Planetary and exoplanetary Lunch Seminar (PALS) for 2024-04-15

Series: Planetary and exoplanetary Lunch Seminar (PALS)
Date: Monday 15-Apr-2024
Time: 11:15 am - 12:15 pm
Location: ATL 1250 and Zoom (contact host Matt Nixon for link)
Speaker: Aarynn Carter (Space Telescope Science Institute)
Title: First Steps into the Era of Exoplanet Imaging with JWST

Abstract: The first two years of JWST operations have demonstrated significant potential for the direct imaging and characterization of exoplanets and their host environments. The exquisite stability and sensitivity of the telescope have enabled us to push through previous limits of ground-based observations, which had historically constrained us to the investigation of ~1000K super-Jupiter mass exoplanets and their brown dwarf analogues. With careful target selection, JWST can probe for ~300K exoplanets, with masses as low as that of Neptune, at ~10 au separations. The detection of these objects spotlights a potential legacy of JWST characterization observations, through which we may understand the physics, chemistry, and structures of cool, low-gravity atmospheres, with energy budgets dominated by their internal heat. In some cases, these objects will represent close analogues to our own Solar System gas giants, at both Myr and Gyr timescales. Entering this unobserved parameter space will also supply our first constraints on the demographics of wide-separation sub-Jupiters. These measurements will help us place our own Solar System in a galactic context, but also inform our understanding of the nature of debris disk structure, and the formation and evolution of gas giant exoplanets. In this talk, I will present a sample of pathfinder observations that have already exercised JWST’s imaging potential, and the insights that they have provided. Additionally, I will describe a selection of approved JWST exoplanet imaging surveys, which are mere months away from taking their first observations, and will likely define the future of JWST exoplanet imaging.

If you have any questions, contact the PALS hosts: Jacob Kloos (small bodies) and Matt Nixon (exoplanets).


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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