The past 25 years have revealed a diversity of exoplanets far beyond what was imagined from the limited sample in the Solar System. With new and upcoming observing facilities and a rapidly growing number of nearby planets, we are poised to bring this diversity into focus, with detailed follow-up characterization of the planets’ atmospheres. In this talk, I will discuss two frontier topics in exoplanet atmosphere studies: (1) what can we learn about giant planets’ origins from their present-day atmospheres? and (2) what can we learn about habitability from “Earth cousins”, planets that are a little bigger or a little hotter than the Earth? Finally, I will conclude with my outlook on the search for biosignatures in the atmospheres of potentially inhabited planets.
Host: George Ricker