Extrasolar Planets: What We Know and How We Know It

Jul 16, 2020 - 9:30 am to 10:30 am
Eric Nielsen (KIPAC) via zoom

Zoom Recording

One of newest subfields in astronomy, and one of the most exciting and rapidly growing, is the detection and characterization of planets orbiting other stars.  In the past few decades we've gone from knowing of no planets outside our Solar System to having thousands of examples of exoplanets to study.  While it's still a challenge to find systems like our own, the planetary systems we've found orbiting other stars thus far often look radically different from our Solar System.  I'll discuss the different detection techniques for finding and studying exoplanets: radial velocity, transit, direct imaging, and microlensing, how the observations are conducted and what each can tell us about the detected planets, and what we've learned about other planets in the galaxy as a result of these observations.  Finally, I'll look ahead to future instruments and missions, and the potential for detecting planets like the Earth and characterizing their atmospheres, and to possibly detect signs of life on these other worlds.