Rebecca Oppenheimer

American Museum of Natural History

Direct Imaging of Exoplanets

The study of planets orbiting other stars has been a hot topic in astronomy for some time now. The scientific questions that must be answered by this field are profound and simply fascinating, spanning astronomy, geology, atmospheric physics and perhaps eventually biology. Yet, we know so little about these planets because they are difficult to study spectroscopically. However, the limits on our abilities to study these "exoplanets" in detail are steadily being broken as several centers around the world work toward the highest contrast images ever made in any field of inquiry. I will describe our efforts at AMNH in exoplanet imaging and spectroscopy, while highlighting two of our main projects: an active search on going at Palomar, called Project 1640, and the Gemini Planet Imager.