Eric Agol Presents “Detecting and Characterizing Exoplanet Systems”

Prof. Eric Agol (U. of Washington) will present a special talk on Thursday (10/15) in Bloomberg 272 at 3:30: “Detecting and characterizing exoplanet systems.”

Abstract: The discovery of small planets orbiting other stars in abundance has led to the next challenge of characterizing them in detail. I will describe efforts to discover new planets, and to measure the masses of transiting planets, in the Kepler dataset. These masses are important for characterizing the bulk density of the exoplanets, which places constraints upon their internal compositions. In particular, `Habitable-zone’ exoplanets have yet to have measured masses and radii, although several candidates exist within the Kepler dataset. I will discuss recent theoretical work on transit timing variations, and the application to these Kepler-detected exoplanets.

I will end by describing a new idea for detecting the moon of a directly imaged exoplanet using future coronagraphic space telescopes, and how to use this to characterize the planet and moon.