CfA Colloquium Schedule Spring 2011
 19 May 2011

19 May 2011

Speaker: Michael Liu (IfA/Hawaii)

Title:Studying Young Gas-Giant Planets Directly

Abstract:Direct detection is rapidly becoming a key method to study gas-giant extrasolar planets. Direct photometry, spectroscopy, and astrometry of planets around young stars are now possible using the largest ground-based telescopes equipped with adaptive optics. Akin to the early growth of radial velocity and transit studies, direct measurements of the first discoveries have revealed a surprising diversity in the exoplanet population. We discuss how these initial results have challenged our conceptions of gas-giant planet formation and properties. To move forward from these exciting individual discoveries to well-defined statistical samples, we are currently carrying out a 3-year observing campaign using the Near-Infrared Coronagraphic Imager (NICI) on the Gemini-South Telescope. NICI typically achieves about 1-2 magnitudes better contrast compared to previous planet-finding efforts. We describe the Campaign's goals, design, performance, and results. The NICI Planet-Finding Campaign represents the largest and most sensitive imaging survey to date for massive (1 Mjup) planets around other stars.


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