Tools

 

To support our quests of discovering, characterizing, and contextualizing new worlds, we develop and use a wide range of software and hardware. We showcase below some of the tools developed by our group and provide links to additional tools, including many essential ones developed by the community you will likely be interested in. Check them out!”

Softwares

tierra and tierraCrossSection are respectively developed to model the transmission spectrum of an exoplanet atmosphere and to generate opacity cross-sections following different sets of non-standard assumptions to test the sensitivity of atmospheric retrievals to opacity model imperfections. Both were first introduced in Niraula, de Wit, et al. 2022

AIME stands for Asteroid Interior Mapping from Encounters and provides a framework to constrain the density distribution of an asteroid from the changes in its angular velocity during a close encounter with another massive object. It also enables analyses for the retrieval performance sensitivity to different parameters to guide its future applications, notably via global ground-based followups. AIME was first introduced in Dinsmore & de Wit 2022

Observatories

ARTEMIS & SPECULOOS 

With a new telescope situated on a scenic plateau at the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) in Tenerife, Spain, planetary scientists now have an added way to search for Earth-sized exoplanets. Artemis, the first ground-based telescope of the SPECULOOS Northern Observatory (SNO), joins a network of 1-meter-class robotic telescopes as part of the SPECULOOS project (Search for habitable Planets EClipsing ULtra-cOOl Stars), which is led by Michael Gillon at the University of Liège in Belgium and carried out in collaboration with MIT’s Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences (EAPS) and several other institutions and financial supporters.

 

The other network telescopes that make up the SPECULOOS Southern Observatory — named Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto after the four Galilean moons of Jupiter — are up and running at the Paranal Observatory in Chile, busily scanning the skies for exoplanets in the Southern Hemisphere. Together, these SPECULOOS telescopes will look for terrestrial planets circling very faint, nearby stars, called ultra-cool dwarfs, and the new Artemis telescope will allow the research group to expand the search into the Northern Hemisphere skies.

 

Artemis was funded by the generous support of MIT donors Peter A. Gilman, the Heising-Simons Foundation, and Colin and Leslie Masson, with additional support from the Ministry of Higher Education of the Federation Wallonie-Bruxelles, and the Balzan Foundation.

 

Video credits: Daniel Lòpez, editor, producer, time lapse photography; drone photography courtesy ASTELCO, tau-tec GmbH/Michael Ruder; additional material courtesy NASA/JPL, ESO

View of Artemis dome with lighter night sky in background.
View of Artemis with starry sky in background.

Photo Credit: Daniel Padron