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Identifying Faint Solar Calibrator Stars for use in Solar System Spectroscopy

Presentation #403.03 in the session Linking the Solar System and the Search for Life.

Published onJul 01, 2023
Identifying Faint Solar Calibrator Stars for use in Solar System Spectroscopy

Spectroscopic observations of stars with sun-like spectra are necessary to calibrate those of solid planetary objects in the Solar System. Normally solar twins and solar analogs are ideal in this role. While observations of very faint minor planets (V<23) are technically possible with current 8-10 m facilities and instruments operating at low wavelength resolution, the same setups are often impossible to use for observation of the required solar calibrators. Well characterized calibrator stars are typically too bright and often threaten to saturate even the shortest exposures. Unfortunately, simultaneously faint (V>9) and reliable solar calibrator stars are few and far between. I will report the progress of an ongoing multi-semester poor weather observing campaign, at both Gemini Observatory and Las Cumbres Observatory, that aims to compile the first large scale catalog of reliable solar calibrator stars with brightness 9<V<14. Identification of reliable faint solar calibrator stars will increase the practicality of observing faint minor planets with current large ground-based facilities, and can ensure accurate calibration of their spectra, particularly at near-UV/blue wavelengths. As new telescopes and instruments respectively increase in scale and sensitivity, it will become possible to observe ever smaller and more distant Solar System objects. In order for planetary spectroscopists to make the most of coming improvements in observatory technology, however, identifying, characterizing, and cataloguing reliable faint solar calibrator stars will be essential.

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