Three fundamental barriers currently limit our understanding of exoplanet atmospheres. High contrast from exoplanet host stars, stellar contamination in transmission spectroscopy, and the high dimensionality of atmospheric retrievals all ultimately hamper investigations of exoplanetary habitability. In this talk I quantify the size of the confounding effects and show experimental progress we have made in overcoming these challenges. Our solutions employ probabilistic spectral inference to account for inherent degeneracies in extracting weak signals from astronomical spectra.
This 25 minute talk was given remotely at the weekly "Stars, Planets, and ISM Seminar" at The University of Texas at Austin Department of Astronomy on October 7, 2020. A screencast recording exists and may be made available upon request.