Large Radial Velocity Searches and Chemical Abundance Studies of Exoplanet-Hosting Stars
Mack, Claude Ernest III
In the era of large-scale surveys for exoplanets, it is important to be aware of the pernicious false positives that can contaminate survey samples. In this dissertation, it is shown that all radial velocity surveys for detecting exoplanets must be vigilant for systems with massive bodies that are on orbits with very high eccentricities and long periods, because these systems can masquerade as much less massive systems for large fractions of their orbits. In addition to avoiding false positives, it is becoming increasingly necessary to winnow the list of target stars down to those stars that are most likely to host Earth-like planets. In this dissertation, it is shown that there is evidence that there are chemical signatures in a star's spectrum that could tell one how likely the star is to host an Earth-like planet.