The PhD thesis in Physics Cycle XXXII entitled “Exoplanetary Atmospheres at High Spectral Resolution” by Gloria Guilluy, research fellow at the Astrophysical Observatory of Turin, was judged to be worthy of the Tacchini Prize.
The focus of the thesis has been on the atmospheric characterization of close-in extrasolar planets at near-infrared wavelengths. In particular, the thesis work focused on (1) molecular detections in the atmosphere of transiting and non-transiting planets through the high and low transmission and emission spectroscopy technique; (2) the detection of evaporation diagnostics (i.e., the He I triplet at ~1083 nm); (3) the setting-up of a framework to analyze simultaneously the high- and low-spectra in the near-infrared.
The atomic and molecular composition of exoplanetary atmospheres is an important tracer of the chemical composition of the planet’s location formation and migration path. Thanks to data collected with the high resolution GIANO spectrograph mounted at the Galileo National Telescope, Gloria together with her team obtained several results that are reported in this thesis work. More precisely, the detection of water and helium in the atmosphere of HD189733b, methane in the planet Hd102195b and six molecules (H2O, CO, NH3, HCN, CH4, C2H2) in HD209458b.
The Selection Board justified the award of the prize to this thesis work the following words: ’’The candidate has worked on the front line to develop data analysis techniques at high spectral resolution, contributing to the advancement of knowledge in the Exoplanetary field […] “.