Revealing the Hidden Secrets of Hot Jupiters

Jan 21, 2021 - 11:00 am to 12:00 pm
Speaker
Nikole Lewis (Cornell) via zoom

Zoom Recording

51 Pegasi b, the first exoplanet detected around a sun-like star, was the founding member of the hot Jupiter population that now numbers more than 300. Although often derided for their distinct lack of potential habitability and the havoc they likely wreaked in their systems, hot Jupiters have provided a unique opportunity to explore exoplanet atmospheric physics and chemistry. Here I will discuss recent observations of hot Jupiters with the Hubble and now retired Spitzer space-based telescopes that have revealed unexpected processes at work in these distant worlds. I will also discuss current limitations in our ability to interpret observations of hot Jupiters in order to understand the physics and chemistry that shape their atmospheres. Additionally, I will overview observations of hot Jupiters planned for the James Webb Space Telescope and what we hope to learn by exploring these planets with infrared spectroscopy. Although hot Jupiters have been revealed to possess complex atmospheres, they still remain one of our best opportunities to hone observational techniques and atmospheric theories along the path to answering the questions “How did we get here?” and “Are we alone?”.