Research

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Research Summary
2017 January

My research focuses on the low-mass stars that host the bulk of the planets in our universe. In particular, I seek to observationally constrain what kind of environment these stars provide for the planets they host. At the moment, I am focusing on the flares of these stars. These flares impact planets through two media: high energy photons and ejected particles. For photons, we have direct measurements from the MUSCLES program, so I am using those measurements as the basis for investigating the effect of such flares on the diffusion limited escape of hydrogen from planetary atmospheres. Particles, on the other hand, are presently unconstrained, yet they are likely more important than photons in modifying and eroding atmospheres. I am exploring observational techniques that might allow us to place the first ever constraints on the magnitude of particle events associated with  flares from low mass stars.

More broadly, my research interests include

  • Stellar flares and their impact on exoplanetary atmospheres
  • Habitability of planets orbiting low-mass stars
  • Detection and characterization of exoplanets
  • Statistical methods and data processing for photon-level datasets
  • Direct imaging and detection of exoplanetary systems

(NOTE: I use the “pen name” R. O. Parke Loyd. This often causes research databases to mistakenly take Parke Loyd rather than Loyd as my last name.)