CfA Colloquium Schedule Spring 2008
 1 May 2008

1 May 2008

Speaker: Gaspar Bakos (CfA)

Title: pH Lecture:
Fishing for planets with HATNet

Abstract: Within planetary science, the first decade of the 21st century is arguably that of transiting extrasolar planets, standing on the shoulders of the very successful radial velocity searches. If we rewind our clocks just ten years, we had scarce information on exoplanets; their masses were incompletely known, and we had no information at all on their radii, chemical composition, or atmospheric characteristics; the related astrophysics was based mainly on theoretical speculation. The situation has changed dramatically, and by now we have a sample of forty transiting planets with most of the above properties well characterized. I will help the audience to glimpse the continuous excitement and surprises provided by the exponential boom in transit numbers. With more transiting planets definite relations and trends are emerging, but this field is still suffering from small number statistics. Thus a number of projects are searching for the elusive transit signatures. One of them, HATNet at the CfA, has contributed quite significantly through finding seven (or more?) planets. I will give some background information on HATNet, describe how we search for planets, and comment on some of our more interesting detections.

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