Prashansa Gupta

Ms. Prashansa Gupta completed her BS-MS Dual Degree (5 Year) from Indian Institute of Science Education and Research and worked as a Junior Research Fellow in the same institute in conjunction with her master thesis project. She has worked in multiple projects but her most recent and on-going work includes Young Scientist Program at Blue Marble Space Institute of Science, where she is working on a project that is to be published within the next three months.

As a part of the BS-MS dual degree, Prashansa has had a comprehensive training in physics with nearly 20 theory and 10 laboratory courses in physics related areas. The dual degree program requires students to take a number of courses in mathematics, chemistry, biology and physics, irrespective of which subject they major in. Through the five year program, Prashansa has followed her interests in general areas of astronomy and astrophysics by doing additional reading and projects. She has learned the general theory of relativity in her summer project in 2013, and then taken a course on the same subject.  

She also did a summer project during May-July 2014 on Atmosphere of exo-planets with Prof. Sujan Sengupta (IIA, Bangalore). She did a project on proper motions of stars during summer 2015 at Heidelberg. She has also done a winter project (Dec.2012) on use of neural networks in astronomy. Her first summer project was with me and she learned about the transit of Venus and went on to study how exo-planets are discovered using transits. As a part of this project, she also managed viewing of the transit of Venus for a number of people at IISER Mohali while I was taking care of another location. The project done in summer 2015 is likely to lead to a publication.

Relevance to TEPS

Prashansa Gupta is working on a PhD research project that will result in the first two-dimensional spectroscopic maps of planets outside our solar system. These maps will transform these exoplanets from simple emitting point sources into complex worlds, for which we can study the atmosphere processes similar to the solar system planets. Prashansa will first extend the ExoTEP framework (Benneke et al. 2017; Wong et al. 2017) to obtain spectrophotometric maps from secondary eclipse observations. She will then apply the framework to two unique photometric light curves of the hot Jupiter WASP-33b taken by the Spitzer Space Telescope and provided by Björn Benneke. Due to WASP-33b extremely strong emission temperature, the WASP-33b light curves will provide the highest SNR eclipse curves available to date. We will then explore exactly what details of the 2D spectrophotometric surface we can recover with the NIRISS GTO program based on a simulated training data sets generated with the SCARLET atmosphere model (Benneke & Seager 2012, 2013; Benneke 2015). Quantitatively understanding what information about the planet’s surface can be recovered will be critical for the NIRISS GTO team to understand the potential of the GTO program and to propose for additional JWST GO time in Feb 2018. Finally, we will generate the first two-dimensional spectroscopic maps of planets outside our solar system using our approved NIRISS GTO program.