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Astronomy Colloquium

Thursday, November 1, 2012
12:00 AM
Dennison 807

Exoplanets in the Kepler Era

After 15 years of exoplanet discovery and 10 years of transit measurements, we have entered the Kepler era of exoplanetary research. I will discuss the state of knowledge of planetary architectures at Kepler's launch using the Solar System for context, including the frequency of circular orbits, Jupiter analogs, and mean motion resonances among multiplanet systems. Kepler has extended our discovery space into the domain of rocky planets. I will discuss some of the results (and surprises) coming out of this remarkable data stream, including studies of the frequency of rocky planets. Finally, I will take a look ahead at the post-Kepler era, focusing on following up Kepler planetary systems with the Keck and the Hobby-Eberly telescopes, and on using the lessons of Kepler to find the lowest mass planets around the very nearest stars with two new exoplanet discovery missions: MINERVA and HZPF.

Jason Wright/Pennsylvania State University