EXPERIMENTAL AND THEORETICAL STUDY OF VAPOR PHASE SPECIES ABOVE HOT ROCKY EXOPLANET ANALOGUES
With the James Webb Space Telescope and other space based missions launching in the next few years, the astrophysics community awaits an exciting time. This work is an answer to a call for the laboratory contributions necessary to analyze the data of unprecedented accuracy. We performed a laboratory analysis of an analogue of a hot super earth atmosphere. This type of an extra solar planet, has a rocky composition and has extremely high temperature (from 1500°C – 5000°C). We performed infrared spectroscopy on the gas phase vapor above a mixture of two binary systems: SiO2 with Al2O3 and CaO with SiO2. It is a simplified system that is a representation of an atmosphere of an exoplanet of the specified type. The results are the identification of gaseous AlOSi – a radical that is possibly a constituent of an atmosphere along with an estimate of its opaqueness; first identification of three infrared lines of gaseous CaSiO3 – a salt that has not had an experimental infrared characterization. We hope these findings will aid the modelling of hot rocky planet’s atmospheres.
Dr. David Cornelison is Michal Bulak's research advisor. The thesis is presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for a Master of Science degree in Materials Science.