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Astrophysics Colloquium

In Search of Sunset on Alien Worlds
Presented by Zach Berta-Thompson
Center for Astrophysics and Space Astronomy, University of Colorado Boulder

Thursday, February 8, 2018
11:00 A.M. in 169-336

Astronomers now have access to a population of thousands of known transiting exoplanets, including planets from much more diverse environments than those represented in our own Solar System. These new systems can serve as astrophysical laboratories for exploring how planetary atmospheres work, especially if we can make spectroscopic measurements of their atmospheric composition and dynamics. However, it is only a subset of known planets that are close enough and sufficiently large compared to their stars for such spectroscopic characterization to be feasible; for temperate terrestrial planets, this means they must transit nearby, small M dwarfs. I will demonstrate the important role ground-based surveys have played in identifying nearby M dwarf planets, and how the upcoming TESS mission (launching March 2018!) will significantly expand this population. Furthermore, I will present ongoing work to learn how to take better advantage of large-aperture, ground-based telescopes for exoplanet characterization in the TESS era.

JPL Contact: Renyu Hu (4-6090)

SVCP Astrophysics

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