Institute for Astronomy

Astronomical Instrumentation PhD Projects

Research projects on offer in our Astronomical Instrumentation Group

Understanding the exoplanet observational capabilities of METIS-LMS

Paul Palmer, Alistair Glasse, and Ken Rice

The Mid-infrared ELT Imager and Spectrograph (METIS) is one of the first instruments planned for the Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) at the European Southern Observatory. It will provide unprecedented angular resolution and spectral resolution, and a high contrasting imaging capability (both with coronography) that collectively will help us investigate atmospheric properties of short- and long-period gas-dominated exoplanets and possibly temperate terrestrial exoplanets.  The UK Astronomy Technology Centre in Edinburgh is designing and building the LM-band high-resolution spectrometer (LMS) that covers the wavelength range 2.7-5.5 microns. METIS-LMS will play a key role in studying exoplanetary atmospheres. This project will develop existing instrument simulators to improve understanding of the exoplanet observational capabilities of METIS-LMS. In the first instance, you will develop a closed-loop simulation that connects a synthetic database of candidate atmospheres with the METIS-LMS instrument simulator and a retrieval code, e.g. the latest public release of Tau-Rex. These tools are relevant to interpreting JWST spectra so there is scope to apply them to data available via Early Release Science programs. Both aspects of the project represent cutting-edge contributions to the future interpretation of JWST and METIS data and our knowledge of exoplanetary atmospheres.