Ian Crossfield (MPIA/Heidelberg) Thursday October 3rd - 11am Manuel Forestini Seminar Room - IPAG
Surveys for new extrasolar planets reveal that smaller planets with shorter periods occur more frequently than more massive planets located farther from their host stars. Mass and radius measurements alone typically cannot constrain these planets’ bulk internal composition, so many unanswered about their formation and evolution remain unanswered. Atmospheric studies offer the best hope for addressing these questions, but only a few of these smaller planets have been studied in sufficient detail to characterize their atmospheres. I will review the current understanding of these low-mass (< M_Neptune) planets, and highlight my recent work observing the "hot Uranus" GJ 3470b. Results to date suggest that clouds and hazes may be ubiquitous on such planets, which has important implications for future observations for future JWST observations of even smaller, cooler, and lower-mass planets.
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