or space missions are primarily designed to study binary stars (what a pity!), several are available (or will be shortly) to study exoplanet systems. Nonetheless those telescopes and instruments can also be powerful tools for studying binary and variable stars. For example, early microlensing missions (mid-1990s) such as EROS, MACHO and OGLE were initially designed for probing dark matter in the halos of galaxies but, serendipitously, these programs turned out to be a bonanza for the studies of eclipsing binaries and variable stars in the Magellanic Clouds and in the Galactic Bulge. A more recent example of this kind of serendipity is the Kepler Mission. Although Kepler was designed to discover exoplanet transits (and so far has been very successful, returning many planetary candidates), Kepler is turning out to be a ``stealth'' stellar astrophysics mission returning fundamentally important and new information on eclipsing binaries, variable stars and, in particular, providing a treasure trove of data of all types of pulsating stars suitable for detailed Asteroseismology studies. With this in mind, current and planned telescopes and networks, new instruments and techniques (including interferometers) are discussed that can play important roles in our understanding of both binary star and exoplanet systems. Recent advances in detectors (e.g. laser frequency comb spectrographs), telescope networks (both small and large - e.g. Super-WASP, HAT-net, RoboNet, Las Combres Observatory Global Telescope (LCOGT) Network), wide field (panoramic) telescope systems (e.g. Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) and Pan-Starrs), huge telescopes (e.g. the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT), the Overwhelming Large Telescope (OWL) and the Extremely Large Telescope (ELT)), and space missions, such as the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), the possible NASA Explorer Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS - recently approved for further study) and Gaia (due for launch during 2013) will all be discussed. Also highlighted are advances in interferometers (both on the ground and from space) and imaging now possible at sub-millimeter wavelengths from the Extremely Long Array (ELVA) and Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA). High precision Doppler spectroscopy, for example with HARPS, HIRES and more recently the Carnegie Planet Finder Spectrograph, are currently returning RVs typically better than ~2-m/s for some brighter exoplanet systems. But soon it should be possible to measure Doppler shifts as small as ~10-cm/s - sufficiently sensitive for detecting Earth-size planets. Also briefly discussed is the impact these instruments will have on the study of eclipsing binaries, along with future possibilities of utilizing methods from the emerging field of Astroinformatics, including: the Virtual Observatory (VO) and the possibilities of analyzing these huge datasets using Neural Network (NN) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies.

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