The Increasing Complexity Of Exoplanet Atmospheres (speaker: Emily Rauscher, University Of Michigan)

Tuesday May 3, 2016 4:00 pm
Marlar Lounge (37-252)

We are now in the era of exoplanet characterization.  Over a decade ago the first exoplanet atmosphere was detected and since then we have been gathering compositional and temperature information for the brightest targets, primarily “hot Jupiters”.  Recent technical advances are enabling measurements that contain more complex information about exoplanet physical properties; however, that additional complexity also makes interpretation of the data more difficult.  I will discuss the extra boons and challenges that come with these newer measurements, and present my own work on using three-dimensional atmospheric circulation models to guide and interpret current and near-future observations.  In particular, I will show how we can combine different types of measurements in order to robustly measure, or at least constrain, exoplanet physical properties such as: wind speeds, magnetic field strengths, rotation rates, or obliquities.  As missions such as TESS identify more bright targets for atmospheric characterization, we will be able to apply these techniques to planets beyond hot Jupiters, in our inevitable march toward identifying potentially habitable worlds.

Host:  Sarah Ballard