Jonas Sauter (Germany)
sauter @ mpia.de
Thermal infrared studies of exoplanets with the VLT and ELT
Embarking on the frontier of astronomy, my research within the realm of next-generation 30m telescopes, particularly the Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) and its Mid-infrared ELT Imager (METIS), opens doors to unprecedented exploration of exoplanets - celestial bodies beyond our solar system, ranging from Earth-like worlds to those with diverse and unique characteristics.
METIS, armed with cutting-edge technologies, facilitates the measurement of orbital parameters, internal structures, temperature profiles, and atmospheric composition of a wide range of exoplanets. This inclusive approach allows us to study the rich tapestry of exoplanetary systems, unraveling the diversity that exists among these distant worlds.
However, the Earth's atmosphere, marked by its thermal emissions and turbulence, presents a formidable hurdle for ground-based exoplanet astronomy in the thermal infrared. In the nascent stages of my doctoral research, I undertake a dual-pronged approach. On one front, I meticulously characterize the atmosphere's thermal background using innovative correction strategies, actively leveraging archive observations from the Very Large Telescope (VLT). Simultaneously, I delve into the practical intricacies of assembling and calibrating the wavefront sensor for METIS Adaptive Optics (AO). The AO aims to counteract wavefront deformations induced by atmospheric turbulence. Together, these complementary endeavors contribute synergistically to enhancing METIS’s capabilities, paving the way to unveil the secrets concealed within the vast exoplanetary realms.
Supervisor: Wolfgang Brandner (MPIA)