University of Minnesota
School of Physics & Astronomy

Physics and Astronomy Calendar

Friday, March 23rd 2018
Speaker: Dr. Jordan Stone, U. Arizona
Subject: Thermal Infrared Probes of Exoplanetary Systems with LBTI

Understanding the gas-giant planet formation process is confused by the fact that it appears multiple formation routes produce objects a few times the mass of Jupiter, where the low-mass tail of the stellar mass function and the high-mass tail of the planet mass function overlap. Distinguishing the formation route for particular objects is challenging but important to create the clean samples necessary to constrain both the planet formation process and the tail-end of the star/brown dwarf-formation process. In particular, constraining the disk-based planet formation mechanism for gas-giants is important because their dynamical dominance affects the formation of terrestrial and ice-giant planets. System architecture and atmospheric composition both provide formation indicators for gas-giants because disk-based formation results in non-hierarchical orbits and atmospheric metal enrichment, as seen in Jupiter and Saturn. I will discuss two programs which I lead with LBTI to probe the outer architecture of planetary systems and to characterize the atmospheres of gas-giant exoplanets. I will also provide an update on the LBTI HOSTS survey for exozodiacal dust around nearby stars. HOSTS is nearing completion and will provide essential information for the design of future space missions that aim to image habitable zone terrestrial planets in reflected light.

Faculty Host: Charles E. Woodward

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