Astronomy Colloquium for 2019-09-25

Series: Astronomy Colloquium
Date: Wednesday 25-Sep-2019
Time: 16:05-17:00 (4:05-5:00 pm)
Location: ATL 2400
Speaker: Dr. David Bennett (GSFC)
Title: All the Cool Planets Are Found by Microlensing

NASA's Kepler mission has led a revolution in our understanding of extrasolar planetary systems, and TESS is just beginning to find a wealth of nearby exoplanets that can be studied in detail by JWST. However, these missions are not sensitive to cooler planets that form beyond the snow line, where planet formation is thought to be most efficient. In fact, analogs of the planets in our own Solar System are invisible to these missions. The Astro2010 decadal survey selected the WFIRST exoplanet microlensing survey to fill this gap in our understanding of the cool planets using ~25% of the total WFIRST observing time. WFIRST will complement the exoplanet statistics from Kepler with sensitivity to planets below an Earth masses at separations ranging from the habitable zone of FGK stars to infinity (i.e. unbound planets). This demographic data will be crucial for the understanding of the planet formation process, including the delivery of water to planets in the habitable zone. I present recent results from ground based microlensing observations that challenge a key aspect of the core accretion theory, and I also present results from Keck adaptive optics and Hubble Space Telescope imaging that are being used to develop the exoplanet and host star mass measurement method that will be used by WFIRST.

Colloquia are usually preceded by espresso and ice cream at 1:45 pm outside room PSC 1150 and are followed by an informal reception at 5:15 pm in that room. Anyone interested in talking with the speaker, or being added to the colloquium announcement email list, should contact the colloquium organizer. Lunch will normally be reserved for the speaker to talk to graduate students. Anyone asking a question during a talk is asked to raise their hand and be acknowledged before speaking.

Colloquium Organizer: Prof. Richard Mushotzy


Special accommodations for individuals with disabilities can be made by calling (301) 405-3001. It would be appreciated if we are notified at least one week in advance.


Directions and information about parking can be found here.

This page was automatically generated on: 03-Sep-2019.