We are pleased to host “Multi-dimensional characterization of distant worlds: spectral retrieval and spatial mapping” at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor from October 15-19, 2018. This meeting is generously supported by the Michigan Institute for Research in Astrophysics.

The first two days will be spent learning about the nuances of retrieval in various contexts. Then we will spend the last three days working in groups to tackle some of the important problems we identify, with the goal of creating enough momentum that progress can continue after the workshop is over.

There is no registration cost. We will provide breakfast, coffee, and snacks on Monday and Tuesday, and a conference dinner on Tuesday. We will also provide hotel lodging for selected participants (check in on Sunday, check out on Friday). Participation is limited and applications are closed. There is a waitlist, but we do not expect to be able to accommodate those with late inquiries. 

Science Motivation

We stand on the brink of being able to create three-dimensional maps of the atmospheres of worlds beyond the Solar System. With vertical information accessed through spectra, horizontal information through rotational/orbital flux variation, and two-dimensional images through eclipse mapping, there are methods already in place to retrieve multi-dimensional atmospheric properties of exoplanets. Current state-of-the-art observations have started to combine vertical and horizontal information through spectroscopic orbital/rotational phase curve measurements. With the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope we will soon have the precision necessary to make exquisite spectral phase curve and eclipse mapping measurements of many planets and brown dwarfs, often in just a single pass for bright targets. In addition, with new spectrographs coming online at large ground-based telescopes, high-resolution Doppler spectroscopy will be an expanding method of characterization.

The challenge is that retrieval and inversion methods are nuanced all the way down. Mapping a planet one wavelength at a time is perilous, as is retrieving vertical information one location at at time. By bringing together experts on this topic for a conference and workshop days, we can help to prepare for—and maximize—the impactful results that will come from JWST and other facilities. We also hope that we can more generally share knowledge across fields (e.g. innovative data analysis techniques) and develop methods that may be more broadly useful to multiple types of retrieval.

Invited Speakers

  • Jo Barstow
  • Beth Biller
  • Jayne Birkby
  • Ian Dobbs-Dixon
  • Theodora Karalidi
  • Laura Kreidberg
  • Nikole Lewis
  • Cheng Li
  • Michael Line
  • Caroline Morley
  • David van Dyk