CfA Colloquium Schedule Fall 2011
 1 December 2011

1 December 2011

Speaker: Dan Fabrycky (UC Santa Cruz)

Title:New Views on Extrasolar Planetary Systems from Kepler

Abstract:Kepler is a time-domain survey of unprecedented photometric precision, constantly measuring the flux from 150,000 stars for 3.5 years in search of Earth-like planets transiting them. Along the way, it is revolutionizing the study of the architecture and dynamics of systems of exoplanets. I will describe the recent successes of the transit timing method for exoplanet discovery, confirmation, and characterization. In the Kepler-11 system which has 6 transiting planets, we have solved for 5 of their masses via mutual perturbations, obviating the need for radial velocity follow-up for this particularly valuable target. The case of Kelpler-18, a three-planet system which shows both transit timing variations and radial velocity variations, shows this method is robust. The search for circumbinary planets is also taking off, Kepler-16(AB)b being a harbinger of many results to come. The case of KOI-730 is a candidate system of 4 planets in a chain of resonances, indicative of migration and damping in a natal disk. The architectures of these planetary systems offer detailed constraints -- and pose interesting new challenges -- to planet formation theory.


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