My Newest Exoplanets Results

My current research focuses on using theoretical techniques to get the most out of data collected by the TESS mission. TESS is (even as you read this page!) discovering new planets and new system architectures, which will eventually be used to provide observational tests as we assemble of coherent theory of planet formation. Before that can happen, however, we must attempt to understand these systems as best we can with the limited quantity of data available, and determine which sources will be the most fruitful for future observational studies.

    For some of the newest results I’ve contributed to, take a look at the following papers:
  1. In Becker, Gallo et al. (2020), we use Swift UV and X-ray data of TRAPPIST-1 to measure its luminosity in those wavebands and constrain the likely ocean retention for its planets from those values using VPlanet. See the GitHub repository for this project.
  2. A TESS system (TOI-1130) containing a hot Jupiter with an interior companion: Huang, Quinn, Vanderburg, Becker et al. (2020)
  3. Stay tuned for several more exciting systems...

Other Projects

Another part of my reserach is taking older data sets and attempting to get the most out of them. Below, I discuss a few projects that used Kepler data and legacy California Planet Survey data to try and learn more about how exoplanets occur in systems.

Studying Multi-Planet Systems Towards Understanding the Kepler Dichotomy

Inspired by the large number of multi-planet systems discovered by Kepler, in Becker & Adams (2016), I used secular Laplace-Lagrange theory to find that self-interactions within Kepler multi-planet systems are not sufficient to perturb the multi-planet systems out of a transiting state. In Becker & Adams (2017a), we performed a Monte Carlo study of the effect of unseen perturbing bodies in these systems and determined the regimes in these systems where companions could reside. The goal was to derive insights about the stability of Kepler multi-planet systems. We found these systems may host additional planets and be fruitful targets for future study.

    See the papers and links related to this project:
  1. The first paper, where we examine the inclination evolution in the Kepler multi-planet sample: Becker & Adams (2016)
  2. The second paper, where we examine the effect of an unseen pertrubing planet on the known systems: Becker & Adams (2017)

Extracting Radial Velocities from A- and B-type Stars

One of the first projects I completed in astronomy, in this work I derived absolute radial velocities for B-type stars using calibration spectra from the California Planet Search. The spectra came from the HIRES echelle spectrograph on Keck. We were able to derive RVs with typically between 1.5 km/s - 3.5 km/s precision.

    See the papers and links related to this project:
  1. The original method where we present our method and results: Becker, Johnson et al. (2015)
  2. A blog post I wrote on this project
  3. A new paper in which I applied the results of this work to the KOI-964 system to aid the phase curve analysis of the system:Wong, Shporer, Becker et al. (2020)