I wanted to use this blog post to clarify and distinguish my project from that of Brendan and Andrei. As many know, the three of us are working at the same internship with the same overall goal but each of us have a different approach or part of the project. The overall goal of our project is to assess where habitable planets could be around stars within 10 parsecs and prioritize, determine which stars are already known to harbor planets, and create a target list for a future telescope biosignature survey. The project was split into three sub-projects that complement each other to create a final product. Brendan is the theoretical astronomer, Andrei is the observational astronomer, and I’m the instrument scientist. I focus on, as many could extrapolate from my posts, the actual telescopes and their capabilities.
Brendan and Andrei do most of the actual programming since they are far better than me, seeing as how both took computer science while I did not. The target list were working on includes stars and exoplanets that were discovered using many different ground based and space telescopes that I’ve been researching, but 10 parsecs is not that big a range it’s only 1.88 x 10^14 miles, so as telescopes advance the farther astronomers can look for habitable planets. My research is what helps define the limits for our target list and the exoplanets and stars on that list. Monday/ Tuesday I’m gonna post a bit more on some of the limitations that current telescopes have and how far they can really see.