Marie-Eve’s thesis goal is to detect and characterize planetary-mass companions through direct imaging. With the Gemini South telescope, she carried two observation programs to search for such companions around K- and M-type stars recently identified by iREx members as probable members of young associations.
Then, the results of these observations is used to determine the frequency of planetary-mass companions at large separation from low-mass stars. Although there are probably very few such objects, they are very interesting, since they help understand both exoplanets of similar mass, often very difficult to study because they are much closer to their host stars, and brown dwarfs in the field, which are at the same temperature but much older.
For her master’s thesis (2008-2010), under the supervision of Robert Lamontagne and François Wesemael, Marie-Eve also worked on detecting indicators of habitability and biomarkers in Earth’s spatially unresolved spectra, obtained by observing the diffuse Earthshine from the Moon with the Observatoire du Mont-Mégantic telescope. The spectrum of the Earth, the only inhabited planet known, is the best tool to better understand and interpret the spectra of Earth-like exoplanets that will be obtained with future instruments.
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