Planetary and exoplanetary Astronomy Lunch Seminar (PALS) for 2020-03-30

Series: Planetary and exoplanetary Astronomy Lunch Seminar (PALS)
Date: Monday 30-Mar-2020
Time: 11:15-12:15
Location: Zoom
Speaker: Laurent Pueyo (STScI)
Title: Collecting direct observational cues of the formation and evolution of giant planets

Self-luminous, wide separation, young sub-stellar objects (aka, “directly imaged planets”) form a critical subset of the low mass ratio binary population for which it is possible to determine atmospheric properties from thermal emission. Their locus in the age vs mass vs semi-major axis parameter space makes them the perfect laboratory to study the boundary between giant planet and stellar binary formation. Theoretical predictions posit these two processes yield significantly different atmospheric compositions, mass distribution, and overall orbital architectures. Orbital arcs are readily available with direct imaging observations, and signatures of chemical composition can in principle be observed via the emergent spectra. I will first review past and ongoing efforts (such as the Gemini Planet Imager Exoplanet Survey) aimed at securing these observables. I will explain the scientific motivation underlying these projects, discuss some of their technical challenges and highlight key recent results. I will then focus on current limitations and present a near future roadmap based on a combination of coarse observations of large samples of stars with HST and exquisite interferometric observations of the most promising sources.

For further information contact PALS coordinator Dr. Lori Feaga at or (301)-405-1383.


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.

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