Wednesday, October 03, 2018
4:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Cahill, Hameetman Auditorium

Astronomy Colloquium

The Terrestrial Planets of Other Stars
David Charbonneau, Harvard,

For the next decade, the only opportunity to study the atmospheres of terrestrial exoplanets will be scrutinize these worlds when they transit nearby small stars. There are 417 mid-to-late M-dwarfs within 15 parsecs, yet we know surprisingly little about them, let alone their attendant planets. I will discuss recent findings from the MEarth Project and TESS Mission, which seek to discover the most spectroscopically accessible terrestrial exoplanets. Our recent discovery of a several rocky worlds transiting the nearby small star LHS1140 provides an unprecedented opportunity to detect the molecules present in the atmosphere of a terrestrial exoplanet. In our planetary quest, MEarth observations have sharpened our understanding of the evolution of these low-mass stars, and hence the stellar environment in which these planets may wither or thrive.

For more information, please contact Althea E. Keith by phone at 626-395-4973 or by email at aek@astro.caltech.edu.