Vincent Bourrier (Observatoire de Genève)
Thursday February 16th - 11am
IPAG Seminar Room - IPAG
Observations of exoplanets during the transit of their host star allow us to probe the structure and composition of their atmospheres. While visible and infrared wavelengths give access to low altitudes in the planetary atmosphere, space-borne ultraviolet observations can reveal the highest atmospheric layers. Transit observations of strongly irradiated gaseous giants led to the detection of ‘evaporation’, when massive amounts of gas escape from the planet and form an extended exosphere shaped by interactions with the star. Recently, the observation of a giant hydrogen exosphere around a warm Neptune showed that much larger atmospheric signals can be retrieved from the upper atmosphere of moderately irradiated, lower-mass planets. This opens thrilling perspectives for the characterization of the many small planets that will be discovered in the coming decade, especially around M-dwarfs, by missions like TESS and PLATO.
In this seminar, I will review the main results that were obtained from the observations and modeling of giant planets’ upper atmospheres, and I will show how such observations can help us to understand the nature, the formation and evolution of smaller exoplanets.
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