Dr. Seth Redfield (from Wesleyan University), "Transiting Exoplanets and the Age of Comparative Exoplanetology"
Time: 4-6 p.m.
Sponsored By: School of Science and Engineering
Location: Coykendall Science Building Auditorium
Contact: Dr. Julio J. Gonzalez, x3724, firstname.lastname@example.org
We are fortunate to have witnessed the first discoveries of planets around other stars. Such findings have given rise to a field that has grown tremendously in the last decade. Hopefully, in the not too distant future, we will witness the achievement of one of the fundamental goals in this field: the discovery of exo-Earths in the habitable zone around nearby stars, along with an evaluation of their atmospheres in search of signs of biological activity. In the meantime, the growing number of known close-in giant exoplanets (or "hot Jupiters") that transit their host stars provides an opportunity to probe the composition and structure of exoplanetary atmospheres, and to refine our observational techniques, as we prepare to perform these experiments on terrestrial exoplanets that have yet to be discovered. Seth Redfield, an Assistant Professor in the Astronomy Department of Wesleyan University, will give a summary of the status of exoplanet discovery and explain how planetary transit enables additional insight into the nature of an exoplanet and its atmosphere. He will discuss his research that led to the first ground-based detection of absorption due to an exoplanetary atmosphere, and present the most recent findings in a field that didn't exist even 15 years ago: Comparative Exoplanetology.