March 16, 2000 CfA Colloquium


Title: Theory of the Atmospheres and Spectra of Substellar Mass Objects

Speaker: Adam Burrows

Abstract: The understanding of the evolution, atmospheres, and spectra of extrasolar giant planets (EGPs) and brown dwarfs requires a knowledge of chemical composition, molecular opacities, radiative transfer, "stellar" structure, and condensation physics. I will discuss some current efforts to master these topics, as well as to understand brown dwarf and EGP evolution, the L and methane dwarf sequence, atmospheric compositions, EGP albedos, and the wavelength dependence of the detectability by ground and space assets of substellar objects. Between the Jovian planets of our solar system and the M dwarfs above the main sequence edge resides a new population of exotic objects, now being discovered in profusion, that are challenging or overturning our notions of what a planet, brown dwarf, or star can be. I hope in my talk to provide a sense of the theorist's awe at the possibilities now available for future study in this new and rapidly expanding subject at the crossroads of Astronomy and Planetary Science.

References for students:

lunchon Thursday 3/16 at 12:00 pm in the classroom