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Wednesday, June 12, 2024
4:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Cahill, Hameetman Auditorium


Characterizing Atmospheres of Transiting Exoplanets with JWST
Thomas Greene, Astrophysicist, Space Science and Astrobiology Division, NASA Ames Research Center,

JWST observations are revealing the chemical compositions and inner workings of exoplanet atmospheres. I will show some initial results, highlighting JWST MANATEE guaranteed time observations of transiting planets ranging from Earth-to-Saturn masses with equilibrium temperatures of 400 - 1000 K. These include the discovery that the Earth-sized planet TRAPPIST-1 b has no substantial atmosphere, a high-confidence detection of CH4 (methane) in a transiting planet, using molecular features and clouds to constrain the core and internal heat of a Neptune-mass planet, the compositions of mini-Neptune planets (unlike any in our Solar System), spatial inhomogeneities on planets' day and night sides, and constraining planet formation pathways. I will also present some lessons learned from analysis and modeling of panchromatic visible-to-mid-infrared exoplanet spectra.

For more information, please contact Jim Fuller by email at [email protected] or visit