Uncertainty Estimation for High-Precision Exoplanet Photometry - PHYS 396 Undergraduate Research Project Application Form

Supervisor's Name: Nicolas Cowan

Supervisor's Email: nicolas.cowan [at] mcgill.ca

Supervisor's Phone: (514) 398-1967

Supervisor's Website: www.nickcowan.com

Supervisor's department: Physics

Course number: PHYS 396 (Physics)

Term: Fall 2014-2015

Project start date: Friday, September 16, 2015

Project end date: Monday, December 7, 2015

Project title: Uncertainty Estimation for High-Precision Exoplanet Photometry

Project description (50-100 words suggested): The instruments we use to study exoplanet atmospheres were not designed and calibrated to do this kind of work.  We therefore need to self-calibrate the data we acquire simultaneously with determining the astrophysical parameters of interest (planetary size, temperature, wind speed, etc). The technical cruxes are therefore devising a model of the detector behavior, and determining the most probable astrophysical parameters and their respective uncertainties. This project entails testing a variety of different detector models against simulated and real data from the Spitzer Space Telescope.

Prerequisite: 1 term completed at McGill + CGPA of 3.0 or higher; or permission of instructor.

Grading scheme (The final report must be worth at least 50% of final grade): 30% Punctuality, Email Responsiveness, etc. (Maturity); 20% Work Ethic; 50% Final Report

Project status: This project is taken; however students may contact the professor to discuss other possible '396' projects this term.

How students can apply / Next steps: Bring a printed copy of this application form and your advising transcript to me during office hours.

Ethics, safety, and training: Supervisors are responsible for the ethics and safety compliance of undergraduate students. This project involves NEITHER animal subjects, nor human subjects, nor biohazardous substances, nor radioactive materials, nor handling chemicals, nor using lasers.